Top Ten

December 18, 2019

BC negotiating for more seats at Western College to address vet shortage

The Government of British Columbia has announced that it is working to create more seats at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in order to address the veterinary shortage in BC. Currently, through an interprovincial agreement, seats at the college are funded by each of the western provinces, and a certain number of seats are set aside for each province. Although the Government of Alberta recently withdrew its funding for its 20 seats, the BC chapter of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has not been successful in attaining any additional seats for BC students. In an emailed statement to the Vancouver Sun, BC Advanced Education minister Melanie Mark stated that the province is in the process of negotiating a funding agreement with Saskatchewan and Manitoba for more seats for BC students. Vancouver Sun (BC)

Who ranks “highest” in Maclean’s survey of PSE student substance use?: Report

Maclean’s annual survey of more than 18,000 Canadian university students regarding their drug and alcohol use has revealed an increase in marijuana use in 2019. In 2018, only about 3% of surveyed students reported daily marijuana use, and 3.5% reported weekly use, while in 2019 those numbers rose to over 4% and 5.5%, respectively. In 2018, over 60% of students reported never using marijuana, while in 2019, that number decreased to 55%. Drama students self-report as being the most frequent marijuana users, with 61.4% of students surveyed reporting they have used marijuana, followed by Political Science students at 55.2% and Geography students at 54.6%. Maclean’s | Maclean’s (National)

ON releases new guidelines to facilitate public college-private education provider partnerships

The Government of Ontario has released new guidelines that will allow the province’s publicly funded colleges to expand their partnerships with private education providers. The new guidelines will attempt to give colleges more flexibility to meet strong demand from international students for postsecondary education in ON. "This new policy in support of public college-private partnerships will allow public colleges to be more financially competitive and in turn, invest back to their campuses and local communities,” explains MPP for Don Balley North Vincent Ke. ON (ON)

ULethbridge expands partnership with Japan’s Hokkai-Gakuen University through dual-degree pathway

The University of Lethbridge has expanded its partnership with Japan’s Hokkai-Gakuen University (HGU) through new agreement that creates a dual-degree pathway. Through the agreement, HGU students will be able to complete their first two years of university at the Japanese institution, followed by two years at ULethbridge in order to earn degrees from both institutions. “The U of L is proud of its friendship with Hokkai-Gakuen University and our longstanding partnership has benefited so many students and faculty,” said ULethbridge President Mike Mahon. “We are excited to provide HGU students with two years of outstanding learning and the opportunity to earn a U of L degree.” ULethbridge (AB)

CAUT expresses concerns over closed search process for UMontréal president

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has released a letter expressing their concern over the closed search process for the Université de Montréal’s new president. In a French-language letter to UMontréal Chancelier Louis Roquet, CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith writes, it is “troubling to see that the Senate will not be consulted before establishing this short-list and that there will be no public forum for the community to question the potential candidates.” CAUT is urging UMontréal to allow the Senate to be part of the process to short-list candidates, make the candidate list publicly available, and organize a public forum so that the university community can learn about each candidate’s vision. CAUT (QC)

AB universities continue to adjust to a “leaner financial future”

Alberta’s universities continue to adjust to “a leaner financial future” in light of the Government of Alberta’s decision to reduce funding for advanced education in the province, reports University Affairs. Several universities have yet to outline how they will respond to the mid-year cuts. However, layoffs, leaving unfilled vacancies open, and tuition increases are among the proposed strategies. Edmonton’s MacEwan University will be the hardest hit, with a 7.9% cut amounting to $9.1M. The province’s two largest universities, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, face a 6.9% drop in grant funding, or $44M and $32M respectively. “This is a bump in a very long road, said UAlberta President David Turpin. “It’s a big bump but we’ll come out at the end of this and we will still be a great university.” University Affairs (AB)

Carlton Trail College partners with TATC to expand opportunities for regional learners, job seekers

Carlton Trail College has partnered with Touchwood Agency Tribal Council (TATC) to expand access to learning and employment opportunities in the east-central Saskatchewan region. A special agreement between the two organizations has led to TATC’s Labour Force Development Program operating out of Carlton Trail College’s Four Winds Learning Centre to further support the advancement of training and employment initiatives that assist Indigenous residents in entering the workforce. “As the College connects learners to further education and training, we wanted to support TATC’s ability to focus on skills development for Indigenous residents in the area,” said Carlton Trail College VP of Finance Andrew Burgess. Carlton Trail College (SK)

Lessons from the ghost of higher education past: Opinion

Like Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, will higher education today see past events as lessons that lead to transformation? asks Arthur Levine. Based on a historical analysis of transformations in American higher ed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the author offers four thoughts about higher ed’s future: historical analysis of higher ed can reveal how change will happen, but not what will happen or how quickly it will occur; the future of academia will emerge from the disadvantaged; change will not replace, but will rather modernize, current institutions; and fragmentation and division in broader society may be exacerbated by changes in higher ed. “As we transform our higher education system, the ghost of Higher Education Past can be a useful guide and ally to those in higher education who are open to its lessons and warnings,” concludes the author. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Fort McMurray residents oppose Keyano’s $16.8M art gallery project with a petition

The Wood Buffalo regional council’s decision to approve Keyano College’s request to build a $16.8M art gallery is being met with opposition by some Fort McMurray residents. During deliberations earlier this fall, councillors approved the capital spending on the project, of which Keyano plans to contribute $80K, reports CBC. In response, one citizen created a petition urging councillors to reconsider the funding as “16 million... towards an art gallery [that] is not of any interest to the majority of citizens of Fort McMurray.” Although there is no date set for the construction or opening of the gallery, Keyano President Trent Keough told CBC that the next phase for the gallery will involve “consulting with the public on what the facility will look like.” CBC (AB)

Revaluing research, publications outside of peer-review metrics: Opinion

Research and publishing conducted outside of peer-review metrics should be valued, writes an anonymous author under the pseudonym Junior Prof. According to the author, the three seemingly accepted truths about peer-review—it conveys more research authority because the findings have been vetted, it is more competitive and more objective than other publication venues, and such publications are more prestigious—are overgeneralizations that ignore that there are other places where important intellectual conversations are occurring. If one is in a job that ties occupational success to peer-review publications, the author recommends leaving non-peer reviewed research off of one’s evaluation paperwork. Rather, “you should have a conversation about the value of non-peer-reviewed research [with your supervisor] before undertaking it,” concludes the author. Inside Higher Ed (International)