Top Ten

April 21, 2016

Colleges Ontario releases 2016 KPI report

Colleges Ontario has released its 2016 report on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the province’s colleges. The report states that nearly 84% of Ontario’s college graduates go on to find employment within six months of graduation. It also rates ON colleges according to a variety of KPIs, such as employers' satisfaction with graduates, graduates' satisfaction with their employment, and graduates' satisfaction with their overall education. The report found that enrolment in ON’s colleges is at an all-time high, a result that Colleges Ontario President Linda Franklin sees as a sign that “more than ever, students and parents are looking to higher education to open the door to good jobs.” Colleges Ontario | Report

uWaterloo receives $1.1 M to develop “second heart” technology

The University of Waterloo has received a $1.1 M donation from Lockhead Martin to develop a device that can serve as a "second heart" by enhancing blood flow in the lower legs. According to a uWaterloo release, the device’s goal is to “reduce the work required by the heart and cardiac system for people engaging in a sustained period of exercise.” The Record reports that the device could have a significant impact on both highly active and sedentary users, helping the first group engage in longer periods of physical activity with less strain, and helping the second group avoid blood clots from long periods of sitting. The device is currently being developed by uWaterloo’s Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology. The Record | uWaterloo

Flexibility, transfer options make colleges a smart starting point for BC students

“Colleges in BC are not just stepping stones, they offer a way for students to stay closer to home, save money and study in smaller classes, while working toward the same degree they would earn if they went directly to university,” writes Tracy Sherlock for the Vancouver Sun. Students who choose BC colleges benefit particularly from the flexibility of BC’s integrated postsecondary system, which allows students to transfer easily between colleges and universities. According to Andrew Arida, UBC’s director of undergraduate admissions (enrollment services), students who start their PSE in college can potentially “graduate with the same degree in the same amount of time” while achieving similar levels of success as direct-entry university students. Vancouver Sun

Dal students protest tuition fee increase

Students at Dalhousie University gathered outside a board of governors meeting on Tuesday to protest the university’s decision to approve a 3% tuition increase across all programs, reports CBC. The decision came on the same day that the Nova Scotia government tabled its budget for 2016-17, a budget that Students Nova Scotia accused of offering too little support for postsecondary education. The Dal board also approved additional tuition increases for pharmacy, engineering, and agriculture programs. CBC reports that students have protested regularly against fee increases since NS allowed PSE institutions to make a one-time market adjustment for tuition. CBC

Educational games could seriously benefit medical training, says McGill professor

“Serious games” could greatly benefit medical education, according to Jeff Wiseman, Assistant Professor of Medicine at McGill University. Wiseman discusses how educational games can help students prepare for real-world situations by repetitively engaging with problems. The process can also free up institutional resources such as medical simulation centers—which can be costly and time-consuming to run—for more experienced students. “Serious games can be a powerful tool to engage students,” Wiseman adds, though he warns that careless design can be costly, and “may lead to unintended negative learning outcomes such as learning how to win the game rather than learning how to be a better health professional.” McGill

Centennial, donors establish $1.2 M endowment for full-tuition scholarships

Centennial College students in the School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science will have access to new scholarships, thanks to a record-setting donation of $600 K from Paul and Gerri Charette. The funds will be used to help establish a $1.2 M endowment supporting the Paul and Gerri Charette Full-Tuition Scholarship, which will be awarded to students in Centennial’s Architectural Technology and Environmental Technology programs. "It is our responsibility to encourage students on their academic journey,” says Paul Charette, “and we want to ensure capable individuals who are motivated to enter these fields may do so unencumbered by the cost of education.” Centennial

“Focus on people and process, not technology,” says new MIT report on the future of online education

A new report from MIT concludes that the future of online learning will depend on the quality of the people behind the technology, reports Inside Higher Ed. While the report celebrates the benefits of online learning, it notes that this form of learning is best used in a blended format—a combination of online learning and face-to-face interaction with instructors—rather than entirely online. Ultimately, the report predicts that “technology will not replace the unique contributions teachers make to education through their perception, judgment, creativity, expertise, situational awareness, and personality. But it can increase the scale at which they can operate effectively.” Inside Higher Ed | Report

BCcampus to begin province-wide indigenization process for higher ed

BCcampus has announced that beginning this spring, it will facilitate a program to indigenize curriculum and build Indigenous cultural awareness in postsecondary institutions across British Columbia. The organization will undertake this work on behalf of BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education through the new Indigenization of Curriculum and Cultural Awareness training project (ICCAT). The project’s stated goals will include the development of open educational resources that will be “accessible to faculty and staff at all postsecondary institutions so that they can be better prepared to meet the needs of Aboriginal students and communities, and to incorporate Aboriginal content, teaching methods, and other approaches of Indigenization into their educational practices.” BCcampus

Carleton to become Canadian headquarters for Bono’s ONE Campaign

Carleton University has become home to the ONE Campaign, an international advocacy initiative co-founded by U2 singer Bono that is devoted to fighting poverty and preventable disease around the world. ONE Campaign’s Canada Director Stuart Hickox says that the primary purpose of the Carleton office will be to push governments to invest more in overseas development assistance through a number of different advocacy strategies and initiatives. He adds that “Carleton is a testing ground for The ONE Campaign for the whole country. We’re going to try new things here, and learn from our mistakes. Social entrepreneurship and community-building require experimentation.” Carleton

Confronting the “culture of shame” around alt-ac careers

“There continues to be a pervasive silence surrounding the pursuit of alt-ac careers,” writes Erin Clow for University Affairs, and much of this silence can be attributed to the process of shaming that is often directed at PhD students who choose to pursue careers outside the academy. This process does not always come in direct forms, she notes, but can be found in everyday interactions like “the department-wide emails that are sent out to congratulate recent graduates, current students and faculty members on new academic appointments, recent publications or academic prizes.” Clow notes that such praise is rarely shown toward non-academic achievements, but finds hope in the observation that this culture has begun to show signs of changing. University Affairs