Today's Top Ten

September 28, 2022

Postsecondary institutions, students recover from destruction of Hurricane Fiona

Postsecondary institutions and students on the east coast are recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Fiona. St Francis Xavier University President Andy Hakin released a letter noting that StFX is continuing to assess the damage on campus. Hakin also took a moment to recognize the contributions of staff members for their work in essential areas and thank students for their patience, flexibility, and care for each other. Memorial issued a statement that included supports for affected community members. In an article for Globe and Mail, journalist Joe Friesen described the impact of the storm on students at several institutions: Residences at StFX were evacuated after the storm damaged the roof, while the power was knocked out at Cape Breton University as well as in a neighbourhood where many students live off-campus. Dalhousie University also recently published an article discussing the need for global collaboration in order to prepare for increased hurricane intensity due to climate change. StFX | Dal | Globe and Mail (StFX, CBU, Dal) | Memorial (NS | NL)

AB postsecondary institutions develop, launch micro-credentials with $8M in provincial funding

Alberta institutions have begun to announce new micro-credentials following the Government of Alberta’s recent $8M investment into new programs. The $8M will be used to create 69 micro-credential programs at 21 postsecondary institutions across Alberta that will help under- and unemployed Albertans quickly upskill to fill labour needs in the changing economy. Courses cover a variety of sectors, including technology and innovation, healthcare, construction and manufacturing, agriculture and forestry, and culture and creative (TV/Film). Northern Lakes College will create an Indigenous Administration program comprised of nine micro-credential courses that can lead to an extension certificate, while the University of Alberta will create micro-credentials in areas such as computer game design, health-care simulation, blockchain for supply chain, and artificial intelligence. City News | Northern Lakes | UAlberta | AB (AB)

StatsCan releases study on apprentices who discontinue programs

Statistics Canada has released a research paper on educational pathways for apprentices who discontinued their apprenticeship programs. Researchers Hyeongsuk Jin, Sophia Su and Sophie Castel note that more than two-fifths of the apprentices who registered between 2008 and 2010 discontinued their programs within the next six years. Reflecting on these apprentices’ subsequent paths, the researchers noted key differences in the subsequent educational choices of apprentices of different genders and age groups. Men tended to switch to a different trade while women tended to switch to another postsecondary program altogether. Younger apprentices were also more likely to pursue other postsecondary programs, while their older counterparts were more likely to exit the postsecondary system entirely. StatsCan | StatsCan (Paper) (National)

UoGuelph launches online eBook on EDI

The University of Guelph has launched a new online EDI eBook called Building Community: Introduction to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The resource was developed by the Office of Diversity and Human Rights and Open Learning and Educational Support to help the university’s community develop a foundational knowledge of EDI, support their communities, and become advocates for systemic change. The eBook covers a variety of topics, including recognizing intersectional oppression, acknowledging and addressing your own biases, using inclusive language, and interrupting oppression. “When it comes to EDI work, education is an ongoing and lifelong journey,” said UoGuelph DHR training, education and policy officer Angela Guerra. “We want to ensure our students, faculty and staff feel supported as they continue to promote equity, diversity and inclusion across our institution.” UoGuelph | eCampus Ontario (eBook) (ON)

Acadia achieves Organic Campus designation

Acadia University has achieved Organic Campus designation. As a certified institution, Acadia will carry organic products, establish a steering committee to manage procurement programs, and feature organic educational resources online. “Acadia students are globally minded and discriminating about the food we serve on campus,” said Acadia President Dr Peter Ricketts. “This designation recognizes our commitment to them and high standards for optimizing health and sustainability in food services.” Acadia says that it is the first in Canada to achieve this designation. Acadia (NS)

Concordia, BMO Financial Group enter sustainability-linked loan

Concordia University and BMO Financial Group have entered a sustainability-linked financing deal. The Sustainability-linked loan (SLL) is tied to the Concordia University Foundation’s public target of 100% sustainable investments by 2025, and is part of the university’s larger commitment to sustainable education and research and carbon neutrality. “In recognition of our Foundation’s work to deliver the sustainable investment portfolio it announced in 2019, the SLL is a preferred borrowing incentive that will translate to the overall benefit to the University’s cash budget and its cost of financing,” said Concordia President Graham Carr. Concordia is reportedly the first in Canada to enter into a SLL arrangement. Concordia (QC)

MHC, UVic hold dedicated Indigenous naming ceremonies for new space, research chair

Medicine Hat College and the University of Victoria both recently held Indigenous naming ceremonies on their campuses. MHC held a ceremony with a traditional feast, stories, and songs, in which a new gathering space was gifted the name Ómahksípiitaa or Big Eagle by MHC alumnus Dan Fox, who is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The college Elders also acknowledged the leadership of MHC President Kevin Shufflebotham and the work of director of community engagement Jennifer Kerslake. Kerslake was gifted the name Bobcat Woman or Ómahkatàyaakìì for her work in making the gathering space and naming ceremony a reality. At UVic, traditional songs, dances, and speeches were held at Wawadiťła or Mungo Martin House for the naming of a research chair in Indigenous mental health. The chair has been named for world-renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artist Chief Mungo Martin and is held by Emily AP Haigh, a psychologist and citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. MHC | Nation Talk (UVic) (AB |BC)

Repairing the workplace connections damaged by COVID-19: Opinion

Department chairs can use a variety of strategies to repair the damage that COVID-19 has caused to members’ level of connection at work, writes Trisalyn Nelson. Since a positive workplace culture is vital to attracting and retaining the best employees and students, Nelson writes that chairs must make an intentional effort to foster it again. To foster a more positive culture, chairs can set aside “office hours” for faculty to drop by, design events that are inclusive, consider using technological solutions to enhance virtual meet-ups, and recognize that events may require some flexibility in their planning due to unpredictable factors. Chronicle of Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) (Editorial)

Donors raise $600K for NOSM U while institutional endowment fund remains locked to Laurentian

CBC reports that donors have raised $600K to support NOSM University students while the university awaits access to its $14.6M endowment fund that is currently tied up with Laurentian University. Before becoming an independent institution, NOSM U’s endowments were held in accounts at Lakehead and Laurentian, and Wawa News reports that NOSM U has been assured that Laurentian’s Plan of Arrangement accounts for the return of $14.6M in endowments toward student bursaries. NOSM U President Dr Sarita Verma said that bursaries have been frozen since proceedings began in 2021 and noted that financial support is essential for students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend university. The $600K was raised by donors such as the Métis Nation of Ontario, the Power Corporation of Canada, and the Lougheed Family Foundation. CBC | Wawa News (ON)

UCalgary signs MOU with W21C to prioritize shared activities, student focus

The University of Calgary’s Department of Biomedical Engineering has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with W21C that will see the two embarking on shared activities. The exploratory MOU will also prioritize supporting each other and provide a guide for future partnerships. “[W]e will be exploring opportunities for internships, capstone projects, and industry-day activities,” said UCalgary department head Dr Michael Kallos. “We also hope to continue expanding our collaborations with the clinical faculty through W21C to ensure we are solving the right problems and coming up with the right solutions.” UCalgary (AB)