Top Ten

April 20, 2017

Students across Canada battle over meaning of free speech

Postsecondary students on campuses across Canada are finding themselves at the front lines of a battle over what speech is acceptable and what is unacceptable, reports CBC. Some students say that they are being censored by a culture of political correctness, while others argue that free speech is being used to justify the endangerment of marginalized groups. “I kind of came to the university thinking that it was a place where people could freely exchange ideas, push boundaries,” says Kevin Arriola, a Ryerson University student who was denied club status by his student union after trying to create a Men’s Issues group at his school. Student Cassandra Williams, on the other hand, argues that views like Arriola’s fail to consider the different experiences that students bring to PSE, adding that “the people who are being painted as snowflakes are quite often people who have ... experienced extreme marginalization and oppression.” CBC

Navigating presidential transitions with six key principles

The transition from one university president to another can be both stressful and rewarding, write Michael Atkinson and Jennifer Robertson, which is why it is important to discuss how to best manage this change. The authors recount their personal experience of the presidential transition that occurred at the University of Saskatchewan in 2015, and outline six key principles for ensuring a smooth transition: ensure the board is committed to the transition process, recruit the right people for the transition committee, reserve time for transition activities, be strategic in event planning, don’t forget about the outgoing president, and be mindful of the president’s family. The authors add, however, that all of these principles are inconsequential if the school does not choose the right person for the job and offer the right kinds of support. University Affairs

83% of ON college grads find employment within six months of graduation: report

“Colleges are experts at helping people find rewarding careers,” says Colleges Ontario CEO Linda Franklin following the release of the organization’s 2016 Key Performance Indicators report. The report found that 83% of ON’s most recent college graduates find employment within six months of graduation. Other KPI results show that over 91% of employers are satisfied or very satisfied with the college graduates they hire, 78% of college graduates are satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of their education, and 77% of current students are satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of their education. “Our graduates’ professional and technical expertise will be even more important in the years ahead as new technology and automation create a heightened demand for a more highly qualified workforce,” adds Franklin. Colleges Ontario

McMaster launches McMaster Indigenous Research Institute

McMaster University has announced the launch of the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI), which it states is one of Canada’s only institutes dedicated to Indigenous ways of knowing and research. MIRI’s priority is to lead and inform indigenous research, reports the Hamilton Spectator, as well as establishing partnerships with other centres, institutions, and academics beyond campus. “McMaster is the only research intensive university in the province with strong relationships and a physical proximity to local Indigenous communities,” explained Chelsea Gabel, acting director of the institute. “We are poised to take a leadership role and be at the forefront of this important work.” McMaster | Hamilton Spectator

PSE, Employers partner in GTA on work-integrated learning opportunities

The Toronto Financial Services Alliance, a public-private group aimed at promoting Toronto’s long-term competitiveness, has promised to create 10,000 new work-integrated learning experiences for students within three years. The initiative, called Aspire, was created by the Business/Higher Education Roundtable, a group made up of Canadian business CEOs and postsecondary institution presidents. “We are moving into the next generation of work-integrated learning, where learning becomes essential to the work experience,” said Susan McCahan, the vice-provost, innovations in undergraduate education at the University of Toronto. “I would like us to build on that in the classroom … [and] create that more seamless experience.” Globe and Mail

ULethbridge establishes School of Liberal Education

A broad background spanning multiple disciplines is still a cornerstone of university education, says the University of Lethbridge, which is why the school has created its new School of Liberal Education. A ULethbridge release states that the creation of the School came in response to concerns that the focus of students’ educations has narrowed in recent years, leading many to call for a re-broadening of the disciplines students are exposed to. ULethbridge Vice-President (Academic) and Provost Andy Hakin called for a review of liberal education at the school in 2014, which culminated in the creation of the new School. “The School of Liberal Education will create a solid organizational structure to ensure our students and communities benefit the most from our teaching, learning and research,” says Hakin. The School will reportedly work to integrate liberal education programming beyond the Arts and Humanities faculty at ULethbridge. ULethbridge

ON invests $14M to support free pre-apprenticeship training

The Ontario government has announced that it will invest $14M to support more than 1,200 pre-apprentices in 67 training programs across the province this year. An ON release states that the funding will provide free training to students while also covering costs for textbooks, safety equipment, and tools. While announcing the investment at Conestoga College, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deb Matthews noted that, “when we reach potential tradespeople early with introductory training, they stand a better chance of completing apprenticeship training and enjoying rewarding, well-paid careers in the trades. By investing in pre-apprenticeship programs we’re ensuring that people in Ontario get the skills and training they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.” ON | Conestoga

Northern Lakes launches Business Administration Accounting Diploma

Northern Lakes College has announced the launch of a customized Business Administration Accounting Diploma Program that will be offered on a part-time basis starting in September 2017. A Northern Lakes release notes that the program will allow students to continue working while pursuing PSE, with a full-time version of the program becoming available in the fall of 2018. The college says that it designed the program based on feedback from employers within the industry, and on current and previous experience in delivering business-based programming. “We will continue to work with business and industry to meet the needs of our region, and we know that our graduates will be ready and eager to apply their knowledge and skills in the workplace,” said Northern Lakes Dean of Business Studies Glenn Mitchell. Northern Lakes

UPEI Student Union president calls for province to make tuition program needs-based

Prince Edward Island needs to rethink its tuition grant system if it wants to reverse an ongoing decline in PSE enrolment among students of low-income families, says University of Prince Edward Island Student Union President Nathan Hood. To begin, Hood argues that PEI should follow the examples of New Brunswick and Ontario by tailoring its George Coles Bursary program more toward the needs of low-income students. Yet PEI’s Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant says there are no plans to change the province’s grant system, highlighting instead a number of changes that the government has made to help PEI students pay for PSE. Hood argues that these changes are not enough, pointing to recent Statistics Canada data showing that while the overall percentage of Islanders attending college or university has increased since 2001, the percentage of low-income Islanders enrolled has decreased. CBC

More deans, fewer provosts making the leap to president: US report

The ladder to becoming a university president in the United States is getting more varied, according to a new US-based report. Titled “Pathways to the University Presidency,” the study examined the CVs of 840 sitting university presidents and found that many academic deans had bypassed the role of provost on their way to becoming president. The study also noted, however, that this path was more common for men than women, and more common at smaller schools than larger ones. Those who passed from academic dean into the presidential role tended to be more recent appointments, leading the study’s authors to conclude that the trend is a somewhat recent one. The report also found that provosts are increasingly seen as having an “inward and down” set of administrative skills in contrast to the “up and out” skills of a president. Inside Higher Ed