Top Ten

June 7, 2017

MUN business dean encourages university to “charge what it’s worth,” reconsider low tuition fees

The Dean of Business Administration at Memorial University of Newfoundland says that the school should consider charging what its programs are worth instead of suppressing tuition costs. Wilfred Zerbe remarked during convocation ceremonies last week that students in other parts of Canada are willing to pay much more for the quality of education and programming that MUN can offer. “It would be possible to charge what the market would accept for very good programs with very good supports and charge tuition that reflects that value, and charge that for all of our students,” said Zerbe, who added that the revenues would allow the school to create new subsidies for local students to promote access. “If they [students] find value they'll come. If they don't find value they won't come,” added Zerbe. “We don't need low tuition to attract students to a high quality university.” CBC

UVic to remove name of first BC lieutenant governor from residence, citing racist actions

The University of Victoria will remove the name of British Columbia’s first lieutenant-governor from one of its residences, citing his racist views and poor treatment of First Nations peoples. The Times Colonist reports that Trutch frequently referred to First Nations peoples in derogatory ways, and even refused to acknowledge the British mandate of fair treatment, ignoring treaties and titles in order to provide more land for white settlers. The change was reportedly inspired by a petition started by Lisa Schnitzler, who said she was in her second year of English and Indigenous studies when she examined the background of the building in which she lived. She posted a petition to Facebook, which garnered nearly 100 signatures in support and some criticism. “There were a few people who said everyone was racist back then and that we can’t erase history,” said Schnitzler, who says that she replied to the criticism with the motto, “we’re not erasing history, we’re confronting it.” Times Colonist

ON looks to make college, university more affordable with free online textbooks

Ontario has announced that it will partner with eCampusOntario and invest $1M in the Ontario Open Textbooks Initiative to make PSE more accessible and affordable for the province’s students. The initiative will see the partners support the development and distribution of both free and low-cost digital textbooks to students. The Ontario Open Textbooks Initiative will focus on Ontario-specific content in areas where the most significant impact and cost savings for students can be realized, including high-enrolment first-year courses, French language content, content for Indigenous studies, trades and technical skills content, and content for new Canadians. “We are excited about Ontario’s investment in open textbook adoption, adaptation and creation,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Digital Government. “This investment will directly address affordability issues for students in postsecondary education.” ON

Four signs that a school is heading toward “unrecoverable failure”

Many small to midsize PSE institutions in the US shows signs of being “on the path to unrecoverable failure,” writes Chad Raymond for Inside Higher Ed, which is why it is important for other institutions to be aware of what these signs are. For Raymond, these signs are: an inability or unwillingness to develop or properly fund academic programs that provide a competitive advantage, poor communication with prospective students, a focus on short-term comparisons instead of long-term trends, and plans for transformation in which non-liquid assets play an essential role. “Frequently a college or university will exhibit a combination of these signs for several years in a row,” the author concludes. “Missed enrollment targets, budget cuts and needless inefficiencies become background noise, ignored by administrators and faculty members. Until one day, when they no longer have jobs.” Inside Higher Ed

Rubrics for assessing communication, teamwork, design created by U of T researchers

Assessing student learning in communication, teamwork, and design has found a new resource in a set of rubrics developed by researchers at the University of Toronto, according to a new report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The report follows on a three-year project at U of T that saw researchers develop rubrics to assess student learning across various contexts while giving instructors the flexibility to adapt the rubrics to meet their individual needs. The project sought to develop rubrics that could assess learning outcomes in five key competency areas: communication, teamwork, design, problem analysis and investigation. Rubrics were developed for the first three, while specific learning outcomes were compiled for the latter two. HEQCO | Report

Professors must teach, embody humility in the Age of Arrogance: Chronicle contributor

“The defining trait of the age seems to be arrogance … the arrogance of thinking that you know it all and that you don’t need to improve because you are just so great already,” writes Michael Patrick Lynch for the Chronicle of Higher Education. A significant factor in this new age of arrogance, Lynch notes, is the personalization of the Internet, which has created a world in which users only receive information that tends to confirm their previously held beliefs. This trend has been exacerbated, the author adds, by a marked decline in people’s faith in objective truth. If people are to combat the new type of arrogance, the author concludes, they will need to “reconnect with some basic values, including ones that philosophers have long thought were essential both to serious intellectual endeavors and to politics. One of those ideas, as I just noted, is belief in objective truth. But another, less-noted concept is intellectual humility.” Chronicle of Higher Education

Dal moves Indigenous Student Centre to larger space

Dalhousie University has announced that it will grow the size and capacity of its Indigenous Student Centre to increase the number of visitors and “virtually eliminate any barriers to performing sacred smudging ceremonies.” In an email to the entire campus community, Dal said that its existing Aboriginal Student Centre has been renamed the Indigenous Student Centre and that its location will be moved to a larger space with proper ventilation for smudging. “I'm feeling quite positive for the new space,” said Aaron Prosper, the co-president of the Dalhousie Indigenous Students’ Collective, who added that smudging is “a fundamental thing within all of our different ceremonies and traditions.” The new Indigenous Student Centre will also feature a library and outdoor area. CBC

Using social media to expose your research to a larger audience

Social media can be an excellent venue for exposing your research to a broader audience. To this end, Amy Mollett, Cheryl Brumley, Chris Gilson, and Sierra Williams provide ten tips for using social media to put your research in front of a larger audience. These tips include developing a system that works social and digital media efforts into your research process, providing links to open-access versions of your research, and adding visuals or infographics to your research to make it easier for your audience to quickly understand your work. The authors conclude by noting that, while social media can be an invaluable venue, it comes with its own risks and may not be the best option for everyone. Times Higher Education

Canada makes changes to express entry program

The Canadian government has made new changes to its express entry immigration program, which will now award more points to applicants who have siblings in Canada and to those who have strong French language skills. CTV News reports that starting this week, the system will award 15 points to candidates who have siblings in Canada who are either Canadian citizens or permanent residents aged 18 or older. “Studies have shown that as newcomers build a new life in Canada, those with siblings benefit by having improved integration into Canadian society,” said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in an update on its website. The program will also award up to 30 additional points to candidates with strong French-language skills, depending on their scores on language tests. CTV News reports that the additional points can be awarded regardless of whether the candidate also has English language skills. CTV News

UMoncton, Rivière-du-Loup sign transfer MOU for nursing students

Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup and Université de Moncton have signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow nursing students from Rivière-du-Loup to transfer their credits to the Bachelor of Nursing program at UMoncton. The UMoncton release states that qualified CEGEP students and graduates will be able to transfer enough credits to enter the third year of the baccalaureate of nursing science. The university reports that the agreement comes at a time when the university sees an opportunity to increase the number of its nursing students. Representatives from both institutions will meet on an annual basis to review the agreement, which will be reevaluated every five years. UMoncton