Top Ten

May 5, 2016

QC to propose action plan that will determine university leaders’ salaries

Quebec is moving to take control over university leaders’ salaries and benefits, reports Ellie Bothwell of Times Higher Education. Hélène David, the former head of the Université de Montréal who is spearheading the move, hopes to file an action plan by early fall that will “harmonize” the conditions of presidential wages, as well as presidential benefits such as a company car, and improve the predictability of wage changes. While the QC government currently determines these conditions for the leaders within the Université de Québec network, this measure would affect other provincial institutions such as McGill University, Université de Montréal, Concordia University, Université Laval, and Université de Sherbrooke. Times Higher Education | La Presse

Why an MBA program’s culture might matter more than its ranking

It can be easy for aspiring MBA students to get caught up in a school’s postgrad job placement numbers or its international rankings, writes Aubrey Chapnick for the Globe and Mail, but the culture of a program is perhaps more important for an individual’s happiness and long-term success. Chapnick admits that culture can be a difficult thing for MBA applicants to gauge before enrolling in a given program, so he offers five key questions to ask when sizing one up. These questions force applicants to consider their comfort with various levels of competitiveness, their personal ambitions, and the guiding values of the school they are thinking of applying to. Ultimately, Chapnick argues that questions like these can help MBA applicants choose the program that will make them both successful and fulfilled. Globe and Mail

Dal-based network receives $1.2 M funding renewal to support vulnerable children, youth

A national knowledge mobilization network based at Dalhousie University has received $1.2 M in renewed funding to help improve the lives of Canada’s vulnerable children and youth. The Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts network supports the creation of knowledge and sharing of best practices to support those who work to improve the lives of vulnerable children and youth. The funding will come through the federal government’s National Centres of Excellence Award. “The support for networks such as CYCC demonstrates our government’s commitment to initiatives that get research knowledge into the hands of those who can put it into practice,” said Halifax MP Andy Fillmore. Dal

Four must-know lessons for aspiring administrators

Moving into an administrative role in higher ed can include a number of significant adjustments, writes Kevin Gannon for Chronicle Vitae, and new administrators can benefit from learning four key lessons when making these adjustments. The first is knowing that not every disagreement is “a call to arms.” The second is knowing when and how to defend colleagues against bullying and discrimination; the third is being willing to ask for help; and the fourth is not letting the small annoyances of daily life distract you from high-level goals. Gannon concludes that with these lessons in mind, “you’ll find that balance and perspective coupled with a commitment to keep learning will serve you well.” Chronicle Vitae

Laval dean says QC universities should pick and choose among educational program offerings

In light of provincial funding regulations and declining admissions, Québec universities need to reconsider their educational program offerings, says Université Laval Faculty of Educational Sciences Dean Fernand Gervais. Gervais highlights the problems that arise with “all universities offering all programs” in education, particularly when some institutions do not have the means to offer all the same programs as others. Laval in particular is allegedly suffering a deficit in student applications to teaching programs compared to last year, which Gervais attributes to both a demographic decline and a sense of precariousness and difficulty hovering over careers in the education sector. Journal de Montréal

University rankings can be a positive force for developing countries, writes THE editor

It is my job … to take all the wonderful, intangible, gloriously complex things that universities do and reduce them to a set of simple numbers,” writes Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. While Baty admits that this role “doesn’t always make me popular,” he argues that university rankings are helpful not only for improving universities but for building nations. Focusing on Africa, Baty contends that the simplicity of international rankings “helps focus government attention on education policy, particularly in countries where there are inadequate quality assessment measures for academic standards.” Baty ultimately concludes that having universities from developing countries on the world stage is beneficial, because “when a nation can compete on the production and use of knowledge, there is a better chance for shaping its own fate.” Times Higher Education

WLU opening new Robert Langen Art Gallery facilities in library

The Robert Langen Art Gallery will be receiving a new space in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus library, and will be opening in September 2016. The new facility will feature a main gallery that will double as a multi-functional student and events hub, designed to host events such as concerts, receptions, film screenings, and other cultural events. “This is another step towards our vision of the Library as the intellectual and cultural heart of campus,” said Laurier University Librarian Gohar Ashoughian, “a place where students, faculty, staff and everyone else in our community can come together to share and create ideas across all media.” WLU

In support of “customer service” in higher ed

“In the academy, we shun the term ‘customer service,’” writes Yves Salomon-Fernandez for Inside Higher Ed, for it “belittles what we do, the impact that we have on students and on society. It makes it appear as if education were a commodity.” Yet the author suggests that thinking of students as consumers is perhaps beneficial, if only because it properly acknowledges that when it comes to higher education, “students have choice that they don’t hesitate to exercise.” Institutions might not like the idea of competing for students in a demand-centered marketplace, yet Salomon-Fernandez concludes that as the circumstances of higher ed change, institutions will have to change with them. Inside Higher Ed

CAQ demands that Canada reinstate French PSE at QC military college

The Coalition Avenir Québec has demanded that the federal government reinstate French university programming at Royal Military College Saint-Jean. Military postsecondary studies in both French and English have been centralized in Kingston, Ontario since 1995, yet CAQ leader François Legault argues that soldiers based in Quebec have the right to pursue postsecondary studies at a military college in their province. Reinstating postsecondary studies in French at Saint-Jean would reportedly cost $4 M per year. Montreal Gazette

MSVU partners with Jinshan College for joint degree, teaching opportunities

Mount Saint Vincent University has signed an agreement with Jinshan College in China that will allow Chinese students to complete the final year of a four-year tourism degree at MSVU, and allow MSVU professors to teach in China. MSVU Business, Tourism, and Hospitality Management Professor Michael Whalen says that when the program is operating at full capacity, it will see MSVU professors teaching 17 courses each year in China. The courses will be primarily taught online with a minimum of two weeks taught in-person in China. The program reportedly aims to bolster tourism to the province and to replace falling Canadian student numbers. MSVU | CBC