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.
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.
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.