Top Ten

May 4, 2018

McGill receives $5M donation for Chair in Democratic Studies

McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy has reportedly received a $5M gift for a Chair in Democratic Studies. “We are grateful to Garvin Brown and Steffanie Diamond Brown for this generous and timely gift in support of McGill’s new Max Bell School of Public Policy,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. A McGill release states that the Chair will be jointly appointed by the School and McGill’s Department of Political Science. The donation will also support an annual conference to “promote public debate of ideas, alternatives, and data solutions that can improve electoral processes and enhance citizen engagement.” McGill

Canada announces Mitacs expansion for colleges, polytechnics

A new federal pilot program will help colleges and polytechnics partner with businesses and non-profits to provide paid internships for students. A Government of Canada release reports that the new program builds on the federal government’s commitment to invest $221M into Mitacs as part of an effort to create 10,000 paid internships for postsecondary students each year. Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains stated that the “expansion of Mitacs’ paid internship program to students at colleges and institutes reflects our government’s understanding of the critical role that these institutions play in Canada’s research and innovation ecosystem.” Canada

Why online education might not be as inclusive as many would argue

“In principle and in theory, online learning offers numerous possibilities to practice educational inclusivity,” write Erin Clow and Klodiana Kolomitro. The authors argue, however, that inclusion in higher ed means more than the ability to earn a postsecondary credential. They add that when studied closely, online education reveals a reality in which student-to-student, faculty-to-student, and faculty-to-institution interactions are limited. Clow and Kolomitro contend that while online learning might help more learners take part in higher education in general, the nature of this participation is not as inclusive from behind a computer screen as it is for students sharing the same space. The authors ultimately conclude that “rather than an inherent characteristic, inclusivity in an online classroom should be pursued in an intentional and ongoing way.” University Affairs

10 time-wasting meetings found in academe

“Have you ever met anyone who genuinely feels that most [university] meetings are useful, productive, efficient or enjoyable? Me neither,” writes Gary Lewandowski Jr. To help address the problem of pointless meetings, the author highlights some of the most common offenders: regularly scheduled meetings, directionless meetings, training meetings, preconceived meetings, and meetings that could have been summarized in an email. The author concludes that the best kind of meeting, by far, is the cancelled meeting, and explains that “simply by eliminating undesirable gatherings, our hours spent together with colleagues will be more efficient and productive.” Inside Higher Ed

NIC, CNC, Okanagan, Selkirk sign MOU for applied business technology programs

A new agreement between four British Columbia colleges will give students the opportunity to study online to gain the applied business skills to work as office professionals. The memorandum of understanding between North Island College, the College of New Caledonia, Okanagan College and Selkirk College will see the institutions co-ordinate delivery and improve access to online programs designed to support students entering office assistant, administrative assistant, computing accounting assistant, legal administrative assistant and medical office assistant programs. Under the terms of the agreement, students will be able to move more easily between institutions to complete their credential. CNC

ON college strike cost Cambrian $725K

The five-week faculty strike that affected 24 Ontario colleges last Fall cost Cambrian College $725K, according to CBC. While Cambrian reportedly saved $2.2M in salary expenditures during the work stoppage, it spent $3M on contingencies that included student refunds and extra-pay for support staff and part-time professors. “We extended the fall and winter semesters, we had classes and labs after hours and on weekends and we had other academic supports available after hours to make up for the lost time,” said Cambrian Communications Manager Dan Lessard. Meanwhile, Nina Naumenko told CBC that the strike cost the Ontario Public Service Employees Union $20M. CBC

Olds College announces cannabis production program, practicum

Olds College will offer an online cannabis program through its Continuing Education department, reports CKFM. The program will reportedly include four online courses: Introduction to Horticulture Production; Introduction to Crop Production and Facilities; Cannabis Legislation and Documentation; and Horticulture for Cannabis Production. Olds will also reportedly offer a two-week practicum with an industry partner following successful completion of the courses. CBC states that Olds’ announcement coincides with pending Alberta laws that will require applicants for the cannabis retail sector to have industry-approved certification. CKFM | CBC

Economic downturn forces Cape Breton career college to close

McKenzie College, a private career college in Cape Breton, closed abruptly last week. CBC reports that McKenzie President Todd Graham distributed a news release by fax machine to announce the closure. He told CBC that he had hoped to keep the college running until the end of its current slate of programming. “The final (students) got word (Tuesday) and there’s a couple of welding students that are going to finish up at NSCC. There’s only a couple weeks left (in programs). Some had two weeks left, others had six weeks remaining,” said Graham. McKenzie blamed the closure on the “progressive” downturn of Cape Breton’s economy and a slowdown in Western Canada’s oil industry. Cape Breton Post

Fleming signs student exchange agreement with Limerick Institute of Technology

Students from Fleming College’s School of Business will now have the opportunity to study in Ireland under a new exchange agreement recently signed with Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT). A Fleming release states that the agreement allows up to five eligible students from each institution to take part in an exchange. The agreement applies to the Business Administration and Business Administration – Marketing programs at Fleming and the Business Information Systems, Bachelor of Business with Digital Marketing, Bachelor of Business in Marketing and Management, and Bachelor of Business in Enterprise and Innovation programs at LIT. The students can reportedly spend up to one academic year at the partner institution. Fleming

Coping with significant defeat as an academic administrator

Being let go from an academic leadership position can be a crushing blow, writes former Arizona State Dean of Humanities George Justice, which is why it is crucial to know how to cope with failure. Justice describes his own experience of losing his deanship at Arizona State, as well as the professional vulnerability he felt in the aftermath. The author notes that the best two pieces of advice he can give to anyone who suffers from a sense of failure is to hire a good therapist and to let time run its course. “I have no doubt I will always feel some pain about the course of my career,” concludes Justice. “But in this moment, I feel engaged and successful.” Chronicle of Higher Education