Top Ten

May 3, 2018

MB streamlines student aid and bursary program with an eye to access

The Government of Manitoba has announced that it is streamlining the application process for the Manitoba Student Aid and Manitoba Bursary programs to help more low-income and Indigenous students access funding. “We’re introducing a simplified user-friendly service model that is more predictable so students can save and budget accordingly,” said MB Education and Training Minister Wishart. The province plans to distribute up to $8.6M in additional loans for the 2018-19 program year. The province also plans to introduce a fixed student contribution rate for student loans and grants, a three-year Skills Boost pilot program, and an exclusion of First Nations band funding as part of the student financial assessment in order to make more Indigenous students eligible for grants. MB

Developing strategies to overcome precarious labour: Maybrey

“Academia has, in effect, been a sort of test market for the gig economy, and the picture isn’t pretty,” writes Catherine Maybrey, adding that labour actions, ongoing arguments, and calls for reform are just some aspects of the backlash created by precarious working conditions. But contract employment is not only an issue in academia, the author notes, as up to 40% of the global workforce is reportedly working from one contract to the next. Maybrey advises readers who prioritize job security to make a plan for how they plan to obtain a permanent position in five years. This plan would include researching which jobs tend to offer the most security and which types of contract work can best prepare one to obtain one of these jobs. University Affairs

CBU hikes tuition by 5.9%, issues mandate for new Strategic Plan

Cape Breton University will increase tuition fees by 5.9% for the third year in a row, reports the Cape Breton Post. CBU’s Board of Governors has also issued a mandate for a new Strategic Plan, reportedly its first since 2001. According to the Post, CBU will prioritize a “better student environment, creating growth within its Unama’ki College and adding supports for student aid and increased community outreach initiatives.” Gordon MacInnis, CBU’s VP of Finance and Operations, told the Post that the university is witnessing a substantial influx of international students, with a corresponding increase in demand for business, health services, and engineering programs. Cape Breton Post

No easy fix for med school residency shortages: Picard

In light of a recent trend that has left some med school graduates without residencies, André Picard writes that Canada does not need more doctors, but more general practitioners. “If medical students don’t want those jobs,” writes Picard, “then perhaps we’re not attracting the right people to medical school.” The author claims that part of the problem lies with the Canadian Resident Matching Service, which relies on an algorithm that cannot take the real distribution of nation-wide demand for doctors into account. The two most prominent issues at stake, Picard finds, are French-language requirements in Quebec and the fact that some medical graduates might not want to specialize in the areas of medicine with available jobs. Globe and Mail

URegina cuts wrestling, men’s volleyball teams

The University of Regina’s athletic program has reportedly cut men’s and women’s wrestling and men’s volleyball following a 2017 report that found the university could not support 16 teams. “Certainly one of the things that we considered was the level of community engagement with those programs and the amount of community interest and/or even community investment in those programs,” said URegina Dean of Kinesiology Harold Reimer. Reimer told CBC the cuts will save the university an estimated $350-$500K while impacting approximately 45 students. “I never would have thought they would have cut wrestling first, because we have the least amount of kids and we’re the most determined,” said URegina wrestler Sara Torkaz. CBC | Saskatoon Star Phoenix

CNC receives $11.6M in provincial funding for Indigenous residences, upgrades

The Prince George Citizen reports that British Columbia’s Advanced Education, Skills & Training Minister Melanie Mark has announced a new envelope of funding for programs and upgrades at the College of New Caledonia. The package reportedly includes a $5.2M renovation of the CNC campus in Vanderhoof, $1.3M in facility upgrades for the Quesnel campus, and $2.6M for a long-awaited housing residence for Indigenous students. CNC President Henry Reiser noted that the residences will provide a “culturally relevant” space for the college’s Indigenous students, who reportedly make up 20% of CNC’s student population. “To me this is reconciliation in action,” added Reiser. Prince George Citizen | BC (1) | BC (2) | BC (3)

UQTR professors locked out as union, university arrive at stalemate

L’Université du Québec à Trois Rivières has locked out 445 professors, according to Le journal de Montréal. UQTR Rector Daniel McMahon stated that the decision followed a stalemate between the union and the university that has been aggravated by a deficit of $10.7M for the 2017/18 academic year. Le journal adds that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expired in May 2017, and that a conciliation officer from the Ministry of Labour could not help the union and the university reach a new agreement. A Ministry-appointed mediator has reportedly urged the two sides to arrive at a solution quickly. Journal de Montréal

Federal government invests $1.56M in SaskPolytech Innovative Manufacturing Centre

Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Innovative Manufacturing Centre has reportedly received $1.56M from the federal government for innovation projects in biomaterials testing, research, additive manufacturing, and prototyping. “This major investment will enhance our capacity to assist business and industry as they solve manufacturing challenges and bring ideas and products to market,” stated Susan Blum, Associate VP of Applied Research and Innovation. According to SaskPolytech, the Centre features 3D-printers, water- and laser-jet cutters, and computer numerical control machines. “Working alongside industry, this facility will allow SaskPolytech to partner with multiple manufacturing sectors as an incubator for testing and prototyping of plant and bio-based materials, which will result in a greener tomorrow,” said SaskPolytech President Larry Rosia. SaskPolytech

NIC receives $100K from BC for new tech program

North Island College has announced that it will receive $100K from the British Columbia government to support 40 spaces in a new technology certificate program. According to the Comox Valley Record, NIC is in consultations with industry and employers to ensure that students graduate with the skills to meet the sector’s needs. The certificate will reportedly enable students to work in IT within a year. “NIC has been very diligent in seeking feedback from industry and tech-based enterprises in their curriculum development,” said Graham Truax, executive in residence at Innovation Island. “They are mindful of where the puck is at, and where it is going.” BC | Comox Valley Record

UNBC opens Wood Innovation Research Laboratory, province announces funding

The University of Northern British Columbia has officially opened its Wood Innovation Research Laboratory, states the Prince George Citizen. The new facility reportedly includes a wood conditioning and processing room, a 1,070 square-metre lab, and classroom space for research and teaching. In addition, BC Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister Melanie Mark has reportedly announced a grant of nearly $800K for state-of-the-art tools and equipment. The Citizen reports that the federal government will match the provincial grant. “Our government wants wood to be the building material of choice. Supporting innovation and increased use of wood in construction helps keep the forestry industry vibrant and globally competitive,” said Mark. Prince George Citizen | BC