Top Ten

January 11, 2021

MITT, FTM launch ACTION! Program Phase 2

Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, in partnership with Film Training Manitoba (FTM), has launched ACTION! Program Phase 2. The program’s second phase is focused on helping students to find jobs and careers in the film industry. The expansion will allow 200 MITT students and alumni to access short-term training including industry-accredited courses, career coaching, and in-class training. “Ask any employer what they look for in a new hire and they’ll likely say an even balance of technical and soft skills,” says Marnie Groeneveld, Director, Centre for Career Development and Lifelong Learning at MITT. “This is how we train at MITT and it’s so great to see partners like FTM sharing this philosophy.” MITT (MB)

NAIT, Inter Pipeline begin collaborative research on microplastics

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Inter Pipeline are collaborating on two applied research projects on microplastics. The collaboration, which is conducted through the Plastics Research in Action (PRIA) initiative’s $10M research partnership, will see two projects conducted in the North Saskatchewan River: The Microplastics Project, which is focused on identifying and monitoring microplastic levels in water and sediment samples, and the Plastics Blending Project, which will test technologies to convert plastic waste into a wax product for use in asphalt. “Our research will contribute to the body of knowledge around this emerging science and help develop solutions in addressing the issues of microplastics in our environments,” said Dr Paolo Mussone, NAIT Applied Bio/Nanotechnology Industrial Research Chair. CBC | Globe and Mail (Subscription required) | NAIT (AB)

How universities can support grad student mental health: Opinion

Universities should do more to support graduate student mental health, especially during COVID-19, writes Megan Douglas. The author describes some ways institutions can better support graduate students, who are at a higher risk for mental health issues during COVID-19. The article explains how offering virtual counselling can help ensure that there is professional support available for students before they begin to show signs of mental illness. Douglas also describes two ways supervisors can play a role in supporting graduate student mental health: Checking in more often with their PhD students and shifting the focus of meetings to cover issues of wellbeing, and modelling an appropriate work-life balance so that students do not feel pressured to follow irregular work hours. University Affairs (National)

Indigenous Language, Community, and Legends in Post-Secondary Education

Yukon University and the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship Group of the Arctic Institute have released a policy recommendation paper that describes how the themes of “Language, Community and Legends” can be used as a basis for including Indigenous people in policy development and maintenance. The report was originally developed for Yukon U in order to help the institution respectfully include Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing in the postsecondary education policy landscape, but includes lessons that can be applied to institutions more broadly. “Language, community and legends are commonalities within Indigenous cultures,” write the authors, “not only in the Yukon but, one could argue, worldwide.” Arctic Institute (YK)

Fleming CE adds new courses

Fleming College’s Continuing Education has added a batch of new courses that teach in-demand skills and allow students to gain certificates and specializations. The new courses include Teaching Online and E-Learning Tools, which is focused on how to move courses online, and Mindful Living and Meditation, which describes how to navigate stress and increase personal focus. Courses are offered via online delivery, and are designed to support career development by expanding students’ skillsets. Fleming (ON)

UBC, Curatio partner on health support app

University of British Columbia’s Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM) and digital health company Curatio have partnered on the Stronger Together project. This project provides Canadians with free health support through Curatio’s social networking health app. The platform allows patients to connect with resources, counselling, health trackers, and social connections, while providing researchers with insight into how to most effectively offer virtual health support. “Patients are facing unique challenges accessing health care resources during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CCDPM Director Kathleen Martin Ginis. “We need to bridge these gaps and help patients build social connections that can improve their health and well-being.” UBC (BC)

Indigenization through the collective bargaining process: OCUFA

In an article discussing the recent collective bargaining process at Brock University, Brock faculty Spy Dénommé-Welch and Larry Savage discuss the process, outcomes, and learnings from pursuing Indigenization through collective bargaining. The article describes some of the challenges that may need to be addressed during the process, including prioritization issues, the impact of entrenched colonial mindsets both at the bargaining table and within the union, and hesitation or anxiety around drafting proposals on Indigenization and decolonization. Dénomme-Welch and Savage conclude by noting the importance of representation in academic staff association structures and processes, and the need to ensure Indigenous negotiating team members are given the space to speak their truth directly to the employer. OCUFA (ON)

Douglas to develop ZTC for General Business Certificate

Douglas College has announced that it is developing a Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) program for its General Business Certificate. With support from BCcampus, Douglas will be developing open educational resources (OERs) for four courses that will contain inclusive and diverse stories, examples, and case studies. “Equally important is that, not only will students benefit from reducing textbook costs, but it will also allow us to employ them in the development of OER,” said Debra Flewelling, open education and emerging technologies librarian, “showcasing how students can be active participants in an open education framework.” BCcampus (BC)

UCalgary receives $9M for co-operative education and internships

The University of Calgary will receive $9M in federal funding through Magnet’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) to enable Canadian employers to hire UCalgary students for paid work placements. The funding will support co-operative education and internship placements. Employers will be able to gain access to low-cost, flexible talent, while allowing students to gain paid experience and skill development. “During these opportunities, UCalgary students benefit from discovering their sense of purpose, improving their civic consciousness and employability, and developing their leadership skills,” said Dr Dru Marshall, provost and VP (academic). UCalgary partner organization, Magnet, will deliver the funding. UCaglary (AB)

International students in Canada facing financial hardships

While Canada relies on international students to maintain the population and economy, Times Higher Education reports that international students are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. A World Education Services (WES) survey found that 26% of international students had lost their primary income and 35% were struggling to pay housing costs. These students were not eligible for government relief programs. “If they are going to be part of our population growth – which is intentional, which is what government is doing – then let’s make sure that we look out for them,” said Shamira Madhany, WES’ managing director for Canada. Times Higher Ed (National)