Top Ten

February 20, 2020

BC launches $41M grant program to address, reduce student debt

The Government of British Columbia has announced the creation of the BC Access Grant, a program designed to reduce student loan debts for thousands of students per year. Beginning in Fall 2020, college and university students in the province will be eligible for a new grant of up to $4K for students in programs under two years long, and up to $1K a year on top of the $3K receivable through the Canada Student Grant for student in longer programs. “With tuition fees at an all-time high, student debt in BC continues to grow as students and their families struggle to afford the education they need to enter the workforce,” said Tanysha Klassen of the BC Federation of Students. “The BC Access Grant will help students access not only four-year programs, but certificate and diploma programs that are key for many aspects of the workforce.”  FPSE  | CBC  (BC)

King's, Fanshawe, Lambton sign pathway agreements for social work students

King's University College, Fanshawe College, and Lambton College have signed agreements that will create smoother transitions for college students applying to the School of Social Work at King's. The new agreement will allow students to transfer from the Social Service Worker Diploma at either Fanshawe or Lambton and begin their degree studies in Year 3 of the King’s Bachelor of Social Work program. “This is an exceptional and efficient pathway for Fanshawe's Social Service Worker graduates to pursue their undergraduate degree in Social Work," said Fanshawe Associate Dean of Community Studies Sandra Fieber. "It enhances the student's academic path by building upon program synergies, recognizing students' prior learning at Fanshawe College and shortening the time to complete their Bachelor's degree."  King's  | Fanshawe  (ON)

UNBSJ launches new health program

The University of New Brunswick in Saint John has launched a bachelor of health program to provide students with hands-on experience in health and social innovation. The program is a collaborative endeavor between UNBSJ's faculty of arts, the faculty of business, the faculty of science, and applied science and engineering that provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to health and wellness studies. Described by UNBSJ as the first of its kind in Canada, the program will allow students to specialize in society and health, management in health, or biomedical sciences and health. “In line with our province’s future healthcare needs, we realized that we need to do things differently," said UNBSJ Vice-President Petra Hauf. "This is where our new program comes in.”  UNB  (NB)

Hateful messages spray-painted on FNUniv building

Staff and students at First Nations University of Canada are expressing outrage and sadness after finding hateful and derogatory remarks spray painted on the exterior of the university building. The vandalism was promptly covered by a wooden frame and tarp, and a company was brought in to remove the message. Both Campus Security and the Regina Police Service are investigating the incident. The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations spoke out against the act, saying, “this is a disgusting & disrespectful act on an institution that is meant to be a symbol of success and hope for First Nations people across the country.”  Saskatoon Star Phoenix  (SK)

Strategic alliances in higher ed: Consider the student-facing perspective

Making your first transition from a faculty role to one in the administration can feel like experiencing the university from the inside out, write Carolyn Dever and George Justice. To help with this transition, the authors discuss the student-facing perspective of different roles in higher ed. The focus particularly on how faculty might forge connections with colleagues in administrative roles--such as student affairs coordinators--to strengthen students' experiences on campus. "As our universities have become more diverse and welcoming, our colleagues in student affairs have done at least as much for social mobility as the faculty," conclude the authors. "And where all students have access to the rich blend of formal learning and personal development that higher ed offers at its best."  Inside Higher Ed  (International)

U of T signs experimental agreement with Karger Publishers

The University of Toronto has signed an open access agreement with Karger Publishers to promote immediate and barrier-free access to research. Through the experimental one-year agreement, U of T researchers will have the option to make their articles open access in all Karger journals, free from article processing charges, as of January 1, 2020.  “This is an example of our institution and a publisher working together to find a new path forward,” says U of T Chief Librarian Larry Alford. “It recognizes the value of publisher's contributions while also making scholarly output open and accessible to the widest audience possible.”  U of T  (ON)

CICan to support initiative to support, empower Sengalese women in local economies

Colleges and Institutes Canada has announced that it will play a key role in implementing an initiative that will facilitate access to professional and technical training for Senegalese women. Delivered in collaboration with Senegal’s Ministry of Employment, Vocational Training, and Crafts, Mille femmes: Je suis femme, j’existe, je participe (One Thousand Women: I am woman, I exist, I participate) will help women develop income-generating activities in Senegalese growth sectors. “We are extremely proud to continue working with our Senegalese partners in support of professional training for women,” said CICan President Denise Amyot. “Having access to quality training that is tailored to local needs represents a major step toward women’s political, social and economic empowerment, and we are thrilled to share the expertise of our members from across Canada to help meet these goals.”  CICan  (National)

HEQCO study reveals immigrant workers more likely to be unemployed than Canadian-born adults

A study published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has found that immigrant workers are more likely to be unemployed than Canadian-born adults, even when other factors like skill-level are considered. “While skill level and education advance prospects for immigrants, the gap between immigrants and Canadian-born adults [found in this study] reinforces the results of other research, which suggest that significant barriers exist for immigrants,” the report states. The report recommends that new approaches to skills assessment that have historically been undervalued in the Canadian labour market might act as an alternative to skills testing.   HEQCO  (ON)

UQAT launches laboratory to expand knowledge on adaption difficulties, psychosocial intervention

The Université du Québec à Abitibi-Témiscamingue has announced the creation of a laboratory dedicated to researching adaption difficulties and psychosocial intervention. The Laboratoire de recherche sur les difficultés d'adaptation et l'intervention psychosociale aims to develop a better understanding of behavioral problems, including the creation of intervention practices. Scientific programming in the lab will concentrate on three areas of research: psychosocial adjustment, academic adaptation, and practices and psychosocial intervention. Lab-based research project are already underway, focusing on topics like paternity in a migratory context, sex work, and the prevention of violence in schools.   UQAT  (QC)

Updates on labour bargaining at MtA, UWindsor, UofGuelph

Several unions representing postsecondary employees have provided updates on bargaining processes. The Mount Allison Faculty Association has voted 91% to ratify their new collective agreement, a three-year contract that includes accommodation improvements for members with disabilities and greater job security for long-serving part-time faculty members. CUPE Local 1393 representing skilled trades and technical staff have reached an agreement with the University of Windsor. Details of the agreement will be released following ratification. Trades, maintenance, and service workers of CUPE Local 1334 have voted 94% in favor of possible strike action if an agreement cannot be reached with the University of Guelph.   CAUT  | UWindsor | Guelph Mercury (NB, ON)