Top Ten

November 14, 2016

“It is impossible” to match graduation rates with labour market demand, writes HEQCO president

 “[We] never get it right! We either oversupply or undersupply” when it comes to graduation rates for regulated professions, writes Harvey Weingarten, president of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The author argues that one of the reasons that graduation rates are never in sync with labour market demand is because “there is no privileged or direct pipeline between specific fields of study/programs/degrees and specific jobs.” Citing a recently published HEQCO study, Weingarten concludes that “the evidence—no matter how much policy makers, politicians and students would like it to be otherwise—is compelling and incontrovertible … it is impossible to figure out how many people we should enrol in a specific postsecondary program to fill, but not overfill, the expected number of specific jobs.” HEQCO

UBC’s Museum of Anthropology receives $7M in Indigenous art

The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia has received a donation of over 200 pieces of Indigenous art from an anonymous donor, the Doggone Foundation, and the Government of Canada. Valued at roughly $7M, the gift is believed to be the largest collection of Northwest Coast First Nations art to return to BC in recent decades. “It is an honour for UBC to receive this distinguished collection of Indigenous art at MOA where it will be accessible to both the campus community and visitors,” said UBC President Santa Ono. “The collection supports the university’s long-standing commitment to Aboriginal engagement, and to furthering the public’s awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures and histories.” UBC | Vancouver Sun | Medicine Hat News | CBC

Stop funding merit-based scholarships as “thinly-veiled recruitment tools,” writes OUSA contributor

“My ask is simple. To the Province of Ontario: eliminate the use of public funding and tuition dollars to pay for merit-based scholarships at all universities,” writes Blake Oliver for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. Oliver argues that merit-based scholarships are used primarily as recruiting tools to attract the best possible students, but adds that they create a form of “arms race” that ultimately draws funds away from students who need the most support. Oliver concludes by asking, “how can we allow institutions to continue to offer these merit-based entrance scholarships, when all they will do is undermine goals to meet unmet OSAP need and increase university access?” OUSA

New SMU campaign aims to show “vital” relevance of liberal arts

Saint Mary’s University has launched a website and series of videos designed to show that “an Arts education is not only relevant in today’s world, but vital.” Located at, the online materials showcase faculty, students, and others involved in the liberal arts who are committed to outreach and engagement. “A Liberal Arts education develops critical thinkers and producers of knowledge that promote positive discussion and change,” says SMU President Robert Summerby-Murray. “We believe the Liberal Arts can play a key role in debates that formulate public policy and encourage excellence in research.” SMU

U4 League announces new name of Maple League of Universities

Acadia University, Bishop’s University, Mount Allison University, and St Francis Xavier University have announced that the U4 League will now be known as the Maple League of Universities. The four institutions formed the then U4 League in 2013 to collaborate on a number of initiatives. A Mount Allison release explains that since then, the four universities have worked collaboratively to expand the breadth and depth of opportunities offered to students, and have undertaken a number of initiatives together. La Presse explains that the group aims is to invest in joint student recruitment on a national level. MTA | La Presse

George Brown, OBHS launch of Lucie and Thornton Blackburn Conference Centre

George Brown College and the Ontario Black History Society have launched the Lucie and Thornton Blackburn Conference Centre, which is George Brown’s first large-scale conference facility. George Brown explains that the facility is named after the entrepreneurs and philanthropists who settled in Toronto in the 1830s after fleeing slavery in the United States. “We are delighted to be honouring the important legacy of Lucie and Thornton Blackburn at our new conference centre,” remarked Anne Sado, President of George Brown. “The Blackburns were contemporaries of our namesake, George Brown, and together worked on anti-slavery initiatives. In many ways, their story mirrors our own commitment to supporting the aspirations of a remarkably diverse student body by instilling in them the values of entrepreneurship, activism and leadership.” Four students from George Brown’s School of Design have also created a mural at the centre depicting the namesakes' story. GBC

NLC renews partnership with Northern Opportunities

Northern Lights College has renewed an articulation agreement with the group Northern Opportunities that will help learners transition from secondary to postsecondary. The agreement provides students with career planning and dual credit opportunities that allow them to earn secondary and postsecondary credits simultaneously as they work toward graduation. The partnership connects NLC with three Northeast BC school districts and multiple industry partners—BC Hydro, Spectra, Encana and Shell Canada. “This partnership is a unique success story, which has delivered graduates for the past several years whose post-secondary credentials were earned as they were working towards high school graduation,” said NLC President Bryn Kulmatycki. “The flexibility of training options in the dual credit program is second-to-none.” NLC

Confederation, Fort William First Nation partner to support Indigenous learners

Confederation College and Fort William First Nation have signed an MOU to create new opportunities for Indigenous learners in the First Nation and beyond. The agreement specifically formalizes the partners’ efforts to deliver community-based education and training in a blended format to the First Nation with programming and support from Confederation College. It will also foster consultation and participation from FWFN members throughout College policy development in the area of Indigenous education, as well as encourage the establishment of scholarships and bursaries for FWFN students, especially in the area of skilled trades. “The project that is being created here in Fort William First Nation is just the beginning stage of meaningful opportunities for our people,” said Chief Peter Collins. “It is a chance for those who have fallen through the cracks of the traditional education system to set goals, encouraging them to pursue post-secondary education and trades training.” NationTalk

Fleming launches unique Sustainable Waste Management program

Fleming College’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences is launching a Sustainable Waste Management program, which it says will be the only college program in Ontario focused on this sector. The two-semester graduate certificate program will be delivered at Fleming’s Frost Campus and will teach students to create waste management plans. “We are excited to add this new program to our post-graduate certificate offerings at the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences,” said Linda Skilton, Principal of Frost Campus and Dean of the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences. “The need for this program has been identified by our industry partners and endorsed by professionals who are currently working in this field. We expect that this program will be in high demand and meet the needs of both current and future employers.” Fleming

ON college students testify to benefits of hybrid learning

“Hybrid learning gives us the advantage of having technology available to learn in the way that we’ve grown used to,” says Niagara College student Allison Pillwein, who notes that completing tasks and quizzes for an online psychology class suited her learning style much more than classroom learning. The course’s instructor Laura Hotham adds that she finds the combination of classroom lecture and online activities gives students the opportunity they need to reflect on what they have learned in class and digest it. Susan Cluett, dean of the faculty of regional and continuing education at Fanshawe College, also notes that the school has increased its blended deliveries by 50% and its online deliveries by 75% to provide students with more learning options. Globe and Mail