Top Ten

January 13, 2016

Scotiabank gives $2.2 M to create new analytics centre at Queen’s Smith School of Business

Scotiabank announced yesterday that it will donate $2.2 M to create the Scotiabank Centre for Customer Analytics at Queen's University's Smith School of Business. The new centre will be designed to help professors and students from Queen’s work closely with Scotiabank personnel to perform applied research in customer analytics. "Our customers expect simple, seamless and personalized services; and data and analytics are key to making this possible," said Michael Zerbs, Executive Vice President at Scotiabank. "At Scotiabank, we know that partnerships, such as this one with Queen's, are essential for driving success and evolving with our customers' expectations." Scotiabank

$30 M promise to uManitoba may hinge on election outcome

Manitoba has announced that $30 M of its $150 M provincial contribution to the University of Manitoba’s Front and Centre campaign will target Indigenous achievement, research excellence, and the student experience. $5 M will go to an Indigenous Success Fund, providing scholarships and bursaries, as well as mentorship and outreach programs. A further $5 M will go to undergraduate scholarships and bursaries. However, the Winnipeg Free Press notes that the university will only receive the $30 M if the party that wins the April 19th provincial election approves Premier Greg Selinger’s pledge. Selinger told the paper that the NDP has promised to pay its full pledge over seven years, but that “every budget, every year, has to be passed by whatever government.” Winnipeg Free Press | Winnipeg Sun | Metro News | MB

uAlberta forges partnership with Parks Canada on world's first mountain studies MOOC

The University of Alberta, in partnership with Parks Canada and the Alpine Club of Canada, will offer what is reportedly the world’s first MOOC in interdisciplinary mountain studies. The course will consist of “a highly interactive series of 12 video chapters” focusing on a variety of themes that will include quizzes, tests, and exercises throughout the chapters. The MOOC will be made available at a fee for university credit, or for free online. Executive Director of mountain parks for Parks Canada, Pat Thomsen explains: “Using real-life examples from Parks Canada, this MOOC provides participants, whether at home, school or work, with a valuable opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the parks’ mountain environments.” uAlberta | Edmonton Journal

Learning outcomes need to be intentional, practiced, writes Queen’s Associate Vice Provost

An undergraduate experience offers many valuable learning outcomes, yet students can benefit more from these outcomes when they are clearly stated and practiced, writes Queen’s University’s Peter Wolf for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Looking back on his own experience as an undergraduate, Wolf argues that “though I certainly needed to create my own meaning of my undergraduate experience, knowing and practicing what was intended would have furthered my ability to make sense of the many seemingly disparate learning experiences that were part of my postsecondary education.” HEQCO

CICan highlights “sixteen things to watch” in 2015

Colleges and Institutes Canada has released a list of 16 trends and topics it will follow closely in 2016. Notable entries include the integration of Syrian refugees into Canada’s colleges and institutes, infrastructure spending, collaboration across the postsecondary continuum, and helping Canadian students pursue opportunities to study abroad. Another significant trend for CICan is the growth in applied research in Canada’s colleges and institutes. This trend is closely linked to these institutions’ ongoing efforts to establish and grow business incubators and to help Canada’s small to medium-sized enterprises stimulate economic growth and innovation. CICan

Langara receives new name, meaning “house of teachings” in Musqueam language

Langara College has received a new name, conferred upon it by the Musqueam First Nation Elders. The new name is snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ (pronounced sno-WAY-ith LAY-lum), meaning “house of teachings” in the Musqueam language. The school will keep its current name as well, using both names interchangeably. “What we’re looking for with this is making sure the duality we share is recognized,” said Langara President Lane Trotter. “We are on Musqueam’s unceded territory. We are Musqueam’s college. We are Vancouver’s college. And we need to reflect that.” Trotter also told CBC that over the next few months, the college will be making new investments in Aboriginal education and services. CBC

Today’s youth have it harder than their parents, says UBC prof

It’s harder for young people to get ahead today than it was for their parents, according to new research by UBC’s Paul Kershaw. Young people face pressure from two sides: housing prices, mortgages, and child care are more expensive, while wages are lower, meaning that young people must work more hours to maintain the same purchasing power as their parents. “Hard work doesn’t pay off like it did in the past,” said Kershaw. “The major costs of living are skyrocketing while our income is declining. And housing is at the centre of a dramatic deterioration of the standard of living in younger Canadians.” Kershaw argues that there are a number of possible solutions, including more dense and varied housing in urban centres and “taxing wealth” rather than property. CTV News

"Third stream" activities not a priority for scholars, UK study says

Contrary to the claims of many university mission statements, most UK lecturers either view "third stream" activities as a hindrance to their careers or do not know about them. These findings come from a recent study by researchers at the University of Sunderland, which describes third stream activities as those which engage businesses and communities in projects such as commercializing research, licensing innovations, and providing consultancy services. Opinions on these activities varied from a vice-chancellor who saw them as “more important than ever” to a lecturer who was not sure if third stream activities had “a role within our faculty.” Times Higher Education | Report

Student evaluations measure gender bias, grade expectations better than teaching effectiveness

According to a newly published study, student evaluations of teaching (SETs) are actually better at gauging the gender bias and grade expectations of students than they are at measuring teaching effectiveness. The study follows on earlier work to analyze some 23,000 evaluations from over 4,000 students of nearly 400 instructors. The study’s findings held over two different universities and across a broad range of topics. They found that the bias against female instructors could be strong enough to cause them to receive lower SET scores than less-effective male instructors. The study concludes that the onus should be placed upon universities to show that relying on SET for employment decisions does not have a disparate impact on women or underrepresented minorities, and if they cannot, “SET should not be used for personnel decisions.” Inside Higher Ed

The US student loan crisis is worse than you think

However bad you might think the US student loan crisis is, it is probably even worse, writes Mark Kantrowitz for TIME. Excessive student debt has caused a growing percentage of American graduates to delay life decisions such as getting married or starting a family, and has also led an increasing number to work undesirable part-time jobs for more hours than they wish. Kantrowitz argues that a main driver of this steep rise in debt is “because government grants and support for postsecondary education have failed to keep pace with increases in college costs. This has shifted much of the burden of paying for college from the federal and state governments to families. The government no longer carries its fair share of college costs, even though it gets a big increase in income tax revenue from college graduates.” TIME