Top Ten

August 11, 2020

AB provides new funding for First Nations colleges 

The Government of Alberta has announced that it will provide $500K in COVID-19 support funding to the province’s five First Nations colleges. Each college will receive $100K for improving technology and access to Wi-Fi, as well as supporting the development and delivery of online programming. It will also go towards ensuring cleaning protocols are in line with new COVID-19 standards. “Like our fellow post-secondary institutions, we have been working to provide our students with a learning environment that's safe and that also allows them to keep making progress toward their diplomas and degrees,” said Rachel Hertz Cobb, chief administrative officer at Yellowhead Tribal College. “This enhancement of the First Nations College Grant recognizes that PSE delivery under pandemic conditions asks extraordinary feats of small institutions like ours and goes a long way toward making it possible for us to meet our goals." AB  (AB )

Durham, Centennial to close Pickering Learning Site

Durham College and Centennial College are set to shut down operations at their shared location, the Pickering Learning Site (PLS) beginning September 1. The PLS primarily serves students looking to complete postgraduate studies, and Durham states that the site will offer online programming for the foreseeable future. “Unfortunately, difficult decisions are having to be made in these challenging times” said Centennial President Craig Stephenson. “In the immediate future, we will serve the PLS students through providing a high-quality online learning experience. We are engaged with the Durham Region and look forward to working closely with the community.” Durham (ON)

BSCA launches online portal

A new online portal is available for international and domestic students interested in studying business in Canada. The portal, Study Business in Canada, is being launched by the Business Schools Association of Canada (BSCA) and offers information about 61 different schools, housing and visas, and other information about life in Canada. “Our objectives for the initiative are quite simple: to raise the awareness of Canada and Canadian university business schools as a preferred study destination for business and management education,” said Tim Daus, executive director of the BSCA. The Pie News (National)

New funding aimed at increasing inclusion in MB 

Universities in Manitoba will soon be able to ensure that their demographics resemble those of the province, thanks to funding and support from Industry Canada. Three institutions–the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, and Brandon University–have endorsed a charter on equity, diversity, and inclusion. The program, which is based on the UK’s Athena SWAN program, asks universities to log data and address “potential systemic barriers in their polices and processes.” The federal funding was boosted after universities expressed concern that constrained provincial budgets would make the cost of meeting the program requirements untenable. "The Government of Canada recognizes that in times such as a pandemic, it is even more important to address systemic barriers as these disruptive situations further exacerbate existing inequities faced by individuals from equity-seeking and underrepresented groups," wrote department spokeswoman Geneviève Sicard.  Winnipeg Free Press  (MB)

Tips for surviving an academic year like no other: Bortolin

“We’re all a little nervy right now – students, instructors, deans, presidents – mired as we are in pandemic planning and uncertainty,” writes Kathleen Bortolin, a curriculum, teaching and learning specialist at the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning at Vancouver Island University. In this piece, Bortolin outlines three key tenets of their “pedagogical manifesto” for the coming year: making use of resources, whether that be a teaching and learning centre or a knowledgeable colleague; incorporating feedback into teaching; and being attentive to one’s work load and labour rights. “There is a significant onus on faculty right now, but there is also a significant onus on institutions and their leadership teams,” concludes Bortolin. “When we walk through this storm, it is the good ones who will make sure that we don’t walk alone.” University Affairs (National)

Brock receives donation to support experiential education

Brock University has received a $2.7M gift to provide students with new, career-building workplace experiences. The gift was given by Stephanie Mitchell in honour of the late global business leader, Gerard Mitchell, and Brock states that the funds will go towards establishing the Dr Gerald B Mitchell Centre of Excellence in Career & Experiential Education. “Brock’s students are the direct beneficiaries of Stephanie’s remarkable generosity and philanthropy,” said Brock President Gervon Fearon. “Her gift will change the lives of students today and through the years to come, by ensuring an education that provides experiential real-world opportunities coupled with our world-class teaching and research.” Brock (ON)

ON students push back against tuition and fees for fall semester

International and domestic students in Ontario are “frustrated” and speaking out about issues surrounding tuition and fees this fall. The Lakehead University Student Union says it is still awaiting a response from the university regarding concerns raised in July about increases to international student tuition. Elsewhere in Ontario, CBC reports that students are still questioning the quality of online programs and whether they should be charged for services and facilities that they will not be accessing this fall. Some institutions have responded to calls from students by lowering or eliminated ancillary fees, but many maintain that the programming costs the same amount as in-person. CBC (1) | CBC (2) (ON)

Reducing financial pressures for PSE students essential: Study 

If sustainable, positive change is a desired result of postsecondary education, “we need to find a way to reduce financial pressures on students,” states University of British Columbia Professor Alison Taylor. Reflecting on how the pandemic has put additional financial pressure on the student population, Taylor describes how some students feel that the competitive, high-pressure, and high-stakes environment of postsecondary education exacerbates existing inequalities between students. To this end, Taylor advocates for better financial supports for students. “Reducing financial pressures means providing students with the gift of time to engage knowledge, to take missteps and be able to redirect without severe financial consequences,” concludes Taylor, “and to appreciate the diversity of people and opportunities in academic communities.”   The Conversation   (National)

Kingston council considers new transit deal for student associations

Kingston’s city council will be considering a new agreement between Kingston Transit and the student associations at Queen’s University and St Lawrence College. The new agreement would allow students to purchase four-month transit passes for $119 as a temporary measure during a time where student activity in and around the city is less than normal, as opposed to the previous 12-month pass agreement. The new agreement also proposes that the city reimburse both institutions for over $850K, due to the free transit that has been offered to all citizens since March. The Whig (ON)

Trent experiences ransomware attack 

Trent University has reportedly experienced a ransomware attack on the third-party software used to host its donor and alumni database. An email sent to 38,000 individuals indicates that data related to several members of the university’s community—including staff, faculty, alumni, donors, and external contacts—may have been compromised. The university stated that much of the information accessed was “public information” and that no financial or password information were accessed. They are asking those that received the email to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. Global News  (ON)