Canada Needs Better Data if it Wants to be An Innovation Leader

Source: Globe & Mail

At a recent conference in Ottawa, where speakers included Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and Advisory Council on Economic Growth chair Dominic Barton, a challenge was laid on the table.

We live in a low-growth world and Canada is not immune – we’ve experienced sluggish growth for much of the past decade and our GDP growth rate is not predicted to breach the coveted 3-per-cent mark without bold action now.

So what do we do?

For the full article, visit The Globe & Mail.

New Online Program Matches Freshmen With Study Abroad Opportunities

Source: Diverse

In an effort to get more students to think sooner than later about studying abroad, a new pilot program enables college freshmen to set up online profiles that match them with programs of interest around the world.

“It’s like an online dating site only instead of getting matched to people, they’re getting matched to global opportunities,” said Samantha Martin, CEO of Via TRM, a Colorado-based tech startup that launched a pilot version of the program this fall with three universities.

For the full article, please visit Diverse.

How India is Climbing International University Rankings

Source: University World News via Academica

Institutions from around the world can learn much from the progress that China and India are making in global university rankings, writes Anand Kulkarni for University World News. The author highlights how both countries have fared well in recent years, noting for example that India has risen to eighth in the world for the number of students it graduates in science and engineering. Kulkarni warns, however, that graduating more students in a particular area “does not necessarily say much about quality, the ability of graduates to find meaningful jobs or research capability, among other things.” This is part of the reason, Kulkarni writes, that China has advanced in world university rankings at a better pace than India. The author attributes this success to China’s more consistent distribution of institutions among the different tiers of rankings, while India’s tendency to have a “best and the rest” system, with only a few elite institutions, continues to hold back the country’s overall performance.

Culturally Competent Advising Requires a Holistic Approach

Source: Inside Higher Education via Academica

“To be better advisers, we need to consider the cultural baggage a student brings to a conversation when discussing their major,” writes June Y Chu for Inside Higher Ed. Chu illuminates the ways that culturally competent advising must grow to better serve a diverse student body. This approach uses a holistic approach that goes beyond telling a student to pursue the subject they love, and takes into account issues such as family conflicts and responsibilities. Chu further adds that “the question for advisers is how our own cultural values influence our advising and potentially devalue the cultural history a student brings into our office.”

SFU to Host Visiting Indian Scholars with $500K Donation

Source: Simon Fraser University via Academica

[CIEC Academic Member] Simon Fraser University has received a $500K gift to provide students the opportunity to learn from world-class Indian scholars. Provided by Hari and Madhu Varshney, the gift will fund the Hari and Madhu Varshney Visiting Scholars Program in Indian Studies, which will help leading Indian academics come to SFU to share their knowledge and insights. “This wonderful gift will strengthen SFU’s commitment to engage the world,” says SFU president Andrew Petter. “Thanks to the Varshneys’ generosity, these scholars will enrich our educational and research environment, while deepening understanding of India’s rich culture and heritage amongst the communities we serve.”

Nova Scotia Could Do More to Keep International Students

Source: CBC via Academica

A new pilot program announced by the Nova Scotia Government to keep international students in the province is a “very encouraging” step, yet it does not fully address the barriers most commonly faced by these students, says the Canadian Federation of Students for Nova Scotia. The government pilot in question aims to support 50 international students who are completing their final year of PSE in “priority areas” such as health care, computer engineering, and ocean sciences. These supports includes career mentoring, access to employment-related events, and workshops. Yet the CFS-NS says that these efforts do not address the issues of “differential fees” paid by international students, and access to medical services insurance coverage. “What we really need is broader action that will help international students studying in Nova Scotia across the board,” said CFS-NS Chairperson Charlotte Kiddell.

International Assessment Standards for Indian Varsities Soon

Source: Hindustan Times

Assessment and accreditation of higher education institutions in India will soon be based on global standards and practices. For the first time ever, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council and key quality networks and agencies from Asia, Europe, America, Australia, UK, Africa and other countries have joined hands to develop a common agenda for international quality assurance of Indian universities.

For the complete article, visit the Hindustan Times.

Canada Eyes New Visa to Attract Talented Workers

Source: Bloomberg

Canada is considering introducing a “global talent visa” to attract high-skill workers, though the country remains divided on expanding immigration amid pockets of high regional unemployment, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains says.

For the full article, visit Bloomberg.

Indian-origin Canadian Professor Tests Road that Self-Repairs

Source: Hindustan Times

In recent months, Nemkumar Banthia, professor in the department of civil engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) has had his eyes fixed on a road. That road, though, happens to be more than 12,500 km from Vancouver, where he is based. It’s a demonstration project in a village about 90 km from Bengaluru and uses advanced materials and technology that could help with enhancing rural road connectivity. The project is the result of research that marries materials science and structural engineering to create self-repairing roads that are cost effective, have greater longevity and are sustainable.

For the full article, please visit the Hindustan Times.

Canada & India – Embracing Diversity

Canada & India – Embracing Diversity

By Ms. Roohi Ahmed, President, India Canada Friendship Circle

The India Canada Friendship Circle (ICFC) launched its 2016-2017 lecture series this fall with a presentation by Mr. Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group. Mr. Arya spoke about the role of MPs in fostering closer ties between the Parliaments of Canada and other countries as a means of promoting bilateral and multilateral relations. Parliamentary friendship groups do not have budgets or administrative support and are formed on a cross-party basis as well as a member’s interest in a specific country. Parliamentary friendship associations, on the other hand, have formal budgets and administrative support from the Parliament of Canada and are actively engaged with their international counterparts. Mr. Arya and his fellow MPs who have an interest in India hope to elevate the status of the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group to an association, and they also wish to help move forward talks on the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in order to increase trade between the two countries. Mr. Arya also noted that MPs who happen to have a large concentration of Indo-Canadians in their constituencies had joined the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group to learn more about India.

ICFC members suggested that the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group study the issue of immigration and integration, as some members felt not all Indo-Canadians were socially integrated. Some found it fascinating that we had Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi, and that Asian television programs seem to have become a favourite pastime while Asian language print media cover local news. While these reflect the hallmarks of Canadian multiculturalism, Mr. Arya felt that this was also an inter-generational issue, pointing out that first-generation migrants in some communities may not be so integrated, but their children are.

Mr. Arya also agreed with his audience on the importance of finding the right balance between cultural diversity and integration. He highlighted the added value of leveraging Indian diaspora strengths and shared his own personal experience as testimony to the openness of Canadian society towards giving immigrants a chance to become positive, contributing members to the economy and community. He brought to Canada his skills as an engineer and business executive, and in turn learned new ways which he felt enriched his life. For example, Mr. Arya appreciated the culture of “volunteerism” in Canada, which influenced his path to politics. The audience concluded that the Canadian experiment with immigration and multiculturalism is not yet complete and still evolving, and that the Canadian model of socio-economic integration is on the right track relative to the US and Europe.

The next ICFC lecture will be held in collaboration with The College of the Humanities, Carleton University featuring the articulate speaker Dr. Geeti Sen, Cultural Historian, Professor, Author and Art Critic who is travelling to Canada from New Delhi. She will demonstrate through visual images and text how 20th century Indian nationalism was driven as much by politicians as it was by painters, poets and patriots.

More details are available at the following website:

Québec Creates Program to Retain More Foreign Students

Source: La Presse via Academica

Quebec has provided $1.6M to Montreal International to implement a program encouraging more international students to stay in the province after graduation, reports La Presse. The program will specifically target graduates trained for work in in-demand sectors, although it will still be open to students from all programs. Montreal International CEO Hubert Bolduc hopes that the program will increase the number of students remaining in the province after graduation from 3,000 to 9,000. Bolduc notes that of the 30,000 international students who currently study in Montreal, many do not stay due largely to language barriers, difficulty finding a job, and the burden of the immigration process.

SFU Opens Downtown Vancouver Residence, Social Innovation Hub

Source: Simon Fraser University via Academica

Simon Fraser University [CIEC Academic Member] has opened the Charles Chang Innovation Centre, a new graduate student residence and innovation facility located in downtown Vancouver. The building is named after alumnus Charles Chang, who donated $10M to establish the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship earlier this year. The new facility boasts 52 furnished rooms and can house 68 graduate students. It also features a social innovation and technology hub designed to connect students and community members who are looking to collaborate on new solutions to social challenges. “This exciting new building expands SFU’s presence in downtown Vancouver, and strengthens our commitment to be Canada’s engaged university,” said SFU President Andrew Petter.

MacEwan Considers International Student Tuition Increase

Source: Edmonton Journal via Academica

MacEwan University is considering an increase to its tuition fees for international students in order to better support domestic students studying abroad, reports CBC. A draft proposal reportedly suggests that the school should implement a 10% increase in international student fees for fall 2017-18 and an additional 5% increase for fall of 2018-19. The Edmonton Journal adds that the proposed changes could result in the creation of $2.5K entrance bursaries or scholarships for as many as 230 students, and the same amount for up to 120 MacEwan students studying abroad. “Tuition is not a small dollar item anymore and so when you look at these models for tuition, you don’t want to be too high; we want to be accessible to students (and) at the same time, you don’t want to be too low,” said MacEwan Provost John Corlett.

Fanshawe College Opens English Language Centre

Source: Fanshawe College via Academica

Fanshawe College has officially opened its new English Language Institute, a centre that will gather together the college’s various English as a Second Language initiatives and become home to the college’s new flagship program, English for Academic Purposes. The college reports that this full-time, intensive program will help international and domestic students prepare for further academic study, and will also be recognized by Western University and  its affiliated colleges. “Through the English Language Institute, Fanshawe will continue to offer enhanced English language training and support that empowers International students, newcomers to Canada, and non-English fluent students to succeed in post-secondary studies,” said Gary Lima, Senior Vice-President, Academic Services at Fanshawe.

“Big Investment” Coming for BC Postsecondary Tech Training

Source: The Globe & Mail via Academica

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has announced that her government will soon make “big investments” in the province’s postsecondary system to address a talent shortage in the tech sector. “There will be some announcements coming in the next little while with respect to investing in computer science in particular in universities … it will be a significant amount,” Clark added in an interview with the Globe and Mail. In July 2016, 18 BC tech executives sent a letter to Clark asking for the province to address the talent shortage. Clark did not specify, however, whether the final amount invested in PSE tech training would match the $100M requested by the executives.