Top Ten

August 17, 2017

ON employers must invest more to address alleged “skills mismatch”

A number of recent reports have created the misleading, yet widespread idea that there is a significant skills mismatch in the Ontario labour market, writes Jeffrey Boggs of Brock University. These reports, Boggs notes, are often commissioned by employers themselves and call for universities to provide graduates with more job-specific training. What this really means, Boggs asserts, is that employers are looking for graduates with “firm-specific skills,” which cannot be realistically provided by universities. “Firm-specific skills need to be acquired in the context in which they will be used,” Boggs notes, adding that employers need to take responsibility for providing these skills. Globe and Mail

NorQuest, BVC receive $1.9M from AB for Indigenous construction training centres

The Province of Alberta has announced that it will be providing $1.9M in government funds for the development of Alberta Indigenous Construction Career Centres at Bow Valley College and NorQuest College. The centres provide career coaching, resume development, courses and workshops, and support in connecting Indigenous people with employers hiring personnel for construction projects. “Indigenous people are hard-working, entrepreneurial and important contributors to Alberta's economy,” said AB Minister of Labour Christina Gray. “This additional investment will improve access to training opportunities and help more Indigenous people find good jobs in a key industry.” NorQuest | Global News | CBC

Saint John program looks to employers to help youth in poverty pay for university

Youth living in poverty in the north end of Saint John, New Brunswick may find new hope for attending university through a program that connects them with employers and helps them save money for school. The non-profit group ONE Change is looking for create internships with 10 employers lasting 20 weeks and 200 hours to take place over the school year. The employer would also create a tax-deductible bursary fund for $2.5K in the student's name, to be kept safe by the Greater Saint John Community Foundation. The students would access the bursary after they graduate from high school, and can only use it toward their postsecondary education. ONE Change Director Barry Galloway added that youth are welcome to sign up for the program more than once, and work with a different employer each year. CBC

Schools can still do much more to support student mental health: Toronto Star

“While no university or college can meet the full spectrum of students’ mental health needs, schools can and must do more to improve existing supports,” writes the editorial board for the Toronto Star. The authors note that a $6M boost in annual funding announced last year for college and mental health services can have a major impact on these services. The Star also received several recommendations for improving mental health services after speaking with advocates, students, and staff. These recommendations include supplementing school counselling and peer-support by having mental health professionals make regular visits to campuses, providing mental-health care at the same locations as other campus health services, and offering better support to students who seek care off-campus. Toronto Star

Renison UC offers UWaterloo’s first Indigenous language course

Renison University College will be offering University of Waterloo’s first Indigenous language course, Introduction to Kanien’kéha (Mohawk Language). The course is offered through Renison’s Culture and Language Studies department, in collaboration with the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre (WAEC) at St Paul’s University College, and is intended for UWaterloo students with minimal to no knowledge of Kanien’kéha. “I think teaching Kanien’kéha will help non-Indigenous people understand a little bit about who Indigenous people are and what our priorities are,” said course instructor Nicole Bilodeau. “I hope it sparks interest in people, Indigenous or not, to learn more about our collective history.” Exchange Magazine | UWaterloo

UPEI launches program in Communication, Leadership and Culture

The University of Prince Edward Island has launched a new program designed to help students apply their knowledge and experience to the workplace. CBC reports that the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communication, Leadership and Culture was created in response to growing concerns about what graduates need to thrive in the workplace. The program will include coursework on how to navigate job and career changes, as well as a fourth year project involving on the job training. “They [will] have a very clear idea of how what they study at UPEI in the faculty of arts program actually translates for them into the world of work or into community work afterwards,” said Lisa Chilton, director of the new program. CBC

WesternU music students to live rent-free in London retirement home this fall

A group of Western University students will have the chance to live rent-free at a London retirement home this fall in exchange for volunteer work. The upper-year students from the Don Wright Faculty of Music will move in with more than 120 seniors this fall when Oakcrossing Retirement Living opens its doors. The live-in program was reportedly inspired by a model in Cleveland, Ohio, and requires students to volunteer 10 to 12 hours per week practicing instrumental music and performing recitals in common areas. Students will also receive three free meals each week as part of the program. CBC

Faculty members should be involved with move-in day

“While we welcome faculty involvement during many campus events, move-in day is especially important because, for many of our students (and their parents), it’s their first impression of our community,” writes Kirstin Kelley. The author argues that while it is true that faculty are being asked to take on more duties, being involved with move-in day can build trust with students in a way that lightens the burden of their other duties throughout the academic year. “By getting involved in campus life from day one,” the author adds, “faculty members can help students feel comfortable seeking their support before their academic performance is dire.” Inside Higher Ed

The revolutionary potential of the Ontario Education Number

“Today, we are on the cusp of opening up another, powerful new data set … with revolutionary potential for our understanding and stewardship of the system, and for improving student outcomes,” writes Martin Hicks for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Hicks highlights the Ontario Education Number, a unique identifier assigned to each student, as a new way to help researchers and policymakers “assemble a tapestry of information about the many journeys into, through and beyond higher education.” Comparing the OEN to the creation of institutional Key Performance Indicators, Hicks concludes that the OEN could herald a new era in higher education quality in ON. HEQCO

UOttawa law school appoints elder in residence to expand Indigenous law focus

The University of Ottawa has announced that it has appointed an elder in residence at its law school as part of its ongoing efforts to decolonize its curriculum. The faculty of law announced this week that Elder Claudette Commanda, an Algonquin Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, would be the first person to take on the role. Interim Dean François Larocque tells Metro that the goal of the school’s new focus on Indigenous law is to recognize that there was a tradition of law in North America prior to the arrival of the French and British. “The communities that were here had their own laws and their own legal traditions and their own way to settle disputes,” said Larocque. “Those legal traditions are still there. They’re still living, but they have just been eclipsed.” Metro