Top Ten

August 25, 2016

MSVU to become first NS institution to offer fully online MEd in elementary, middle school education

Mount Saint Vincent University is set to become the first institution in Nova Scotia to offer a MEd in elementary and middle school education entirely online. An MSVU release states that the new program will be offered in a part-time format and take just over two years to complete. “The MEd in elementary and middle school education is a well-established program at the Mount that now students will have the benefit of accessing from wherever they may be,” said Robert Bérard, Professor and Director of Graduate Education within the MSVU Faculty of Education. “As well, this format offers a flexible option for students who are fitting graduate studies into already busy lives.” MSVU

Carleton cannot leave rape culture out of its sexual assault policy, writes Citizen contributor

“Rape culture exists. These are the three little words that administrators at Carleton University are having such trouble including in their sexual violence policy,” writes Madeline Ashby for the Ottawa Citizen. The author refers to conflicts that have arisen around Carleton's ongoing efforts to produce a standalone sexual violence policy before January 2017. Ashby offers several examples to establish the existence of rape culture, arguing that it begins in childhood, and concluding that “students, advocates, and activists aren’t asking Carleton for a lot. What they’re asking for is an admission that this is the culture we all live in, and that it’s our responsibility to change it.” Ottawa Citizen

Cambrian, Seneca pursue “north-south” collaboration to help students boost education, credentials

Seneca College and Cambrian College have entered a “north-south partnership” designed to improve student access to a range of degree and diploma programs. The recently signed agreement includes new pathways to allow for the maximum transfer of credits between the schools, thus making it easier to students or graduates of one institution to boost their credentials or pursue further education at the other. “We are delighted to partner with Cambrian on this important initiative to expand degree and diploma pathways for students,” said Seneca President David Agnew. Cambrian President Bill Best added that the agreement “supports Cambrian’s and Seneca’s joint commitment to provide timely access to in-demand career preparation.” Seneca | Cambrian

Going the “extra mile” in the PhD supervisor-student experience through “walking supervision”

PhD dissertation supervisors can improve their relationships with students and boost student wellbeing by turning supervisory appointments into extended walks, according to Sarahjane Jones, research fellow at Birmingham City University’s Centre for Health and Social Care Research. Times Higher Education reports that this form of supervision can also help students open up to their supervisors about concerns because the experience takes them away from places where they might be overheard by faculty or other students. Jones insists that academic productivity is too often measured by the amount of time spent at a desk, and adds that “that time is also dedicated to the student as there is no email, no ringing phone or people popping in and out of the office, so I think they prefer it for that reason.” Times Higher Education

Tenured faculty should advocate for adjuncts out of self-interest, writes IHE contributor

“In their own self-interest, departments and faculty should strongly advocate to pay their adjunct faculty as high a per class wage as possible,” writes John Warner for Inside Higher Ed. The reason, Warner argues, is that paying adjuncts relatively small amounts of money erodes the perceived economic “value” of teaching, which will inevitably erode the protections of tenure over time. “Many have turned at least a half-blind eye to the devaluation of the labor of teaching as long as it has been confined to general education courses, largely staffed by non-tenurable faculty,” Warner adds, concluding that it is naïve to believe that tenured faculty will be unaffected by the long-term devaluation of academic labour. Inside Higher Ed

Canadian institutions should better promote the “broadening” effects of travel abroad, says St Michael’s President

“If university is about higher education, international experience—travelling, working, or studying in other countries—is about broader education,” writes University of St Michael’s College President David Mulroney. The author reflects on the impact that his own travels abroad had on his undergraduate study and on his personal and intellectual development. Mulroney adds that the value of travel abroad, for him, is “the benefit of experiencing things for myself, testing my assumptions, and trying to see the world as others see it.” Mulroney concludes that Canada and its institutions need to do a better job of promoting opportunities for students to travel abroad, citing current statistics showing that while 97% of schools offer these opportunities, only 3% of students pursue them. Universities Canada

PSE institutions should offer money-back guarantees, write TIME contributors

Students in the US accumulate high levels of debt to attend university because they expect the investment to pay off, write Beth Akers and Stuart Butler. Yet there are many factors that can interrupt their study or prevent students from finding jobs in their field after graduation. The authors argue that a postsecondary education should be treated like other major purchases, writing that “if your new car’s engine breaks down, the warranty will cover the cost of the repair.” The authors highlight a number of institutions that are beginning to make various forms of guarantees to their students, concluding that “guarantees offer one more tool that can help students and families use higher education as an effective means for improving their financial future.” TIME

63% of UK institutions attacked by “ransomware,” say FOI documents

More than three out of five postsecondary institutions in the UK have been the target of a ransomware attack, according to Freedom of Information requests filed by an international cybersecurity company. 56% of institutions reported having experienced such an attack in the past year, while one institution admitted that it had been attacked on 21 separate occasions during this period. The inquiry also found that only one institution said it had contacted police following an attack, and the value of ransoms demanded ranged between £77 and £2,299. SC Magazine

RDC builds on partnership with Trinidad & Tobago

Red Deer College has expanded on its long-term partnership with Trinidad & Tobago through a new agreement with the country’s National Energy Skills Centre. An RDC release states that the new agreement will “provide greater stability and an improved academic framework” to the NESC by enhancing curricula for apprenticeships and by offering NESC graduates the opportunity to earn an RDC certificate if they meet a set of required standards. “Industry in Trinidad & Tobago is comprised primarily of multinational companies operating and competing in the international energy market,” says Kern Dass, President of NESC. “We are proud to partner with RDC to access and bring to our region the occupational standards set by Alberta.” RDC

Higher ed needs to shift its focus from excellent teaching to exemplary teaching, says IHE contributor

Focusing on teaching excellence “can have negative side effects in promoting an individualistic and competitive environment,” writes Tom Carey for Inside Higher Ed. The author argues for a shift in emphasis from excellent teaching to “exemplary” teaching, adding that the latter promotes “a collective outcome of surpassing past accomplishments in teaching and learning, by fostering professional teaching at the individual level and co-opetition at the institutional level.” Carey highlights specific ways that institutions can encourage and recognize exemplary teaching, which include rewarding such teaching through government funding formulas. Inside Higher Ed