Top Ten

November 18, 2019

Student-organized UBC conference comes under fire for featuring speaker from blacklisted company

A conference hosted by University of British Columbia students has garnered criticism for featuring a speaker from a Chinese company that has links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority. The speaker in question is the executive director of SenseTime, one of eight companies that were blacklisted in the US last month being implicated in China’s repression and mass detention of the country’s Uyghur community. “SenseTime...and other Chinese companies should be condemned and sanctioned by Canada for their complicity with CCP regime in interning more than three million Uyghurs in concentration camps without any due process,” said founder of the Uyghur Canadian Society Mehmet Tohti. The Star (BC)

Georgian dean calls on employers to rethink attitudes toward hiring apprentices

“Unless reluctant employers drop their resistance to apprenticeship hiring, efforts by government and colleges to attract young people to the skilled trades will be thwarted,” argues Mac Greaves, Dean of Georgian College’s Midland and Bracebridge campuses. Greaves, who also chairs the Heads of Apprenticeship Training committee, told Daily Commercial News that he is “stunned” by employers who flatly refuse to hire apprentices, calling this kind of attitude “short-sighted and out-dated.” Citing studies of the Simcoe County and Muskoka workforce, Greaves suggests that earlier trends where there were six people under the age of 25 for every worker aged 60 have been reversed. “Short-term solutions are only going to be short-term,” argues Greaves. “We’re going to have another 12 or more years when it’s going to be tough to find young people entering the workforce.” Daily Commercial News (ON)

UCalgary students voice concerns regarding tuition increases

Students are criticizing recent changes to the Alberta budget that will provide less operational funding for postsecondary institutions and remove a five-year tuition freeze. Speaking to five University of Calgary students who are also members of Students for Direct Action, CBC discovered a diverse set of concerns that include: how the cuts download financial responsibility to students; the import of collective action and advocacy; and the effect of the tuition increases upon students’ physical and mental wellbeing. As one student observes, “This economic mess that Alberta is in, it's not the students' fault. It's not the most vulnerable Albertans that should be paying for this.” CBC (AB)

WLU issues statement condemning student’s use of racial slurs

Wilfrid Laurier University has condemned the actions of a student who was recently filmed uttering racial slurs. The video, which appears to be shot at a party or club, was initially posted to Snapchat, but was then recorded and posted to Twitter. In the 22-second video, the student uses the N-word at least three times. WLU responded to the video in a statement released Thursday saying that, “the words are offensive and hurtful, and they do not reflect the values of diversity, inclusivity and respect that the university strives to encourage in the Laurier community.” The student has apologized for her comments on social media. CBC | The Record (ON)

The eight pillars of student success: Mintz

There are eight clear steps institutions can follow to enhance student success, writes Steve Mintz. These steps include increased onboarding, a robust first-year experience, data-informed proactive advising, early access to career planning, exposure to experiential learning activities, enhanced student support services, a welcoming campus environment, and the removal of institutional obstacles to success. Alongside these eight steps, Mintz notes that there are other factors that promote or hinder student success, such as classroom experience, that should also be considered by institutions. Inside Higher Ed (International)

How institutions are leveraging their chief executives for branding efforts: Opinion

How are “higher ed’s chief executives [...] promoting their brands now that branding and marketing play a bigger role in advancing the institution?” asks Bill Faust. According to the author, the role of a university president or chancellor in promoting the school’s brand has changed, making these figures more present in branding efforts despite many institutions’ use of larger in-house marketing teams and external advertising agencies. For example, Faust highlights how many higher ed chief executives are becoming more visible in media production surrounding institutions, more engaged in hands-on student recruitment, and more involved in mobilizing their personal research interests in the name of the institution’s brands. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Vanier officially opens remodeled Parc-Ex Campus to house continuing education, school of language

Vanier College has announced the official opening of the recently remodeled Parc-Ex Campus that will house Continuing Education and the Vanier School of Language. The new campus will allow the college to adapt course offerings to the needs of information and new technologies by creating four new computer labs as well as two new classrooms, four offices, a teacher resource room, small study rooms, a kitchen, and a student lounge. “With its focus on new technologies, the new campus will allow people of our borough to increase their employability skills while answering the needs of new companies,” said Villeray-St-Michel-Parc-Extension Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli. Vanier (QC)

UCW, The Language Gallery enter 5-year agreement with China’s largest higher ed group

University Canada West and The Language Gallery (TLG) have partnered with Beifang Education Group, China’s largest private higher education group, to create educational pathways for international students. The five-year agreement allows eligible students from Beifang’s bachelor’s degrees to be eligible for UCW’s MBA program. TLG will then offer its University Pathway Program (UPP) to students in need of further assistance with the programs’ English language requirements. “This partnership is a decisive step forward in the international development of our institution,” said UCW President Brock Dykeman. “Working together, we hope to open the doors of higher education in Canada to a greater number of international students.” University Business (BC)

Study shows mindfulness practices can help grad students manage stress: Flaherty

How can mindfulness practices help graduate students deal with the challenges of academia’s many structural issues? asks Coleen Flaherty. Reviewing a recent study published in the Journal of American College Health, Flaherty notes that practicing mindfulness—the state of being aware of the present moment and all one’s sensations and feelings, without judgment—can “significantly reduction in depression and increased self-efficacy, hope and resilience,” reports the author. While recognizing that suggesting mindfulness can make a real difference in graduate students’ lives may seem “annoyingly quaint, or even offensive,” Flaherty says that the study demonstrates that mindfulness can help a student become more centered by creating distance between oneself and one’s thoughts. Inside Higher Ed (International)

MRU adds two new majors to BSc program

Mount Royal University has announced the provincial government’s approval of two new majors in biology and computer science. The creation of the computer science major will aid in meeting the growing demand for computer science graduates in an increasingly technological world, while the biology major will provide students with strong foundational, technical, and applied skills in anatomy and physiology, cellular and molecular biology, or ecology and evolution. “New programs will continue to bear all the hallmarks for which we are known: access to first-class facilities, to work-integrated and experiential learning opportunities, and to research and undergraduate training initiatives,” says Jonathan Withey, Dean of MRU’s Faculty of Science and Technology. MRU (AB)