Top Ten

August 9, 2021

QC postsecondary institutions respond to vaccine passport announcement

Postsecondary institutions in Quebec are updating their back-to-school plans in the wake of the Government of Quebec’s plan to use vaccine passports for those who wish to access non-essential services. The Montreal Gazette says that most postsecondary institutions are waiting for further instructions from QC. Several institutions shared their interim plans, including Dawson College, which is equipped for students to return and waiting for further instructions; McGill University, which has narrowed its five back-to-school scenarios down to two; and Concordia University, which is planning both remote learning opportunities as well as in-person ones. Montreal Gazette (1) | Montreal Gazette (2) (QC)

Horizon, Sask Polytech sign MOU to enhance access to vocational training, pathways

Horizon College & Seminar and Saskatchewan Polytechnic have signed a MOU that will provide access to bi-vocational programming and new pathways to the institutions’ students. The partnership will see Sask Polytech training incorporated into Horizon programs so that students can graduate with both a diploma from Horizon and vocational training from Sask Polytech. “Collaboration is key to the future of theological higher education,” said Horizon President Jeromey Martini. “Through this agreement we will see students graduate with practical skills, solid character, and leadership competency, ready to serve in the church and the world.” Sask Polytech | Horizon (SK)

How e-texts can remove barriers to learning: Opinion

A new article from Athabasca University explores the ways that using e-texts can remove barriers to learning. Dr Jason Ponto, AU’s director of Academic Services, explains that e-texts can be particularly useful because of their versatility and ability to be used anywhere the student is. Ponto notes that e-texts are often interactive: They can be searched if a student is unable to find a passage or quote, and can be customized to the reader with spacing, font, colour, highlighting, memory aids. E-texts also allow students to access accessible functions like text-to-speech to enhance student learning. AU (Editorial)

Western faculty push for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations

Faculty at Western University are continuing to push for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for Fall 2021. Western has launched a confidential survey in an attempt to guide decisions about campus safety, but the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) and the King’s University College Faculty Association (KUCFA) are saying that the information gathered will not be revelatory. The Star reports that Western instructors, some of whom move between work with vulnerable patients and the classroom, are also hesitant to teach in person. Some instructors are making plans to move classes online or make decisions based on the number of COVID-19 cases. CBC reports that Western cannot implement a mandatory COVID-19 policy because such a policy would be outside of the contract it has with employees and students. Global News | The Star | CBC (ON)

How being a good follower can strengthen institutional leadership: Opinion

“Followers” have a responsibility to give leaders feedback, write Steve Titus and Patrick Sanaghan. The authors explain that people should be interested in becoming good followers in order to strengthen their institution’s leaders. Titus and Sanaghan describe some of the reasons followers may not give feedback to leaders, including fear of losing their voice due to being seen as “negative,” fear of losing support, and fear of retribution. The authors encourage followers to practice “courageous followership” to speak truth to leaders respectfully and clearly, and explain that wise leaders appreciate this “intelligent disobedience.” When followers appropriately, without rancor or meanness, ask the tough questions or provide a contrary opinion or perspective, leaders must recognize and reward this behavior,” write Titus and Sanaghan. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

Dal launches tuition waiver program, wraparound supports for former youth in care

Dalhousie University has launched a tuition waiver program for people who spent time in foster care and introduced new wraparound supports to ensure they can succeed in higher ed. Through the program, 10 individuals who have spent at least one year in care will be able to access undergraduate level postsecondary education at no cost. The program, which has no age cap, will provide potential students with support throughout the application process. It will also provide accepted students with wraparound supports such as counselling, advising, accommodations, and social connections. “University can be intimidating to those unfamiliar with it, so we want to make sure all tuition waiver recipients feel like they have the support they need,” said Kristen Sutherland, associate registrar and director, recruitment and admissions at Dal. “It might sound cliché, but there really are no stupid questions. We are here to help.” Dal (NS)

USask College of Agriculture and Bioresources launches graduate parental leave program

The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources has launched a program that will support graduate students who become new parents. Students whose funding has been disrupted due to a parental leave will now be able to access $1.5K per month for four months through the graduate parental leave program. The program aims to acknowledge the challenges of becoming a new parent while completing graduate studies, as students are usually not eligible to receive financial support from their programs when taking parental leave. “With a new baby, expenses increase and the graduate parental leave program provides financial support while caring for the baby,” said Bruna Franco, a PhD candidate who was the first student to access the program. “This allows our family to obtain all the benefits of parental leave.” USask (SK)

Ontario Tech, CFLPA Academy partner to provide past athletes new access to education

Ontario Tech University and the CFLPA Academy have formed a partnership that will allow CFLPA members to access education from Ontario Tech and transition to life after football. CFLPA members will have access to Ontario Tech’s degree programs, graduate diplomas, and certificates with a focus on ensuring that CFLPA members can pursue training in in-demand fields of interest. “Ontario Tech University is excited to partner with the CFLPA Academy in providing graduate education opportunities to players and their families,” said Ontario Tech Dean, Faculty of Education Dr Robin Kay. “We are confident that our flexible, synchronous engaging programs in Education … will be the ideal match for CFLPA professionals who have busy, demanding lives and schedules.” Ontario Tech (ON)

UWinnipeg Axworthy Health & RecPlex set up as last-resort shelter for wildfire evacuees

The University of Winnipeg’s Axworthy Health & RecPlex has been set up as a last-resort shelter for wildfire evacuees in case the number of evacuees exceed the space available in Winnipeg and Brandon hotels. The shelter, which is currently non-operational, contains 280 cots, and will be able to hold 500-600 people. If the shelter is used, families would be grouped together with adequate physical distancing from other groups, and would be able to access UWinnipeg’s shower and bathroom facilities. “We’ve not actually used … this facility before,” said Jason Small, the Canadian Red Cross’s senior communications manager for Manitoba and Nunavut. “We had set up once [for the 2019 snowstorm]. We didn't need it then, and I’m really hoping [for] the same at this time.” CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

ON attracts increasing numbers of international students

Canada Immigration News reports that, over the past 20 years, international students have increasingly been drawn to Ontario. ON has been a “magnet” for international students during this time, and has gone from attracting 37% of Canada’s international students in the early 2000s to 49% during 2015 to 2019. British Columbia reportedly lost ground in its share of international students, with its international student numbers falling from 31% in 2001-2004 to 23% in 2015-2019. The article says that in the two decades before the pandemic, the number of first-time study permit holders increased annually from 70,000 to 250,000. Canada Immigration News (ON)