It’s no secret that there are disparities in access to higher education among different demographic groups in Ontario, as is the case in all of Canada’s provinces and territories. What fewer may know, though, is that these disparities exist far more at the university level than the college level.
Canada’s higher ed community has been celebrating record-setting international enrolments for years now, but it has not been as quick to acknowledge how these students fare after graduation. This is because there is often inconsistency in what, if any, targeted supports schools are offering to help these students succeed in the job market after they graduate.
“Trust me. I know what kids care about these days.”
Melissa felt her stomach drop. As a marketing professional working at a higher ed institution, she dreaded hearing these words from her colleague.
Institutions and advocates across Canada have worked tirelessly to address the underrepresentation of women in senior academic roles over the past 25 years, but a lack of progress in crucial areas has caused many to look beyond institutions to ask how women in Canada’s higher ed community can advance their careers through peer-based support networks and mentoring.
In today’s tough higher ed landscape, here are three key questions that your team should discuss before deciding whether (and how) to roll out any new program.
When prospective students think about your institution, what’s the first word that comes to mind? What about their parents? What about current students? Alumni? You might have some educated guesses based on anecdotal evidence, but how reliable are those guesses? As over two decades of research and consulting in Canadian higher ed has taught us, institutions get one—maybe two—words to be associated with in the imaginations of any given person, especially a prospective student. This speaks to the importance of top-of-mind associations when it comes to your institution’s brand. The question then becomes: what word do you want to “own”?
Since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report in 2015, Canada’s post-secondary institutions have worked to better integrate Indigenous practices and ways of knowing into their campus cultures and spaces. This effort has led to a growing conversation around what it truly means for an institution to Indigenize, with this conversation touching on nearly every aspect of post-secondary education, from infrastructure and ceremonial acknowledgments to shared governance and a greater incorporation of Indigenous knowledges into curriculum.
Colleges and institutes from across Canada are doing remarkable work around the globe to build training capacity and change countless lives in the process. Every year, dozens of projects bring Canadian colleges and institutes together with partners from South America to Africa to Asia on initiatives that can involve everything from leadership training to building the vocational skills that are vital to a country’s infrastructure and workforce.
At the core of every Canadian post-secondary institution is a mission, a clarity of purpose that—in the best cases—is keenly felt by every member of the campus community. This sense of purpose is the product of many influences, including a commitment to the core principles of higher education that date back centuries. Today, one also sees institutions searching for ways to better serve the communities and regions in which they’re based. But underlying both of these factors is a question that until recently might have been considered a given at many institutions. That question is: Who are our students?
Good intentions are important when responding to a disclosure of sexual assault on your campus, but without the proper knowledge base and training, these good intentions might still lead to unsupportive responses that can do long-term harm to survivors. In this three-part series on responding to disclosures of sexual violence, we have already focused on myth-busting and providing supportive responses to those who make the brave choice to disclose an experience of sexual violence. In this final installment, we will look at how intersections of power and privilege influence the moment of disclosure and how a person can respond supportively.
Are we truly living in a time of “post-truth”? That’s the question being asked by many higher education and media professionals who strive to provide credible insight and reliable information to a public that seems increasingly skeptical toward traditional forms of expertise. Compounding this challenge is the trend of populism and the “democratization of expertise” that has eroded the authority once accorded to academics and journalists. But where will this trend lead, and are academics and media professionals capable of restoring the public’s trust in accurate journalism and in evidence-based research?
It’s no secret that Canada has established itself as a global superpower in the realm of higher education, as institutions continue to set record enrolments year after year and grow Canada’s reputation around the world. Yet while much attention is often given to international recruitment and the student experience, it is equally important for Canada’s institutions to ensure that they’re doing the most they can to support their international students’ post-graduate aspirations. And for a majority of international students, staying and starting a great career in Canada ranks first and foremost.
A significant amount of debate exists on Canadian campuses around how schools should review or administer discipline in cases of reported sexual assault, yet one area where there is consensus, yet perhaps not enough attention, is the importance of supporting survivors at the moment of disclosing an assault. The need for training in this area was recently highlighted by a survey of Ontario students that found that 63% of university and 50% of college students reported experiencing sexual harassment during their time at school. That’s why an initiative at Western University is working to ensure that any member of the campus community is prepared to offer a supportive response if someone discloses an experience of sexual violence to them.
The world of marketing and communications in post-secondary education is changing rapidly. Growing competition to attract the best students, combined with a renewed focus on institutional mission and strategic enrolment management, has created a new kind of marketing and communications professional, one who must keep up with a fast-changing world driven by collaboration and innovation.
Graduates of Central Michigan University’s (CMU) Master of Arts in Education with a Community College concentration program are continuing to shape and change the Ontario college system. One such graduate, Mary Pierce, is having her capstone research on academic integrity intervention referenced by several Ontario community colleges, and presented at the Ontario College Administrative Staff Association Leaders and Innovators Conference in June 2019.
In a remote area of Nepal, an eight-year-old boy is carried into a tiny hospital by his grandparents. The boy has fallen from a height and sustained a complex fracture in his elbow. Treating the injury will require resetting and stabilizing bones, but this involves a specialized surgery and medical hardware not available to the only doctor in the area, whose hospital is hours away from the nearest city or specialist. Worse yet, the boy’s circulation has been impeded by the fracture, and without treatment, he will lose the use of his hand and forearm.
Vision: it’s what William G. Davis had when establishing the Ontario college system; and it’s what Dr. Roy Giroux had when first inviting Central Michigan University to deliver the Master of Arts degree in Education to the faculty, administrators and staff at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario. Dr. Giroux believed all Ontario college professionals should be afforded the opportunity to pursue advanced training and enhance their professional practice.
Every day, people across Canada make the brave decision to tell someone about their experience of sexual violence. The conversation might last only a minute, but it can have a long-lasting impact on the survivor. If a survivor doesn’t get a supportive response, they might never tell anyone again, or might blame themselves for what happened to them. A supportive response, on the other hand, can affirm that person’s experience and can help them find the supports they need.
We know that the world of work is changing, and that the jobs of the future will be vastly different than today’s. We know, too, that educators, policy makers, and change-makers share a collective responsibility to help young people prepare for this changing world, but how about our cities? How are our Canadian cities preparing for the future of work, and how do they fare as places for young people to work and gain an education? What makes a healthy, vibrant, youthful city?
Higher education advocates across Canada and beyond will often claim that academics make an enormous impact on the world beyond the ivory tower, but skeptics are often quick to ask, “How, exactly?” Advocates might then point to social benefits such as advancements in medical technology or the fostering of an engaged democratic citizenry, but another benefit that they might wish to highlight is the impact that higher education is having in developing countries that are looking to build healthier, wealthier, and more just societies for all.
Look anywhere in the media today and you’ll find people talking about how upskilling and ongoing professional development is a core component of any 21st-century profession. On top of that, many believe that positive attitudes toward professional development can be a key indicator of the health of a certain profession. In keeping with Academica’s core mission of moving higher ed forward, we partnered with Extended Education at the University of Manitoba and went out to our Top Ten readership community to ask higher ed professionals across Canada about their attitudes toward professional development.
The greatest challenges of the 21st century will be global in nature, and so too will be the solutions. Fortunately, a growing group of academic experts based at institutions across Canada is collaborating with international partners around the world to build the capacity to solve these challenges.
Every day, members of Canada’s university boards make decisions that impact the lives of students, staff, faculty, and the communities they serve. Today, these board members come from a much more diverse set of backgrounds than they might have 30 years ago. Combined with the unprecedented pressures that universities currently face from a number of directions, it is essential that Canada’s university board members are up-to-speed on the challenges that most impact their stakeholders and, just as importantly, the possible solutions. One such area where board members can have a major impact is student wellness.
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government recently announced a slate of changes to post-secondary education in the province, which included a 10% tuition cut, changes to the Ontario Student Assistance program, and a clause that would allow students to opt out of paying certain non-mandatory student fees at their institutions. To gain further insight into the proposed changes, we reached out to our StudentVu panel to learn more about what Ontario post-secondary students think about the new changes. We received 652 responses from students currently studying at colleges and universities across Ontario.
In the wake of the Ontario Government’s shock announcement of a 10% cut in university tuition, next week Brampton City Councillors will agree terms of reference for a task force to come up with a new game plan for post-secondary education in the City. The Brampton initiative is a direct response to the disappointment felt at all levels in the city when hopes for a branch campus of Ryerson University were dashed last October. The latest policy announcements from Queens Park simply add to the urgency for communities across the province to come up with new ways to harness university and college education for the public good. Former university president David Wheeler argues that this is the moment for Brampton to launch a bold new experiment in university education that could act as a beacon for 21st century university education for the rest of the country.
Whether in the midst of their first or final year of post-secondary education, the new year for students often signals a new job search. This search can encompass anything from a summer job to help pay expenses, or a first career opportunity. Whatever their road map, confronting and addressing the skills gap will undoubtedly be part of a graduate’s journey. We know that this gap exists, but how can we help young people better understand the skills they have, and how can we better equip them with the tools and resources they need to succeed?
Board members at universities across Canada face a growing urgency to make the best decisions for their institutions. These members are coming from an increasingly diverse set of professional and personal backgrounds, which makes it more essential than ever for them to be well-informed about the challenges and opportunities facing their schools. And if there’s one Canadian university alumnus who knows something about keeping people well-informed, it's Ali Velshi of NBC News. This May 2-4, Velshi will return to his Alma Mater in Kingston, Ontario to to discuss the future of internationalization at Canadian universities at the Canadian University Boards Association’s annual conference.
We’ve selected the top ten stories of 2018 using the same process we use for choosing stories in our Academica Top Ten and Indigenous Top Ten publications. To begin, we drew on the expertise of our team of researchers and consultants, who spent 2018 working with clients at over 100 post-secondary schools across Canada to solve institutional challenges and move higher ed forward. We combined this expert insight with user traffic data gathered from 30,000+ Top Ten readers and over 7.5 million Top Ten emails that went out in 2018, creating a selection process that draws on unparalleled access to both an on-the-ground understanding and bird’s-eye-view of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing Canadian higher ed.
Landmark education agreements, community partnerships, and language revitalization initiatives made 2018 a big year for Indigenous/Settler relations in the post-TRC era, but the past 12 months also presented significant challenges for post-secondary education. High-profile resignations at schools across Canada revealed the extent to which systemic racism permeates our institutions’ structures, while incidents of racism on a number of Canadian campuses pointed to ongoing tensions between Indigenous populations and Settlers.
One of the most influential—yet least understood—groups of decision-makers at Canadian universities is the board of directors. In this world of constrained (and sometimes shrinking) resources, board members know that the future of their universities, and of Canadian higher education, can depend on the decisions they make. This is the challenge that the Canadian University Boards Association (CUBA) seeks to address. The association supports effective governance in higher education by providing board members with resources, professional networks, and a forum for exchanging perspectives and information, its annual conference, which will be hosted by Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario May 2-4, 2019