Top Ten

May 31, 2016

Students, schools look to address student debt’s impact on mental health

Canadian institutions have begun tailoring mental health services specifically to address the stress caused by student debt, reports the Canadian Press. The article cites several sources suggesting that average student debt in Canada lies somewhere between $25 K and $34 K. While not much research exists on the explicit connection between student debt and mental health, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics noted last year that according to its data, “students who took out more student loans were more likely to report poor mental health in early adulthood.” The article closes by discussing how some Canadian schools are looking to address the connection between debt and student mental health more directly. Hamilton Spectator (CP)

MSVU and Venor partner to keep international grads in NS

Mount Saint Vincent University has partnered with Venor in an effort to help international student graduates find employers and opportunities to start their careers in Nova Scotia. The partnership marks the latest step in the Nova Scotia Scholars Program, which provides personalized career plans that include career building, networking, work experience, and immigration support for participants. “The Mount is committed to assisting international students who choose to remain in the province,” said Paula Barry Mercer, Associate Vice President of Student Experience at MSVU. “Keeping more graduates in Nova Scotia is an important step in helping to ensure the future prosperity of our province.” MSVU

Indigenous courses to be mandatory for Laurentian arts students

Laurentian University has announced that its Bachelor of Arts programs will now require six credits of courses with Indigenous content in order to promote an understanding of the histories, cultures, and realities of Indigenous peoples in Canada. “We are proud of the tremendous work done within the faculty of arts to bring Indigenous content into its programs and courses,” said Laurentian Provost and Vice President of Academics Robert Kerr. “The new requirement approved by senate means that more students who graduate from Laurentian University will have a good understanding of Indigenous history and culture.” CBC | Sudbury Star

SFU’s Local Economic Development Lab seeks to transform communities, neighbourhoods

Simon Fraser University is tackling social and economic challenges through its Local Economic Development Lab (LEDlab), reports The Tyee. The initiative connects SFU graduate students with organizations based in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side to collaborate on projects that pursue goals such as supporting health education and mitigating unemployment. “It's often really hard to connect students with this kind of work in a responsible way,” says Shawn Smith, co-founder of the RADIUS SFU social innovation incubator. “This university-community partnership model is trying to build a container for long-term engagement for students, and how they can add some value authentically and with humility.” The Tyee

New MRU study reveals four major obstacles for addressing sexual assault on campus

Universities face four significant “stumbling blocks” when it comes to addressing claims of sexual assault, according to a new study from researchers at Mount Royal University. The first obstacle is the fact that universities were originally built and structured for “able-bodied, privileged white males,” and that present-day services still reflect these structures. The second obstacle is the difficulty schools face in finding money to change their processes, and the third is the conflict administrators must face between protecting their employer’s reputation and looking out for the students’ best interests. Finally, the report notes that university leaders who create sexual assault policies often do not have the required training that is necessary for making good policy.

CEO makes the case against personalized learning

The concept of personalized learning is one that has a lot of support in the education sector, writes Annie Murphy Paul, but some argue that this widespread approval “actually rests on several assumptions unsupported by evidence.” Deans for Impact CEO Benjamin Riley claims that advocates of personalized learning are mistaken in their belief that students are properly equipped to effectively choose what they learn. “The most compelling classrooms are ones in which learning goals are shared, and knowledge is fostered through social interactions,” Riley explains, adding that personalizing the learning process can rob students of the chance to be confronted by “constructive controversies,” or to leave their comfort zone by sharing learning objectives with others. EdSurge

McMaster, grad students dispute fairness of mental health cuts

According to the Hamilton Spectator, McMaster graduate students have expressed their disappointment over the school’s decision to charge them the same fee as undergraduates for mental health services. The McMaster Graduate Students Association recently voted against paying the new fee, which was set to rise from $10 to $33.95 per term, and the decision ultimately led to the elimination of on-campus mental health services for this group. Graduate students will reportedly still have access to off-campus mental health services, but members of the association have noted that international students who leave campus for counselling will need to pay out-of-pocket. Hamilton Spectator

uManitoba Asper School of Business receives $1 M donation for accounting students

A $1 M donation from CPA Manitoba and the CPA Manitoba Foundation will be used for classroom upgrades, Indigenous student scholarships, and student conferences for accounting students at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business. “The mission of the CPA Manitoba Foundation is to support the pursuit of quality business and accounting education,” said CPA Manitoba Foundation Board Chair Susan Hagemeister. “Thanks to the donations from our generous membership, the Foundation is proud to contribute to the Front and Centre campaign, which allows us to do just that. It is so important to invest in education, this institution and the next generation of CPAs, as they are the future of our profession.” uManitoba

Lethbridge College VP Academic and COO to resign this week

Lethbridge College Vice-President Academic and Chief Operating Officer Stuart Cullum is resigning from his role at the college, reports the Lethbridge Herald. Along with other members of the college’s senior leadership, Cullum was part of two non-confidence votes that the college’s faculty passed in the past two years. In an email obtained by the Herald, college President Paula Burns states that Cullum was “instrumental in attracting significant resources to the college for building academic programming. He has been an advocate for all of our students as well as with the province as we worked to launch our recent Bachelor of Applied Science in Ecosystem Management.” Lethbridge Herald

UNB students disappointed in tuition increase

Students at the University of New Brunswick are claiming that it is unfair for the school to expect them to shoulder the costs of “financial instability” through a tuition increase. The criticism comes in response to UNB’s recent announcement that it will increase undergraduate tuition fees by 5% in the 2016-17 year, although NB students will recoup 3% of this amount through a rebate. Citing the school’s current deficit, UNB’s Vice President of Administration and Finance Karen Cunningham replies that “There were no tuition increases last year, but this year we did have to raise tuitions. And really, if we want to keep offering a quality education there aren’t any choices, I’m afraid.” Global News