Top Ten

February 3, 2016

uSherbrooke receives $2.5 M for entrepreneurial accelerator and responsible finance chair

The Université de Sherbrooke has received a $2.5 M donation from the Desjardins Group. The funds will be used to create the Desjardins accelerator for entrepreneurial practices, reportedly the first of its kind in Quebec. “Today’s announcement regarding projects with direct and positive impacts shows that [we are] willing to anticipate tomorrow's challenges and address the issues that are critical to our community's economic development,” said fundraising campaign chair Normand Legault. The funds will also go to establish the Desjardins chair in responsible finance, who will seek to understand the “social and environmental impact of financial decisions” according to François Coderre, Dean of the Faculty of Administration. uSherbrooke (English) | uSherbrooke (French)

uWaterloo students, faculty call on university to divest from fossil fuels

Students and faculty at the University of Waterloo are calling upon their institution to divest from fossil fuels. The student group Fossil Free UW has put forward a motion calling on the school to discontinue endowment and pension investments in 200 fossil fuel companies from around the world. “It’s their money and they feel they should have some say in how our money is invested,” Fossil Free UW organizer Yonatan Strauch told CBC. Meanwhile, a letter signed by 63 faculty members from across the university also calls on the board of governors to “embrace its moral and fiduciary duty and divest itself of fossil fuels.” CBC

QC to impose further cuts on PSE, allow increase in international tuition rates

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has informed the province’s university rectors that they can expect more funding cuts in 2016-17, reports La Presse. To help offset the revenue lost from these cuts, however, Couillard has also indicated that he will allow the universities to raise tuition rates for international students. According to the newspaper’s sources, Quebec universities could be permitted to increase these rates by as much as 25%, with the maximum increase being between $3K and $4K per full-time student. A full increase on behalf of all universities would raise an estimated $30 M per year in additional revenue, according to La Presse. La Presse

Canadian PSE should learn from world’s most competitive country

The World Economic Forum has declared for the seventh year in a row that Switzerland has the most competitive economy in the world, write Mark Robbins and Cameron MacLaine for the Conference Board of Canada. The authors go on to argue that Canada can learn a lot from what has made this economy so successful. To begin, they acknowledge that Canada and Switzerland share many significant traits, including a strategic focus on higher education. Yet unlike Canada, Switzerland matches its focus on higher education with an equally strong focus on vocational training through its rigorous apprenticeship system. The article explores specific policy moves that Canada could use to emulate Switzerland’s success while maintaining—and even bolstering—its traditional commitment to higher education. Conference Board

K-12, PSE more alike than different

Although K-12 education and PSE operate on different funding and accreditation models, both can only be effective when they have a clear idea of their intended learning outcomes, writes Pearson Canada’s Vice-President, Efficacy Tania Sterling. The author notes that years of performing efficacy reviews with external educational leaders and researchers has taught her that “there is an important difference between learner and learning outcomes,” the most notable being that “the latter are statements that are often found in curriculum documents about what has been learned. A learner outcome is far more expansive—it is the way a human life is transformed by an educational experience.” HEQCO

BC targets additional $90 M in PSE funding for in-demand occupations

British Columbia has announced an additional $90 M in PSE funding to be targeted for in-demand occupations for 2015-16. Targeted operating grants now make up some 17% of total funding, with the goal to reach 25% by 2017-18. “Our government has a comprehensive strategy that is shifting how postsecondary education and training is funded in British Columbia,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “Aligning funding to targeted programming will help meet the need for in-demand jobs in a diverse range of sectors including technology that support our provincial economy.” BC

uAlberta launches UAlberta North to focus on northern research, education

The University of Alberta is launching UAlberta North, an initiative that will reportedly replace the Canadian Circumpolar Institute. Though it will not formally be a research institute, the unit will “facilitate research and build profile for that work,” according to director Roger Epp. The office will both facilitate large-scale collaborations and serve as an information hub to assist students studying in the North. “On several fronts, the U of A is leading the nation and world in northern research, in teaching and in building lasting partnerships into northern communities,” said uAlberta President David Turpin. “UAlberta North is the next chapter in that proud history.” uAlberta

US colleges too paranoid when it comes to data

US institutions of higher education are too paranoid when it comes to interpreting and enforcing federal data laws, writes Michael Feldstein for the Chronicle of Higher Education. While the Civil Rights Movement once gave students the right to protest and engage in free speech on campuses, the author notes that when it comes to data, “colleges are still making decisions on behalf of the students, whether those students want it or not.” This approach can often be found in cases where students might want to share certain data to increase learning opportunities in the classroom, which causes Feldstein to ask, “wouldn’t we serve students better by letting them make their own decisions and, in doing so, create teachable moments in digital literacy that we deny them whenever we decide for them?” Chronicle of Higher Education

Five qualities of leadership to be learned from student leaders

There are five “gifts” of leadership that can be learned from student leaders, writes Claire Taylor for Times Higher Education. Reflecting on a personal conversation with a student group president, Taylor outlines how others in leadership and management positions could learn key qualities from student leaders, namely their naïve enthusiasm, dynamic flexibility, authenticity stemming from passion, practicality coupled with a low tolerance for industry jargon, and capacity to have fun while working hard. “Our student leaders can teach us much; but often we are not prepared to recognize that fact,” writes Taylor, later adding, “I encourage all of us in leadership and management positions to pause, step back and consider what we might learn from our student leaders.” Times Higher Education