Top Ten

August 20, 2020

Edmonton postsecondary groups call on city for discounted transit fares

In Edmonton, postsecondary students are calling on the city to offer discounted transit fares following the suspension of the U-Pass. With classes moving online, the City of Edmonton and the four postsecondary institutions that participate in the Universal Transit Pass program suspended the program. Edmonton Transit Service is proposing to extend the youth fare to all postsecondary students, regardless of age, but the University of Alberta Students’ Union argues that this cost still exceeds the regular cost of a U-Pass. “ETS has not treated us with the respect that is due to an important stakeholder,” explained UASU vice-president external Rowan Ley. “For two months they turned down our proposals without offering one of their own."  Edmonton Journal  (AB)

Sheridan announces microcredentials for retraining displaced workers

Sheridan College has announced three microcredential programs that will launch this Fall semester. The programs – CNC RapidSkills, Python Foundations, and Cyber Secure Your Business – will support the Government of Ontario’s efforts to provide rapid re-training tools for displaced workers. “We are pleased to offer these microcredentials as a way to certify an individual’s achievement in a particular skillset and enable employment in specific roles,” said Sheridan Continuing and Professional Studies Executive Director Nazlin Hirji. “In addition to featuring a shorter duration and more personalized nature than traditional degrees and diplomas, these credentials provide distinctive value and relevance in the changing world of work.”  Sheridan (ON)

Canadian higher ed prepares for a year like no other: Warnica

In a reflection on the preparations that students and instructors across Canada have been making for the upcoming semester, Humber College instructor Richard Warnica describes how several instructors have been forced to rethinking both their courses and their method of teaching. “That broad idea, of rethinking the teaching itself, is a challenge for every discipline, including mine” writes Warnica, “Like other instructors, I’ve spent parts of my summer taking seminars on online teaching, learning what works and what doesn’t remotely, and really trying to think through how I’ll get concepts across when I can’t sit down with a student.” With regard to students, Warnica reflects on the particularly difficult transition traditional students will need to make from an incomplete high school experience to online postsecondary learning. National Post (National)

Keyano offers new power engineering dual credit programming

Keyano College has partnered with the Fort McMurray Catholic and Public-School Districts to provide grade 11 and 12 students with access to a new Dual Credit program. Upper year high school students will be able to take the college’s 4th Class Power Engineering – Computer Managed Learning course through flexible delivery. After graduating high school, the students will be able to apply for Keyano’s 3rd Class Power Engineering COOP or CML certificate Program. Keyano (AB)

Hiatus of traditional athletics sees eSports rise on campus

"With traditional university sport on a pandemic-related hiatus for much of the school year,” writes Natalie Samson, “collegiate eSports are having a moment.” While student-run eSports clubs have been present on campus for nearly a decade, institutions are now beginning to recognize and support teams. The sector’s acceptance of eSports has grown in the past few years in particular with the announcement of the Ontario Post-Secondary Esports league; the introduction of dedicated scholarships; and the creation of academic eSports programming at institutions such as St Clair College, Seneca College, and Lambton College. University Affairs (ON)

McMaster, student unions work to reduce fees

The McMaster Students Union and the Graduate Students Association have worked with McMaster University to reduce or eliminate several ancillary fees as the school moves online for the fall term. Among the changes will be a pause of the student transit passes and Athletics and Recreation fees, as well as eliminated fees for many student associations. Further, given that few students will be living in residence, meal plans will not be mandatory. Students will also have the option to pay their tuition and fees in interest-free installments. All changes are specific to the fall term, but McMaster states they may be reconsidered when plans for January are solidified. McMaster (ON)

NIC launches educational assistant program at Port Hardy

North Island College’s Port Hardy campus will soon offer a human services certificate program in partnership with the Mount Waddington Family Literacy Society and the Community Workforce Response Grant. The program, Human Services Certificate – Educational Assistant/Community Support, Indigenous Focus, provides a specific focus on integrating Indigenous culture and ways of knowing for students who wish to build their practice as a community support worker or educational assistant. “This program is first and foremost about providing support to individuals in the community,” said NIC Faculty of Health and Human Services Dean Kathleen Haggith. “It is work that people are passionate and excited about and we’re thrilled to be able to offer the content digitally in Port Hardy.” NIC (BC)

CFI invests $96M in infrastructure at institutions across Canada

The Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is investing over $96M into infrastructure projects at 55 institutions across Canada through its John R. Evans Leaders Fund. “Support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation ensures researchers are equipped for success at every stage of their career,” said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO at the CFI. “The John R. Evans Leaders Fund helps Canadian universities, institutes and research hospitals create the conditions necessary for their talented researchers to excel.” Among the institutions receiving funding are Vancouver Island University, McGill University, Cape Breton University, University of Calgary, University of Ottawa, University of Winnipeg, and University of Toronto. Canada (National)

Setting boundaries to increase productivity and avoid burnout: Opinion

“Academics are terrible at setting boundaries for ourselves. We are all driven, motivated, hardworking individuals and presumably got into our fields and disciplines to make a difference in some capacity,” writes author Angela Fowler. The author stresses the importance of academics setting boundaries not only for their own mental and physical health, but also to maintain productivity. Fowler writes that prioritizing tasks and saying no to certain requests may help those that are struggling, particularly during a time when the lines between home and work are blurred. Important aspects to consider before committing to another task or request include determining whether it is a requirement or just a perceived requirement, whether one is passionate about the task, whether it is helpful to themselves or others, and whether there is mental or emotional capacity to complete the request productively. Inside Higher Ed (International)

King’s UC launches virtual student life centre

From Virtual O-Week to online health and wellness groups, the Virtual Student life Centre at King’s University College hopes to maintain connection during a semester that is largely online. Students will be able to connect with peers through an online meeting space and attend online events and seminar series. Of the initiative, Dean of Students Joe Henry said: “the Virtual Student Life Centre aims to some extent mirror what takes place in the physical student life centre on campus. Whether a King's community member is in another country or around the corner they can engage with King's and vibrant experience we provide, just in a different way.” King’s University College (ON)