Top Ten

June 13, 2016

Standalone Nunavut university is not feasible, says education minister

Nunavut cannot meet the criteria for establishing a standalone university and should instead partner with a southern university, according to Nunavut Education Minister Paul Quassa. The Minister’s conclusions stem from two feasibility studies, the first of which demonstrated that a Nunavut-based university would not be able to meet Universities Canada’s 500-student requirement until the year 2130. The study further found that such a university would have to charge $16.6K in annual tuition to be feasible, compared to the Canadian average of $6.1K. Quassa has recommended that the territory look to partner its Arctic College with a southern university to offer joint programs such as a Bachelor of Public Administration, Justice Studies, Inuit Studies, Tourism Management, and Social Work. CBC | Nunatsiaq

UNB includes clear reporting guidelines, permanent task force in new sexual assault policy

The University of New Brunswick has released a new sexual assault policy that provides a host of new resources and personnel to establish a “survivor-centered” approach to sexual assault, reports CBC. The new policy reportedly includes provisions for clear reporting procedures, a new sexual assault advocate, and response teams who will provide assistance to anyone who has experienced sexual assault on campus. A task force will also meet twice a year, assessing all reports of sexual violence and releasing an annual statistical report to the public and the university community. “Numbers will be reported, so that we'll be able to have a more accurate reflection of reports or of incidents of sexual assault that are brought forward,” says Lorraine Whalley, executive director of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre. “It's important to have information about incidents because then we can work on the best response possible.” CBC | UNB | UNBSU

Canada risks a damaged reputation due to student visa fraud

Canada has the “softest” approach to screening for student visa fraud, according to a recent study of four countries that are popular destinations for international students. Ellie Bothwell of Times Higher Education reports that according to the study, Canada’s provincially led system for awarding degrees “can allow more room for corruption” and has allegedly “damaged” the country’s international reputation. Report author Rachael Merola argues that Canada must take a more proactive approach to dealing with student visa fraud if it wishes to remain a top destination for students. Times Higher Education | Report

More women in business school, but still improvements to be made

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, “between 2006 and 2015, the number of women worldwide taking the business school admission test jumped 38 per cent,” but there remains a persistent underrepresentation of women in leadership positions. Jennifer Lewington writes in the Globe and Mail about the methods taken by business schools to attract qualified female candidates to study at their institution, and to attract female faculty members and chief executive officers to take part in the classroom. Lewington also points to research and discussion around the benefits of having more women in top leadership roles. Globe and Mail

WesternU breaks ground on a $40M building for engineers

Western University will reportedly be breaking ground on a $40M building for the Engineering Faculty that intends to accommodate a 25% expansion in enrolment. Demand in mechanical systems and software engineering is especially high, according to Dean Andy Hrymak. The institution is anticipating an increase from 1,700 to 2,300 undergraduate engineering students, and an increase in graduate student numbers from 500 to 600. The new building will have an atrium space that connects to the existing Spencer Engineering Building, as well as lounges, corridors, and breakout rooms designed for group work. The building is also designed to meet certifications for a “green” building, and is expected to be completed in 2018. London Free Press

MB works to address concerns with midwifery programming

Manitoba has announced that it is working to address concerns about its provincial midwifery program, particularly in the province’s north. Education Minister Ian Wishart told reporters that the province is specifically working with University College of the North to address problems such as low enrolment and a shortage of qualified instructors. The issues facing the program have reportedly led to many students of the program expressing concerns about whether they will graduate or find work upon completing the program.  Wishart said that MB is not considering cutting funding to the program, although he anticipates changes will come. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press

Academics can greatly benefit from social media savvy

“In today’s digital age, social media competence is a critical communication tool for academics,” writes Lina Duque for the Harvard Business Review. The author adds that it is important not to underestimate the power of social media in engaging students, increasing awareness of one’s research, or garnering media attention for one’s department. As a case study, Duque explores how University of Toronto Civil Engineering Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou used a single Tweet to turn her research on cycling and air pollution into a national news story. Duque goes on to offer tips for faculty looking to gain a competitive advantage when using social media. Harvard Business Review

The continuing importance of faculty advising

“Faculty members do less advising than they ever have,” writes Claire Potter for Inside Higher Ed, and this trend has significant implications for students. Potter speaks about how the shift to centralized advising services in many schools, while important, has been paired with a diminishing of the professor’s traditional role as mentor to a student. Potter hearkens to a past in which she and other professors “supported young people as they struggled to survive the routine traumas of the first 24 months at college.” The author celebrates the work being done by professional advisers and counsellors, but adds that “that relationship with a faculty adviser prior to establishing a major program may be the key to making college seem worthwhile to students.” Inside Higher Ed

VCC receives $7M in renewed funding for trades training

Vancouver Community College has received renewed funding of $7M from British Columbia to provide trades training. According to a VCC release, the funds will be used to pursue the objectives laid out in BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint in cooperation with the Industry Training Authority. The ITA will use the funds to support 1,870 trades seats at VCC in the automotive service technician, heavy mechanical, baker, professional cook, and commercial transport mechanic programs. “This arrangement … is an excellent example of how partnering works to deliver apprenticeship training for students for in demand jobs that meet everyone’s needs,” said VCC President Peter Nunoda. VCC

New partnership to support transition out of high school for Saint John students

Pathways to Education Canada has partnered with the Teen Resource Centre of Saint John, New Brunswick to help the city’s youth graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education, training, or employment. A Pathways release notes that the Teen Resource Centre will use a combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one supports to help high school students living in the Waterloo Village and South End neighbourhoods of Saint John, where poverty rates exceed 30% and the child poverty rate is 50%. Earlier this year, Academica Group worked with the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario to perform research on how institutions and organizations can better support students in times of transition. CBS