Top Ten

September 19, 2016

Eastern Ontario universities, colleges team up to address "generational change" in workforce

Presidents from five universities and four colleges in Eastern Ontario are collaborating to support new opportunities for students pursuing careers in the field of municipal administration and community services. Working with municipal and economic development leaders, the institutions have formed the Eastern Ontario Task Force. The group will aim to create a Workforce Development Strategy to help prepare for what a Carleton release calls “a major generational change in the Eastern Ontario labour force.” “Through the Eastern Ontario Task Force, we want to build on the strengths and address the challenges faced by Eastern Ontario communities,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. Carleton | Fleming

AB invests $3.6M to support mental health on campus

Alberta is looking to bolster mental health supports for postsecondary students with a $3.6M investment in mental health programming at the province’s campuses. The funds will reportedly be used to support the hiring of health practitioners and the hosting of mental health workshops, stress reduction events, and peer support programs. “Transitioning into post-secondary can be a difficult time for students,” says Marlin Schmidt, AB Minister of Advanced Education. “In response, many of Alberta’s campuses have made excellent progress in developing mental health resources. I’m proud to say our government is listening to students, which is why we’re extending funding to ensure a healthy post-secondary environment that supports our students on their paths to academic success.” NationTalk | Edmonton Journal

Yukon celebrates opening of Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining

Yukon College has opened a new $8.3M mining education building that will “help ensure that the next wave of skilled miners are Yukoners,” according to YK Premier Darrell Pasloski. The new Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining at the college’s Whitehorse campus reportedly has two sections: one containing classrooms, and the other containing a multi-use workshop floor. CBC reports that the first programs to be taught in the building will be carpentry and electrical, and that students will be building a storage unit for the new building. A Yukon release reports that the CNIM was opened a year ahead of schedule. Yukon | CBC

The K-shaped future of Liberal Arts

“We could formerly claim our liberal arts majors were distinguished by their ‘T-shaped Learning,’ where depth in a particular discipline … was complemented by breadth of understanding and by ‘transferable skills,’” writes Thomas Carey for Inside Higher Ed, before diving into a discussion of the future of “K-shaped Learners” in the Liberal Arts. Carey states that some initial pilot studies have identified two emerging knowledge practices that could be well-suited for development in the liberal arts: Innovation Capacity and Knowledge Building Capacity. Carey outlines the many ways that these capabilities complement current liberal arts offerings and their growing necessity in the workplace. Inside Higher Ed

UBC completes construction on structure of world’s tallest wooden building

The University of British Columbia has completed construction on the structure of its Brock Commons student residence, which UBC states is the world’s tallest wood building. The structure, which stands 18 storeys high, has reportedly been completed four months ahead of schedule and is targeting LEED Gold certification. “Wood is increasingly recognized as an important, innovative and safe building material choice,” said UBC President Santa Ono. “This new tall wood building reflects UBC’s leadership in sustainable construction and our commitment to providing our students with more on-campus housing.” Brock Commons is expected to house 400 students in September 2017. UBC

PSE worth the investment regardless of discipline, writes Edmonton Journal contributor

“While not everyone who graduates from a post-secondary program will land a well-paying job and keep it, the aggregate numbers suggest that the time, effort and money required to earn a post-secondary credential are likely worth it,” writes Rob Roach for the Edmonton Journal. Citing his own education in political science, Roach insists that a university education is worthwhile regardless of which discipline a person pursues. The author concludes, however, that choosing a discipline should be informed by one’s financial outlook, employment expectations, and existing data on the connection between certain disciplines and employment. Edmonton Journal

GBC opens residence in downtown Toronto

George Brown College has celebrated the opening of its first residence. A GBC release states that the residence, named The George, is located in downtown Toronto and marks an “exciting new phase of the George Brown College student experience.” “The launch of our first residence is a proud moment in George Brown College history,” said George Brown College President Anne Sado. “Designed as a living and learning community, The George extends the student experience beyond the classroom, while further developing the George Brown College standard of excellence.” GBC

Praise for innovation often conceals deeper problems with American PSE, writes CHE contributor

“Higher education has endured cut after cut over decades,” writes Scott Carlson for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and “the answer to dealing with those cuts has often been to ‘innovate.’” The author  argues that the emphasis on innovation in American PSE can often serve as “an out for policy makers who don’t support the enterprise at the levels it needs to do its job.” As one senior associate dean describes, “the pressure to be innovative is actually the pressure to be new, rather than the pressure to effect change,” which can often position innovation as a temporary solution that fails to address the long-term problem of systemic underfunding for PSE. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

uMoncton teams up with Claritech to bring Internet of Things to air quality

A team from the Université de Moncton’s Department of Electrical Engineering has partnered with ClairiTech Innovations to explore new ways to integrate the Internet of Things into North American products. The project will specifically focus on ClairiTech’s products in air household air quality. “The Internet of Things is a trend that is becoming increasingly important for consumers who wish to access and control devices and remote equipment using computers, tablets, or smart phones,” says uMoncton Professor Mohsen Ghribi. uMoncton

The alt-ac career in five stages

“Those of us working in an alt-ac career always feel like we are making it up as we are going along,” writes Joshua Kim for Inside Higher Ed, which is why the author attempts to lay out what he sees as the five basic stages of an alt-ac career track. Kim offers a model that describes exploration, progress, satisfaction, evaluation, and legacy as the five sequential stages of an alt-ac career. He suggests that following an initial period of “traditional discipline training,” one can move into the “alt-ac pivot,” in which an individual “falls in love” with their role as a non-faculty educator. Kim concludes with a series of questions designed to help those pursuing an alt-ac career give more shape to their future aspirations. Inside Higher Ed