Top Ten

August 18, 2016

Universities need to think beyond the empty language of “success,” writes UA contributor

University communications have entered an era of “me-oriented branding” that is powered by a “pitiless rhetoric of conquest and success,” writes Sue Sorensen for University Affairs. An associate professor of English at Canadian Mennonite University, Sorensen argues for the continued importance of mission statements and the necessity for these statements to offer something more meaningful than repetitive promises of accomplishment and individual excellence. The author concludes with a call for bolder and more radical statements of university mission, asking “if we don’t talk about commitment, dissent, justice, open inquiry, insight, compassion and a host of other possibly embarrassing but still vital values, then who will?” University Affairs

McGill combines music, business programming in new music entrepreneurship minor

A new collaboration between McGill University’s Schulich School of Music and Desautels Faculty of Management aims to provide bachelor of music students with the skills they need to better manage a career in their field. A McGill release explains that students will develop essential skills specific to music while their Management courses will cover topics such as basic accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurship. The release notes that the program specifically aims to provide students “with an understanding of how to conceptualize, develop and manage successful new ventures, as well as manage their careers as performers, music teachers and arts administrators, including related activities such as marketing, fundraising, publicizing and financing.” McGill

Canadore to deliver First Nations Early Childhood Education program

Canadore College is set to deliver “a unique First Nations culturally-infused early childhood education program” starting this fall. The two-year Early Childhood Education - Anishinaabemowin diploma program will be delivered at the Kenjegwen-Teg Education Institute and the Seven Generations Education Institute. A Canadore release notes that the program was developed to address declining rates of Anishinabemowin speakers in Anishinabe communities and to prepare proficient Ojibwe language speakers for employment as early childhood educators in an Ojibwe immersion setting. Canadore

“What I wish I’d known”: CV contributor provides advice for new administrators

Reflecting on her experiences with transitioning into an administrative role at a US college, Elizabeth Lehfeldt gives the advice that she wishes she had received when she first entered into her new role. Lehfeldt recommends building a network of go-to people for questions or concerns, working to avoid the more isolated work atmosphere of administration after having a faculty role, and being willing to acknowledge mistakes. The author also discusses the importance of capabilities such as delegating tasks, identifying what you need to do your job better, and knowing what constitutes a true emergency, in order to keep a healthy work balance. Chronicle Vitae

Arts grads more likely to feel their education was not worth the money, says English study

A new study by England’s National Union of Students has found that just over one in three arts graduates from English institutions feel that their education was worth the fees they paid. Overall, 37% of respondents who paid fees of up to £9,000 annually said that their education was good value for their money. By comparison, 81% of medical graduates and 58% of “university leavers” who studied science, technology, engineering, or mathematics felt that their education was worth the money they paid. The study also found that arts graduates tended to earn less than their counterparts, with 43% of those with full-time employment earning less than £15,000 a year and 84% making less than £20,000. Times Higher Education

New bachelor of education to be taught by community members at Listuguj First Nation

Members of three First Nations communities will soon have the opportunity to pursue a bachelor of education program at the Listuguj First Nation. The program’s first cohort will consist of 25 Mi'kmaq students from the Listuguj, Eel River Bar, and Gesgapegiag First Nations. Courses will be taught by community members who hold master’s degrees and PhDs. When describing the program’s benefits, Listuguj Chief Darcy Gray notes that “first off it's being offered here in Listuguj. Secondly it's being taught primarily by our people and third, you're going to see so much incorporation of our traditions, our culture, our history, our ways of learning traditional knowledge. Those kind of things will be written into our program and delivered by our people.” CBC

Eight tips for having a well-functioning academic board

“So what makes for a really effective academic board?” asks Nita Temmerman for University World News. To get readers started, the author lays out eight basic propositions for improving the operations of academic boards, which include: having clearly defined roles for members, having a board that is the right size for a particular institution, and having a broadly represented and balanced membership. “Academic governance is a fundamental element of a higher education provider’s all-encompassing governance structure,” notes Temmerman. “If it’s not effective, it calls into question the whole academic framework for verifying quality and integrity in teaching, learning and scholarship in that institution.” University World News

MRU continuing studies sees registration spike during AB downturn

Mount Royal University has seen increasing student enrolments during Alberta’s economic downturn, particularly in its contuing studies program, reports AM 770. MRU Director of Marketing with the Faculty of Continuing Education Jenelle Peterson explains that much of the demand is coming from people looking to gain credentials so they can pursue opportunities in in-demand fields. She adds that the increase has been seen most in programs such as community health and child and youth studies. Overall, MRU”s Faculty of Continuing Studies has seen a 20% increase in applicants for six-month and one-year programs. AM 770

Researcher still coping with “surreal” experience of CIHR peer review

Researchers are still feeling the negative effects of proposed and abandoned changes to the peer review process at Canada’s major health research granting body, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Proposed revisions to the CIHR’s processes have been the subject of criticism in recent months, and McGill University researcher Véronique Bohbot says that the battle over the changes has left her research into Alzheimer’s disease underfunded for unjustifiable reasons. In an interview with the Citizen, Bohbot outlines the “surreal” process by which peer reviewers demonstrated a clear misunderstanding of her research, a problem that Bohbot argues is symptomatic of larger issues facing CIHR’s peer review process. Ottawa Citizen

Dal, HPL partner on rare video collection

Dalhousie University and the Halifax Public Libraries are partnering on the purchase of 5,500 titles from a local video store’s collection in order to ensure that rare and hard-to-find items remain in public circulation after the store closes. The purchase will cost the partners $125K, and a subset of the collection containing films that can be used in classes at the university will be housed at Dal’s Killam Memorial Library. “This is another exciting opportunity for the Dalhousie Libraries to work with our public library colleagues on a productive and innovative initiative of benefit to both the university community and the public,” said Dal University Librarian Donna Bourne-Tyson. CBC | Dal