Top Ten

April 11, 2019

BC announces $1.5M for postsecondary education on West Shore

The Government of British Columbia has announced that it is providing $1.5M to develop a full business case for expanding post-secondary education opportunities for students living in Greater Victoria’s West Shore. The announcement followed a feasibility study that was supported by Academica Groupresearch. The study involved groups such as School District 62 (Sooke), members of the local community and First Nations groups, Royal Roads University, Camosun College, and the University of Victoria. CTV Newsstates that the report projects enrollment of 154 students in 2021, which would grow to 1025 students by 2028. The recommendation to the Ministry suggested a collaborative venture involving RRU, Camosun, and UVic. BC | CTV News (BC)

U of T launches cannabis consortium with affiliate hospitals

The University of Toronto has partnered with its affiliated hospitals to investigate the potential benefits and risks of cannabis and its compounds. U of T reports that the launch of the Toronto Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Consortium included a conference featuring researchers, government officials, policy-makers and industry representatives. “We’re hoping the consortium will spark multi-level collaboration across these three pillars, and we’ll get information into the hands of the public, government and health officials as quickly as possible,” said Ruth Ross, Chair of the Faculty of Medicine’s Pharmacology and Toxicology department. According to U of T, the conference addressed an array of potential applications and risks associated with cannabis, with the caveat that research in all of these areas is lagging. U of T (ON)

Selingo: Universities, colleges can creatively collaborate to cut costs

Rising tuition, stagnating family incomes, and a financial aid system that is failing to keep pace with growing need are all putting pressure on universities, writes Jeff Selingo, but these institutions continue to pursue the same revenue-generation strategies to address the crisis. Selingo writes that more institutions should look toward areas of true collaboration with other schools, in areas from academics to administrative management. In order to achieve such networking across universities, Selingo adds, “boards and presidents must decide that going it alone no longer suffices.” If more institutions do not pursue these types of cost-saving collaborations, the author concludes, they may soon find that closures or mergers are the only answer. Chronicle (International)

Revamped NB bursary program receives mixed reviews

CBC reports that changes to New Brunswick’s bursary program will secure financial aid for more students, but adds that each student will receive less money as a result. NB's Minister of Postsecondary Education said the change was designed with students in private colleges in mind. Previously, bursaries were only available to students who attended public institutions. New Brunswick Student Alliance Executive Director Emily Blue said that the government should have redistributed the money to secure more funding for low-income students. Blue added that the Alliance was also concerned that the new funding model will indirectly support private institutions that are not necessarily held to the same standards as their publicly-funded counterparts. CBC NB | NBSA (NB)

A “mastery mindset” can help with med school, physician burnout: Babenko

In a feature-length piece for The Conversation, Oksana Babenko discusses some of her findings from an ongoing project that investigates how sports and exercise can mitigate burnout amongst medical students and early-career doctors. The author notes that, in some cases, med school students have enjoyed success throughout their educational careers, and that the steep learning curve, risk of failure, and high-stress atmosphere of the medical professions can come as something of a shock. A “mastery mindset”—which focuses on knowledge and skill development geared toward improvement—can help some students overcome their fear of failure. Babenko states that sports provide a good forum for developing a mastery mindset, and that regular exercise also reduced stress more generally. Ottawa Citizen (The Conversation) (National)

VCAD, BCIT forge pathway for design, art students

Graduates of select programs from the Visual College of Art and Design of Vancouver can now transition into the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s School of Business. “Students will focus on honing their creativity and artistic talents while developing strong business acumen for success in the workplace,” said BCIT School of Business Associate Dean Kevin Wainwright. The pathway will allow graduates of programs such as Game Development & Design, Graphic Design, and Interior Design to enter into the Advanced Diploma in Business Management program and, upon completion, ladder into BCIT’s Bachelor of Business Administration program. Graduates of the pathway program will hold a VCAD diploma, a BCIT advanced diploma, and a BCIT BBA degree. Newswire (BC)

McMaster, MUFA ratify three-year agreement with improved benefits, salaries

McMaster University and the McMaster University Faculty Association have ratified a three-year agreement. The agreement reportedly includes improved benefits in areas such as mental health and medical device coverage, as well as increases to the association’s professional development allowance and dependent tuition bursary program. The agreement also included adjustments to salaries that OCUFA states are comparable to other faculty associations. OCUFA MUFA (ON)

UAlberta vodcasts to support students and staff who struggle with mental health

The University of Alberta has produced a vodcast series that focuses on mental health for both students and staff, CBC has learned. UAlberta student Molly Henneberry, who helped produce the videos, said that staff and faculty mental health has not received enough attention. “I hope that these videos will encourage leaders in different departments to reach out to their staff before mental health becomes an issue, and [to] open up conversations so bosses are able to make it known that they're available to talk about mental health,” she added. CBC states that undergraduates held a rally earlier this year to express their frustration with the lack of on-campus mental health resources. CBC (AB)

Brock renews commitment to West Indies, proposes new institute

Brock University and the University of the West Indies are in discussions for a possible Institute for Canada-Caribbean Studies. A Brock release reports that the two institutions engaged in talks about the proposed institute as they renewed two existing MOUs. “Establishing an Institute for Canada-Caribbean Studies would be a true reflection of Brock’s global commitment to fostering a culture of intercultural understanding,” said Brock President Gervan Fearon. “We will also be welcoming scholars from across Canada to be active participants and members of the Institute to collaborate and lead projects related to Canada-Caribbean issues.” Brock adds that UWI recently ranked in the top 5% of universities worldwide. Brock (ON)

How better data can lead to better teaching: McMurtrie

Post-secondary administrators across the US work constantly with data to improve their institutions, writes Beth McMurtrie, but “how many professors have access to, or even consider exploring, the kinds of data that could inform their teaching?” McMurtrie profiles several professors across the US who have used data to uncover surprising trends among their students, including one case that showed no correlation between students taking prerequisites for a given course and their performance in that course. “Her department can use her findings to engage in deeper discussions around course requirements, what students are learning, and how they can transfer knowledge from one course to the next,” adds McMurtrie of this case before offering several similarly compelling examples for the use of data in teaching. Chronicle (Subscription required) (International)