Top Ten

April 23, 2021

CAPR cancels 2021 clinical exams, students unable to register as full physiotherapists

The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) has cancelled all of its 2021 clinical exams, leaving physiotherapy students across Canada frustrated. The decision reportedly comes after the online exam platform crashed while students were writing their exams in March. CBC reports that this is the fourth time that their exams have been cancelled since March 2020. Students who pass only the written exam can work as interim physiotherapists, but this position reportedly comes with restrictions, lower pay, and professional stigma. The BC Ministry of Health recently declined a proposal from the College of BC Physiotherapists that would have seen 81 interim physiotherapists fully registered as physiotherapists without the clinical exam. CBC (National)

To improve online education in Canada, collect more data, provide more supports: Opinion

Government leadership should take action and collect more data on online learning in order to better support virtual education in Canada, writes Royal Roads University Professor George Veletsianos. Veletsianos outlines a number of considerations for policy makers and institutional leaders who engage with online education and calls for the collection of data on points such as how and where Canadians engage in online learning, what knowledge and skills they are pursuing, and what barriers both learners and teachers face. The author further encourages policy makers to take action to support institutions in developing faculty expertise in online pedagogy and rewarding collaborative efforts to this end. Policy Options (National)

SK develops multi-year funding plan for postsecondary institutions

The Government of Saskatchewan has developed a four-year funding plan for the province’s postsecondary institutions. For the next two years, the SK Ministry of Advanced Education will provide an increase of $60M beyond the base funding, which will stay stable at 2020-21 levels. Each publicly funded postsecondary institution signed a MOU outlining the areas the additional funding will be targeted toward, including revenue generation, sector collaboration, and the achievement of strategic initiatives. “This investment will help ensure programming and research remain aligned with the needs of students and Saskatchewan communities and will give institutions the ability to assist the province in achieving the goals set out in the Growth Plan,” said Advanced Education Minister Gene Makowsky. SK (SK)

BC Budget 2021 draws mixed responses from postsecondary sector

The Government of British Columbia’s recently released provincial budget has drawn mixed reactions from the postsecondary sector. The budget includes increased funding for mental health supports, funding for health-focused postsecondary education and skills training, and supports for work-integrated learning and work opportunities for youth through initiatives such as the StrongerBC Future Leaders program and the Innovator Skills Initiative program. Katie Hyslop of The Tyee stated that “there was little new funding in the budget for students,” although BC Federation of Students Jenelle Davies noted that the previous year’s budget had seen the introduction of BC Access Grant. While the mental health and skills development supports were welcomed, Alliance of BC Students Executive Director Anna-Elaine Rempel told Global News that some of the programs funded by these two investments were age limited, which meant that mature students would be unable to take advantage of these supports. BC (Budget) | The Tyee | Global News (Video) (BC)

NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR release Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan

Canada’s three federal research funding agencies – NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR – have announced the release of the Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan. The plan, which was developed under the leadership of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, will create the foundation for an inclusive and diverse research environment. The plan outlines actions that will increase equitable access to research support and participation within the three agencies, as well as within academic institutions and the research system. The plan is also designed to be adaptable to new realities and insights. “Whether we are conducting research, studying at a post-secondary institution, developing policies, or administering programs, we all have an important role to play in ensuring that Canada’s research system supports and values participation by all,” conclude NSERC President Alejandro Adem, SSHRC President Ted Hewitt, and CIHR President Michael Strong. NSERC (National)

Canadian instructors reflect on impact of producing TikTok videos on teaching methods

Some instructors have begun using TikTok to teach the public, writes Emily Baron Cadloff, and creating these videos has changed their teaching styles within the university classroom. Cadloff describes how UBC Professor Dr Anna Blakney and University of Manitoba Assistant Professor Dr Gigi Osler found that their teaching styles developed while creating videos for TikTok, as the production of these videos required them to explain things in a simple, succinct way. Both stated that TikTok “doesn’t have a permanent place in their syllabi,” but Blakney noted its value for reaching the public. The article concludes with a discussion from York University Education Professor Kate Tilleczek about educators’ responsibilities and the impacts of bringing new technologies and apps into the classroom. University Affairs (National)

USask announces University Sector Plan to develop endowed university land

The University of Saskatchewan has announced the University Sector Plan, which is focused on the development of up to 1,000 acres of endowed university land. The plan, which was developed with the City of Saskatoon, provides a framework to guide the planning and development of the area. The article says that the area could be home to almost 60,000 residents in five walkable and transit-oriented neighbourhoods. USask Director of Infrastructure Planning and Land Development Judy Yungwirth explained that the plan is “a very high-level vision.” “We don’t have detailed descriptions of those neighbourhoods,” said Yungwirth. “But we do see them as complete, very vibrant, sustainable, distinct communities.” CBC (SK)

UNBC, Coastal GasLink renew partnership, create scholarships for engineering, Indigenous students

The University of Northern British Columbia has announced that it has renewed a partnership with TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink project. Coastal GasLink will also provide engineering students and Indigenous students in any program with scholarships through $180K over the next three years. “These awards allow for more students to engage in enriching learning and research opportunities at UNBC,” said UNBC Interim President Dr Geoff Payne. “This significant investment meets the local labour market demand for knowledge and skills in engineering and a variety of other disciplines.” UNBC (BC)

RDC, RRC, Georgian reflect on significant campus projects in light of Earth Day

Red Deer College, Red River College, and Georgian College announced updates on major projects in honour of Earth Day. RDC’s Alternative Energy Lab received LEED Silver certification and the college’s Alternative Energy Initiative was recognized by Clean50 for its use of sustainable technologies. Georgian and industry partner Bracebridge Generation celebrated the completion of a stage of its Project SPEEDIER. SPEEDIER is three-year project focused on assisting Parry Sound, ON in its mission to become one of the first net-zero communities in Canada. RRC shared that it plans to open its LEED-certified, near-net-zero Innovation Centre later this year. The building’s exterior will see Building Integrated Photovoltaics installed along the exterior, the first such installation of its kind in Canada. Todayville (RDC) | RRC | Georgian (National)

UQAM, UQTR announce redesign of PhD in Philosophy program

The Université du Québec à Montréal has announced that it will be redesigning the PhD in Philosophy program that it offers jointly with the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. Starting in Fall 2021, the program will require students to complete 18 credits, including a new 6-credit intensive seminar course which will focus on the major themes of philosophy. The tuition requirements are now similar to other PhD in philosophy programs offered in North America. UQAM states that the program’s redesign was guided by the idea of creating a spirit of philosophical community at the graduate level. UQAM (QC)