Top Ten

June 29, 2016

When critics attack diversity enrolment targets

Addressing a lack of diversity in Canada’s teachers requires institutions to consider revising the admissions processes for their Bachelor of Education programs, write Melanie Janzen and Jerome Cranston for University Affairs. Janzen and Cranston discuss the backlash they encountered after helping establish a new admissions policy for the B.Ed. program at the University of Manitoba, noting that criticism often centers on the question of whether a program with diversity targets will still enroll “the best and brightest.” Janzen and Cranston contend that these arguments reveal a misunderstanding of how schools judge merit when admitting applicants. They conclude that “what has become important in this debate is the challenge for all us to confront our biases, the prejudices we hold towards others, and the privilege from which we benefit and which simultaneously disadvantages others.” University Affairs

NS focuses on job prospects in new upgrades to career college regulations

According to CBC, Nova Scotia has revised the regulations it uses to govern career colleges. The new rules primarily focus on the need for these colleges to demonstrate strong job prospects upon graduation for their students. Programs in these colleges will now be subject to ongoing evaluation for quality, a change that DaVinci College of Art and Design Principal TK Manyimo welcomes: “a lot of these regulations are good in the sense they’re helping us with accountability on the student end as well as keeping us as private colleges more relevant.”  Aligning PSE programming with labour market demand is a central component of Academica Group’s Program Feasibility Studies. Last week, the Conference Board of Canada also released a study exploring the role and value of private carer colleges in Canada. CBC | Conference Board

New study reveals high levels of satisfaction among Atlantic Canadian university grads

Graduating students from Atlantic Canadian universities are highly satisfied with the quality of the PSE they have received, according to a new study by the Association of Atlantic Universities. The 2016 Graduate Retention Study found that 87% of respondents were highly satisfied with the overall quality of the education they had received, while a vast majority (82%) also said that they would remain in their home province after graduation if an attractive job were available in their field. The study “speaks volumes about the high quality of our institutions and the communities,” said University of New Brunswick President Eddy Campbell, before adding that “it is clear more work remains to be done on better connecting students to employers” if the region wishes to retain graduates beyond their PSE. AAU

New Laurentian centre looks to connect students with experts around the world

Laurentian University has opened its new Executive Learning Centre as part of its $63M campus modernization project, reports the Sudbury Star. The centre features communications technologies designed to facilitate long-distance connections with colleagues or presenters who can be brought to Laurentian’s Sudbury campus from around the world. Laurentian Communications Specialist Sherry Drysdale explains that the centre will benefit current Laurentian students, yet adds that it is also a place where “mid-career professionals in industry and business can come back to polish their credentials and up their game.” Sudbury Star

Big data on students is raising new ethical dilemmas

Institutions are facing unprecedented ethical questions as the growing quantity and quality of data offers them more ways to predict and intervene in student success, writes Carl Straumsheim for Inside Higher Ed. By way of example, the author asks whether a university that knows students from certain zip codes perform poorly in a specific course should take measures to prevent those students from taking that course. Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Goldie Blumenstyk explores the takeaways from a recent forum on the subject, which highlights the importance of treating data collection and analysis as a “joint venture” between students, institutions, and instructors, who all hold a meaningful role in determining how the data is collected and used. Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

When envy for colleagues becomes paralyzing

“It’s aggravating to experience envy. It’s even more irritating to realize it’s hampering your own work,” writes Theresa MacPhail for Chronicle Vitae. The author explores how the success of colleagues can stifle her attempts to work productively, and reflects on the surprise she experienced when she realized how rare it was for other academics to write openly about the subject. MacPhail suggests that envy can become a powerful motivational force if channeled properly, and writes that “in order to transform envy into productivity, you first need to tackle the underlying insecurity and self-doubt that come along with feeling envious.” MacPhail concludes that doing so requires hard work, self-reflection, and admitting to the envy that one feels toward one’s peers. Chronicle Vitae

Dal targets gaps in historical understanding with minor in Black and African diaspora studies

A new minor offered at Dalhousie University aims to fill in “huge chunks” of missing education, says Afua Cooper, the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dal. In an interview with CBC, Cooper discusses how she has spent several years developing a program in Black and African Diaspora Studies at the school. Cooper says that she is particularly interested in exploring Black and African Disapora Studies in a Canadian context, saying that it will help students “understand more about their own society. They can have an understanding of why part of their education is missing—like huge chunks of their education are not there—and have a better appreciation of the multicultural stories that make up the grand Canadian story.” CBC

Red Crow to rebuild college destroyed by fire

Members of Blood Tribe council and board members for Red Crow Community College have announced that they have chosen a site to rebuild the college, which was destroyed by fire nearly a year ago. The Lethbridge Herald reports that due to the school’s insurance policy, the college will need to be constructed on or adjacent to the site of the old school. The college’s stakeholders have also issued a call for donations to help rebuild the school. College Board Chair Lionel Weasel Head noted that while last year’s fire was unfortunate, the new project “will be a new start for the college, and for the community.” Lethbridge Herald

CP reports allegations of bullying, sexual harassment in Galloway case

Former UBC students and faculty have claimed that the school’s former creative writing chair Steven Galloway faced allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, and threats while he was employed by the school. UBC has not issued any statement regarding these specific allegations, but the school fired Galloway last week for what it deemed to be an “irreparable breach of trust.” UBC Faculty Association Chair Mark Mac Lean has stated that only one allegation against Galloway has been substantiated, adding that “out of respect for fair and due process, a process which is ongoing, the faculty association will not be commenting further on this matter at this time.” Winnipeg Free Press (CP)

NB committee proposes that province establish college of teachers

A New Brunswick committee has issued a recommendation for the province to establish a professional college or society for teachers similar to that of the medical profession, reports CBC. The proposed group would reportedly regulate the province's teachers and conduct disciplinary investigations that are currently performed by the NB's school districts. “Teaching is purportedly, and aspirationally, a profession,” says education consultant Paul Bennett. “But it lacks some of the fundamental characteristics of having a professional body that is very thorough and rigorous in enforcing standards.” CBC