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…?
In recent years, a growing number of post-secondary institutions from across Canada have been implementing new strategies and pursuing new initiatives with a goal to Indigenizing their campuses. But what does it mean to Indigenize, and beyond that, how does an institution know if it’s succeeding?
Our country is facing a challenge, and we think your school can help.
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.
In an age where many nations are turning inward, it’s more important than ever to reach across borders and build a better world. It’s with this mission in mind that a growing number of influential CEOs and post-secondary leaders are re-envisioning their goals to embrace the world’s most pressing challenges.
Located along the northeastern coast of South America, Guyana is one of only three counties in the Americas that until 2015 did not offer any training for family medicine professionals. Primary care was delivered through a clinic-based system in which patients rarely meet with the same doctor, and rarely for more than one health issue. A new mother, for example, would need one appointment for her postnatal care, another for her baby, another for other related sexual health testing, and so on. By comparison, more than 90% of primary health care delivered in Canada is done through family doctors.
That situation is one that Dr. Krystle Fraser-Barclay is working to change.
Public health is a lynchpin of Canadian society, impacting the lives of countless community members on a daily basis. But in many parts of the developing world, a public health system of this calibre remains an aspiration. Fortunately, there are dedicated individuals based in many of these countries who are determined to turn this aspiration into a reality.
In an era of heated debates around the purpose, priorities, and payment of senior administrators in Canadian higher ed, relationship management has become a key part of day-to-day life for many institutional leaders. This often takes the form of carefully worded interactions with the media, social media channel monitoring, and face-to-face meetings with important stakeholders.
But there’s one major set of opinions that’s often missed in all this: that of the students. As the group that feels it has the most at stake when it comes to the public standing of their institution, students are among the fastest to speak out on social media or fill the window of the president’s office with poster board when a PR disaster strikes.
Joe Henry, Dean of Students at King’s University College at Western University in London, Ontario, reflects on his administrative experiences in Canada’s affiliated university environment.
Much has been written about the plight of the millennial workforce. The majority of the literature oscillates between a doom-and-gloom rhetoric, where there is no hope for young workers, and the suggestion that there might be opportunity in the adversity they face. These paradoxical messages seem to reinforce the notion that now is one of the most uncertain eras in which to make a living, especially if you’re a millennial starting your career. There is, in my view, a significant lack of practical advice out there for young workers suggesting ways they might navigate a precarious work landscape.
Academics and institutions across Canada are collaborating with organizations from around the world to solve some of the globe’s most challenging problems. Many of these problems can be found in developing countries, where challenges related to education, healthcare, and infrastructure remain significant, although much progress has been made against difficult odds. Academics have taken a collaborative approach to addressing these challenges, working directly with individuals and organizations based in these countries to build the capacity they need to address these problems in the long term.
Growing up in an adopted non-Indigenous family, Shyra Barberstock did not meet her birth mother until she was 21. At that time, she learned of her Anishinaabe heritage and her Kebaowek First Nations roots. Years later, she and her partner Rye (a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte) established the Okwaho Network. This life experience in different cultures has given rise to Shyra’s understanding of the multiculturalism and multi-ethnicism that underlies her drive to provide quality resources and opportunities for Indigenous peoples.
Increasingly, the skills of the Social Era are table stakes when it comes to finding work after graduation. In recent years Centennial College made it a strategic priority to establish itself as a leader in internationalization at the curricular and co-curricular level. The College actively infuses principles of global citizenship, social justice education, equity and inclusion in the learning environment.
A risk-taker at heart, Dr. Rick Colbourne began his journey to award-winning professor on a rather non-traditional path: working with drug addicts on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, helping children with from poor backgrounds with learning and behavioural disabilities, touring North America and Europe as a singer/songwriter, and lastly, developing a file-sharing service for digital music.
Earlier this month, Algonquin College celebrated the grand opening of the Discovery, Applied Research & Entrepreneurship (DARE) District. Located on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabek peoples, and a first-of-its-kind in Ontario, DARE will house three brand-new facilities intended to provide space and resources to support the Indigenous traditions and learning that the college is now integrating into everything it does.
Ahead of the inaugural Inclusive Internationalization Summit: The Future of Transformative Learning on June 5 at the Toronto Reference Library, Centennial College’s Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Inclusion explores the concept of Inclusive Internationalization within the higher education sector.
In a recent survey of nearly 4,000 postsecondary students and graduates, we discovered that a shockingly high percentage of students had considered leaving their institution in this past year. A whopping 23% of current students said that in this academic year, they’d seriously considered leaving their current institution. For even the most optimistic administrator, this is a distressingly high number.
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.