Interesting times in the Canadian post-secondary world

SMUS-University-Counselling

Here at SMUS, we are committed to preparing students for higher learning, whatever shape that may take. In this article printed in the Globe and Mail in early September, penned by the president and CEO of the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada (AUCC), the author puts forth a thoughtful rationale for why it continues to make sense for students to pursue a post-secondary education.

As I read it, the part that resonated most firmly for me was found in these few sentences:

“Going to university is more than a rite of passage. It is an opportunity to engage in the pursuit of ideas and research that generates new knowledge, which can then be transformed into products, processes and services. The research environment is a critical training ground for students. The ability to identify a problem, test solutions and apply new knowledge in related areas is the very definition of innovation and at the heart of the university mission. Research transforms how we think, act and live.” – Paul Davidson

This same newspaper, both in print and online, has been examining the state of higher education in Canada in a fascinating series entitled, “Our Time to Lead: Re:education”. In the first article in the series, the investigations revealed that the goals are lofty but the Canadian university system is, in general, falling short of training graduates to be able to enter and be successful in the workforce. The series includes thought provoking articles, interactive statistics and hard data, and possible solutions, some of which are already in place at unique post-secondary institutions across the country. The central thesis is that post-secondary education in Canada must change with the times and the times they are a-changin’.

As University Counsellors, we encourage students to think broadly about where they might apply to study after leaving SMUS; we aim to guide students to pick schools that are right for them in terms of programme and place. For me, the series highlights the need to look even more closely at the ways in which the universities where our students apply are meeting the needs of young adults today, both in the university classroom and in preparation for entering the work force. Some of our most popular universities (in terms of numbers of SMUS students who apply) are also the ones that are mentioned as lagging the furthest behind in this regard!

Interesting times, for sure.

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Alison McCallum
Alison McCallum is Head of University Counselling at SMUS and one of the Academic Advisors.

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