Canadian employers must invest in workforce to prepare for demographic shifts
A new report published by the Conference Board of Canada calls on Canadian employers to do more to prepare for the changing labour landscape. “In today’s business environment, Canadian organizations need to more proactively compete for talent,” said Ruth Wright, the Conference Board’s Director of Leadership and Human Resources Research. The report notes that recruiting employees will become increasingly difficult as the unemployment rate continues to fall; moreover, organizations must do more to develop internal talent to replace aging executive ranks. The report also notes a persistent concern about a perceived skills gap; 80% of employers reported challenges recruiting candidates with critical skills. The Conference Board suggests that employers can invest in early career development and workplace training to help address these shortages. Conference Board News Release | Full Report
Two universities are applauding a decision to shut down a controversial website that offered an agony-aunt service to students, but also provided a platform for abusive and sexist comments.
Summary from Academica Top Ten 24 November 2014
Controversial student websites removed
A controversial student website that offered a public sounding board for 2 New Brunswick universities has been shut down. "UNBF and STU Confessions and Compliments" was created by a student at the University of New Brunswick. Content ranged from questions about relationship help to criticisms, compliments, and personal admissions. However, content of an abusive and sexual nature also made its way on to the site, prompting a lengthy anonymous complaint to both university presidents. The complaint stated that the postings on the website had resulted in some students not feeling safe on campus. University administrators reported that the site had been taken down voluntarily by its creator, and that the institutions are seeking advice on including cyberspace activities in their student codes of conduct. A similar site, "Spotted at STU," was also removed by its creator. One professor at UNB cautioned against universities pushing for entire sites to be taken down, as “a lot of offensive speech, a lot of difficult speech, a lot of speech you don't want to hear, can actually be very valuable.” CBC
Survey finds teens grow less optimistic, less happy as they become young adults
A new poll from RBC looks at young adults’ experiences with “quarter-life crises.” The report finds that compared to young people aged 10–17, youth aged 18–21 are less happy, less optimistic, less excited about their future, and less likely to feel that the things they do are worthwhile. The survey also found that as teens age, they are less likely to say that they have a good life and that their family believes in them and makes them feel good. Only 59% said that they frequently smile, compared with 78% of teens aged 14–17. Young women were found to be happier than young men, but less excited about the future. Respondents aged 18–21 were most worried about money (68%), things happening in the world (66%), getting or having a job (63%), knowing what career to pursue (57%), and their parents (50%). RBC News Release
Bill also ties minimum wage increases to inflation and expands protections to interns, students and migrant workers.
From Academica Top Ten 13 November 2014
Ontario passes bill to protect interns and temps, ties minimum wage to inflation
Ontario has approved legislation designed to extend protections to temporary workers and interns and to tie the minimum wage to inflation rates. Bill 18 will extend Occupational Health and Safety Act coverage to co-op students and unpaid interns; previously, these vulnerable workers did not have the same protections and rights to safety training that other workers had. The safety of interns and co-op students has been a growing concern of late, in response to the deaths of several young workers. In addition, Bill 18 will ensure that temporary workers hired through a placement agency are able to address issues both with their company and the agency, improve the process around wage theft claims for all workers, expand the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act to all migrant workers, and tie minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index for Ontario. Toronto Star
Mainstream calls for change in PSE often shallow, reductive An article by York University PhD candidate Melonie Fullick examines the ways in which calls for change in education typically get reported. Fullick, who researches PSE policy and its effects on universities, says that mainstream coverage of many issues tends toward a “shallow narrative of universities as institutions that simply have not changed, either over the course of the last century or even since Medieval times.” She argues that such reporting ignores the vibrant work being done in PSE teaching and learning; she also says that calls for changes in pedagogy often ignore the background of what makes change succeed or fail. Moreover, the problems cited in such work frequently reflect changes that are taking place on campus even as they criticize a lack of change. “Universities already have changed … It’s just that they’ve never changed enough for the present moment. Thus we keep charging them with the task of changing more … for a broadening range of purposes,” Fullick writes. A better question, she says, isn’t whether institutions will change, but how they will change, and for whom. University Affairs
A Teacher Planning Model For Multiple Intelligences
by TeachThought Staff
"Until recently, the prevailing thought in education was that differentiation according the theory of multiple intelligences was a good thing.
"Then data started coming out, and the theories Howard Gardner set forth back in 1983 came under fire. Mention multiple intelligence (MI) thinking today, and you’re guaranteed to rise the ire of someone on twitter telling you that it’s 2014, and the 1980s are gone and there is no data that exists that proves MI does anything but waste time.
"Gardner’s theory was more about rethinking intelligence than suggesting we teach algebra by jump roping. He suggested 8 sects of intelligence replace our singular idea of general intelligence. (He has since suggested a 9th intelligence–Existential)."
HEQCO report finds that many employers expect experience for entry-level positions
The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released a new 3-part study on entry-level jobs in Canada. Researchers found that less than one-quarter of employers would consider hiring a candidate with no work experience for an entry-level position; employers wanted an average of between one and 2 years of experience. When filling entry-level positions that asked for a PSE credential, close to half of employers said that they didn’t care whether the credential came from a college or a university; about the same amount said they didn’t care which field the candidate had studied. A follow-up survey found that 59% of employers hired candidates with 3 or more years of previous employment for the entry-level positions while a quarter hired candidates with more than 5 years of experience. Among the skills cited as being most valued by employers in the study were the ability to work well with others, oral communication skills, and computer skills. While the study was limited in its scope, the researchers say that the results suggest that PSE graduates do have the right skills for the labour market, but that they also emphasize the need for alignment and collaboration between PSE institutions and employers. HEQCO Summary
For young Canadian adults, contract work, typically without health care coverage, can mean years, decades or even a lifetime of second-class financial status in the workplace
Summary from Academica Top Ten 21 November 2014
Young adults struggle with precarious, temporary employment
An article in the Globe and Mail sheds light on some of the challenges faced by young adults working in temporary positions, often on short-term, casual, or seasonal contracts. Not only are persons working in these precarious positions paid less in terms of salary, but they also frequently lack the benefits that are provided to full-time staff. Moreover, some young people remain in temporary positions for years or even decades in some cases. According to Statistics Canada, 13.4% of all workers in 2013 were considered temporary; among workers aged 15–24, the figure more than doubles to 29.9%. During this time, temporary workers may be reluctant to pursue proper vision or dental care for fear of out-of-pocket costs. The problems are compounded for young people who have a family and may have to pay fees for spouses or children. Many companies also offer permanent employees life insurance and disability coverage, as well as drug plans that can help alleviate the high costs of some medications; however, these benefits are rarely extended to temporary employees. Globe and Mail
Admin should not treat faculty as the enemy on assessment
Faculty should not be thought of as the enemy when it comes to making improvements to assessments of student learning, says an article in Inside Higher Ed. The article argues that while a minority of faculty may resist change without any good reason, administrators too often treat assessment as a neutral activity, reducible to the simple collection of data. However, when assessment is used to determine faculty effectiveness and to assess whether or what students are learning, it becomes a practice of management, not pedagogy. Such a move marks a significant shift in power, the article says; moreover, the demand that assessment data be used to modify programs can have a significant impact on program curricula in which faculty have invested significant time and resources. The article argues that a belief in the neutrality of data-driven assessment can lead to a condescending attitude toward faculty, when what is actually needed is collaboration with faculty and an awareness of why faculty members’ may be critical of some assessment measures. Inside Higher Ed
DONESTK, Ukraine – The coach of Russian Premier League team FC Rostov said on Saturday that he would not sign any more black footballers over fears that they would bring with them the deadly Ebola virus.
Igor Gamula told Russian media that the soccer club had “enough dark-skinned players; we’ve got six of the things” when asked by a reporter if he would sign Cameroon defender Benoit Angbwa, the Associated Press reported.