Top Ten

February 2, 2021

CAUT, CFS, CUPE, PSAC, NUPGE announce launch of Education for All campaign

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and the National Union of Public General Employees have collaborated to launch the Education for All campaign. CAUT states that Education for All envisions high-quality, publicly-funded postsecondary education that is more affordable and accessible for students. Representatives from member organizations describe a variety of challenges that Education for All addresses, including underfunding, the effects of COVID-19, barriers to accessibility, and issues around precariously employed instructors. “Colleges and universities are where knowledge, innovation and talent grow and thrive,” said CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith. “The strength of the sector is key to a resilient future for us all.” CAUT (National)

Sask Polytech, GDI, Saskatoon, Radius, STC collaborate on kanātan nipīy program

Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Gabriel Dumont Institute, City of Saskatoon, Radius Community Centre, and Saskatoon Tribal Council have partnered on the coordination of the kanātan nipīy (the water is clean/clean water) program. Students in the program will learn essential water treatment skills that will provide them with a career pathway. Two streams of the program will be offered for Indigenous learners: one for those under 30 years old, and one for all ages. “Indigenous students are an important part of Saskatoon’s community,” said Dr Larry Rosia, President of Sask Polytech. “Providing essential skills training is one way to help the Indigenous learners participating in the program to succeed in their water treatment training and as members of today’s workforce.” Sask Polytech (SK)

TÉLUQ, AU expand partnership with AMC

Université TÉLUQ and Athabasca University have announced the expansion of a partnership with Affaires mondiales Canada (AMC) that will provide new opportunities to AMC staff. Through the expanded partnership, all AMC staff, regardless of their department or geographic location, will be able to access increased training opportunities through the two universities’ credit courses. Courses are offered in both of Canada’s official languages through distance learning platforms designed to meet the needs of learners anywhere in the world. TELUQ (AB | QC)

Indigenous course instructor alleges UBC deleted interim reports

A University of British Columbia instructor has alleged that UBC has erased the interim reports of twelve teaching candidates and asked her to do the same with her copies. The article explains that Dr Amie Wolf, who is of Mi’kmaq ancestry, taught a course at UBC that “gives prospective teachers the background to teach Indigenous topics and perspectives.” Following negative interactions throughout the course, Dr Wolf indicated on the interim reports of 12 students that they were not ready to educate others about Indigenous subject matter. The Peak reports that the students transferred out of the class after making complaints to the course supervisor, and Ubyssey states that a parent issued a complaint about the “excessively harsh” feedback. Dr Wolf has since been placed on administrative leave and is reportedly seeking repercussions such as an apology from the administration and a one-time pay-out from the university. The Peak | City News 1130 | Ubyssey (BC)

UPDATE: The University of British Columbia has reportedly fired Dr. Amie Wolf without cause. Wolf has become the centre of controversy, report Global News and Ubyssey, after publishing the names of students publicly and sending an email to Darryl Laroux who suggested that her claims of Indigenous ancestry were false. Global News | Ubyssey

Engaging in ethical internationalism: Opinion

Internationalization and the ways Western countries attract students from developing countries presents ethical problems, writes Dr Wei Liu of the University of Alberta International. The author argues that, by attracting students from families that can afford to travel, Western countries contribute to economic and social issues in the students’ home countries. Liu further argues that attracting top immigrants to postsecondary education causes talent to move from developing countries to developed countries. The author suggests ways that universities can mitigate this impact, such as funding Western students to study in developing countries or ethically engaging in internationalism. “At a larger structural level […] we have to ask ourselves whether international education has narrowed or expanded the gap between the world’s haves and have nots,” writes Liu. University World News (International)

Online course created by late Concordia professor used as teaching tool

The Times Colonist reports that the online course of a late Concordia University instructor is still in use after the instructor’s passing in 2019. Another instructor and two teaching assistants have been interacting with students and giving feedback while using the video lectures created by Francois-Marc Gagnon as a “teaching tool.” However, the article explains that a Concordia student attempted to contact Gagnon, believing that the creator of the course was also the instructor, and was surprised to learn that Gagnon had passed on. Concordia apologized for the confusion and explained that though the course had been taught by Gagnon in the past, it is listed as being taught by a its current instructor. Times Colonist | National Post (QC)

UCN joins OCC to connect students with experiential learning

The University College of the North has joined Outcome Campus Connect (OCC), an online experiential learning, skill development, and job opportunity network for postsecondary students. The program, funded by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program, will give UCN students access to postings from Canadian employers looking to provide experiential learning opportunities. “Outcome Campus Connect provides our students direct access to a wealth of opportunities, relevant to their fields of study and interests, from employers across Canada – all right from their student portal,” said Krystle Paskaruk, UCN Career & Work Integrated Learning Coordinator. UCN (MB)

UAlberta, Brass Dome Ventures partner on imYEG accelerator

The University of Alberta has partnered with Brass Dome Ventures Ltd to found a commercialization accelerator called Innovation Masterminds Edmonton (imYEG). The accelerator will address the barriers researchers may meet as they begin to commercialize technologies and applications developed in western Canada. imYEG is supported though a $700K investment from the Government of Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada. “Innovation is at the heart of the University of Alberta,” said UAlberta President and imYEG founding partner Bill Flanagan. “imYEG will strengthen the U of A’s role as a key partner in Alberta's efforts to diversify and drive the economy through innovation, and job and company creation.” UAlberta (AB)

CBU begins transitioning faculty and staff back to campus

Cape Breton University has begun transitioning its faculty and staff back to campus. CBC reports that CBU’s Return to Campus Committee has recommended that faculty and staff begin to work on campus before students return in order to adapt to the new public health measures. Tanya Brann-Barrett, CBU’s associate VP of academic and research and head of the Return to Campus Committee, says that this is so faculty “can have time to think about how they can teach in those spaces while adhering to public health protocols.” The article says that classes will remain online until May, when students are expected to return to campus. CBC (NS)

AB unions stage drive-by protest over budget cuts and performance-based funding

Members of multiple postsecondary unions for staff and students staged a drive-by protest to express their concern about the Government of Alberta’s proposed budget cuts and move towards performance-based funding. The article says that protesters honked their horns and held signs as they drove around the office of AB Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides. “We’re drawing attention to the need to re-invest in post-secondary education and to ensure that we are ready and able, more importantly, to contribute in a positive way to the Alberta economy and its reinvention,” said Lee Easton, president of the Mount Royal Faculty Association. Nicolaides stated that AB “is facing some incredibly challenging financial and economic realities.” Calgary Herald (AB)