Top Ten

January 25, 2016

Canada announces $6 M research funding for colleges

Canada has provided nearly $6 M to support colleges and polytechnics via the Community and College Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF). The funding will be used to research a variety of social issues, including community safety, poverty, and local economic development. “These investments will advance meaningful, creative solutions to pressing social challenges that will bring real change to communities across Canada,” said SSHRC President Ted Hewitt. Colleges and Institutes Canada President Denise Amyot added, “We are thrilled to see the federal government’s support for these initiatives that allow community organizations to tap into the talent, facilities, and capabilities of Canada’s colleges and institutes." SSHRC | CICan

uRegina economic impact exceeds $500 M

The economic impact of the University of Regina is estimated at $408 M for the city and $542 M for the province, according to a study prepared by Economic Development Regina Inc. “Our key priorities are to promote student success, produce research that has impact, and to serve our diverse communities,” said uRegina President Vianne Timmons. “This study shows that the economic impact of these activities is significant, leading to more than half a billion dollars in economic activity, lower unemployment rates, greater earnings, and a more productive and innovative economy.” Regina Leader-Post | Global News | uRegina

SFU helps create, appoint $2.5 M research chair in First Nations heart health

Simon Fraser University, St Paul’s Hospital, and the First Nations Health Authority have appointed Jeff Reading as the inaugural First Nations Health Authority Chair in Heart Health and Wellness. The $2.5 M Chair is reportedly the first of its kind in Western Canada, and is devoted to the pursuit of “research and education to develop a cardiac health program tailored to the needs of First Nations people.” Reading, a Mohawk from the Tyendinaga First Nation in Ontario, lost his father to a heart attack. Following his appointment, he told reporters, “it’s tragic that my dad’s life had to end the way it did. There are things my father could have done better to manage his own heart disease, but it’s a question of providing people with the knowledge and the tools so that they can actually improve their health and wellbeing.” Metro | SFU (Chair Announcement) | SFU (Reading Appointment)

Lower Canadian dollar may attract US applicants to Canadian Schools

With the Canadian Dollar currently near the 70 cent USD mark, Canadian schools may earn increased attention from prospective students from the US this year. With the Canadian dollar at its current value, the Globe and Mail predicts that undergraduates from the US would save, on average, about $7,000 by attending school in Canada. This could increase competition for Canadian applicants. There is already an increased number of Americans applying to institutions such as McGill University, according to McGill registrar Kathleen Massey. “We’re looking for the academically strongest students from across the world,” says Massey, “so if there are excellent students from the U.S., we would love to see them admitted to McGill, provided that we have space.” Globe and Mail (CP)

Aboriginal graduation gap in MB has widened, says new report

A recent report by Manitoba Auditor General Norm Ricard has investigated the changes in the Aboriginal education gap in the province and found that rather than closing, the gap has widened. Despite a plan in 2004 to close the graduation rate gap, about 55% of Aboriginal students graduate high school on time, as opposed to 96% of non-Aboriginal high school students. The report recommends that the Department of Education and Advanced Learning “provide more leadership in guiding and coordinating the efforts of its partner departments and the school divisions,” and outlines potential recommendations to the planning, monitoring, and reporting process used in the department. The report also recommends strengthening the financial and human resources currently in place for Aboriginal education. Winnipeg Free Press | MB Auditor General

Universities must prepare students for multiple careers, longer work life, says McGill president

Universities will have to start preparing students for many different careers over a longer working life if they wish to combat global inequality, says McGill University President Suzanne Fortier. “It brings us back to the central mission of the university,” she says, “how to think, how to make leaps in knowledge, how to have imagination and rigour.” Fortier is reportedly the only Canadian University president who attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this past week. She notes that based on global economic trends, “it’s quite clear that for people in university today they will have four, five, seven jobs in front of them. It’s constant reinvention of themselves and we need to prepare them for that world. They will have a longer period of work and they will have to change.” Globe and Mail

MUN sees 8% increase in grad school applications

Memorial University has received nearly 8% more applications to graduate programs over last year, despite an impending increase in tuition. “We were wondering if [the tuition increase] would make an impact or not and it obviously hasn’t. I think it goes back to the complexity of why graduate students make the decisions they make,” said MUN Dean of Graduate Studies Faye Murrin. She pointed out that MUN’s fees are still the lowest in the country outside Quebec, and suggested that the increase could be due to expanding programs and a weakening economy. CBC

uWindsor opens international student centre

The University of Windsor has opened its new Centre for English Language Development, which will serve as a “welcoming portal” for international students aiming to improve their English proficiency. “This is a new home for our English training programs,” said uWindsor President Alan Wildeman. “Those are programs that attract students from all around the world as a first step toward becoming a student at the university. We have students from more than 50 countries that come and study English here.” Windsor Star

Inside Higher Ed releases 2016 Survey of Chief Academic Officers

Provosts across the US are concerned about the future of liberal arts education and general education altogether, according to Inside Higher Ed’s 2016 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers. The Gallup-conducted survey received responses from 539 provosts or chief academic officers, and the results also revealed that these leaders have widespread doubts about operating budgets and the ability for institutions to preserve academic integrity in the face of tightening constraints. On student-facing issues such as trigger warnings, leadership remained divided. By contrast, an Academica StudentVu survey performed last year showed that students were generally in favour of trigger warnings. Inside Higher Ed | Report

More US companies securing higher ed discounts for employees

Some US companies are beginning to strike deals with PSE providers in order to secure discounted tuition on distance education for their employees, writes Goldie Blumenstyk for the Chronicle of Higher Education. A recent example of this tactic can be found in Starbucks offering its baristas a discount on Arizona State University’s online courses. However, the author notes that PSE institutions do not traditionally measure what it costs them to acquire each new student, and signing deals of this type will very quickly force them to do so. Under the current model, says Ranku CEO Kim Taylor, schools “have no idea of that cost … no one measures it." Once these calculations have been made, the article concludes, universities will have a much better idea of whether they should continue pursuing this strategy. Chronicle of Higher Education