Top Ten

February 21, 2019

BC eliminates interest on provincial share of student loans

The Government of British Columbia is eliminating interest on the provincial portion of student loans, reports the Vancouver Sun. According to the government, the provincial share of a student loan averages out to about $11.2K out of a total debt of $28K. The elimination of the provincial portion will save students about $2K over ten years, the Sun states. “As far as I can tell, there is no down side,” said Stewart McGillivray, Government Relations Strategist with the BCIT Student Association. “It will save people money, every little bit helps.” The Sun explains that student loans in BC are distributed by both the provincial and federal governments, but repayments are integrated through National Student Loan Services. Vancouver Sun FPSE | ABCS (BC)

Cash injection for biomass research at SMU promotes rural growth

Saint Mary’s University has received $1.2M from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Nova Scotia Innovation Hub Fund to research how poor-quality, marginal land can be used to produce biomass as a potential revenue stream for farmers. “This research is crucial to de-risking the use of biomass by providing a sustainable feedstock supply, which can attract more biomass processors to Nova Scotia,” said Professor J Kevin Vessey. “It has the potential of greatly diversifying the Province’s biomass feedstock inventory, while also contributing to rural economies and environmental sustainability.” SMU (NS)

NDP Leader on Ford’s response to students: “He thinks he’s the king of Ontario”

A group of students disrupted a session at the Ontario legislature with profanity and chants of “free tuition” in response to the government’s recent decision to cut postsecondary grants, reports the Canadian Press. Premier Doug Ford chastised the group before blaming the Opposition for influencing them. Citing an earlier shouting match between the Premier and legislators, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that Ford should be more mindful of his own conduct in the House. “Whether you're a student protesting outside or inside ... people have a right to be here and to show their displeasure in terms of the government's behaviour.” CBC (CP) (ON)

How UPEI bucked the trend of declining history enrolments

History enrolments continue to decline at universities across the country, but majors at the University of Prince Edward Island’s program jumped by 74% in 2018-19, reports CBC. Department Chair James Moran attributed the boost to the program’s decision to develop more eye-catching courses such as the History of Rock and Roll, the History of Nazi Germany, and the History of the Devil in Western Society. The statistical decline in enrolments between the 2012-13 and 2016-17 academic years might be partly attributed to students’ growing concerns about developing career-specific skills in university, said Moran, before adding that students absorb skills in the humanities that are just as valuable as those in vocational programs. CBC (PEI)

Ontario universities hunt for solution to street parties

Last week, Wilfrid Laurier University hosted 54 representatives from eight Ontario postsecondary institutions to discuss unsanctioned street parties. The Waterloo Region Recordreports that discussions focused on the challenges each school faces, as well as successful and unsuccessful strategies to keep the parties under control. “This is a phenomenon we're seeing right across Ontario and throughout the states, and universities are quite serious and quite committed to being part of the solution,” said WLU Director of Communications Kevin Crowley, adding that residents from all of the universities represented want the parties to stop. According to the Region Record, over 22,000 people attended last year’s St Patrick’s Day in Waterloo, compared to about 15,000 in 2017. Waterloo Region Record (ON)

USask, province to roll out ECE program

The University of Saskatchewan will introduce an Early Childhood Education stream to its Bachelor of Education program in September of this year. Global Newsstates that the concentration will feature eight new courses that are being developed as part of a partnership between USask and the province’s Ministry of Education. “Guided by our new University Plan, we must continually reinvigorate our programming to ensure we are responding to the critical needs here in Saskatchewan, across the country and around the world,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff. A Ministry evaluation concluded that young children need “rich literacy and numeracy environments to nurture physical, social-emotional and intellectual development.” Global News (SK)

Trent program integrates policing and community well-being

Trent University has launched a new bachelor’s program in Policing and Community Well-being that retired police superintendent Peter Lennox describes as the only community-inclusive policing program of its kind in Canada. The degree, which was developed by practitioners and academics from a wide variety of backgrounds, focuses on developing police professionals with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to promote and sustain community well-being. “This program will give its graduates a deep understanding of the economic, social and cultural features that shape our communities, and threaten them,” wrote Lennox. “This is crucial to empowering community servants to come together to create and maintain a safer society.” Trent (ON)

UQAC, UMoncton establish cultural learning pathway

Université de Moncton’s continuing education department and The Université du Québec à Chicoutimi’s school of French Language and Quebec Culture have established a new cultural learning pathway called “Trajet Acadie Québec.” The two-week long program focuses on learning and discovering the Francophonie of Eastern Canada. It includes experiential activities led by specialists, interactive online activities, and a course in Acadia in the Maritime Provinces and in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-John. The program was borne out of a partnership between UQAC and UMoncton that started in 2016. UQAC (QC)

Language lab honours longtime partnership between Conestoga and Toyota

Conestoga College has named a new Language Technology Lab at its John W Tibbits campus after Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada. A Conestoga release states that Toyota donated $100K to Conestoga to support expansions and re-developments at the Waterloo-based campus. “We are very grateful for the generous support that TMMC has provided for Conestoga,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits.  “Our relationship - which dates back close to 30 years - has yielded tremendous benefits for Conestoga’s students and programs, as well as for the community.” Conestoga adds that the Lab provides newcomers to Canada with computer literacy, research, job search, and language skills. Conestoga (ON)

MUN to reintroduce Inuit languages after decade-long absence

CBC reports that Memorial University plans to offer Inuit-language classes in 2019 after student Susan Onalik wrote a letter with over 100 signatures in support of the initiative to the university. “There is a lot of interest in making sure that the language survives. It's critical to the preservation of culture and identity,” said Dough Wharram, a Linguistics professor who has been working with Labrador’s Indigenous communities since 2004. MUN Indigenous Advisor Catharyn Andersen told CBC she hopes that MUN will also offer classes in Innu-Aimun and the Mi'kmaq—Newfoundland and Labrador’s two other Indigenous languages—in the near future. CBC (NL)