Top Ten

November 4, 2015

uCalgary, Enbridge respond to allegations of interfering with academic freedom

The University of Calgary and Enbridge Inc have denied that Enbridge interfered with the operations of a university research centre sponsored by the company. This claim comes in response to a CBC investigation that drew on uCalgary emails to suggest that between 2012 and 2014, significant concerns existed among the school’s faculty over Enbridge's influence on the centre's research. uCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon has noted that while some concerns about the centre were expressed over email, the school never received any formal complaints. She also acknowledged that between 2011 and 2012, the university could have done a better job of creating transparency in its decision-making around corporate sponsorship. The Canadian Association of University Teachers has voiced concern over the CBC investigation and has stated that it plans to look into the matter further. CBC | Leader Post | Lethbridge Herald | The Gauntlet | Calgary Herald  (CAUT)

Concordia president urges Canada to invest in knowledge economy

Now is the time for Canada to realize its delayed transition from a “19th-century natural resource economy to a 21st-century knowledge society,” writes Concordia University President Alan Shepard. Despite Canada’s well educated population, he argues, job security is plummeting for young people. The country thus needs to follow through on a $200 M per year promise from the incoming Liberal government to support a new federal innovation agenda. Shepard cites a recent survey that found 59% of students from Generation Y (born in the 1980s and 90s) envision becoming entrepreneurs; yet only 27% of those surveyed reported receiving enough help from local entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. Montreal Gazette | La Presse

Statistics show lingering impact of recession on North American youth

The number of young working Canadians has dropped and remained low since the 2008 recession, according to new numbers from Statistics Canada. The numbers show that between 2008 and 2014, the number of teens aged 15 to 19 who were working or looking for work in the country declined by 6%. Among Canadians aged 20 to 24, participation in the labour force dropped by 2%. StatCan researcher André Bernard said that this decline was likely due to students choosing to remain in school. Meanwhile, the US census shows that nearly 28 million millennials are not enrolled in school and are making less than $10 K a year at their jobs. Experts have further suggested that the financial impact of the 2008 recession will likely still be visible in this generation for decades to come. CBC (StatCan) | Hamilton Spectator (US Census)

TRC National Centre to open doors at uManitoba

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation began the opening ceremonies for its archives and offices yesterday on the campus of the University of Manitoba. The institute will house millions of records collected by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, some of which have been sealed for decades. Centre Director Ry Moran noted that while the centre offers crucial testimony on Canada’s history of residential schools, it will make a priority of protecting the survivors whose names and experiences are contained in the archives. “While we have a very pressing and very real mandate to make as much of the collection available as possible,” he said, “we’re also being told to do no harm in the release of the information and do things in as respectful a way as possible.” Globe and Mail

Northeastern to launch first international campus in Toronto

Northeastern University will launch its first international campus in Toronto in 2016. The Toronto campus will offer professional graduate programs that are tailored to the specific needs of regional learners and employers. It is the first comprehensive research university that the Ontario government has approved to offer multiple degree programs in the province without a local educational partner. “Toronto’s cul­ture of inno­va­tion and increased demand for a highly skilled work­force make it an excel­lent regional partner for North­eastern. We are excited to build a bright future together,” said Northeastern President Joseph Aoun. Northeastern | Newswire

Canada must improve opportunities for study abroad

Canadian students and educators are not receiving enough support when it comes to pursuing education or training opportunities abroad, according to an article recently published by the Conference Board of Canada. The author writes that only 3% of full-time university students and 1% of full-time college students in Canada have travelled abroad to study, compared to a full 25% of German students in bachelors or masters programs. For the article’s author, this lack of participation is due to a series of barriers that can be described as the four C’s, which are cost, curriculum, culture, and circumstance. The article concludes that Canada could do much more to help students overcome these barriers, and therein make them much more valuable once they enter the workforce. Conference Board

Toronto job prospects grim for those without PSE, says new report

Young workers without a postsecondary degree in Toronto are “in big trouble,” according to a new report released this week by the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group. The report, titled "95 Months: Turbulent Times in Toronto’s Labour Market," attempts to chart the changes that have happened in Toronto’s economy since the recession of 2008. It found that university graduates within the city made twice as much as someone with no PSE, and nearly 30% more than those with college diplomas. During the first eight months of 2015, Ontario added 45,600 jobs for people 25 and older, yet all of these jobs “were concentrated among those with post-secondary credentials.” 91,000 people with high schools education or less lost their jobs during the same period. Toronto Star | Metro

NS Coalition releases PSE innovation action plan

A Nova Scotia coalition of leaders from government, business, and PSE has begun rolling out its action plan for universities to take on a greater role in regional innovation. NS currently hosts nearly 56,000 PSE students, 40% of whom come from other provinces and territories. Part of the action plan’s goal is to ensure that more experiential learning opportunities are provided to as many of these students as possible. The plan’s overall approach is to place universities at the centre of innovation “ecosystems,” which are networks of people and groups that conduct and support innovative activity through research, commercial product development, and other activities. Dal

Major UK employers seeking soft skills, downplaying academic credentials in applicants

Employers in the UK are focusing less on academic qualifications and more on social traits such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and resilience, according to Times Higher Education. This claim builds on the argument that today’s students seek social purpose from their work more than a large starting salary. The author goes on to add that this change is no doubt part of the reason why large firms like Ernst & Young have dropped the degree classification portion from their job applications, citing that there is “no evidence” that scholastic success translates into professional aptitude. Times Higher Education

Gamification on campus could have negative effect on student self-motivation

Chronicle of Higher Education contributor Kentaro Toyama examines the benefits and dangers of using gamification to motivate students in higher education. Gamification, defined as “the use of game elements such as point systems and graduated challenges for activities not usually considered games,” appeals to today’s students who have grown up in a digital world. Toyama explains that the debate is oriented around the question of whether to tailor material to student interest or to ask students to motivate themselves to focus; he ultimately argues that students need to develop self-motivation outside of a gamified environment. “A good teacher judiciously moves back and forth between tricks to elicit student interest and space for students to motivate themselves,” explains Toyama, “all with the long-term goal of building intrinsic motivation.” Chronicle of Higher Education