Top Ten

December 6, 2020

Institutions remember 31st anniversary of École Polytechnique shooting in Montréal

Over the past week, postsecondary institutions across Canada have commemorated the 31st anniversary of the École Polytechnique shooting in Montréal. December 6 is known as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, and a number of institutions held virtual events in memoriam of the 1989 murders. University of Northern British Columbia held an online event as part of its Inspiring Women Among Us initiative, and Okanagan College co-hosted a Virtual Candlelight Vigil with a network of organizations and volunteers. University of Calgary also held a livestreamed event, as did the University of Guelph. Dalhousie University’s Women in Engineering Society held an online memorial honouring the memory of each of the 14 victims. Dal | Nation Talk | UoGuelph | UNBC | UCalgary (National)

Olds receives $1M Smart Farm investment

The Olds College Smart Farm has received a $1M investment from TELUS Agriculture. The funding will directly support research and development of technology in the agricultural sector and the global agri-food value chain. The institutional release emphasizes the importance of partnerships between industry and postsecondary institutions as a means of fueling innovation and creating unique opportunities for students. “The Olds College Smart Farm was launched to be a next generation applied research and learning platform, where industry and students could engage in order to produce the next generation of leaders and leading companies,” said Olds President Stuart Cullum. Olds | (AB)

How pedagogy can benefit higher education: Opinion

Rejection of pedagogy because of the writing of a few education specialists is untenable, write Debby Cotton, Elizabeth Cleaver, and Dilly Fung. In response to an earlier article denouncing pedagogy, the authors explain that every discipline has its own language, and that the job of those in education is to translate the language for others to understand. They describe how an expert in the field should be able to sift through inconsistent or poor research on pedagogy from a position of knowledge. The article advocates for those in education to recognize that some pedagogical principles can be applied similarly across disciplines to provide new ways of thinking and doing. “Those academics who are willing to doubt what they think they know and to interrogate critically tacit assumptions, received wisdom and ‘common sense’ are demonstrating a truly scholarly approach to being educators,” write the authors. Times Higher Ed (International)

Sheridan receives $2M from Magna

Sheridan College has received $2M from Magna for the support of Sheridan’s Skilled Trades programs. Sheridan will use the funds to update labs, create scholarships, provide training resources, and fuel learning through student participation at skills competitions. In honour of the donation, Sheridan has renamed its suite of Skilled Trades programs as the Magna School for the Skilled Trades and has renamed the Skilled Trades Centre at its Davis Campus the Magna Skilled Trades Centre. “It’s a direct investment in the labour force of tomorrow that will benefit our local economy by supporting the manufacturing sector,” said Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s President and Vice Chancellor. Sheridan (ON)

NS universities, NSCC release accessibility framework

The Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents has announced its endorsement of a new framework for institutional accessibility plans at the province’s universities and college. The framework, which was developed by the Post-Secondary Accessibility Working Group, includes emphasis on awareness and capacity-building; teaching, learning and research; and information and communication. Universities will develop their own action plans and timelines for implementing the new policies. “It’s important that Nova Scotia’s post-secondary leaders take this important blueprint and put it into action so that we can offer our communities full and equitable access to education, employment, and services within our institutions,” said NSCC President Don Bureaux. AAU | Framework 

MPHEC releases report on graduate borrowing and debt patterns

The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC) has released a report titled Class of 2012 Maritime University Graduates: Borrowing and Debt Six Years after Graduation. The study compared borrowing and debt repayment patterns among graduates who went on to pursue further education and those who did not. The study also focused on the contrast between Maritime students and those from outside the region. “Maritimers were more likely to borrow, and borrowed more, than graduates from outside the region, and graduates with parents who had completed a university degree were less likely to borrow, and they borrowed less, to finance their education,” said Catherine Stewart, CEO of MPHEC. MPHEC | MPHEC (Release) (Maritimes)

YorkU students share the seven things they miss most about in-person education

A group of York University students have written an article about the seven things they miss most about in-person education. They cite missing qualities like the community and friendship that comes with the physicality of in-person classes, the presence of social cues, and the motivation that comes with seeing other students studying and learning. While working from home, the students also note that they find it harder to stay focused and have concerns about the reduced privacy that comes with virtual meetings. “The global pandemic has given students the opportunity to contemplate their educational experience and truly appreciate the physical space and face-to-face interactions they have had with their peers and professors on campus,” conclude the authors. University Affairs (ON)

UManitoba approves temporary compassionate grading plan

The University of Manitoba senate has voted in favour of a temporary alternate grade point average calculation system. The new system will allow students to exclude one grade from their GPA in the fall and winter terms, or exclude one grade from a full year course. The dropped grade will stay on the transcript, but is excluded from GPA calculation, which is used for performance-based requirements. “Students needed this,” said Kristin Smith, UManitoba’s Students’ Union VP of advocacy. “They needed their university to make a nod to the fact that online learning in the fall has not been all it was promised to be — and for many, that it’s caused irregular educational and mental health outcomes.” Winnipeg Free Press | CBC (MB)

Georgian, ILAC form partnership

Georgian College and International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC) have announced a partnership that will open up opportunities for international students. [email protected] will be located at ILAC’s downtown Toronto Campus and will begin offering programs in January 2021. The initial offerings will be a Business Diploma, a Global Business Management Graduate Certificate, and a Project Management Graduate Certificate. “Georgian is excited to enter into this new partnership with an esteemed private college and for the first time, expand our presence and quality programs into Toronto,” said Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes. ILAC (ON)

Sask Polytech formalizes relationship with OTC

Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner have signed a strategic alliance focused on fostering Indigenous inclusive learning environments. The two parties will work together to provide Treaty Education and Indigenous Awareness across all Sask Polytech campuses. “This partnership will provide increased opportunities for our students to learn about the history and culture of Indigenous peoples, and will serve to promote intercultural understanding, empathy and mutual respect,” said Sask Polytech President Larry Rosia. Sask Polytech (SK)