Top Ten

November 10, 2020

Canada, ON, Toronto announce new partnership model with Toronto HEIs

The Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto have announced a new partnership model with Toronto’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The new model allows the city to put forth research priorities, which HEIs can then pursue. The pilot supports eight COVID-19 recovery research projects by eight Toronto institutions: Centennial College, George Brown College, Humber College, OCAD University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, University of Toronto, and York University. “Our government recognizes that research and innovation are important ways to better understand and manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Canada Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Innovation and Industry) said Navdeep Bains. “It is heartening to see so many higher education institutions partnering with government to delve into some of today’s biggest challenges.” Toronto (ON)

Students report problems with NSLSC since end of loan repayment freeze

Since the end of the loan repayment freeze, CBC reports that students across Canada have faced difficulties with the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC). Students reported statements that show missed payments, experienced unauthorized bank withdrawals, and cited a lack of information about repayment assistance. Additionally, they described long wait times – or even no answer – on the NSLSC phone line. “Students have really been hurt through COVID-19,” said Nicole Brayiannis, national deputy chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “They’re really feeling the financial effects of this, and they’ve received little to no financial relief from the government. So now is the time that they really need the government to be prioritizing student needs, and that’s simply not been the case.” CBC (National)

eCampusOntario, partners to collaborate on ON micro-credential strategy

The Government of Ontario has released Budget 2020, which includes a $59.5M investment into a province-wide micro-credential strategy. The funds will be used over three years to create an online portal of micro-credential training opportunities, develop new programs, launch a public awareness campaign, and develop a virtual passport. eCampusOntario states that it will work with partners to “develop a virtual passport for lifelong learning” through its common framework, which guides the development of micro-credential initiatives. “Ensuring that learners are able to access skills and competencies as part of their career preparation and reskilling is essential to building social and economic resilience,” said Robert Luke, CEO of eCampusOntario. “When micro-credentials are delivered online, learners can access flexible education and training when and where they need it.” Colleges Ontario | Accesswire (eCampus Ontario) (ON)

Canada announces funding for postsecondary research infrastructure

The Government of Canada has announced that the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Exceptional Opportunities Fund will provide almost $28M in research infrastructure support to those researching COVID-19. 79 projects at 52 Canadian universities, research hospitals, colleges, polytechnics, and cégeps will receive support. Some of the projects supported by the fund include a project at Dalhousie University focused on advancing research related to COVID-19 vaccines, a project at Cégep André-Laurendeau in LaSalle developing social distancing monitoring technology, a project at University of Windsor focused on wastewater screenings, and a project at University of Calgary researching how COVID-19 affects blood vessels. Innovation (National)

UManitoba, UMFA bring in mediator, continue negotiations

The University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association have agreed to bring in a mediator to help with negotiations as faculty move toward a potential strike on November 16th. CBC reports that the union is asking for a “modest” pay increase, a more equitable salary grid, and more supports for faculty members who are caring for others due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CBC also reports that the Manitoba government has asked UManitoba to seek a 2.5% reduction in faculty labour costs. “We’re working more hours. We’re teaching more students than ever with the same size workforce we had last year, so I really have no idea how we could cut our expenditures,” said UMFA President Michael Shaw. CBC | CBC | UManitoba (MB)

Brock launches two pathway programs

Brock University will introduce two new pathway programs to enhance postsecondary education accessibility. The Open Studies pathway will allow people of any age or educational background to take part-time courses without being registered in a full certificate or degree program. Fresh Start allows students to be admitted based on high school records, giving students with previous postsecondary experience a clean slate. “Fresh Start and Open Studies directly respond to the needs of our community and the desire of more people to have access to post-secondary education,” said Lynn Wells, Brock Provost and VP, Academic. “The social and economic benefits of a post-secondary education are well established by research. Universities like Brock have a responsibility to make them as accessible as possible to their local community.” Brock (ON)

Clear, precise teaching allows students to inwardly engage: Opinion

Humanities professors face pressure to be charismatic performers and to be personally engaging, especially now that classes have gone online due to COVID-19, writes Eva-Lynn Jagoe. The author describes how discouraging it can be to not have physical feedback, like a smile or nod from students, to reflect engagement. However, reflecting on the experience of teaching yoga, Jagoe explains how students can have intense inward concentration while focusing on themselves, and provides several points or ‘tenets’ to keep in mind while teaching. “What matters most is that I teach clearly and precisely so that students can incorporate the benefits of the class material for themselves,” writes Jagoe. University Affairs (National)

Niagara, Pathstone partner to expand student placement opportunities

Niagara College and Pathstone Mental Health have signed a MOU that will expand future student placement opportunities. The collaboration will increase the number of placements at Pathstone for students in Niagara’s Community and Health Studies Division, and see the partners to explore additional placements in programs such as Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant, and Recreational Therapy. “Community partnerships like this are the cornerstone of the applied education we offer at Niagara College, creating opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience in their area of study while supporting an integral community agency,” said Niagara’s VP Academic Fiona Allan. “We applaud Pathstone for its continued commitment and support for higher education.” Niagara (ON)

With industry support, VIU students transform lawn into environmentally sustainable meadow

Vancouver Island University’s Horticulture Technician Foundation Program students are transforming a lawn and garden area into a drought-tolerant meadow to explore environmentally sustainable lawn alternatives. Through the project, students will test drought-tolerant lawn seeds mixes, conduct turfgrass mix trials, and plant flowering perennials. Students also have been supported by industry with training become certified Allan Block installers and training with new insect identifying equipment from a biological control company. “We are grateful for the industry support we have received,” said Jessica Gemella, VIU Horticulture Technician Program instructor. “It is through these relationships that we have been able to enhance student experiences, helping to develop skills related to current approaches to landscape methods and materials that are relevant to the local environment.” VIU (BC)

Sunday winter storm in prairies closes campuses

A snowstorm that battered multiple provinces over the weekend forced several postsecondary institutions to shut down their campuses and work on snow removal services. In Saskatchewan, both the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Polytechnic stated that they had closed their Saskatoon campus doors temporarily due to the storm, and Great Plains College closed its campuses. In Lethbridge, Alberta, the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College closed their campuses in response to the extreme weather. MSN (AB) | CKOM (SK) | SaskPolytech | Swift Current Online (AB | SK)