Top Ten

May 27, 2020

Ontario Tech launches program that offers delayed deadlines, penalty-free tuition refunds

Ontario Tech University has launched the Student Experience Guarantee, a program that will allow students to withdraw from their program and receive a refund if they are dissatisfied with their learning experience. Any full- or part-time student enrolled in the Fall 2020 term will be able to withdraw from their program by October 9th and receive a full tuition refund with no penalty. “The university is committed to helping students reach their goals by ensuring academic programming for the upcoming fall and winter semesters provides continuity, and students receive the highest-quality university experience possible,” reads an Ontario Tech statement. “Students can feel confident about enrolling in the fall.” Ontario Tech (ON)

UAlberta unveils $120M restructuring plan

The University of Alberta has unveiled a restructuring plan that aims to save the school up to $120M after nearly $110M in provincial funding was cut in the last two budgets. The restructuring plan includes reducing faculties at the school, shifting administrative staff back into research and teaching positions, and cutting under-utilized programs. The university may also look to limit courses that are offered multiple times a semester. “The opportunities ahead are tremendous,” said UAlberta president-elect Bill Flanagan. “There’s going to be thousands more students, thousands more banging on our door, and we need to be there for them and continue to play the central role that we’ve always played in driving economic growth.” Edmonton Journal (AB)

MUN launches Head Start program for first-year students

Memorial University has launched the Head Start program, an initiative that will give students starting at any university this fall the opportunity to register to earn a university credit during the school’s Spring term. 14 first-year courses will be offered to eligible students from faculties such as Business Administration, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Science. “To complement these credit courses, we will also roll out a suite of non-credit courses that will help new incoming students transition to university life and get set for success,” said MUN president Vianne Timmons. MUN (NL)

Many Canadian universities will not cut tuition amid switch to online, remote learning

A number of Canadian universities will not be offering reduced tuition for Fall 2020 despite student calls for changes and questions about the quality of online education. In conversations with the National Post, spokespeople from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia indicated that there will be no changes to tuition fees as academic programs are delivered through alternative means. Other schools, like Dalhousie University, are still working on their 2020 tuition plans, while the University of Alberta and McGill University have said that they are working to increase student aid to support students. “The value of McGill’s courses, its programs, and the McGill degree remains,” said McGill spokesperson Cynthia Lee, “and adjustments to course delivery this fall is only temporary.” National Post (National)

Humber launches degree in Addictions and Mental Health

Humber College has launched an Honours Bachelor of Social Science – Addictions and Mental Health degree. The four-year program will allow for more instruction and more practical placements, and will provide a more balanced approach to the field, including equal instruction and practice around addictions. “It [the program] will definitely set you apart from different programs other institutions have to offer,” said Fizza Abbas, a graduate of the college’s Mental Health and Addictions graduate certificate program. “This program will really be more specific and geared towards the work.” Humber (ON)

ULethbridge moves Early Start Experience program online

The University of Lethbridge has launched an online version of its Early Start Experience program, an initiative that aims to ease new students’ transitions from high school to university. Offered by the School of Liberal Education, the program will provide students with the skills and resources needed to succeed at university, and how to build social networks with diverse groups. “The Early Start Experience gives new students the chance to prepare for their academic studies at the U of L,” said ULethbridge dean of the School of Liberal Education Shelly Wismath. “With most classes being online in the fall, they’ll also be poised to succeed in the online learning environment.” ULethbridge (AB)

RDC to move Donald School of Business from downtown location to main campus

Red Deer College has announced that they will move the Donald School of Business from its current location in downtown Red Deer back to the college’s main campus. “The reputation we’ve grown, and the core principles we’ve created within the Donald School of Business are embedded in our everyday fabric as a post-secondary institution,” said RDC President Peter Nunoda. “As we consider our future as Red Deer University, we are excited to provide all our students with increasing opportunities to engage with our local business community and prepare for successful careers.” The move will take place January 2021. RDC (AB)

OCUFA calls on university administrations to embrace collegial governance structures

The Ontario Council of University Faculty Association President Rahul Sapra has released a statement calling on schools to ensure that decision-making and future planning efforts include senates, academic councils, and faculty. While the letter notes that universities have and will continue to play important roles in helping the province recover, there are concerns that university administrations may be circumventing democratic, transparent, and accountable collegial governance practices. “Our postsecondary institutions have a vital role to play in helping the province navigate this pandemic, but it is only by supporting each other and working together that we can effectively guide our institutions towards a future where the vibrant energy of students and faculty returns to our campuses,” concludes Sapra. OCUFA (ON)

Lévis-Lauzon ordered by QC Labour court to pay ex-employee nearly $42K in damages

Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon has been ordered by a Québec Labour Court to pay nearly $42K in damages to an ex-executive due to the treatment he received from the school's senior management. Martin Hénault resigned from his position at the school coordinating the Service des immeubles et des équipements du Cégep after months of what the Court describes as “psychological harassment” from the school’s directrice générale. The court awarded Hénault the $42K for moral damages, salary losses, and punitive damages. In a media release, Lévis-Lauzon explained that the institution's management has worked to improve labor relations and ensure collaboration between all managers in addressing these issues. Radio-Canada (1) | Radio-Canada (2) | Le journal de lévis (QC)

Tips for preparing PhDs for a variety of graduate pathways: Opinion

Given that academia promises to have more limited employment opportunities in the coming months, Robert Alford suggests ways advisers can help PhDs pursue a variety of professions beyond it. Specifically, Alford recommends that PhD advisers collaborate with institutional career service professionals, help students set realistic time frames, encourage students to explore broader professional opportunities, and prepare students to demonstrate the value of their degree to potential employers. It is important, concludes Alford, “to try to understand the position faced by many doctoral candidates who will soon graduate and to support them in their efforts to find rewarding employment whether in the academy or beyond it.” Inside Higher Ed (International)