Top Ten

August 6, 2020

Queen’s Smith School launches Master of Financial Innovation and Technology program

Smith School of Business at Queen’s University has announced a Master of Financial Innovation and Technology program, which will begin in November 2020. Described by Queen’s Smith School as the first program of its kind in Canada, the program is designed to address gaps in financial technology education and will train graduates finance, data science, and machine learning technologies. “Until now, employers hiring in the financial technology sector have had to choose between candidates who specialize in either finance or technology,” said program director Ryan Riordan. “With the launch of this new program, we’ve created a unique educational path that bridges both sectors and equips graduates to succeed in a quickly evolving marketplace.” Queen’s (ON)

NS announces expansions to Nurse Practitioner Education Incentive

The Government of Nova Scotia is expanding their Nurse Practitioner Education Incentive to help improve Nova Scotians’ access to primary care. The program will cover the salaries of six additional registered nurses while they attend Dalhousie University’s two-year Master of Nursing nurse practitioner program full-time. In return, recipients will commit to work in one of several designated communities for five years. “Today’s announcement is great news, especially for rural Nova Scotia as these new nurse practitioners are committed to working there,” said NS Nurses’ Union President Janet Hazelton. “Educating more nurses in the nurse practitioner program gets us closer to achieving NSNU’s goal of having a 500-strong nurse practitioner network across all sectors of care, based on our projected needs, by 2028.” NS (NS)

George Brown launches online micro-credential in service robotics

George Brown College has launched an online certificate in service robotics to address the growing demand for skilled professionals in this industry. The program will be offered through George Brown’s Continuing Education and will guide students through the growth and development of the service robotics industry, as well as typical applications, current and future market trends, and technological impacts. “There is tremendous potential for service robots to improve experiences and augment the workforce in a wide range of industries, from health care to hospitality,” said Rick Huijbregts, George Brown Vice-President, Strategy and Innovation. “The demand for this type of technology is growing and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the possibilities for service robots in frontline sectors.” George Brown (ON)

Academic integrity a concern as courses shift online

A US survey has revealed that many higher education instructors feel academic integrity may be at risk as courses shift online. The report, produced by education publisher Wiley, shows that 62% of responding instructors “fully agreed” that students were more likely to cheat during online courses. Instructors who had taught online before the pandemic shared techniques for discouraging academic dishonesty, such as proctored or monitored testing, locked down browsers, Zoom testing, and plagiarism software, the latter two utilized far less often. Other suggestions from the report include: Increasing teacher-student interaction so students feel connected to the classroom; imposing time limits and dedicated testing times for all students; creating different versions of tests; and using open book exams, which often test higher levels of learning. Campus Technology (International)

Students, landlords continue to face housing, financial challenges amid COVID-19

Both postsecondary students and landlords in Ontario are experiencing challenges amid the pandemic situation that has caused many students to return home. A recent report released by Carleton University on the pandemic’s effect on the city’s rental market revealed that vacancy rates could rise as high as 10% as a result of the pandemic. Meanwhile, some students in the Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo area report that they are struggling to pay rent on accommodations they are not currently residing in due to the pandemic. "The landlord said that because the apartment was still available and safe to live in, and because I was making a choice to go back home, it wouldn't be sufficient reason to break out of the lease," explained University of Ottawa student Nina Haroune. "I had to rely on CERB to continue paying for my rent because job opportunities were scarce and I was here worrying about an empty apartment hours away from me." CBC (1) | CBC (2) (ON)

Students, charities frustrated with government claim that no students participated in charity program

A Halifax-based charity and the students volunteers at the organization are expressing frustration and confusion at claims from the federal government that no students participated in the Canada Student Services Grant program. Nine students have been working at Souls Harbour thrift store, an organization that helps fund a meal program for families in need, with the expectation that the work would be reimbursed through the program. However, when asked how the government was going to reimburse charities and students who had begun the now cancelled student volunteer program, federal representatives denied the existence of such students and charities, leaving impacted students and charities questioning whether they will be responsible for footing the bill. In the case of Souls Harbour, the charity has agreed to pay the students, amounting to a cost of approximately $15K. Times Colonist (National, NS)

PEI institutions prepare for students “outside of the Atlantic bubble"

Prince Edward Island postsecondary institutions are preparing for a much different return-to-campus for students coming to the island from “outside the Atlantic bubble.” Holland College is working with a hotel operator that will help quarantine and self-isolate the approximately 120 students set to arrive this Fall. The quarantine cost, which includes accommodations, meals, and security, is being covered by the provincial government. Meanwhile, the University of Prince Edward Island is preparing for slightly different student accommodations for this Fall, implementing measures such as transitioning double-occupancy rooms to single-occupancy and instituting physical distancing measures. "I think that for the most part what we're really trying to do is give students still the experience that we can, based in the time that we have, and how things continually are evolving" said UPEI director of ancillary services Johnathan Oliver. CBC (PEI)

UNB to open new residence January 2021

The University of New Brunswick has announced that its new Barry and Flora Beckett Residence is slated to open in January 2021. The 40,000-square foot, geothermally heated building will feature 104 beds. Students can apply to be housed in the residence in August and a ribbon cutting ceremony will be scheduled this autumn. “Community is at the core of UNB’s identity,” said UNB Saint John Vice-President Petra Hauf. “The Barry and Flora Beckett Residence honours the vision that had guided this campus for more than 50 years, while inspiring our students to create a prosperous and sustainable future." UNB (NB)

Faculty, students, alumni raise concerns over plans for NSCAD U’s Foundation Campus

Friends of NSCAD—a group of faculty, students, and alumni of NSCAD University—are raising concerns over the future of the university’s Fountain Campus amid a lack of public consultations regarding future plans and proposals. The historic campus was described in a 2013 report as requiring a “heroic” effort to upgrade, and NSCAD U board chair Louise-Anne Comeau told CBC that the board has received "various unsolicited proposals" related to infrastructure in recent years. Friends of NSCAD worry that the board’s lack of consultation with the community regarding the campus the potential sale of or continued rental of the campus space could cost NSCAD U. CBC (NS)

Using anonymous surveys to create a more inclusive learning environment: Opinion

“While designing inclusive courses is essential for effective teaching […] the uncertainty of this coming fall makes it more important than ever to address inclusion concerns,” write Tracie Marcella Add, Derek Dubb, and Khadijah A Mitchell. The authors discuss the outcomes of a survey tool they developed that enables learners to voluntarily and anonymously share information with their instructors to help toward the creation of a more inclusive classroom. Given the positive responses from both participating students and faculty, the authors conclude by encouraging instructors to craft their own anonymous and voluntary forms, and to “seek feedback from their institution’s center for teaching and learning and their colleagues to design more inclusive courses.” Inside Higher Ed (International)