Top Ten

February 10, 2016

Ontario colleges launch TV ad focusing on grad outcomes

Colleges Ontario has launched a new television ad, called “Higher Education for a New World,” this week. The ad focuses on the success of graduates in a variety of career fields, including business, health care, and digital animation. “More than ever, parents and students are looking at postsecondary education to provide students with the professional qualifications and skills that lead to successful careers,” said Colleges Ontario President Linda Franklin. “It’s essential that we raise awareness of how college education opens doors to a wide range of career opportunities.” Colleges Ontario | Advertisement (YouTube)

Canada announces 305 Canada Research Chairs, with $619 M total funding

Canada has announced that 305 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs have been appointed at 53 different postsecondary institutions. Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced $260 M to cover the costs of the chairs, as well as $342 M for indirect research costs and $17 M for infrastructure support. “The Government of Canada is proud to support these elite researchers who improve our depth of knowledge, strengthen Canada's international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of our highly skilled workforce,” said Duncan. Canada | Recipient List

Nipissing closes Muskoka campus, required to “consider downsizing”

Nipissing University has announced that it will close its Muskoka campus in Bracebridge by June 30 of this year—all academic programs and support will be transferred to the North Bay campus for the 2016–17 academic year. “We realize that this is a difficult decision for students and families, as well our staff and the Bracebridge community. Enrolment dropped more quickly than anticipated, and the university was concerned about the quality of the student experience for the remaining students,” said Muskoka Dean Rick Vanderlee. In separate but related news, the Globe and Mail is reporting that an independent audit of the university, ordered by the province, requires the university to "consider cutting courses and faculty, selling off real estate assets, and improving its financial controls and processes.” Nipissing | Bracebridge Examiner | CTV | | Globe and Mail 

uAlberta releases report with 46 recommendations to improve prevention, education, response to sexual assault

The University of Alberta has received and released a review by the University of Alberta Sexual Violence Review Group of the university's prevention, education, and response to sexual assault. The review makes 46 recommendations to the university in areas such as education/prevention, support, formal complaints, policy, communications, and tracking and statistical reporting. “Though [this review] shows we have many robust supports and services already in place to help survivors of sexual assault, there is still more to be done, and each one of us has a role to play in addressing this important issue,” says uAlberta Provost Steven Dew. uAlberta | CBC | Edmonton Journal | Global News

Students lobby federal government to repurpose $3.3 B for free PSE

The Canadian Federation of Students are lobbying the federal government for a reported $3.3 B annually to be repurposed for fully funding postsecondary education. The group has used approximately 200 meetings with the government to argue for a federal postsecondary education bill that would transfer the funds from programs, such as the registered education savings plan, to the provinces to pay for postsecondary education. Postsecondary education should be funded in the same way as healthcare, states CFS National Chairperson Bilan Arte, since it is an essential expense that would help those who “don’t have the funds today to start saving.” CBC (CP)

Carleton postdocs vote 93% in favour of strike mandate

Postdoctoral research fellows at Carleton University have voted 93% in favour of a strike mandate, according to the Canadian Association of University Teachers. The Carleton University Postdoctoral Association has been in negotiations for its first collective agreement since April 2014, and the two parties will be mediation later this week. CUPA states in an online petition that it is negotiating for benefits equitable to those held by full-time Carleton employees and wage increases that match the cost of living. Carleton  explained its position in a news release last week, stating that CUPA “is demanding annual percentage increases that exceed those of any other academic employee group on campus.” CAUT | Carleton University  | Petition

Canadian postsecondary schools, students, suffer from institutional racism

“Students know firsthand what Canadian research tells us … that Canadian universities remain predominantly white and male,” writes UBC professor Annette Henry for University Affairs. Henry outlines how “institutional racism promotes distorted contours of various disciplines, limits students’ capacity for knowledge production and, in some subject areas, gives an erroneous view of the range of human possibilities, including what is means to be Canadian.” In order to dismantle this racism, she recommends increasing the recruitment and retention of “faculty and administrators of colour,” and encourages others to “think seriously about what we teach, how we teach, and whose research is present, and how we convey justice and equity in our everyday acts.” University Affairs

Universities making progress in helping students with invisible disabilities

In the last thirty years, immense progress has been made towards understanding, accepting, and supporting postsecondary students that live with invisible disabilities, writes Cathy Gulli of Maclean’s. Various studies have raised awareness of how prevalent these issues are, and have lead to disability or accessibility services offices becoming commonplace on Canadian campuses. While Gulli asserts that “schools are still figuring out what, exactly, best practices look like, and how to implement them,” she highlights the “precedent-setting resolution between York University, Navi Dhanota, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the mental health accommodations project conducted by Queen's University and St Lawrence College as examples of “ever-evolving balancing act in higher education” to assure quality education while eliminating barriers for students. Maclean’s

uRegina, Great Plains, Swift Current sign MOU

The University of Regina, Great Plains College, and the City of Swift Current have signed an MOU committing to ongoing partnerships in PSE, employment, and research. The agreement continues current partnerships, including the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Social Work degrees offered together by the two institutions in Swift Current. “This agreement extends and provides a basis to build on our ongoing commitment to foster education, research and employment opportunities in Swift Current and the surrounding region,” said uRegina President Timmons. Southwest Booster | Prairie Post | Great Plains | uRegina

Student aid, not faculty salaries or cut backs, drive US tuition higher

US tuition keeps rising not because of increasing faculty salaries or state cutbacks, but rather due to the ready availability of federal student aid, according to a new study. The steady rise in the availability of new aid has not decreased what students pay, they contend; rather, colleges raise prices even more, knowing financial aid will make up the difference. “You’ve got to somehow tie aid to lowered tuition if you want to give money to students,” said study co-author Grey Gordon. The study’s findings, and its model for explaining tuition growth are contentious, however. Economics professor David Feldman told Inside Higher Ed, “[this study] is an atom bomb mathematical technique on a problem that requires much more nuance.” Inside Higher Ed | Full Study