Top Ten

September 14, 2015

BC announces $2 M in graduate study awards for Aboriginal students

British Columbia has announced the allocation of $2 M for awards to encourage more Aboriginal students to enrol in master’s and doctoral degrees at public universities in the province. “Aboriginal people are a vital part of British Columbia’s future and contribute to our diverse, growing, and strong economy,” said Premier Christy Clark. The awards of up to $5 K each will be granted through the Irving K Barber BC Scholarship Society. Of the 3,240 postsecondary credentials received by BC Aboriginal students in 2013–14, just 5% were at the graduate level. 1.5% of Aboriginal persons aged 25–64 hold a master’s degree, compared to 5.1% of the non-Aboriginal population. BC

Ryerson, Georgian, uRegina announce initiatives to help refugees

Earlier this summer, Ryerson University partnered with Lifeline Syria to help resettle Syrian refugees in Toronto. While the initial goal was to bring 10 families in, they very quickly found sponsorship for 11, according to Ryerson VP of Research and Innovation Wendy Cukier. Georgian College has created an Award for Refugees and Displaced Persons, with the goal of helping up to seven Syrian refugees study at Georgian as soon as January 2016. The award will cover the cost of tuition, books, and ancillary fees. The University of Regina has partnered with the uRegina Students’ Union to provide roughly $200 K to help refugees pursue PSE. Globe and Mail | Ryerson | Georgian | uRegina | WUSC

uSask to offer unique master’s degree in water security

The University of Saskatchewan has announced that it will offer a new master’s degree in water security, reportedly the first of its kind in North America. The program will train students in issues such as drought, climate change, flooding, and water quality. “We saw a gap in current training that could be addressed with our university’s strong expertise in interdisciplinary water research,” said Program Director Andrew Ireson. Students will be able to choose one of three specializations: hydrology, hydrogeology, and socio-hydrology. The program, a project-based professional-style degree, will be offered through the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS). uSask

Laurentian and University of Limpopo launch five-year geoscience partnership

Laurentian University and the University of Limpopo in South Africa have committed to a five-year partnership that will help Limpopo’s geology department become a centre of excellence in geosciences. Laurentian will collaborate with Limpopo by helping to improve the university’s training and curriculum choices in economic geology and mineral exploration, increasing teaching and research capabilities, and equipping laboratories. The agreement was initiated and sponsored by Ivanplats, a South African subsidiary of Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. Officials from Laurentian, Limpopo, Ivanhoe, and the South African and Canadian governments celebrated the agreement at a signing ceremony at Limpopo on Wednesday. News Release | Sudbury Star | Junior Mining Network | Canadian Mining Journal | E&MJ | Northern Ontario Business

Nipissing launches #nuperspective campaign to end sexual violence

Nipissing University has launched its campaign to end sexual violence. Dubbed #nuperspective, the campaign works toward its goal through education, prevention, and outreach. “[Nipissing] has always had sex education on violence on campus but this is the first time we have had a coordinated effort, all of those activities come under one banner,” said AVP Casey Phillips. While the university receives two or three formal complaints per year, many more go unreported, which is one of the issues the campaign seeks to address. Nipissing is “to be congratulated for their leadership in engaging students on a very difficult topic … and ensuring they have supports for victims,” said Police Chief Paul Cook. Nipissing | #nuperspective | | North Bay Nugget | CTV News

NDP pledge $200 M for paid internships, youth job creation

The federal NDP have promised $200 M over four years for the creation of up to 40,000 jobs, paid internships, and co-op placements. They will also “crack down” on unpaid internships that are not part of an education program, while infrastructure projects receiving at least $10 M in federal funding will be required to hire apprentices. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair explained that increasing both paid co-op placements and apprenticeship opportunities, as well as introducing new protections for unpaid internships, will help break the cycle of “no experience, no job; no job, no experience” faced by Canadian youth. When we recently asked members of Academica’s StudentVu panel about unpaid internships, 62% said they would participate in one for the work experience. CBC | CTV News

Millennials are not “moochers” more than any other generation

Millennials are not “mooching” off their parents nearly as much the popular media would have us believe, writes CBC contributor Sophia Harris. She notes that persistent stereotypes characterize millennials as more financially dependent than their parents, but adds that “beyond anecdotal stories and small-scale polls, there doesn’t appear to be any concrete evidence that millennials are any more of a mooch than previous generations.” While youth unemployment in Canada today is 13.1%, it was 15.4% twenty years ago, for example. Harris also challenges the findings of a recent CIBC survey that found two-thirds of Canadian parents who supported their children financially were feeling burdened. This survey, she notes, only surveyed parents who were already supporting their children financially, offering little insight on the actual number of Canadian parents who are supporting their children compared to previous generations. CBC

Universities must maintain pressure to address rape culture

While recent stories of rape culture have received national attention in the US, we need to reflect on how this same culture exists in Canadian university cities, writes Celeste Orr in the Ottawa Citizen. She adds that even though stories of sexual violence against women have declined in Ottawa’s mainstream media, it is important to remember that just last year the city’s universities saw a female student become the target of violent misogynistic comments from her peers, a song reported to reflect rape culture being sung on uOttawa’s campus, and a young man entering 50 dorm rooms and being charged with sexual assault. Orr insists that Canadians must continue to create public pressure to change the culture of sexual violence and misogyny that still persists in Canada’s universities. Ottawa Citizen

US study finds no growth in college degrees, shift from humanities toward STEM

The number of US college degrees awarded has virtually stopped growing, according to a new study, rising just 1% in each of the last two years. There has also been a general shift away from humanities degrees in favour of STEM degrees. While this growth is encouraging, said CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson, the overall slowdown, particularly in fields “tied to developing strong communications and critical-thinking skills” is concerning. Growth was fastest in science technician degrees, natural resources and conservation degrees, and parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies degrees. The greatest declines were seen in military technologies, applied science degrees, library science, and education. Chicago Business | CareerBuilder

US colleges meet to discuss creation of competency-based credentials

Nearly 600 US colleges have either begun developing a new competency-based education program or already have one in place, up from some 52 institutions last year. This quick and dramatic turn toward competency-based education—education that focuses on specific, concrete skills over abstract learning—has inspired a group of college officials to meet in Phoenix next month to share information and wisdom on how to develop college credentials around these new programs. The meeting will be hosted by Public Agenda, a nonprofit organization that works to approach contentious public issues from a nonpartisan perspective. Funding for the meeting and the work it produces will come from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Inside Higher Ed