Top Ten

October 11, 2017

Essential supports for at-risk ON college students creating $160M shortfall: Deloitte

Providing essential supports and services for at-risk students at Ontario's colleges has created a funding shortfall of over $160M, according to a new report from Deloitte. The report found that colleges in the province spend a combined $206M per year to support at-risk students, while provincial funding for this cause is about $45M annually. The report also found that colleges need to divert funds away from college operations and academic programming to meet the shortfall. “It's imperative that our most vulnerable students have access to supports that help them complete their college programs,” says Colleges Ontario President Linda Franklin. “These investments in our students are pivotal to their long-term success.” Colleges Ontario | Report

BC debate over international enrolments focuses on high fees

Critics have alleged that British Columbia’s colleges and universities are displacing domestic students in order to capture the higher tuition fees paid by international students, yet these institutions deny that any displacement is occurring. Peter Wylie, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, recently presented a paper arguing that much of the displacement of domestic students might not necessarily happen at the institutional admissions level, but at the course selection level. Institutional stakeholders have contested this claim, however, adding that the recruitment of international students has a significant impact on a school’s position in global ranking systems. The Province

International students to receive access to medicare in NB

The New Brunswick government has announced that it will extend medicare coverage to international students studying in the province. The New Brunswick departments of health and education announced last Friday that any international student who has a valid study permit and proof of full-time study at a provincial university or college is eligible. Medicare will also cover the dependents of international students while they are studying in the province. Robert Burroughs, executive director of the New Brunswick Student Alliance, said that he is pleased with the government's decision, noting that it will help the province attract and retain students from other countries. CBC

How provosts can become the main drivers of student success

“A provost can do more than any other individual to ensure that the greatest number of students not only return but also thrive and graduate,” yet doing so requires them to approach this goal from five angles, writes Mark Canada. First, Canada warns about the tendency for executive leaders to try to get faculty “on board” with their new initiatives. Instead, the author suggests that provosts pursue a grassroots approach to distil their faculty colleagues’ existing knowledge, goals, and passions into a common mission. Further, Canada recommends that provosts find ways to reward success, be clear and open about what they value, and support faculty members who are leading the way in student success. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Trump continues to fuel Canada’s global talent advantage: U of T professors

US President Donald Trump's crackdown on immigration has given Canada a golden opportunity to attract the world’s top talent, write University of Toronto professors Richard Florida and Joshua Gans. The authors highlight the investments that top tech companies like Google and Uber have made in Canada-based research, adding that Canada’s major cities have also become some of the globe’s major centres for finance and investment. “As the US global brand wanes, Canada's grows in stature,” the authors conclude. “Many things point in Canada's favour, but the country and its cities can't rest on their laurels. The competition for global talent is a long, hard game. It will take sustained work to turn Canada's talent opportunity today into real and lasing advantage for the future.” Globe and Mail

Carleton’s Sprott School of Business to move into new $48M home

The Sprott School of Business at Carleton University will soon have a new $48M home in the heart of university's campus. The 100,000-square-foot Nicol Building will be named in honour of Ottawa entrepreneur and Carleton alumnus, the late Wesley Nicol. The building campaign was originally kicked off by a $10M donation from the Nicol family in 2014, and Carleton has set aside funds to cover the remaining costs. “This new building will take the Sprott School of Business to the next level so that we can keep up with rising enrolment and continue to attract outstanding students who will be the leaders of tomorrow,” said Chris Carruthers, chair of Carleton's board of governors. Ottawa Citizen

UManitoba student shocked by killing of over 50 snakes he was studying

A Manitoba researcher was shocked to discover last week that more than 50 garter snakes that he had been studying had been killed. University of Manitoba biology student Neil Balchan was researching movement behaviour and climate effects on the snakes at an off-campus site, but visited the site last week to discover the bodies of over 50 snakes that appeared to have been killed with rocks and sticks. “I have no explanation for it,” said Balchan. “I've been thinking and trying to rationalize it. And there's no reason in my mind that someone would go out into the wild and do that kind of damage to an animal.” Manitoba Sustainable Development says it is aware of the incident, but adds that the snakes are not protected by environmental regulations because the killings occurred outside the Narcisse Wildlife Management Area. The Telegram (CP)

USask releases first-of-its-kind wellness strategy

The University of Saskatchewan has released a new collaborative wellness strategy that the university claims is the first of its kind for a Canadian higher ed institution. The six strategic areas of support covered in the strategy are: ensuring a supportive foundation; fostering a healthy culture and environment; raising awareness and maintaining healthy behaviours; identifying risk and responsibility; developing resilience and self-management competencies; and providing services, training, and critical support. According to Cheryl Carver, USask’s associate vice-president of people and resources, “no other post-secondary institution has addressed wellness where they include faculty, staff and students as partners in the strategy.” USask

Preparing students for workplace hierarchies

Universities tend to encourage students to dress however they want and to openly criticize authority figures, yet some thinkers have asked how this environment prepares these students for the hierarchies of the working world. Scott Carlson writes that this transition can be difficult both for new graduates and for the people employing them. Quoting an NYU professor of management and organizations, Carlson notes that “human beings are kind of built to be pretty hierarchical creatures. … Even if you try to suppress it in the workplace, interpersonally and within groups, hierarchies still take shape.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

McGill professor to head DeepMind research lab in Montreal

DeepMind, an AI company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, will be opening a new AI research lab in Montreal that will be headed by McGill University Computer Science Professor Doina Precup. “The lab is going to focus on reinforcement learning, which is my specialty, and deep learning and the intersection of these kinds of algorithms,” said Precup. “We try to set up reward systems so that automated algorithms can learn what’s the right thing to do, especially when there is a whole sequence of actions that need to be done.” The Montreal Gazette reports that the lab will be DeepMind’s second research lab in Canada, following the Edmonton lab announced in July. Montreal Gazette