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.
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
Why do students pick the institutions or programs they do? Put this question to any member of the post-secondary or high school education sphere, you’ll get a variety of answers: star faculty members; industry-leading programs; a stellar campus community; the infamous campus hot dog stand. Yet the answer is hardly as simple as any of these.
With Ontario Premier Doug Ford set to repeal Bill 148, precarious and vulnerable workers are back in the news. A recent study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), reveals that 1 in 5 professionals in Canada have precarious jobs. As Ricardo Tranjan, co-author of the study, noted, “We are talking about people here who quote-unquote 'did everything right,'...They went to university, they passed professional exams, they were told they would have a job waiting for them. And it's not necessarily there.”
Every day, passionate higher ed professionals across Canada are deflated when they hear these words from their colleagues or bosses. What makes these words so difficult to hear is that they acknowledge the possibility of improvement, but deny the possibility of taking action. “Maybe later,” is often what follows. So when, then? Next year? The year after that…?
Welcome to the conclusion of our two-part series, where we offer Canada’s post-secondary students the chance to ask senior administrators about the issues that impact them most a students. While Part One focused on questions around how school choose which programs to offer and what to charge for tuition, now we’ll take a look at students questions about which parts of their jobs senior admin find most fulfilling and (dun dun dunnnnnnn) why they deserve to make such high salaries.
For many, offering on-campus tutoring services to students in Canada falls under a different category of support than sending these same students around the world to support partners in developing countries. But for Jamie Arron and countless students across Canada, these activities fall under a single mission.
Students and senior administrators in Canadian post-secondary education might not spend a lot of time hanging out together, but the interactions between them are vital for campus culture. Earlier this year, we asked over 1,400 students how they felt about their institution’s senior administration and received a mix of responses. One thing that was clear, though, was that students who’d met and interacted with senior administrators tended to have more positive attitudes toward their school’s administration than those who didn’t.
Many Canadians are familiar with the essential work that colleges and institutes do in providing vocational training to support the demands of the labour market, but fewer might know about how these same schools are changing lives around the world through international partnerships. Over the past 40 years, Canada’s colleges and institutes have engaged in over 700 international projects to build a better world for all.
Mention the word “internationalization” to Canadian higher ed professionals and many will immediately think of international student recruitment. Others might think of the benefits that having more international students on campus can provide to campus culture and diversity, while others still might think about the need to create more study abroad opportunities for domestic Canadian students. Working in tandem with these significant aspects of internationalization, though, are the global collaborations that Canada’s forward-thinking institutions are engaging in with partners around the world.