Top Ten

June 22, 2020

Canadian universities create, sign charter for addressing climate change

15 universities across Canada have signed the “Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities” charter in a bid to address climate change through commitments to responsible investing practices. Initiated by the University of Toronto and McGill University, the charter calls on universities to manage their long-term investments in ways that acknowledge and account for developments in climate change. Examples of principles and practices outlined in the Charter include the incorporation of environmental, social, and governance factors into investment practices; regularly measuring the carbon footprints of investment portfolios and setting meaningful targets to reduce them over time; and engaging with companies to encourage them to reduce emissions. McGill | Charter (National)

NIC receives largest donation in college’s history

North Island College has unveiled the Mailman Family Foundation Student Commons to recognize the largest donation in the college’s history. A $1M donation from the Mailman family will be used to purchase equipment, supplies, furnishings, and technology, benefitting thousands of students over the coming years. “We are deeply grateful and honoured to receive this very generous gift that will have an enormous impact on Campbell River students, faculty and staff, for many, many years to come,” said NIC President John Bowman. “This historic donation supports the College in providing outstanding educational opportunities that will further enable student success and contribute to the sustainable development of the entire Campbell River community.” NIC (BC)

Massey reviewing Wente appointment decision after resignations, public pushback

The University of Toronto’s Massey College is reviewing the appointment of Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente as a senior fellow, following public pushback and the resignation of several members of the College. U of T Women & Gender Studies Institute Director Alissa Trotz, who was the only Black governing board member at Massey, resigned from her position on the board in response to the announcement and wrote a letter to the college that called into question “non-transparent mechanisms of selection.” U of T Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Professor of Social Justice George J Sefa Dei and History Professor Rick Halpern also resigned from their roles at the college. Massey Principal Nathalie Des Rosier said that the appointment of Wente was under review. CBC | The Varsity (ON)

Fostering robust international student experiences during the shift to online learning

While concerns about the shift to online learning have largely centered on the challenges of delivering and engaging with online courses, Jeffrey Napierala and Amy Kaufman argue that students, particularly international students, also have concerns about how this shift will impact sociocultural and economic aspects of their education. “Online studies may not provide students with the additional linguistic, cultural, and networking opportunities they would have gained from an in-person experience — and that they may need to eventually immigrate,” explain the authors. Napierala and Kaufman outline steps that institutions can take to support international students, such as ensuring international students are aware of the requirements to work and settle permanently in Canada, as well as providing international students with additional resources to help them improve their language and cultural skills during the pandemic. HEQCO (ON, National)

MUN adopts Indigenous Research agreement for data sovereignty

Memorial University has created and adopted a formal research agreement that will give Indigenous groups the right to own, control, access, and possess their data in research endeavours. MUN President Vianne Timmons says the university’s Indigenous Research Agreement will enhance the integrity and impact of research by responding to the principles of Indigenous ownership, control, access, and possession of Indigenous data. “The new template is one of many ongoing initiatives at Memorial to strengthen ethics and accountability in Indigenous research,” said MUN interim associate vice-president (Indigenous research) Max Liboiron. “It’s a small step, but any sized step is important.” MUN (NL)

Universities release toolkits, student training to combat anti-Black racism

Several Canadian universities are launching initiatives to work against anti-Black racism both on and off campuses. In partnership with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and Project Someone, Concordia University professor Vivek Venkatesh has released a toolkit aimed at combatting racial and social profiling that is titled PROFILE. Meanwhile, the University of Guelph has launched anti-racism and anti-oppression training for all new students, beginning this fall. “We will work on healing and teaching through a series of webinars on anti-racism, allyship and anti-oppression,” said UofGuelph assistant vice-president of diversity and human rights Indira Naidoo-Harris. Concordia | Guelph Mercury (QC, ON)

MRU expands program to meet demand for internationally trained nurses

Mount Royal University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery have expanded their Bridge to Canadian Nursing program to meet the growing demand for health care workers. The only one of its kind in the province, students in the program come from all over the world including the Philippines, India, and other Asian countries as well as the UK, US, and parts of the Caribbean. The expanded program will accept 120 students per academic year starting this fall, an increase of 40 over last year, in response to student demand. “Nurses are always needed and professional nurses who immigrate to Canada but are not able to obtain a license are an untapped source of knowledge and skill,” said MRU assistant professor Robyn Stewart. “The program is now equipped to offer even more IEN students the opportunity to meet their goals of becoming Registered Nurses in Canada.” MRU | CTV (AB)

CLO launches provincial online learning hub

College Libraries Ontario has launched the Online Learning hub to assistant postsecondary students across the province with the shift to online learning. The hub offers useful tips, how-to videos, and learning strategies to help students quickly find the resources they need to improve their learning aptitude for the online format. The Learning Portal team also developed an inventory of resources for faculty, including several LMS cartridges/packages specifically for learning online. The new hub was developed through the leadership of Seneca College’s Vice-President Academic Laurel Schollen and Manager, Learning Centres Kathryn McMillan, in partnership with Algonquin College’s Libraries and Learning Centres, College Libraries Ontario, and the Learning Portal team. CLO (ON)

Fleming OTA, PTA program receives accreditation

Fleming College’s Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA) and Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA) program has been awarded accreditation by the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program. The six-year accreditation will strengthen graduate's employment opportunities as many employers across Canada only hire graduates from an accredited program. “Fleming’s programs are laser-focused on quality and skills development, and we take a great deal of pride when we are recognized by accreditation programs such as the OTA & PTA EAP,” said Fleming President Maureen Adamson. “The OTA & PTA accreditation will ensure Fleming graduates have the skills they need for a rewarding career as occupational therapist assistants and physiotherapist assistants.” Fleming (ON)

OCUFA urges universities to include student, faculty, staff concerns in re-opening plans

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is calling on universities participating in the Government of Ontario’s re-opening program to ensure faculty, workers, students, and unions are included in creating these plans. In late May, OCUFA sent a letter to ON highlighting the exclusion of many university and college Joint Health and Safety Committees and other groups from return-to-work planning and decision making. OCUFA states that they are concerned about how the recent re-opening announcement did not mention these committees or address the lack of consultation on university campuses. “Refusing to consult with Joint Health and Safety Committees and campus unions, ignoring their recommendations, or cutting corners in the rush to reopen would not just be reckless, it would needlessly jeopardize the health and safety of faculty members, students, and staff,” said OCUFA President Rahul Sapra. OCUFA (ON)