Top Ten

February 9, 2016

Acadia President to end term early, due to health concerns

Acadia University President Ray Ivany will end his second term in 2017, two years earlier than planned. In a release, Ivany said, “This is an incredibly powerful educational model, and Acadia deserves its reputation as one of Canada’s best universities. … Leaving Acadia won’t be easy. However, my recent health issues have caused me to reflect deeply on how I need to shape my life in the years to come and I feel that accelerating my retirement date is an appropriate first step.” Board Chair Paul Jewer said, "It’s hard for our board to put into words the gratitude we feel toward Ray for the extraordinary contribution he has made to Acadia."

Acadia | The Chronicle Herald | Global | Kings County News

ON, PEI negotiate PSE agreements with India

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and PEI Premier Wade MacLauchlan have returned from their 10-day trade mission to India and have negotiated new agreements for postsecondary institutions. According to a press release by the Ontario Government, the ON delegation participated in a signing ceremony announcing agreements involving Ryerson University, McMaster University, Sheridan College, Algonquin College, and Seneca College. According to CBC, the University of Prince Edward Island signed MOUs with two Indian universities.

ON | ON (2) | ON (3) | CBC | Times of India

TRU sues donor’s estate, seeking $1.3 M in unpaid funds

Thompson Rivers University has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the estate of donor Irving K Barber. According to the university, Barber promised the university $1.5 M in 2010 for the House of Learning; TRU is seeking the remaining $1.275 M, plus interest and damages. The lawsuit claims that prior to the donation, Barber set up a spousal trust with his wife. However the trustees of a related trust said that Barber was not acting as a representative of the trust, and his pledges died with him. “The estate is unable to fulfil any further obligations under the pledge,” said a statement from the related trust.

The Province | Kamloops This Week | The Omega

Six Nations Polytechnic to offer standalone language degree

Ontario has announced that Six Nations Polytechnic will begin to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ogwehoweh (Cayuga and Mohawk) Languages. The article states that this is the first time in Ontario that it will be possible for an Aboriginal Institute to offer a standalone degree. It is also reportedly the first time that an Ogwehoweh language degree will be offered anywhere in the world by an Indigenous institute established under First Nations authority. “Our government has made a clear commitment to learn from the past, build on our success stories, and increase our efforts to help Indigenous learners get the education and training they need,” said ON Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Reza Moridi.

Brantford Expositor | ON

MB students gather to discuss campus sexual assault, consent

Some 100 students gathered this past weekend in Winnipeg to discuss the “pervasive rape culture” on campuses, including campus sexual assault. Students from the University of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, Brandon University, and Université de Saint-Boniface attended the event that was hosted by the Canadian Federation of Students Manitoba (CFS-MB). “It happens and it happens more often than we think … we need to be believing the stories of survivors. It’s so critical,” said CFS-MB Chair Michael Barkman.

CBC | Winnipeg Sun | CTV News

Algonquin continues plans to open a women’s college in Saudi Arabia

Algonquin College’s board of governors will receive an update on the college’s plan to open a college for women in Jazan, Saudi Arabia, according to the Ottawa Citizen. Algonquin has previously come under fire for operating a male-only college in the region. While their existing campus there has struggled, opening a women’s college could “mitigate risk and create economies of scale,” according to Doug Wotherspoon, Algonquin’s Vice-President, International and Strategic Priorities. It could also make it easier to recruit staff, as both a husband and wife might be able to find employment.

Ottawa Citizen

Eating disorders increasingly common in university students, researcher says

Eating disorders are becoming more common among university students, says Sally Willis-Stewart, Director of the Nutrition Education Centre at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. According to Willis-Stewart, a combination of factors experienced by postsecondary students—such as age, the competitive environment, and uncertainty about one's future—can increase the likelihood that students will develop an eating disorder. “If we look at treatment statistics, they're not that great,” she said, later adding, “we need more research in the area, we need more treatment and help facilities in this area.” She recommends that postsecondary schools educate students on disordered eating behaviours and create a supportive environment for mental health to reduce the problem.


Early evidence suggests students admitted using short film perform better academically

Early evidence from Goucher College, which in 2014 started allowing students to be admitted on the basis of a two-minute video rather than test scores of transcripts, has found that such students performed better academically. According to the college, which is located in Baltimore, the first-semester GPA for video-admitted students was 3.15, compared to 3.11 for all others. However, Inside Higher Ed emphasizes that this evidence comes only from 15 students admitted using this method. Despite this, Goucher President José Antonio Bowen said that he was “very excited,” adding “I do think we’ve discovered a new way to identify talent, and it works.”

Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Goucher

Creating expectations in the classroom can solve hiring problems

The issue with hiring gaps between students and the workplace is not in a lack of hard skills, writes Charlotte Kent for The Chronicle of Higher Education, but rather with “'soft skills,’ such as work ethic, accountability and self-motivation.” She argues that most new-hires have the capacity to learn new techniques through work-related training, but that businesses cannot expect to train and instill qualities such as time-management and work-ethic. She explains that postsecondary institutions are the most workplace-like of institutions that students are likely to be involved in, and so she encourages professors to encourage these soft skills through classroom expectations. “Work ethic, punctuality, and time management should hardly be shocking expectations of a college student. Isn’t it a problem that too often we don’t demand those skills of them?”

Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Improving rates of success in STEM requires a reimagining of the learning experience.

To improve the success rates of non-traditional students in STEM fields, Steven Mintz in Inside Higher Ed recommends a holistic, multifaceted approach that “reimagines every facet of the learning experience, from curriculum designs to pedagogy.” Mintz outlines the elements that this program would require, including putting faculty in a central role in the program, teaching synergistic courses that produce well-rounded professionals, and using multi-level assessment systems to best capture student success. Mintz then examines how this approach has successfully worked at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, an institution that reportedly “serves the poorest and third poorest counties in the United States.”

Inside Higher Ed