Top Ten

January 12, 2017

CBU professor emeritus pens editorial asking for faculty, administration to make sacrifices

“I was a member of the founding board and I know how many people sacrificed to make our university possible,” writes Cape Breton University Professor Emeritus Greg MacLeod in a commentary on CBU's current state. The author explores the pressures facing the school, particularly those associated with declining enrolments and the fiscal deficit created by this trend. MacLeod argues that addressing CBU’s issues “should not be a blame game against faculty or board.” However, he suggests that the university could take several significant steps in addressing its financial issues, which include a voluntary 5% pay cut for all senior administrators and faculty members to help save the jobs of junior faculty. “The above suggestions are only suggestions,” the author concludes. “There is no legal obligation to make such sacrifices but there is a moral obligation.” Cape Breton Post

UWaterloo grad funds $10K student award by living at home

University of Waterloo graduate Michael Robson has decided to live with his parents in order to fund a student award at UWaterloo, reports CBC. Robson is putting forward $10K of his own money over the next five years to fund the Collective Movement Award for Waterloo students who volunteer and contribute to the school's Black, African, and Caribbean communities. CBC reports that Robson was involved with the University of Waterloo African Students Association, the Black Association for Student Expression, and the Association of Caribbean Students during his time at Waterloo. “With the award, the reason for the name Collective Movement, is I want to also start getting people to think of creating a collective culture of giving. When we give, we all win,” says Robson. CBC

OCADU looks to transform downtown Toronto with Creative City Campus

OCAD University announced this week that the design of its new “Creative City Campus” will be led by a Southern California architecture group. The building project will involve a series of renovations and additions to OCADU’s campus on McCaul Street in Toronto, including a 55,000 square foot addition and 95,000 square foot renovation for the main building. According to lead architect Thom Mayne, this building could redefine the university’s relationship with the city and provide the city with a new architectural landmark. “It’s a very interesting challenge,” he said. “We’re very interested in the education of art, the question of whether we can design an architecture that responds to that process.” The effort also includes a renovation and expansion of the university’s library, new studio and classroom spaces, a student commons, and the construction of an Indigenous Visual Culture and Student Centre. Globe and Mail | OCADU

Graduation timeline uncertain for hundreds of NS education students during teachers’ strike

“Education students at five Nova Scotia universities are at risk of not graduating this year as work-to-rule job action continues in classrooms,” reports the Chronicle Herald. The Association of Atlantic Universities reports that there are nearly 600 education students who currently need to complete a practicum in order to graduate with a Bachelor of Education. AAU Executive Director Peter Halpin says that the province’s universities are “deeply concerned” about the effects that work-to-rule could have on students, adding that “the seriousness of this issue and its potential long-term impacts cannot be understated.” University leaders have reportedly met with provincial officials to explore potential remedies to the situation. Chronicle Herald

MBA grad asks whether $125K tuition was worth the investment

“With degree in hand, I’ve been asking myself the big question: ‘Was the MBA worth it?’” asks Aubrey Chapnick for the Globe and Mail. Beyond the financial benefit, the author argues that some of the things that made the MBA most valuable were the experiences gained and the friendships made. Yet Chapnick also warns against the belief that getting an MBA will somehow make a person “rich overnight,” adding that “given how many people are setting off to go to business school, coupled with those who already have their MBA, the pure differentiation factor that the degree used to bring is, in my opinion, fading.” “Choosing to enroll in an MBA … is a complex decision that requires a lot of upfront work,” Chapnick concludes. “For all those considering the degree, put in the effort to see if it is the right move for you given your respective career and life stage.” Globe and Mail

THE highlights study questioning the advantages of “learning by doing” in entrepreneurship

A new study has challenged the common assumption that “experiential” methods are the most effective ways of teaching entrepreneurship, reports Times Higher Education. Inna Kozlinska, a research associate at Aston University, compared more than 500 graduates from Estonia and Latvia who had studied entrepreneurship as part of their business degrees. Some took “traditional” lecture-based courses “focused on education about entrepreneurship,” while others were taught using more experiential models. After assessing the two groups in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and career decisions, the study found that despite “an ongoing shift towards experiential learning in business schools, there is little empirical evidence to suggest this approach has a better impact than traditional learning.” Times Higher Education

To end pay inequity, faculty must begin discussing wages, says Vitae contributor

In a discussion on pay inequity, Johnathan Rees highlights two common issues in the academic workplace: “salary compression,” where the pay gap between new hires and senior professors becomes smaller as the institution strives to remain competitive; and “salary inversion,” where new hires make more than senior faculty due to ongoing salary compression and a lack of wage adjustment. Rees discusses factors that contribute to these issues, and concludes that the situation will only be solved through communication and collective action. “We faculty have to start by talking to each other—both about what our salaries are and about what our workloads are,” writes Rees. “As individuals, we will never make more than the labor market will allow, but together we can begin to design equitable solutions that cut across arbitrary and unfair employment categories.” Chronicle Vitae

Canadian universities continue to see “substantial increase” in international student applications

Canadian universities are continuing to report a notable increase in international student applications and enrollments, with Université Laval seeing a 17% increase in international student enrollment compared to last year. “We saw a substantial increase of our international students, or those who have residence permit in the country,” stated ULaval Associate Vice-Rector, Academic and International Activities Nicole Lacasse. Bishop’s University has also reportedly seen 50% more student applications than last year, with many of these new applications coming from students enrolled in American institutions. Algonquin College reports that its applications from the US have doubled since November. La Presse discusses the contributing factors to this increase, including the recent US election, increased marketing efforts in the US, and the increased mobility of young people. La Presse (Laval) | La Presse (Bishop’s) | La Presse | Ottawa Community News (Algonquin)

uSask to increase tuition by average of 2.5%

The University of Saskatchewan has announced that it will raise tuition fees by an average of 2.5% for the 2017-18 academic year. The university notes, however, that the increase is still far below what students in other parts of Canada are paying. For students in uSask’s College of Arts and Sciences, the change will bring average student tuition to $6.1K, which puts the overall rate at roughly 18% below what students are paying at comparable programs in Canada, according to uSask numbers. “The board considers many factors when setting tuition rates,” said uSask Board of Governors Chair Lee Ahenakew. “We understand overall affordability is a significant consideration for our students and their families, and we strive to keep tuition increases manageable, while still ensuring the quality of our programs remains high.” CBC | uSask

Preparing students for a future of changing knowledge

How do we prepare graduates for working with “knowledge that doesn’t yet exist, using practices that don’t yet exist, in jobs that don’t yet exist[?]” asks Thomas Carey for Inside Higher Ed. Carey argues that one of the best ways to prepare students for future knowledge practices is to treat the classroom as a model workplace. The author highlights nursing programs as a “particularly lucid” example of academic programs that help students build the ability to thrive in changing work environments. Another way to further this goal is to create a culture in which the classroom is seen as a teaching and learning workplace, the author adds, concluding that “ultimately, we’ll have to tackle the need for faculty members—and our other educators—to be effective models as ‘critical friends’ of changes in workplace practices.” Inside Higher Ed