Top Ten

September 1, 2017

Universities should support students when they are ready to be students: UAlberta vice-provost

Student mental health issues are a growing concern on Canadian campuses, writes Andre Costopoulos, vice-provost and dean of students at the University of Alberta. Yet while it is the responsibility of universities to support students, the author notes that this principle applies only when “students are ready to be students.” The author argues that in order to succeed in university, students must take responsibility for their own well-being by “being in university when they are ready and not before.” The university does these students no favours, the author adds, by helping them stay in university when they “are not functioning as students.” The author goes on to describe several ways in which universities could make it easier for students to invest in their wellness, such as making it easier to take a semester off, and advocating for better mental health funding in the public health care system. University Affairs

Illegal rooming houses are a “life-and-death” issue for Winnipeg students

A report released by Winnipeg City Councillor Janice Lukes has found that there may be more than 150 illegal rooming houses targeting university students in the Fort Richmond and University Heights areas of Winnipeg. The report finds that many of these converted single-family homes accommodate from five to nine people, posing serious fire hazards and other code violations. “The big picture is: the last thing I want on my watch is a house fire and students dead in it. We’ve had some very close calls. This is life-and-death stuff,” said Lukes. Winnipeg Free Press 

A “pitifully low” number of Canadian students have RESPs: credit expert

Despite rising tuition fees, two in five Canadian students entering PSE say that they have no savings and two-thirds do not have an RESP, reports the Globe and Mail. This lack of financial preparation could pose even further challenges, the article notes, as many students discover that they will need to pursue further education after their undergraduate degree to enter their career of choice. Credit Counselling Society President Scott Hannah says that he is surprised by how few Canadians take advantage of RESPs, calling the number “pitifully low” for a program that gives students or their parents an automatic 20% on top of what they contribute. Hannah also encourages relatives of future PSE students to choose contributing to an RESP when giving a student a birthday gift, or finding other ways to contribute to a young relative's RESP. Globe and Mail

Tips for becoming an effective acting director or interim dean, chair

In the first part of a two-part series, Elizabeth Simmons offers advice to those who are taking on interim positions as directors, chairs, or deans in a PSE setting. The author notes that the nuances of an interim leadership experience will differ based on “whether this is your first time acting as an academic leader, the size and complexity of the unit you will lead, and whether you have any prior familiarity with the unit in question.”Simmons describes the first four questions one should ask when taking on an interim leadership position. These questions are “What is your core mission during your acting period?”, “What are people afraid of, and how can you allay those fears?”, “How will you acquire the information required for your role?”, and “Which issues must you address and which should be handled by your successor?” Inside Higher Ed

Georgian becomes first college in Canada to receive Changemaker Campus designation

Georgian College reports that it has become the first college in Canada to be designated a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U for its role as a leader in social innovation and changemaking in higher education. The recognition makes Georgian a member of the Changemaker Campus Network, which is a global community of students, staff, administrators, faculty and community partners who share a commitment to lead positive social change around the world. “Ashoka U is the leading designation for social innovation in higher education,” says Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes. “This prestigious designation recognizes the leadership of our students and staff across all of our seven campuses who understand that making social change is vital to our way of life.” Georgian

UOttawa student leaders forbidden from administering naloxone

University of Ottawa frosh leaders have been trained to spot opioid overdoses, but have been forbidden from administering naloxone while on duty at special events during 101 Week. UOttawa’s student federation partnered with the Ottawa Hospital to train its student leaders to spot the signs of drug overdose and respond quickly. The training originally included the administering of naloxone, but Student Federation President Hadi Wess said that this was cancelled when it became apparent that the federation could be held liable if student leaders failed to administer the antidote properly. CBC reports that some leaders have decided to purchase and carry their own kits, despite not being permitted to use them until after their shifts as student leaders. CBC

VIU’s unique relationship with BC school district allows small-town campus to succeed

The Powell River campus of Vancouver Island University can thank a unique partnership with British Columbia’s School District 47 for its continued success, says campus administrator Greg Cran. The Powell River Peak reports that VIU and District 47 have an agreement that allows students in the district to complete courses during high school that count for credit toward both their high school diploma and a degree at VIU. This arrangement encourages students from across the district to attend VIU’s Powell River campus, the article explains. “We think it's really important to have that relationship, especially in a smaller community, so we've tried to create as many programs as possible that are collaborative,” said school district superintendent Jay Yule. “Students are able to gain university credit in the senior grades that puts them ahead of all of their peers in the province.” Powell River Peak

Queen's expands online post-graduate certificates for ON teachers

Queen’s University has responded to the increasing demand for teachers to upgrade and develop their skills by offering online post-graduate certificates designed specifically for teachers in the province. The Queen’s Gazette reports that the new certificates will provide advanced standing for the school’s online Professional Masters of Education, which offers fields of specialization that include Aboriginal Education, Assessment and Evaluation, Classroom Specialist, Literacy, and Teaching Abroad. “The people who are taking the online post-graduate certificates love it and they love that Queen’s is doing it,” says Jessica Della-Latta, executive director of the Faculty of Education’s Professional and Non-Credit Programs. “These courses showcase the Faculty of Education’s commitment to quality teaching and learning and the candidates notice. We are excited to see how the program grows.” Queen’s

The plan to decolonize design at OCADU

OCAD University has made decolonization number one on its list of six priorities guiding its academic planning through 2022, and the school has already undertaken efforts to decolonize its curriculum, reports I Rattan for NOW Toronto. The effort includes a commitment from the school’s design faculty to explore the Seven Generations principle – the Iroquois philosophy that says decisions made today should result in a sustainable world for the seventh generation to come – as a basis for its decolonized curriculum. However, critics note that it is imperative to continue pushing for decolonization across the entire school culture in order to prevent the school from adopting a “check-box mentality” toward decolonization. NOW Toronto

UMoncton celebrates opening of on-campus retirement complex and nursing home

The Université de Moncton has inaugurated le Faubourg du Mascaret, an on-campus retirement complex that will also be home to the Collaborative Centre for Learning on Ageing. The centre, which operates in partnership with the university, will provide an interprofessional learning environment for health professionals, research opportunities, internships, and employment. Calling it the first-ever university nursing home in the province, UMoncton Rector Raymond Théberge praised the complex for the opportunities it would bring to students in the health sciences. UMoncton