Top Ten

October 6, 2017

We must stop talking about students as “fragile flowers”: Wilson, Ono

Referring to students as oversensitive “fragile flowers” only contributes to the stigma that prevents many with mental health issues from seeking help, write University of Toronto Chancellor Michael Wilson and University of British Columbia President Santa Ono. The authors discuss Ono’s personal struggles with suicide, as well as Wilson’s painful loss of his son to depression and suicide over 20 years ago, arguing that PSE institutions must “recognize that none of us should be ashamed of the struggles we face. Mental illness, depression, addiction are diseases, not character flaws.” The authors conclude by insisting that students who speak out about their struggles should be considered inspiring, not fragile. Globe and Mail

Freeze PSE grants, hike tuition, eliminate redundancy: KPMG report on MB higher ed

A large financial report by KPMG has advised the Manitoba government to freeze PSE institutional grants, raise tuition, demand that schools raise more funds privately, and direct funding to programs that can prove value for money. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the report was delivered a year ago to the MB government, but was made public for the first time this week. The consulting firm also recommended that the province hold postsecondary institution salaries down and use the government’s control over funding to force universities and colleges to cut duplicated programs and end programs it deems ineffective. Winnipeg Free Press (Subscription Required)

Campus Montréal receives $2M from RBC to support entrepreneurs

The Royal Bank of Canada has donated $2M to the Campus Montréal fundraising campaign to support the development of entrepreneurship among students and youth. $1.6M of the funds will go to Centre d’entrepreneuriat Poly-UdeM, and the remaining $400K will go towards HEC Montréal’s IDEOS centre for management of social enterprises and organizations. An HEC release explains that the donation is partially intended to be used for the creation of management tools for social enterprises. “For the IDEOS centre, this donation by RBC will allow us to pursue co-development activities involving students, professors and social enterprises, leading to innovative processes adapted to the needs of such enterprises,” said HEC Director Michel Patry. HEC

UManitoba students demand changes to school’s harassment policy in wake of Kirby allegations

A group of student is asking the University of Manitoba to change its sexual harassment policies after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against a former UManitoba music professor last month. CBC reported in September that Jazz Professor Steve Kirby, who retired in late June of this year after being on leave for six months, had been accused by a group of students of behaviour that amounted to sexual harassment. A group of roughly a dozen students carrying signs walked through the school's campus Wednesday to present university administrators with letters signed by two hundred people calling for change. CBC

Current credential, accreditation system does not serve students well: HEQCO report

The current university system of credentials, accreditation, and transcripts does not provide students or potential employers with an overview of the skills they have developed while studying, according to a new report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The report notes that while the current system does succeed in documenting students’ knowledge of content, it does not convey how the knowledge of this content translates into skills. The report further claims that this lack of documentation leaves employers to infer skills from the content that students have studied, which can lead to claims of a “skills gap” and of employers being unable to find graduates with the necessary skills to fill advertised positions. HEQCO

Perspectives on how to be happy in the academic workplace

Recent research has shown that academics are more prone to mental health issues than those working in other professions, writes Times Higher Education, which is why the publication recently asked scholars from a number of fields to offer advice on how academics can find more joy in the workplace. One contributor notes that a primary reason for unhappiness among academics is the tendency for these individuals to compare themselves to colleagues and peers. “Comparison … has been shown to be toxic to happiness,” the contributor writes. “It isn’t that glum people compare themselves with those doing better while happy people compare themselves with those doing worse: happy people simply don’t compare themselves with others at all.” Times Higher Education

Michener partners on development of provincial PSW registry

The Michener Institute of Education at UHN is partnering with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on the development of a new provincial registry for personal support workers (PSWs). “We were engaged by the Ministry due to our reputation as a forward thinking and unique academic institution dedicated to innovative practices in educating healthcare professionals, and a long standing history of contribution to health labour force planning,” said Brian Hodges, Executive Vice President of Education at the University Health Network, who called the registry an “exciting” project. The registry will allow patients and families to access information such as education and training credentials, and will incorporate PSWs working in different health sectors. Michener

ULaval dissociates itself from “Apostle of Quebec City”

Université Laval has dissociated itself from the religious organization Parole de Vie following the arrest of Reverend Paul Mukendi. The Journal de Montréal reports that a Parole de Vie website falsely associated itself with ULaval, which has stressed that the use of its name on the website is forbidden and that it has previously had the website suspended. ULaval spokeswoman Andrée-Anne Stewart explained that a space was rented in 2015 by a small group of followers of the organization, but that the organization is not associated with the university and does not respect the conditions that were established in 2015. Stewart has stated that the university intends to see that the website is suspended again. Journal de Montréal

Nonacademic barriers present unique challenges for rural colleges

Food, transportation, housing, health care and child care insecurities, and a lack of access to broadband internet are all unique nonacademic barriers faced by colleges and universities located in rural communities. Ashley A Smith of Inside Higher Ed covers the concerns raised at a recent US conference for rural community colleges, such as how to support rural students living in poverty, facing transportation issues, or lacking access to internet at home. “It’s really important to not lose focus and forget we’re open access, and that means regardless of potential applicants’ level of socioeconomic status -- they may be on welfare, or on Medicaid, or living in Section 8 housing,” said doctoral student Jared Reed at the conference. “But they might also be a 4.0 [grade point average] student.” Inside Higher Ed

Nipissing signs new partnership to create courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution

A growing need for education in conflict resolution has led Nipissing University to partner with the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation to create new course offerings. A Nipissing release reports that the new courses will offer professional accreditation in alternative dispute resolution for Nipissing students and for those from the community at large. “Though conflicts can be opportunities to make progress, they can also entrench inherited misunderstandings. How we can recognize our differences while collaborating to create common ground are urgent needs in an increasingly interconnected world,” says Toivo Koivukoski, associate professor of Political Science at Nipissing. Nipissing