Top Ten

December 2, 2015

Colleges, polytechnics quickly becoming “smart choice” for many PSE students

“Colleges have long been considered the poor cousin in the family of post-secondary institutions,” writes Maclean’s, yet this view is very quickly “proving to be as anachronistic as a typewriter.” The article explores the reported rise of youth unemployment with the country’s perceived “skills gap” to argue that young Canadians—and especially their parents—will have to get over the traditional view of colleges and polytechnics as “lesser” PSE options if today’s youth are going to thrive. As the North American economy continues to change, colleges and polytechnics are emerging as the smart choice for many students considering PSE. Maclean’s

BC university grads get “good jobs,” says RUCBC study

A new study conducted by the Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia (RUCBC), which tracked outcomes for graduates from BC’s six research universities, has found that “the vast majority of students … are finding good jobs and earning good salaries.” The study found that more than 92% of grads were working, most of them in their chosen field. For 2012 graduates, the median salary was $50 K, compared to $30.4 K for those without a university degree. “[This study] shows that there’s a high degree of correspondence between the skills and educational attainments that students get while at university,” said Simon Fraser University President Andrew Petter. Globe and Mail | Prince George Citizen | 250 News

Carleton responds to CAUT criticsm, Ottawa Citizen reporting

Carleton University's board of governors has issued a statement alleging that the Ottawa Citizen failed to correct a “number of inaccuracies” in a recent article about the university's alleged "gag order" on its board members. According to this statement, the Ottawa Citizen failed to mention that the school's communiqués did address the allegations made by the CAUT and CUASA, and the newspaper incorrectly states that the board adopted a new policy when it only amended an established statement about maintaining appropriate confidentiality. The board also responded to criticisms about the open meetings by Biology Professor Root Gorelick, insisting that open session meetings are publicly streamed and accessible to the public. Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte has also written a letter addressing the CAUT's concerns about transparency in Carleton's board of governors meetings. Carleton (Board) | Carleton (President's letter to CAUT) | Ottawa Citizen

Higher ed grading encourages avoidance of mistakes, not pursuit of ideas

“[Life] isn’t about success,” write Barry Fishman and Caitlin Holman in a recent piece for HEQCO. More specifically, life is not about success in the traditional, perfectionist sense that many higher ed grading systems tend to imply. The authors instead argue that “life is about progress and often, learning from what doesn’t go the way you planned.” This emphasis on learning from failure leads the authors to argue for the integration of “gameful learning” into current approaches to teaching and grading. The authors conclude that gameful learning seeks to address the gaps that are created when students work to avoid mistakes more than they work to pursue innovative and sometimes risky ideas. HEQCO

ACC, MITT sign formal collaboration MOU

Assiniboine Community College and the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology have signed an MOU in which they pledge to more formally collaborate on new and existing program partnerships. The agreement aims to improve transfer opportunities, international student growth, joint program delivery/development, and the usage of existing capacity. “[ACC is] delighted to partner with MITT in this innovative agreement, which will further opportunities for our students. This cost-effective approach to providing training will allow increased opportunity and great flexibility for our students,” said ACC President Mark Frison. ACC | MyTOBA.ca

UBC’s grad student society launches harassment reporting site

The Graduate Student Society (GSS) at UBC has launched MyGradStory.ca, a website that encourages graduate students to share their experiences of harassment and discrimination. GSS President Tobias Friedel said that the timing of the launch is connected to the recent criticism that UBC has not responded quickly enough to complaints of harassment. The site is part of a “multi-faceted approach” advocated by the GSS. Friedel noted that “[graduate students] are very vulnerable and exposed. Their academic success is dependent on research funding, TA positions, and the support and approval of their faculty advisor. This often results in a reluctance to file complaints for a fear of alienating advisors, department heads, or university administrators.” CBC (CP) | 24 Hours | Straight.com | UBC GSS | MyGradStory.ca

Private labs concerned new Fanshawe facility will have unfair competitive advantage

Several private product testing labs in Ontario and Quebec are concerned that a new product testing lab at Fanshawe College that received $8.1 M from the federal government could hurt their businesses, according to the Financial Post. “It’s quite disappointing to see taxpayer funds going into a project to compete with private sector labs,” said Derwyn Reuber, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre of Independent Laboratories. “Collectively, the private sector labs can conduct all the testing that this lab can do.” Fanshawe Associate Vice-President Ben Cecil responded to these concerns by saying that Fanshawe is “not going after any clients of existing labs. We are going to explore new markets and new opportunities and get products more quickly to market than they have in the past.” Financial Post

Appointment of new UNBC chancellor faces backlash

An anonymous person identifying her or himself as a university senator created a petition last week asking the University of Northern British Columbia to reverse its decision to install James Moore as the school’s new chancellor. By Monday evening, the petition had garnered more than 900 signatures, among which were the names of alumni, faculty, and students. Much of the criticism of Moore’s appointment centers on his past role as a cabinet minister in various positions under the federal Conservative government. UNBC Board of Governors Chair Ryan Matheson said that the school plans to "move forward by continuing to have the discussion, by having open dialogue about this and understanding the concerns from the faculty and from the staff and from the alumni." Prince George Citizen (Faculty response) | Prince George Citizen (Online Response) | CKNW

Underemployment has fallen among US college graduates since 2010

Underemployment among US college graduates has dropped from 10.2% to 6.2% since the economic recession of 2010, and unemployment has trended downward to 5%, according to a recent study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. According to the study, both unemployment and underemployment rates are starkly lower for college graduates than for those who have not completed college. The study also noted that racial differences in underemployment declined as education levels rose, as differences between African Americans’ and Whites’ underemployment rates were cut nearly in half for college graduates. Chronicle of Higher Education | Report

College executives in US “routinely” become involved in admissions decisions

University presidents and trustees in the US will inquire “routinely” into the admission status of individual applicants, according to a new investigation by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Based on a review of 1,950 pages of emails from 13 public universities across the country, the investigation found that powerful university figures will often have conversations with admissions departments about the status of the children of colleagues, personal friends, or business associates. However, the Chronicle adds that such stories outlining the “admissions advantages for the nation’s power elite are nothing new, and individual cases of apparent favoritism are often met with shrugs.” Ultimately, the report suggests that it is up to the public to challenge universities on these preferential practices, and that thus far, that challenge has not come in any large or sustained way. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)