Top Ten

July 20, 2016

MUN seeks to end victim blaming, solicits input for revised sexual harassment policy

Memorial University is seeking input on a new sexual harassment policy that aims to combat victim blaming and encourages witnesses of such harassment to speak up, reports CBC. The new policy includes a definition of “consent” and acknowledges that sexual harassment can occur online. Its title has also been changed to include sexual assault alongside harassment. Sexual abuse lawyer Lynne Moore, however, argues that the policy still needs improvement in key areas, which would include a duty on the university’s part to report sexual harassment and assault complaints to the police instead of only encouraging survivors to do so. CBC

New StatCan study looks into connection between layoffs, PSE enrolment for adults

“Some Canadian adults are turning job loss into a chance to pursue postsecondary education,” says a new report from Statistics Canada. Using data from 2001 to 2011, StatCan found that workers who were laid off during the 2008 recession were two to four percentage points more likely to enroll in PSE than other workers. This higher likelihood of entering PSE continued through the year of the recession and into the year afterward. The study concludes that its findings provide new insight into the factors influencing adults’ decisions to enter PSE, a subject that has reportedly received much less attention than the factors influencing youth. StatCan | Report

uSask Aboriginal students to explore their cultural identity through immersion in Chinese society, language

A new program at the University of Saskatchewan aims to foster a sense of cultural identity among Aboriginal students while offering them the chance to explore Chinese culture and language. This summer, the Aboriginal Student China Study Tour brought a group of 20 students and two staff members to Beijing and Xi’an, China to visit universities and elementary schools while learning conversational Mandarin. Before returning to Canada, the students also took a standardized test that ranks non-native speakers on their language skills. “I got to see different kinds of Aboriginal groups as well as the Chinese culture, so it was good for me in both senses,” said engineering student Chennoa Tracey. uSask

BC continues push to fill 1M jobs in next decade with investment in new VCC training equipment

“BC is looking at a million job openings in the next ten years,” says British Columbia’s Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson, which is why the province has invested nearly $700K in new trades equipment at Vancouver Community College. At the funding announcement last week, Wilkinson noted that training apprentices with the latest industry-specific equipment will be essential to the health of the future labour market. The funding will be used to purchase vehicles and parts for the automotive service technician program, new training engines for heavy-mechanical trades, and a mobile food station for culinary arts. VCC

New Yukon program offers academic, non-academic support for students facing dismissal

Yukon College is enhancing its efforts around student retention with the introduction of a new support framework for students who are on academic probation or facing academic dismissal. Drawing on successful university programs in British Columbia and Alberta, the REBOOT program will pair students with Yukon’s Learning Assistance Centre to develop a personalized plan that fits the students’ schedules and addresses the specific challenges they are facing. A Yukon release explains that the program will address both academic and non-academic issues in the students’ lives, including “sample sessions or workshops focus[ing] on study skills, time management, exam preparation, reducing test anxiety, and personal budgeting tips.” CBC | Yukon

The conversation about WIL should focus on what matters, writes HEQCO president

The recent conversation around universal work-integrated learning and experiential education in Ontario has unfortunately put people’s focus on logistics instead of values, writes Harvey Weingarten, president of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Weingarten notes that many have focused on narrow discussions, such as hypothetical arguments over what would “count” as WIL under such a mandate, and instead encourages readers to focus more on the reasons behind advocating for a universal mandate in the first place. With this aim in mind, Weingarten offers four guiding principles that should apply to any entity receiving governmental funds for WIL. HEQCO

New masters at Queen’s to usher in era of “bigger-picture training”

A new online master’s program offered by Queen’s University will work to give professionals in the minerals and mining sector a greater understanding of the large-scale forces shaping their industry. The interdisciplinary Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership will draw instructors from the Queen’s Faculty of Law, Smith School of Business, Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Political Science, and Economics, in addition to attracting external industry leaders to give students perspective on the diverse disciplines and opinions that impact their workplace. “This program sets a new standard for course design at the graduate level and exemplifies Queen’s mission to provide innovative, interdisciplinary programs that offer students flexibility and both on-campus and online components,” says Queen’s Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) Jill Scott. Queen’s

No, educational developers are not trying to eradicate the lecture, says IHE contributor

“Is there really a war on lecturing going on across higher ed? Do learning professionals want to kill the lecture?” asks Joshua Kim for Inside Higher Ed. Reflecting on a recent pro-lecture essay that appeared in the Atlantic, Kim questions whether the lecture is truly facing the level of attack that many teachers think it is, and whether educational developers deserve the suspicion often directed toward them by pro-lecture faculty. Commenting on the same debate, John Warner that the lecture remains a vital part of teaching, but only if instructors use it to promote curiosity and exploration rather than trying to make it appear as if professors have all the answers. Inside Higher Ed (Kim) | Inside Higher Ed (Warner)

Laurentian instructor looks to “gamify” his computer science curriculum

A computer science professor at Laurentian university has begun using the design features of popular games in an effort to improve learning outcomes for students. CBC notes that Aaron Langille’s work is part of an established movement by teachers across the world to incentivize students and give them a more vested interest in learning through gamification. Langille’s approach includes assigning points to students for attending lectures and assigning badges for classroom participation. He adds that the goal is not so much about turning education into a game as much as encouraging students to engage in ways traditional approaches have not. “[In some of my classes] there are 150 to 180 students and they're rather shy,” Langille says. “Sometimes it takes a little nudge, like an adult 'gold star' to put your hand up.” CBC

Redeemer president resigns amidst ongoing enrolment, budget pressures

The president of Redeemer College has left his post after reaching mutual agreement with the Hamilton-based institution. Hubert Krygsman's resignation, effective October 31st, will come a year and a half into a term that was set to end in 2020. A Redeemer release notes that the decision “comes after several years [of] significant challenges in enrolment and operating budget.” Krygsman has stated that he feels it is time for new leadership at the college and that he remains “passionate and confident about Redeemer's mission and vision as a Christian university.” Hamilton Spectator | CBC | Redeemer