Top Ten

August 25, 2020

QC pledges $375M for postsecondary students

The Quebec government has pledged $375M to support postsecondary students through increased financial aid. “Students have been shaken by the unusual situation [created by] COVID-19,” said QC Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann. “One of the main issues to be considered when deciding to continue one’s studies is finances.” $100M of the funds will go towards supporting financial aid programs on a permanent basis; $200M will be invested into helping cover pandemic-related expenses by those receiving loans and bursaries this academic year; and the remaining $75M will be used to ensure academic success in the form of material support, pedagogical supervision, and psychological support. Montreal Gazette (QC)

York U undertakes major stadium renovation

York University’s Keele Campus is undertaking major renovations to the York Lions Stadium. The $8.2M upgrade includes the installation of a seasonal dome and a FIFA Quality Pro – 2 Star and World Rugby – 22 Certified artificial turf surface. “Once completed, this stadium will be a fantastic home for our varsity sport teams and a showcase piece for the University as we continue to seek ways to improve our ability to serve and engage our student population,” said Executive Director of Athletics & Recreation Jennifer Myers. The work is expected to be completed by Spring 2021. York U (ON)

Considering the “6 Ps of Vision” as a new term begins

“Six critical elements of university visions will be put to the test as a new term begins,” write Memorial University Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning Kim Myrick, Memorial Professor Kara A Arnold, and Saint Mary’s University Professor and Canada Research Chair E Kevin Kelloway. The authors describe how institutions will need to articulate their values and deal with challenges to their “6 Ps of Vision:” People, Place, Product, Purpose, Performance, and Period of Time. They conclude by asserting that these 6Ps can allow universities to articulate their own visions and differentiate themselves from one another. The Conversation (National)

AB provides funds for 12 infrastructure projects

The Government of Alberta has announced $98M in funding for 12 projects at universities, colleges, and polytechnics to restore learning spaces. The projects have ranged from large-scale redevelopment and expansion of existing buildings to upgrading heating and cooling infrastructure, and are part of a larger $10B in infrastructure spending as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. “This new funding will help us meet students’ evolving needs, give researchers new and better spaces to further their important work, and make sure our campuses stay safe and welcoming places,” said AB Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides. AB (AB)

UManitoba, Theralese Technology partner on potential virus therapy

The University of Manitoba and Toronto-based Theralese Technology have partnered to develop a potential coronavirus therapy that CBC reports could help put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. If successful, the technology could be commercialized for mass-scale production in late 2021. "Part of what makes the whole thing so special is that it’s unique in being not exactly a vaccine, but more of a therapy," explained UManitoba leading microbiologist Kevin Coombs. "Vaccines are an incredibly important health benefit, but they won’t help everyone — simply because not everyone has the proper immune system to make them work. That’s why therapeutic measures like this are equally important to work in a complimentary fashion." CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (MB, ON)

UBC BLSA offers free LSAT courses to Black students

The University of British Columbia chapter of the Black Law Students’ Association has organized a new Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) prep course that is available to Black students with legal career ambitions. The free course will be taught by Toronto lawyer Haidya Roderique. "People from our communities may be more likely to have financial barriers getting into law school," said chapter co-president Dinah Holliday. “Our intensive [course] aims to level that playing field.” Holliday added that Black students also lack lawyer role models or mentors in their own community, which impacts job prospects. CBC (BC)

CAUT survey highlights concerns, challenges faced by postsecondary staff

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has announced the results of a survey conducted earlier this year. The survey of over 4,000 academic staff revealed that the pandemic significantly increased the workload and stress level of staff members across the country. “Academic staff are worried about their students, their research, and their jobs,” explained CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith. “It is not clear how the concerns about remote teaching, research and jobs at universities and colleges are going to be addressed without more government and institutional support for post-secondary education.” CAUT (National)

Kenjgewin Teg, Wiikwemkoong, Canadore partner to fill PSW need on Manitoulin Island

In order to meet a need for personal support workers (PSW), Kenjgewin Teg and Wiikwemkoong are partnering to offer free courses on Manitoulin Island. The two-semester PSW courses are run in partnership with Canadore College, and will see students complete a practical placement with either Manitoulin Lodge, Manitoulin Centennial Manor, or the Wikwemikong Nursing Home (WNH). “There’s always shortages in PSWs everywhere, whether in LTC, home or community care,” said WNH administrator Cheryl Osawabine-Peltier. “The reason we’re really pushing for this program right now is we’re working on redeveloping our nursing home by 2025.” Manitoulin Expositor (ON)

Parkland program offers training for youth

Parkland College is launching the Youth Employability & Skills Strategy (YESS), an initiative that will train youth aged 15 to 30 for future employment. The program runs from September to December and classes are scheduled at the main campus. Participants will receive advanced Essential Skills training, soft skill training, employment preparation, and industry certifications. They will also be provided with mentors and on-the-job training. Parkland (SK)

UWindsor student unions, Transit Windsor agree to suspend U-Pass

The University of Windsor has announced that the Universal Bus Pass (U-Pass) service will be suspended for the Fall 2020 semester. The news is the result of an agreement between the three UWindsor student unions – the University of Windsor Student Alliance, the Organization of Part time University Students, and the Graduate Student Society – and Transit Windsor. Students will be able to independently purchase a bus pass at a postsecondary rate of $269.20, but will not be automatically charged for the Fall bus pass and will not need to opt out. UWindsor | UWSA (ON)

UPDATE: UWSA announced in December 2020 that the bus pass service would also be suspended for the Winter 2021 term for students. UWSA