Top Ten

April 10, 2019

Federal International Education Strategy could be major boon to study abroad experiences: Barbarič

The announcement of major federal funding for outbound student mobility (OSM) and study abroad “opens the door to finally giving our students the global opportunities they need,” writes Diane Barbarič. The author notes that in its most recent budget, the Canadian government pledged $148M over five years to its new International Education Strategy, starting in 2019-2020, with the funds set to be split between education promotion and outbound student mobility. Barbarič cites research demonstrating the value of OSM, notably in improved academic and employment outcomes for students from underrepresented groups. The author concludes that using a pilot project to increase outbound student mobility is an excellent way for Canada to introduce more students to the opportunities of study abroad. University Affairs (National)

NSCC to expand three campuses with $24M provincial investment

The Nova Scotia government has invested $24M in three expansion projects for Nova Scotia Community College. CBC reports that the projects include new residences at NSCC’s Lawrencetown and Port Hawkesbury campuses, as well as an IT Innovation Centre in Halifax. The college's Halifax IT campus is reportedly at capacity and will build a three-storey, 21,000-square-foot addition at a cost of $8M, while the new $9M Annapolis Valley residence will also include a business research centre. NSCC President Don Bureaux said that the additions will support high-demand industry and training needs. CBC NSCC (NS)

More money for PSE a “strange place to start” if governments are serious about education: Brighouse

Not only could undergraduate education be improved without much expense, but big public investments in universities are the wrong approach for improving educational attainment or equity, according to Harry Brighouse. In an interview, Brighouse argues that “professors are considerably less good at teaching than they think they are” and notes that improving undergraduate education is about placing greater emphasis on teacher training and assessment. Further, the author argues that large public investments in higher education work against social equality, and that money should be directed at K-6 education instead. “If you care about educating the population more equally, well, higher education would be a strange place to start, given that half the population doesn't go to college,” argues Brighouse. Chronicle (International)

Teepees vandalized at FNU campus

Two teepees on the campus of First Nations University of Canada were slashed over the weekend. CBC reports that one of the teepees has been dismantled, and the other’s canvas has been taken off to further assess the damage. “It's very disheartening to see that this has happened,” said Bonnie Rockthunder, a senior analyst at FNU. “We were very happy and proud to have these teepees in front of our building. We show a lot of pride in that way. If we do install the teepees again in the future, we know that we need to be prepared for possibly something like this happening again.” CBC (SK)

Kelly: Why do students cheat?

By exploiting “the transactional nature of education,” contract cheating companies actually reveal a crucial flaw in the post-secondary system, writes Rhea Kelly. In effect, teaching and research define the university, but the pressure to earn a degree before securing a career undermines the value of education by emphasizing its extrinsic rewards at the cost of real learning. Kelly adds that contract cheating companies cast the institution as an “unforgiving” antagonist that keeps students from living healthy lives. While such a categorization is obviously false, it does gesture toward the broader structural problems that define the impasse between the intrinsic value of thought, student support, and higher education’s role in career mobility. Campus Technology (International)

UTM donates surplus microscopes to University of Guyana

The University of Toronto Mississauga has donated 23 microscopes to the University of Guyana’s Faculty of Engineering and Technology. A UTM release states that the microscopes had been placed in storage after an equipment upgrade. “The Department of Earth Sciences is happy to see these key geological teaching instruments go to a worthy academic home,” said Russell Pysklywec, Chair of Earth Sciences at U of T’s St George campus. “It can be difficult to determine the fate of old and surplus equipment—in this case, it’s rewarding that the petrographic microscopes will continue to be put to their original use in high-level training of geology students.” UTM (ON)

STU students vote in favour of fee hike

Students at St Thomas University have voted in favour of a fee hike that will mean an additional $300K for campus mental health services. CBC reports that the unusual move reflects high demand for counselling on campus. STU Director of Student Services Brock Richardson said that an advisory council of staff, professors, and students has been established to allocate funding and improve on-campus services and programming. "We know that depression and anxiety are the two biggest issues by far, but what's underneath that? Are students feeling lonely? Are students struggling to sleep well, to eat well, to be active and healthy?" said Richardson, adding that a better understanding of these issues will help improve service delivery. CBC (NB)

Algonquin ranks first in Canada for online enrolments

Algonquin College has the highest number of online enrolments of all Colleges and CEGEPS in Canada, according to a national survey of online and digital learning. The survey found that Algonquin had 29,600 online course registrations, followed by Fanshawe College with 28,612, Centennial College with 22,528, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology with 20,492. “This ranking is a testament to our efforts to provide flexible options for all our learners and shows that they recognize the value of lifelong learning in today’s economy,” said Algonquin President Cheryl Jensen. “Students told us that they needed more online options and we listened, providing hundreds of courses to help them meet their educational goals.” Algonquin (ON)

CASA launches pilot program to boost Indigenous student representation

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has announced a new pilot program that aims to increase Indigenous representation and advocacy. “CASA is an organization that looks to represent the interests of all students, including those who are Indigenous and often face additional challenges when it comes to post-secondary,” said Yana Titarenko, Chair of CASA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. “We strongly stand by the rule of ‘not about us without us,’ meaning that to advocate effectively, we need to ensure that Indigenous voices are included in our organization and its advocacy.” CASA adds that it will launch the pilot in the summer, when Indigenous students from member associations will be invited to develop formal protocols for participation. CASA (National)

MPHEC releases Maritimes enrolment data

MPHEC has released a study of university participation in the Maritimes across 2003-2004 to 2017-2018. The report indicates that over the past 15 years, home province participation rates declined in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI, but have stabilized in the last 3-4 years. The report states that the participation rate is slightly higher among female students than male students, and highlights how trends among 18-19 year olds tend to be more sensitive to recent changes in university enrolment. MPHEC (NS | NB | NL | PEI)