Top Ten

June 28, 2021

Red Deer Polytechnic receives provincial approval for new name

Red Deer College has announced that the Government of Alberta has approved its new name: Red Deer Polytechnic. The name recognizes the institution’s growth and expansion in programming. Red Deer Polytechnic will expand its course offerings to include degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Bachelor of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Education. “We have been collaborating internally, and with industry experts, on our new visual identity as Red Deer Polytechnic,” said Red Deer Polytechnic President Dr Peter Nunoda. “This includes a refreshed logo and other brand elements that we are excited to reveal in the fall.” RDC | rdnewsNOW (AB)

MtA announces new student financial aid, scholarships

Mount Allison University has announced new financial aid and scholarships for students. MtA has received over $10M in new funding since 2020, with much of the funding in endowed funds. Nearly $5.6M will be available as financial aid in the form of scholarships, bursaries, and awards in the 2021-22 academic year. MtA has also announced that it is creating new scholarships at the Frank McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics through a $1M gift from the John and Judy Bragg Foundation. The donation has been endowed to establish and support five new scholarships for students with a wide variety of interests and backgrounds starting in 2022. MtA (1) | MtA (2) (NB)

UoGuelph to launch bachelor of Indigenous environmental science and practice program

The University of Guelph is launching a new bachelor of Indigenous environmental science and practice (BIESP) program. The four-year, interdisciplinary program will bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous environmental protection approaches together through training students in Indigenous knowledge systems alongside western environmental science. The program will include field trips, land-based instruction, and discussion circles and ceremony, as well as allow students to work with Indigenous communities and organizations. “[T]he seed of the idea was planted by a First Nations community partner,” said Dr Cara Wehkamp, special adviser to UoGuelph president Dr Charlotte Yates on Indigenous initiatives. “With the support of many, it has grown into a unique offering that works to weave Indigenous and western environmental science to help address complex social and environmental challenges.” UoGuelph (ON)

Issues with campus bookstore OER access: Report

The Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success Collaborative (DOERS3) has released a report on the role that campus bookstores have in OER efforts. The report says that campus bookstores both provide a means to comply with listing requirements, as well as a sourcing and fulfillment resource. However, the DOERS3 found six common challenges in OER listing and fulfillment; some campus bookstores do not list a digital ISBN for OER, may only provide print versions of an OER resource, and may use vague language about course material requirements. Additionally, bookstores may not allow for custom messaging, present print copies without information about free digital versions, and inaccurately classify OERs in their course material reporting systems. “There is clearly improvement needed on behalf of both stakeholders within the institutions and the campus store itself,” the report said. Campus Technology | DOERS3 (Report) (Editorial)

Western to launch introductory Indigenous perspectives training courses for instructors

Western University has announced that it will be launching two introductory Indigenous perspectives training courses for professors, faculty members, and graduate students. The courses will take an hour to complete, and will give participants tools to help them include Indigenous perspectives in their lessons as well as add nuance to materials. The courses are designed in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and will be available next summer. “We’re seeing … a genuine interest on campus, to really rethink the way that we do things and to include Indigenous perspectives,” said Western faculty of education professor Candace Brunette-Debassige. “When you’re doing that decolonizing work … tensions will emerge in the classroom. That can be very challenging for instructors, so we want to prepare them so that they can have those conversations in respectful ways.” The London Free Press (ON)

Panel discusses concern about provincial implementation of performance-based funding

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) in conjunction with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) hosted a panel discussion regarding performance-based funding in Canadian postsecondary institutions. Panelists discussed the challenges that performance-based funding models may pose, such as increasing inequalities since only students with the highest probability of employment will be accepted, making universities think entrepreneurially, and compromising and reducing institutional independence and quality of education. Speakers called for provincial governments to suspend plans to introduce performance-based funding, and for collective action to push back against performance-based funding. CAUT (National)

Portage, Northern Lakes partner to expand business, hospitality programming

Portage College has partnered with Northern Lakes College to expand the range of business and hospitality programming available in their regions. Portage will be offering a one-year Professional Cooking Certificate program delivered at Northern Lakes’ High Prairie industrial teaching kitchen; graduates can challenge the Cook apprenticeship exams and put their credits toward Portage’s Culinary Arts Diploma. Portage Business Administration Certificate graduates will be eligible to apply to Northern Lakes’ Human Resource Management Diploma, and Northern Lakes’ Business Administration Certificate graduates can apply to Portage’s Accounting Diploma and Business Administration Diploma in Management. “Partnerships allow colleges to offer a broader range of programs to their service areas,” said Beverly Lockett, Dean of Hospitality and Business at Portage. “Our collaborations are beneficial in providing more educational opportunities to rural learners.” Portage (AB)

UWaterloo launches autonomous, driverless WATonoBus

The University of Waterloo has announced the launch of the WATonoBus, a driverless and autonomous shuttle bus which is operated remotely via a Rogers 5G network. The shuttle will operate on a 2.7 route around the UWaterloo campus and uses a system which is pending approval. The bus has 360-degree cameras that allow it to sense pedestrians and cyclists, and a remote operator is able to assist the shuttle if needed. “By marrying transformational research, infrastructure and a network of industry and government partnerships, we are demonstrating that educational institutions will help shape the future – in this case, the convergence of public transportation and smart urban mobility,” said UWaterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur. Intrado says the WATonoBus is the first driverless 5G shuttle in Canada. UWaterloo | Intrado GlobeNewswire | CBC (ON)

Rethinking AB’s ban on renewing partnerships with organizations linked to China: Opinion

Alberta should rethink its ban on renewing partnerships with organizations that have links to China or the Chinese Communist Party because it leads to anti-China hysteria, write Sibo Chen from Ryerson University, Henry Yu from the University of British Columbia, and John Price from the University of Victoria. The authors say that curbing research ties negatively impacts Canadian research and innovation, increases hostility towards those working on projects related to China, and creates problems for those seen as connected to China in any way. Chen, Yu, and Price also note the negative impacts of academic isolationism and state concerns about stoking a Cold War mentality. “Now more than ever, any policy that may lead to increased discrimination against racialized groups requires critical and thorough scrutiny,” write the authors. The Conversation (AB)

SFA, Tay Township to bring forward MOU to establish regional emergency training centre

Southwest Fire Academy and Tay Township are bringing forward a MOU that would see steps taken toward establishing a regional emergency training centre on Hazel Street in Waubaushene. Before the MOU can be signed, a variety of requirements must be met, including insurance and liability responsibilities and a planning act application. Additionally, a fire hydrant would need to be located for SFA to fully utilize the Hazel Street location. “The best outcome would be for council to endorse the committee recommendations and allow Tay to move forward to create these win-win partnerships,” said Gord Roesch, president of SFA. Orilla Matters (ON)