Top Ten

May 12, 2016

New group representing graduates demands that NB restore its tuition tax rebate

A new group representing New Brunswick’s postsecondary graduates is demanding that the provincial government reinstate its tuition tax rebate. The rebate was recently cut to help pay for NB’s free tuition program for students from families with less than $60 K in income, yet the newly created New Brunswick Graduates Organization says that this transition has left many students “out in the cold.” The group has stated that restoring the tuition tax rebate is one of its goals, yet member Colin Hodd explains that its broader objective is to “create an organization that can centralize and create that voice for grads in New Brunswick.” CBC | NBGO

Indspire president calls for better federal funding for Indigenous PSE

The president and CEO of the Indigenous education charity Indspire Roberta Jamieson says that, while she welcomes Canada’s $2.6 B commitment to primary and secondary education for Indigenous learners, she is concerned about the lack of new funding to support postsecondary studies for this same group. The 2016 federal budget says that Canada will work with Indigenous groups to “explore how to best ensure that students wishing to pursue post-secondary studies have the resources and supports they need to pursue their dreams,” yet Jamieson asserts that it attaches no new funding to this objective. “The myth is that our people get their education paid from cradle to grave,” Jamieson told the National Post, “but it’s simply not true.” Indspire reported that last year, it could only afford to fulfill 16% of the $90 M in funding requests it received, disbursing $14.4 M in bursaries to First Nations students. National Post

Is higher ed about to be Uber-ed?

A small number of new technologies are set to transform the higher education sector using the same principles as Uber, writes Contact North | Contact Nord. The article states that an organization looking to disrupt higher ed needs only to rely on four core technologies: a mobile app, a system for tracking and transferring fees, reliable online learning assessments, and a “blockchain system.” This last feature, the article notes, can track and verify a student’s learning process step-by-step, capturing assessment results and transferring credits to the student’s transcript through the database of whatever school is using the system. A recent piece in Times Higher Education, however, suggests that the use of Uber principles in private online tutoring might exacerbate unequal access to certain services. Contact North | Contact Nord |Times Higher Education

WLU Schlegel Centre gets new name with its social innovation focus

Wilfrid Laurier University has changed the name of its flagship entrepreneurship centre to the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation in order to emphasize the value of applying business strategy and entrepreneurial spirit to solving social challenges. “Social innovation is the kind of tool students are really excited about,” Schlegal Centre Executive Director Joanne Benham Rennick commented, “(it’s about) getting a young person who's interested in entrepreneurship to also think about the broader implications of running any business.” According to Rennick, the addition of the words “social innovation” reflects the direction that WLU has taken over the last few years, which has been highlighted by events such as the Changemaker Campus designation received from Ashoka U earlier this year. Hamilton Spectator | WLU

Academic performance in math, science is best predictor of university STEM enrolment

Success in math and science at the high school level is the main predictor for students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in university, according to a new report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The study, titled “Understanding the STEM Path through High School and into University Programs,” examined the high school grades and university enrolment figures for a sample of students and found that academic performance was a stronger indicator of enrolment in STEM disciplines than non-academic factors. The study’s authors note that more research and better data are needed to understand the role that individual, home, and school factors affect success in high school math and science. HEQCO | Report

OPG, Durham, UOIT renew partnership, work towards bridging program

The Ontario Power Generation has renewed its partnership with Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, investing $5 M into programs, new equipment, and more for students at both institutions. Durham and UOIT are also reportedly working on implementing new bridging programs between the institutions that will result in graduates who are equipped with a greater range of skills and knowledge. “We believe this partnership creates educational and research opportunities for students who go on to become leaders in our industry and our community,” said OPG President Jeffrey Lyash, “OPG is proud to continue our partnership with Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.” UOIT | Durham

SFU establishes university-wide strategy to address Canada’s innovation gap

Simon Fraser University has established SFU Innovates, a university-wide strategy that reportedly “mobilizes research and leverages student ingenuity to benefit the economy and society.” SFU aims to drive its agenda through a number of mechanisms that will forge new connections between researchers and industry, maximize the economic and social value of research and innovation, and support emerging entrepreneurs and innovators. “Our commitment to being an engaged university inspires us to make the best use of our talents and resources to benefit the communities we serve,” says SFU President Andrew Petter, “this strategy will help harness the knowledge and creativity of our faculty and students to create new economic opportunities and address important social needs.” NationTalk | SFU

Millennials learn differently, rank Canada best country in the world

The changes in the way that young people learn is “forcing the educational system to adapt to the learners, and not vice versa,” writes Sophia Sanchez for Inside Higher Ed. The author argues that such change means that educators need to better understand how members of the Millennial generation differ from those who came before. Among their attributes, reports Sanchez, are shorter attention spans, a preference for collaborative learning, and a drive for instant gratification. To help address these changes, Sanchez recommends that educators establish clear learning outcomes, deliver knowledge in small doses, and use a mix of different teaching methods. A recent survey from the US News & World Report’s “Best Countries” platform has also shown that Millennials (aged 18 to 35) from around the globe view Canada as the best country in the world. Inside Higher Ed | US News & World Report

Yukon College establishing new sexual assault policy, staff receiving training

This month, staff at Yukon College are receiving training on how to respond to disclosures of sexual assault or harassment from a student or colleague. Seven staff and two students from the college are also currently developing the school's new sexualized harassment and assault policy. “Educating staff and students on appropriate responses to disclosure, appropriate actions that can be taken, and how to prevent or intervene as a bystander if you see a situation that may escalate to sexual violence, are vital components of the new policy we are creating,” said Yukon College Director of Human Resources Brian Bonia. The policy is expected to be in place for the upcoming 2016/2017 school year. Yukon

US hiring experts consider digital credentials “low-stakes,” says study

Just over a third of HR and talent management professionals have “any knowledge” on how to assess learning credentials earned via online platforms, according to a new US-based study. The study surveyed 130 HR professionals and found that only one-quarter had actively begun including digital credentials, such as badges, in their recruitment or hiring processes. The study also found that those who assessed digital credentials were more likely to use them to supplement their assessment of more “high-stakes” credentials such as a postsecondary degree, a professional certificate, or work experience. A majority of respondents indicated that they considered a digital badge earned through a for-credit online course or MOOC to be “low-stakes.” Campus Technology