Top Ten

April 21, 2020

MB asks universities to prepare budget cut scenarios

The Government of Manitoba has asked universities to prepare budget cut scenarios to help the province survive the financial fallout from COVID-19. MB universities were given a deadline of Tuesday to prepare scenarios for budget cuts of 10%, 20%, and 30% over the next four months. Cuts may include reducing workforces or other expenditures. Unions representing university professors and instructors are decrying the proposed cuts, arguing that even short-term reductions will prevent schools from meeting students’ needs. "These institutions take decades to build,” said Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations President Scott Forbes. “Once you fire a bunch of people, it will take decades to rebuild that capacity.” CBC (MB)

ON pledges $20M for COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund

The Government of Ontario has provided $20M in funding to support researchers in their hunt for a vaccine for COVID-19. Funding applications for the COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund will be reviewed by a seven-member panel drawn from postsecondary, non-profit, business, and science sectors; and ON Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano will decide which projects receive government backing. "Our province, our country and the entire world face an unprecedented situation, and the innovation and expertise of our research community is needed now more than ever," said Romano. "We need to continue mobilizing people and ideas and leveraging our top talent in this global effort to find a solution to this crisis and keep people safe." ON | Sudbury Star (ON)

QC suspends R score calculation for winter term amid pandemic

The Government of Québec has announced that winter grades for students attending cégeps will not be counted toward R scores, a classification method used by universities for admissions. The decision was made because, while most schools are attempting to continue to deliver education online, measures taken by teachers and cégeps have not been uniform, making it difficult to calculate R scores. “Our desire is to ensure that no student is unfairly penalized because of COVID-19,” said QC Minister of Education and Teaching Jean-François Roberge. “I am aware that students who have had access to optimal teaching conditions may be disappointed with this decision. Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky.” Global News | Radio-Canada (QC)

Schools launch interactive online recruitment events

Canadian postsecondary institutions have taken their recruiting events – such as open houses and tours – online. Niagara College has launched a Virtual Spring Open House, which offers students a virtual tour of the Welland and Daniel J Patterson campuses, live chats, and a deep-dive into the school’s offerings. Brock University is also conducting a virtual open house that will go live later this month and feature live chat sessions, virtual meetings, webinars, and a virtual campus tour. The University of Prince Edward Island has hosted a virtual open house via Facebook Live alongside other recruitment efforts that include a series of recorded videos and tours of their facilities and labs. Niagara | Brock | CBC (ON, PE)

International students with temporary resident status invited to apply to extend status

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada have advised international students with temporary resident status to apply online for an extension. “Temporary workers and international students who are in Canada and whose temporary resident status will soon expire are being advised to apply online to extend their status before it expires,” explains the release. “This allows them to maintain their temporary resident status in Canada while their extension is processed by IRCC.” The extension will allow students to continue studying while their application for permit renewal is processed by IRCC. CICan (National)

Colleges, universities to offer online courses for Spring/Summer term

Several postsecondary institutions across the nation are launching Spring/Summer courses online. Selkirk College has announced that new and returning students will be able to take a variety of courses offered by the School of University Arts & Sciences and the School of Academic Upgrading online. The courses include 12 transferrable eight-week university level courses and several twelve-week courses that allow students to complete pre-requisites or bolster their marks. King’s University College has also announced that it will be offering over 70 of its summer courses online. These courses can be completed anywhere in the world with reliable internet access as there will be no in-person exams. Selkirk | King’s UC (BC, ON)

Concordia Edmonton signs MOU with German University

Concordia University of Edmonton has signed a memorandum of understanding with Germany’s Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg to cultivate global collaborations and relationships. The two parties also signed an exchange agreement. “Germany is in the heart of one of our three strategic global focus areas for international university collaboration (Europe), and this contact originated thanks to the Erasmus+ program that made it possible for CUE and FAU to get in touch, in Europe, last year,” explains the release. Concordia Edmonton (AB)

Institutions launch free webinars, workshops to help businesses

Université du Québec à Rimouski has launched free webinars to help workers and managers who now find themselves working from home. The two 90-minute webinars focus on how managers can lead their team remotely during turbulent times, and possible solutions for healthy and efficient telework. St Clair College’s Genesis Entrepreneurship Centre has also announced free virtual workshops for the community. The workshops are focused on presentation, communication, and networking skills, as well as others that focus specifically on helping individuals start and grow a business. Meanwhile, Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training Department has published an online Professional Development Resource page on its website with links to free courses, webinars, and panels. UQAR | St Clair | Okanagan (QC, ON, BC)

StatsCan calls for postsecondary students to participate in COVID-19 survey

Statistics Canada has announced the launch of a new survey focused on postsecondary students' situation and perspectives on COVID-19. The survey aims to provide insight into the educational, employment, and financial impact of COVID-19 on students lives. The data will be used by government and other organizations to evaluate the need for services and assistance programs to support postsecondary students during and after the pandemic. StatsCan

What does the academic job market look like amid a pandemic?

“As a career consultant who works with academic-job candidates, I’ve been hearing many questions and anxieties,” writes Karen Kelsky. In this piece, the author explains what various kinds of higher ed professionals can expect of the job market during the pandemic. For example, while Kelsky recommends that those in the middle of job searches wrap up job offer negotiations as soon as possible, she suggests that junior faculty on the tenure track petition to have their tenure clock extended. Kelsky also recommends that tenured faculty petition any budget cuts that begin with altering the pay structure or omitting the positions of contingent faculty. “Everyone in academe, including the tenured, should be entrepreneurial — imagining how they might translate skills into freelancing and other consulting work in the event of sustained unemployment, unexpected job loss, or deep salary cuts,” concludes the author. Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)