Top Ten

March 29, 2018

BC trades and tech schools to benefit from $5.4M provincial investment

British Columbia Premier John Horgan has announced that the provincial NDP will provide 15 postsecondary trades and technology programs with $5.4M for industry-standard training equipment. Each institution will reportedly receive between $310K and $500K. “Students need to get their education and training on the same type of equipment that industry uses,” said BC Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister Melanie Mark. The government also plans to provide funds to create an additional 2,900 tech spaces by 2023. NWCCChek News

NL supports MUN tuition freeze, reduces operating budget

CBC reports that the Newfoundland-Labrador government will provide Memorial University with $4M to support its ongoing tuition freeze while reducing its operating budget by $9M. Sonia Descalzi, NL’s Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, expressed concern that MUN might have to raise ancillary fees to recoup the money. According to CBC, MUN has committed to keeping the tuition freeze in place until 2021 in its plan to cut $13.4M in spending, which reportedly includes new course and campus renewal fees. Descalzi added that MUN’s low tuition must also be factored into NL’s high cost of living, and that failure to protect international students from fee increases could be detrimental to immigration. CBC

Partnership between McMaster, Hamilton seeks to reimagine transit system

The City of Hamilton, McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering, and the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics have partnered on a two-year research program aimed at improving Hamilton’s transit systems. McMaster Civil Engineering Professor Moataz Mohammed emphasized that public input will guide the project. Hamilton Street Railway Director Debbie Valle Vedove told Global News that the project will begin by gathering transit users' opinions on routes, destinations, and scheduling. “It’s going to take a few years to complete properly, because we want to be sure that we’re not jumping to conclusions or just putting Band-Aids on everything,” she said. Researchers are reportedly scheduled to present their recommendations to Hamilton city council in March of 2020. Global News

BVC established as first Canadian hub for the IBM Skills Academy

Bow Valley College has signed a memorandum of understanding with IBM that establishes the college as the first Canadian hub for the IBM Skills Academy, an academic professional technical certification program. Through this initiative, IBM will train college faculty on how to prepare students for career tracks including business intelligence, cyber security, and cloud computing. “Our collaboration with IBM will equip Bow Valley College learners with in-demand skills to meet the changing needs of the IT industry while maintaining an academic approach of teaching,” said BVC Vice President, Academic Misheck Mwaba. BVC

UManitoba students lobby for Indigenous language education

Noah Wilson, co-president of the Aboriginal Students Association at the University of Manitoba, is reportedly leading the ReconciliAction campaign. This campaign will lobby Canadian universities to create official degrees and diplomas in Indigenous languages. “It's about bringing light to the TRC Calls to Action, and ensuring that the calls to action are being implemented,” Wilson told CBC. The campaign’s launch featured panels that included elders, students, and administrators. According to CBC, UManitoba President David Barnard praised the campaign and stated that the university is committed to implementing Indigenous language education. CBC

2018 federal budget should provoke new research, competition strategies: Lauten

Mark Lautens argues that the Canadian public’s underwhelming response to the federal government’s $1.7B funding package for postsecondary research demonstrates a need for scientists to educate the public about their work, improve research programs, and provide better opportunities for young scientists. To meet these objectives, Lautens writes, the funds must be allocated through open competitions, with winners representing an array of scientific disciplines. According to Lauten, the current competition model concentrates funding in too few hands, while an improved distribution model would improve Canada’s standing on the world stage. Globe and Mail

Amendment will cut universal health care for international students in MB

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government will repeal universal health care for international students, CBC has learned. The change, which will reportedly come into effect in September of 2018, could range from $2.4K to $3.6K per student. In spite of the changes, a spokesperson for Education Minister Ian Wishart stated that Manitoba remains a “very viable option” for postsecondary students. CBC added that international students on 12-month work permits will remain eligible for universal health care, but all others need to go through a private insurer. Dele Ojewole, interim chairperson of the MB Canadian Federation of Students, said that the province failed to consult with students before implementing the change. CBC

Fleming introduces Food and Nutrition Management program to prepare students for industry

Fleming College has announced a new Food and Nutrition Management program focused on culinary management and nutrition skills. The program will teach students industry-specific skills that may not be taught on the job, including nutrition-based theory, physiology, effective communication skills, and fundamental human and financial management. “We’re delighted to bring our Food and Nutrition Management program to market and believe it will help meet a very real and very acute need for more nutrition managers both here in Peterborough and the Kawarathas and abroad,” said James Boesch, Chair of the Fleming School of Business. Fleming

Universities, libraries must work together to control journal costs: Shen

The rising cost of journal subscriptions set by a handful of academic publishers has reached a “point of crisis,” writes Anqi Shen. Citing a recent briefing paper by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), Shen finds that journal costs have risen by 5-7% per year since 2011. A prominent reason for the rising costs, Shen states, is a “big deal” subscription model in which publishers provide unlimited access to journals at an all-in price that increases with every negotiation period. CARL recommends that academic libraries cancel big deal subscriptions while moving toward open-access publishing, a shift that Shen says would require universities to present a united front with academic libraries. University Affairs

Address racism to improve the Indigenous student achievement gap, says UAlberta prof

The achievement gap – a measurable difference between Indigenous student success rates in school and overall student success rates – is an issue that many leaders wish to resolve. However, many critics and commentators have pointed out that a failure to understand and address racism and history may hinder Canadian educators as they work to close this gap. University of Alberta Associate Professor Rebecca Sockbeson explains that racism, even from well-meaning teachers, is one of the main reasons Indigenous students leave school early. “We need to back up from that question and think,” says Sockbeson, who explained that the term achievement gap tended to put a focus on the students instead of the system. Edmonton Journal