Top Ten

July 18, 2016

Federal payroll issues threaten student workers’ ability to pay for school

Ongoing issues with a payroll system have reportedly led to federally employed students being underpaid or not paid at all, reports CBC. “Every week I'm being told it's going to be fixed, but nothing is happening, and there seems to be no accountability,” said Jarrod Yardon, who is allegedly owed $9K in backpay. National Executive Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada Chris Aylward calls the situation “a boondoggle,” saying that over 2,600 members of the union have written to complain about pay-related issues. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has also issued a release expressing deep concerns with the situation and pressing the government to fix the glitch immediately. CBC | CBC (2) | CASA

AB institutions look to retirement packages to decrease long-term costs

Alberta’s postsecondary institutions paid more $12M to retiring employees in 2015 in an effort to lower long-term costs, reports the Edmonton Journal. Among the highest paying institutions was the University of Lethbridge, which paid $2.3M to 18 former employees. The university’s Vice-President of Finance and Administration Nancy Walker explains that the “vast majority” of these severances are the product of early retirement programs, which cover one-time severance costs while achieving “an annual continuing budget reduction of approximately $3M per year.” The Journal article concludes with a list of the 10 AB schools paying the highest amounts of severance. Edmonton Journal

Queen's to expand student, faculty opportunities with $100M pair of capital projects

Queen’s University is preparing to offer a range of new opportunities to its students and faculty with the construction of a new innovation and wellness centre and biomedical research facility. The university’s board of trustees recently approved the two major capital projects, which are set to cost the school more than $100M in total. The Kingston Whig reports, however, that neither project will receive final approval until funding for both is fully secured. The wellness centre project reportedly needs to raise an additional $18.4M in funding, which the school hopes to acquire through philanthropy, government grants, and other similar avenues. The Whig

Fleming, Trent partner to provide more teachers with background in Aboriginal ways of knowing

Fleming College and Trent University are working to increase the number of educators who have a meaningful understanding of Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives. The two schools recently signed an agreement that will provide Fleming students with a pathway into Trent’s new Indigenous Bachelor of Education program. Eligible graduates of Fleming’s General Arts and Science—University Transfer program will receive advanced standing in Trent’s Indigenous B.Ed. Students applying for admission to the program will be required to self-identify as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit. Fleming

York's Glendon College to broaden students’ horizons with new dual-degree international partnership

York University’s Glendon College has entered a new partnership that will encourage students to combine educations in business and the liberal arts while enjoying new internship opportunities in France, Canada, or other French-speaking countries. The agreement recently signed with the emlyon business school in France will also give Glendon students the ability to earn an International Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at Glendon and a Bachelor of Business Administration from emlyon. “This unique partnership will … not only respond to Ontario’s need for bilingual business education, but will also offer students, through internships, wonderful opportunities to explore cross-cultural business issues,” said Glendon Principal Donald Ipperciel. York

The case against mandatory phys ed in PSE

“Phys ed requirements are less common than they once were, but in some ways, more necessary than they’ve ever been,” writes Matt Reed for Inside Higher Ed, who nonetheless disagrees with recent calls to reinstate such requirements in American PSE. While Reed admits to the physical, cognitive, and mental health benefits of exercise, he argues that there is no readily available data available to suggest that students at schools with health and wellness requirements are healthier than students at schools without them. For this reason, Reed concludes that schools should remain committed to their academic missions “and let students make their own choices about their bodies.” Inside Higher Ed

New data analytics hub at Brock to promote private, public collaboration

Brock University is creating a new research hub, called the Centre for Business Analytics, to strengthen interdisciplinary research collaboration on data analytics. The Centre’s objectives include training the next generation of data scientists, acting as a source of expertise for both public and private sectors, and supporting data analytics researchers from a variety of fields. “With the establishment of this Centre, Brock will join few institutions in Canada that are leading this research frontier,” said Goodman School of Business Professor Anteneh Ayanso. “This new collaborative research environment will not only substantiate our presence and leadership in analytics training, but also give us a unique competitive advantage in attracting scholars and graduate students.” Brock

NOSM, AFMC help medical students apply for northern electives through online portal

Canadian and international undergraduate medical students will now have the opportunity to apply for electives in Northern Ontario thanks to an online portal created by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine joined the portal last week and describes it as “a national information hub and centralized application service” that provides a “one-stop shop” for students looking to find and apply to medical electives in Canada. “At NOSM, we know that there are two important factors that influence students in returning to Northern and rural areas: positive one-on-one educational opportunities, and exposure to the quality of life in Northern Ontario,” says NOSM Dean Roger Strasser. NOSM

Academic rigour doesn't depend on how many pages of reading you assign, says Chronicle contributor

“Faced with the question—How much reading should we assign?—I think most instructors would agree that the best answer is: ‘It depends,’” writes Charlie Wesley for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Wesley disagrees with the idea that academic rigour can be connected in any meaningful way to the number of pages of reading an instructor assigns to a class. What ultimately matters, the author argues, is accomplishing the learning goals of the class, and this means achieving “a delicate balance between the various ability levels of students in the class, the goals and outcomes of the course, the kinds of texts being analyzed, and the methods brought to that analysis.” Chronicle of Higher Education

Northern College to offer on-site mining training under new agreement

Northern College has announced that it will provide high quality training to students in the mining industry through a new partnership with Glencore’s Kidd Operations. A recently signed MOU will commit the two groups to collaborate on modular programming that will be offered through the college's Northern School of Hard Rock Mining and delivered on-site at Kidd Operations’ mine in Timmins. “The signing of this MoU signifies the strength of the college’s relationship with industry partners … to deliver onsite modular training to students, providing authentic hands-on skills and experience,” said Northern President Fred Gibbons. Northern