Top Ten

December 15, 2016

94% of ON university grads find well-paying jobs within 24 months of finishing school: survey

More than nine out of ten university graduates from Ontario find well-paying jobs within two years of graduating, according to a new study conducted for the province’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. The survey-based study showed that university graduates in full-time jobs earn an average salary of almost $42K six months after graduation, and an average of more than $49K after two years. The report also found that employment rates and earnings for university undergraduates were higher than they were for any other level of education. A large majority of recent graduates in full-time jobs also said that their work was related to the skills they developed in their program of study. “In a complex and ever-changing world, Ontario’s universities are helping to build a brighter future for graduates, their families and communities, and the province,” said Council of Ontario Universities President David Lindsay. COU | Report (PDF)

CASA applauds introduction of fixed-rate contribution to Canada Student Loans Program

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations says it is optimistic about the recently announced fixed student contribution assessment for the Canada Student Loans Program. Prior to the change, students would receive government financial aid based on a number of factors, including an assessment of their earnings. CASA reports that this assessment was difficult to complete for many students whose hours of employment or incomes fluctuated over time. With the announced change, however, most students will be expected to contribute a fixed amount between $1.5K and $3K per year towards their studies. “If these changes have their intended outcome, a majority of students will benefit from increased financial aid,” said CASA Executive Director Michael McDonald. “The fixed contribution assessment, along with other recent CSLP announcements, goes a long way towards creating a more equitable and straightforward student financial aid system.” CASA

WesternU Student’s Council lobbies for Canada to fulfill its PSSSP pledge

The University Students' Council at Western University has been lobbying the federal government to fulfill a 2015 election promise that would see it add $50M each year to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, reports the Western Gazette. USC Vice-President Jamie Cleary notes that the current 2% cap on annual increases to the PSSSP is preventing the program from keeping pace with the rate of cost inflation at a number of institutions. “Year over year, what happens is there’s less money to the students accessing the pool. So it’s creating a problem for indigenous students accessing post-secondary education,” said Cleary. According to CBC News, the number of Indigenous students in Canada receiving financial assistance has declined 18.3% since 1997. “We’re excited to see it move forward and we’ve heard promising things from the budget. That hopefully the campaign promise will be followed through as well,” Cleary remarked. Western Gazette

NB cuts tuition credits to fund Tuition Access Bursary

New Brunswick has introduced legislation that will eliminate education and tuition tax credits to help pay for its new Tuition Access Bursary, which makes postsecondary tuition free for families earning less than $60K per year. Yet some critics, including student representatives, have called the TAB program unfair due to his “hard cutoff” point, calling instead for a sliding scale for tuition assistance based on family income. “Often you have the scenario of not being able to afford university in the sense that your parents can’t help you pay for it,” said Jordan Tracey, Student Representative Council president of the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. “But you’re still, you’re kind of in that rock and a hard place situation where you also can’t get government funding because you make too much as a family.” Yet NB Post-Secondary Education Minister Donald Arseneault replied that if the province had adopted a sliding scale from the outset, “we would only have been able to offer free tuition next fall in 2017. We wanted to make sure those investments are touching New Brunswickers now.” Global News

New $115M STEM complex to cement innovation as core value for UOttawa

The University of Ottawa has broken ground on a $115M STEM complex that it says will create a “discovery district” and solidify innovation as one of the school’s core values. The complex will reportedly contain “open-concept ‘super labs,’ 3D-printing Makerspaces, and multidisciplinary spaces” and will encourage students from all fields of study to join the “invent-build-play” movement. The centre will also aim to help multi-disciplinary startups launch new products by providing expertise on regulatory issues, patenting, and advice on accessing venture capital. “Thanks to its interdisciplinary focus, the STEM complex will be a unique place for students from all faculties to meet and collaborate,” said UOttawa President Jacques Frémont. “It will provide fertile ground for the cross-pollination of ideas and for the nourishment of research breakthroughs.” Ottawa Citizen | UOttawa

StFX to create Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility with $3M endowment

St Francis Xavier University has announced that it will create a new chair to honour the achievements of a distinguished alumnus and foster corporate social responsibility, thanks to a $3M donation from alumni John and Adrienne Peacock. The chair will be named for John T Sears, whom StFX says was an “admired professor, respected administrator, community leader and mentor to many.” The gift marks one of the largest single donations in the history of the university. A former student of Sears, John Peacock said of the donation: “In our mind, we’re not giving, but giving back. When I think of my learning experience, there is one clear standout professor who made a great impression on me, that was Johnny Sears. I feel a special bond, which makes this occasion very significant and special.” StFX

BVC announces Institute for Aging Well

Bow Valley College has announced the creation of its new Institute for Aging Well. The institute reportedly aims to optimize opportunities for senior citizens who wish to give back to their communities and share their knowledge and experience. BVC explains that the institute will deliver programming that targets a variety of goals, including creating a positive perspective of healthy aging and creating a collaborative working environment between multiple stakeholders. “The Institute for Healthy Aging will position Bow Valley College as community leaders in changing the perception of healthy aging,” said development lead Sheila O'Brien. “Through forging linkages with the external community we will weave together a tapestry of the services and opportunities available to those in their 'Encore' years.” BVC

JIBC, TRU sign agreement benefiting paramedic program grads

Graduates from the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s paramedic programs can now transfer their credits toward Thompson Rivers University’s Bachelor of Health Science Open Learning degree program, thanks to a new articulation agreement between the institutions. The agreement “provides pathways between some of JIBC’s programs and TRU’s Bachelor of Health Science, which will open new avenues for academic and professional success for students across BC,” says TRU President Alan Shaver. “It also illustrates the ongoing shared commitment of our two institutions to student success.” JIBC reports that TRU’s open learning degree will open up new career options for graduates, as well as potentially facilitating career growth. JIBC

Tips for tapping into mobile learning

“Student devices won't go away, nor will the learning they'd like to do on it,” writes Dian Schaffhauser for Campus Technology. “That pressures instructors to stop teaching to the devices they're accustomed to using (think laptops) and start incorporating the go-to devices for their students: smartphones and cellphones.” Schaffhauser gives five tips on how faculty can best tap into mobile learning, which include confirming what devices are being used by students, using mobile technology and software that is appropriate to your subject, making use of safe texting with students, and “put[ting] their millennial hat on” when deciding on what methods would best benefit their to use. Campus Technology

KPU joins Polytechnics Canada

Polytechnics Canada has welcomed Vancouver’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University as its newest member. Polytechnics Canada CEO Nobina Robinson celebrated the announcement by calling KPU “a natural and welcome addition to our growing national organization.” KPU President Alan Davis echoed the sentiment, noting that “KPU has a polytechnic mandate to equip students with the critical understanding, and social and ethical awareness necessary for good citizenship and rewarding careers. We’re proud to join Polytechnics Canada, which shares this commitment to experiential learning, applied research, and industry-aligned programs that allow students to link their studies to work and to local and global communities.” Polytechnics Canada