Top Ten

May 13, 2020

StatsCan releases initial results of COVID-19 survey of over 100,000 postsecondary students

Statistics Canada has released the initial results of their survey on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting postsecondary students’ academic, employment, and financial situations. A little over half of participants reported some disruption to their academics, while just over one-third reported delayed or cancelled work placements, and one-quarter reported delayed or cancelled courses. Student employment has also been affected by COVID-19 as the majority of students who held employment at the beginning of March have either lost their job, were laid off, or are working fewer hours. The survey also revealed that many students were very or extremely concerned about losing their jobs in the future and having no job prospects in the near future; however, worries about finances decreased significantly with the release of the CESB. StatsCan (National)

UCN launches Reconciliation, Research and Academic Innovation department

University College of the North has launched the Reconciliation, Research and Academic Innovation (RRAI) department. The department is expected to build a shared understanding of reconciliation, increase the quality of Indigenous-informed pedagogy, and create stronger educational and research ties with UCN’s surrounding Indigenous communities. “UCN has accomplished a great deal in its efforts to Indigenize our institution and the new department is the next step,” said Harvey Briggs, the Associate Vice President of RRAI. “The new department will develop shared understanding and praxis in the vital areas of reconciliation, academic programming and teaching, learning and research at UCN.” UCN (MB)

UOttawa bans university-related international travel until 2021

The University of Ottawa has banned all international university-related travel for the remainder of 2020. This decision will see all student exchange programs cancelled for the fall semester. “Though we realize how disappointing this news is, it is our duty to ensure that our mobility programs can be carried out in the safest conditions possible, and this is unfortunately not the case at present,” explained UOttawa’s International Office in an email. Effected students may opt to defer their exchange until winter 2021 if possible, take online courses with the university with which they are registered, or cancel the program. Fulcrum (ON)

MB cuts funding to UWinnipeg by 3.7%

The Government of Manitoba has announced that it is reducing the University of Winnipeg’s operating grant by $2.3M, which reportedly amounts to 3.7% of the institution’s funding. “The provincial decrease is on top of other revenue losses from campus operations impacted by COVID-19, which may amount to $4 million," said UWinnipeg President Annette Trimbee in a memo to staff. "This will require the University to reduce expenditures beyond those already implemented, and will impact our ability to meet the significant demand increase we are currently experiencing.” Trimbee said she wants to focus on “non-salary reductions” to avoid further layoffs. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

What is needed to promote international student enrolment in Canada: Opinion

Denise Amyot, President of Colleges and Institutes Canada, and Paul H Davidson, President of Universities Canada, have outlined a set of needs to ensure international students feel welcomed and supported to attain education in Canada. Specifically, Amyot and Davidson call for responsive and informed study permit processing; strengthening Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s capacity to facilitate business resumption; and two-way mobility and international cooperation. “Leveraging international education, and the people-to-people ties it generates is a sound investment towards a more globally connected and prosperous Canada,” conclude the authors. iPolitics (National)

Durham, MacEwan’s Facilities department receive environmental ratings, certification

Durham College has received a second silver rating from the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) for its on-campus sustainability initiatives, like the launch of a campus-wide Green Office Certification Program, and the opening of a new geothermal field and Energy Innovation Centre. Meanwhile, MacEwan University’s Facilities department has received the ISO 50001:2018 certification, a globally recognized standard that aims to improve environmental impacts. “We strive to reduce our dependence on high emission fuels, and ISO 50001 provides a framework for energy improvement and sustainable goals,” said MacEwan Associate Vice-President of Facilities Stuart MacLean. Durham | MacEwan (ON, AB)

Boréal launches three online sessions on professional integration for newcomers to Canada

Collège Boréal has launched three new online sessions for their bridging programs in order to support the professional integration of newcomers to Canada. The sessions are designed to help students learn how to adapt their skills to the Canadian job market and local work culture. “Our experience has shown us that the economic impact in terms of jobs for our program participants are very positive,” said Boréal director – Immigration Programs and Services Baptiste Alain Bourquardez. “That makes these programs even more vital in the context of the uncertain economic situation we will be facing in coming months.” Boréal (ON)

Institutions support, connect with students in, beyond classroom

Schools across the country continue to connect with and provide support to students both within and outside of the virtual classroom. Saskatchewan Polytechnic, for example, delivered the Objective Structured Clinical Examination for Bachelor of Science nursing students in a virtual format for the first time with success. The University of Winnipeg has continued to offer a virtual quilting group as part of a mentorship program available through the Aboriginal Student Services Centre, expanding their service to incorporate International, Immigrant and Refugee Student Services. Further east, students of the specialized graduate studies diploma (DESS) in journalism at the Université de Montréal have launched a virtual agency in order to publish text, audio, and video reports regarding COVID-19 in order to complete their program requirements. Sask Polytech | UWinnpeg | UMontréal (SK, MB, QC)

McMaster replaces interview with lottery style selection for some med school applicants

McMaster University’s Michael G DeGroote Medical School has announced they will be using a lottery system to replace in-person interviews during a portion of its applicant selection process. In a message sent to interviewees, the school said the alternative plan came after it realized a virtual version of the standard interviewing process could not take place with the 430 short-listed applicants. Many prospective students have expressed their disappointment with the decision online. McMaster associate dean of the School of Medicine Rob Whyte indicated that anyone who qualifies for an interview, but does not receive an offer will be automatically invited to the interview process next year if they apply. CBC (ON)

Considerations for international educators during COVID-19

“The impact of COVID-19 will remain a source of significant risk to international travel for an undetermined amount of time,” write James H Conway, Ronald G Machoian, and Christopher W Olsen. The authors thus highlight the key issues concerning overseas travel that international educators must consider in the coming months, including local transmission of cases of COVID-19, societal and infrastructure impacts of COVID-19, and the efficacy of partners and hosts abroad. “Ultimately, international educators must recognize that the study abroad environment has been recast in complex ways that will take time to understand and address with necessary confidence,” conclude the authors. Inside Higher Ed (International)