Top Ten

December 18, 2018

StFX, King’s receive over $6M in additional funding from NS

St Francis Xavier University and the University of King’s College have received additional funding  from the Government of Nova Scotia to help pay down their debts. CBC reports that StFX will receive $3.95M and King’s will receive $2.2M this fiscal year. “It's not putting any of our universities on Easy Street, by any means, but it makes them manageable,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis, adding that the funds will give the schools “breathing room” to focus on long-term goals. “The money we invest in universities definitely has a return,” said Kousoulis. “I think without them we would be in a bleak situation in this province.” The presidents of both universities stated that the funds will go towards their respective debts. CBC (NS)

Post-secondary completion levels, federal education spending above international average: StatsCan

Statistics Canada reports that 68% of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 64 have completed post-secondary higher education, which is 24 percentage points higher than the average for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s 36 member countries. 31% of Canadians hold Bachelor’s Degrees, StatsCan adds, which matches the OECD average, with 70% of women and 65% of men having completed some type of post-secondary training. Canada spends 5.9% of its GDP on K-12 and PSE—with 2.4% allocated to PSE—compared to the OECD average of 5.1%, StatsCan says. StatsCan (National)

UPEI AVC gets $1.5M for swine disease detection project

The University of Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic Veterinary College Diagnostic Services has partnered with the Canadian Pork Council and received $1.5M from the Department of Agriculture for swine disease research. “Animal health is a top priority in our industry and we couldn't produce the great quality protein we do without access to sound research and technology,” said Rick Bergmann, Chair of the Canadian Pork Council. CBC states that the $1.5M will go towards the further development of an enteric viral multiplex assay, a technology used to screen for multiple intestinal diseases at once. AVC Dean Greg Keefe added that the project would allow for health surveillance of the national swine herd. UPEI | CBC (UPEI)

UWaterloo introduces Holiday Stay program for international students

The University of Waterloo has introduced the Winter Holiday Stay Program, in which international students may stay in residence during the holidays for a fee of $350. Previously, students living in dorms would be mandated to move out of their rooms 24 hours after the final exam of the fall term. “In the past we've directed them to landlords that would provide off-campus accommodation for the students,” said UWaterloo Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Jennifer Ferguson. “But with the increase of international students now on campus and more questions about what they're going to do over the holiday break if they can't make it home, we felt like there was a need to put something in place.” CBC (ON)

Student course evaluations can provide evidence of underperformance: Reed

Although student course evaluations are imperfect tools, Matt Reed suggests that they can highlight patterns of underperformance. The author states that complaints about difficult marking or heavy reading loads simply demonstrate that a professor is doing their job, while comments with racial, gender, or other sorts of biases may be safely ignored. For Reed, student evaluations are valuable when low-scores accompany consistent comments about instructor absenteeism or conflict. Reed reiterates that he does not use student evaluations to distinguish between “good” and “very good” instructors, “[b]ut when you consistently have the same couple of names scoring a standard deviation below the next-lowest, it’s reasonable to look at them a little more closely.” Inside Higher Ed (International)