Top Ten

August 7, 2015

uRegina reveals new Indigenous names for buildings

The University of Regina has announced new names for new and existing residence buildings as part of the institution’s efforts to indigenize the campus. The new 606-bed residence and daycare facility will be called Kisik Tower—meaning sky in the Saulteaux language—because it’s the tallest building on campus. The existing North Residence building will be known as Paskwaw Tower, the Cree word for prairie, and the South Residence building will now be called Wakpa Tower—the Dakota word for river. The names were chosen after a consultation process that included asking students, staff, and faculty for suggestions. uRegina officials hope that the new names will help introduce non-Indigenous and international students to Aboriginal languages and concepts. Leader-Post

University grads increasingly attending colleges to get practical experience

A new study out of Algonquin College is showing that the reason more university graduates are attending colleges is because they are seeking skills and practical experience. The number of university graduates attending Ontario colleges has increased 40% in recent years; according to Colleges Ontario, 12% of college entrants in 2012–13 had university credentials. While 44% of college students are concerned about their job prospects, this figure jumps to 63% for university grads attending college. 32% of university grads expressed an interest in business fields, looking to connect their discipline-specific knowledge with workplace opportunities. The results are based on a survey of 1,200 current or prospective Algonquin students. Algonquin | Full Study

Dechinta introduces new Indigenous guardian program

A new program at the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning will help train young First Nations leaders in the protection and management of lands and resources. The Indigenous Boreal Guardian Program will enhance the ability of First Nations communities to advocate for land-management approaches that value Indigenous knowledge. The program is modelled on similar successful programs in Canada and Australia and combines on-the-land activities with in-class and online learning. “The program will teach students what they need to know to work with outside governments and industry on equal terms, but they will learn how to do this in a way that allows their communities to reconnect new generations with the land and inspire them to assert themselves the rightful keepers of ancestral lands,” said Dechinta Dean Erin Freeland-Ballantyne. Dechinta | CTV News

Financial experts weigh in on student debt

Two financial experts are cautioning new postsecondary students to avoid amassing large amounts of debt that could affect them for years after graduation. Kurt Rosentreter, a financial adviser at Manulife Securities, notes that many students coming out of high school have “very low financial literacy,” which can lead to major financial challenges. Lana Robinson, Executive Director of CIBC Wealth Advisory Services, recommends that students create and stick to weekly and monthly budgets. Both agree that students need to be aware of interest rates and the varying types of debt in order to ensure future financial well-being. CTV News

Lakeland submits provincial farm plan to ensure sustainability

Students and faculty from Lakeland College’s Student Managed Farm (SMF) have submitted an Alberta Environmental Farm Plan (AEFP), reportedly the first agrarian students in Alberta to do so. The AEFP allows farmers to ensure that environmental policies and procedures are followed, such as those related to cropping plans or the use of manure on crops. “Lakeland has demonstrated their commitment to environmental stewardship and we commend them for their leadership in sustainable agriculture for the future. Students are the future of farming; if they learn about and adopt sound environmental practices now, they will likely incorporate those practices into their farming practices and careers,” said AEFP Director Paul Watson. Meridian Booster

Students should have a financial stake in their education, editorial argues

A new editorial in the National Post argues that Newfoundland and Labrador’s recent decision to abolish loans in favour of grants is “bad news for taxpayers and anyone who believes that people attending university should have a financial stake in their education.” The editorial argues that there is “little doubt” that students with a financial stake in their education are “more apt to ensure they stay the course and complete their degrees.” While provinces should commit to assisting students in need, this should not be done by removing the requirement to repay the aid, the editorial concludes. National Post

New study reveals technology’s role in teen friendships

A new report by the Pew Research Center explores the development and maintenance of teen friendships in the digital age. A majority of respondents (57%) report having made at least one new friend online, although most (77%) never meet in person. Fully 88% of teens spend time with their friends via text messaging, with 55% doing so every day. Teens also reported downsides: 68% experienced drama among friends on social media and 26% of teens fought with a friend because of something online. Video games were important for the maintenance of friendships, especially for boys, 84% of whom say playing networked games makes them feel more connected to friends. The findings are based on focus groups and a survey of over 1,000 US teens. Summary | Full Report

PSE needs to show current and prospective students a full range of career options

Most postsecondary institutions take a “completely backwards” approach to class selection for first-year students, writes Forbes contributor Amy Rees Anderson. “We ask our young people to decide what they want to be when they grow up,” she says, “but we give them almost nothing in the way of educating and exposing them to their options.” By way of example, she suggests that if students were more aware of the career possibilities in software development, more women might choose to pursue that path. To fix this, she says that higher ed must do more to give students first-hand exposure to what a given job really looks like and they need to make “experiential learning” the very first requirement. Forbes

Academics share their thoughts on the best and worst parts of peer review

Six academics from several disciplines have shared their thoughts on peer review in an article published by Times Higher Education. While the contributors had their share of horror stories, the common theme was that peer review “should not be seen as a monolith to be either worshipped or cast into the abyss.” “If the majority of referees like your research, you can be certain that you are doing boring work,” wrote economics professor Andrew Oswald. Toronto-based researcher Jim Woodgett, noting that reviewers often make unrealistic demands, called for increased transparency and realistic expectations. Times Higher Education

The poetry of US college taglines

The Chronicle of Higher Education has arranged 88 college taglines into a poem. Calling the taglines a “genre of marketing rhetoric that is lofty, predictable, and numbing at a certain dosage,” the poetic arrangement offers a novel perspective of college taglines and marketing efforts. Each tagline is also a clickable link so readers can locate the source institution. Chronicle of Higher Education