Top Ten

June 18, 2020

ARUCC, Digitary partner to build Canadian National Network

The Association of the Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada has partnered with Digitary to build the Canadian National Network. ARUCC states that this network will be the first online platform and national credential wallet for postsecondary learners, and will enable three million learners across the country to access and share their transcripts and credentials. “This partnership with Digitary is incredibly exciting news for learners, the higher education community and our partners,” said ARUCC President Romesh Vadivel. “For the first time in Canada's history, we will be creating a national, secure digital platform for sharing official digitized postsecondary transcripts and credentials.” ARUCC (National)

URegina to decrease student fees by $188 for Fall term

The University of Regina has announced that student fees will decrease by $188 for the Fall semester. In addition, URegina Interim President Thomas Chase notes that the university is supporting students by distributing $320K in emergency funds, removing financial holds, waiving late payment fees, and suspending parking fees. Chase said the university will also honour athletic scholarships and introduce new on-campus work placements. However, the University of Regina Students Union wants to see further financial relief, including a tuition decrease. Chase noted that the university appreciates the difficult financial situation students are facing, but cannot reduce tuition due to fixed or increased costs. CBC (SK)

Carleton, UOttawa launch initiative to encourage interinstitutional online project collaborations

Carleton University and University of Ottawa have partnered to create online courses and modules that will be shared and adapted between the two institutions. The Shared Online Project Initiative (SPOI) provides instructors with grants of up to $8K to work with colleagues at the partner university in developing online courses or modules. “Carleton provides a number of resources and extensive support for instructors designing courses for online teaching,” said Carleton Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Jerry Tomberlin. “This collaborative initiative will benefit instructional staff and students at both institutions as we prepare to deliver all courses remotely in the Fall semester.” Carleton (ON)

Further layoffs in Canadian PSE linked to COVID-19, provincial funding reductions

Colleges and universities are announcing additional layoffs due to reductions in provincial funding and revenue losses linked to COVID-19. The University of Victoria’s English Language Centre has laid off 32 teachers as travel restrictions reduce the number of international students studying at the university. “We realize these are difficult times for our instructors, many of whom are long-time employees,” said UVic Dean of Continuing Studies Jo-Anne Clarke. In addition, Red Deer College has eliminated 39 CUPE positions due to a $5.3M reduction in provincial funding and anticipated revenue losses. “I want to acknowledge the vast contributions of our colleagues who have been impacted, and I thank them for their service to RDC,” said RDC President Peter Nunoda. Times Colonist | Red Deer Advocate (BC, AB)

VCEA partners with Wind Sun Sky for student work experience

Vancouver Centre for Entertainment Arts (VCEA) has partnered with Wind Sun Sky Entertainment/Skybound North (WSS/SBN) to support the launch of Langara College’s student work experience initiative. The VCEA work initiative provides students with the opportunity to test their skills on real productions in acclaimed studios, under the mentorship of trusted industry professionals. “The CEA gives students a jumpstart to develop the necessary skills required to build successful careers in the media business,” said WSS/SBN CEO/Executive Producer Catherine Winder. “By contributing to our projects, the students are gaining significant real-world experience in their fields. It is a win-win situation for all involved as the students are doing a fantastic job and we are building relationships with potential future employees.” Langara (BC)

Conestoga’s Doon campus to receive over $9M for transit expansion

Conestoga College has announced that the college’s Doon campus is one of the 10 public transit and active transportation projects selected for federal, provincial, and municipal funding. Supported by over $9M in joint funding, the project will see Conestoga’s Doon campus receive six new buses and a bus terminal, bike parking, heated shelters, and new signage. “Many residents in Waterloo Region rely on public transit and cycling routes to get around the region each day,” said Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna. “The investments we are making with our partners are helping make communities more liveable for families while moving forward on sustainability and fighting climate change.” Conestoga (ON)

Cégep Abitibi-Témiscamingue, UQAT reach fundraising goal for student residences

Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue and the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue have announced that their joint fundraising campaign for new student residences at the Val-d’Or campus has achieved its goal of raising $300K. Valued at more than $8M, the Cité Étudiant Desjardins de Val-d'Or will respond to a pressing need for student housing. In total, three buildings with 15 apartments each, totaling 45 apartments, will accommodate approximately 150 students and their families. Cégep Abitibi-Témiscamingue (QC)

Fleming Pharmacy Technician program receives accreditation from CCAPP

Fleming College’s Pharmacy Technician program has received accreditation from the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP). Awarded under new CCAPP standards, the term of the accreditation is five years and will allow graduates to pursue licensing through the Ontario College of Pharmacists. “Our programs are focused on the needs of the labour market, and we work diligently to ensure we are responsive and provide the essential skills and training that graduates need for the workforce,” said Fleming President Maureen Adamson. “This accreditation for our Pharmacy Technician program demonstrates our commitment to current trends and will produce graduates with the talent employers are looking for.” Fleming (ON)

UQÀM launches Coop Berri-UQAM, encourages local, sustainable purchasing

Université du Québec à Montréal has launched the boutique Coop Berri-UQAM. The space that will house the university’s bookstore, computer counter, and 100% bulk grocery store. While anyone can visit the store, Coop UQAM offers a membership at the one-time cost of $25 that will provide members an immediate discount on most of its products. A novel element of the new store is the inclusion of many bulk goods that have been manufactured or processed in Québec that are sold in bulk as part of Coop UQAM’s sustainability goals. UQÀM (QC)

Rethinking the traditional approach to office hours: Opinion

“The ways and extent to which students expect faculty members to be accessible has been undergoing a recognizable shift in recent years,” writes Jennifer L Brinkley. Combined with a large shift to hybrid and online delivery formats this fall, Brinkley argues that institutions and individual departments should now consider if a traditional office hour requirement is necessary for 2020 and beyond. Acknowledging that virtual office hours and meetings with students may not always be ideal for more spontaneous meetings with students, the author argues that virtual office hours hold promise. “We should have conversations at each of our institutions to discuss the best way to interact effectively with our specific students outside the classroom, whether it occurs via traditional office hours, virtual office hours or a hybrid of both formats,” concludes the author. Inside Higher Ed (International)