Top Ten

January 12, 2016

TRU signs proposals with two Indian universities

Thompson Rivers University has signed proposals with two of India’s largest schools, I K Guraj Punjab Technical University and Chandigarh University. The agreements will allow students to complete the first half of a tourism management or computing science program in India, and the second half on TRU’s Kamloops campus. “In the 21st century, the world has become smaller and smaller and we need to provide students the opportunities to gain global competency while exposing our faculty to international collaboration,” said TRU Associate Vice-President International and CEO Global Operations Baihua Chadwick. “I have no doubt these initiatives will enhance TRU’s academic and professional competitiveness.” TRU

VIU receives funding from Joyce Foundation for Youth In Care tuition waivers

Vancouver Island University has received a $500 K donation from The Joyce Foundation to support its Youth in Care Tuition Waiver program. The funds will be used for ongoing support bursaries for students over the age of 24 in the program. “Young people who age out of care, and find themselves losing the majority of BC government support by age 24 require additional support in the form of bursaries to help them achieve their educational goals,” said VIU President Ralph Nilson. In 2013, VIU became the first PSE institution in BC to begin offering a tuition waiver for youth in care. VIU

Colleges push to make Saudi campuses financially sustainable

Despite both early and recent challenges, Algonquin College and Niagara College have indicated that they will continue their efforts to establish financially sustainable campuses in Saudi Arabia. Algonquin and Niagara opened campuses in the country in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and both have reportedly had to adjust to unpredictable circumstances. Algonquin Vice President, International and Strategic Priorities Doug Wotherspoon told the Ottawa Citizen that the college’s initial efforts were misled by information provided by Saudi Arabia. Instead of receiving the high-caliber applicants it had expected, the school reportedly found that “many students arrived with poor English, sub-standard math, and also lacking basic study skills such as taking notes and using a desktop computer.” After three years, however, Wotherspoon says that things are improving, and that the college is committed to the success of the campus. Ottawa Citizen

Students at WLU’s Brantford campus push for tuition freeze

Students at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus are joining calls for a “fully funded tuition freeze,” according to the Brantford Expositor, arguing that tuition is rising too quickly. “[By] your fourth year, your tuition will have risen almost 10% since your first year. This is faster than inflation, faster than government contributions, and faster than students can afford,” said Laura Bassett, WLU Student Union Vice-President of University of Affairs. Student leaders are calling for the government to increase its contribution to universities while decreasing the contribution from students, keeping overall funding levels the same. “We’re asking for a time out on unfair cost-sharing, a time out on mounting debt, and a time out on tuition hikes,” said Bassett. Brantford Expositor

The challenges, opportunities of "exporting" Canadian education

With the 2015 opening of its campus in Casablanca, Quebec’s LaSalle College and the LCI Education Network now have 22 campuses spread across 12 countries. Officials from the institution are quick to note both the challenges and successes of such a decentralized network of schools. A primary goal, according to LCI President Claude Marchand, is ensuring that a campus meets quality standards that will allow students to pursue a world-class education while also attaining a diploma that is approved and recognized in their local region. Another significant priority is building a reputation, adds Marchand, as “the challenge with opening so many schools abroad is that we basically need to rebuild a new reputation each time.” Exportwise

More than 2,200 students register for Mi’kmaq history course at CBU

A new course on Mi’kmaq history, offered both online and in-class at Cape Breton University, has surpassed more than 2,200 registered students, and is still growing. The course launched yesterday evening, and covers a range of topics, including the Mi’kmaq creation story, oral history, and traditions, as well as the legacies of residential schools and the impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. If all goes well with this course, according to instructor Stephen Augustine, it will become mandatory for all CBU students, regardless of program. Though courses on Mi’kmaq history and culture have been offered at the university for decades, this one is designed specifically with the recommendations of the TRC in mind. Chronicle Herald

Universities must prepare students for globalized world, says THE Most Innovative Teacher of 2015

Momodou Sallah, a lecturer in youth, community, and education at De Montfort University (UK), emphasizes the importance of preparing students for a globalized world and the impact that global experience can have on an individual's outlook and success. Sallah was named Most Innovative Teacher of the Year by Times Higher Education for taking a group of undergraduates studying youth and community development to the Gambia twice a year to gain first-hand experience. “We live in an increasingly globalized world and there is competition for our graduates to be globally competent and literate,” Sallah said. “Whether universities like it or not, we need to produce graduates who have got this knowledge and attitude, and it is only a matter of time before more and more universities are forced to do it.” Times Higher Education

Tracking, responding to student engagement in international MOOCs

When tracking the engagement of students enrolled in international MOOCs, it is not enough to determine what proportion of students come from specific countries, writes a contributor for the Chronicle of Higher Education. When one investigates how student engagement can vary by gender between different countries, for example, this information might provide instructors crucial insight into how they can achieve higher quality and more equitable learning outcomes for an entire cohort. Student motives for taking a MOOC can also vary significantly, and these variations can sometimes show patterns that MOOC designers and instructors can use to guide the development of future courses. The contributor concludes, “I love teaching in the MOOC realm—it has advantages and possibilities that just aren’t there in other forms of teaching—but what we’ve seen in this work helps us understand that we’ve got a long way to go yet in terms of making a MOOC work for everyone around the world.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Adjuncts deserve a “living wage,” writes IHE contributor

John Warner, writing for Inside Higher Ed, imagines what would happen if every adjunct and contingent faculty member suddenly refused the courses they were offered. Half of the courses in a typical English department at a large US state university would be unfilled, creating pressure on departmental budgets that depend on the revenue from these courses to finance small seminars. “Currently, the only thing that allows some of these courses to continue is that they are taught by faculty who, in too many cases, are making less than a living wage,” Warner writes. He concludes that “without these faculty, there are institutions that would not reach the bare minimum threshold to be considered functioning,” and that therefore, the instructors deserve to be paid a living wage. Inside Higher Ed

Inequality in UK higher ed access greater than previously thought

The gulf between the privileged and underprivileged in university entry rates in the UK is wider than previously thought, and according to a new government analysis, all progress in closing it has stalled. The report shows that those students identified as “the most privileged” may be three times more likely to attend higher education than those identified as the “least privileged,” in contrast to the 2.5 times suggested by previous figures. One vital gap addressed by the new research is the fact that prior numbers had not given significant attention to gender or ethnicity. According to the study, 45% of the most privileged group were enrolled in university, compared to 14% of the least privileged group. Times Higher Education | Report