Earlier this year, Canada’s PSE professionals told us that campus mental health would be the greatest challenge facing the higher ed sector in 2018. Three months later, their prediction looks to be spot-on. A cursory glance at the archives of the Academica Top Ten reveals that mental health, and the broader topic of campus wellness, continue to weigh heavily on the minds of the postsecondary community.
Challenges to social cohesion and community wellbeing are on the rise across the world, and governments at every level no longer have the resources they once did to address these challenges. As the forces of globalization squeeze public budgets, many postsecondary institutions also face growing pressure to justify their existence to the communities they serve. But within these converging pressures, Canada’s postsecondary leaders see an opportunity for their institutions to use their capacity and resources to address some of society’s most wicked problems.
The race is on at campuses across the country to enhance co-op programs for STEM and business students following the federal government’s commitment of $73M in support of this cause.
The factors with the biggest impact on students’ choice of postsecondary institution become more important every year, as schools must increasingly compete with one another to bolster the quality (and in many cases, quantity) of their student bodies.
To delve deeper into this aspect of the postsecondary experience, we asked the members of our StudentVu panel to tell us about which institutions they considered when applying for PSE and how they ended up making the decision to accept (or not).
Just how many schools are in the running when postsecondary applicants make their enrolment decisions? It’s a question asked by countless higher ed professionals across the country. Where your institution fits into the landscape of students’ decision-making, and the factors that influence this positioning, are among the most important considerations for any school in Canada. This is especially the case today, as applicants enjoy a broader range of PSE options than ever before.
Today’s postsecondary students face a growing list of demands on their time and energy, from taking on paid work to coping with mental health concerns. But it’s crucial that this growing list doesn’t prevent them from becoming engaged members of their campus communities. As these students work to balance their many responsibilities with their desire to participate in student clubs and governments, student associations face the growing challenge of fostering an engaged student body.
2017 was a year of big stories for Canadian higher ed, from historically-long strikes to bitter debates over the meaning of academic freedom. We’ve combed through the 2,620 stories we ran this year in our daily Academica Top Ten and Indigenous Top Ten, analyzing our readership statistics to see which stories and themes received the most attention from our readers. We then combined this data with the insights of our crack team of researchers to whittle our list down to the top ten stories of 2017.
Young people have a big stake in shaping our future and they have the ambition to do so. But we need to engage them, delve deeper into both their shared and individual experiences, and keep asking them the question – what is transitioning from school to work really like, what’s broken, and how could it be better?
From Snapchat scavenger hunts to live Facebook Q&As, social media engagements help students feel more connected with their PSE community.
One of the first things to acknowledge about feedback is that receiving it can be a difficult experience for many people. While it’s true that we want to grow and improve, it’s also true that many of us feel like we’re being told that we’re not good enough when feedback is negative.
Attending university or college for the first time can be challenging, and with the onset of mental health illnesses typically occurring during adolescence, this means many students will experience mental health issues around the same time that they begin their PSE journey.
In the ever changing social media landscape, platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are gaining more traction than ever, challenging Facebook’s dominant role, while others, like Twitter and Google+, have seen a steady decline amongst youth.
The federal government has created an opportunity to focus on filling gaps in the Canadian innovation landscape and jumpstart high-growth sectors, and it represents a significant opportunity for PSE’s who are strong in research and industry partnerships.
Ask almost anyone if they value accessibility at their school, and you’ll hear a resounding “yes!” But not everyone comes at accessibility issues from the same perspective, and people can have widely differing opinions on whether their schools are doing a good job of making sure that students with disabilities have the most fulfilling postsecondary experience possible.
The phrase "Industry 4.0" seems to keep popping up in trade publications, higher education news sources and in wider media circles. Conceptually this term denotes an increasingly connected and integrated world, harnessing big data, analytics, the internet of things, automation and new work patterns that seek to integrate human and automated processes in more flexible ways.
I believe one of the greatest successes of post-secondary education in Canada has been the increased access for students with disabilities. Within the last twenty years, there has been a dramatic and welcome increase in the number of students with disabilities who have been able to attain certificates, diplomas, and degrees, which are crucial mechanisms to access quality employment.
The majority of PSE students have grown up with illegal downloading, where the financial value of intellectual property and digital entertainment has been seriously eroded by consumers (look no further than the recording industry). It’s so easy to do and the urge to save a buck or two is powerful.
You’re native to the world of constant information, social media, fake news and employment instability. You’re staring down 1,000 job opportunities in a sea of what feels like none at all. The famed linear career ladders of your parents and grandparents just don’t appeal. But they still want you to find one.
As the higher ed landscape shifts away from traditional lecturing methods, teachers are in need of new resources that will complement existing course materials, and will help the modern day professor deliver concepts and curriculum in a different and unique way.
Currently, 4.5 million students in higher ed are studying outside of their home country, a number that has doubled in the last decade. Student expectations are rising. Students want to see more pathways and more global opportunities that will push them out of their comfort zone and prepare them for a successful career.
What do students say about your school when you’re not in the room?
Every PSE marketing professional knows that when it comes to a school’s reputation, it’s not what you hear students saying that counts. It’s what you overhear them saying.
With the shifting higher ed landscape and the growing demand for more hands-on experience, professors are looking for innovative teaching methods to bring lessons, theories, and concepts alive and to equip students with the tools to face the real-world head on after graduation.
Across Canada, universities and colleges are partnering to give students the opportunity to have a postsecondary education that includes experience from both types of institutions. Many of these arrangements go by different names—2+2 pathways, diploma-degree pathways, etc.—but what they all have in common is the opportunity they offer students to enjoy the unique benefits of both college and university through a clearly defined pathway.
Not that long ago, students might have decided which institution to attend and then choose which program they wanted to study at that school. Now, though, students face mounting pressure to make the right choice when selecting a program, and in many cases, this will lead students to choose their program first and later decide which school has the best reputation in their program area.
Going forward, it is essential that we see career development as an integral part of the academic mission of PSE. The most important challenge now is to develop the theoretical and pedagogical framework to guide institutional strategy and program development within this new paradigm.
As online course delivery continues to grow, these positions are becoming more common, and the occasional email to people around the academy is becoming a less reliable way of finding someone in time to run the course.
What makes for a fulfilling workplace? It all starts with feeling as though you’re having an impact, that you’re making a difference at your institution. But is it really possible to create a space where everyone—regardless of their experience, seniority, or skill set—feels like they’re making a difference?
New school. New city. New structure.
It can all feel so daunting. Especially if you're 18 years old, not really sure what program you should be in and unprepared for the demands of what your new post-secondary education reality truly is.
Do your school's entrance scholarships have any actual effect on students' enrolment choices? Ask around and you'll find many PSE professionals who aren't sure about how to answer this. And when you ask them whether they'd be willing to claw back or redistribute these awards in any way, you'll often see hesitation in their faces.