Top Ten

February 3, 2021

Laurentian files for court proceeding under the CCAA

Laurentian University has announced that it has commenced a court proceeding under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The university states that it has been facing increased financial challenges due to factors such as low and declining enrolment, the 2019 tuition freeze, and the costs associated with the pandemic, and that these proceedings are “the best path forward … to financially and operationally restructure the University.” CBC reports that Laurentian’s current students will continue their education as normal, and Laurentian will continue to recruit new students. Government of Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano described the move as “deeply concerning” and announced that Dr Alan Harrison would act as special advisor to Romano on the situation. Romano further stated that the province is exploring its options in order to “ensure this issue does not repeat itself in other institutions.” CTV News reports that prior to Laurentian’s filing for creditor protection, the faculty union issued a news release demanding that the university “prove it was in financial distress.” Laurentian | ON | CBC | CTV News (ON )

Canada signs MOUs, makes investments for Canada-produced vaccines through NRC, USask

The Government of Canada has made a series of important announcements related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Among the announcements were the signing of an MOU that will see tens of millions of vaccine doses developed at the National Research Council’s Royalmount facility in Montreal and a $46M investment into a vaccine development facility at the University of Saskatchewan. Once the facility is complete, 680 News reports that USask’s VIDO-InterVAC projects that they will be able to produce millions of doses annually. “We need as much domestic capacity for vaccine production as possible,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "We won't rest until every Canadian who wants a vaccine has received one." CBC | 680 News (National)

Eliminating doctoral seminars to revitalize the humanities PhD: Opinion

Eliminating doctoral seminars in the humanities could help strengthen the degrees of PhD graduates, writes George Justice. The author explains that many programs do not have enough students to offer an appropriate range of seminars, and that PhD students often wind-up taking master’s level classes instead. The author describes how humanities PhD programs could be re-envisioned and restructured so that students take two years of master’s level courses to complete a master’s degree, before going on to complete three years of research-intensive PhD work. This kind of program “would make better use of our limited resources and better prepare a smaller number of doctoral students for career success after grad school,” writes Justice. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

Snow penguins set up during AB PSE protest removed as potential tripping hazard

Students set up around 800 snow penguins on the Alberta legislature grounds in preparation for a protest about provincial cuts to postsecondary education, but CBC reports that around 600 of the penguins were removed prior to the protest. The article says that the sculptures were a potential tripping hazard, and AB explained that “groundskeeping staff removed the snow sculptures, as they would have removed any other obstruction.” Despite their removal, University of Alberta Students’ Union Vice-President Rowan Ley said that the penguins “were able to start the conversation about cuts to post-secondary education. CBC (AB)

NOSM receives $1.2M donation for social accountability

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine has received a $1.2M donation from to invest in social accountability and address equity issues in the North’s health care, such as marginalization, inequity, and access to care. NOSM will also establish the Center for Social Accountability, which will be built on four pillars: research and innovation, community impact, policy leadership and advocacy, and education. “This generous gift allows NOSM to broaden the scope of our social accountability outcomes,” says Dr Sarita Verma, NOSM President. “Increasing our focus on Northern Ontario communities, partnering on innovative population-health research and engaging in cutting-edge education will advance the work that we are doing and help establish sustainable solutions to health care in Northern Ontario.” NOSM (ON)

Dal, NS partner to develop, deliver computer science course for grade 12 students

Dalhousie University has partnered with the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to give Grade 12 students the opportunity to participate in a university-level computer science course. Students in the program will take part in a computer programming course that has been co-designed by Dal and NS to build on the high school Computer Programming 12 class. Students will earn an optional credit towards CSCI 1105 Introduction to Computer Programming, a core first-year course in Dal’s Faculty of Computer Science. The program will teach students coding skills, expose them to computer science programming, and build their confidence so that they are more likely to complete university education. Dal (NS)

QC Ministry of Higher Education launches consultation in response to stagnating graduation rates

The Government of Quebec’s Ministry of Higher Education is reportedly responding to “stagnating” postsecondary graduation rates across the province by launching a consultation for academic success. CTV News the ministry has launched a Workshop on Success in Higher Education “to resolve various issues related to accessing higher education, the perseverance of students in their training project and their success.” Federation of CEGEP President Lucie Page encouraged the province to consider success beyond basic metrics, as institutions with increased accessibility may see different success rates than those that are not as accessible to individuals with special needs or disabilities. CTV News (QC)

Sault launches program to prepare internationally-trained nurses for certification

Sault College has launched a new one-year graduate program in acute and critical care that will help internationally educated nurses meet the requirements for registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). Through the one-year program, students will be train to meet CNO requirements in all areas, and prepare to write the National Council Licensure Examination. Students will participate in labs, simulations, theory courses, acute and critical care experiences, and clinical practices. The program will begin in September, and is expected to have an enrollment of 25 students. Sault Star | CTV News (ON)

Atoning for higher education’s seven deadly sins: Opinion

Steven Mintz discusses the “seven deadly sins” of higher education, and how those in the academy can “atone” for those sins. Mintz explains how higher education often falls into traps such as teaching knowledge without wisdom, competence without morality, and curriculum without explained relevance. Mintz gives seven ways that these “sins” can be addressed, such as broadening the understanding of a professor’s role in the academy, striving for holistic education, and standing for equity. Mintz also suggests keeping in mind students’ career-focused reasons for pursuing studies, ensuring classes are focused on learning and the learner, ensuring curriculum is designed to teach students the skills expected of an adult, and being transparent about learning objectives. Inside Higher Ed (International)

East coast postsecondary institutions close campuses in response to severe weather

Several institutions on the east coast, including Nova Scotia Community College, Mount Allison University, the University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College, and the Université de Moncton, have closed down in response to a storm. UMoncton closed its Moncton campus and cancelled activities and classes on February 2nd. MtA cancelled all on-campus activities and classes from noon on the 2nd, while online classes and services did not see a disruption. UPEI and Holland also closed their campuses in response to the storm. UMoncton | Mt A | CBC (NB | NS | PEI)