Top Ten

January 18, 2017

EU students rank Canada “most desirable” country for PSE

Canada has passed the UK as the most desirable English-speaking postsecondary destination for students from the European Union, according to a new study charting the impact of Brexit on the UK’s university sector. Times Higher Education reports that a survey of 219 international students studying at UK universities found that Canada was the most desirable English-speaking nation for EU students, followed by the UK, Australia, the US, and New Zealand. The results mark a shift since the survey was conducted last year, with both the UK and US falling in student preferences. While 64% of international students said that Brexit has made the UK a less desirable place to study, 73% said that the election of Donald Trump has made the US less attractive. Times Higher Education

Skilled trades will remain vital in the economy of the future, writes Polytechnics Canada CEO

“Canada seems perpetually fixated on the ‘knowledge economy,’ no matter the political stripes of the government in power,” writes Nobina Robinson of Polytechnics Canada. The author notes, however, that even if Canada’s economy is shifting toward a cloud-based infrastructure, “we can't forget that we are flesh and blood and live in a built environment.” Robinson highlights projections suggesting that Canada will face a shortage of 250,000 individuals in the construction trades within the next 10 years, arguing that Canada cannot afford to let this gap go unaddressed if it wishes to thrive in a 21st-century economy. The author concludes that “through the onslaught of articles about automation and digitization of work, it is worth remembering that we haven't left the physical world, at least not yet.” Huffington Post

Study highlights the scourge of sexual harassment on QC campuses

A study of sexual assault and harassment on Quebec campuses has found that over one-third of those working or studying at a QC university have experienced at least one form of sexual violence. The study, which was conducted by Manon Bergeron, a Sexology professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal, included 9,000 respondents who work or study at six of the province's French-speaking universities. The study found that new students, women, minorities, international students, and those who claim to have a disability or health problem were especially vulnerable to harassment. It further noted that 90% of victims never complained or reported the situation to the university, which Bergeron believes shows both the unreliable nature of official complaint figures and victims’ lack of confidence in their institutions. La Presse | CBC

There's no Canadian Harvard, and that’s a good thing: Post contributor

“There is no Canadian equivalent of Harvard, with its prestige, limited enrollment and its $60,000 tuition. And really, it’s just as well,” writes Stephen Gordon for the National Post. Gordon argues that while some Canadian universities and programs have high entrance standards, gaining admission into one of these programs is “nowhere near as difficult as entering an elite U.S. college.” Gordon sees this characteristic of Canadian higher ed in a positive light, arguing that that social mobility is likely enhanced by the fact the the country’s higher education institutions are not as rigidly stratified as those in the US. “If—as available evidence suggests—Canadian social mobility is significantly greater than it is in the U.S., then much of the credit goes to the fact that there is no Canadian university that plays the prestige-signalling game that Harvard does,” concludes Gordon. “A ‘Harvard of Canada’ is the last thing we need.” National Post

Good deans must have readiness, good temperament, sense of purpose

In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, Robert Bruner describes the three qualities that make for a good dean: readiness, temperament, and purpose. In discussing readiness, Bruner highlights the importance of having accumulated leadership experience, stating that “the best deans are wise in the world, as well as ethical and effective.” Of temperament, he notes that the role does not require the dean to be a genius, but a dean must have “high self-confidence, resilience to failure, humility, and a bias for action.” Of purpose, Bruner writes that deans must feel driven by the institutional mission and values, a desire to serve stakeholders, belief in the students that will graduate from the institution, and their own capacity to bring something to the situation. Chronicle

PQ leader calls for mandatory French language exit exam for QC PSE students

Quebec’s Parti Quebecois leader Jean-François Lisée has called upon the province’s CEGEPs and universities to enhance their French training by assigning PSE students a mandatory French-language exit exam. The PQ leader has also called upon English institutions to add more French courses and offer students the opportunity to complete a semester in French institutions. “We see from the last census that 20% of the young Anglos between 20 and 40 declare their inability to speak French, so they clearly could not thrive in the Quebec market,” said Lisée. Dawson College’s Director General Richard Filion, however, argues that the additional exam “would be adding another condition to get their diploma, which would be different from the French system where the students wouldn’t have to go through two final exams.” Global News

Canada, MB commit $4M for research on how to address Arctic oil spills

A group of researchers at the University of Manitoba are set to provide vital research on how to clean up in the event of an oil spill in the Arctic, reports CBC. This week, the MB and federal governments committed $4M to GENICE, a project that will use gene-analyzing tools to study how polar marine environments can recover from oil spills. “We're losing a lot of the ice in the Arctic. We may even be ice-free in the summertime,” says UManitoba professor Gary Stern, who notes that the funded research will become crucial as melting ice opens more northern shipping lanes and increases the chance of a spill. The research is reportedly just one part of the broader climate change, sea ice, and Arctic research that will be conducted at the MB's Churchill Marine Observatory. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press | Medicine Hat News

Profs shouldn’t be discouraged from building admin experience: Chronicle contributor

The roles professors avoid in order to advance their academic careers “could be building blocks for another phase of her career,” writes Audrey June for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The goal of developing more administrative talent among faculty is crucial for the university, the author argues, adding that this effort can help lessen the frequency with which universities must hire external candidates to fill openings for deans, provosts, and other senior positions. However, June notes that convincing professors—particularly young ones—to consider taking on administrative roles is often a “tough sell,” as many professors think of this transition as “going over to the dark side.” The only solution to this, June argues, is changing the culture of faculties to make more room for taking on this kind of work and developing these skills. Chronicle (Subscription Required)

StudentsNS looks to ON, NB policies in pre-budget submission

The Nova Scotia government has the power to significantly expand access to higher education at no cost to provincial revenues, according to a pre-budget submission from StudentsNS. One of the submission’s core recommendations is the reallocation of provincial PSE tax credits to offer better up-front support to support low-income students. StudentsNS explicitly suggests that NS follow the examples set by Ontario and New Brunswick in this regard. “Recognizing the province’s current economic landscape, the government should be maximizing each dollar spent through smarter investments,” says Annie Sirois, StudentsNS Vice-Chair and St Francis Xavier University student. “StudentsNS is putting forth realistic recommendations that will undeniably benefit the students we represent, at a sustainable cost for government.” StudentsNS

Cambrian students receive credits, paycheques through industry partnership

Graphic Design students at Cambrian College will have the chance to earn academic credits and a paycheque at the same time thanks to a new partnership between Cambrian and four Sudbury businesses. The partnership allows six Graphic Design students to gain experience through a paid placement with local businesses and organizations that include the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Fuel Multimedia, Studio 123, and Design de Plume. The project is funded by the Ontario Centres for Excellence Voucher for E-Business and Technology Adoption program, and facilitated by Cambrian College’s applied research arm: Cambrian Innovates. Sudbury Star