OTTAWA – Half of Canada’s undergraduate students participate in an internship or co-op learning experience before they graduate. That’s one of the facts about innovation in teaching and learning being highlighted in a new web resource and fact sheet on undergraduate education launched today by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
“Today’s university experience is different from that of 10 or 20 years ago in many ways,” says Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Excellence in teaching and research remains the foundation of undergraduate education, but the way it is delivered is much more innovative and experiential than it has been in the past. Today’s undergraduates have unprecedented opportunities to work with employers through internships, co-ops and community service learning, and benefit from practical hands-on research experiences. Students are bringing what they learn in the classroom to the community and industry, gaining experience and building networks that help them transition to rewarding careers.”
AUCC’s enhanced web resource on innovation in undergraduate teaching and research features case studies, videos, quick facts and related articles and publications. It is designed to share promising practices and new ideas within the higher education community, for the benefit of all Canadians.
“We invite students, parents and others to learn how universities are changing,” says Mr. Davidson. “Canada’s universities are committed to providing all students with a research-enriched and globally engaged experience within a vibrant campus community. It’s a well-rounded experience that prepares students to succeed in the global knowledge economy.”
University presidents are gathered in Calgary this week for AUCC’s semi-annual membership meeting. The meeting agenda includes a dialogue on undergraduate education, where presidents will continue to share innovative practices and strategies around the undergraduate experience.
For more information or interview opportunities:
AUCC Assistant Director, Communications
613-563-1236 ext. 238
OTTAWA – Today Canada’s universities launched a new online tool to provide Aboriginal students with better access to information on programs and services on campuses across Canada. The comprehensive, searchable database of resources designed to meet the needs of Aboriginal students was developed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
Prospective students and their families can use the tool to find information on the 286 different academic programs designed for Aboriginal students and other helpful resources available at Canadian universities, such as financial assistance, housing, cultural activities, counselling, availability of Elders, gathering spaces and mentoring.
Aboriginal youth are one of the fastest growing segments of the Canadian population. There are more than 560,000 Aboriginals under the age of 25 across Canada, yet the university completion rate for the Aboriginal population overall is eight percent — a third of the national average.
“The education gap in this country is large and growing. This needs to change,” said AUCC President Paul Davidson. “Canada’s universities recognize this and have significantly boosted the culturally relevant curricula, support programs and financial aid available to Aboriginal students. With this database, it’s easier than ever to locate and access these services.”
This new online resource is part of universities’ ongoing efforts to improve access to university for Aboriginal students and help them achieve success in higher education. Fifty-five institutions now have gathering spaces for Aboriginal students, and more than 60 organize social and cultural activities. In addition to supports on campus, many universities have successful outreach programs in Aboriginal communities, providing educational support and mentoring opportunities to students starting as early as the elementary level.
“I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the AUCC for creating an online directory to assist students in finding and accessing the programs and services that are reflective of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit languages and cultures, as well as those resources that will assist them in the achievement of their university goals,” said Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada.
The web-based directory is an enhanced update of a print version that AUCC produced in 2006 and 2010. It will be regularly updated to reflect new and enhanced services for Aboriginal students at Canada’s universities. The database complements information in the Directory of Canadian Universities, published every year by AUCC.
Aboriginal education is an ongoing priority for Canada’s universities. AUCC’s 2013 pre-budget submission to the federal government calls for increased postsecondary scholarships for Aboriginal students, with funding to be matched by the private sector. AUCC has also undertaken significant steps in recent years to help universities identify, develop and share ideas on best practices for services aimed at Aboriginal youth.
The new directory of programs and services for Aboriginal students can be found here: www.aucc.ca/Aboriginal-directory.
AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
613-563-1236 ext. 238
AUCC Communications Officer
613-563-3961 ext. 306
This letter to the editor was published in the Ottawa Citizen, December 7, 2012.
President and CEO, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Re: McGuinty delivered on education, December 3.
L. Ian MacDonald’s opinion piece praises the outgoing Ontario premier for his achievements in education. It is unfortunate, however, that MacDonald digresses into misinformation about job prospects for today’s university graduates, particularly in comparison with demand for skilled trades.
From 1990 to 2011 the number of jobs filled by university graduates in Canada more than doubled to 4.5 million from 1.9 million, while the growth in jobs in the skilled trades grew by only a third. Since 2000, job growth for university graduates has well outpaced that for all other levels of education. Even in booming Alberta, jobs filled by university graduates over the past decade exceed those filled by people with trade certificates by a factor of four to one.
Canada’s universities are doing a very good job of preparing graduates for rewarding careers. More than 50 percent of undergraduates have a co-op or internship experience in the workforce. But there is much more to a university experience than job preparation. Universities develop global citizens. They produce lifelong learners; young people who think critically, solve problems and develop new knowledge. Graduates are adaptable to the changes in our labour market.
Canada needs more university graduates. The combination of a huge demographic shift and an increasingly competitive global economy means we need to mobilize all of our resources – including more graduates at all levels of post-secondary education – to build prosperity and secure a high quality of life for the future.
This op-ed was published in Research Money magazine, December 6, 2012
By Heather Munroe-Blum, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said, “you simply can’t build a modern economy without investing in world-class research.”
Our modern knowledge economy depends heavily on research and innovation, both of which require talent, perseverance and funding. Innovation – the search for a new idea, a new way of doing things, a new product – is what allows us to put our knowledge to use and to be competitive in a global economy. High-quality research makes innovation happen. And both take place at universities.
The OECD’s Innovation Strategy and the Canada’s 2011 Jenkins Report demonstrate that universities play a crucial role in driving innovation and prosperity, and for that matter, the health, social well-being and security of nations.
In 2011, Canada’s universities were responsible for 38 percent of Canada’s R&D activities and conducted more than $11.3 billion in research, including approximately $1 billion in directly funded contract research for the private sector. The overall economic impact of Canada’s universities is estimated to be more than $60 billion annually.
What’s more, research and innovation translate into jobs. According to the OECD, innovation accounted for two-thirds to three-quarters of economic growth in Austria, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States between 1995 and 2006.
Innovation also attracts talent. When Canadian universities take a lead in conducting research, we draw bright minds to our country. In recent years, universities have attracted or repatriated more than 450 Canada Research Chairs and Canada Excellence Research Chairs from abroad. Talent follows opportunity.
In this globalized world it’s no longer enough for us to succeed or even excel at home – Canada must compete globally. Nurturing top talent at home and attracting leading researchers from around the world is what will position Canada as an innovation leader.
We have a strong foundation upon which to build. A report by the Council of Canadian Academies recently highlighted the high regard that the world’s most cited researchers have for the quality research conducted in our universities. We can strengthen that reputation by leveraging and growing partnerships between Canadian universities and international institutions, both public and private.
I recently had the opportunity to serve on the U.S. National Research Council’s Committee on Research Universities, and it is clear that research universities on both sides of the border are working to respond to their changing environment.
The U.S., a long-time front-runner in research and innovation, is at risk of falling behind in the innovation race, due in part to stagnating investment in innovation. Asia’s emerging economies steadily and dramatically increased R&D spending as a percentage of GDP between 1996 and 2007 – Japan’s reached 3.4 percent in 2007, and South Korea’s 3.5 percent. In comparison, U.S. spending remained between 2.5 and 2.8 percent of GDP over the past three decades, while Canada’s was still below 2 percent of GDP in 2007.
In a globally competitive environment, partnerships between universities and the wider community, including industry and civil society, have never been more critical. Countries, institutions and companies need to tap into and contribute to international knowledge networks.
Innovation is, at its core, a creative endeavour. Creativity often means heading down a path without knowing what’s at the end.
Earlier this year, after almost 50 years of searching, researchers confirmed the existence of the Higgs-Boson particle. While there may be no known applications for the Higgs-Boson particle today, the search for it has contributed to discoveries in health instrumentation, diagnostics and treatments, as well as the information and communication technologies that power the Internet.
Innovations and discoveries enrich our daily lives. Research in social science and humanities is increasingly important in our globalized world. Trading with partners in Canada and from around the world requires a deep understanding of history, culture, religion, law, ethics, marketing, supply-chain development and data analytics – research skills that come primarily from social science and humanities programs.
As our government develops national strategies for science and technology, international education and global commerce, Canada’s universities – and their tremendous capacity for talent development, research, innovation and collaboration – will play a key role in our country’s roadmap for the future.
Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University and a Professor of Epidemiology in the Faculty of Medicine. She is a member of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council, and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her outstanding record of achievements in science, innovation and higher education policy.
This letter to the editor was published in the Globe and Mail on November 6, 2012
By Christine Tausig Ford,
Vice-president and Chief Operating Officer,
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Gwyn Morgan incorrectly argues that two in five Canadian university graduates are employed in low-skill jobs. The OECD report to which he refers is about the entry-level positions for all graduates from postsecondary education in Canada. More than three out of four of these positions are filled by those with trade, community college and CEGEP diplomas or certificates, not university graduates.
From 1990 to 2011, the number of jobs filled by university grads in Canada more than doubled (from 1.9 million to 4.5 million), while the growth in jobs in the skilled trades grew by less than a third. Professional and management jobs grew by 1.7 million during this time; 1.4 million of them were filled by university grads. And census figures reveal that those with BAs across a wide array of disciplines enjoy a significant income premium.
Canadians know they’re still getting great value and even greater opportunities with their university degrees.