Top Ten

May 29, 2020

SK invests $17M in significant construction projects at USask, URegina, Sask Polytech

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced a $17M investment in several significant construction projects at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. USask’s Griffiths Stadium will receive $3.1M to upgrade the field and lighting, URegina’s College of Kinesiology will receive $2.5M for a roof replacement, and Sask Polytech’s Moose Jaw Campus will receive $12M to renovate facilities that house the Construction, Electrical, Welding, Automotive, and Civil Water programs. “As we re-open Saskatchewan and emerge from the pandemic, it is important to look to the future,” said SK Advanced Education Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor said. “These projects increase our post-secondary capabilities and reinforce our commitment to students’ safety and wellbeing in both academic and athletic pursuits.” SK (SK)

Canadian, US governments take starkly different approaches to international students

“The Canadian government thinks international students should study at Canadian universities rather than in the United States,” writes National Foundation for American Policy executive director Stuart Anderson. “Unfortunately for US universities, so does the Trump administration.” Anderson discusses the stark differences between the Canadian and American federal governments’ approaches to international students, including their respective approaches to policy and willingness to be flexible on their behalf. “If Canada keeps the doors of its universities open for international students while the Trump administration shuts America’s doors,” the author concludes, “then many of the world’s most talented young people will learn to sing 'O Canada' rather than 'O say can you see.’” Forbes (International)

Students ask for tax credit on tech purchased for remote learning

A group of students is asking the Government of Canada for a tax credit of at least 10% on all new technology purchased to participate in remotely delivered education. “The typical costs before were textbooks, utensils, whatnot,” said Undergraduate Governor at the University of Ottawa Jamie Ghossein. “Now those costs are buying a laptop and increasing your internet, so it makes sense to cover those as a tax credit.” According to Ghossein, some students have cancelled their plans to apply to or attend postsecondary education due to the extra costs associated with remote learning. Schools like UOttawa are exploring student support options, such as reopening computer labs with appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols. CTV (ON)

On the legal, moral obligations of accessibility in higher education: Opinion

“While a plethora of resources exists for remote teaching and learning,” writes Carleton University Professor James Deaville, “do they fulfil the legal and moral obligations of accessibility both for students and faculty?” In this piece, Deaville argues that the shift to online learning not only brings additional accessibility issues, but also puts extra pressures on administrative work and research. While some accessibility measures can be legislated, others cannot. Deaville thus advocates for “an awareness of the O/other that transcends the guidelines for accessibility and that focuses on individuals.” The author concludes that “all of us would be well advised to be mindful of those within our ambits whose vulnerability increases in such a time of crisis and may remain elevated even afterwards.” Ideas/Idees (National)

Algonquin, MITT, TRU, Akwesasne, Atoskiwin partner to help Indigenous youth gain skills, education

Algonquin College, the Akwesasne Education & Training Centre, the Atoskiwin Training & Employment Centre, the Manitoba Institute of Trades & Technology, and Thompson Rivers University have taken on a $1.2M national job-readiness program mandated through Indigenous YouthBuild Canada. Through the program, the partners will work to bring local communities together with institutions, governments, and corporate partners to help Indigenous youth attain job-ready skills while extending their education. “Indigenous YouthBuild Canada’s project, will offer professional growth opportunities, help them develop skills, gain valuable experience and confidence, all while working on projects that matter to them and their communities,” said federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough. Algonquin (National)

CAUT welcomes federal announcement on paid sick leave

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has released a statement applauding the Government of Canada’s decision to work with the provinces to ensure ten days of paid sick leave for working Canadians. “Mandated sick leave across Canada is often unpaid, leaving many workers with the choice between coming to work sick, or losing pay,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “In the post-secondary education sector, this meant the most vulnerable workers on campus were left in this position. Today’s announcement is a welcome relief for all such workers.” CAUT (National)

TÉLUQ, UQTR partner to create program to produce more qualified teachers

TÉLUQ University and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières have signed a framework agreement to help find solutions to the shortage of preschool and elementary school teachers in the province. The two schools will be working together toward the development of a graduate program for people who already have a baccalaureate and wish to obtain a diploma toward a career in teaching. The program will be offered remotely and is funded by the ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur. According to UQTR doyen des études Adel Omar Dahmane, the program will allow eligible candidates to access a teaching career more quickly and thus meet the rising demand. TÉLUQ (QC)

NSERC funding leads to creation of new TACs

The recently announced $76M tri-agency funding will support the creation of several Technology Access Centres across the country. At Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the funds and an additional $250K from Innovation Saskatchewan will be used to develop the first technology access centre in Saskatchewan: the Digital Integration Centre of Excellence. Lethbridge College will be developing the Integrated Agriculture Technology Centre (IATC). “As part of the established network of TACs, we will share best practices and foster collaborations with industry, government, and other postsecondary institutions across Canada and help drive economic growth by providing local, accessible, and affordable research and development services,” said Lethbridge Manager of the IATC and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Megan Shapka. Sask Polytech | Lethbridge (SK, AB)

McGill study questions quality of continuing education for psychotherapists

McGill University researchers have found that nearly half of the psychotherapies promoted in workshops approved by l’Ordre des Psychologues du Québec (OPQ) are not supported by scientific research, thus raising questions regarding accreditation and legitimacy. The study of psychotherapies advertised for training in Psychologie Québec—the OPQ’s official journal—found that of the 26 OPQ approved psychotherapies advertised, only 10 had research demonstrating their effects. “If psychologists or other licensed therapists are providing suboptimal psychotherapy to their clients and patients, treatment outcomes may be diminished,” said study co-author and McGill PhD candidate Leah Beaulieu. McGill (QC)

City committee to review proposal for Queen’s residence building, residents voice concerns

A proposal to construct a new Queen’s University residence will go before a city committee for approval in principle. The proposed five-storey structure would house 300 students, mostly first-years. However, some residents and heritage proponents are concerned about the impact of development on the surrounding neighbourhood. “No new development appears to have taken place in recent times, and most definitely, a five-storey student residence is an intrusion into this neighbourhood,” wrote Shirley Bailey, president of the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, in a letter to the city. Whig Standard (ON)