Top Ten

June 4, 2020

AB delays performance-based funding model, will launch review of AB postsecondary

The Government of Alberta has announced that the performance-based funding model for the province’s public postsecondary sector will be delayed for at least a year due to the pandemic. AB Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides explained that COVID-19 has created too much uncertainty around postsecondary enrolment for the upcoming year to immediately proceed with the new funding model. However, Nicolaides also indicated that he is still committed to the funding model and wants it in place for the 2021-22 school year. In addition, Nicolaides indicated that a broad review of AB's postsecondary institutions will also begin soon. CBC (AB)

NSERC announces $24.75M for 15 projects under the CREATE program

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has announced the 15 recipients of $24.75M in funding over the next six years for the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program. The grants will support the careers of students and postdoctoral fellows as they develop research and other professional skills in areas of research ranging from additive manufacturing and autonomous vehicles to urban forestry and cannabis production. Each research team received $1.65M in funding. “The multidisciplinary teams that CREATE supports provide outstanding mentoring and skills training opportunities,” said NSERC President Alejandro Adem. “These complement the research training that students receive and position them well to succeed at the vanguard of Canadian science and engineering.” NSERC (National)

RBC releases report on the future of Canadian PSE

A report released by the Royal Bank of Canada is urging Canadian postsecondary institutions to develop new learning models to provide students with greater flexibility amid the shift to remote learning models. Report author Andrew Schrumm notes that “for Canada to remain a global education leader that continues to attract the world’s brightest, our institutions will need to differentiate themselves.” Toward this end, Schrumm details the scope of the pandemic’s impact on Canadian PSE, addresses key questions about remote learning, and provides five points that Canadian higher education institutions should consider to become a global leader in online education. These suggestions include greater collaboration among institutions and modernizing the credit transfer system to recognize micro-credentials and experiential learning. “Our colleges and universities have taken the first steps to transform the student experience for the better,” said Schrumm. “There is every reason to believe they can build on their momentum to ensure our country thrives and prospers well into the future.” RBC | NationTalk (National)

Some cégep teachers request in-person classes, propose alternative locations

Cégep instructors affiliated with the fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (fneeq-csn) are requesting that in-person teaching be prioritized over virtual models for the Fall term. These instructors explain that in-person teaching help establish meaningful and stable educational relationships with students. To honour the advice of public health authorities, fneeq-csn suggests that larger classes might use movie theaters, community centers, churches, or other facilities large enough to provide physical distance for classes and meetings. However, this delivery proposal is considered “unrealistic” by Fédération des cégeps président-directeur général Bernard Tremblay who argues that such a delivery model would involve many issues in terms of equipment, student travel, and compliance with public safety measures. Newswire | Journal de Montréal (QC)

Western-led program receives over $2M from IRCC for newcomer program

A Western University-led program has received over $2M from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a program that explores welcoming environments for newcomers. Pathways to Prosperity is a national alliance of university, community, and government partners dedicated to fostering welcoming communities and promoting the integration of migrants and minorities across Canada. Part of the recent funding has been earmarked for projects such as a study examining the settlement needs of different groups of newcomers, particularly the vulnerable and under-served. “We will also be addressing the barriers immigrants face in settling in these smaller communities including, at times, the lack of a welcoming community,” said Western professor Victoria Esses. Western (ON)

Brock launches individualized, interactive programming to support incoming international students

Brock University International Services has launched individualized and interactive programming to promote international students' personal well-being and academic success. Prior to beginning their studies at Brock, international students will be able to engage with the interactive Skills for Success: Canadian University Preparation video series that addresses commonly asked questions about the Canadian university experience. Brock is additionally launching the Global Peer program, an initiative that will partner upper year international Brock students with incoming students through connections like shared hometowns or common interests. The university will also offer resources and run workshops to help new students to adjust throughout the year. Brock (ON)

ULethbridge launches The Student Experiential Learning and Career Hub

The University of Lethbridge has announced the launch of The Student Experiential Learning and Career Hub, a centre that aims to enhance work-integrated learning opportunities for students. Launching in September, the hub brings together ULethbridge’s co-op, applied studies, MyExperience transcript, and career services groups to support students, and will also feature a strong relationship with University Faculties. The Experiential Learning Academic Council was also created to support the work of the hub and ensure connections to academic programming, and community and industry partners. “The creation of the Student Experiential Learning and Career Hub ensures our students are able to participate in expanded opportunities through employment, volunteerism or applied study,” said ULethbridge President Mike Mahon. ULethbridge (AB)

QC researchers co-sign open letter calling for funding for CEFRI

Several researchers from various Québec postsecondary institutions have co-signed an open letter denouncing the closure of the Centre facilitant la recherche et l’innovation dans les organisations (CEFRIO) at the end of this month. The closure reportedly stems from the Government of Québec’s recent decision to not renew the organization's funding. CEFRIO, an independent research and innovation organization that supports public and private organizations in the transformation of their processes and business practices through digital technology, also provides expertise and access to recurrent data that allows scholars to follow the evolution of Internet usage in business and by the QC population. Due to a context where web giants are reluctant to communicate their data, the letters signatories ask QC to reconsider its decision. UQAM | La Presse (QC)

USask donates 22 cabins to Montreal Lake Cree Nation

The University of Saskatchewan has donated 22 cabins from the shuttered Kenderdine Campus to the Montreal Lake Cree Nation to help the community meet their urgent need for additional housing due to the pandemic. “We have families identified who will be moving into their units, and they are really excited to be able to have an opportunity to call a place their own,” said Montreal Lake Chief Frank Roberts. Montreal Lake will be renovating and upgrading the buildings as required in the coming months. A group called Keep Kenderdine, which has been advocating for a revival of the campus since its closure in 2012, has opposed the move citing a lack of consultation and concern about damage to the ecological area. USask told CBC that the university did not move any buildings of historical interest and that the move was conducted with as little damage to the surrounding area as possible. USask | CBC (SK)

5 ways administrators can support new faculty

“As new faculty members... struggle even more with increased self-expectations, institutions are generally expecting more of their faculty,” writes Michael G Strawser. Given this context, the author indicates that there are several ways that academic administrators can help new faculty members deal with increased expectations while navigating a global virus. Specifically, Stawser outlines five strategies that will allow administrators to support junior faculty: clarify expectations, increase efficiency, use tech platforms to streamline, lead by modelling a work-life balance, and provide opportunities to address mental health. “All this boils down to one key point: if we are going to increase faculty expectations, we must increase faculty support,” concludes Stawser. Inside Higher Ed (International)