Top Ten

February 10, 2021

MB releases strategy for postsecondary institutions

The Government of Manitoba has released a 3-year strategy for postsecondary institutions that CBC says is meant to kickstart MB’s economy and ensure that graduates have the skills and training necessary for success in the labour market. Manitoba’s Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy will connect tuition to the economy, and will see all students graduate with experience in their field gained from internships, co-ops, or land-based learning. However, the plan has been criticized by faculty. “The minister certainly presented aspirations without much in the way of details,” said Scott Forbes, president of the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations. “I am a little surprised about the sort of the philosophical approach, because right-of-centre governments usually tell us that government shouldn't be picking winners and losers in business and industry.” CBC | Winnipeg Free Press | MB (Report) (MB)

UNB researchers lead Atlantic Canada in Silva21 initiative

The University of New Brunswick has announced that its researchers will be part of the Silva21 collaborative initiative, which has received $5.1M over five years for research in silviculture. UNB will represent Atlantic Canada in the project, and will focus on the establishment of TransEx, which uses a network of trials to examine how different species adapt to climate change. It will also work with four other postsecondary institutions to address 38 silviculture research questions. Funding will support the program and fieldwork as well as allow institutions to fund the hiring of graduate research assistants, research staff, undergraduate students, and create postdoctoral fellowships. UNB (NB)

ON invests $7M into postsecondary mental health

The Government of Ontario has provided a $7M investment in mental health for postsecondary students. The funding will increase student access to mental health and addiction services by providing students with access to ON’s mental health and addictions system. “We continue to hear from mental health professionals that our youth are under more pressure and more stress than any recent generation,” said Michael Tibollo, ON Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “In these unprecedented times, this investment will help to ensure that the mental health services they need are going to be there to support them, when they need it.” The announcement is part of the $147M in funding for mental health supports announced by the Ministry of Health. ON (ON)

Snow penguin protests against cuts to PSE spread across AB

Students across Alberta have joined protests against postsecondary education cuts through setting up snow penguins, which represent students who will leave AB, in strategic locations. The protests have seen penguins built on AB’s legislature grounds and in Calgary, with Mount Royal University and Athabasca University students setting up penguins in Calgary. “We want the premier and the Alberta government to not cut the budget of universities and colleges in the provincial budget later this month,” said Rowan Ley, VP of the University of Alberta Students’ Union. “It’s the worst possible time to do that, when we’re already struggling with an exodus of young people from Alberta and the worst recession in living memory.” CBC (AB)

PQ tables motion to stop fast-tracking Dawson College’s infrastructure expansion

The Parti Québécois has announced that it will table a motion to stop fast-tracking Dawson College’s $100M infrastructure expansion. The Montreal Gazette states that the expansion is the only collegial project in the fast-track infrastructure program. The article explains that the Government of Quebec has argued that reinvestments should prioritize French-language institutions. PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon has reportedly expressed concerns over QC funding assimilation. Montreal Gazette (QC)

Brock, Niagara partner to host REDress Project

Brock University and Niagara College have partnered to host an installation of the REDress Project. Dresses will be installed on both the Brock campus and the Niagara campus for a week, and the Brock and Niagara communities will be encouraged to participate in virtual events about the REDress Project; missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people; and the impacts in Niagara. “I’m so excited this year’s REDress event is a collaboration between Niagara College and Brock University,” said Robyn Bourgeois, Brock’s Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement. “Partnership and collaboration are the cornerstones of success, and I’m so pleased we can work together to raises awareness about MMIWG2S+.” Brock | NationTalk (ON)

Supporting graduate students through communication support programs: Opinion

Communication is integral to graduate student success in a variety of career pathways, writes Jovana Milosavljevic Ardeljan, and postsecondary institutions should support their students by providing communications support programs. Ardeljan explains that communication support programs help graduates develop and diversify their career options while also supporting them in finishing their degrees faster. The author argues that communication support programs also foster a sense of community and support student health while relieving faculty of pressure to train students in communication. “Writing and oral communication programs are essential investments in student retention and completion,” concludes Ardeljan. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Loyalist launches Cannabis Career Launch micro-credential pilot program

Loyalist College has launched a Cannabis Career Launch micro-credential pilot program. Students in the program are prepared for entry-level careers in the cannabis sector through hands-on training and a paid two-week placement in the industry. The program, which is partially funded by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, is free for students. “[I]ndividuals will learn about quality control and cannabis legislations and regulations. They will quickly earn the skills for which local small and medium-sized enterprises are looking to bring cannabis 2.0 products to market,” said Loyalist President Dr Ann Marie Vaughan. “Together, we will position program participants for success as they pursue careers in cannabis, helping to address significant skills gaps in this burgeoning sector.” Loyalist (ON)

Parkland, Wakayos launch Essential Skills for Environmental Sustainability course

Parkland College has partnered with Wakayos Employment and Training Centre to launch an Essential Skills for Environmental Sustainability course. The three-month course will teach students the basics of construction with a strong emphasis on roofing systems. Students will gain certification in solar panel installation. They will also receive training in First Aid/CPR, WHMIS, and Fall Protection. The course is designed to enable graduates to pursue environmentally sustainable careers or to provide training to those interested in alternative energy sources or edible gardens. Parkland (SK)

College Boréal, organizations partner on accelerated PSW training program

College Boréal, in partnership with Sensenbrenner Hospital and health-care organizations in the area, has launched an accelerated training pilot program for personal support workers (PSWs). The program, which is taking place at College Boréal’s Kapuskasing campus, will allow students to become PSWs in 12 weeks. Students take theory courses through Zoom, while completing lab practice on-campus. “Now more than ever, we need health care workers for essential work in the health care sector,” said Brian Vaillancourt, VP of business development with Collège Boréal. “That is why Collège Boréal and its partners are working together to find innovative solutions to fill the need for specialized workers.” Students in the program are sponsored by an institution which pays for their tuition and course manuals. The Sudbury Star (ON)