Top Ten

December 9, 2019

Douglas embarks on $10.5M renovation of student services to create centralized space

Douglas College has invested $10.5M in the revitalization of its student services at the college’s New Westminster Campus. Scheduled to be completed in the summer 2020, the new 25,000 square-foot space will centralize the college services such as financial aid, enrolment and academic advising, and counseling. The new student centre will also house the Office of the Registrar, Student Affairs and Services, the Career Centre, and the Future Students’ Office. “This new centralized space will make it easier for students to access support to be successful at the College,” said Douglas President Kathy Denton. Douglas (BC)

Barriers to college have diminished, barriers to university persist: HEQCO study

A new study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has found that while certain socioeconomic factors may not act as significant barriers to a student graduating from high school or attending college, wealth and parental postsecondary education history strongly influence university attendance. The study examined longitudinal data compiled by the Toronto District School Board to examine factors that affect high school success and access to postsecondary education. The researchers additionally found differences in the high school graduation rate among students with special education needs and without, with the gap between the two groups widening significantly over the studied period. “Overall, the findings are a mix of good and bad news for students from traditionally disadvantaged groups,” the authors conclude. HEQCO (ON)

Reimagining the traditional university structure through cooperative education: Opinion

“Is there any viable alternative to the established model of the marketised university?” asks John Morgan. The author writes that several international institutions are reimagining the traditional university structure by favouring cooperation over competition. For example, Mondragon University in Spain is run by both its staff and students in order to focus on local socioeconomic development, while the UK’s Co-operative University promises a “democratic” approach to teaching. “The key question is surely whether the competitive and selective orientation of conventional universities is delivering improved social cohesion, access for the disadvantaged or economic benefits for their local areas,” concludes the author. “If the answer is ‘no’, then maybe it is indeed time to consider what the alternatives might look like.” Times Higher Education (International)

UManitoba receives $2.5M donation towards creation of new concert hall

The University of Manitoba has received a $2.5M donation to aid in the construction of a new performing arts venue at the institution’s Fort Garry campus, Desautels Concert Hall. The donation will equip the space with an orchestra pit and other acoustic design features. The hall will also serve as a first-rate performing arts venue for the greater community. “The Desautels Concert Hall will be the strategic capstone of the Taché Arts Project, the realisation of a longstanding dream that will have a tremendous impact on our faculty, university, and community,” said UManitoba Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Music Edward Jurkowski. UManitoba (MB)

McGill launches commercial cannabis diploma

McGill University has announced the launch of the Diploma in Commercial Cannabis program, which will train biologists to work in an industry “desperate for qualified personnel,” reports the Montréal Gazette. The program, which launches in June 2020, will train biologists to cultivate cannabis, design strains, protect them against contaminants, and understand the legal framework of Canada’s burgeoning weed industry. “The industry is growing rapidly and there’s a really strong demand for this kind of diploma,” said the Diploma’s Academic Coordinator and Industry Liaison Rony Chamoun. “We’ve built the curriculum to make sure our graduates become highly skilled workers.” The Diploma in Commercial Cannabis also includes a 12-week internship. Montréal Gazette | McGill (QC)

Vanier launches revised Financial Services and Insurance program

Montreal’s Vanier College has announced the launch of its newly revised Financial Services and Insurance program. The college says that the program is the only one of its kind to be offered at a QC English CEGEP. The new program will allow students to develop skills for counselling clients on a host of financial issues including financial, tax, and estate planning; investing; credit; and insurance. The program is accredited by the Autorité des Marchés financiers Québec, qualifying students to write professional exams recognized and required by employers in the financial services and insurance sectors. “There is a huge demand for qualified personnel in the financial services sector and our students going to get a cutting edge, comprehensive and hands-on financial education,” said Vanier Professor Andy Gates. Vanier (QC)

Royal Roads, FNTC deliver online network technician training program

Royal Roads University has launched a new online version of the network technician training program in partnership with the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC). The program will develop a community-centered approach to computer/network technician training with an Indigenized curriculum. “I’m proud to see RRU working in partnership with the First Nations Technology Council,” says BC Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training Melanie Mark. “It’s so important that we support Indigenous communities to take part in the dynamic tech sector.” Royal Roads (BC)

Strategies for networking in higher ed: Opinion

Networking is often critical to success in higher ed, writes Bedelia Nicola Richards, so how should junior professionals and those with a “psychological resistance” to the activity approach networking? The author encourages higher ed professionals to rethink their definitions of networking to become clear about one’s reasons for wanting to connect with others. More specifically, Richards offers several tips toward successful networking: develop authentic relationships, deepen connections outside of and within one’s institution, consider engaging in service work as a form of networking, and organize conference panels. “Redefining networking has allowed me to be intentional about cultivating genuine connections with colleagues,” concludes the author. Inside Higher Ed (International)

UBCO partners with the University of Exeter to explore collaboration possibilities

The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus has partnered with the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom to create and explore further collaborative potentials between the institutions. Exeter has committed $120K towards the partnership, which aims to strengthen the two institutions’ work in the arts and sciences, and to support students’ and academics’ collaborative work on solving global challenges. “As top universities, we must connect and act globally if we are to make a difference on the major challenges of our time and I am delighted to be working with UBC Okanagan to make the exceptional happen,” said Exeter Vice-Chancellor Steve Smith. UBCO (BC)

How to practice transparency as a higher ed administrator: Opinion

“One of my guiding principles as an administrator: Startle everyone with openness,” writes Michael Bugeja. Although many higher ed administrators tout the importance of practicing transparency, the author argues that “for that word to be more than jargon, you have to live by it and actively promote it.” Bugeja thus offers 10 practices that could help one become a “radically open administrator.” Such practices include avoiding the introduction of ‘surprise’ motions at faculty meetings, posting meeting agendas on hallway bulletin boards, recognizing faculty achievements, organizing a roundtable for junior scholars, being open about salaries, and sharing department metrics online. “Last word about radical transparency,” the author writes, “if you institute or request it, expect some blowback.” Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)