Top Ten

September 11, 2019

Less public funding means less of a public good in universities: Wright

“Almost all universities in Canada are public institutions that used to be primarily supported by public funding,” laments Julia M. Wright, who adds that the strain of making up for the loss of public funds has had significant consequences on universities. The author cites rising tuition costs and the financial stress this places upon students, the catch-22 of taxable charitable donations, and institutional reliance on underpaid sessional faculty as grave consequences of universities’ attempts to recuperate lost public funding. In light of these issues, Wright concludes, “It’s time for the federal and provincial governments to work together to restore public funding so that universities can get back to working full-time on the academic mission.” The Chronicle Herald (NS)

UBC rolls out new initiatives to become more veteran-friendly

The University of British Columbia has announced its plan to make its campus more “veteran-friendly” by 2020. The university will do so by providing a variety of programs and services for veterans, such as specialized mental health and counselling support, priority student housing, social and recreational opportunities, professional development courses, and a Royal Canadian Legion Branch. “As Canadians we owe so much to the veterans,” states UBC President Santa Ono. “In acknowledgement and appreciation of their service, we hope to ensure that when veterans complete their service and decide to pursue higher education there is a welcoming campus with the services and resources available to meet their unique needs.” UBC (BC)

The great US enrolment crash is coming, says Bucknell president of enrolment management

Critics have been saying since the seventies that universities face a looming enrolment crisis, but there are structural indicators showing that the post-2019 world will be very different than what came before, writes Bill Conley, president of enrolment management at Bucknell University. The author gives examples of how applicant-to-enrolment yield models at schools across the US have imploded over the past year, which has led to the questioning of whether the yield approach to enrolment management is still relevant. These challenges will be compounded by a significant decline in US fertility rates during and after the 2008 recession, the author adds, the effects of which will “further deepen the high-school graduation trough” as soon as 2026. Chronicle of Higher Education (International)

CMTN to receive two new student residences, help rural and Indigenous students feel “at home”

Coast Mountain College will receive $18.7M of the Government of BC’s $450M investment to increase on-campus beds at public post-secondary institutions. CMTN will use the funds to create two three-storey buildings that will house 54 students each. Both buildings will have accessible communal spaces, such as a student lounge, study space, Indigenous cultural space, and communal kitchen. The province also highlights the affordability of the housing units, estimating rental rates at $550/month for quad occupancy and $650 for triple occupancy. “Students from rural and Indigenous communities will have a safe, comfortable and welcoming home away from home, making it easier for them to concentrate on their studies,” states CMTN President Ken Burt. BC (BC )

Three trends that are reshaping the role of the registrar: Pittinsky

“What is it about the registrar's role today that makes it particularly challenging, which is to say particularly important and central, to a campus and to higher education?” asks Matthew Pittinsky. Linking the evolving role of the registrar to fast-paced changes in academic computing, Pittinsky highlights three trends across higher education that affect registrars: the importance of translating program innovations into credentials that are easily understood by employers; emphasis on improving students' experiences in registering for courses, understanding their path to degrees, and more; and staying informed about data privacy. “We should recognize that at the center of enrollment and employment pathways is the registrar, whose evolving role encompasses challenging and important work with transformational impact,” concludes Pittinsky. Inside Higher Ed (International)

CICan issues seven recommendations to respond to climate change, invest in skills and innovation

As part of the federal pre-budget consultation, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has provided seven recommendations aimed at supporting economic growth, competitiveness, and the fight against climate change by investing in skills and innovation. “Focusing on innovation, providing Canadians with learning opportunities that fit their various needs, making education more accessible to all, including Indigenous people, and funding for green infrastructures are all key priorities for colleges and institutes across the country,” reports CICan. The organization adds that these recommendations are critical to helping Canadians “prepare for the future of work and to stay competitive in a rapidly changing labour market.” CICan (National)

The challenges of being a racialized woman in engineering: Whitney

“In the male-dominated field of engineering, I have sometimes wondered if my femininity constrains me,” writes Stephanie Whitney. Despite a 10-year career in engineering consulting, being a licensed member of Professional Engineers Ontario, and completing a Master’s and Doctoral degree in environment and business, Whitney expresses concern that her identity as a mother and a woman of Asian descent will negatively impact her career. Yet instead of focusing on factors beyond her control, Whitney says that part of the way she overcomes challenges is through reframing her self-talk. “I am determined to amplify my voice so I can have impact in the work I do... I will seek more mentors and be empowered by the stories of strong, successful women,” the author concludes. University Affairs (National)

MB: university and college students cite lack of knowledge, interest as voting barriers in provincial election

University and college students in Manitoba were split regarding the decision to vote in yesterday’s provincial election, reports CBC. According to a survey commissioned by Elections Manitoba, 47% of people between the ages of 18-29 stated that they did not vote in the last three provincial elections, citing a lack of knowledge and interest as barriers that prevented them from voting. Recent interviews with the Province’s university and college students by CBC suggests this may still be the case. “My mom said it's going to affect my taxes if I don't vote. Is that true? I'm not sure," questioned Red River College student Gian Pineda. CBC (MB)

MUN launches accelerated option for BN program

Memorial University has launched a new accelerated option for the Bachelor of Nursing (BN) program that will replace the fast-track option introduced in 2002. MUN reports that the accelerated option is available to students with two years completed, or 60 credit hours, of an undergraduate program. “The advantage of our new option is that students no longer need a full degree, and certain prerequisites that were required for admission into the fast-track option are now included as part of the program,” said Alice Gaudine, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing. MUN (NL)

UManitoba launches interdisciplinary Master of Human Rights

The University of Manitoba has launched what the Winnipeg Free Press describes as Canada’s first interdisciplinary Master of Human Rights Program. According to the program’s director, Kjell Anderson, what makes the program unique is its broad perspective and its location within Winnipeg’s constellation of human rights-related institutions. Incorporating perspectives from the social sciences, education, and social work, the program presents a different take on the field of human rights, which according to Anderson, “has become so legal, technical and really dominated by lawyers.” "What’s been lacking in Canada is an institution that looks at all facets of human rights and draws from an international group of students," Anderson adds. "I hope the program stops that trend." Winnipeg Free Press (MB)