Top Ten

November 19, 2019

Manitoba Métis Federation signs $90M PSE funding agreement with Ottawa

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) has signed a $90M, 10-year postsecondary education accord with the federal government. The funds will be used to support the Post-Secondary Education Support Program (PSESP), an initiative that will provide financial help and support to Métis students throughout their postsecondary education. Prior to this agreement, the MMF could only provide Métis students with funding for community colleges. “We’ve seen the data and it hasn’t been positive when it comes to the education outcomes for our Citizens,” said MMF President David Chartrand. “We knew we had to act and act quickly and this new program is a great starting point.” CBC | NationTalk (MB)

Canadian universities advise exchange students in Hong Kong to return home amidst protests

Some Canadian universities are advising their students on exchange programs in Hong Kong to return home due to the escalating violence on postsecondary campuses in the city. McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary, and the University of Victoria are among the institutions that have directly contacted students to discuss their options. In communications with the Globe and Mail, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada did not comment on whether the ministry has advised universities to recall their students, and directed the Globe to its advisory for Canadians in Hong Kong. Globe and Mail (National)

For $10M: Famous uOttawa alumnus with legacy of institutional philanthropy

Alex Trebek, uOttawa alumnus and host of Jeopardy!, has topped up his previous donations to the institution bringing the total donated amount to $10M. Half of Trebek’s donation will go to the Alex Trebek Innovation and Challenge Fund, while the other half will support his Distinguished Lecture Series. “We are extremely grateful for Alex’ generosity, but also for his friendship,” said uOttawa President Jacques Frémont. “His new gift will benefit more students, and that is at the heart of our mission.” Ottawa Citizen (ON)

MB College of Registered Nurses puts mandatory IELTS on hold

Facing pushback from local postsecondary institutions, the College of Registered Nurses in Manitoba has put mandatory English language tests on hold. The college stated earlier this year that they had found that completing a nursing program in Canada "is not a valid measure of English language proficiency” and moved to mandate the IELTS for all would-be nurses, whether domestic or international. Five institutions in Manitoba - Université de Saint-Boniface, the University of Manitoba, Red River College, Brandon University, and University College of the North - opposed the change, arguing that it would impact enrolment and create unnecessary concerns for students. Students also argued that the $320 test was expensive and insulting, and the Manitoba Nurses Union expressed concerns about the policy’s impact on nurse recruitment when the province was already facing a critical nursing shortage. CBC (MB)

Three former UVic rowers go public with complaints of harassment, abuse against former coach

Three former female rowers at the University of Victoria have gone public regarding their complaints of harassment and abuse at the hands of their former coach, Barney Williams. Although previously declining comment until the institutional evaluation of the complaints were completed, the three women spoke to the Canadian Press about their experiences under Williams. Williams’ alleged actions included refusing to tolerate the mistakes and mental health issues of some rowers, and making comments about rowers’ being overweight, alongside other instances of alleged abuse and harassment. Williams has declined to comment on the matter, stating that “he respects the confidentiality of the [ongoing] university probe.” CBC | National Post (BC)

Many students work while studying, but their reasons for working vary widely: Report

The majority of college students “are working as they study,” reports Madeline St Amour. However, a recent report suggests that the amount and type of work college students engage in varies widely according to social demographics. For instance, the report reveals that low-income working students are more likely to work full-time than those who are high income, and students who work longer hours are more likely to be black or Latinx, older, and female. While previous research has demonstrated that working can be beneficial for students, there is a point when working while studying can do more harm than good. Inside Higher Ed (International)

ACC partners with three First Nations communities to deliver new Child Development Worker program

Assiniboine Community College has partnered with Ebb and Flow, Sandy Bay, and Long Plain First Nations to deliver a newly created Child Development Worker program. The program, which aims to provide individuals with knowledge and skills pertaining to child development, was created in response to First Nations communities’ need for skilled child development workers related to the provision of Jordan's Principle programming, a child-first and needs-based equitable approach for Indigenous children to access government services. “It’s so important, due to the new Jordan’s Principle funding in First Nations, to have a program which provides training for professionals to learn the skills needed to work with children who require additional support,” says Health Director at the Ebb and Flow First Nation Health Authority Lillian Houle. ACC (MB)

NIC to offer tuition-free, land-based learning program in January 2020

North Island College has announced the return of its tuition-free land-based learning program, Awi’nakola, starting January 2020. Awi’nakola, which means, “we are one with the land and sea,” combines in-class instruction with outdoor exploration. “Through the Awi’nakola program we draw on Kwak’wala and our Kwakwaka’wakw ways of knowing and being to inform academic learning,” said NIC Aboriginal Education Facilitator Sara Child. “The classes are structured to focus on student strengths and the language to nourish their spirits and work at their level. It’s really about taking a journey together as we explore land-based and culturally infused learning – the intent of which is to meet the needs of our students and help them succeed.” NationTalk (BC)

CBU reaches tentative agreement with faculty association

Cape Breton University recently reached a tentative deal with the institution’s Faculty Association. Union leaders are recommending a new three–year deal. The tentative agreement avoided a potential strike by the union representing faculty, librarians, lab instructors, and nursing practice educators. “Collective bargaining can be difficult and stressful,” said CBU Faculty Union President Calvin Howley. “The association is committed to working jointly on improving its relationship with the employer.” Cape Breton Post | (NS)

Interdisciplinary crossovers and the ‘new humanities’: Opinion

What are the new humanities, and what do they “mean for the shape of the university itself?” asks Jeffrey J Williams. The author surveys the scope, impact, and popularity of burgeoning humanities fields like digital humanities and environmental humanities, alongside some less-well-known contenders like energy humanities or food humanities. Williams recognizes that although these ‘new humanities’ might be understood as responding to repeated calls for greater interdisciplinary, not all cross-disciplinary research is “inherently good.” What is more, such collaborations seem to suggest that the humanities depend on other disciplines to inject value. Nevertheless, the author concludes on a positive note, writing that the new humanities “represent another stage of adaptation” for the field. The Chronicle Review (Subscription required) (International)