Top Ten

July 25, 2017

USask plans to revamp public disclosure practices following review

The University of Saskatchewan says that in the coming months, it will move to create a more user-friendly way of tracking the way it compensates its employees. USask Vice President of Human Resources Cheryl Carver says that the school is also currently completing a review of its public disclosure policies. “We feel that while we do publicly disclose … the information, it’s not necessarily easy to interpret or easy to find,” said Carver. “So we’re looking at ways we can improve the transparency of that information in order to make it a bit more user-friendly … so that people can understand it.” Carver adds that plans will likely be in place by the end of the year. Sasktoon StarPhoenix

Students seek out those of similar gender, ethnicity for group discussion work: study

Students will lean significantly toward working with peers of the same gender and ethnicity when they are asked to form groups in class, according to a new study.  Researchers at the University of Washington found that “in almost all cases, students self-sorted by ethnicity and gender.” Further, students with higher academic ability tended to select one another. The study specifically looked at how students in an introductory biology class formed groups to discuss questions raised in lectures held in a large auditorium, and found high rates of “homophily,” in which those with similar characteristics grouped together. The study noted that this trend could have significant implications for academic performance, particularly for non-traditional students. Times Higher Education

UPEI, NU to offer first-ever graduate-level course taught in Inuktitut

The University of Prince Edward Island’s Faculty of Education is partnering with the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Education to offer the first-ever graduate-level course to be taught exclusively in the Inuktitut language. A UPEI release reports that Leadership: Engaging Nunavut Parents, Elders, and Community will be offered in Iqaluit, NU and will focus on the development of collaborative relationships, positive communication, and empowerment of parents, elders, and community members who lead, support, and guide education in NU. “This course promotes collaboration and communication among the members of the community who support and guide education in Nunavut,” said NU Minister of Education Paul Quassa. “We are also excited for the opportunity this course provides for students; accessing post-secondary education in Inuktitut is a necessary step in keeping the Inuit Language alive.” UPEI

AB should drop executive PSE salaries below the national average: opinion

“Despite struggling through a recession, Alberta’s sunshine list has revealed the salaries of top university administrators are not only out of line with the rest of the country, but also include massive financial perks with no benefit for taxpayers or students,” writes Paige MacPherson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. MacPherson focuses specifically on administrative leave payments as an item that the AB government should renegotiate with its higher ed institutions. In light of the AB recession, MacPherson also recommends that the provincial government start “bringing compensation levels not just down to the national average—but dropping them further.” Globe and Mail

Stay connected to teaching, research: Queen’s principal to academic administrators  

“As an academic administrator … I often worry about losing touch with the core business of the university: teaching and research,” writes Queen’s University Principal Daniel Woolf, who reflects on the ways in which he has tried to remain involved with teaching and research as the head of a university. Woolf notes that teaching can be more challenging than research to remain engaged with, as it requires an instructor to be ever-responsive to the needs of students and class schedules. However, Woolf notes that continuing to teach helps him and other administrative leaders stay connected to students and to the core work of the university, and provides an opportunity for iterative learning and improvement that can be valuable beyond the classroom. University Affairs

Are spartan living conditions helpful for learning?: IHE contributor

“Tour a contemporary American college campus and the guide will apologize for anything without the accoutrements of a yuppie condo,” writes Elizabeth Pardoe, who contrasts her experience of current university housing with the spartan conditions she faced when she attended PSE. The author reflects on the extent to which bare housing conditions might contribute to or detract from the educational experience. Pardoe notes that while monasteries once worked to strip away physical comforts in order to encourage learning, “it seems we now attempt to do the reverse. We attempt to give everyone the same ‘stuff’ the wealthy expect in their surroundings as a prerequisite for engaging in a life of the mind.” Inside Higher Ed

MRU, SFU become first campuses in their provinces to receive Changemaker designation

Mount Royal University and Simon Fraser University have become the first PSE institutions in Alberta and British Columbia, respectively, to be recognized as a global Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U. The designation recognizes investment in the continuous development of individuals who see the value of higher education in making the world a better place. In receiving the recognition, the schools have been invited to join a group of over 40 universities around that world that have received this designation from Ashoka U, which is part of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs and changemakers. MRU | SFU

Athabasca faculty wins cost-of-living increase in arbitration

Faculty at Athabasca University have been awarded successive 2% cost-of-living increases over the next two academic years and have kept key benefits after engaging in arbitration with the school, reports the Edmonton Journal. The university had argued that it was necessary to roll back and suspend some increases and professional development allowances due to the “considerable turmoil and uncertainty in Alberta’s economy” and its own “dire financial situation.” Yet the school says that it accepts the decision, and Athabasca President Neil Fassina adds that he looks forward to working with the association in the next round of bargaining beginning next year. “We’ve got a very bright future ahead of us,” says Fassina. “We need to come together on how best to do that because we are all in this together as a collective.” Edmonton Journal

Carleton says that it has not seen a “Trump bump” in international enrollment

International students expressed more interest in attending Carleton University after the election of Donald Trump, but their interest did not lead to increased enrolment, according to university spokesperson Steven Reid. “While there has been a modest increase in visitations to Carleton’s webpage by prospective students from the US and other countries, to date there is little data to suggest a dramatic increase in acceptances of offers of admission,” said Reid, who added that Carleton’s approach to international students is based on a proposal to modestly grow the enrolment over the long-term. Reid noted that this approach “ensures that our international students receive the support and services they need to succeed in their studies.” Carleton

Oshki-Pimache-O-Win, Sault renew partnership

The Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute and Sault College have announced that they have renewed their partnership for an additional five-year term. The partnership will allow for the continued offering of the Social Service Worker – Native Specialization program at Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute. “Sault College is proud to sign another five year agreement with the Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute and collaborate with them to deliver quality education in the Social Service Worker – Native Specialization program,” said Sault President Ron Common. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with this educational facility and contribute to the success of our learners.” NationTalk