Top Ten

November 25, 2015

Canadian private colleges offer $2 M in scholarships to Syrian refugees

Forty institutions associated with the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC) are offering scholarships to cover full tuition costs for 200 Syrian refugees. The initiative is based on a pilot program that NACC launched last year that worked with over 5,000 newcomers across Canada who were facing foreign credential recognition issues. Serge Buy, CEO of NACC, explained that “having the opportunity to obtain skills and training needed here in Canada will help these newcomers to support their families and be successful in our communities—and we all can benefit from that.” NACC will work with the federal government, provincial governments, and other stakeholders to create an effective application program. NACC | CBC | Digital Journal

Most PhDs employed outside academia, yet barriers remain, says Conference Board

Observing that fewer than one in five Canadian PhDs are employed as full-time faculty, a new report from the Conference Board of Canada explores the variety of positions held by these graduates while summarizing the challenges they face in transitioning to a non-academic career. The transition can be difficult, said study author Jessica Edge, because “a lot of employers now don’t know what the skills of a PhD graduate are, and so they don’t know what to do with them.” According to the study, just 2% of positions advertised over a three-month period in the fall of 2014 required a PhD. Furthermore, while there is an earnings premium of roughly $13 K for a doctorate over a master’s, the additional time spent in school means that it can take years for them to catch up financially. Globe and Mail | CBC | Full Report

uOttawa signs global carbon pledge

The University of Ottawa has reportedly become the first Canadian university to sign the Montreal Carbon Pledge. Under the pledge, investors commit to measuring and publicly reporting the carbon footprint of their portfolios. “I’m proud to see uOttawa taking this meaningful step. We know that it is possible to achieve good returns on our investments while at the same time being environmentally responsible,” said uOttawa President Allan Rock. In addition to its commitment to investment decisions that consider environmental, social, and governance issues, the university is also moving to reduce its consumption of water and fossil fuel energy. uOttawa | Ottawa Citizen

University teachers petition NS for more transparency in PSE administration

The Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT) has urged NS to introduce more accountability into the decision-making processes of university administrators and to find better ways to measure the financial status of universities. One of the group’s primary points of contention is the alleged lack of transparency they see in university administrative decisions. "This opacity surrounding the basic governance of our schools has now caused faculty associations and organizations like ours to have to become detectives about our own institutions," said ANSUT Spokesman Matthew Furlong. The concerns of ANSUT echo those made by NS’s auditor general last week. CBC 

New report deems online learning component “the new normal” for PSE

The incorporation of online learning into Canada’s PSE programming is “the new normal,” according to Contact North | Contact Nord’s new report titled “The Future of Higher Education.” The report cites a recent address by Seneca College President David Agnew that points out how new developments can help make PSE more affordable and accessible for Canada’s students. The report also outlines seven specific trends that are contributing to the challenges and opportunities produced by the growth of online PSE. These trends are broken down into the broad categories of demography, structural complexity, changing student expectations, costs and competitiveness, internationalization, technological developments, and global competitiveness. Contact North (Report)

Students can sound like “damaged soldiers” when discussing issues of sensitivity, tolerance

Based on media reports, one might think that “the students of North America's universities … endure a fresh calamity every week or so,” writes Neil Macdonald for CBC. The article comes in response to a number of conflicts that have emerged on North American campuses over the past year, including the recent decision to cancel a yoga class over concerns of cultural insensitivity and the ban of costume or dress that could be seen as similarly insensitive. Macdonald criticizes what he sees as an oversensitivity on the part of today’s university students, writing that “some of these young people, who are among the Western world's most privileged sons and daughters, its elites in training, have developed such extreme sensitivity that they sound like damaged soldiers returning from combat.” CBC

Universities have funds to pay all workers fairly

“Universities clearly have money if they can afford to compensate their executives as generously [as they do],” argues Larry Rousseau in the Huffington Post. Rousseau highlights the large salaries collected by current and former presidents of universities and contrasts them with the experiences of sessional lecturers and postdoctoral scholars who “can earn as little as $25,000 and are excluded from the benefits plans that other full-time staff at the university enjoy.” According to Rousseau, “too many university administrators act like corporate managers” rather than as the leaders of institutions of the public good. Huffington Post

Improving PSE diversity is more than just the right thing to do

There is no conceivable reason for not creating more diversity in PSE faculty, administration, and leadership, writes Amit Mrig for Forbes. Although issues of diversity have been discussed and debated for decades on North American campuses, Mrig argues that “we have now reached a tipping point that will place this issue front and center on leaders’ agendas today and into the future.” One of the most important places to introduce more diversity, he adds, is on the boards of universities and in the formal practices these universities use for talent acquisition and retention. Forbes

Why do elite US universities “funnel” grads into consulting, finance, tech?

More than half of graduates from the most selective universities in the US end up working in the finance, consulting, and high tech sectors, according to a new study published in the journal Sociology of Education. While students often arrive on campus confused about possible career paths, the culture of the institution, as well as the presence of on-campus recruiters, quickly solidifies in their minds the boundary between “high status” and “ordinary” occupations. The study concludes that because of these forces, “elite campus environments have a large, independent role in the production and reproduction of social inequality.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | Full Study

A Fresh Look at Educational Attainment: How Canada Can Be Number One and Still Have Room to Grow

Once again, the OECD’s compendium of education statistics reveals that Canada is the most educated country in the developed world. But this conclusion can be deceiving, writes contributor Andrew Parkin, who shows why Canada still lags behind other countries in several key areas.

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