Top Ten

May 18, 2018

NS pilot for international students expands across Atlantic Canada

A Nova Scotia pilot program designed to recruit and retain international students is being expanded across Atlantic Canada. In September, the Study and Stay Program will reportedly launch in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island. “There are two key activities that are going to happen with the initiative. The first is attracting and recruiting international students, and the second will be facilitating international students, their integration and retention into the workforce and into the communities,” stated Étienne Chiasson, spokesperson for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The program’s expansion is reportedly part of an ongoing effort to attract international talent to the Atlantic provinces. University Affairs

Students file lawsuit against Solomon, immigration consultant

About a dozen students have launched a class-action lawsuit against Solomon College and immigration consultant Amarjot Singh for misleading claims around the college’s ability to qualify them for a postsecondary federal post-graduate work permit. Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education Press Secretary Samantha Power explained that the programs in question at Solomon, as well as degree programs through other private vocational college, are not eligible for federal post-graduate work permits. “We make no promises to our students about our ability to procure work permits as a result of registering in anyone of our educational programs,” reads a statement issued by Solomon program director Ping Ping Lee. “This would be unethical and inconsistent with our primary role as an education provider.” CBC

With controversial speakers, presidents toe fine line between disagreement, disavowal

In light of recent incidents involving controversial speakers at major US colleges, Marjorie Valbrun interviews several college presidents about how to best respond if a speaker makes potentially offensive comments. While the majority of Valbrun’s respondents acknowledge that there is no easy answer to such a scenario, the general consensus is that a president has to respectfully critique offensive speech without critiquing the speaker personally. The crucial element to the response, Valbrun finds, lies in striking the right balance of tone and timing, as well as defending the university’s mission and values above all else. Inside Higher Ed

Rector lifts UQTR lockout

Daniel McMahon, Rector of l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, has lifted the 15-day lockout on the university’s teaching staff, reports La Presse. McMahon told Le Journal de Montréal that Québec Premier Phillipe Couillard and Minister of Higher Education Hélène David are committed to tabling back-to-work legislation if the two sides cannot reach an agreement by mid-June. Le Journal stated that negotiations hit a stumbling block over a clause in the previous Collective Agreement that required the university to hire 27 full-time faculty. La Presse adds that faculty workloads have also been a sticking point for the union. La Presse | Le Journal de Montréal

Brock Goodman first business school to form co-op partnership with UNA-Canada

Brock University’s Goodman School of Business has announced that it “is the first business school in Canada to form a co-op partnership with the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada).” Under the new partnership, Brock students will be able to participate in an 8-month co-op term with a United Nations agency as a junior professional consultant. “Through this collaboration, our students have a wonderful opportunity to be placed around the world to be prepared for a wide variety of needs,” said Goodman Dean Andrew Gaudes. “We’re addressing individual students’ personal and professional fulfilment objectives and recognizing that they are interested in participating and contributing in a meaningful way beyond the boardroom.” Brock

Campus mental health crises raise questions about privacy, disclosure

The number of campus suicides in the last year has raised questions about whether postsecondary institutions should disclose a student’s mental health issues to parents, André Picard writes. The parents of a Canadian student who died by suicide in the US have reportedly pushed universities to disclose mental health diagnoses so that parents can get help for their children. However, the institutions have countered that university students are adults, and that such disclosures would amount to a privacy breach. Picard adds that universities are beholden to inform parents or guardians if a student poses a risk to her or himself or to others. Bearing such complexities in mind, Picard concludes that PSE institutions must establish clear policies for students with depression. Globe and Mail

City of Windsor struggles with influx of international students

The City of Windsor in Ontario is struggling with an influx of international students, reports CBC. With over 3,000 international students attending St Clair College, CBC reports that many students are having difficulties with finding housing and that transit is struggling to manage the number of commuters. International students “were telling us that they were still looking for places and that they were having difficulties finding places, said Windsor Building Department Manager of Inspections Rob Vani. “And they were looking all over the city, not just around the university or St. Clair College.” A photo submitted to CBC showed a single home that housed 20 tenants. St Clair is reportedly building infrastructure to house another 500 beds. CBC (1) | CBC (2)

Student evaluations hold value in context, reviewed as data: Gannon

“So we know student evaluations matter. Perhaps the better question is: Should they?” asks Kevin Gannon in a defense of student teaching evaluations. Gannon examines the way that evaluations are used in various contexts, and argues that while students may not be experts in pedagogy, they are experts in their own experience and deserve to have a voice. To this end, the author recommends reviewing teaching evaluations to understand the majority opinion, not taking the results personally, and trying to understand the results in the context of the multiple factors facing the course. However, Gannon also points to the ethical obligation that assessors have to view student evaluations in the greater context of the course and with an understanding of the documented biases of evaluations as an assessment tool. Chronicle of Higher Education

Former McGill Director under investigation for allegedly misappropriating $370K

Donald Nycklass, McGill University’s former assistant director for residences, buildings and facilities, is alleged to have stolen $370K from the institution for renovations to his home, Le Journal de Montréal has learned. When the university initially traced $207K in misappropriated funds to Nycklass in 2017, he reportedly resigned immediately and promised to pay back the money. According to Le Journal, McGill agreed not to initiate any further proceedings at the time. Following a further investigation that found Nycklass had taken an additional $162K, however, the university is said to have filed a demand for repayment through the Supreme Court. Journal de Montréal

WSIB, Mohawk help injured workers resume their careers

Mohawk College and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board have partnered on the launch of a pilot program that will help injured workers amass work experience through job shadows and placements. The Hamilton Spectator reports that the partnership, funded by the provincial government’s Career Ready fund, will run through 2019. WSIB states that program aims to prepare injured workers for a successful transition back to work by building their resumes and employer networks. Mohawk students who are already part of WSIB's Return-to-Work Program will reportedly be included in the program. Hamilton Spectator