Top Ten

July 17, 2020

BC announces major investments, new grants, changes to existing programs

The Government of British Columbia has announced changes to the application process for StudentAid BC, as well as a new non-repayable BC Access Grant. The changes will allow every student who applies for StudentAid BC to be automatically assessed for the BC Access Grant, enabling over 40,000 low- and middle-income students—about twice as many students as supported under previous grants—to access more affordable public post-secondary education. The province also announced new investments totalling over $2M to better support postsecondary students and faculty. In addition, BC is also providing BCcampus with $400K to create fully developed OER courses and support services for popular courses and $275K to develop online resources and tools for students, staff, and faculty to help them navigate various issues regarding well-being. BC (BC)

UAlberta considering infrastructure consolidation as part of cost-saving measures

Amid funding cuts and the implementation of performance-based funding programs, the University of Alberta is considering accelerating infrastructure consolidation as a cost-saving measure. “Sadly, we will say goodbye to some buildings just because they functionally don’t meet the needs going forward, or they’re in poor shape,” explains UAlberta Vice-President of Facilities and Operations Andrew Sharman. “We can’t afford to keep everything.” Buildings and land holdings that are being considered for sale or lease include the university’s old Administration Building, the Research Transition Facility, the Humanities Centre, and the Human Ecology building. However, in addition to reducing their number of buildings overall, UAlberta is also considering expanding a few, a strategy that is typically less expensive than creating new buildings. The Province (AB)

NB announces three-year extension for apprenticeship program for women

The Government of New Brunswick has extended a provincial program that supports and provides mentorship for women in the apprenticeable trades by three years. New Boots: Progressing Women in Trades, was originally launched in April 2018 following a 30-month pilot period. Priority areas for the program over the next three years include aligning the project with department objectives related to training and labour; poverty reduction and women’s equality initiatives under the New Brunswick Family Plan Framework; the Social Development Strategic Plan; and the government’s economic growth and development targets. “Over the past five years the New Boots network has expanded from a cohort of 14 tradeswomen to over 250 tradeswomen today,” explained President of New Brunswick Building Trades Unions Jean Marc Ringuette. “Employers are also seeing an increase in women filling positions in the skilled trades”. NB (NB)

Seven tips for making the most of a virtual conference: Opinion

“If you’ve never ‘attended’ a virtual conference before (and sometimes, even if you have), it can be confusing to figure out which set of sessions will be a meaningful and useful fit for you,” writes Thomas J Tobin. Writing from their experience as a seasoned conference organizer, Tobin provides seven ideas to help academics select, engage with, and get the most value out of a virtual conference. Tips include choosing to attend specialized conferences; registering for conferences with smaller numbers of attendees to increase opportunities for networking; clearing your calendar to devote all your attention to the virtual conference; and connecting with other participants during and immediately following the conference. “Get what you can out of the conference while it’s underway, and enlist your institution, colleagues, and loved ones to give you time to take an active role in as many of the live conference events as you can,” concludes Tobin. Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

York receives over $1M in funding to support internationally educated professional initiatives

York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) has signed an agreement with the Government of Canada to develop and deliver a new program for internationally educated professionals (IEPs). Supported by over $1M in funding over the next three years, the program will provide IEPs with access to English language support, in addition to university-level courses suited for their unique needs. Specifically, two foundational workplace readiness courses will be offered, and employment support will be provided to assist IEPs in overcoming the challenges they may encounter along the way. "This exciting partnership will be very beneficial to the internationally educated professionals in our community,” said LA&PS Dean JJ McMurty. “We look forward to providing additional tools and services uniquely designed to prepare them for employment in the Canadian workforce.” YorkU (ON)

SMU launches network to support regional businesses, communities amid pandemic

Saint Mary’s University has launched the Sobey School of Business Community Revitalization & Prosperity Network, an initiative established to support the recovery of regional communities and businesses following the pandemic. Services offered through the network include expert consultation, evidence-informed free webinars, and access to blog posts and opinion editorials. “We must come out of this crisis stronger, and we know that will take a coordinated effort across all sectors of our economy,” said Harjeet Bhabra, Dean of the Sobey School of Business. “We anticipate this project will enable meaningful collaborations between our Sobey School researchers, industry experts and those on the frontlines, sparking the innovation that will revitalize our economy. We want our joint efforts to produce a more prosperous province for all Nova Scotians.” SMU (NS)

UCW adds eight streams to Arts programs, announces changes to access program

University Canada West has launched eight new streams in their Associate of Arts (AA) degree program, as well as introducing changes to their University Access Program (UAP). Students in UCW’s AA program can now choose one of eight streams of electives to pursue while completing the requirements of the degree, including accounting, economics, hospitality & tourism, management, marketing, media communication, psychology, and social justice. In addition, UCW announced that some students in their UAP will be able to take any academic course that will count toward their degree. “This change means some UAP students can start their UCW degree programs sooner and begin gaining the critical business and tech skills needed by Canadian employers,” said UCW President Brock Dykeman. UCW | UCW (BC)

UVic warns students, staff, visitors to stay off-campus due to cougar sighting

The University of Victoria issued a warning to students, staff, and visitors on Wednesday after a cougar was sighted in the nearby Mystic Vale wooded area. “This is the time of year when occasional cougar sightings are reported on the UVic campus,” said the university in a bulletin. “While cougars are generally shy and elusive animals and rarely attack humans, a hungry cougar may come into contact with people during its search for food, usually in the hours between dusk and dawn.” CHEK News states that cougars have been reported around the Greater Victoria area several times in the past few months. Oak Bay police were unable to locate the cougar. Global News | CHEK News (BC)

Seneca launches graduate certificate in esports marketing management

Seneca College has launched a new Esports Marketing Management (EMK) graduate certificate program. The program will cover topics such as digital and social marketing, sponsorship strategy, and influencer marketing and will meet the need for highly skilled marketing professionals in a quickly growing industry. “The Esports Marketing Management program at Seneca is unique in that the curriculum focuses on the industry’s niche demand for marketing professionals in sponsorship and branding,” said Chris McCracken, Chair of Seneca’s School of Marketing. “We’re the only postsecondary institution that prepares learners for this specialization.” Seneca (ON)

OCAD U partnership launches Black Realities art exhibition

OCAD University’s Creative Writing program has collaborated with stackt, So Good City, and Stinson Owl-Lite on the presentation of a new art exhibition titled “Emergence from Emergency.” The first phase of the collaboration, Black Realities, consists of an interactive journey of the Black experience hosted at stackt market. The exhibit was curated by Creative Writing program Chair Catherine Black and instructor Ian Keteku and includes a series of poetic-artistic works that were created by five Black students from OCAD U. OCAD U (ON)