Top Ten

August 6, 2015

KPU to waive tuition for former youth-in-care

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has created a tuition-waiver program for former youth-in-care, joining more than ten other PSE institutions in British Columbia and across Canada that offer similar programs. KPU will run the program this year as a pilot, offering funding for up to five students who are in good academic standing, exhibit financial need, and are nearing the end of their program. Students will also be paired with a dedicated academic advisor, and may be eligible for additional funding for textbooks and/or emergency situations. KPU has modelled its program on others that have been successfully established in the province, such as the one at Vancouver Island University. PSE institutions in Manitoba have introduced similar programs, and in Ontario, the province has partnered with individual institutions to provide tuition funding for former Crown wards. Vancouver Sun

FNUniv renovating and repurposing campus spaces

The First Nations University of Canada will be under renovation in the near future as it expands into unused space within the building and repurposes existing spaces. The institution plans to move its Plain Red Art Gallery into the library on an interim basis, and is designing a large common room to be used for teaching and for university and community events. Other offices will move up to the fourth floor, creating more classroom space on the lower floors for in-demand programs such as those offered by the Indian Fine Arts department. FNUniv gathered input from the students, staff, and faculty over the last six months in order to determine priorities. The first stages of the work are expected to be complete by the time students return in September. Leader-Post | FNUniv

TRU law prof sues former colleague for defamation

Thompson Rivers University law professor Craig Jones has filed a lawsuit against his former colleague Anne Pappas. In the suit, Jones alleges that Pappas, in her capacity as Interim Dean, spread false sexual-relationship rumours about him, in a bid to maintain her position. Pappas was later re-established as Assistant Dean, and TRU has confirmed to Kamloops This Week that she is no longer employed by the institution. Pappas has not yet filed a statement of defense, and none of the allegations have been heard or proven in court; the university itself is not a party to the lawsuit. Kamloops This Week | Business Vancouver

Trent and uSudbury partner on new urban Aboriginal courses

Trent University and the University of Sudbury have partnered to develop two new online courses that focus on Aboriginal peoples and urban issues. The courses are reportedly the first of their kind in Canada and will also be accessible online both to students from other PSE institutions and to those that may not have traditional access to PSE. The course content is drawn from two major studies on the urban Aboriginal experience: the Toronto Aboriginal Research Project (TARP), the largest study ever done on Aboriginal people in the city of Toronto; and the Urban Aboriginal Task Force (UATF), which examined Aboriginal issues in five Ontario cities. The courses will be split into modules to allow flexible delivery. Trent and uSudbury will alternate delivery of the courses, with Trent offering the first year. Trent | | Northern Life

MRU Summit’s creative approach to encouraging women to enrol in STEM fields

The latest issue of Mount Royal University’s Summit magazine examines the lack of women enrolled in the STEM disciplines. In deciding how to illustrate the story, the editorial team took a more creative approach, playing off the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” propaganda posters from World War II. The cover photo features MRU alumna Kylie Toh, the founder of Geek Chic, a Calgary organization aiming to encourage diversity in tech through “educating, engaging, and empowering women.” “[The lack of women in STEM is] a national issue,” says article author Theresa Tayler. “It’s on the mind of politicians, the media, and it’s a hot topic in general.” University Affairs | Summit

Students in NS want the province to convert loans to grants

Student groups in Nova Scotia are calling for the provincial government to follow the example of Newfoundland and Labrador and change provincial student loans to non-repayable grants. Chair of the Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia (CFS-NS) Michaela Sam says that the recent removal of provincial tuition caps combined with cheaper tuition in other provinces is making NS less desirable to students. A spokesperson for NS’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education told CBC that the province does offer a grant for up to 40% of provincial loans. CBC

How postsecondary can reach the baby boomers

Writing in University Affairs, Jenny Green says that Canada’s baby boomers are “poised to descend on campuses,” and they want “continuing education that’s fascinating, ever changing, [and] never ending.” Part of the reason for the increased demand, according to Universities Canada’s Herb O’Heron, is the high level of education held by this generation compared to earlier generations. In a separate story, Campus Technology reports the results of a survey of 195 schools with programs for adult learners. The survey found that schools are not often using the techniques they’ve themselves identified as most effective for reaching this population. University Affairs | Campus Technology | Full Report

Women suffer the consequences of student debt more than men

According to a new article in Vice, women across the US are facing larger amounts of student debt than their male colleagues, and they make less money in their careers. Combined, these two factors are “making women poorer, more dependent, and setting them up for a more tenuous retirement … creating a systematic gender wealth gap.” Women are more likely to take out student loans than men, and 68% of women leave school with student loan debt compared to 63% of men. This debt can impact later choices: the more debt a woman has the more she is to stay single, nearly half of in-debt college grads delayed buying a house, and nearly a quarter postponed having children. Vice

Students, publishers respond to dramatic increases in the cost of textbooks

According to an analysis conducted by NBC using data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of textbooks has risen 1,041% since 1977. The reason for this, they say, is because students are “captive consumers”; the customer does not decide which product to buy, rather it is chosen for them by the professor, similar to how a doctor prescribes a given pharmaceutical. In a separate story on the same issue, Inside Higher Ed reports that 65% of students simply chose not to buy the textbook, even though they feared it would impact their academic performance. In response, Open Educational Resources (OER) providers are seeking to provide lower cost options, although there are more offerings for introductory courses than upper-level courses. NBC News | Inside Higher Ed

Microbiologists leading the way in gender equity at conferences, study shows

In an article published in mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the society outlines how in just a few years, it has reduced the proportion of all-male panels and increased the proportion of female speakers at its national conference. The article outlines three key steps: the program committee was provided with data about the speaker gender gap; more women were recruited to organize sessions; and session organizers we encouraged to avoid all-male sessions. “Among ASM members, women now constitute the majority of the students and postdocs and therefore represent the future of the society,” the article said. “Thus, it is important to convey the message to the next generation that in this field there is no glass ceiling with regard to gender.” Inside Higher Ed | Full Study