Top Ten

June 13, 2017

U of T, McGill, UBC, UAlberta in top 100 for QS World University Rankings 2018

QS Top Universities has released its QS World University Rankings 2018, and four Canadian institutions have made the top 100. The University of Toronto (#31) and McGill University (#32) were in the top 50, with the University of British Columbia (#51) coming in narrowly afterwards. The University of Alberta was tied for #90 with Korea University. Institutions are ranked on six performance indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio, and international student ratio. QS states that one trend of note this year is the continued improvement of universities in areas of the world that have not historically been included in the world rankings, such as Argentina and Brazil. QS Rankings

13 ways to modernize youth employment in Canada: federal report

The federal government has released the report from its Expert Panel on Youth Employment, which lays out 13 ways to modernize youth employment in Canada. Among its recommendations, the report calls for an expansion of the Canada Summer Jobs program to offer a wider breadth of year-round employment options, including part-time jobs. The panel highlights the need for better data collection on youth employment and calls for the elimination of all unpaid internships, except those that exist as part of an academic or community program. “We know that having paid work experience in your field of study is one of the best ways a student can improve their chances of finding gainful employment post-graduation,” says Shifrah Gadamsetti, president of the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University. “If implemented, the panel’s recommendations should help to provide more of these opportunities for students, therefore ensuring smoother school-to-work transitions.” Canada | CASA

Advocacy group challenges UAlberta response to 2015 anti-abortion protest

A freedom of speech advocacy group is currently in court to challenge how the University of Alberta dealt with an anti-abortion demonstration held by a student club on the school’s campus in March 2015. Held by the UAlberta Pro-Life club, the event reportedly included graphic images that in turn sparked a much larger counter-demonstration by pro-choice students who attempted to block the images. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms argues that campus security did nothing to prevent the “mob” of students from disrupting the display and failed to properly investigate a complaint filed by members of the Pro-Life club. Further, it argues that the university's decision to charge the club a $17.5K security fee for setting up a similar display at a later date infringed on freedom of expression. UAlberta reportedly investigated the club's complaint, but an officer later determined that the counter-demonstration was itself a form of free speech. CBC

Freedom vs safety in campus climate debates: Ibbitson

“On university campuses across Canada, a cold war rages between two principles,” writes John Ibbitson for the Globe and Mail. These principles are “the right to academic freedom of inquiry or, more broadly, to free speech, on the one hand; on the other, the right to be protected from harm, to feel safe.” Ibbitson notes that when controversies arise over free speech on campus, the most common response from editorialists is to “protest the latest, spineless caving-in to political correctness, social warriors, snowflakes and other terms of derision.” Yet many critics argue that appeals to freedom of speech are most often invoked by privileged speakers who are seeking to defend their privilege. “Freedom and protection both survive through compromise, a principle despised by so many, who seek to wreck it,” Ibbitson concludes. “And yet this ground must be held. However much freedom and protection conflict, neither can survive without the other.” Globe and Mail

RDC, GPRC aim for polytechnic university status to stem urban drift

Red Deer College and Grande Prairie Regional College are both reportedly interested in becoming polytechnic universities in order to stem the tide of students moving to the province’s metropolitan centres, reports the Edmonton Journal. The article explains that the colleges have proposed that they would combine four of the province’s six-sector models into one new category, effectively becoming able to offer everything from technical and trade diplomas and certificates to undergraduate degrees. “The reality is, we are the third largest city in Alberta. We are not asking the government to build a university, we are simply saying, let this institution evolve to be both that college and university for central Alberta,” says RDC President Joel Ward. Edmonton Journal

Provincial councils commit to enhancing student transfer, mobility across Canada

The provincial councils responsible for facilitating academic credit transfer are signing an expanded Memorandum of Understanding to enhance and formalize pathways for student transfer across Canada. Provincial councils in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia have signed on to the agreement, which commits them to expand transfer opportunities for students across the country and to develop joint research projects for the benefit of the postsecondary community. A release from the Pan-Canadian Consortium on Admissions and Transfer states that the long-term goal of the MOU is to establish a shared database so that students in any jurisdiction can search for PSE opportunities beyond their home province. PCCAT

How to leave your job gracefully: IHE contributor

“As you embark on your next career steps, how do you manage a graceful and less stressful departure from your current job?” asks Michael Matrone in Inside Higher Ed. Although a new job offer can often tempt one to “go out in a blaze of glory,” the author argues, the fact remains that the manner in which someone leaves a job has professional implications for the future. To this end, the author offers a set of tips for leaving a job gracefully, and these tips include determining the appropriate time to inform a supervisor about the change, choosing one’s transition dates wisely, and leaving clear and up-to-date contact information with the former employer. “As career advisers, our mantra is to create a plan,” Matrone concludes. “And here, I advise that an exit strategy needs to be incorporated into your overall career plan, both now and in all of your future jobs.” Inside Higher Ed

Canada becoming a more popular destination for international business students

Canada’s business schools are becoming an increasingly popular option for international students, reports Jennifer Lewington of the Globe and Mail. New data on potential business school applicants show that between 2009 and 2016, Canada moved into the top five international study destinations, and into second place overall as a destination for MBA students from Africa. Some credit Canada’s favourable reputation to the rise of anti-immigrant policies in the United States and Britain that impose study and postgraduation restrictions on foreign students. Canada, by contrast, offers three-year postgraduate work permits. “It seems to be government policies affecting student mobility toward Canada,” says Gregg Schoenfeld, director of research for the US-based Graduate Management Admission Council. “Schools may want to highlight government policies about work visas, work permits and the relative ease of getting a student visa.” Globe and Mail

uSudbury breaks ground on sacred fire arbour

The University of Sudbury hosted a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday to begin construction of the University of Sudbury Sacred Fire Arbour. Elder Mary Elliott from Atikamiksheng Anishnaawbek and uSudbury President Sophie Bouffard joined board of regents members and representatives from LAARI Construction and 3rd Line Studios for the ceremony. The outdoor event saw a crowd gather in the university’s lobby before walking to the site as a group. The event featured a pipe ceremony and a berries and wild rice food offering, along with the groundbreaking for the arbour’s construction. “This sacred space is of great importance and will be widely used by the students of the Indigenous Studies Department at the University of Sudbury, as well as the larger Indigenous community on campus,” the University said in a press release. Sudbury Star

CNC Quesnel, BC School District 28 collaborate on academic upgrading

The College of New Caledonia in Quesnel has partnered with BC School District 28 to take over the offering of academic upgrading courses. The school board will continue to offer courses through to the end of June in order to allow students to finish their courses, and CNC will begin offering the courses on its Quesnel campus in September. CNC will begin to offer night upgrading classes in order to benefit the schedules of working students, as well as opportunities for students to combine upgrading courses with postsecondary courses, including those in the trades. “The course content and delivery will be similar to what the School District was offering,” said Morgan Ross, CNC Quesnel Regional Principal. “We will provide experienced instructors who are really attuned to the needs of upgrading students and work to meet students at their starting point.” CNC