Top Ten

March 1, 2017

BC has “virtually no strategy” for housing international students, say critics

British Columbia’s success in attracting international students does not change the fact that the province has “virtually no strategy” to house these students, writes Douglas Todd for the Vancouver Sun. The author reports that the number of foreign students studying in BC has jumped by 44,000 in the past five years, and that four out of five of these students choose to study in Metro Vancouver, which has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the world at 0.7%.  “We have drastically increased demand with foreign students at the same time rental vacancies are almost non-existent,” says Gary Liu, a research scientist and foreign-student tutor who is also a director with Housing Action for Local Taxpayers. “Rents are going straight up. But the provincial government is doing nothing. It’s a gigantic failure on their part.” Vancouver Sun

uMoncton student targeted with hateful, explicit mass email

Officials at Université de Moncton have condemned a series a hateful and sexually explicit emails that were sent to a large portion of the school’s student body this past weekend. The emails reportedly targeted a female student at the school with explicit images and shaming language. Codiac Regional RCMP are looking for a person of interest in connection with the case. “I was utterly disgusted that someone would want to hurt someone so bad and ruin their life,” said Roxann Guerrette, president of the student union FEECUM. The university has also said that it is “outraged” by the emails and that they are investigating how the sender was able to access the school’s student email list. CBC | Journal de Montréal | uMoncton (1) | uMoncton (2)

FutureSkills Lab marks important step on skills development: HEQCO president

The federal government’s proposal to create a laboratory for future skills development offers Canada a valuable opportunity to give its citizens the skills to succeed in a changing world, writes Harvey Weingarten of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The author finds value in the proposed FutureSkills Lab in part because the organization “focuses squarely and clearly on the importance of skills, particularly those related to success in the workplace.” For Weingarten, such an organization has the power to ask what critical skills workers will require, how these skills will be measured, and how they can be taught and learned effectively. “We often criticize government for short-term thinking and making decisions that only serve to increase its chances of re-election,” Weingarten concludes. “The FutureSkills Lab proposal is an example of strategic, innovative, long-term thinking to create institutions and processes that invest in the long-term future success of its citizens and country. On that basis alone, the proposal is refreshing and courageous.” HEQCO

CEGEPs call for increased funding to address surge in students with learning disabilities

CEGEPs and college professionals are demanding more money to support students with learning disabilities, citing a sharp increase in the number of diagnoses among incoming students. Parents in the province have been reportedly encouraged to seek diagnoses for children who are experiencing difficulties in order to guarantee them a higher level of school services, and as a result, more young people are arriving at the college level with diagnoses of dyslexia, dysorthography, dyscalculia, attention deficit disorder, and a number of other learning disabilities. The Fédération des cégeps calculates that from 2010 to 2014, the number of students with special needs has increased from 5,000 to over 12,000. According to Suzanne Tousignant, president of the Federation of College Professional Staff, “the services offered in CEGEPs are minimal. Professionals are overworked, and burnout is a challenge.” La Presse

NorQuest students pledge $1M to support college expansion

The Students’ Association of NorQuest College has announced that it will pledge $1M to the college’s Maximizing Opportunities campaign. The funds will support a variety of student services and facilities at NorQuest’s new Singhmar Centre for Learning, which is scheduled to open for fall term classes this year. The $1M pledge includes a previous contribution that aimed to retrofit the current Student Activity Space at NorQuest’s downtown campus, as well as a portion that will be payable over the next 10 years. “These funds will help make the student experience at NorQuest more positive and inclusive. Our expanded space in the new building will allow us to better serve and represent students,” said SANQC Representative Gordon Holub. NorQuest

Young alumni require different methods of engagement

“Reaching young alumni—literally and emotionally—is a challenge for colleges,” writes Kathryn Masterson for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Masterson reflects on how changes in communication preferences, motivations, and college experiences have brought a shift to alumni relations methods. “Younger alumni—and alumni in general—they’re looking for something different,” notes Temple University VP Advancement James W Dicker. “The traditional things to give to and ways to give are kind of stale.” The article touches on methods that various US postsecondary institutions have introduced in order to better court more recent alumni, such as introducing Alumni-Engagement Officers or increasing the transparency of fundraising so that alumni can see their gifts' destination and impact. Chronicle

Aurora board member asked to resign after criticizing education cut

A member of Aurora College's board of governors was asked to resign after writing a letter opposing the decision to phase out the college's teacher education program, reports CBC. “After I sent the letter, it put me in a position where I was not in line with what the Department of Education, Culture and Employment was looking for for the future of the college,” says Lynn Napier-Buckley. “The board falls under the government. So if the government says, 'You need to make these cuts,' they have to support that decision. I couldn't support those decisions and therefore could not stay on the board.” In an emailed statement to CBC News, Aurora Board Chair Kathy Tsetso confirmed that she suggested Napier-Buckley resign, but adds that she did so on the grounds that Napier-Buckley's role as mayor of Forth Smith means that her “personal and/or professional interests compete with or are in conflict with the interests of the institution.” CBC

Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles to carry out two new projects in Senegal with CICan support

The CÉGEP de la Gaspésie et des Îles will build on its 20-year history of working in Senegal by taking on two projects with the support of new funding from Colleges and Institutes Canada. The school will continue a project that it first undertook with Cégep Limoilou four years ago to train senior technicians who will work on systems dedicated to irrigation for small-scale agriculture. The second project will see the cégep support the Agricultural Technical School Émile Badiane in Bignona for the implementation of a program in the agro-food industry. The school will use the opportunity to build on earlier work related to the education of trainers following the development of an implementation plan last November. Gaspésie

StFX partners with Altus Group, moving gas sensor technology towards commercial development

Saint Francis Xavier University has signed a technology collaboration agreement in an effort to commercialize an innovative gas sensor technology invented at the university. For the initiative, StFX will partner with Altus Group for the exclusive worldwide commercialization usage rights of StFX’s vehicle-based ExACT gas leak detection technology, while Altus Group’s Geomatics division will offer ExACT as a service for energy providers and regulators. The patented ExACT technology reportedly allows users to detect and map the emission of ground-sourced greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. “Altus Group is perfectly positioned to make the most of this technology, given its expertise in big data and analytics, and its great people across the country,” says StFX Project Lead Dave Risk. StFX

Dean reflects on trends in today’s faculty candidates

In light of the current hiring season, Paula Krebs reflects on trends she has seen in today’s faculty candidates and on what she would like to see more of. Among the five trends outlined in the article is an increased awareness among candidates of the postsecondary institution’s identity, and more realistic expectations about working conditions. The article also points out that these applicants tend to have higher levels of experience in lab or clinical settings, online environments, and in the community. On a wish list for future candidates, the author notes that she would like to see qualities such as more experience working with undergraduates, a better understanding of the students the institution serves, and a few lofty expectations to indicate ambition. Chronicle Vitae