Academica Group collaborates on IEHP bridging program research

Source: HEQCO Summary via Academica

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has published a new evaluation of post-secondary bridging programs for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs). The research was conducted by Academica Group in collaboration with researchers from Western University, the University of Ottawa, McMaster University, the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists, and the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. It examined 7 bridging programs, finding that in spite of differences between programs, each faced similar challenges around finding clinical placements for students. Funding was another common challenge; many programs received pilot funding, but were then expected to rely on tuition fees. However, variable labour market demand and immigration policies have led to fluctuating enrolment numbers, hampering long-term planning. The report recommends designing programs that offer theoretical learning alongside a practical component that should include the opportunity to learn about the Canadian workplace and the Canadian healthcare system. The report also recommends offering flexible, modular program delivery; hiring faculty who are particularly sensitive to the needs of IEHPs; better inclusion and coordination of stakeholders; sustainable and coordinated funding; and a centralized registry of bridging programs.

University Degrees Pay Off Over the Long Term

Source: Financial Post via Academica

The Financial Post has crunched the numbers to determine whether students would earn more by paying tuition for 4 years or by investing the same amount of money in a retirement fund. The study assumes that the average cost of a degree is $68,933; assuming a 5% return annually over 45 years, that amount would be worth $619,364 as an investment, and would offer students the chance to put in 4 years more time in the labour force. Based on an average income of $30,817 for a high school graduate, the hypothetical individual could, were they able to bank 100% of their after-tax earnings, make another $800,000 by investing their money at a 5% return, for a total of $1.4 M in 45 years’ time. That’s the same amount that the Council of Ontario Universities suggests a university graduate will make in excess of an individual with a high school diploma. However, this figure does not take into account increases in earnings due to inflation, which could lead to the university graduate earning an excess of closer to $2.1 M; wisely invested, that could make the value of a degree as much as $3.8 M greater than that of a high school diploma. A university graduate, the article says, is “more likely to be more financially independent during their working and retirement years,” and would have more options available to them.

Why Canadians Shouldn’t Worry About Where Universities Appear in Global Rankings

Source: University Affairs via Academica

Canadians institutions shouldn’t worry too much about their placement in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, argue Robert Lacroix and Louis Maheu. Lacroix and Maheu say that the THE rankings are highly unstable, especially when it comes to evaluating reputational factors. They suggest that Canadian schools’ performance have been hit significantly hard by these subjective scores: in the THE rankings, the 2 factors influenced by reputational surveys accounted for 94% of Canadian schools’ drop in total score. In contrast, Canadian universities’ performances in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities have been more stable, possibly because those rankings do not include a reputational survey. Lacroix and Maheu also apply a 6-factor macro-economic model to compare research-intensive universities. When applying this model, they found that Canada has a higher proportion of research universities among the top 200 than expected. This finding corroborates their belief that countries with higher economic density tend to perform better under some ranking methodologies.

Everest College Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Source: CBC via Academica

Everest College filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, one day after Ontario shut down its 14 campuses in the province. Provincial Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Reza Moridi said, “since the suspension occurred, the superintendent [of private career colleges] has been working diligently to put training completion plans into place for students. While this is still a challenging situation for students, Everest’s bankruptcy does not change these ongoing efforts.” Moridi also emphasized that the bankruptcy should not affect the province’s ability to administer the Training Completion Assurance Fund set aside for Everest’s former students.

Canada’s Deputy High Commissioner to India Jess Dutton Meets Students at NGO in Patna

Source: High Commission of Canada

Deputy High Commissioner for Canada to India, Jess Dutton interacted with students at a Aga Khan Foundation early child development centre in Patna, Bihar, supported by Canada. 

During his visit to Bihar, Deputy High Commissioner Dutton also spoke on ending child, early and forced marriage (#‎CEFM) and #‎GirlsRights at a Canada-India seminar organized in collaboration with NGO Jagran Pehel at the Patna Women’s College. 

#‎GirlsRights and providing equal opportunities and education for girls is a priority for both Canada and India. The “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign in India is aligned with Canada’s global priority on ending #‎CEFM. Canadian missions in India have been collaborating with and supporting local partners to increase awareness on #GirlsRights. In addition to providing grants, some of their initiatives include organizing plays and conducting seminars and workshops.

Other panelists and speakers at the seminar included Dr. Sister Marie Jessie A.C., Principal – Patna Women’s College; Dr. N Vijaya Lakshmi, Chief Executive Officer, JEEVIKA, BRLPS; Dr. Arun Verma, Member, Bihar Commission for Protection of Child Rights; and Mr. Sayed Mansoor Umar Qadri, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF India, Bihar.

Ontario Shuts Down Everest College

Source: CCO News Release via Academica

Citing financial concerns, Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has suspended the operations of Everest College, a private career college with 14 locations in the province. Approximately 2,400 students and 450 staff have been affected by the move. Everest College is owned by the US-based Corinthian Colleges, which has been under investigation by the US government. The province said that it has allocated $3 M for students who wish to apply for refunds; students may also be eligible to transfer their tuition to comparable programs. “Our first concern is for the students and faculty affected by the suspension of all Everest College campus activities,” said Minister Reza Moridi. Corinthian spokesperson Joe Hixson said that Ontario’s action took the company by surprise. “We were informed this morning, just like the students were,” he said. “We’ve been working with the ministry for the past few months to try to find a path forward, so this came, in our mind, out of nowhere.” In a statement, Career Colleges Ontario (CCO) said that “this cessation is an adverse result of the US parent company… terminating its operations in the United States last year… CCO is diligently working alongside the MTCU to transfer existing Everest College students to alternative career colleges, while ensuring that all current students are properly accommodated.”

Universities Should Make Better Use of Campus Radio

Source: University Affairs via Academica

An article in University Affairs suggests that some Canadian universities may not be taking full advantage of their campus radio stations. Benjamin Miller argues that radio can offer universities strategic and pedagogic benefits, being an especially useful tool for appealing to new immigrants and international students. Many campus stations broadcast content that is in neither French nor English, quickly reaching a diverse audience. Universities can also use their radio stations to develop their campus identity, interacting with their communities and providing a platform to share the work of different departments. Professors, for instance, might broadcast course-related podcasts or develop class projects that incorporate radio as a multimedia element. “Campus radio is a strategic asset for reaching out to thousands of potential students across Canada. It is a wonderful part of university life, and universities can only benefit by using it better,” writes Miller.

Mohawk Launches Initiative to Attract More International Students

Source: Hamilton Spectator via Academica

Mohawk College is launching a year-long campaign to bring more international students to the college and to Hamilton. Through the Welcoming Communities project, Mohawk will work with international students, local employers, and community representatives to identify ways to attract foreign students and convince them to stay in the city. The college will identify between 8 and 12 key initiatives and develop action plans for each. Mohawk President Ron McKerlie said that the project is motivated in part by a recent report from the Conference Board of Canada that gave Hamilton a D grade for attracting and retaining skilled workers. Mohawk has set a goal of doubling the number of international students attending the college. “It is important for us to be a welcoming community,” McKerlie said. “We really think there’s an opportunity… to improve Hamilton as a destination or to set up a business.”

uWindsor Sports Management MA Ranked Among the Top 25 in the World

Source: uWindsor News Release via Academica

The University of Windsor’s sports management MA program is among the best of its kind in the world, according to rankings released by SportsBusiness International magazine. uWindsor’s program, offered through the department of kinesiology, finished in the top 25 for the third time. The rankings are based on a survey of 500 alumni of similar programs around the world. The top 5 programs will be named in April; last year, first place went to Ohio University. “We are the only university in Canada ranked among the top 25 … Thanks to our placement in these rankings we can confidently tell our students what we have always known: they are attending one of the most prestigious sport management programs in the world,” said uWindsor professor Jess Dixon, a graduate of the program.

New Agreement Makes It Easier For Universities to Hire Foreign Workers

Source: Globe and Mail via Academica | February 18, 2015

A new agreement between the federal government and Canada’s PSE institutions will relax some of the regulations around hiring foreign workers, reports the Globe and Mail. Universities and colleges will no longer have to submit a plan on transitioning jobs held by foreign workers to Canadian citizens, and will now report to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). New regulations to the temporary foreign workers program were implemented last June, affecting the ability of universities and colleges to recruit internationally. “I think that the government recognized that there are broader public policy objectives here: that universities can continue to meet their teaching and research needs, and to ensure that they can attract new knowledge and expertise from around the world,” said AUCC VP Christine Tausig Ford.

MUN Releases 5-year Strategic Internationalization Plan

Source: MUN News Release via Academica | February 11, 2015

Memorial University has released its Strategic Internationalization Plan 2020, which the institution says will guide a series of ambitious initiatives over the next 5 years. The plan, approved by MUN’s board of governors on February 5, is designed to support Newfoundland and Labrador’s forthcoming population growth strategy as well as enhance the local and international experience of MUN students, faculty, researchers, and staff. The plan includes 7 specific recommendations, including that MUN develop intercultural competencies in all its students; strengthen its structures and processes to attract and retain international students, faculty, and personnel; better articulate and market its value proposition; transition the International Centre to a Internationalization Office, which will oversee the implementation of the plan; position itself to attract international research collaborations; and pursue the internationalization of all of its programs. A draft plan had been circulated in September.

UTSU Campaigns to Allow International Students to Serve on Governing Council

Source: UTSU News Release via Academica | February 11, 2015

The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) is calling for changes to The University of Toronto Act that would allow international students to sit on the institution’s Governing Council. This year, 3 students were deemed ineligible to appear on the ballot because they were not Canadian citizens. “International students just want to be equal members of the University. Our tuition fees are the highest at the university, we lack equal access to healthcare, and yet we contribute so much to the university community. We want a say in our education,” said Cameron Wathey, an international student from St Maarten who serves as the UTSU’s VP Internal & Services. uToronto is reportedly just one of 5 institutions in Ontario at which international students are not able to represent their peers on governing councils or other similar bodies.

Canada Should Take an Ethical Approach to Internationalization

Source: University Affairs via Academica | February 6, 2015

In an op-ed for University Affairs, Carleton University Provost Peter Ricketts and Canadian Bureau for International Education VP Membership, Public Policy, and Communications Jennifer Humphries call for an ethical approach to internationalization. Their piece argues that a lack of a coherent federal strategy for internationalization left Canada lagging behind other developed nations. Ricketts and Humphries cite the report of an Internationalization Leaders Network advisory panel that emphasizes internationalization cannot be pursued at the cost of quality or participants’ well-being. The ILN also advocated a set of 7 core ethical principles that should guide internationalization. These include that internationalization should be integrated into the core mission of an institution; that it be student-centred, equitable, and inclusive; that its agenda should not be dictated by fiscal imperatives; that there be mutual benefit to all parties involved; and that it be used as a means to achieve global-level civic engagement, social justice, and social responsibility.

CBU Launches Project to Increase Immigration to Area

Source: Cape Breton Post via Academica | February 5, 2015

Cape Breton University has launched the Rural-Urban Immigration Pilot for Cape Breton Island, an initiative designed to increase immigration to the island. The project involves the creation of a task force consisting of members of various PSE institutions, municipal organizations, and private industry that will assess current needs and issues around immigration to Cape Breton. In addition, current international students in the area will be surveyed for their perspectives, and community-based research projects will help determine best practices and next steps. The initiative will conclude in the spring with a comprehensive report and strategic plan. “We have an opportunity to learn from international students studying in the area, to understand their challenges, identify opportunities, and eventually make changes that will make Cape Breton a desirable location to reside. This report will help the Island in many ways and will also be of interest to other rural and urban areas in the Province,” said Keith Brown, VP International and Aboriginal Affairs.

Boosting Canada-India Academic Ties

Source: High Commission of Canada | February 5, 2015

Canada’s University of Toronto President, Meric Gertler, boosted academic ties with India on his first ever visit, from January 27 to 31. While in India, Dr. Gertler co-hosted a workshop on “Universities in Urbanization: Building Healthy, Sustainable & Innovative Cities” with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay). He also met with Minister of Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu, spoke at a conference on cities and urbanization hosted by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and visited the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR). Following the advice of Indian students at the University, Dr. Gertler also took the time to enjoy the food and the culture of India.

Vancouver Firm Converts Luxury Hotels into International Student Residences

Source: The Province via Academica | February 4, 2015

A company called CIBT Education Group has purchased a 17-storey luxury hotel in downtown Vancouver with the intention of renovating it into housing for international students. The conversion is just one of several that the company is undertaking: it has 3 similar projects in development with 9 more in the planning stages throughout Vancouver and Richmond. CIBT CEO Toby Chu said that the need for international student housing in Greater Vancouver is desperate given Vancouver’s low vacancy rate. According to figures from 2011, approximately 100,000 foreign students live in the Greater Vancouver area. The renovated Viva Suites hotel will offer 200 beds, a fitness centre, an electronic library, a TV lounge, and a free shuttle service to area institutions. The company will also provide an airport pickup and shuttle service, a hot meal service, IT support, social activities, and academic counselling. Rent will range from $900 to $2,500 per month.

SFU Working to Improve Research Around Teaching and Learning

Source: BCcampus News via Academica | February 2, 2015

[CIEC Academic Member] Simon Fraser University’s Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD) is working on the development of a framework and resource guide to assist faculty in designing and conducting research involving the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). “Institutions in other provinces have created tools designed to foster inquiry into teaching and learning,” said ISTLD’s Greg Hum, “But for the most part, they don’t focus enough on the specifics of research design and the analysis step in particular, and this is where we’ve seen many projects struggle. We saw the need for a new resource as an opportunity to create a better conceptualization—one that’s practical and will be embraced by our faculty.” SoTL research consists of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, but many researchers rely heavily on surveys and/or best practices that may limit the outcomes of the research. In addition to building the guide, ISTLD is also working to create user-friendly tools to assist with data analysis.