Top Ten

April 21, 2017

On-the-job student learning receives $190M investment from ON

The Ontario government has announced a new province-wide experiential learning strategy that will create 40,000 work-related learning opportunities over three years for K-12 students, postsecondary students, and recent graduates. Dubbed the Career Kick-Start Strategy, the new ON initiative will also support more than 3,000 industry-led research internships through the Mitacs Accelerate program and 140 additional internships and fellowships per year through the TalentEdge program. The initiative will also create a new Career Ready Fund to help universities, colleges, and employers create career-oriented learning experiences and related supports for students and recent graduates. Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance President Jamie Cleary celebrated the province’s investment in students, noting that “knowing the value of experiential learning, it is encouraging to see the government making an investment that will help students move into their future careers.” ON | OUSA | COU

Employment outcome data for PhDs should be a must for schools across Canada: Cambridge professor

A new website and dataset devoted to the employment outcomes of PhDs from the University of British Columbia is something that other schools should consider replicating, writes David Kent for University Affairs. Kent applauds the school for making the data—“warts and all”—available to anyone who might be thinking of entering a PhD program. The data provides information on how many PhD graduates obtain tenure-track research positions at universities, as well as the career paths of those who leave the academy. Kent concludes by calling for institutions across Canada to provide similar information, adding that schools should “make your outcomes transparent and be proud of where your graduates end up. Give your current and prospective students something to think about as they consider or undertake training.” University Affairs

UQÀM receives $35M for infrastructure, restoration

The Université du Québec à Montréal has announced that it will receive $35M from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments to support infrastructure and research on its campus. In particular, the funding will support the establishment of the Centre urbain de diffusion de la recherche et de la création, the creation of a venue for research and development in the visual and media arts, the development of a rare book consultation centre, and upgrades for big data infrastructure. The funding will also go towards the restoration of the St-Jacques bell tower and the development of a courtyard for the belfry. UQÀM | La Presse | Montréal Gazette

Niagara to sell Niagara Falls campus, move programs

Niagara College has announced that it will close and sell its Niagara Falls campus upon the completion of all current classes, and will be moving its programs to its Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses. “We feel the timing is right for this move,” said Niagara President Dan Patterson. “We are making significant investments at the Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses that are modernizing our learning environments, improving our facilities and enhancing the experience that we offer students.” Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati has stated that the college and city would continue to discuss partnership opportunities with regard to a downtown education incubator and business hub. Niagara | St Catharines Standard

Concordia receives $1M from daughter of Hungarian refugees

The daughter of Hungarian refugees who moved to Quebec during World War II has donated $1M to Concordia University. Concordia alumnus Christine Lengvari, who now leads a life insurance company, has stipulated that part of the donation will be used to provide scholarships to participants in a Concordia portfolio management program, which Lengvari sees as an opportunity to include more women’s voices in the financial world. “Research shows that men tend to be overconfident, while women tend to be risk averse,” says Lengvari. “However, neither approach yields the best return in finance. It is the mix of these ideologies that best serves investment.” Journal de Montréal

AB needs more tradespeople to avert shortage: apprenticeship board chair

Alberta’s organizations need to make greater efforts to attract young people to the skilled trades if the province is going to avert significant shortages in the near future, according to the chair of the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board. The Edmonton Journal reports that the number of new apprentices registering to learn a new trade declined from 17,200 in 2015 to 13,000 in 2016. For AAITB Chair j’Amey Holroyd, this year's level is the lowest the board has seen since it began collecting the information in its current form in 2005. “I certainly do see this as a concern,” Holroyd said Tuesday, noting that the recovering AB economy could very soon see a spike in demand for skilled tradespeople. “When we don’t have the (skilled) individuals, we can’t move forward on projects. If we don’t have skilled people to replace the skilled people of today … we don’t have the ability in our economy to grow and build.” Edmonton Journal

Federal conservative candidate calls to revoke funding from universities that do not protect free speech

Federal conservative leadership candidate Andrew Scheer said this week that universities should lose their federal funding if they do not protect freedom of speech on campus. The National Post reports that Scheer cited what he sees as a “troubling trend” of campus-based protests shutting down events and preventing guest speakers from giving presentations. “There are a lot of people who come to campus who say things that are outrageous. And I vehemently disagree with them,” added Scheer. “I just don’t go to [their events]. It’s as simple as that.” The National Post article goes on to highlight a number of recent cases in which students and administrations have clashed over visiting speakers, campus clubs, and student newspaper articles. National Post

Holland, Collège de l’Île partner to provide more French, English PSE options

Postsecondary students in Prince Edward Island will soon have more opportunities to take courses in French or English thanks to a new partnership between Collège de l’Île and Holland College. The new partnership was announced at the recent grand opening of Collège de l’Île’s new campus in Charlottetown. The partnership will allow Holland students to take classes in French at Collège de l’Île, and for Collège de l’Île students to take classes in English at Holland. In addition, students from both schools will enjoy additional benefits such as campus access, health insurance, and language training programs. Holland | Collège de Îles

Agreement sees MSVU business students join Halifax Chamber of Commerce

Mount Saint Vincent University and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce have entered into a new agreement that will see students from the MSVU Business and Tourism program become full members of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. “All Mount Business and Tourism faculty and staff are already full members of the Chamber of Commerce, but we thought: why not extend that advantage to our students?” said Peter Mombourquette, Chair and Associate Professor of the MSVU Department of Business Administration and Tourism. “This new arrangement will benefit students as it will allow them to develop as professionals and to connect with business leaders.” MSVU reports that this is the first agreement of its kind between a university in Atlantic Canada and a local Chamber of Commerce. MSVU

The consequences of pigeonholing students

“Why is it always so surprising when students prove our initial impressions of them wrong?” asks David Gooblar for Chronicle Vitae, recounting many cases in which making wrong assumptions about a student’s ability or work ethic led to negative consequences. The trouble, as Gooblar sees it, is that teachers often create narratives around certain students and have difficulty thinking about those students outside those narratives. “As we try to learn who our students are, we latch onto almost anything that will help us differentiate them,” adds the author. “Sometimes we work so hard to figure out each student—this one is a good writer, that one has good ideas but needs help explaining her thinking—that it can take the better part of a whole semester to realize that our first impression was wrong.” Gooblar goes on to cite research demonstrating the negative effects on both teaching and student performance that can come from teachers relying on such narratives. Chronicle Vitae