Top Ten

June 6, 2016

Queen Elizabeth II scholarship program receives $10 M gift

The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program is set to expand its scope and reach with the support of a $10 M contribution from the International Development Research Centre. The funds will reportedly be used to support learning opportunities for “doctoral, post-doctoral and early career researchers from low- and middle-income countries, as well as in Canada, seeking to enrich their academic, professional and cross-cultural experiences.” The first phase of the Queen Elizabeth II program, launched in 2014, aims to offer 2,000 scholarships by 2018 to individuals from across Canada. Universities Canada | Community Foundations of Canada

Is virtual reality the next big thing in higher ed—again?

The first wave of enthusiasm for virtual reality in education might have failed to gain steam, writes Jeffrey Young for the Chronicle of Higher Education, but improving technology and declining costs have brought us to “another moment where Virtual Reality is being called the Next Big Thing.” Since Facebook purchased the virtual reality technology Oculus two years ago, notes Young, a number of higher ed stakeholders have been suggesting that “this technology will usher in the next generation of online education—that students and profs will soon be donning VR goggles to take online classes.” David Matthews of Times Higher Education highlights some of the ways in which VR has already been incorporated into classrooms. Chronicle of Higher Education | Times Higher Education

Canada invests over $550 K in trades training centre at UCN

Canada has announced that it will invest over $550 K to help the University College of the North establish an Industrial Skills Trades and Training Centre. The investment aims to aid Manitoba’s Indigenous population in acquiring the education and skills required to succeed in a number of “industry clusters” across Western Canada. “The Government of Canada is pleased to support the creation of the Industrial Skills Trades and Training Centre and is committed to ensuring that Indigenous peoples—First Nations, Métis and Inuit—have the support and training they need to participate in the growing economic opportunities that exist in Western Canada,” said Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains. Canada

Study-abroad students motivated primarily by career goals, says new international study

A new survey shows that employability and career goals are major contributors to a student’s decision to study abroad, reports the ICEF Monitor. However, the survey also notes a growing openness toward other forms of education beyond university, and a willingness to remain in a home country if domestic programs improve. The report concludes that competition for attracting international students is continuing to grow worldwide, and warns stakeholders about the dangers of relying on “gut feelings” instead of reliable data when pursuing international enrolment strategies. ICEF Monitor

StFX launches new leadership certificate program

Saint Francis Xavier University has announced that it will launch a new certificate program in organizational leadership this fall. The StFX Certificate in Organizational Leadership program will be a two-year co-curricular, non-credit program that will offer students “an academically rigorous, immersive, and unique opportunity for students interested in deepening their leadership knowledge and practice.” The program’s creator, StFX Schwartz School of Business Professor Brad Long, says that he conceived of the program “as a complement to other leadership avenues available to students, but more of a curricular base they do concurrent with their studies.” StFX

St Clair launches training program for BMW Manufacturing

St Clair College has announced that it will launch a pilot project offering skilled-trades training for representatives of BMW Manufacturing and their key suppliers. South Carolina is reportedly seeing a growth in the auto industry that “is projected to be extremely high over the next six years, but there’s a skilled-trade shortage,” explains Ron Seguin, Vice-President of International Relations, Training, and Campus Development at St Clair. The program is expected to cover training in areas such as tool production, engineering and CAD drawings, and metallurgy applications. According to Seguin, the ultimate goal is “to establish a joint program where St Clair College’s curriculum could be housed with the support services of a college in South Carolina.” Windsor Star

New UAlberta MOU to improve community health in Ghana through music, dance

A music program designed for improving community health in Ghana will “continue building momentum” thanks to a new MOU signed by the University of Alberta and the University for Development Studies in Ghana. The “Singing and Dancing for Health” project aims to spread awareness about the dangers of malaria and how to prevent the disease and other public health risks. The MOU formalizes the two schools’ commitment to expand the project’s reach and collaborate on research and funding applications. UAlberta Music Professor and research team leader Michael Frishkopf notes that “music is a powerful social technology capable of galvanizing groups of people around health issues, and disseminating messages in a powerful and memorable form.” UAlberta

How should a professor act on concern for students?

“While I have never been afraid of my students, I’ve had many occasions to be afraid for my students,” writes John Warner for Inside Higher Ed. Warner reflects on the recent murder of a professor at UCLA by a student, after the murdered professor “supposedly went out of his way to help the killer’s career as a mentor.” Warner expresses concern over the limits of his power as a teacher to provide for the wellbeing of his students, ultimately concluding that the best he can do is inform himself about his institution’s procedures for helping troubled students and, more importantly, “practice a pedagogy that takes student wellbeing into account.” Inside Higher Ed

NWT budget includes spending increases on education, financial supports for students

The Northwest Territories government has tabled its 2016-2017 budget, which includes several spending increases to education in the territory. CBC reports that NWT will be spending an additional $6 M on Education, Culture, and Employment in order to increase supports for postsecondary students and children from low-income families, as well as supports for employment programs for people with disabilities. The territory has also reportedly announced $2.2 M in increased funding to Student Financial Assistance, which includes a bonus of $2 K for any students from NWT or who live in NWT after graduation for at least a year. CBC | My Yellowknife Now

Holland announces 2% tuition increase

Holland College has announced that it will be increasing its tuition by 2%, effective this coming September, as part of a college-wide systematic approach to balance cost reductions and revenue generation strategies for financial stability. “The college strives to maintain the lowest tuition levels possible by minimizing expenses and maximizing revenues,” said Holland Vice President Michael O’Grady. “Unfortunately, there are times when a tuition increase is required.” CBC notes that the college received a 1% increase in funding from the province in the spring budget. Holland College | CBC