Top Ten

May 4, 2017

ON invests $6M in improving mental health supports at universities, colleges

Ontario’s colleges and universities will receive an additional $6M over three years to support mental health services at their campuses, thanks to a new investment from the Ontario government. An ON release notes that the funding is part of a broader investment in mental health services across the province announced in the 2017 budget, which also includes the expansion of access to existing psychotherapy services, in addition to the development of a new province-wide publicly funded psychotherapy program to help people living with conditions such as anxiety and depression. The new budget will also provide prescription medications for youth 24 years of age and younger through OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare—which is reportedly the first universal drug program of its kind in Canada. ON | OUSA

37 college-business initiatives projects receive $37M to bolster Canadian innovation, commercialization

Canada’s colleges are poised to perform world-class research and development in collaboration with industry, thanks to a new $37M federal investment. The funding will be used to support 37 projects at colleges, institutes, and CEGEPs across Canada to support applied research and development activities with industry partners. The projects will be funded through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s College and Community Innovation Program, which supports applied research and collaborations that lead to commercialization and technology transfer while facilitating the development of new technologies and innovative collaboration in communities across the country. “Our government supports investments that are helping to build an innovative economy, and will create quality jobs to support a vibrant middle class,” said Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan at the funding’s announcement. Canada

Cambrian the latest Canadian institution to be hit by ransomware attack

Cambrian College has told CBC that it faced a ransomware cyberattack on its online network last week, in which hackers demanded $54K in exchange for the release of school-hosted data. CBC reports that as of Monday, the school had not paid the ransom. The hack reportedly targeted Cambrian’s web portals, grade reporting, and student learning management systems, which prevented many students from accessing their most recent grades. Shawn Poland, Cambrian's associate vice president of college advancement and strategic enrolment, noted that “thanks to the tremendous and talented work of our IT team and our cyber security consultants, we've been able to assess the damage and bring those networks and files back on stream.” The college reports that it is currently prioritizing student and academic systems in its efforts to restore all services. The college has also notified police, who are now investigating the incident. CBC

UManitoba, Faculty Association go to labour board over unfair labour practice allegations

Hearings began earlier this week at the Manitoba Labour Board to determine whether the University of Manitoba followed unfair labour practices in its contract negotiations with faculty last fall. The school’s Faculty Association alleges that UManitoba failed to share communications from the provincial government asking the university to freeze faculty salaries in the middle of a three-week strike in November 2016. CBC reports that if the board rules in UMFA’s favour, it could order the university to compensate each of the faculty members who lost wages and benefits during the strike. It could also ask the board to order the university to restore the offer made in the proposal put forward by the school on September 13, 2017, and immediately restart the collective bargaining process. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press

UWinnipeg cuts positions, sports teams to meet provincial mandate for balanced budget

The University of Winnipeg says that it has cut some senior positions, sports programs, and faculty positions in order to meet a provincial mandate to balance its budget. Earlier this week, the university’s board of governors approved $3.7M in cost cuts in the 2017-18 operating budget, which include the elimination of UWinnipeg’s men’s baseball team and both its men's and women's wrestling teams, with soccer being placed on hold for 2017-18 until the school can afford to hire a coach. The university also reports that the bulk of its new savings will come from leaving vacancies unfilled. “It's unfortunate but we had to make some tough budget decisions,” said Chris Minaker, senior executive officer with UWinnipeg. CBC | UWinnipeg | Winnipeg Free Press (Subscription required)

Mohawk Students’ Association invests $1M in new net zero-energy Partnership & Innovation centre

The Mohawk Students’ Association has committed $1M to The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation at Mohawk College’s Fennell Campus. In doing so, the MSA joins other major supporters such as the Government of Canada, The Joyce Family Foundation, and ArcelorMittal Dofasco to create what Mohawk reports is its region’s first net zero-energy institutional building. The centre will reportedly allow enrolment in high-demand technology programs to expand from from 3,500 to 4,500 students, with an additional 50% increase in applied research projects with industry partners. “The Mohawk Students’ Association is thrilled to support the Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation,” said MSA President Samantha Hoover. “We are investing in both the centre and in the promise and potential of students and helping to make Mohawk a leader in environmental sustainability.” Mohawk

SFU anticipates doubling of population in UniverCity community

Simon Fraser University says that it expects the population at its UniverCity district to double from 5,000 to 10,000 as campus stakeholders look to shape the area’s mix of commercial and residential space to meet the needs of the emerging town centre. Located on Burnaby Mountain, the area will reportedly be bolstered by a recent announcement by the British Columbia government, Burnaby school district, and SFU stakeholders to jointly fund another 195 new spaces at the University Highlands Elementary School. SFU Community Trust President and CEO Gordon Harris notes that there is another deal nearing completion that will see the construction of a 15,000-square-foot medical centre in the community. “That is certainly a missing ingredient,” Harris told the Vancouver Sun in an interview. He said the community trust operates as a subsidiary to SFU with a mandate to develop and maintain the residential and commercial properties next to SFU’s campus. The Province | Vancouver Sun

Competitive executive-job candidates are courteous, responsive, genuinely interested

Zachary Smith of The Chronicle of Higher Education reflects on what makes candidates for senior-level academic roles more favorably received by search consultants, hiring committees, and campuses. In particular, Smith notes that good candidates typically draft a strong letter of interest that is thoughtful and clear of any errors, and which lists examples of accomplishments and demonstrates the applicant’s knowledge of the campus. These candidates remain low-maintenance, responsive, and respectful towards all members of the campus community during the search process. Smith further highlights the importance of listening to search consultants, remaining lighthearted and relevant, and finally, genuinely wanting the executive job in question. Chronicle of Higher Education

MUN marine institute receives $1.5M investment through ACOA

The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University will be receiving a $1.5M investment through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. In particular, $156K will go towards the centre’s development; $594K will go towards purchasing, maintaining, and renewing technology and equipment; and $446K will be used to bolster the institute’s international activity. “It’s really interesting to see how capacity building in people takes place, how we develop college systems and how our people’s expertise is transferred to the rest of the world,” commented MUN MI Vice-President Glenn Blackwood. “The results of this we’ve already seen and we’re looking forward to expanding it in the future.” The Telegram

Algoma, Confederation collaborate on joint admissions agreement

Algoma University and Confederation College have collaborated on a Joint Admissions agreement that will allow students easier access to Algoma’s degree programs upon enrolling at Confederation. The new agreement aims to reduce the time, cost, and barriers that exist in transferring from a diploma program to a degree program. “The agreement is student centric which allows students a seamless and transparent transition to many degree opportunities at Algoma University,” explained Algoma Registrar David Marasco. Confederation Registrar Don Duclos added that, “reducing barriers surrounding the transition to university will enable more students to take the next step in achieving their educational dreams.” Confederation