Top Ten

November 7, 2019

QC international students criticize changes to province’s fast-track immigration policy

Recent changes to the Quebec Experience Program have incurred heavy criticism for leaving international students pursuing a technical or university degree in the province without a clear path forward. As of November 1st, hundreds of international students learned that they might be forced to leave QC because of retroactive changes to a popular fast-track immigration program that will now only allow a select list of graduates who are seeking work in select industries to remain in the province. QC Premier Francois Legault states that he was sensitive to the concerns of students who were cut out of the program, but asserts that “no student was given a study permit with the guarantee they would eventually be given citizenship," reports the Times Colonist. CBC | Times Colonist (QC)

Over 11,000 scientists sign open letter declaring global climate emergency

An open letter declaring a global climate emergency signed by over 11,000 scientists from around the globe, including 409 from Canada, was published Tuesday in the journal, BioScience. In the letter, the collective of scientists from 153 countries listed six “critical and interrelated steps” that governments and policymakers should consider to reduce the effects of climate change, reports CBC. The six steps include considerations of energy, short-lived pollutants, nature, food, economy, and population. "In general, countries do not appear to be meeting their stated goals and milestones for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, so I'm quite concerned with the lack of progress," said article co-author William Ripple. CBC | Vancouver Sun (International)

McMaster’s department of anthropology receives $1M donation for graduate scholarships

McMaster University’s Department of Anthropology has received a $1M donation to expand scholarships for biological anthropology PhD students. The Shelley Saunders/Koloshuk Family Scholarships in Anthropology was initially established by Shelley Saunders in 2008, and has since been augmented by her husband, Victor Koloshuk, through the family’s most recent donation and another $1M donation in 2017. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of her family, this prestigious anthropology scholarship program is now one of the largest of its kind in Canada,” said McMaster Acting President David Farrar. McMaster (ON)

AB postsecondary sector to become more efficient through new budget: NIcolaides

“Alberta’s future depends on having one of the most highly skilled and well-educated workforces in the world,” writes AB Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides. Which is why, according to the Minister, AB’s postsecondary sector needed a new, more efficient budget that would enable the province to reduce the cost of, while increasing access to, postsecondary education. Nicolaides posits that the elimination of the tuition freeze alongside other austerity measures work to keep the province “in-line with the Canadian [tuition and student loan interest rate] average[s],” and “create jobs, grow the economy, and protect vital services.” Calgary Herald (AB)

George Brown launches new Smart Welding Lab with accessible welding stations

George Brown College’s Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies has launched a new Smart Welding Lab that will provide welding students access to innovative technology. Located on the school’s Casa Loma Campus, the new lab will ensure students stay on top of rapid developments in the construction industry by providing them access to individual welding stations, virtual welding stations, an accessible welding station, and specialized technology that allow instructors to demonstrate and digitally document welding techniques. "With the launch of this showcase facility, we’ll attract a new generation of students to the trades, while inspiring more employers to host apprenticeships,” said George Brown President Anne Sado. George Brown (ON)

Incorporating academic freedom into higher ed ranking metrics: Opinion

Academic freedom promotes free inquiry, creative practice, and innovative thinking, write Mohan J Dutta, Richard Ashford, and Shampa Biswas. Why, then, is academic freedom not considered in higher ed ranking metrics? To best gauge institutional commitment to academic freedom, the authors recommend that traditional ranking metrics should be reimagined to include: input from faculty representatives, and not just higher ed administrators; institutional statements of academic freedom, and policies on responding to alleged violations; and the presence of active faculty association chapters that are integrated into shared governance mechanisms. “Including academic freedom considerations in calculations of rankings would provide not just a better gauge of the robustness of academic inquiry within any particular institution but also help bolster the principle of academic freedom itself,” conclude the authors. Inside Higher Ed (International)

How to promote degree completion at your higher ed institution: Opinion

What can universities do to keep students from dropping out? ask Lenin Cavalcanti Guerra and Ken S Coates. Understanding national trends and the particularities of a study body—such as the average ages, work statuses, and dependents of an institution’s students—are helpful in formulating strategies for decreasing dropout rates. For example, Georgia State University, which upon learning that financial issues were a key factor in students’ decisions to drop out, began offering small grants and saw a 22% increase in completion rates over 10 years. “GSU’s recipe won’t work everywhere, but the important lesson is to examine the issue with seriousness, and look for solutions that face the reasons why students don’t finish,” conclude the authors. The Conversation (National)

Strategies for attracting students to the humanities: Opinion

How have humanities departments responded to declining major and class enrolment numbers? asks Beth McMurtie. Surveying a variety of American higher ed institutions, the author reveals strategies that have helped some humanities departments regain past, or set new records for, enrolment. These include creating short certificate programs that enhance the value of other degrees for employers; modernizing majors to foreground skill acquisition and contextual experience; offering more gateway courses; and connecting courses to general education requirements. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) (International)

Trent launches new Police and Community Well-Being BA

Trent University has launched a new community-inclusive policing degree that will teach students how communities can be kept safe through collaboration and social awareness. Described in a Trent release as the “only community-inclusive policing program of its kind in Canada,” the Policing and Community Well-Being BA will explore how economic, social, and cultural features that shape the needs of communities can empower citizens, law enforcement, and outreach groups to come together and make a difference. Trent University Durham GTA Dean and Head Scott Henderson states that the program will “not only deal with the academics of policing and of the social determinants of community health and well-being, it [will] also explore solving community problems from both a police perspective and the perspective of other helping professionals.” Trent (ON)

Humber ends motorcycle training program

Educating approximately 60,000 students for nearly 40 years, Humber College has announced that its Motorcycle Training program will be ending. With participant riding distance amounting to 488 trips around the world, the program has helped students learn how to ride a motorcycle, learn tactical skills, and understand safety measures when riding a motorcycle while earning an M2 level and full M class license. Aspiring motorcycle riders will be able to train at Centennial College or Georgian College next season. Humber (ON)