Top Ten

January 26, 2016

One-third of Ontario PhDs working as tenure-track profs, says new study

A new study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has found that one-third of doctoral graduates from Ontario universities hold tenure-track positions somewhere in the world, with half working as professors in Canada. “The results show that PhDs do well, maybe more than the popular conversation imagines,” said study lead Martin Hicks. These findings contrast with a Conference Board study from last year, which found that one in five Canadian PhDs are employed as full-time faculty. Another initiative named Trace is currently working to track the career paths of humanities PhDs from 24 universities over the past decade, with findings to be released this spring. Project leaders hope that the project could spur universities to collect more of this data themselves. “It’s an ethical responsibility to have a picture of where PhD graduates are,” said McGill University’s Paul Yachnin. Globe and Mail

RBC contributes more than $1 M to uManitoba for Indigenous students and communities

The University of Manitoba is the recipient of a $1 M funding commitment from the RBC Foundation that will benefit Indigenous students, northern communities, and those living with mental health issues. RBC will provide $500 K for the Manitoba Online Overcoming Depression (MOOD) Program for technology to improve students’ access to mental health supports. An additional $500 K will go to the Health Sciences Student Travel Initiative in support of medical and dental students who travel to northern communities for hands-on training and experience in northern health issues. RBC is also providing $25 K for Aboriginal Business Education Partners (ABEP) Scholarships, which support Indigenous youth studying business. The funds build on earlier commitments by the province for uManitoba’s Front and Centre campaign. uManitoba

Maine university offers Good Neighbor Grants to NB high school students

In an effort to attract more Canadian students, the University of Maine at Presque Isle is offering Good Neighbor Grants to high school students from six western New Brunswick high schools, allowing them to save approximately $3 K annually on their tuition. Students from these high schools will have their tuition payments in Canadian dollars accepted at par for up to four or eight consecutive semesters, depending on their program. According to UMPI President Linda Schott, the grant is intended to give students more options for affordable education. “We very much hope to see students taking advantage of this new program and look forward to welcoming some of these Canadian neighbors to our campus,” she said. UMPI | CBC

Financial Times ranks five Canadian MBAs in top 100

The Financial Times has released its Global MBA rankings for 2016, and five Canadian programs have placed in the top 100. The University of Toronto’s Rotman program came in at #60, followed by McGill University (#85), Western University (#88), Queen’s University (#93), and UBC (#96). The five programs netted their graduates a salary increase of between 71% and 85% compared to their pre-MBA remuneration. For the first time, the number one spot went to a “one-year” MBA, Insead, which operates campuses in France and Singapore. Harvard and the London Business School rounded out the top three. Financial Times (Story) | Financial Times (Rankings) | Montreal Gazette

uAlberta partners with University of Tromsø and University of the Arctic on MOOC

The University of Alberta has partnered with the University of Tromsø and the University of the Arctic to present a series of MOOCs focused on the geography and climate of the Arctic. Jonathan Schaeffer, dean of the Faculty of Science at uAlberta and the driver behind uAlberta’s participation in the partnership, explains that “If this MOOC can help educate people on the new reality of climate change, we will have done our job.” This partnership follows an announcement from uAlberta made earlier this month that the institution would partner with Parks Canada on a interdisciplinary mountain studies MOOC. uAlberta

CERIC partners with Canada Company to create new resource for military-to-civilian employment transition

The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling has partnered with Canada Company to provide over 100,000 employment professionals with a new resource to help veterans transition into civilian careers. The new text-based resource, titled Military to Civilian Employment: A Career Practitioner's Guide, was produced through a comprehensive consultation process with a number of stakeholders, most notably Veterans themselves and a number of postsecondary institutions. “At CERIC, the projects we support are driven by need,” said CERIC Chair Jan Basso. “For the last few years, we have been hearing that career professionals across Canada are seeing more clients come to them from a military background.” CERIC | Canada Company

YorkU creates new experiential learning hub

York University has announced that it will launch a new centre for experiential learning. The YU Experience Hub will draw on extensive research conducted by YorkU’s Experiential Education Working Group since 2013, and will leverage new and existing partnerships to offer students more opportunities for experiential learning through initiatives such as student partner outreach, job search support for students embarking on internships and co-op work terms, and recruitment support for employers. “Experiential education bridges learning theory and practice by providing students with concrete, applied practical experiences and then helping them reflect on these experiences using the theoretical knowledge they have learned,” said YorkU Associate Vice-President, Teaching and Learning William Gage, “and so it is with great pleasure that we announce the establishment of the YU Experience Hub to support efforts across the University aimed at enhancing and growing experiential education.” YorkU

Grad students need to think like entrepreneurs, not apprentices

“Graduate students need to apply to their career preparation the same entrepreneurial spirit they apply to their academic research,” writes James M Van Wyck for Inside Higher Ed. While he admits that today’s grad students “are an especially vulnerable population within the neoliberal academy,” the author argues that a shift to entrepreneurial thinking does not require as great a leap as some may think, as grad students’ self-motivation and passion for their work already makes them entrepreneurial in many ways. The place where this entrepreneurial drive breaks down, according to Van Wyck, is when grad students begin to think of themselves as apprentices who will be “placed” in a job upon completing their degree, rather than having to forge one for themselves. Inside Higher Ed

Academic journals, market forces can’t tell us what research is valuable

University research in the US often rewards publications over the public good, writes Paul Basken for the Chronicle of Higher Education, but even research more directly geared to market demands often misses the mark as well. This is why Basken believes that the rewards system for university research should be based on a concept of the public good that doesn’t fixate on either academic journals or market forces, but rather attempts to reach consensus on a variety of public goods and work toward them. “Universities and their researchers now face heavy and growing pressure to financially justify their decisions,” Basken adds, “and that can steer them away from choices that can’t be connected to definable profits, grants, or publications with known academic value.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

US students take more risks when studying abroad, study says

US students engage in risker behaviour when they are studying abroad, according to a new study. Such behavior includes using drugs and drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol—11% of students said they “blacked out” from drinking more frequently when they were in a foreign country then when they were back home. The study, a survey of 1,000 current or recent university students who studied abroad within the last two years, was conducted by On Call International, a travel risk management company. The study also found that 11% of students travelling abroad tried an illegal drug for the first time, 29% used drugs abroad, and 32% engaged in a romantic encounter with a stranger. Times Higher Education | Bloomberg | US News & World Report | International Business Times