Top Ten

August 14, 2017

SK higher ed leaders comment on Brad Wall’s higher ed legacy

Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall has left a mixed legacy for Saskatchewan’s universities, according to University of Saskatchewan Students Union President David D’Eon. D’Eon notes that while the Saskatchewan Party government invested a large amount of funding into USask between 2007 and 2012, the university is now reeling from a $18M cut and what D’Eon refers to as “strained relations” with the government. “All we’ve heard from the province is, ‘Well, we gave you a lot of money in the past,’” says D’Eon. “(There was) no actual response to that situation, no action coming out of it, and so that concerns me more than anything.” University of Regina Provost Thomas Chase states that he believes the shift stems from the government grappling with falling commodity prices and increased pressure on spending, rather than a fundamental shift in attitude toward universities. Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Call for “supercluster” bids receives more responses than anticipated: senior official

An anonymous senior government official says that the federal government’s program to create five technology “superclusters” has received more bids than expected. The bidding process was designed to encourage academia and businesses to work together on strategies to boost fast-growing sectors. iPolitics reports that according to the official, 50 letters of intent came from consortia representing a total of more than 200 companies and 20 postsecondary institutions. “The policy imperative for this program was trying to unlock business investment in (research and development), which has been this perpetual issue in Canada,” said the official. “This isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s a model to tackle that issue.” iPolitics

How to deal with the unproductive effects of grading

While grades can be a good indicator of consistency of performance across courses, they do not offer a clear assessment of student learning or a complete evaluation of their work, according to US-based sociology professor Diane Pike. Speaking with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Pike and other experts note that grades can in fact hinder learning by teaching students to focus more on grades than the substance of what they are learning. Even in cases where grades are assigned with descriptive feedback, says one expert, students will ignore the feedback and focus only the grade, thus depriving themselves of the opportunity to learn and improve. To resolve this issue, the article suggests letting students perform peer evaluation, offering grades for effort, and offering descriptive feedback instead of grades. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Indeed releases report of Canadian earnings by university major

Canadians with degrees in accounting have the highest salaries of any university degree-holders, according to a recent study performed by Indeed. The study examined over four million resumes and fund that finance and computer science were also high paying degrees, top level positions raking in $109,690K and $101,857K, respectively. The study also shows that despite common beliefs to the contrary, those who major in subjects such as history and fine arts make up to $79K and $72K per year. The lowest-paying job included the report was biology researcher, which earned graduates only $62,269K for top-level researcher positions. Daily Hive

MUN, UPEI researchers receive $4.4M to protect salmon from disease

A pair of researchers from Memorial University and the University of Prince Edward Island have received $4.4M from multiple funding sources to lead a pan-Atlantic effort to improve the health and welfare of cultured Atlantic salmon using genomics and other biotechnologies. Kurt Gamperl, a professor at MUN’s Department of Ocean Sciences, and Mark Fast, associate professor at UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College, say that the funding will be used to find new ways to protect salmon from disease, which will only become more important as the world’s oceans continue to warm. VOCM | MUN Gazette | UPEI

Reconciliation requires non-Indigenous people to support, not lead: UWinnipeg students

Non-Indigenous Canadians looking to contribute to the cause of reconciliation can help create a path forward by stepping back and letting Indigenous peoples take the lead, according to students from the University of Winnipeg. “I think that the Indigenous people have to lead that movement and the settlers have to listen and let the Indigenous people lead,” says Lisa Strong, one of 20 students who recently finished Youth United, a six-credit-hour summer course at the UWinnipeg. The city-funded pilot program matches students with work placements with community groups in Winnipeg’s North End that are committed to carrying out the calls to action cited in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The article highlights the experiences of several other UWinnipeg students who participated in the program. CBC

“Emotional safety” of students appears as concern in review of suspended CNA program

CBC reports that the “emotional safety” of students was among the concerns raised by a team of reviewers before a national body pulled accreditation for College of the North Atlantic's respiratory therapy earlier this summer. A team of national reviewers from the Council on Accreditation for Respiratory Therapy Education noted that the “unprofessional behaviour” of an unnamed person had “created a learning environment that is perceived as intimidating and not supportive of learning and the progressive development of competency.” The reviewers found that this behaviour might have also contributed to the program’s high attrition rate. CNA has stated that the personnel involved with the program are no longer employed at the school, and that it is working with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to help students who have completed part of the three-year program to complete their studies in St John's, NL. CBC

Dundas Valley School of Art, OCADU partner on Foundational Certificate Program

Dundas Valley School of Art, located in Dundas, Ontario has partnered with OCAD University’s Continuing Education to launch a Foundational Certificate Program. This structured course of study provides a wide-ranging education in studio art, and Hamilton News reports that the program is an alternative to a college/university program for art students looking for an informal training environment. “Many students wanting to study visual art struggle with college and university programs because these have become so academically-oriented,” said Loughheed. “The certificate program is designed to encourage students to immerse themselves in a studio program that offers a range of art disciplines.” Eligible students who complete the program requirements will receive a certificate of completion. Hamilton News

Lakeland launches courses to help adults attain Grade 12 standing in SK

This fall, Lakeland College will be offering Grade 12 courses to adults, enabling them to attain Grade 12 standing in the province of Saskatchewan. Each course in the program will constitute a total of 90 hours of face to face, in-class instruction. “Lakeland continuously strives to be a community leader,” says Raelean Hickson, continuing education coordinator. “By providing programs such as Adult 12, we are empowering citizens and highlighting our unwavering focus on leading learning, no matter where students are at in their academic journey.” “Not only are we providing an avenue for citizens to complete Grade 12 courses, we are helping ensure a future ripe with opportunities as they transition to post-secondary studies,” added program supervisor Larry Sauer. Lakeland

Durham to introduce more Indigenous content into broadcasting program for coming school year

Durham College says that it plans to introduce new content into its curriculum this fall in order to give students a better grasp of Canada’s Indigenous history. In the 2017-2018 school year, Durham will incorporate Indigenous content into five courses in its broadcasting for contemporary media program. Work is also underway to Indigenize some courses in the college’s police foundations program; protection, security and investigation program; and programs in the School of Health and Community Services. Peggy Forbes, an Aboriginal student adviser and coach at Durham, says the change is much-needed. “People don’t know what they don’t know,” she says. “They are just starting to learn about this really, really dark history. It’s not a pleasant reality, but it’s so important.” Durham