Top Ten

March 9, 2016

ON to invest $1.25 M in Indigenous education at Mohawk

Ontario has announced that it will invest $1.25 M in Indigenous education at Mohawk College. The investment will reportedly be used to build an Indigenous education plan, share best practices among Aboriginal Education Councils, and aid Mohawk in its commitment to Indigenous students. Housing Minister Ted McMeekin announced that the grant will help address a long-standing failure: “We have not provided the kind of opportunity for our Native brothers and sisters that they need. This will support training up our young people to be the productive citizens we need them to be.” NationTalk | The Spectator | Mohawk

UoGuelph VP reflects on student deaths

“Losing any student is difficult,” says University of Guelph Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Brenda Whiteside. The comment comes in the wake of four UoGuelph student deaths in the past three months, all of which occurred under “tragic circumstances” according to CBC. The article goes on to detail the circumstances surrounding each of the four deaths and the ways that the school's community has responded to them. "I remember my first time when I started this job, the first loss of a student, and thought, 'You know what, it'll get easier,' and it doesn't get easier,” Whiteside told CBC. “These are young, vibrant people." CBC

Students across Canada participate in 5 Days for the Homeless campaign

Students at postsecondary institutions across the country are participating in a 5 Days for the Homeless campaign to raise money and awareness for the homeless. According to The Manitoban, the campaign was founded by the University of Alberta’s school of business in 2005 before catching on at other institutions. For five days, the students are required to skip showers, sleep outdoors, and rely on donations of perishable food for their meals. “The overarching goal is definitely awareness, and full-campus involvement,” said University of Manitoba’s 5 Days for the Homeless Co-chair Myles Dancho, “we’re trying to make every single faculty involved as much as we can, and make every single student aware of what we are doing and that it is benefiting local youths experiencing homelessness.” CBC | 5 Days for the Homeless | Leader Post | 610 CKTB | The Manitoban | Winnipeg Sun

NB student summer jobs outlook unclear despite increased federal funding

Secondary and postsecondary students in New Brunswick are facing uncertainty about work opportunities for this coming summer despite Canada’s commitment to increase funds for student summer jobs, reports CBC. The City of Moncton, for example, has cut its summer student employment offerings by 20% since last year, a reduction that Communications Director Isabelle LeBlanc attributes to reduced need in the city’s operations. "It's about the city adopting the Lean Six Sigma approach and making process changes throughout the corporation to do things more efficiently using the same or less resources," she said. The University of New Brunswick is also reportedly set to reduce its number of student summer positions. CBC

Tuition should be about how students pay, not just how much

While the new Ontario tuition overhaul makes some much-needed changes, writes Andrew Coyne for the National Post, it is still based on several flawed assumptions. Coyne does not agree with the new system’s tendency to tie levels of provincial tuition support to parents’ income, as it is not necessarily true that all parents will automatically support their children financially through PSE. Further, he recommends that ON and other provinces adopt a system in which the government makes an “investment” in students by paying for their PSE, but then benefits from this investment by collecting a percentage of the salaries those students go on to earn. This system, he concludes, would focus on providing assistance to students after they have graduated, which is when most begin to feel the true financial burden of attending PSE. National Post

UQAM faculty hold one-day strike protesting slow negotiations

Professors at the Université du Québec à Montréal held a one-day strike yesterday to protest lagging negotiations, according to the Montreal Gazette. Negotiations reportedly began in April 2014, and the collective agreement expired three years ago. The faculty are allegedly demanding the creation of new faculty positions, higher salaries, and greater support for research. Negotiations have stalled since then, says Le Syndicat des professeurs et professeures de l'Université du Québec à Montréal (SPUQ), despite 57 negotiating sessions, over twenty resolution assemblies, a conciliator intervention, and a petition signed by over 500 professors. CBC | CSN | Montreal Gazette | Radio Canada   

Dal senate to boost number, inclusiveness of student seats

Dalhousie University has begun the process of introducing more student members into its senate, reports Global News. The process will include increasing the number of student seats from seven to 22 and involving more representatives from minority student groups, a move that some have described as the first of its kind in Canada. “This is a first step,” said Dal Student Union Vice-President John Hutton, “now that we have these representatives in the room, we start talking about the issues that actually affect these communities.” Global News

Several benefits to allowing grad students to instruct undergrads, study says

While many institutions are shifting the workload of undergraduate instruction from graduate students to faculty members, new research suggests that there are many benefits in allowing graduate students to instruct undergraduates. According to Inside Higher Ed, the study found that undergraduates were twice as likely to subsequently major in a subject if their first course in that subject was instructed by a graduate student rather than by full-time faculty. The study also found that “graduate students who teach more frequently are more likely to graduate in a timely manner and more likely to subsequently be employed by a college or university in their early careers.” Experts recommended further research into the topic to examine “whether and how the balance” of faculty and graduate student instructors affects educational experiences. Inside Higher Ed | Report

Institutions need to strike balance between respect and open discourse

“While some argue the rise in college protests can be attributed to the fact that marginalized students are finding their voices and demanding better, others see a threat to free speech in these campaigns,” writes Tara García Mathewson for Education Dive. With an eye to recent protests and discussions, Mathewson briefly explores both sides of the debate on free speech and protesting. The author then turns to how postsecondary institutions will now “have to strike a balance between making students feel safe and supported, and allowing room for discourse,” as college campuses become host to a greater number of “underrepresented minorities … adding their lived experiences and perspectives to a range of discussions they have historically been locked out of.” Education Dive

Understanding the “economy of cheating” in US higher ed

“Sometimes we in higher education try to address cheating as a moral problem and sometimes as a pedagogical one,” writes Carol Poster for Inside Higher Ed, but she adds that it is also important to think of cheating as an economic issue. Poster goes on to highlight how more than half of today’s US college students work jobs while attending PSE, and since PSE has not yet adapted to this reality, these students often find that there are not enough hours in the week to achieve the results they want or need. These students, she notes, are more likely to “outsource” their work to various technologies or online resources, regardless of whether doing so constitutes cheating. The only way to fight this trend, she concludes, is to recognize that there is a highly developed “economy of cheating” and to revise testing and pedagogy to help change this underlying economy. Inside Higher Ed