Top Ten

April 13, 2021

USudbury community members respond to termination of federation agreement

University of Sudbury President Father John Meehan has responded to Laurentian University’s recent decision to terminate its federation agreements by stating that the move hurts both Laurentian and the federated universities. While Laurentian has promised that students at the federated universities can take courses at the restructured Laurentian, Meehan argues that students will “wind up with less choice.” USudbury faculty have also continued to express their concerns about the future of USudbury’s Indigenous Studies program. Instructor Tasha Beeds (Plains Cree and Métis) told The Star that she is concerned that Laurentian will not be able to mirror what USudbury has offered: a School of Indigenous Studies that is built for and by Indigenous people, with programming that has grown out of the community. An open letter signed by almost 1500 Indigenous educators has called for the continuation of USudbury’s Indigenous Studies program. The Sudbury Star (1) | The Star | The Sudbury Star (2) (ON)

BC announces emergency funding for postsecondary students

The Government of British Columbia has announced additional emergency funding for postsecondary students in BC. Through a series of regional announcements, BC has announced a total of $3M in 2021 that will be administered through the Student Emergency Assistance Fund and $1M for 2021 through the Indigenous Emergency Fund. The funding intends to support student success and to encourage students to continue pursuing postsecondary education during COVID-19. “This emergency financial assistance provides an important safety net for students to ensure they have the funds to focus on continuing their education,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. Students will be able to apply for emergency funding through their postsecondary institution’s financial aid office or Indigenous student centre. Castanet | BC (Metro Vancouver) (BC)

NB expects postsecondary students to resume in-person learning in fall semester

The Government of New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health Dr Jennifer Russell has announced that postsecondary institutions can expect to resume in-person classes in the fall semester. “With the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines expected to be available to all New Brunswick adults by early summer, we are optimistic that these institutions will be able to offer on-campus instruction safely and successfully during the 2021-22 academic year,” said Russell. In order to return to in-person learning, institutions will be required to have an approved COVID-19 operational plan. The Star explains that postsecondary institutions in NB are independent of the government and can choose when to reopen in person. NB | The Star (NB)

A better system of encouraging class participation: Opinion

Grading based on class participation has significant downsides and can be exchanged for a better system, writes James M Lang. The author describes how traditional participation grades are often very difficult to keep track of, subject to bias and imperfect memory, and bring up issues of quantity vs quality. Lang describes how he implemented in his own class in which participation is expected from the first day of class, with students provided opportunities to speak with each other and classwide discussions. The author also explains how he made an effort to make the class safe and inclusive, with gratitude towards students who participated and the understanding that any invitation to participate can be declined. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

Lambton, MtA receives donations from banks in support of entrepreneurship

Lambton College and Mount Allison University recently received large donations from Canadian banks and bank foundations in support of entrepreneurship. Lambton received a gift of $750K over three years from the RBC Foundation for its Project One Circle program. The gift will support financial literacy and entrepreneurship training for youth in First Nations communities in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. MtA received a $500K donation from TD Bank Group in support of student entrepreneurship. The donation will provide TD Ignite Grants to support students’ budding entrepreneurial projects and will support the establishment of the Virtual TD Entrepreneurial Thinking Incubator (TD ETI) on campus. MtA | Lambton (NB | ON)

MB amends Bill 33 to not cover student union fees and services

The Government of Manitoba has amended Bill 33 —the Advanced Education Administration Amendment Act— to ensure that it does not affect student union fees and services. Advanced Education Minister Wayne Ewasko explained that the amendment shows that student unions’ and associations’ student fees will not be affected by Bill 33. CBC says that the amendment ensures that student-led organizations remain autonomous and can provide their members with services and supports. Winnipeg Free Press | CBC | Bill 33 (MB)

UCalgary students raise concerns over proposal to sell campus bookstore

The University of Calgary has announced that it is considering selling its bookstore to an American company in an effort to cut costs. UCalgary students have raised concerns over the idea, as the bookstore currently tries to keep costs down for students through selling books as close to cost as possible and through maintaining a book-loan program. “A university-owned bookstore’s priority is providing services to students and creating affordability,” said Mateusz Salmassi, an organizer with the Students for Direct Action campus advocacy club. “Even if they get more profits, it will be coming out of students’ pockets, once again.” Calgary Herald (AB)

Searching for an academic job during the COVID-19 pandemic: Opinion

Searching successfully for an academic job during the COVID-19 pandemic can be a challenge, writes David Ding, but the process can be approached in a way that produces results. Ding explains that the search process can present an opportunity to continuously learn, and recommends that applicants approach jobs without hopes for an offer or fearing rejection. The author shares tips for others who are looking for a job in an academic field and describes the importance of building a process through which to apply for jobs and to network. Ding concludes by encouraging applicants to build their networks while staying positive and patient. Inside Higher Ed (International)

OPSEU responds to Sheridan’s cancelation of academic senate

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO) has released a response to the Sheridan College Board of Governors’ decision to cancel Sheridan’s academic senate. OPSEU states that faculty was not consulted on the abolition and asserts there was no evidence that the senate was not working. It also states that “the college's report was clearly done with a predetermined outcome in mind.” The release emphasizes OPSEU’s belief that the senate is legitimate and is a vital part of the education community. “Worldwide,” says OPSEU, “shared governance is a core tenet of postsecondary systems. It must be a part of Ontario's college system as we move towards standalone nursing degrees and increased research.” NewsWire (ON)

MHC faculty association files seven labour board complaints against board

The faculty association at Medicine Hat College has reportedly filed seven labour board complaints against the college’s board of governors. The association alleges that, in an “effort to undermine the credibility of the union and the collective bargaining process,” the employer had improper conversations with its members. The college and association have been negotiating a contract to replace the expired contract from mid-2020. Medicine Hat News states that no response from the college has been filed and that a date is yet to be set for a hearing. Medicine Hat News (AB)