Top Ten

September 18, 2017

New ON program helps high school grads decide what to do next

A new pilot program is looking to help Ontario high school graduates decide what they should do next in their personal and professional development. CBC reports that FOCUS, a non-profit that offers free employment services in Alliston and Angus, ON, is introducing a GAP Year program to help students who take a year off decide how they want to start the rest of their lives. The program uses personality tests to help students focus their interests, in addition to helping them work on resumes and student financial aid applications. “I definitely think there is a need to support those kids leaving high school and to throw them to the wolves is not beneficial for our economy,” says FOCUS Outreach Coordinator Angela Adams. “I hope that talking about this gap year will open the discussion and have the potential to reach other service providers in the province.” CBC

BVC partners with ICTC to Develop Student Work-Integrated Learning Program

Bow Valley College has partnered with the Information and Communications Technology Council to launch a new digital Work-Integrated Learning program. The program, called WIL Digital, is the product of a collaboration between BVC, ICTC, and industry partners to create educational programs that address industry needs in the digital economy. The new initiative will help bolster the MOU signed between BVC and the ICTC to develop a two-year software development diploma. “The ICTC partnership will open doors for Bow Valley College learners and help employers secure the talent they need to compete in the digital economy,” said Cherylyn Cameron, Dean of the School of Creative Technologies at BVC. BVC

Former UManitoba jazz professor placed on leave for alleged harassment while employed at the school

A former jazz professor at the University of Manitoba has been placed on leave from his position at Boston’s Berklee College after the school discovered that the professor had been accused of sexual harassment while employed at UManitoba. Professor Steve Kirby’s conduct came under investigation at UManitoba after a group of current and former students made allegations of sexual misconduct against him in February. An internal investigation report obtained by CBC News concluded that at least one student's allegations of lewd comments and unwanted touching, hugging, and kissing had merit and constituted sexual harassment. Kirby has denied the allegations. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (1) | Winnipeg Free Press (2)

USask “punching above its weight” on research despite funding challenges: federal minister

The University of Saskatchewan is “punching above its weight” in its research production, according to Canada Secretary for Science Kate Young. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that the commendation comes in spite of the school’s fiscal challenges and a recent report that warned about a potential decline in Canada’s research competitiveness. The comments came after the announcement of $10.7M in new research funding for USask, which has been earmarked for 60 faculty and 27 graduate students. Asked how a new research funding landscape will affect the University of Saskatchewan and other institutions, Young acknowledged that the last decade “has not been as good as it could be for fundamental research.” Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Recognizing, rewarding faculty’s emotional labour

“While academic accomplishments like graduation are visible to most folks, other acts are seemingly smaller and often only noticed by students and the faculty members who supported them,” writes Julie Shayne. The author notes that it is often marginalized students whose success in higher ed requires substantial emotional labour on the part of faculty and staff members. Yet Shayne notes that this labour cannot be sustained “one compassionate professor at a time,” concluding that an institution needs to recognize its vital role in their budgeting processes, tenure and promotion review, and academic culture. Inside Higher Ed

US study finds short-format training for PhD life sciences students to be ineffective

A recent study conducted in the US has found no evidence to suggest that boot camps and other short-format programs have a durable impact on student outcomes. Noting that previous research relied primarily on anecdotes and end-of-course surveys to support the value of these types of interventions, the researchers analyzed data from 294 PhD students from 53 different US institutions and did not discover any measurable benefits to students. In light of the amount of money and grants put towards these short-format interventions, the study authors state that the findings suggest “that an allocation of limited resources to alternative strategies with stronger empirical foundations warrants consideration.” PNAS

UQAR launches online training course on suicide prevention

The Université du Québec à Rimouski has launched a new seven-hour, online training course on suicide prevention. The course teaches students how to identify risk and protective factors, estimate the potential for suicide and the urgency of the situation, and strategies for helping others to express their suffering and intentions. The course was developed in particular for persons who work in detention centres, education, or social services. UQAR nursing professor Nathalie Maltais states that it is critical to focus on suicide prevention and the identification of at-risk persons, and that the best way to do so is to help them develop the appropriate skills. UQAR

Holding onto the best parts of grad school

Is it possible to keep the best parts of grad school after entering the “real world?” Patrick Bigsby answers with a resounding “yes” before discussing how graduates can hold onto these benefits. To begin, the author recommends that former grad students continue reading academia-centric publications, which unlike academic publications are often freely accessible and keep one connected to the academic world. Bigsby also recommends writing about one's experience in academia, either in a blog or for a publication to share best practices, inspire students, and have conversations they wish had been happening when they were in school. Inside Higher Ed

UAlberta ATEP expands to train Indigenous teachers for secondary schools

The University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program now offers an urban stream that equips graduates to teach junior and senior high school, reports the Edmonton Journal. The ATEP program offers bachelor of education students extra support in the form of elders and mentors, a dedicated lounge, and extra professional development. The Edmonton Journal explains that the region has seen growing demand for educators who can confidently teach topics such as Indigenous history and reconciliation, and that the province is developing professional standards related to supporting Indigenous student achievement. “School is one of those places (children) go not just to learn, but they feel at home,” said UAlberta ATEP student Alicia Cardinal. “I just want to be that place, where they just love to enjoy to come every single day.” Edmonton Journal

Okanagan signs dual-credit partnership with local school district to give students head start

A new partnership between Okanagan College and BC School District No. 23 will allow Grade 12 students to get a head start on the Education Assistant certificate program. The full-time program, which is offered over four and a half months and features a month-long practicum, gives students the foundation, knowledge, and experience to work in BC school districts, in group homes, and with individual families. “School District No. 23 approached us to form a dual-credit partnership and help bring forward the next generation of Education Assistants,” explained Okanagan Program Coordinator Valerie Banks. “The demand for EAs is high within Kelowna’s school district, which requires all EAs to be certified.” Okanagan