Top Ten

August 17, 2016

Focus on rural students, doctors leads uCalgary to ease enrolment criteria for Selkirk pre-med grads

Students of Selkirk College’s pre-medicine program will have a better chance of continuing their education at the University of Calgary thanks to a new agreement between the schools. CBC reports that out-of-province students have traditionally had to meet different application criteria than in-province students at uCalgary, but the new agreement will allow Selkirk students to enrol if they meet the same enrolment criteria as Alberta-based applicants. The new agreement was reportedly reached to help address the underrepresentation of rural students in uCalgary’s medical applicant pool, along with a need for more rural doctors practicing in AB. CBC | Selkirk

SMU deepens China ties with new master’s partnership

Saint Mary’s University has deepened its relationship with China through a new partnership with Guangdong University of Finance. The agreement will allow Guangdong students to complete their first three years of a bachelor’s education in China, then transfer to SMU for their fourth year of study. Upon completion of this fourth year, they will be able to enter SMU's Master of Technology Entrepreneurship & Innovation program. “In recent years the Chinese government has announced numerous measures to support mass entrepreneurship and innovation,” says SMU President Robert Summerby-Murray. “This new partnership not only has close ties to those measures, but it is also Saint Mary’s way of taking a leading role in the new Nova Scotia-China strategy.” SMU

Flexibility, versatility can and should be taught, writes Globe contributor

“65 per cent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist,” writes Vanessa Federovich for the Globe and Mail. Citing a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, Federovich argues that the increasing speed of change in the labour market means that flexibility and versatility are essential skills that current and future grads will not be able to do without. For this reason, Federovich encourages all levels of education to expose students to curriculum that “encourages teamwork and innovative thinking and offers students real opportunities for leadership well before graduation.” Globe and Mail

uSask Indigenous Land Based Education gives students opportunity to learn from knowledge keepers, land

A two-week course in Indigenous Land Based Education offered through the University of Saskatchewan brings students out of the classroom to interact with knowledge keepers and learn on the land. Educator Tasha Spillett explains that many students find the experience to be transformative, adding that “we can talk about decolonization, we can talk about Indigenization within the walls of the academy, but once our bodies are out on the land it looks and feels differently.” The course was reportedly developed by Peggy and Stan Wilson of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in an effort to change the way that Indigenous knowledges and peoples are viewed by academia. CBC

European study lends further evidence for gender bias in student evaluations

A new European study suggests that female postsecondary instructors are judged more harshly than their male peers in course evaluations, reports the Times Higher Education. The study looked at five years’ worth of evaluations from Erasmus University Rotterdam’s International Institute of Social Studies, and found that female lecturers were 11 percentage points less likely to receive an average score of at least four out of five from their students. THE reports that the study’s findings are part of a growing body of evidence that gender bias is a pervasive problem in student surveys, a problem that has led many to question the validity of using such surveys to inform tenure and promotion decisions. Times Higher Education

Residence-based PSE is “practice for life,” writes Chronicle contributor

A residence-based liberal arts university experience offers “practice for life” during a critical time in a young person’s development, writes James Lang for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Quoting from a recent book on college-based decision-making, Lang argues that being thrust into constant interaction with different types of people and having to meet deadlines teach students the interpersonal and time-management skills that form the bedrock of fulfilling adult lives. Reflecting on his daughter’s PSE experience, Lang reflects, “I have little doubt that repeated exposure to small decisions about her future helped her find her way to that dramatically new place.” Chronicle of Higher Education

uRegina includes Campus For All graduates in Alumni Association

The University of Regina now allows graduates of the Campus For All certificate program to become members of uRegina’s Alumni Association. Graduates of the Campus For All program, which reportedly supports 12 intellectually challenged students each year, were previously ineligible for the Alumni association due to the fact that their program offered certificates and not degrees. “I felt it was a way of recognizing them and the work that they do here as students,” commented Campus For All Co-ordinator Faith Savarese, who approached the association about the change. “It’s not about the benefits; it’s about being recognized as alumni of the U of R.” Association President Kaytlyn Barber added that the change makes the association “more reflective of our university community.” Leader-Post

For-profit PSE faces similar problems across countries, says study

A report out of the Centre for Global Higher Education in the UK comparing private and for-profit higher education sectors in six different countries has found that the sector provides few benefits and needs stricter regulation. The report—which compares Australia, Chile, Germany, Japan, Poland, and the United States—found key similarities between the countries’ for-profit sectors, including the fact that for-profits were typically more teaching-oriented than their counterparts. However, the report also noted that for-profit institutes were particularly vulnerable to fluctuating student demand, and that there was little evidence to support claims that for-profits improve the quality or cost of higher education. The article concludes with a call for more publicly available data on the for-profit postsecondary education sector. Inside Higher Ed

NS law society will not appeal ruling on TWU law school accreditation

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society has announced that it will not take an ongoing legal battle with Trinity Western University to the Supreme Court of Canada, reports the Globe and Mail. Last month, the NS Court of Appeal issued a ruling stating that graduates of TWU’s law school should be able to practice within the province. The Society had the opportunity to appeal the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada, but has stated that it plans to “take the matter no further” after receiving legal advice. Globe and Mail

Experiment with teaching evaluations to improve effectiveness, says IHE contributor

Teaching evaluations can cause a distinct sensation of unease, writes Annelise Heinz in Inside Higher Ed, but there are ways that evaluations can be used to improve teaching, gain a better sense of efficacy, and better meet students’ needs. Heinz recommends enriching the options offered in evaluations in order to diversify their forms. As an example, Heinz suggests providing more frequent, informal feedback opportunities and focusing questions to assess important goals. Heinz further discusses incorporating student self-reflection into evaluations and encourages instructors to experiment with this process. Inside Higher Ed