Top Ten

June 16, 2017

URegina, USaskatchewan, SaskPolytech create SASK Alliance

The University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic have signed an MOU to create the SASK Alliance. This initiative is focused on the internationalization of higher education within Saskatchewan, with a particular focus on increasing international awareness of the province's education, research, scholarly work, and artistic work; and developing international relations and partnerships. “International students and scholars bring diversity and expose our students to broader ways of understanding issues locally and globally, something all higher education institutions should strive to achieve,” stated URegina President Vianne Timmons. URegina

Algonquin estimates $6.2M in losses from Saudi Arabian campus

Algonquin College says that its Saudi Arabia campus has lost $6.2M in operating losses and costs associated with leaving its current deal, reports CBC. Last August, Algonquin transferred ownership of the Jazan College to British company Interserve Learning and Employment. As a result, more than half of Algonquin's overall loss is associated with the college's exiting the deal. Doug Wotherspoon, Algonquin’s vice-president of innovation and strategy, said the $3.7M could still rise as final payments for items such as insurance and electricity are still being negotiated. He added that Algonquin has paid all of its approximately 100 employees for outstanding money owed. CBC

Holland students take part in planning, auditing $4.6M in campus upgrades

Holland College’s Charlottetown campus will undergo $4.6M in upgrades this summer with the participation of students. CBC reports that students from the college’s Energy Systems Engineering Technology program helped plan the updates. “Our students are going to be, or could become, energy auditors and part of that is being able to walk around and figure out what the building is currently doing and how it's operating,” said Daryl Hardy, learning manager with the program. “Then using those numbers as a benchmark and seeing how the energy efficiency measures that are being put in place are going to affect the overall costs of the operation of the building going forward.” The college says that it expects to save about $50K per year in energy costs once the buildings are upgraded. CBC

Yukon collaborates with Selkirk First Nation on new program

Yukon College has collaborated with the Selkirk First Nation to launch a pilot Essential Skills project, a new program on the college’s Pelly Crossing campus that sees students build a raft and travel from Fort Selkirk to Minto Landing. The program sees students work with Elders and instructors to learn skills such as preparing camps and making and using traps; and discuss topics such as decolonization, Indigenous governance, and self-determination. “The idea behind land-based programming is that students become empowered through meaningfully connecting to cultural and traditional skills and this empowerment then translates into academic and employment success,” said John Reid, Department Head for Northern Region at Yukon College. NationTalk

Canada launches CanCode, $50M coding program for K-12 students

The Government of Canada has launched a $50M program called CanCode, which will allow 500,000 K-12 students to learn coding and other digital skills. The program also aims to encourage young women, Indigenous Canadians, and under-represented groups to pursue careers in the STEM fields; and will provide 500 teachers with the necessary training and tools to teach these skills. “Coding skills are highly relevant in today’s scientific and technological careers, and they will only become more important in the future,” stated Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan. “That’s why it is essential that we teach these skills to young Canadians today so they have an advantage when they choose to pursue a career as a scientist, researcher or engineer.” Canada

ULethbridge signs MOU with Chandigarh University in India

The University of Lethbridge has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chandigarh University in India that commits the two schools to building and enhancing collaborative opportunities. A ULethbridge release describes the MOU as a wide-ranging agreement that covers student exchanges, curriculum development, and teaching and research partnerships. “The University of Lethbridge is a globally networked institution,” says ULethbridge Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Andy Hakin. “This agreement has the potential to be particularly beneficial to our students in terms of exchange opportunities, and also more holistically, through the continuing internationalization of our campus.” ULethbridge

Sometimes students have legitimate complaints about teaching: Gooblar

“We may not want to think of our students as customers, but they are paying for their courses. Shouldn’t they have some control over their choices?” asks David Gooblar for Chronicle Vitae. The author argues that while it is crucial that professors maintain their power to decide how they teach their classes, they still face an ethical obligation to justify their decisions to their students. Gooblar notes that in many instances, professors will discount student complaints as mere excuses for a poor performance. Yet “if our mission is to help them develop,” Gooblar concludes, “then the students themselves have to be an important source of feedback. They may not be completely reliable judges of their own learning, but clearly they know how they’re experiencing something better than anyone else.” Chronicle Vitae

ULaval faces criticism for maintaining post-employment package for former rector

Université Laval has faced criticism for keeping a post-employment compensation regime that will see its former rector Denis Brière retain 75% to 100% of his executive salary for six years if he remains employed by the institution. “Six years of his full rector's salary, it makes no sense, it's indecent, it's shameful, it's outrageous,” said Éric Caire of the Coalition avenir Québec. The CAQ has reportedly called on the Minister responsible for Higher Education, Hélène David, to establish a framework for the working conditions of university leaders. The board of directors of ULaval announced Tuesday that it was revising the terms of remuneration following the term of its new president, Sophie D'Amours, who will be eligible for her executive salary for only one year after finishing as rector. Journal de Montréal | La Presse

Tips for faculty, institutions to better mentoring students

“Mentoring is one of the many aspects of faculty positions that are not generally taught, even though it is crucial in higher education,” write Joya Misra and Jennifer Lundquist for Inside Higher Ed. For this reason, the authors recommend a series of mentoring practices that institutions and faculty members can use to support students. These practices include making sure that financial aid packages recognize the full costs of attending university and that mentorship recognizes differences in student backgrounds. “Academe is an institution shrouded in mystery, with many unwritten rules,” the authors add, which is why it is also important for programs for first-generation undergraduate students to clarify these rules. Further, the authors recommend offering constant constructive feedback, even to students who actively avoid receiving such feedback. Inside Higher Ed

MSVU becomes first NS university to raise wikuom

This Wednesday, Mount Saint Vincent University became the first university in Nova Scotia to raise a wikuom on its campus. Also known as wigwam, the wikuom will serve as a space for Indigenous gatherings and education at the university. Global News reports that the structure is a legacy project for outgoing MSVU Chair in Women’s Studies Catherine Martin. “I wanted to do something that responded to a lot of things while I was here,” said Martin. “That is a safe place, a place where our people will feel at home and a place where we see a commitment from an institution like the Mount.” The installation is reportedly portable, and Martin says that in the future, it may be set up at other locations in NS. Global News | MSVU