Top Ten

February 26, 2019

“It’s critical”: new sexual assault response training now available to ON campuses

Campuses across Ontario will have an important new resource for training their faculty and staff on how to effectively and respectfully respond to disclosures of sexual violence. CBC reports that researchers at Western University have launched the “Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence” training program with an aim to ensure that students who come forward about experiences with sexual violence on campuses are met with a supportive response. “It's critical,” says project manager Barb MacQuarrie. “We really need this training.” CBC adds that roughly a dozen schools have signed on for the training so far, including Western, the University of Toronto, the University of Windsor, and York University. CBC Western (ON)

NWT appoints former Fleming VP to lead Aurora transformation

The Government of the Northwest Territories has appointed former Fleming College VP Academic Thomas Weegar to lead the transformation of Aurora College into a polytechnic university. Weegar will act as the Territories’ associate deputy minister of postsecondary education renewal and as president of Aurora College through the transition, which was recommended in the Aurora College Foundational Review. The territorial government called Weegar’s hiring a “key step” in its effort to improve post-secondary education in the territory. Academica Group chronicled the Aurora’s ongoing story as part of our 2018 Year in ReviewCBC | Cabin Radio (NWT)

Industries need to rethink the math in STEM gender discrepancies: Parity advocates

Men outnumber women at a ratio of four-to-one in architecture and engineering programs in Ontario, reports the London Free Press. Meanwhile, math, computer, and information sciences fields are slightly better, with a two-to-one ratio. “A lot of young women, when it comes to anything to do with STEM learning. . . they still feel that it’s not welcoming for them to participate,” said Doina Oncel, founder of hEr Volution. “We need to change the language and how we make them feel when they are learning something new that is generally seen as a male-dominated area.” Engineers Canada President Annette Bergeron added that her organization would like to see women represent 30% of new hires by 2030. London Free Press (ON)

Creative literature course strengthens Indigenous voices at TRU

Thompson Rivers University will offer an Indigenous literature program through its Masters of Education program. The four-weekend intensive requires students to produce creative written responses to the course readings, which consist of texts by Indigenous authors from across Canada. Garry Gottfriedson, a member of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc and cultural adviser and lecturer with the Faculty of Education and Social Work, will direct the course. “Other universities teach from a Western pedagogical approach. I want people to tap into a deeper consciousness and use their creativity to be able to express their perceptions,” explained Gottfriedson. “It’s going to challenge the students and offer them other insights.” TRU (BC)

Carleton University suspends health benefits for TAs, researchers

Some teaching assistants, research assistants, and part-time instructors at Carleton University have had their health benefits suspended, reports CBC. According to CUPE 4600, the university directed Green Shield Canada to stop paying claims to about 4,000 members, but university officials say the benefit fund simply ran out of money. CUPE 4600 President Wesley Petit also criticized Carleton’s offer to deposit $170K into the Employee Assistance Fund because the money is contingent on the adjustment of available benefits. “We see it differently,” Petit said. “We would like to maintain and increase access to benefits and increase the deposits made into the Employment Assistance Fund.” CBC (ON)

SaskPoly becomes first polytechnic in Canada with students to receive Mitacs funding

Saskatchewan Polytechnic reports that it has become the first polytechnic in Canada to receive funding Mitacs funding for students. The money will support two projects. The first involves an anti-bullying initiative in partnership with the Restorative Action Program, a Saskatoon-based non-profit, and the second consists of an augmented reality project for the agricultural industry. “The skill sets the students learn are incredibly valuable,” says Terry Peckham, research chair with SaskPoly’s Digital Integration Centre of Excellence. “Our students were able to impress the clients enough that they’re coming back for more work, and the companies get to move their applied research projects forward that they weren’t able to move forward before.” SaskPolytech (SK)

Northern BC continues long wait for nursing school

The Government of British Columbia is continuing to consider proposals for a nursing school in Fort St John after reports that talks between University of Northern British Columbia, Northern Lights College, Northern Health, and local governments have picked up over the last year. According to the Alaska Highway News, Northern Health anticipates that Northeast BC will need an average of 78 registered nurses per year over the next four years to fill staffing gaps, a number officials fear will only get worse if education needs are not addressed. "Thinking long term, the positive impacts would have been huge, for the northeast and around the province. It should have been an easy win for government to fund it, and announce it,” said MLA Dan Davies. Alaska Highway News (BC)

Teacher shortage forces ON to recruit non-certified replacements

Due to rising teacher absenteeism and a shortage of supply teachers in Ontario, several school districts have hired non-certified emergency replacements to supervise classrooms. The school boards say that the staffing issues are the result of factors such as a smaller annual pool of newly certified teachers, as university training programs were extended from one year to two years, as well as recent changes to sick-leave rules. “We have diverted a lot of resources toward recruiting teachers, and on a daily basis, it kind of consumes a lot of the work we do here,” said Jason Connolly of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. “We’re obviously taking it very seriously.” Globe and Mail (ON)

KPU to review horseshoeing program

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has recently cut off registration for its farrier training program, one of two accredited certificate programs in the country, and is reviewing its long-term viability as part of the school’s budgeting process. KPU Provost Sal Ferreras said that the last intake saw only four students join the program. Farrier Jeri Sparshu noted that there is demand for farriers in the region and that a farrier can net up to $80K per year. Sparshu noted that cutting the program would put the formalization process at risk, while Ferraras noted that the successful formalization of the trade would open up new funding for the program. CBC (BC)

Canadore, Nigeria’s Mist Educare team up to revitalize pharmacare in North Bay

Canadore College has entered a 20-year training agreement with Nigeria’s MiST EDUCare Canada Ltd. According to a release, the agreement will also secure a new, 100,000 square-foot pharmaceutical facility. “Canadore College is thrilled to be working with MiST EDUCare and the pharmaceutical plant,” said Canadore President George Burton. “These partnerships bring us closer to connecting people, education and employment through applied learning, entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation. These opportunities will help our community to diversify, grow and thrive over the long haul.” Canadore adds that a number of sites are being considered for the facility, and that the partners hope to break ground in 2020. North Bay Nugget Canadore (ON)