Top Ten

March 30, 2021

RDC receives approval to offer Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences degree

Red Deer College has announced that it has been approved to offer a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences degrees. “We are excited to be able to offer more students with degree-completion opportunities through this new Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences,” said RDC President Dr Peter Nunoda. The Red Deer Advocate notes that the announcement was made a week after RDC students staged a Collective Day of Action to urge the Government of Alberta to approve RDC to offer degrees. “this was a historic step in the right direction for RDC’s future,” said Brittany Lausen, Red Deer College Students’ Association president. RDC is still waiting for approval to grant Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science Psychology, Bachelor of Arts Psychology, and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. Red Deer Advocate | RDC (AB)

Canada invests $14.3M through CIHR for COVID-19 variant research

The Government of Canada has announced that it will be making a $14.3M investment through the Canadian Institute of Health Research to support research on COVID-19 variants. $5.3M of the funding will support ongoing COVID-19 research projects, while $9M will support the new national Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net). CoVaRR-Net will be led by Dr Marc-André Langlois from the University of Ottawa and will coordinate variants research throughout the country. The network will be comprised of eight core pillars of activity, according to NationTalk, which are focused on different efforts such as informing the public or mitigating the impact of the virus variants. “Many provinces are seeing variant-driven surges,” said Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine of the University of Saskatchewan, who is leading pillar six. “Even when the vaccines are rolled out we will continue to have challenges with variants, not only in Canada but globally.” Canada | NationTalk (National)

AB implements compensation caps for postsecondary leadership

The Government of Alberta has implemented pay and benefits caps on the total compensation Alberta postsecondary vice-presidents and deans can be offered. CBC explains that leaders who report to the president will have their pay capped at $391K at larger institutions, and $205K at smaller institutions. Executives from large institutions who are two tiers down from the president will have their salaries capped at $312K. The move is estimated to save institutions around $3.7M annually by 2023-24. “This helps to bring Alberta’s post-secondary executive compensation in line with other provinces to ensure tax dollars are spent as effectively as possible and benefit all Albertans,” wrote Charlotte Taillon, press secretary to the AB Finance Minister. The University of Calgary responded by questioning if the new rules would affect its ability to attract talent, while CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith told CBC that the move masks the real issue of government underfunding. CBC (AB)

UdeM launches graduate-level education degree to address shortage of teaching staff

The Université de Montréal has received the green light from the Government of Quebec to launch a master’s degree in education. Starting this fall, the program will train teachers for preschool and elementary school. The program is intended for students with a bachelor degree and will provide a new gateway into the teaching profession, helping to address a current shortage of teachers in the province. UdeM states that it is the first university in QC to offer this type of program. UdeM (QC)

USB, GP partner to build on Genome360 initiative

Université de Saint-Boniface and Genome Prairie (GP) have partnered to build on GP’s Genome360 initiative, which will support the genomics community with resources and connections. The partnership will include a shared lab space at USB, which will benefit GP by providing the required equipment for genome and genetic analysis, and the use of Genome360 mobile technology, which will benefit USB’s science programs and research. “USB is proud of this major partnership with Genome Prairie,” said USB President Sophie Bouffard. “We are thrilled about the new possibilities that open up to us through this agreement, such as training opportunities for our undergraduates as well as access to equipment that is unavailable anywhere else in Manitoba.” GP (MB)

Marketing and communications offices need to hire critical race theory experts: Opinion

While marketing and communications offices are often quick to use profiles of the BIPOC community in advertising materials, write Leah Hamilton, Irene Shankar, and Mohammed El Hazzouri, “many seem reluctant to profile BIPOC members’ scholarship, particularly advocacy work.” The authors argue that many institutions overrepresent, misrepresent, and tokenize students and faculty in their marketing materials, while ignoring the scholarship and expertise of these community members. They call on marketing and communications teams to hire professionals with expertise in equality and diversity matters, such as critical race editors, directors, and staff who can advocate for the voices of BIPOC members on campus. University Affairs (National)

AUPE announces retroactive pay increase for members at seven institutions

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) has announced that workers at seven postsecondary institutions will be receiving a retroactive 1% pay increase for the July 1, 2019 - June 20, 2020 period. AUPE states that this increase will be instead of a 2% rollback that the provincial government had attempted to implement. “Once again, an independent arbitrator has thoroughly rejected rollbacks for public sector workers,” said AUPE vice-president Kevin Barry. “Independent experts agree that rollbacks don’t make economic sense.” AUPE members at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Norquest College, Athabasca University, University of Lethbridge, Lakeland College, Northern Lakes College, and Red Deer College will receive the retroactive increase. AUPE | Red Deer Advocate (AB)

UWindsor implements “modified quarantine” after wastewater tests positive for COVID-19

The University of Windsor has implemented a “modified quarantine” in its Alumni Hall residence after a sample of wastewater tested positive for COVID-19. CBC reports that UWindsor does daily wastewater tests for COVID-19 on campus, and that this is the first time in two months that the wastewater has tested positive. The health unit will be providing testing to Alumni Hall students, with Student Health Services providing additional support. CBC says UWindsor’s wastewater testing gives them the opportunity to identify who has the COVID-19 infection before they spread it throughout the residence. CBC (ON)

Micro-credentials at BC postsecondary institutions increase in popularity

Micro-credentials are seeing increasing popularity at postsecondary institutions in British Columbia, writes BC Business reporter Dee Hon. The article describes how micro-credentials can benefit students who are interested in completing short courses to add value to their resumes and learners who need to reskill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The article describes a variety of approaches to micro-credentials taken by institutions, such as micro-credentials that stack for credits, transfer into a degree program, or bundle towards a non-degree professional certificate. “The key is that [micro-credentials] are industry-relevant, they’re short in duration, and they have some kind of assessment built in,” explained Vancouver Community College continuing studies senior programming coordinator Claire Sauvé. BCBusiness (BC)

Beginner Tłıchǫ Yatıì language course at Collège Nordique sees enrolment growth

Collège Nordique’s beginner Tłıchǫ Yatıì language course has seen enrolment growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online course provides an accessible learning experience that has enabled instructor Georgina Franki to provide instruction to many different people. “You don’t have to sit with them, but you can still teach them,” said Franki. When describing her teaching style, Franki states “[w]hen I teach, I teach about what my Elders and how my grandma would have spoken to me, in the endearing way, instead of like today.” Enrolment has grown enough for the college to offer two beginner one Tłıchǫ classes. “I think the biggest thing that I'm proud of is our contribution to the revitalization of the language and culture,” said Collège Nordique’s language programmer Rosie Benning. CBC (NWT)