Top Ten

June 23, 2017

Parental spending to blame for rising student debt: report

Total student debt in Canada has risen by 6.2% per year over the last 10 years to $42.9B, and much of it can be attributed to parents who overspend and do not save enough for their children's college or university fund, according to a new study. Further, the study suggests that debt can have an “intergenerational effect,” as children who receive less support from heavily indebted parents have difficulty saving when they reach adulthood. “That group is struggling so much more to cover their cost of housing which makes it hard to save for their kids' post-secondary which is going to make it even more challenging when their kids are 18, 19, 20 years old and trying to go to college,” says Paul Kershaw, a professor at UBC's School of Population and Public Health. CBC

Federal investments in innovation must include colleges and polytechnics: HE leaders

“There is ample evidence that Canada’s R&D workforce requires a far more diverse set of credentials, with a strong need for skilled technicians, technologists, designers, and developers capable of translating theory and ideas into tangible innovations and real outcomes,” write Colleges and Institutes Canada President Denise Amyot and Polytechnics Canada CEO Nobina Robinson. The authors note that Canada’s 2017 budget appears to take a major step forward by opening the Mitacs program up to college and polytechnic students and graduates for the first time. The authors add that this move would accelerate innovation and growth by providing students with the chance to play a lead role in an applied research project; giving companies access to highly-skilled individuals; and deepening the connections between industry and Canada's colleges and polytechnics through the sharing of facilities, equipment, and expertise. Hill Times

Laurentian officially opens Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre

Laurentian University celebrated the official opening of its Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre this Wednesday to coincide with National Aboriginal Day. CBC reports that the new space will provide students, faculty, and community leaders with the opportunity to celebrate and learn about Indigenous culture. “Any Indigenous student or non Indigenous student couldn't miss [the centre] and they would know this university has a commitment to working in a better way with Indigenous people,” says Sheila Cote-Meek, the associate vice president of academic and Indigenous programs at Laurentian. “One of the things that institutions can be doing a better job of is making better spaces and better places where Indigenous people feel like they are welcome, and feel like they're at home.” CBC

Coping with disillusionment for those unable to find full-time academic work

“Upon the brutal realization that I would be another of the many PhDs who were denied secure academic employment, I knew I had two choices: wallow or grow,” writes Raechel Tiffe for Inside Higher Ed. The author adds that she ultimately chose to “wallow” for a number of months before finally coming to regard her experience as a growth opportunity. Reflecting back on this journey, the author offers six tips for coping with the disillusionment of not finding full-time academic work as a PhD graduate: understand that the situation is temporary, learn to build a skills-based resume, use acquired skills to start a business, find an effective form of stress relief, write down negative thoughts and release them in a celebratory atmosphere among friends, and choose organization over mourning. Inside Higher Ed

UWinnipeg formally opens Leatherdale Hall

The University of Winnipeg has officially opened Leatherdale Hall, its new on-campus meeting space for students and the community. The hall was funded by a $2.5M gift from Louise and the late Douglas Leatherdale.  A UWinnipeg release states that the space can seat 150 people and can be converted to a lecture hall, reception area, or conference breakout rooms. “The Leatherdale family passion for education and building capacity in our community is an inspiration to all of us,” said UWinnipeg President Annette Trimbee. “Leatherdale Hall is a bright and welcoming space that encourages conversations and connections, both for our students and the broader community.” UWinnipeg

eTutor Alberta to cease operations at end of month

eTutor Alberta has announced that it will cease operations on June 30, 2017 after three years of success in providing online tutoring services and support to students across AB. A release from the organization states that the factors influencing the shutdown are the financial pressures facing many Alberta post-secondary institutions, as well as the dissolution of eTutor Alberta’s founding sponsor, eCampusAlberta, in early 2017. The release thanks the institutions that it has worked with over the past three years, adding that “while eTutor Alberta is unable to continue operations past this point, it has demonstrated the value of online tutoring and disseminated best practices throughout the Alberta post-secondary community. Many former member institutions plan to develop their own online tutoring programs to support students who cannot access onsite support.” eTutor Alberta

“We learn together”: CNC signs MOU with Lheidli T’enneh

The College of New Caledonia in Prince George, British Columbia has signed what it calls a historic Memorandum of Understanding with the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. The MOU bears the name “We Learn Together” and lays out principles for the future working relationship between CNC and the Lheidli T’enneh. Principles set out in the MOU include building a co-operative, long-lasting, and mutually beneficial relationship for the advancement of education and research. “A key component of reconciliation is for CNC to recognize Lheidli T’enneh traditional territory as the site of our Prince George campus, which acknowledges their long history and culture which continues to influence and enrich our lives today,” said CNC Director of Aboriginal Education Marlene Erickson. CNC

Seize opportunities as they arise, even when “not ready”

“We are capable of more than we think,” writes Josh Boldt for Chronicle Vitae in a reflection on taking advantage of the opportunities that we do not feel ready for. When his department director announced that she would be retiring, Boldt writes that he was faced with the opportunity to take on an interim position – and eventually the director position itself. While dismissing a number of baseless fears that arose when he first took on the role, Boldt makes a number of recommendations to help prepare for opportunities: form good relationships and help people, take initiative when opportunities arise, gather evidence to justify your taking the opportunity, and be confident in your own value. Chronicle Vitae

TRU receives $1M for Indigenous Health Research

Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia will become home to an international network of Indigenous health researchers and knowledge keepers, thanks to a $1M grant from Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Called Ombaashi, an Ojibwe word meaning to soar upwards or to be lifted by the wind, this network of Indigenous research experts and mentors extends through Canada, Australia, Fiji, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, and the United States. The grant is the largest of its kind in TRU history. “If you’re going to work in Indigenous health you should have knowledge of traditional healing,” said Rod McCormick (Kanienkehaka), BC Regional Innovation Chair in Aboriginal Health and head of the new network. “This network won’t train investigators to be traditional healers, but it will provide them with the opportunity to learn about traditional healing.” TRU

Confederation, long-term care facility partner on PSW program

Confederation College and the District of Kenora Home for the Aged have partnered to more closely align Confederation's curriculum for personal support workers with the true work experience, and to address a PSW shortage in the region. The ‘Living Classroom’ Personal Support Worker program combines classroom experiences with work experiences at Pinecrest Home for the Aged. “Students will be able to immediately apply the theory they learn in the classroom, by practicing their skills at Pinecrest Home for the Aged,” stated Laura Christie, Director of Confederation College’s Lake of the Woods Campus. “They’ll also gain meaningful part-time employment at Pinecrest when they’re not fulfilling program requirements.” Confederation