Top Ten

April 16, 2020

Feds launch CanCOVID to connect health-care professional, researchers, policymakers

Canadian researchers across the country have partnered to launch a rapid-response network to facilitate the nation’s COVID-19 research effort. CanCOVID will expedite communications and collaborations between the scientific, health care, and policy communities during the pandemic, making it easier for researchers to find each other, share what they know, and vet research results. “The scale of the COVID-19 challenge demands agile, transdisciplinary leadership,” said Health Canada Science Advisor Cara Tannenbaum. “If ever the science community was going to step up for the government and achieve something of significance for Canadians, this is the moment.” CanCOVID | Western (National)

Calgary schools roll out supports for international students, some see increase in applications

The five largest postsecondary institutions in Calgary are rapidly adjusting their policies, plans, and programs for international students who remain in the province and for those who have returned home, reports the Calgary Herald. The University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, SAIT Polytechnic, Bow Valley College, and St Mary’s University have continued to roll out a variety of supports and flexible arrangements for international students and applicants. Leaders at the institutions are continuing talks with the provincial and federal government to ensure minimal disruptions for students. The article noted that several of the institutions saw either steady or increased international student applications for the upcoming school year. Calgary Herald (AB)

York Continuing Studies launches benefit program to aid in tuition payment

York University’s School of Continuing Studies has launched a benefit program to help remove financial barriers for qualified students. The Continuing Studies Emergency benefit will award 17 Canadians with $1.5K toward their Continuing Studies certificate tuition. Anyone who has been approved for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) can apply for benefit, and the funds can be applied to any online certificate program that starts in May. “We knew we had a responsibility to help Canadians and their employers rebound,” states a York release. “The Benefit will support Canadians who want to reskill or upskill in these high-demand fields, allowing them to stay competitive and seize opportunities during and after the crisis. York (ON)

Yukon launches program to help support local businesses amid pandemic

Yukon College Innovation & Entrepreneurship has launched PIVOT., a program designed to help local companies minimize the effects of COVID-19 now and moving forward. Developed in partnership with the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, the Government of Yukon, and the Department of Economic Development, the program will allow participants to work with experts to assess, respond, and adapt their businesses to the new reality. “We are experiencing unprecedented times and need to support each other,” said Yukon manager of I&E Manekin Beille. “COVID-19 is forcing many businesses to reassess their core functions and I&E has put in place the tools and supports to help our businesses remain vibrant and grow even more resilient.” Yukon (YK)

Instructors, schools implement new academic integrity measures during virtual examination period

As schools across the country enter the examination period, many instructors and institutions are instituting new measures to deter cheating in a virtual environment. At the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg, for example, honesty declarations, timed multiple-choice questions, and appeals for good faith are being used to promote academic integrity in e-learning exams. The measures do come with downsides, however, as UManitoba Students’ Union president Jakob Sanderson said that some students are upset with the practices that prevent them from browsing through the exam questions. There has also been encouragement for instructors to lessen the weight of finals, reducing the stress that could lead some students to breach academic codes of conduct. "Academic integrity doesn’t just fall on the student;” said Mark Torchia, vice-provost of teaching and learning, “it falls on the instructor to provide the best ways to learn.” Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

PEI announces employment opportunities, emergency financial funding for postsecondary students

The Government of Prince Edward Island has announced enhanced employment and economic opportunities for students impacted by COVID-19. The province is supporting the creation of 1,000 new job placements for high school and postsecondary students via increases to current employment programs and partnerships with community and industry. For students in immediate need, the province has provided $95K in support to the University of Prince Edward Island Student Union, Holland College, and Collège de l'Île. PEI is also developing a $75K research fund for students wishing to pursue opportunities in their respective fields. “It’s very important that students can continue to learn and that as a community, we do everything possible to ensure that the pandemic does not disrupt their educational pursuits,” said PEI Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Brad Trivers. PEI (PE)

King’s UC partners with local Optimist Club for community development opportunities

King’s University College has partnered with Optimist Club of Oakridge Acres to strengthen opportunities for community development, especially those pertaining to local youth. The agreement signed between the two organizations will provide students with experience and voluntary service opportunities, as well as creating outlets for leadership and personal development for youth at the Optimist Club. “The club’s commitment to London youth is widely known and appreciated.” said King’s UC Vice-Principal, Enrolment Services and Strategic Partnerships Marilyn Mason. “We are very proud […] to be partnered with this great organization.” King’s UC (ON)

International students face uncertainty as move-out deadlines loom while borders remain closed

International students at the University of Manitoba who have remained on campus are facing an uncertain future as move-out deadlines draw near, and the Canadian border remains closed. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the school will require international students who have not yet been able to return home to leave its residence facilities by April 30th. UManitoba student residences director Barry Stone stated that the school is in the process of responding to extension requests. "Some need a few extra days, and others are asking to stay for the entire summer,” explained Stone. “Given this, we are going to attempt to support as many of these students by being as flexible as possible in terms of occupancy after April 30.” Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

Keyano launches English language program for students transitioning to postsecondary

Keyano College has announced the launch of a program that will help learners whose first language is not English transition to college or university. Beginning September 2020, the English for Academic Purposes program will provide English language instruction to students who wish to go further in their postsecondary studies. Skills developed in the program include reading, writing, listening, and speaking, as well as research and academic study skills. Keyano (AB)

Durham launches $1.5M student aid program

Durham College has established an emergency bursary fund that will offer students more than $1.5M in financial aid. The bursaries will be available to full-time domestic and international students who are experiencing “exceptional expenses” related to maintaining their education. The fund is supported by the Government of Ontario and Durham College Students Inc. “Our students are all facing vastly different scenarios during this extended disruption,” said Durham Vice President, Student Affairs Meri Kim Oliver. “The emergency bursary fund is meant to assist our students with some of their financial stress during this time so they can continue to focus on their academic programs.” Durham (ON)