Top Ten

August 10, 2017

Five tips for students preparing to enter the job market

“The competition for good jobs when you graduate will be intense – laying the foundation now for entry into the job market will pay huge dividends,” writes Peter Caven to those who will soon graduate from university. The author notes that with 300,000 students graduating from Canadian universities each year, graduates will need to do more to distinguish themselves and to land the best jobs. To this end, Caven highlights the skills most valued by employers and offers five tips on how students can develop these skills for a resume. These tips include advice on how to polish one’s communications skills, enhance problem-solving skills, and take advantage of integrated learning opportunities. Globe and Mail  

Dal grad students develop robot to assist with international student visa applications

Three computer science graduate students at Dalhousie University have founded RovBOT, a computer-powered chatbot that can answer international students’ questions about the visa application process using Facebook Messenger. Founders Ruhi Madiwale, Dhivya Jayaraman, and JeyaBalaji Samuthiravelu are themselves international students from India, and Madiwale notes that for students like them, time zone differences can make it difficult to connect with university or government personnel over the phone and meet application deadlines. Madiwale adds that the team’s target customer is universities’ international student support departments, whose advisors spend much of their time answering the same few questions. Metro

Road to renewed progress requires a defense of liberal democracy, writes Axelrod

“The world, we now know, does not follow a linear, progressive path and we can take almost nothing for granted, including liberty, peace or prosperity,” writes retired York University Professor Paul Axelrod. Axelrod examines the threats posed to liberal democracy on- and off-campus, and states that the “road to renewed progress requires that such values be vigilantly reaffirmed, if not reinvented.” While there will always be debate around topics such as freedom of speech and protection from discrimination, Axelrod concludes that “what matters most is our ability to debate these issues peacefully, both inside and outside educational institutions, and to ensure the integrity of the political process through which policy choices are made.” University Affairs

ePortfolios find praise at ON institutions, but need greater currency among employers: HEQCO

Students, faculty, and employers in Ontario all see value in ePortfolios, yet their value may not be realized until employers have a better understanding of them, according to a new study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The study examined the use of ePortfolios at Durham College and found that ePortfolios had positive value for students, faculty, and employers. Students saw them as useful for learning about and articulating essential skills; faculty felt the tools were useful for assessing students’ work and providing students an opportunity to reflect on their learning; and employers saw value in their potential for improving their recruitment, selection, and hiring process. However, many employers were confused as to what constituted an ePortfolio, and their lack of familiarity with the term was stated to be the primary reason that ePortfolios are not used more widely. HEQCO | Report

Applied research at colleges, institutes booms, but needs greater investment: CICan survey

Partnerships between industry and Canada’s colleges and institutes are on the rise, but this trend remains limited by a lack of proper federal research funding, according to a new survey by Colleges and Institutes Canada. Since 2010-2011, the number of applied research partnerships with small and medium-sized enterprises has increased by 23%, while the number of partnerships with large enterprises has increased by 51%. However, the largest growth since 2010-2011 has occurred in partnerships with micro-enterprises—businesses with fewer than five employees—which increased by 560%. A CICan release notes that despite this huge jump, CICan members receive only about 2% of all federal funding for higher education research. CICan

US professor faces backlash, pulls syllabus allowing students to choose their own grades to reduce stress

A US-based business professor has withdrawn policies from his course syllabus that gave students the ability to choose their own grades if the ones they received caused too much stress. Inside Higher Ed reports that the policy came under fire from right-wing media outlets that referred to the policy as “a stunning but not-to-surprising [sic] example of the deteriorating quality of education and discipline in America’s universities.” The professor’s institution, however, said the section was deleted was because of its lack of academic rigor, not because of the criticism or media attention. Under the policy, students could leave group work at any time without any explanation if they felt stressed by the situation. Additionally, the policy stipulated that “only positive comments about presentations will be given in class.” Inside Higher Ed

Burns Lake, BC continues to pursue campus of NVIT

A local group working with the Village of Burns Lake, British Columbia says that it is not giving up on trying to bring a rural campus of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology to the village. The rural post-secondary education committee (RPEC) recently encouraged Burns Lake to commission a follow-up impact assessment of programming reductions at the Lakes District campus of the College of New Caledonia. When asked if the rural post-secondary education committee (RPEC) is still confident that a new college may be established in Burns Lake, RPEC member Scott Zayac said “yes,” on the condition that the project receives the full support of the provincial government. “Bringing in NVIT into the community would provide much needed programs and services to the community as well as help diversify the local economy,” said Zayac. BC Local News

Portage receives highest CMA accreditation

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has granted Portage College’s Primary Care and Advanced Care Paramedic Programs a six-year accreditation, which is reportedly the highest accreditation award a program can receive from the CMA. “We are very proud of this achievement only made possible by the dedication, commitment and hard work of the team,” said Carol Ulliac, Dean of Health & Wellness at Portage. “This demonstrates that students are meeting all the entry to practice competencies and that we provide high quality programs to all our students.” Portage

Providence introduces BSc program

Providence University College students are now able to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree at the school’s Otterburne campus. “Our Bachelor of Science will enable students to pursue lab-based careers or obtain prerequisites for careers in education, kinesiology, medicine, medical laboratory science, nursing, rehabilitation sciences and graduate studies,” says program coordinator Rebecca Dielschneider. The Providence BSc includes new courses and labs in cell biology, chemistry, genetics, and microbiology. Providence

Humber Pharmacy Technician program receives accreditation

Humber College’s Pharmacy Technician program has been accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs for the next five years. “I am extremely proud of this accomplishment,” says Humber Dean of the School of Health Sciences Jason Powell. “It is a direct reflection of the amazing faculty, staff and students involved in the Pharmacy Technician program, as well as the incredible facilities we have at Humber College to facilitate excellent teaching and learning.” Humber notes that the accreditation demonstrates its high-quality faculty, program content, and facilities. Humber