Top Ten

January 21, 2016

MB commits $65 M to ACC for building redevelopment

Manitoba has announced that it will commit up to $65 M to Assiniboine Community College for the redevelopment of its Parkland Building in the North Hill campus. The estimated total cost of the redevelopment is $94.1 M, of which the province will cover up to two-thirds. The Parkland Building is 103 years old, and will become the home to a new Centre for Health, Energy, and Environment. “This investment will better position us to serve learners, employers, and communities and contribute to the economic development of Manitoba,” said ACC President Mark Frison. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press | MB

Trudeau applauds uWaterloo’s entrepreneurship, diversity in Davos

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed government and business stakeholders at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland yesterday, and praised the University of Waterloo as an important driver for Canada’s economic future. During his speech, Trudeau explicitly distanced himself from the previous government’s emphasis on natural resources. Instead, he highlighted Canada’s ability to thrive in the rapidly changing world of technological innovation, praising the University of Waterloo both for its diversity and for the success its graduates have found in tech hubs like Silicon Valley. The university "has high intellectual standards,” he said, "and it values entrepreneurship. But diversity is its indispensable ingredient. Waterloo's students come from everywhere. Fully half the graduate engineering students are international." CBC | Windsor Star (CP) | The Record

Trent to offer new Indigenous Bachelor of Education Program

A new Indigenous Bachelor of Education degree program will reportedly be offered at Trent University next fall. The program, designed partially in response to the TRC's Final Report, will offer programming that includes a language course in Ojibwa and a math course related to Indigenous culture. Graduates of the program will be able to teach at all grade levels. “We need to increase the actual number of Indigenous teachers in Ontario schools so that students see those role models and students see that they too can become a teacher,” said Cathy Bruce, Interim Dean of Education at Trent. She added that “if this program grows as we hope and believe it will, we can hire more Aboriginal instructors.” Globe and Mail (CP)

Addressing the gaps in Canada’s education lifecycle

The journey through Canada’s education system is very different for children born into the bottom 10% and top 10% of Canada’s family income bracket, writes a team of contributors for Drawing on a number of reports from Statistics Canada, the article goes on to describe the countless advantages and disadvantages that respectively face the top and bottom 10% at various stages in the education lifecycle, from early childhood care all the way through the end of PSE. The article devotes particular attention to showing how certain disadvantages are especially pronounced for Canada’s First Nations communities, and it concludes with a discussion of the concrete steps Canada can take to close the opportunity gap between the privileged and the underprivileged.

uSask increases support for Indigenous engineering students

The University of Saskatchewan has announced a partnership with the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc to support Indigenous engineering students through summer work placements and tuition assistance. After a successful pilot involving two students, the agreement between the company and the college was formalized on Tuesday. “This partnership with the College of Engineering is particularly exciting as it will help us support and mentor Aboriginal engineering students, who are needed by our industry and our province,” said Potash Corporation President Mark Fracchia. Saskatoon StarPhoenix | Global News | | uSask

Conference Board finds uOttawa has multi-billion dollar impact

The Conference Board of Canada has released an extensive report on the impact of the University of Ottawa on the Ottawa-Gatineau region, the province, and beyond. “The university has become an innovation leader,” the report concludes, because it has been “setting high standards for itself, identifying lofty goals, and has been making deliberate and considerable investments in its research and development.” The report finds that the university’s overall economic impact is between $6.8 B and $7.4 B annually. Conference Board

PSE formerly a bastion of secure work, now seeing more contract profs

Universities are becoming the “Walmart” of higher education, according to Elena Basile, a lecturer at both the University of Toronto and York University. She says that this is a result of the fact that they provide little job security to professors like her, while also paying wages that put them barely above the poverty line. CBC spoke with Basile as part of its series on “just-in-time jobs,” chronicling the rise of precarious work across many sectors. This precariousness has a toll: Basile suspects that her diabetes diagnosis was brought on by the stress of the work. While she admits that she finds the work “nurturing” and that she doesn’t need to be “paid $100,000,” she insists that she must “be paid enough to have a sense that" she can live on her work. CBC

Who’s to blame for “corporatizing” Canadian universities?

Various groups have tried to blame administrators for the “corporatization” of Canadian universities in the past few decades, writes Jamie Brownlee for Academic Matters, but much of the blame lies with provincial and federal governments. While Brownlee admits that governments have faced growing resource constraints, the author notes that they have also pursued a strategy that intentionally makes universities more dependent on private sector support. As Brownlee puts it, “the logic is simple: once underfunding has undermined the integrity and functionality of a public system, corporations and market-oriented bureaucrats are invited to come in and reinvigorate these ‘failing’ institutions through restructuring or privatization.” Academic Matters

US colleges see new push to value “selfless behaviour” more heavily in admissions

While many US colleges already consider applicants’ extracurricular activities in the admissions process, some are taking further steps to reward “altruistic pursuits,” writes Eric Hoover for the Chronicle of Higher Education. A new campaign called "Turning the Tide" has already produced a report outlining how present-day colleges “have fueled a potentially harmful fixation on academic achievement” at the expense of caring for others. So far, more than 80 admissions officials from major US institutions have endorsed the campaign, yet critics claim that the initiative is little more than “a crusade to attack the ills of humanity” that exaggerates the self-absorption of today’s students. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Some US colleges may need more efficient management to survive

Colleges that fail to become more appealing to students and parents may face closure or a merger, warned scholars at a recent college finance conference. Political Science Professor and former President at Guilford College Kent John Chabotar explains that institutions with rural locations, low enrolment, small endowments, or an overreliance on tuition are especially at risk. The article discusses the importance of an institution's  public image, especially when it has a high sticker price, or the influence of a school’s academic program offerings. Reforms at Temple University, which include the hiring of more tenure-track professors and the reimbursing of students who pledge not to work more than 15 hours a week, are used as examples of possible changes. Hechinger Report