Top Ten

September 24, 2015

UBC receives $1 M to support Aboriginal women studying business

The University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business has received a $1 M gift from the family of Warren and Maureen Spitz to create a new awards program to benefit Aboriginal women pursuing business degrees. One to two Spitz Family Awards of up to $10 K will be available each year for Aboriginal women looking to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce at the Sauder School of Business. Recipients of these awards will be invited to promote business education among Aboriginal high school students, attend networking events and conferences with fellow Aboriginal business students across BC, and gain access to internships created through the program. UBC

uSask releases new sexual violence policy draft

The University of Saskatchewan has released its new draft policy for addressing sexual violence on its campus. The new policy includes definitions of behaviours such as sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, coercion, consent, and stalking; it also clarifies methods for prevention, support for victims, and the process for holding offenders accountable. uSask Students’ Union President Jack Saddleback stated that “with this policy, students now know this institution is dedicated to creating safer spaces … that speak of consent-based culture.” The new policy document will be presented to uSask's board of governors for approval in December. CBC | Global News | Star Phoenix

Canadian universities review food safety policies after student death

The death of a Queen’s University student last week has prompted universities across the country to reconsider their policies around food safety and allergies. Andrea Mariano, a first-year student, died after reportedly suffering a severe anaphylactic attack brought on by a smoothie she had purchased on campus. Global News contacted a dozen universities across the country to see whether they were evaluating their policies in the wake of the death; the University of Alberta, Western University, York University, McMaster University, and the University of Winnipeg stated that they were currently examining their policies on food allergy safety. Global News

ON must improve its measurement of success before changing PSE funding

Ontario will have to learn more about how to measure the success of its objectives before it can implement a new PSE funding model that meets the province’s needs, according to a new report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). The report, titled “Design Questions: Funding Models for Ontario,” suggests that any variation on the province’s current enrolment-based funding model must work to address three fundamental questions: 1) What outcomes does ON wish to achieve with its funding? 2) Will one universal formula be applied to all universities or will there be a tailored, differentiated approach? and 3) Will institutions' share of funding shift depending on their measured success, and if so, how aggressively? HEQCO | Full Report

With declining domestic enrolment, Ottawa’s PSE institutions recruit more international students

Ottawa’s PSE institutions are seeing ever-larger numbers of international students this fall, reports CBC. As of last week, the University of Ottawa had 1,350 new international students registered, its largest number so far. uOttawa's Acting Manager of Media Relations Néomie Duval said that the school is focusing on international recruitment to offset a decreasing domestic student population in Canada. Algonquin College’s Doug Wotherspoon, VP of International, Communication, and Strategic Priorities, agreed with the approach, adding that “if you have rising costs, you have to have growth for you to survive. So obviously when your domestic numbers are going down you want to supplement that and keep growing, so international is the place to look for that.” CBC

Toronto Sun highlights major trends in Canadian PSE

New technology, globalization, labour market shifts, aging demographics, and changing government funding models are all reshaping the world of postsecondary education, reports the Toronto Sun. Among some of the most prominent changes are the rise of self-paced learning, interdisciplinary learning, new student performance metrics, and work-integrated learning. “We’re seeing a lot more exciting experiments and a lot more interest in changing up how we do pedagogy, how we measure learning and how we deliver credentials,” said Ken Steele, an industry analyst and monitor for Eduvation. Toronto Sun

Corporations should play direct role in MBA program design

Why has it not become a norm for postsecondary institutions and corporations to collaborate on program design and degree certification? asks Telus’s Dan Pontefract in the Huffington Post. According to Pontefract, worldwide corporate and government spending on external learning and education is set to reach $449 B this year and $524 B in 2018. So why, he asks, do organizations spend “millions each year sending employees to higher-education learning (including MBA programs) where the curriculum is independently designed by just a few faculty (and their myopic research tendencies) inside one institution's higher education firewall[?]” He concludes that if corporations and other organizations do not take a more direct role in MBA program design, North America and the world as a whole will continue to miss out on significant opportunities for innovation. Huffington Post

Universities must not pick and choose which groups deserve defending, writes National Post contributor

Toronto universities were quick to pull down posters advertising a “White Students Union,” but York University has not taken the same approach to a poster that promotes violence against Israelis, writes Avi Benlolo, President of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies in North York. Benlolo refers specifically to a poster hanging on YorkU's campus that allegedly promotes violence against Israelis while undermining the legitimacy of Israel’s nationhood. YorkU has allegedly sanctioned the poster to remain hanging. Benlolo concludes that universities employ a double standard when they deem some groups worthy of protection against hate speech and not others. National Post

Syria to experience "lost generation" of postsecondary students

The crisis in Syria has left hundreds of thousands of student refugees unable to continue their postsecondary training, reports Nature. The resulting loss of education will no doubt have a lasting impact on the country, adds Robert Quinn, Executive Director of the Scholars at Risk Network, as “each scholar and student that we lose now deepens the challenge of restoring the region when the violence eventually subsides.” Quinn argues that the cost of funding refugees' postsecondary educations during this time “must be measured against the cost of not doing it,” as prolonging the current situation may create a “recruiting environment for radical militias and terrorists.” Nature

Flipped classroom improves exam performance, says study

A new study from Yale University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has investigated the effects of active learning environments on student exam performance. The five-year study found that reassigning over half of the lecture material for a physical chemistry course as pre-class homework and increasing in-class problem-solving activities resulted in an increase of approximately 12% on students' exams. Students in this "flipped" class also completed more homework with fewer errors. The most pronounced positive effects were noticed in women and in students with low grade point averages. Inside Higher Ed | Full Report