Top Ten

May 25, 2020

NS international students ask postsecondary institution to consider lowering tuition fees

International students studying at postsecondary institutions in Nova Scotia are asking schools to consider lowering tuition fees or eliminating differential fees amid the shift to online learning prompted by the pandemic. Beatrice Chiang, president of the Dalhousie International Students’ Association, noted that international students in the province typically pay twice the tuition fees of domestic students, but “won’t make the same level of meaningful connections” that they would have in a classroom or on-campus setting. Other international student concerns outlined by Chiang and other NS international students include financial hardships, the quality of education delivered online, the loss of practical education components, and how the switch to online learning will impact grades. The Chronicle Herald notes that universities in NS are reviewing tuition fees for the upcoming fall semester, noting they have bursaries and other financial supports in place to support students during this time. Chronicle Herald (NS)

Career Colleges Ontario releases opening guidelines for province’s career colleges

Career Colleges Ontario has released guidelines to opening the province’s career colleges. The guidelines, meant to complement industry regulations and health measures, cover topics such as operational and policy considerations and flexibility, and provide links to related resources. The guidelines also include a checklist for school administrators, teachers, and staff regarding safe work practices. The document underscores the importance of being sufficiently flexible to provide equitable access for students. “Not everyone will be able to make it to campus in the fall,” explain the guidelines. “Course delivery is being planned with enough flexibility to provide access for all students, considering different geographic locations and time zones, as well as considerations for health, family status and accommodations for students with disabilities.” Career Colleges Ontario (ON)

PEI launches Case Team Program to employ students, support government, businesses

The Government of Prince Edward Island has launched the Case Team Program, an initiative that will pair postsecondary students with government, businesses, and non-profit organizations to help address organizational challenges they are currently facing. The program will see 25 postsecondary students hired for the summer to help with issues related to marketing, human resources, operations, or strategy. “Our post-secondary students have so much to offer, including a unique perspective and the ability to adapt and be resourceful,” said PEI Premier Dennis King. “They are innovative thinkers and we have so much to gain by having them work with us as we seek new ways to move forward.” PEI (PEI)

Institutional rankings should be paused during the pandemic: Opinion

As new inequities arise and combine with existing ones amid the pandemic, American professor H Holden Thorp argues for the suspension of postsecondary school rankings and the use of standardized testing to inform admissions. In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education Thorp uses the example of the US News rankings to explain how the metrics these rankings rely on, such as graduation rates and test scores, tend to negatively impact less privileged students. These metrics are further skewed by circumstances such as the pandemic. Thorp thus advocates for a momentary pause on institutional rankings, which will not only allow institutions to focus on creating policies that support students, but may also allow ranking systems and organizations “to make a big change to the formula that looks more at what universities do for students across a wide range of incomes and identities.” Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

UPEI receives approval from city council for 9-storey residence project

The University of Prince Edward Island has garnered approval from the Charlottetown city council to build a nine-storey student residence. The province and UPEI are partnering on the $60M, 260-bed residence that will also feature lecture halls, a multi-purpose space, and a theatre. No start date for construction has been announced by the university, but it is expected that construction will begin shortly as the residence project is to be completed by 2022 in advance of the 2023 Canada Winter Games, which will be hosted by PEI. The Guardian (PEI)  

Governments should enact policies to help grads find their footing in a changing economy

While higher ed graduates who begin their careers during times of economic downturn face many challenges not faced by those who graduate into a more stable economy—such as lower wages, less opportunities for promotion, and less optimal career paths—Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Director of Policy, Research and System Improvement Amy Kaufman argues that there are policies governments can institute to help new grads. According to the author, “governments can embrace policy solutions ranging from student loan forgiveness to making money available to allow employers to hire new grads and maintain internships.” In addition, some experts suggest that making grads whose job offer has disappeared eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit may be a good place to start. HEQCO (ON)

UCalgary to waive some fees for on-campus services

The University of Calgary has announced that some fees for on-campus services will be waived. “Our investments in delivering excellent remote education are supported by the current level of tuition – Students will only be required to pay fees for what is available for their use,” explained an UCalgary spokesperson. It is unclear, however, how broad a range of student services the fee-waiver includes. Ryan Al Sakaf, a fifth-year economics student at the school said that students enrolled in spring/summer classes have yet to see a fee reduction, however. Live Wire Calgary (AB)

UdeM launches program to expand pathways to receiving psychoeducators license

The Université de Montréal’s Faculté des arts et des sciences has launched a program to update training options for those seeking to obtain a psychoeducation license in Québec. Specifically, this program is designed for people who attained their psychoeducation degrees from outside the province or graduated some time ago and must take practical and theoretical courses prescribed by the Order of Psychoeducators of Québec (OPPQ) in order to obtain their license to practice. The new offering will thus give persons who are required by OPPQ to obtain additional university credits for their psEd further educational options and pathways. UdeM (QC)

Mobilizing service work in annual faculty reports to advance institutions as a whole

It is the time of year where faculty members begin preparing material for their annual reports, and according to Martin S Edwards, faculty and institutions should treat these “chronologies of accomplishments” as an opportunity to tell better stories to their external constituencies. Edwards explains that many higher ed institutions lack narratives about how their faculty make a difference, but understanding these contributions can advance not only individual faculty members, but also the entire institution by highlighting faculty engagement in student recruitment and engaging donors. To address this issue, the author recommends that faculty should be encouraged to be more communicative about their service work, and colleges and universities should investigate how to best share information from reporting processes with relevant offices. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Nunavut Sivuniksavut students hold virtual graduation

Nunavut Sivuniksavut students recently held a virtual graduation to restore a sense of community for students who completed their studies online. Organizing the event took about a month and the pre-taped ceremony included the lighting of a qulliq, a performance by two students, and taped messages from students sharing what they were taking away from the experience. "Graduation is always a time where students put it all behind them, after all the challenges that they've gone through and after all the triumphs, you look back and can realize how much you have accomplished," said instructor Dan Guay. “Last night it was really great to get that feeling of community back." CBC (NU)