Top Ten

April 8, 2020

Canada looks to speed up skills-training program 

The Government of Canada is reportedly looking for ways to speed up the introduction of skills training for out-of-work Canadians. The training support was scheduled to arrive at the end of the year in the form of a tax credit and time off through the EI system for upgrading skills, but Universities Canada President Paul Davidson explained that conversations have turned to how to use the economic shutdown as a catalyst to speed up the training benefit. “Right now, if we have jobs or businesses that are completely disappearing,” said CICan President Denise Amyot, “it means we need to ensure that people are training for those jobs that will get through this pandemic.”    Globe and Mail  (National)

MITT, FTM partner on launch of ACTION! program for current students, alumni 

The Manitoba Institute of Trades & Technology and Film Training Manitoba have partnered to launch the new ACTION! program for 2020-21. The web-based program provides a tuition credit to students or alumni from carpentry, hairstyling, or culinary arts and design that can be used toward FTM’s online Set Orientation course. The course is reportedly recognized by industry and a requirement for participation in many unions. “We’re excited about this partnership with Film Training Manitoba because of the unique skillset and competitive edge it can provide our students, and alumni, looking for careers in local film and television industries,” says Marnie Groeneveld, Director of the Centre for Career Development, Experiential and Lifelong Learning at MITT. “We are very grateful for this investment in our student’s professional development and appreciate the vision and creativity of Film Training Manitoba.”  MITT  (MB)

Tips for institutional fundraising during COVID-19

“Fund raising is about to be as severely affected by anti-coronavirus measures as any other part of academe,” writes David D Perlmutter. According to the author, institutional fundraising will take a hit because of the way that academic administrators and development officers typically raise money: through up close and personal meetings. Perlmutter thus provides four tips for administrators attempting to engage in the personal activity of fundraising in an environment that disallows in-person meetings: develop virtual strategies with a team; stick to the facts regarding how the institution is coping with COVID-19; embrace old and new forms of distance outreach; and speak to both the negatives of the current situation and the opportunities.   Chronicle of Higher Ed  (International)

King's launches new Human Rights Studies program

King’s University College has launched a new Human Rights Studies program. The collaborative degree program explores topics such as women’s rights; gender rights; the rights of minorities; refugees and displaced persons; Indigenous rights; as well as responses to human rights violations. The program integrates approaches from several disciplines to provide a critical understanding of the growing field. “These are the most fundamental rights and freedoms belonging to all human beings, including equality, dignity, the right to work and to education, and freedom of opinion and expression,” said King’s History Professor Robert Ventresca. “The major or minor in Human Rights Studies will provide students with subject knowledge and practical skills.” The program will start in Fall 2020.    King’s UC  (ON)

UMontréal innovates to bring online hearings, remote mediation to support judicial system 

The Université de Montréal’s Laboratoire de cyberjustice has been innovating to support the judicial system during the pandemic, developing and launching new platforms that may allow the system to operate at a distance. Several innovations were started before the pandemic, such as PARLe, a platform that allows for conflict settlement through online mediation and, when necessary, the remote intervention of a judge. The university also launched the Médicys Mediation Center at the start of April, a free online emergency mediation service, and is currently developing a virtual tribunal system.

UMontréal  (QC)

Strategies for adjusting to a new workplace culture

“Sometimes even seemingly minor professional moves can leave you feeling as if you’ve teleported to a foreign land,” writes Leah Collum. Likening the experience of beginning a new career to “culture shock,” the author share five strategies to navigate a new job place: recognize and understand that your new experiences will come in stages; build relationships and ask questions; prioritize well-being and actively engage in self-care; establish realistic expectations; and remember that there are options. Even if your new environment is healthy overall and aligns well with your values and goals, keeping your mind open to alternatives can still be helpful during those inevitable times when the going gets tough,” concludes the author.   Inside Higher Ed  (International)

Trudeau says help coming for students unable to find summer jobs 

Following public discussion about how postsecondary students appeared to be disproportionately likely to not qualify for the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested that some form of government support will be made available to Canadian youth. “We know that we need to do more for young people as they come out of university and look for projects and ways of securing income this summer,” Trudeau said, adding that the government “should have more to say in the coming days.”   CTV News  (National)

Professors, graduate students worry about research put on hold amid COVID-19 

As COVID-19 has forced many researchers to put their work on hold, professors are beginning to worry what this pause will mean for their research and graduate students. Many Canadian research funders have approved extensions to funded projects that have a good chance of starting up again once the present crisis has subsided, including funding from the tri-council agencies. However, University of Guelph co-director of the Guelph Family Health Study Jess Haines said that researchers will need to re-evaluate the relevance and validity of studies that began before the shutdown. Professors are also finding that graduate students that were on track to complete their projects within their funding cycle are also experiencing timeline disruptions. Some Professors, like McMaster University’s Gianni Parise, are recommending that graduate students work on what they can from their homes.  University Affairs  (National)

Institutions find creative ways to showcase student work amid pandemic 

Students and professors at Ontario universities and colleges are finding creative ways to share their learning experiences and outcomes with their respective communities. Fanshawe College’s annual Research and Innovation Day was held virtually, showcasing 29 students’ projects from all school faculties. At King’s University College, five students presented CityStudio London’s Virtual Hubbub event to share the ways students have applied discipline-specific knowledge to implement creative solutions for civic issues, and nine students in the University of Guelph’s creative writing MFA program has released a booklet called tbd: A Mixed-Mode Response to COVID-19.   Fanshawe  | King’s UC | UofGuelph (ON)

CNA launches wellness supports for local community

The College of the North Atlantic has launched a series of “Stress and Mindful Wellness” online courses for the general public, which will be made available for free. CNA Instructor Lori Deeley developed the courses during her time as a Program Developer for employee wellness with the goal of giving people the tools needed to help with stress and anxiety during the pandemic. "With the bombardment of information around COVID-19, there is also an ‘infodemic’ happening which can lead to excessive worrying about the ‘what ifs’ and other things beyond our control,” explained Deeley. “These courses are designed to redirect your attention back to the present and the things you can control.”  CNA  (NL)