Top Ten

November 20, 2015

NAIT breaks ground on new Spruce Grove campus

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) has officially broken ground on its new Spruce Grove Campus, which will be home to the polytechnic’s Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator program beginning in September 2016. The new campus is designed to help NAIT meet the growing demand for crane operators in Alberta and beyond by expanding its apprenticeship program. NAIT can currently accommodate up to 276 Crane and Hoisting students each year at its leased site in Nisku, but this new campus may increase this number by more than 80%, depending on the number of apprenticeship seats designated by AB. NAIT President Glenn Feltham said, “the need for crane operators in our province is significant. With billions in development happening in downtown Edmonton alone, Alberta needs a highly skilled workforce to build the required infrastructure.” NAIT | Edmonton Journal

BC fund helps former foster children attend PSE

The new Youth Futures Education Fund, established to assist former foster children in attending college or university, has disbursed $200 K to eleven institutions that currently waive tuition for these students. The fund now has $776 K, in part due to a donation from Coast Capital Savings. “Access to postsecondary education directly impacts outcomes for young people—and nowhere is this more evident than with former foster children who have aged out of care and for whom the traditional family network of supports is not available,” said Coast Capital Savings’s Maureen Young. Vancouver Sun

Yukon College, CH2M sign MOU to provide expertise, field opportunities

Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining has signed an MOU with the engineering firm CH2M to provide students greater access to expertise and field lab possibilities. CH2M staff will engage in guest lectures and provide lab experience to students in water sampling, groundwater monitoring, and mine reclamation. “CH2M is delighted to support learning and research endeavours at Yukon College, we are deeply committed to supporting programs that enrich our communities,” said CH2M Regional Managing Director Alan Cary. Yukon

SK PSE institutions commit to closing Aboriginal education gap

The leaders of all 24 postsecondary institutions in Saskatchewan have announced their commitment to work together to close the education gap for Aboriginal people. The province-wide commitment is reportedly the first of its kind in Canada and will see universities, colleges, and polytechnics working together and consulting with Aboriginal communities on how the province can best bring Aboriginal educational attainment up to the same level as non-Aboriginal. The agreement acknowledges the role that Canada’s history of residential schools has played in the current education gap and has pledged to undertake its work in consideration of the findings of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. uSask | CBC | Turtle Island News | Times Colonist

Achieving better integration, more fulfillment for international students

International students encounter a unique set of challenges when arriving at campuses outside their home countries. These challenges often have negative consqueqnces for the students' academic and personal wellbeing, leading to poor retention rates. Academica Forum contributor Dr. Rod Gillett provides insight into how current PSE professionals can help address these challenges.

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Academica Forum

NS auditor general criticizes innovation fund for failure to deliver

Nova Scotia Auditor General Michael Pickup is criticizing the province’s $25 M “Excellence and Innovation” fund for failing to deliver on its promised savings. The auditor’s office examined 10 of the 50 funded projects, finding that of the eight that submitted status reports, two did not generate the expected savings or revenue and three did not include an estimate. “We would have expected more from a $25 M fund,” said Pickup. The Association of Atlantic Universities told CBC that they had just received the report and were reviewing it, declining to comment on specifics. CBC

Universities respond to mental health crisis with fall breaks

Several universities across Canada have now implemented fall breaks, including more than half of the universities in Ontario. Meagan Campbell, writing in Maclean’s, spoke with several students to understand how they are using these breaks, finding that “most were going to hit the brakes, or the books, or a little bit of both.” The interviewed students—from Western University, the University of Saskatchewan, and Mount Allison University—all agreed that the breaks allowed them to relax and recharge for the remainder of the semester. Maclean’s

More PSE institutions using mobile technology to enhance learning

More Canadian PSE institutions are finding new ways to use mobile technology to enhance student experience and learning outcomes, reports the Globe and Mail. Lambton College has invested in new mobile-friendly technology and encouraged its instructors to incorporate technology in interactive ways in the classroom, such as using apps to train students in job-specific skills or offering augmented-reality apps to enhance student learning. Athabasca University has similarly encouraged its instructors to use mobile apps to enhance their learning. On top of encouraging in-class app use, Ryerson University has launched Ryerson Mobile, a set of apps for aiding students in school-related tasks such as the booking of study rooms. Globe and Mail

Immigrant students have higher success rate in education, study says

Immigrant students are outperforming Canadian-born students in their educational success, says a recent report from a triennial study by Statistics Canada. Overall, immigrant students were found to have higher levels of high school and university education than Canadian-born students; they were also more likely to report that they expected to, and did, graduate from university. According to the study’s authors, background characteristics of immigrants, such as their country of origin, explained some of the interregional differences in university success. Canadian-born students whose parents were immigrants had similar regional patterns of success as third-or-higher-generation Canadian children. StatCan | iPolitics

Moody's projects “stagnant” tuition revenues for PSE institutions

Stagnant revenues from tuition is the "new normal" for colleges and universities across the US, according to an annual tuition survey by Moody’s Investors Service. The report said that both public and private institutions have projected a 2% increase in net tuition revenue for the coming academic year, which is in keeping with the findings of last year’s annual survey. This year’s survey drew on responses from nearly 170 institutions and found that almost two-thirds of all public institutions projected net tuition revenue growth below 3%. The agency reports the stagnant tuition revenue growth is largely due to “focus on affordability, flat or declining enrollment, and state-imposed limits.” Chronicle of Higher Education | Reuters | Moody's

Concrete ways to redefine what counts as faculty scholarship

It is important for PSE institutions to broaden some of their definitions of faculty scholarship if they want faculty to support their institutional mission beyond the classroom or peer-reviewed publication, writes Thomas Carey for Inside Higher Ed. However, the author also acknowledges that the renewed definition of scholarship should not become so broad that it includes nearly everything a faculty member could do. To this end, Carey offers a number of concrete examples of valuable scholarship activities that might not traditionally “count” as scholarship for certain institutions. What remains at the heart of these efforts, Carey maintains, is using PSE expertise to benefit communities beyond faculty’s normally assigned teaching and publishing activities.  Inside Higher Ed