Top Ten

August 20, 2019

PM announces new advisory committee to promote trades

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the creation of a new advisory committee to help promote apprenticeships and skilled trades across Canada, writes The Canadian Press. Trudeau made the announcement at Nova Scotia Community College’s Dartmouth campus, where he was also attending a roundtable that focused on promoting trades for women. The Canadian Press adds that Mandy Rennehan, founder and CEO of Freshco; Jamie McMillan, ironworker and founder of Kickass Careers; and Matt Wayland, executive assistant with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have been named to the committee. Chat News Today (CP) (National)

AB’s university appointments draw cries of cronyism from critics 

The Alberta government has appointed 60 people to 20 institutions across the province, drawing rebukes from their political opposition, reports the Globe and Mail. Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said that the appointments would improve financial oversight and bolster links to industry. Advanced Education critic David Eggen responded that the move smacks of cronyism, adding that many of the new appointees had a history of donating to the PC party that preceded the UCP. “This is exactly the atmosphere that brought us to the end of the PC era,” Eggen added. According to the Globe, several of the former appointees had yet to finish their terms. Globe and Mail | Calgary Herald (AB)

QC government announces $150M in funding for CEGEPs 

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge has announced that the province will inject $68M into the province’s CEGEP system as part of a financial reform for the 2019-20 academic year. The Montreal Gazette reports that the reforms will also increase base-level funding for CEGEPs and alter the formula for enrolment-based funding. The Gazette states that the total reforms will amount to more than $150M, including pay raises for employees and researchers. Montreal Gazette (QC)

Leaving academia does not signal failure: Thon

Scientists who wish to leave academia do not need to justify their decision to others, writes Jonathan Thon. To make his case, the author borrows from the sociologist Charles Cooley, who famously formulated that “I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am.” In other words, career paths beyond the professoriate begin with distinguishing one’s sense of self from expectations imposed from outside. Thon adds that scientists serve an array of industries beyond the university, and that their services are consistently in high demand. Leaving academia also alleviates the “echo chamber” effect that can sometimes disconnect the academy from the outside world, states Thon. University Affairs (National)

Former NHLer Savard kickstarts student athlete initiative at USherbrooke 

Former NHLer Serge Savard has pledged $5M to help student athletes at the Université de Sherbrooke, an amount said to be the largest donation to student athletics in the institution’s history. USherbrooke Recteur Pierre Cossette called the creation of the Serge Savard Fund excellent news for both the institution and its student athletes. A release adds that the fund was announced during l’Invitation Serge Savard golf tournament, which featured celebrities and former Montreal Canadiens players Larry Robinson, Peter Mahovlich, Guy Lapointe, and Yvan Cournoyer. USherbrooke (QC)

We've already ruined childhood. Let's not do the same in post-secondary: Warner

According to John Warner, the epidemic of anxiety and depression amongst school and college-aged students will not be mitigated until educators and administrators abandon “notions around standardization and accountability.” Warner reflects on this dilemma as he prepared to teach an upcoming first year writing seminar, noting that he will aim to provide students with some degree of space and freedom to expand their intellectual, emotional, and social abilities. To do so, the class will encourage students to explore theories and practices of humour. Warner states that he will grant his students the space and agency to learn how and what they will, with the requirement that they articulate what they have learned when the time comes. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Post-secondary students need to protect themselves from cyberattacks: McAfee analyst

A mere 15% of Canadian post-secondary students have taken steps to protect their data online despite evidence that cyberattacks are on the rise, reports CTV. “It is crucial that students, parents and educational institutions are more thorough and proactive about protecting what matters to them – and students’ futures,” said Gary Davis, McAfee’s Chief Consumer Security Analyst. The University of Waterloo has reported a “significant increase” in cyberattacks, adds CTV, while Carleton University and the University of Calgary were targeted in ransomware attacks in 2016. CTV also found that although 80% of respondents to a McAfee survey said they knew someone who had been targeted, only 40% felt they would fall victim to a cyberattack. CTV (National)

Measuring Canada’s student debt problem

Competing accounts of student loan defaults make it hard to determine the extent of Canada’s student debt problem, reports Global News. However, economists have pinpointed two key scenarios that can trigger the combination of low incomes and high student debt—taking out loans but not graduating, and several years of low-paid employment after the completion of a degree. Although the latter group may move on to higher paying jobs, the first few years of low income can create a debt snowball, Global adds. Christine Neill, a professor of economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, told Global that a “mortgage-style” repayment system, in which students are expected to start paying back their loans immediately, can further exacerbate debt burdens for recent graduates. Global News (National)

Informational interviews as a form of career prototyping

Informational interviews with professors and industry professionals are a key tactic for undergraduates looking to boost the value proposition of their degrees, writes Derrick E Rancourt. According to the author, informational interviews are a form of “rapid prototype testing” that can help students pivot to a new prototype if they do not like what they hear. Students should also engage with professors at the cutting-edge of research, Rancourt adds. Such “wayfinding” techniques can also be paired with work integrated learning to make students more marketable upon graduation. University Affairs (National)

SLC, SPU team up with new pathway agreement

St Lawrence College and Saint Paul University have signed a pathway agreement that will allow graduates from seven programs to complete their Bachelor’s degree in two more years, with 60 transfer credits to the university program. “We are grateful for this partnership with Saint Paul University, as it provides yet another important way for our students and graduates to continue on with their educational goals,” said SLC President Glenn Vollebregt. “These ‘2 + 2’ pathways provide full recognition of the credits achieved at SLC and offer exceptional opportunities for students to further their education.” SLC (ON)