Top Ten

February 9, 2017

Maritime university enrolments fall 2.3%

Enrolments at Maritime universities dropped 2.3% between 2015-16 and the previous academic year, according to a new report from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission. During the period studied, New Brunswick saw a 3.6% enrolment drop, Prince Edward Island saw a 2.0% enrolment drop, and Nova Scotia saw a 1.7% enrolment drop. The report notes that the decline in enrolments reflects larger demographic changes in the region, as the population of 18 to 24-year-olds living in the region dropped by 2.2%. However, Commission Chair Jean-François Richard noted that a smaller proportion of Maritime residents are also choosing to enroll in the region’s universities. “It is true that the population of potential students in the region is declining, but we have also been seeing smaller percentages of that population enrolling,” said Richard. MPHEC

Durham president calls for an end to ON college underfunding

“A key priority for the Ontario government as it prepares its 2017 budget must be to reverse the chronic underfunding of college education,” writes Durham College President Don Lovisa. Writing for Oshawa This Week, Lovisa argues that provincial funding for colleges in real dollars has been declining for years, even as costs have climbed. While colleges have done their best to adapt, Lovisa adds that the sector has “pretty much exhausted our ability to keep finding efficiencies.” The president also notes that the underfunding of colleges is particularly harmful considering the growing importance of helping ON residents improve their skills in a changing economy. “A vibrant and effective college system is, and will be, central to the province’s prosperity,” writes Lovisa. “If anything, the government should be strengthening college education as much as possible. Instead, we find ourselves fighting to maintain existing programs.” Durham


No simple solutions to campus sexual assault, says PM in Q&A

Sexual assault on university campuses is a complex problem with no simple solutions, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a recent conference hosted by Universities Canada. The question, posed by MacEwan University Student Association President Danika McConnell, challenged the PM on the efforts currently being made across the country to address the issue of sexual violence. “I think it is not being brought to light enough,” she said. “It’s integral to have this, because if universities can’t be a place of pushing forward to end and eliminate sexual violence, I am not sure what better place there can be.” Trudeau recounted his own experience volunteering with the McGill University Sexual Assault Centre, reportedly adding that during his time at the university, not enough was done to acknowledge that there was a problem on campus. Metro

UQÁM reaches agreement with lecturers, uLaval talks break down

A strike planned this week at Université de Québec à Montréal has been cancelled after the school and the Union of Lecturers reached an agreement in principle, reports La Presse. The union reportedly did not wish to disclose the contents of the new tentative agreement, but said that it had made gains in wages and improved work conditions. In a separate dispute, Université Laval failed to reach an agreement with its employees this week. “We've moved. The position of the university has remained the same,” said Éric-Jan Zubrzycki, counselor of the Union of Employees of Université Laval. uLaval spokesperson Andrée-Anne Stewart has said that the institution will remain open in the event of a strike, and that all courses and academic activities will be maintained. La Presse (UQÁM) | La Presse (uLaval)

UWaterloo among top schools for graduates who found startups worth more than $1B

The University of Waterloo is among the top-ranked postsecondary institutions in the world when it comes to graduates who create “unicorns,” or startups that are valued at more than $1B. In a recent research report, UWaterloo placed 11th in the world for graduating entrepreneurs who founded these types of companies. Such companies include Kik Interactive, Instacart, Wish, and Jasper, all of which were founded by graduates from the school. With six grads responsible for four unicorns, Waterloo was ranked just behind the University of Southern California, and just ahead of INSEAD—a graduate school of business with campuses in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. “I think it is fantastic news,” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity, the UWaterloo program that supports startups. “There are a lot of outstanding institutions on the planet, and so I think that is a pretty outstanding ranking.” Waterloo Region Record

Canada must bolster skills training as jobs are lost to automation, says economic council head

The head of Canada's economic growth advisory council says that governments need to proactively address the growing income inequality caused by the loss of jobs to automation, reports the Canadian Press. Dominic Barton stated at a recent conference that roughly 40% of existing Canadian jobs will vanish in the coming decade due to automation, a trend that could greatly exacerbate income inequality. To this end, the government is currently discussing the creation of an independent organization known as the “FutureSkills Lab,” an independent organization that would consider a number of pilot training programs with financing secured from governments, business, and unions. The Globe and Mail reports that the proposed organization would also gather information on labour market needs and rigorously measure the outcomes of its programs. Times Colonist (CP) | Globe and Mail

Teach frustration, capacity to students instead of providing moral simplicity

“Unambivalent responses to uncomplicated meanings: This is a Manichaean formula for polarization, and a blueprint for misunderstanding—both oneself, and others,” writes Lyell Asher in a call for the higher ed community to resist providing students with the moral simplicity that they “crave.” Asher outlines the many places that this simplification can be tempting—from the university boardroom to the college laboratory—and discusses the impact that this can have on the institution and the institution as a whole. Asher goes on to discuss how teaching students to become comfortable with frustration, “the sense of waiting, of not knowing,” as well as expanding their capacity to engage with and understand complex issues, can lead to better results for the students and the community as a whole. Chronicle

Interested in leadership roles? Tell someone

If the possibility of taking on a leadership role piques your interest, but you don’t know how to go about acquiring one, Judith White for Inside Higher Ed responds: “Simple answer: tell someone you are interested.” However, White cautions that this conversation does require some preparation. White advises would-be leaders to first figure out what they seek to gain from the leadership experience, prepare a list of what experience and capabilities they would bring to the role, and discuss experiences and expectations with other leaders. The article goes on to provide some recommendations on how to approach the right people the right way for this conversation. Inside Higher Ed

MHC, JBS partner on leadership skills training program

Medicine Hat College and JBS Canada have developed a partnership that will see MHC provide leadership training opportunities for JBS supervisors. In order to meet the company’s needs, MHC developed a curriculum for the Foundations of Leadership Skills Certificate – Level 1 program that was tailored for JBS supervisors. The program will help participants develop leadership skill such as personal growth, team building, and organizational development. “We are excited about this collaboration with JBS and look forward to many future partnerships with business and industry in Brooks and Newell,” said MHC President Denise Henning. “Collaborations like this bring forth solutions and have an impact on the economic health and sustainability of our region.” MHC

Homeowners near Conestoga push back against student housing, London report says more needed

Residents in Kitchener's Doon Valley Drive area are pushing to prevent an empty parcel of land from being developed into student housing, reports CBC. In recent years, the area has reportedly seen a major increase in homes being bought and repurposed to accommodate student living, a trend that many in the area say has degraded their neighbourhood. “We want more families in the area, we don't want boarding houses,” says local resident Daryl Howes-Jones. In London, Ontario, a new report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp has shown that London’s off-campus student housing hasn't kept pace with growing PSE enrolment. The London Free Press notes that much of the extra enrollment in London has been absorbed by the ‘secondary’ rental market that is not targeted at students. CBC (Conestoga) | London Free Press