Top Ten

January 25, 2021

YorkU, Mackenzie Health sign MOU for community health initiative

York University has signed a MOU with Mackenzie Health on a collaborative community health initiative. The two-year partnership will focus on two areas: Education, Professional, and Community Development; and Health Research and Innovation. The partnership will see collaboration in areas of interest such as epidemiology and data sharing, digital health solutions, and health research. “This Memorandum of Understanding will strengthen the partnership between York University and Mackenzie Health, and allow us to contribute toward advancements in research, management, and policy that create healthier communities in York Region and drive positive change both locally and globally,” said Rhonda L Lenton, President of YorkU. YorkU (ON)

Businesses on, near campuses struggle with lack of students

CBC reports that businesses that rely on students as customers are suffering due to fewer people being on and around campuses. Parminder Parhar, owner of Renaissance Coffee on Simon Fraser University’s campus, says that some days there are no customers for hours. Parhar explains that “We probably only do, best case scenario, five per cent of what we did before ... or even less.” The article explains that off-campus businesses that market to students have also been affected, with those like Rice Burger near the University of British Columbia having to pivot to using delivery apps and other strategies to bring customers in. “Our strategy was about 60 to 70 per cent university kids. We took a hit for sure,” said co-owner Jackson Uppal about last spring’s pandemic restrictions. CBC (BC)

Is lasting change in the academic world possible after COVID-19?: Opinion

Though many have predicted that the pandemic will make a long-term change to the world of work, an article from Times Higher Education suggests that academia may not experience the same kind of long-term shift. The article explains that many postsecondary institutions have made temporary changes to their expectations in order to help employees achieve a better work-life balance, but that this is not likely to continue after the pandemic because of the pressure to publish. The article explains that post-pandemic, there will be pressures from management, unions, and staff over what lessons to take from COVID-19 as institutions move towards a new normal. Times Higher Ed (International)

Ontario postsecondary institutions ratify collective agreements

Two Ontario postsecondary institutions have ratified collective agreements with their unions. The University of Sudbury and the Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA) – University of Sudbury Local have ratified a two-year extension to their collective agreement with minor changes. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 677 have also ratified a new collective agreement, which was negotiated virtually. The negotiations had been deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NOSM | USudbury (ON)

Benefits of co-creating OER with trades students: Study

Chad Flinn, dean of the School of Trades and Technology at Medicine Hat College, describes the findings of research he conducted at the British Columbia Institute of Technology as a 2019 BCcampus Open Education Advocacy and Research Fellow. The study examined the experiences of electrical trades students who co-create and use Open Educational Resources (OER) during vocational education. Flinn found that co-created resources were more accessible and that students were more engaged in the topics and felt a sense of agency in their learning process. “Finally having the research and data showed that this was a much more engaging and important process than I initially had thought,” said Flinn. BCcampus (BC)

Centennial, Samsung extend partnership to 2023

Centennial College and Samsung Canada have extended an ongoing partnership as part of the Samsung Tech Institute initiative. Students in Centennial’s Electronics Engineering Technician program benefit from a curriculum that was developed by Centennial and Samsung. Additionally, they take part in hands-on learning in the Samsung Tech Institute Lab, which allows students to gain skills in servicing electronics and prepares them for potential careers specializing in Samsung Digital Appliances. “When students can see potential career paths, use the specialized tools of the trade, and learn from professionals in those roles, they can see themselves in that profession,” said Dr Patrick Kelly, Dean of the School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science at Centennial. NewsWire (ON)

UQAM offers three new specializations in its Baccalauréat en communication program

Université du Québec à Montréal has announced that it will be offering three new specializations in its Baccalauréat en communication (médias numériques) program: video games, digital media, and artificial intelligence. Starting in the third year of the program, students will take courses in their specialization. Students completing the video games specialization will study topics such as game design, social issues, and player communities; students in the digital media specialization will learn about data collection, marketing profiling, and surveillance; and students in the artificial intelligence specialization will complete courses in algorithms, human-machine communication, and ethics. Graduates will have their specialization listed on their diplomas. UQAM (QC)

VCC takes role of International Secretariat of University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific

Vancouver Community College has announced that it has taken over the role of International Secretariat of University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) from Toyo University in Japan. VCC says it will use the role to increase student diversity, encourage global competencies in students, and strengthen intercultural awareness. “We sincerely appreciate the foresight of Global Affairs Canada in supporting VCC as the new host of the UMAP International Secretariat,” said Ajay Patel, VCC President. “It not only positions Canada and British Columbia well, but it also exemplifies the diversity and strength of the Canadian academic landscape that a community college can lead student mobility in the most dynamic of global regions.” VCC (BC)

A different kind of academic rigour: Opinion

Emphasizing academic rigour and being a demanding teacher can be a point of pride for academics, but it can be damaging to students, writes Greg Skutches. The author explains how students have been trained throughout high school to focus on working hard and achieving good grades rather than learning and personal growth, and that this continues into postsecondary education and beyond. The article explains that “rigour” can also be part of a more humane approach that encourages curiosity and exploration of material. “This rigour of deep learning appeals to intrinsic motivation, embracing enquiry, analysis, synthesis, application, practice and reflection,” writes Skutches. Times Higher Ed (International)

RDC switches path, aspires to polytechnic status

Following recent updatefrom the Government of Alberta’s system-wide review, Red Deer College has announced that it anticipatethat it will become a polytechnic institution. The designation would provide the college with the ability to deliver degrees, while still offering a range of credentials that include trades programming.  “As an institution, we are very supportive of the polytechnic model because it offers a unique designation that would allow us to support our students, partners, industry and community members,” said RDC President Dr Peter Nunoda. “For me, the most important thing is what we will be able to achieve. As a polytechnic, we would be able to partner with government and industry to produce highly employable graduates that meet the ever-changing needs of the labour market.” The college will await the final decision from the AB at the conclusion of the review and will announce a new model at that time.  Red Deer Advocate (AB)