Top Ten

April 9, 2020

King’s UC, UWindsor launch web resources for employment, financial, mental health supports

King’s University College and the University of Windsor have launched online resources to support students with employment, financial, and mental health resources. King’s UC has launched the Employment and Student Support webpage, which is dedicated to providing current and graduating students with employment and financial assistance resources. UWindsor has launched the COVID-19 Wellbeing Portal to provide students, faculty, and staff with information about mental wellbeing amid the pandemic, as well as coping strategies. The portal also includes campus and community mental health resources for further support. King’s UC | Windsor (ON)

MB announces 6-month moratorium on provincial student loan payments

The Government of Manitoba has suspended Manitoba Student Aid loans for six months in response to potential financial difficulties incurred by students as a result of the pandemic. Effective April 1st, the Department of Economic Development and Training has suspended all repayments of provincial loans through September 30th. “It’s important that our government also do its part to assist those carrying a heavier financial burden during this public health emergency,” said MB Premier Brian Pallister. “With this suspension of loan repayments, we are giving a helping hand to Manitobans who have invested in post-secondary education.” MB | CBC (MB)

Humber prof invites students to join global fight for better cybersecurity amid COVID-19

Humber College cybersecurity professor Francis Syms has invited students to join a world-wide coalition to promote cybersecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Cyber Threat Coalition is a group of approximately 2,000 cybersecurity professionals from around the world that volunteer to monitor threats to hospitals, government infrastructure, and employees working from home. Syms has ensured that his students are involved in the coalition work and receive access to the online forums, providing the opportunity to track threats and gather new information. “We are the line in the sand and refuse to let any hospital or critical infrastructure go down on our watch,” said Syms. Humber (ON)

Support strategies for student affairs, support services during a pandemic

With the closure of many campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student affairs and academic support staff are likely wondering what student support looks like when most students are no longer on campus. Seasoned student affairs professional Jeff Doyle offers seven recommendations for staff to best support student at this time: use LMS data to gain insights on student status; collect feedback on students’ successes online; implement a coaching program; create staff-initiated student conversations; interact with students outside typical operating hours; focus on students most at risk of dropping out; and hold virtual office hours. “Now is the time for student affairs and academic support professionals to get out of our comfort zones and try something different,” concludes the author. Inside Higher Ed (International)

AthabascaU, TÉLUQ, Global Affairs Canada partner to provide training for CA international staff

Athabasca University, Université TÉLUQ, and Global Affairs Canada have partnered to provide additional training for Canadian international staff. The partners will use the University Credit Access Program to enable the Trade Commissioner Service to provide Canadian university courses to all staff whether they are working in Canada or abroad. “This partnership will mean more Global Affairs employees working abroad can get access to a Canadian university degree no matter where they are in the world, no matter how old they are, right now,” said AthabascaU Provost and VP Academic Matthew Prineas. AthabascaU (AB, QC)

Against the reanimation of “the zombie of performance-based funding:” Opinion

“The reanimation of performance indicators in post-secondary education is the most recent example of a bad idea come round again, tied in several provinces to something called ‘performance-based funding’ for colleges and universities,” writes Brenda Austin-Smith. In this piece, the author critiques the “summoning [of] the zombie of performance-based funding,” arguing that many aspects of higher education, such as mentorship, intellectual growth, the cultivation of curiosity, and the support of innovation cannot be reduced to numbers of graduates, routine practices, or predictable outcomes. “Responsiveness to students with a wide range of needs, interests, and capacities, not efficiency at all costs, is the key to a high-quality public education,” says Austin-Smith. CAUT (National)

McGill researcher receives funding to establish Indigenous health network in QC

A McGill University researcher has received a $3.5M operating grant to establish a Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR) in Québec. NEIHR – a $100.8M, 16-year national program – is establishing a network of centres focused on capacity development, research, and knowledge translation focused on Indigenous Peoples. This specific network, entitled Tahatikonhsontóntie’ – ‘the faces that are coming’ – Community Mobilization for Indigenous Health Research Capacity, will be hosted at the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. NEIHR “will build on current efforts in academic institutions to create supportive spaces for Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous students and knowledge holders,” said McGill Nominated Principal Applicant of the grant Treena Wasonti:io Delormier. McGill Reporter (QC)

BCIT launches fast-track education course for healthcare workers

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has created an online, self-directed fast-track education course to help frontline registered nurses and healthcare providers acquire the knowledge needed to support patients with COVID-19. The program soft-launched last week with nearly 4,000 registered healthcare workers from across Canada and the United States. The program offers five modules that are accessible anytime and can be repeated as often as required. “This is applied education in action for the benefit of our province and communities in combatting this pandemic,” said Kathy Kinloch, BCIT President. “My thanks to the Province and our industry partners in responding so quickly to this urgent need by supporting the rapid creation and launch of this critical program.” BCIT (BC)

Recommendations for online conference organizing from experienced academics

In 2019, the Educational Developers’ Caucus in Canada opted to host their annual conference online instead of the traditional face-to-face format. While Celia Popovic and Erika Kustra acknowledge that their situation is unique in that the conference was designed to be online from its inception, the authors still offer recommendations that are valuable to those considering running conferences this summer. In particular, they suggest that hosts reevaluate timing; keep hosting simple and familiar; encourage persons to host online gatherings for networking purposes; include poster showcasing; and assigning a virtual room host to deal with technical issues. Times Higher Education (International)

Four tips for kicking-off, improving working groups

“Regardless of where your open working group may fall on the spectrum of formal to informal, there are certain things to consider doing and places you can look for support,” write Krista Lambert and Lucas Wright.The authors offer tips for higher ed professionals seeking to establish or improve current working groups. They recommend establishing a shared digital place for sharing and storing documents; locating administrative support outside the group; setting up communication and marketing strategies; and providing professional development for members. BCcampus (BC)