Top Ten

August 13, 2015

McGill and Concordia establish chapters of Sensible Drug Policy group

This fall, McGill University and Concordia University will become home to chapters of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a national group that advocates for drug reform at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. More specifically, the group encourages Canadians to treat drug usage as a health issue rather than a criminal justice one. The group supports the legalization of marijuana, the repealing of minimum sentences for drug-related offences, and the expanded use of safe needle exchanges. Montreal Gazette

Scandal surrounding Dal dentistry Facebook group cost $650 K

The costs associated with the scandal surrounding a misogynistic Facebook group at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Dentistry cost the school nearly $650 K, reports CBC. The largest part of the bill went to public relations: $344,669 according to an email from the school. A task force, which released a report containing 39 recommendations for improving the school's climate, cost $183 K. “The university has very skilled staff that provided support, advice, and counsel around this issue,” said Janet Bryson, Dalhousie Communications Adviser. “However, the issue was very complicated, long lasting, and evolving. Additional legal and communications resources were necessary.” CBC

STU becomes first Canadian university to offer Harvard CORe program

St Thomas University has reportedly become the first Canadian university to partner with HBX of the Harvard Business School to offer CORe, a multi-week, intensive program of online courses on the fundamentals of business. CORe, or Credential of Readiness, is a program that introduces students to the language and concepts of business by teaching the essential tools any student must know to begin a career in business. Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive both an HBX transcript that reflects their achievement and academic credit at STU. STU

CFHSS pre-budget submission calls for focus on research, mobility, FNMI access

The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) has released its annual pre-budget submission, which contains a series of priorities for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to consider. First, the CFHSS wants the government to consider expanding research funding through the granting councils (SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to “ensure that Canada is as active as possible in the global supply chain of ideas.” Second, the CFHSS calls for an increased focus on student mobility to encourage students to expand their horizons through inter-provincial and international study. Finally, the organization calls for increased access to PSE for FNMI peoples, as part of a focus on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. CFHSS | Full Submission

TRU Williams Lake to offer new diploma in sustainable ranching

BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education is set to provide Thompson Rivers University with $154 K to deliver a new Sustainable Ranching Enterprise Diploma program in Williams Lake. The program aims to address the needs of the local ranching environment while promoting the sustainable management of natural resources. Executive Director of Williams Lake Campus Ray Sanders said, “local ranchers are excited that the program will examine the importance of conducting business in a way that ensures environmental sustainability by examining in depth the principles of maintaining soil and water health, living with wildlife, and respecting all aspects of biological diversity.” TRU

New HEQCO report on modified peer instruction in large introductory classes

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has published a new report entitled Evaluating the Effectiveness of Modified Peer Instruction in Large Introductory Physics Classes. Using students at Ryerson University in 2012 and 2013, the study explores whether student-generated multiple-choice questions enhanced students' fundamental understanding of physics, their attitudes toward physics, and their degree of engagement. Overall, the authors observed positive but inconsistent results: when the two cohorts were combined, gender, English proficiency, and attendance accounted for larger gains than the use of multiple-choice writing activities. HEQCO | Full Report

Canadian students and parents diverge on concerns over happiness, money

RBC’s 2015 Student Finances Poll shows that students and parents have different priorities when it comes to university. According to the poll, 45% of student respondents said that getting a job after graduation was their top concern, while 38% said making enough money to support themselves was their top priority; being happy with their future career came in third at 36%. Meanwhile, 44% of parents polled said that their top concern was that their child’s program would help them land a job that would make them happy, while only 40% said that having their child find a job after graduation was most important. While 82% of students said they worried about covering student debt and living costs, only 70% of parents expressed the same worry. RBC

Mature students feel out of place on campus, says op-ed

A new Ottawa Citizen op-ed by Agnes Cadieux explores the challenges of returning to college or university as a mature student. According to StatCan, only 25% of PSE students were older than 27 in 2006, with just 10% older than 40. Scholarships and financial aid pose particular challenges, but the main issue is that older students feel out of place. Cadieux concludes that “universities need to realize the new struggles students have to face, such as giving up routine and income, free time, and respect to endure four years of patronizing red tape and hierarchical bigotry, particularly for those who are the same age—or older—than their professors and administrators.” Ottawa Citizen

Higher ed a major theme for US presidential candidates

The focus on higher education in the US presidential race has yielded “a rarity in politics—new ideas—as well as some surprising areas of agreement between the parties,” writes the Wall Street Journal. As estimates of America’s student debt climb above $1.2 T, presidential hopefuls have addressed the issue in hopes of reaching out to young voters. The issue has even become “a kind of metaphor for the bigger themes we’ll see in the election: Whether the government can and should play a bigger role in American life, and the role the federal government might play in increasing opportunity,” said Terry Hartle, Senior Vice President at the American Council on Education. Wall Street Journal

US students may not need to go abroad to get a global experience

Students in the US may not actually need to travel abroad in order to get a global experience, according to some educators. They argue that, given the diversity of the country, students can experience different cultures just by leaving campus. One option is so-called “study away” programs, in which students study in diverse communities across the country. “What matters isn’t place but what happens in that place,” says Elmhurst College Interim President Larry A Braskamp. “Yes, study abroad is a natural place for difference, but there’s an awful lot of difference in America.” Critics respond, however, that such programs are just “study-abroad-lite,” saying that they are not a replacement for the direct experience of a foreign country. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)