Top Ten

June 5, 2019

New federal loan program seeks to help newcomers with credential recognition, career pursuits

The newly announced Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund will help newcomers to Canada get their credentials recognized. The program will pay up to $15K towards tuition, exams, materials, travel, and living costs in order to help those in regulated or unregulated professions meet the regulation requirements for credential recognition and pursue their personal career goals in Canada. "It's a significant challenge for our economy, but, for individuals, it's also extremely frustrating to be working below your skill level," said Alex LeBlanc, executive director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council. "Credential recognition is a significant challenge for newcomers when they come to […] Canada.” The program is based on a federal pilot project that saw participants access loans between 2012 and 2015 with a 97% repayment rate. CBC (ON)

SaskPolytech, USask Edwards reaffirm business pathway partnership

Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business have signed an MOU reaffirming their educational relationship. The agreement allows students to take part in a 2+2 program through the two institutions, earning a Business diploma at SaskPolytech in two years before entering the third year of the Edwards Bachelor of Commerce program. “We are impressed by the diverse backgrounds Sask Polytech students bring to our Bachelor of Commerce degree,” said Edwards Dean Keith Willoughby. “They provide valuable perspectives and enhance the learning environment for all students.” SaskPolytech (SK)

“Invisible labour” of diversity, inclusion work continues to fall to underrepresented profs: US study

Underrepresented faculty members are doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to diversity and inclusion work, according to a new study from the US. The study specifically looked at the performance of “invisible labour,” or the unrecognized work that underrepresented faculty members are called on to do by virtue of that status, and found that these instructors indeed performed more diversity and inclusion work than their white, male colleagues. While 92% of respondents reported that they felt their institution valued diversity and inclusion efforts, a full 72% believed that this same work did not matter much in tenure decisions. Inside Higher Ed (International)

URegina, RCMP partner on specialized VR training tools

The University of Regina and Saskatchewan RCMP have been working together to create specialized virtual reality training. URegina Associate Professor Megan Smith has designed a virtual reality training scenario that requires trainees to respond to rapidly changing or potentially dangerous situations, such as dealing with a man who has parked illegally and is equipped with a gun. The visual environments are highly immersive, and the software can collect data on how the trainee responds to situations. The training modules can be downloaded on-site, allowing training in rural and remote areas to stay up-to-date with their urban counterparts. Smith aims to develop $5K kits for RCMP locations to make use of the training. Saskatoon Star Phoenix (SK)

How faculty can help students in their job searches: Hoffman

Many students look to their instructors for career guidance and will continue to do so, writes Allyson Hoffman, which is why it is important for instructors to be prepared to offer sound advice. In addition to referring students to their institutions’ career services departments, the author notes, instructors can invite career professionals into the classroom. Hoffman notes that this invitation can be made even more productive by working with the career professional beforehand to tie the session directly to course material. Hoffman also suggests offering students methods for organizing their job search and applications, recommending professional groups, connecting on LinkedIn, and talking openly about one’s own job experiences. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Sorry, but it’s best for university presidential searches to be closed: Tzuker

“Faculty members should drop their demands that presidential candidates make their visits, and thus their candidacies, public,” writes Matthew Tzuker, who argues that closed searches do in fact produce the best presidential candidates. The author pushes back against the suggestion that presidential candidates should be subjected to scrutiny through the “faculty grapevine,” arguing that “a vetting process run by cats would be better than one group of insiders asking another group of insiders for all the rumors and innuendo they have heard about one of the candidates.” Tzuker goes on to target many of the other most common arguments for an open search, such as increased transparency and faculty input, before concluding that an open search does not secure these things more effectively than a closed one. Chronicle of Higher Education (International)

LaSalle establishes partnership with video game complex

LaSalle College in Montréal has announced a new partnership with the Esports Central video game complex. The partnership is part of a larger initiative to create a hub that brings together the LaSalle and Inter-Dec College’s video game programs and positions them as leaders in training the next generation in the city of Montréal. The 14,000 square foot entertainment centre hosts top-of-the-line computers, over 20 video game consoles, racing simulators, and virtual reality stations. It also acts as a community gathering spot for gamers, providing access to a restaurant/bar with screens playing tournaments and events, a specialized store, and rooms for Twitch and YouTube video production. LaSalle (QC)

UCalgary unveils new name for Native Centre at convocation

The University of Calgary has recently unveiled the new name of the Native Centre: the Writing Symbols Lodge. The name was gifted by the Traditional Knowledge Keepers from Treaty 7 territory and beyond earlier this year. The Lodge is a student support service focused on creating an inclusive community for Indigenous students while also hosting intercultural learning for the non-indigenous community at UCalgary. The chosen name comes from a story shared by Blackfoot Elder Wallace Bear Chief and means “the place where we go to make symbols.” UCalgary (AB)

ULaval receives $1.8M for optics-photonics research centre

Université Laval has received a $1.8M investment to create new facilities for optics-photonics research, a form of studies in light that has applications from fiberoptics to medicine. A ULaval release notes that the federal investment will allow the Canadian Center for Research Excellence in Photonics Innovation, among other things, to establish a new glass chemistry laboratory, where a number of promising research projects can be developed. The technologies researched in the lab will used to increase the accuracy of medical instruments used in minimally invasive diagnostics, surgeries and imaging, as well as to increase the sensitivity and accuracy of remote sensing technologies, said ULaval Physics Professor Younès Messaddeq. Journal de Montréal (QC)

Three years later, BC campus sexual assault policies have a long way to go: minister, advocates

Three years after the Government of British Columbia mandated sexual assault policies on the province’s campuses, several advocates feel that many institutions have failed to implement sufficient strategies. In 2018, a provincial caucus ran a private evaluation of the policies implemented across the schools and identified “red flags” that included a lack of dedicated staff, inaccessible statements, and poor awareness. “Everyone is just doing it off the side of their desk without a lot of financial or human resources,” said Chantelle Spicer, women’s representative for the BC Federation of Students. “By not properly resourcing it, you’re kind of perpetuating the barriers that are keeping people from coming forward.” Minister for Advanced Education Melanie Mark echoed these sentiments, adding that “No one should go to school fearing they will be sexually assaulted. I see this as a human rights issue.” Vancouver Sun (BC)