Top Ten

September 1, 2020

Move-in day quieter on Canadian campuses as fraction of residences fill up 

Residences and move-in day in 2020 are markedly quieter than in years past as several institutions report fewer students in residence. In North Bay, Nipissing University is expecting approximately 400 students in residence. Canadore College is expecting that between 325 and 330 students will move in, although the remainder of the college’s 660 available beds spoken for. “Quite literally,” explained Shawn Chorney, vice-president of enrolment management, Indigenous and student services, “it’s going to be whether people can physically get here.” The University of Regina states that it expects to welcome about 300 students for the upcoming semester, markedly lower than it’s typical 1,000 students; and the University of Calgary is also reporting a 30% capacity at its residences. UCalgary Associate Director of Residence Services Lakshmi Sangaranarayanan added that the university has also seen a 350% increase in deferred move-ins.   The Nugget  | CBC (URegina)  | CBC (UCalgary)  (National)

York launches CPA Ontario Centre in Digital Financial Information

The Schulich School of Business at York University has partnered with the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Ontario to create the new CPA Ontario Centre in Digital Financial Information. The centre will aim to advance the accounting profession by enhancing digital financial expertise. The three-year project is focused on research, thought leadership, and increasing the network of digital accounting information. “Schulich is proud to be a co-founder of the new CPA Ontario Centre in Digital Financial Information,” said Detlev Zwick, interim dean. “We look forward to working together with CPA Ontario, a longstanding corporate partner of our School, in advancing research innovation in the rapidly growing field of digital accounting.”  York  (ON)

Cégep de Baie-Comeau, Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue offer Indigenous police technology training

Cégep de Baie-Comeau has announced the launch of a Police Technology program that will be adapted to the needs and realities of Indigenous communities, with the support and partnership of Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue. In response to the Viens Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, both institutions proposed an update to the program to the Quebec Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The program will educate students about the history of Indigenous people and their experiences within the justice system, as well as provide training for Indigenous students wanting to enter into law enforcement within their own communities. The program is expected to launch in Fall 2021.    CEGEP de Baie-Comeau  (QC)

U of T professors create dual delivery format for teaching students online, in-person

University of Toronto Russian literature professor Donna Orwin and political science professor Joseph Wong have spent the summer working to create a “dual delivery” format to teach students who are participating online alongside those sitting physically in the room. Orwin will be using a webcam on a tripod in a physically distanced classroom so that online students will be able to collaborate with the people in the room. Wong will be using three screens around a room to display online students and providing drop-down microphones for in-person students. “It’s not just about turning on Zoom; we did that in the spring,” said Wong. “We’ve put a huge amount of work into this and I think the students will find it very exciting.”  U of T  (ON)

Professors improve pedagogy in face of pandemic: Moss

While “no one would wish the past five months on anybody,” Geoffrey Moss writes that planning for the Fall allowed many faculty to refine their teaching practices and expand their pedagogical experience. Moss describes how several instructors engaged in professional development activities throughout the summer, experimented with new techniques, or pivoted to make their courses more relevant to the circumstances. “Will those changes persist whenever college teaching gets out of crisis mode?” asks Moss. “The answer will depend on the commitment of individual professors, ...but also on how well their institutions support them.”   Chronicle of Higher Ed  (International)

CASA, UPEI student union request extension of student loan repayment deferrals  

Students across Canada have been allowed to defer student loan repayment for six months without interest, but CBC reports that this deadline will expire on Sept 30th. UPEI student union president Brian Affouan, along with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, call on Ottawa to extend the deadline for an additional six months so that students can continue their studies and recent grads can continue to search for jobs without the added financial stress of student loan repayments. Data indicates that students have been unable to find summer jobs, and recent graduates have struggled to find employment, and Affouan argues that these people will experience undue hardship if the deadline is not extended.   CBC  (National)

Canadian postsecondary tweaks orientation for Fall 2020 experience

With unique limitations imposed on orientation this year, several institutions are welcoming students to campus in a new way. This week, Conestoga College launched a series of online orientation program sessions that allow students to meet other members of the college community, learn about services and supports, and find answers to their questions. Humber College has extended the Humber Fall Orientation Welcome Week into a Welcome Month, which will run until September 30th and provide students with activities, information sessions, and opportunities to connect with faculty and peers. At the University of Lethbridge, staff have moved the New Student Orientation’s sessions and workshops online and provided students with boxes that include Fall 2020-specific student services, a commencement coin, faculty-specific information and give aways, and more.   Conestoga  | ULethbridge  | Humber  (National)

Summerland volunteer program provides students with study space in churches

Three churches in Summerland, BC will provide university students taking courses online due to COVID-19 with study space between September and December 2020. Raja Gupta, a secondary school teacher in Summerland, started the initiative with three church “campuses” that have study-focused spaces and access to Wi-Fi. University students who have been forced to stay at home in Summerland while taking classes online from universities across Canada are provided a place away from home where they can focus on their courses. CBC reports that this will allow students to connect with other students who are attending different universities but taking similar courses online. These students can use this space to study material together and offer each other support as they navigate their online courses.  CBC  (BC)

A calculation for evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on potential intellectual life

In order to calculate how much the pandemic will slow academic progress around the world, John Richard Schrock proposes examining the Years of Potential Intellectual Life Lost (YPILL). Shrock adapts medicine’s Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL), which is based on the difference between the standard age of survival and the age at which someone passes away to an illness, to the academic world. The resulting YPILL estimates the damage done to a population where education is made inaccessible or where other external forces slow or stop academic and research advancement. “The concept of YPILL,” concludes Schrock, “can serve to provide a general measurement of how much the COVID-19 pandemic will slow intellectual advancement worldwide.”  University World News  (International)

BrandonU announces custom, three-phase pandemic response system

Brandon University has rolled out a three-phase pandemic response system that ranges from its current, most-cautious Phase Blue through Phase Grey to the most-open Phase Gold. As part of the plan, Brandon U has created a COVID-19-dedicated website containing information and guidleines, and where students can start a live chat directly with Student Services employees. “This is a built-in-Brandon solution customized for Brandon University and draws extensively on the epidemiology experience of our Dean of Science, Dr. Bernadette Ardelli,” said Brandon U President David Docherty. “I give my thanks to everyone across campus who participated in helping us draft it.”   Brandon Sun  | Brandon U  (MB)