Top Ten

June 3, 2016

New group calls for universal workplace learning opportunities for PSE students

Every postsecondary student in Canada should participate in some form of workplace learning before graduation, says a group of business, university, and college leaders. Simona Chiose of the Globe and Mail reports that this group, named the Business-Higher Education Roundtable, plans to unveil an initial plan “to work toward the goal of ensuring that 100 per cent of students participate in work-integrated learning,” which would include arts and humanities students alongside those from engineering or computer science. “This [roundtable] is a majority of the country, it’s the largest employers, it’s the largest educators,” said Tom Jenkins, one of three roundtable co-chairs. “If we can act in a concerted way, the scale is quite profound.” Globe and Mail | BHER

Professor emeritus gives $1 M to York for grad scholarships

York University has received a $1 M gift from Professor Emeritus Allan Carswell and the Carswell Family Foundation to fund graduate student scholarships in the Lassonde School of Engineering and the Faculty of Science. York President Mamdouh Shoukri praised Carswells’ donation, and noted that “in his role as a professor here at York, Allan experienced firsthand the significant contributions that students make to the research enterprise, as well as the financial challenges of being a graduate student.” York has matched the endowed component of the donation to ensure the long-term continuation of the Carswell Scholars program, and will reportedly be awarding Carswell Scholarships as early as September. York

The difficulty of drawing the line in platonic academic-student relationships

Some feel that academic-student friendships can create concerns about conflicts of interest or be detrimental to student learning, while others argue that these friendships benefit learners by helping them build confidence and grow in their discipline, writes Nina Kelly for Times Higher Education.In a discussion of the many sides of the academic-student friendship debate, Kelly touches on how multiple UK institutions and academics have achieved a balance between maintaining boundaries and fostering good teaching relationships with their students. “The idea of friendship in teaching and learning is one that receives very little theoretical and political attention,” comments senior lecturer Vicki Duckworth, “even though the importance of it in the quality of our lives is enormous.” Times Higher Education

Polytechnique Montréal partners with Deloitte to upgrade cybersecurity training

Polytechnique Montréal has announced that it will partner with Deloitte to revamp the school’s cybersecurity training programs. A release from Polytechnique states that the two organizations will collaborate to upgrade certificate programs in Cyber Investigation, Online Fraud, and IT Network Computer Security to reflect current market needs and the shifting nature of cybercrime. The newly updated programs will be available to students in fall 2016. “In response to the challenges and changing nature of cybercrime, we have developed a flexible, scalable training framework that allows courses to be adapted in real time, as cybercriminals change their tactics,” says Steven Chamberland, Polytechnique's Director of Academic Affairs and Student Life. Polytechnique Montréal

Experts call for changes to the “apprenticeship” model of PhD education

The “apprenticeship” model for a PhD education in Canada is due for a much-needed change, according to a number of presenters at a recent conference hosted at Carleton University. These presenters frequently touched on the idea that PhD programs can no longer behave as though producing a new class of professors is their only—or even their primary—role, explains Natalie Samson of University Affairs. Concrete recommendations for changing PhD programming include the elimination of comprehensive exams, shortening of programs from four to three years, and rewarding of collaborative work. University Affairs

SK to decrease operating grants to universities in 2016-17

Saskatchewan’s universities will see a slight decrease in funding for the coming year, reports the StarPhoenix. The University of Saskatchewan will be one of the most affected institutions, as it is due to receive no funding for its health sciences facility project, which received $7.9 M last year. This news comes in the wake of recent calls by uSask leadership for a greater provincial investment in PSE, particularly after uSask cut its operating budget last year in an effort to help the province balance its books. Funding to the province’s technical institutes and regional colleges will reportedly remain stable. An SK government release states that the new budget “will maintain strong investment in our province’s post-secondary students.” “Saskatchewan’s most precious resource is its people,” said Advanced Education Minister Scott Moe. “We will continue to support post-secondary students despite financial challenges.” StarPhoenix | StarPhoenix (Prov Budget) | SK

Lethbridge College receives accreditation for Ecosystem Management degree program

Lethbridge College has reportedly become the first college in Alberta to have its Ecosystem Management degree program recognized by the province’s professional biology regulatory organization. Alberta Society of Professional Biologists Executive Director Jennifer Sipkens explained that the school’s Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Ecosystem Management “meets and exceeds our requirements” to offer a Biologist in Training designation, the first step towards becoming a Professional Biologist. “Colleges nowadays are so much more advanced than they were 20 years ago and the line might be blurring a bit between a college and a university,” explained Sipkens. “I think it just makes sense that we accredit this as a Professional Biologist stream academic program.” Lethbridge College

NSCC to increase tuition by 3%

Nova Scotia Community College has announced that it will increase tuition for most programming by 3% in 2016-17. The college joins a number of other PSE institutions in NS that have adjusted tuition rates since the provincial government lifted its tuition freeze for a one-time market adjustment last year. NSCC President Don Bureaux says that the increase is intended to help the school balance its budget amidst rising costs. “While the increase is modest, I understand that for many students, any additional cost can be a challenge,” he says. “The additional funds will provide support to our programming for students College-wide and help us remain fiscally responsible.” NSCC

Provider of BC curriculum in China to open high school on TRU campus

A school that has been delivering British Columbia’s high school curriculum in China for over 20 years is opening its first Canadian school at Thompson Rivers University. According to a TRU release, the university has signed an MOU with Maple Leaf Education North America to open a high school on a designated area of the university’s campus. The school’s first cohort of students will be chosen from the more than 7,500 BC-registered students studying at Maple Leaf’s existing schools in China. “We have a long-standing relationship with our partners and this is another opportunity for us to create more learning options for students and collaborative research projects for our faculties,” said TRU President Alan Shaver. TRU

Fanshawe launches new program in doula studies

Fanshawe College has announced that it has become the first college in Ontario to offer a program in doula studies. According to a Fanshawe release, the one-year certificate program will provide graduates with the foundation of knowledge and skills they will need to provide non-medical care and support to families during and after childbirth. The program will include two field placements and provide students with hands-on learning. “We took the changing dynamics and increased complexity of modern maternity care into consideration when we developed this program with a community-based doula organization,” says Fanshawe professor and doula Jodi Hall. “In addition to class instruction and practice through the use of simulation and labs, our students will benefit from 150 hours in community placements that will foster inter-professional team development. This makes the program unique.” Fanshawe