Friday, August 28, 2015

Concordia to implement recommendations from sexual assault policy review

Concordia University has announced that it will begin implementing the recommendations of a sexual assault policy review that it commissioned last December. The review was already underway when a student took her case to the Quebec Human Rights Commission earlier this year. “Behaviours commonly associated with rape culture, such as victim blaming, normalizing sexual objectification, and violence, are absolutely unacceptable in the Concordia community,” wrote Deputy Provost Lisa Ostiguy, who led the review. President Alan Shepard said that while some of the recommendations will take time to implement, the university is already moving forward on others, such as an increase in training around issues of consent.

Montreal Gazette | Concordia | Full Report

Calgary students demand more safe, affordable housing

Postsecondary students in Calgary are calling on the municipal government to legalize secondary suites in an effort to provide more affordable housing close to campuses. “Students have to keep going further and further away to find somewhere affordable to live,” said Brigitte Matheson, President of SAIT Polytechnic’s Students’ Association. She added that although student housing is a problem that comes up year after year, it is especially difficult now due to Alberta’s recent economic downturn.


UBC to include mental health literacy training for BEd students

Starting this September, UBC will incorporate a new online curriculum resource into its BEd program that will teach students how to identify and talk about mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, in a classroom context. Currently there is an elective for teacher candidates, but this change will make mental health literacy into an integrated component of the program. The program is the result of a partnership between UBC, St Francis Xavier Univesity, Western University, and Dalhousie University psychiatrist Stan Kutcher. “If we help teachers, students and families become literate in mental health, we can enhance and encourage proper diagnosis and a route to an effective treatment,” said Kutcher.

UBC | News 1130 (CP)

Sheridan offers new app to assist international students

Sheridan College has launched an app designed to offer comprehensive assistance to international students applying to and enrolling in its programs. The initial version of the app—launched in May 2015—provides those who downloaded it with help uploading study permits, airport arrival assistance, a registration checklist, and a space to store emergency contact information. It also offers guidance with day-to-day activities like grocery shopping, banking, telecom troubleshooting, and finding places of worship. The app is available in a variety of languages and has been downloaded over 1,100 times to date.


The story behind the resignation of UBC’s president

Simona Chiose and Frances Bula of the Globe and Mail have undertaken an extensive investigation of the lead up to Arvind Gupta’s sudden resignation as President of UBC last month. They spoke to more than two dozen sources from both the administration and faculty, with most of these sources asking to remain anonymous. While the university took a risk in hiring an innovator, sources said, it “fatally underestimated his lack of administrative experience.” The overall sentiment is now “one of regret”; one source, wishing Gupta had stayed, expressed hope that “the university would have pulled together and made it work.”

Globe and Mail

Affluent Canadians more concerned with children’s standard of living than academic performance

Affluent Canadian parents are primarily concerned with whether their children will maintain their standard of living after graduating from university, says a new study from BMO Private Banking. The study surveyed Canadians with investible assets over $1 M and found that 36% of the respondents reported that having their children maintain a high standard of living after graduation was their primary concern. By comparison, only 27% of these parents said that having their children achieve high grades was most important to them. 69% expected that they would cover their children’s university costs out of personal savings, while only 24% said that having their children complete their postsecondary educations was of greatest concern.


Conference Board investigates what we know about private career colleges

The Conference Board of Canada is launching an investigation into the role played by career colleges and private training institutions. Noting that these are actually not new in Canada—with a history dating back to the late 1800s—the commentary goes on to say that today there are over 1,300 registered private career colleges across Canada serving 170,000 students annually. Three key features distinguish career colleges with respect to public institutions: they are generally small, flexible, and responsive. The Conference Board will release its full report on the sector in 2016. Rethinking Higher Education Forum contributor Glen A Jones wrote about the “invisible” private sector earlier this year.

Conference Board

PSE must first define innovation before pursuing it

Higher education professionals looking to bring change to their sector need to understand the difference between innovation and revolution, writes Inside Higher Ed contributor Thomas Carey. Building on a recent IHE column, Carey investigates how we decide when a change is truly disruptive or game-changing for an entire industry. He introduces a three-stage system for helping to define what is innovative: discovering new knowledge; translating this new knowledge into a working product, service, or practice; and adapting and extending the working product to generate organizational or social value.

Inside Higher Ed

UK applicants do not generally trust university advertising

Undergraduate university applicants do not generally trust university advertising, according to a new study. Published recently in the Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, the study surveyed 1,475 applicants to undergraduate courses at UK universities. According to the study, only 26.0% of respondents regarded university advertising as “highly trustworthy” and only 14.5% put significant trust in social media. Only two sources of information were rated by a majority of respondents as highly trustworthy: campus visits (59.6%) and the central UK higher ed website (52.1%). University websites themselves ranked third, at 46.6%. “The main sources that are both informative and trusted are those that are perceived as factual and not as marketing from the university,” said the article.

Times Higher Education | Full Study

PSE institutions look to investment, not divestment to create change

Most colleges and universities looking to make a social impact invest in companies that embody their organizational values, says a new report released this spring by Commonfund, NACUBO, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. The report found that rather than divesting from prisons or fossil fuels, postsecondary institutions usually follow a strategy known as “ESG,” which means investing in companies that match the institution’s ideals on matters of the Environment, Social Responsibility, and Governance. While only three of the institutions studied reported divesting from fossil fuels, 17 said they practiced some form of ESG.

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Academica Top Ten is a daily digest of top news and opinion affecting postsecondary education in Canada, published as a free service to our clients and friends. This digest was edited by Evan Cortens, Philip Glennie, and Lindsey Hritzuk based on publicly available information. Neither the editors nor Academica Group assume liability for comments or information posted by others. Please send your comments, news releases, or submissions to or call toll-free in North America, 1.866.922.8636 ext. 212

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