Top Ten

July 23, 2019

How universities can provide more support to international students

International students studying in Canada face a number of unique challenges that their institutions can help address, writes Ali Najaf, a recent graduate of the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. Some areas where students require additional support, Najaf notes, are integration into Canadian culture as a whole and its educational culture more specifically. The author goes on to offer several examples of potential supports, which cover areas such as pre-arrival support, first-week support, and continuing support. University Affairs

UManitoba study finds gender differences in time taken to reach full professor, but smaller wage gap than most institutions

Female faculty at the University of Manitoba wait an average of one year longer than their male colleagues to reach full professorship, according to a new report. Led by Professor Tammy Schirle of Wilfrid Laurier University, the report also noted that UManitoba does not have the same systemic discrepancies in pay between male and female professors that other universities have. "You don’t find the big wage gaps that are at other universities" at UManitoba, said Schirle, who suggested the school’s collective agreement has helped prevent systematic effects. The report also raised questions about how different types of workloads between male and female professors might be feeding the gap in time taken to reach full professorship. Winnipeg Free Press (Subscription Required)

“Early momentum metrics” predict outcomes for community college students: US study

“Early momentum” is one of the most important predictors of success in US community colleges, according to a new study released by the Community College Research Center. The study looked at student data from community colleges in three states to determine that “early momentum metrics” were strong predictors of success, with these metrics encompassing three areas for first-year students: the pace of credit accumulation during the first semester and first year, completion of gateway courses in math and English, and persistence from fall to spring. The authors of the study argue that community colleges could use "comprehensive reforms" in their structures and practices "to help more students gain early momentum on their way to earning a credential.” Campus Technology

“Just saying no isn’t an option” for faculty of colour receiving requests for help: Rucks-Ahidiana

If junior faculty of colour heed senior colleagues’ advice to “protect your time” and “just say no” to requests for additional support from marginalized students, they will “reinforce the common narrative that academe is a white, middle-class institution that is not for students of color,” writes Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana. The author notes that faculty members of color face higher demands than their white colleagues in terms of mentoring, advising, and counseling due to the underrepresentation of nonwhite faculty across academe. Yet while many faculty try to protect their time against these demands, the author argues that “just saying no isn’t an option” if institutions wish to make any real progress on issues of diversity and inclusion. Inside Higher Ed

FNTI celebrates ON investment in midwifery services, moves forward with program

The First Nations Technical Institute has applauded recent news that the Ontario government will invest an additional $28M into provincial midwifery services, adding that it is particularly pleased with the province’s commitment to increase access to culturally-safe midwifery care by expanding Indigenous midwifery programs. “This news couldn’t come at a better time,” said FNTI Vice-President, Academic Umar Keoni Umangay, who added that FNTI is in the final stages of developing a Bachelor’s of Health Sciences in Indigenous Midwifery to support the health and well-being of Indigenous women, babies, families and communities so that more choices are available for Indigenous Peoples to give birth and receive care on their traditional lands.” FNTI

BC universities reach agreements with associations, unions

The University of Northern British Columbia and CUPE 3799 have ratified an agreement for the three-year term of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022. CUPE Local 3799 represents 400 UNBC employees who provide service in areas such as academic program support, information technology, and facilities and maintenance. The agreement includes general wage increases of 2% each year and improved services for students through staff training and professional development. The University of Victoria (UVic) and the UVic Faculty Association have also reached a tentative agreement under the government’s Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate. The agreement covers approximately 900 staff and faculty at the institution, including librarians, archivists, and research and teaching faculty. BC (UVic) | BC (UNBC)

NorQuest nurses able to practice skills through virtual reality learning

NorQuest College practical nursing students are now able to use virtual reality to practice in a virtual clinical setting. The program was developed by Edmonton-based Dynacor and enables students to see, hear, and move while practicing the administration of insulin. Feedback provided at the end of the scenario allows them to build muscle memory and perfect their skills before they interact with a real patient. “We wanted something that is engaging in a way familiar to today’s technology-driven students,” says NorQuest instructor Dustin Chan. “With this, we are able to bring the motivation from the world of gaming into learning. Already, students are coming back to ‘play’ the VR scenario over and over again until they master the game/skill.” NorQuest

Inside the debate over trans-exclusionary scholarship

Scholars and studies that argue against the existence or legitimacy of trans identities have become a major point of contention in the academic community, writes Colleen Flaherty, with many arguing that these amount to little more than hate speech masquerading as academic inquiry. While defenders of such scholarship argue that it is based in sound academic principles, others contend that “not every item of personal and ideological obsession is worthy of philosophical debate,” which would include skepticism about the rights of certain groups or individuals. Inside Higher Ed

UPEI hires housing coordinator to support students in tough housing market

The University of Prince Edward Island has hired an off-campus housing coordinator to help students navigate one of Canada’s toughest housing markets. CBC reports that Charlottetown’s apartment vacancy rate is a meagre 0.2%, which has created concern for students. The housing coordinator will establish contacts in the community to find vacancies, advise students on tenant rights, and be a point of contact for students with any questions or concerns around looking for a new apartment. "It's exciting when we can represent to our students not just as a student union, not just as a UPEI administration, but as a campus community," said UPEI Student Union President Emma Drake. CBC

Phishing scam targets Laurentian alumni donors

Cybersecurity remains at the forefront of many higher ed stakeholders’ minds, with attacks on Canadian institutions becoming something of a regular occurrence. This trend continued last week when a group of Laurentian University’s donors were targeted by a phishing attempt. CBC reports that the phishing email would have appeared as a request for money or a request to review an invoice, appearing to come from the university's Advancement Office. Laurentian Chief Information Officer Luc Roy noted that the university has investigated the incident, finding that no targets had fallen for the attack and that the university’s system was not breached. "There's no private information stolen, there's nothing that would actually compromise the users," said Roy. "But the potential compromise or issue is that they could actually fall victim of a phishing attempt." CBC