Top Ten

August 10, 2021

NWT invests $1.7M in monitoring and research projects

The Government of the Northwest Territories is investing $1.7M through the Northwest Territories Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program in 28 monitoring and research projects. Universities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and territorial and federal government departments are among the recipients of the funding. Funding will support a variety of projects that will focus on addressing “key cumulative impact monitoring priorities for caribou, water and fish,” including three projects focused on Indigenous knowledge, 24 science-focused projects, and two which will combine Indigenous knowledge and science. “The cumulative impacts monitoring and research projects funded this year cover a wide range of topics and will help decision-makers at all levels make informed decisions for the territory and for residents,” said Shane Thompson, NWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources. NWT (NWT)

NB announces it will cover full tuition for those studying to be PSWs, HSCs

The Government of New Brunswick has announced that it has changed its guidelines to allow WorkingNB clients to pursue programs as personal support workers (PSW) or human services counsellors (HSC) at no cost. The changes come as part of NB’s effort to reduce the shortage of PSWs and HSCs in the province. WorkingNB clients will be eligible to have their tuition fully covered, as well as to potentially receive support to cover transportation, childcare, and living allowances. “We need to do everything we can to provide care for our most vulnerable residents,” said NB Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “By making these changes, we are confident more New Brunswickers will be encouraged to choose a career in these occupations, while also addressing one of the province’s most critical labour needs.” NB | CBC (NB)

Montreal ranked as best student city in the world, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa rank in top 100

The QS World University Rankings for best student cities in 2022 has been released. Montreal was ranked as one of the top ten cities in the world and placed first in Canada. Other cities that ranked within the top 100 in the world include Toronto (13), Vancouver (18), and Ottawa (53). The rankings evaluate cities for factors such as affordability, desirability, and current students’ options. Matthew Stiegemeyer, Concordia’s director of student recruitment, explained that Montreal offers students a rich social life and has a strong reputation, and that interest has remained high throughout the pandemic. “When you have an established reputation, that interest carries forward even when mobility is reduced,” said Stiegemeyer. QS Top Universities | Concordia (International)

Conestoga launches freelancing micro-credential

Conestoga College has announced that it will be launching the Successful and Sustainable Freelancing micro-credential for the Fall 2021 semester. Students in the micro-credential will complete courses in strategic foundations, operational frameworks, and demand generation. The micro-credential will also include concept instruction and one-on-one coaching. “Successful and Sustainable Freelancing recognizes the increase in remote work and a shift in students’ career goals,” said Rose Mastnak, director, Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective. “We have seen a growing acceptance of gig work for employers and workers, with more people taking advantage of the flexibility outside the traditional 9-to-5 job.” Conestoga (ON)

Supporting first generation graduate students: Opinion

First generation graduate students often need special support to navigate their graduate training, write Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez and Natalie Lundsteen. The authors argue that these students often face unique challenges, and recommend that those working with first generation graduate students share best practices and related experiences with their colleagues. The authors also encourage those working with first generation students to avoid making assumptions or generalizing about them, recognize that some students who seem to be doing well still need additional support, and identify resources that they can point them towards. Vazquez and Lundsteen describe the benefits of “re-orientation” programming, and encourage leaders to consider if their campus offers supportive communities or spaces for first-generation students. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

Postsecondary institutions, community members debate vaccines, masking for return to campus

As institutions across Canada develop and update their back-to-school plans, some students and faculty are responding to a perceived need to do more to halt the spread of COVID-19 on campuses. University of Winnipeg faculty are discussing mandatory vaccines and masking in order to make a decision to submit to university administration. Students and faculty at the University of Alberta have signed an open letter asking for required vaccines and masking, as well as transparency on air quality to ensure a safe return to campus. Students, staff, and faculty from several BC postsecondary institutions have signed an open letter which argues that the Government of British Columbia’s public health measures must be strengthened in order to keep the return to in-person classes safe. In Quebec, postsecondary students will be able to attend class without masks or physical distancing, although Journal de Montréal reports that students at institutions that have not met the requirements for vaccine coverage will be required to wear face coverings. Edmonton Journal (Paywall) | Winnipeg Free Press (Paywall) | CTV News (BC) | Journal de Montréal (National)

UManitoba CHRR launches “At the Forks”

The University of Manitoba’s Centre for Human Rights Research (CHRR) has launched “At the Forks,” an online platform that will engage people in dialogue about Indigenous rights and human rights on the prairies and northwestern Ontario. The platform, which was created in collaboration with Mamawipawin, will contain open-access writing that will engage with social justice and human rights questions. It will feature work written by a variety of people such as community members, students, and scholars that is accessible and short enough to be read quickly. “At the Forks will grapple with the pressing issues and difficult histories that Canada is currently compelled to come to terms with and seek ways to move forward,” says Adele Perry, director of CHRR. UManitoba | At the Forks (MB)

Postsecondary institutions should foster deep thinking on climate change: Opinion

Higher education’s interest in economic advancement has created a situation in which it is entrenching limited thinking about issues such as climate change, argues Peter Sutoris. The author argues that, since universities focus on training workers for the economy and students focus on training to get a job, universities are not thinking about solving the difficult issues that society is facing due to its own actions. Sutoris argues that rather than “tinkering around the edges,” postsecondary institutions should support students in fields in which they are reimagining the world and engage in “de-schooling” to teach students that they can change society. “The job of universities on a dying planet is to foster, not cripple, our ability to imagine a different future,” writes Sutoris. Times Higher Ed (Paywall) (Editorial)

AB’s exceptional tuition hikes should be halted: UASU President

“Exceptional” tuition hikes in Alberta should be halted because of the impact they will have on students who are pursuing education, writes Rowan Ley, president of the University of Alberta Students’ Union. Ley argues that students and their families save for years to be able to afford postsecondary education, and that a sudden increase in tuition will cause young Albertans to lose the opportunity to pursue education. The author says that exceptional tuition hikes must be carefully considered to ensure that students will still be able to access the education they hope for, because barriers to education will have an economic impact on AB. “If young Albertans can’t afford a post-secondary education, we won’t have the professionals we need for recovery and diversification,” writes Ley. “Every Albertan has a stake in keeping tuition affordable and predictable.” Edmonton Journal (Paywall) (AB)

Reflecting on retiring native mascots to support relationships with Indigenous tribes: Opinion

Doug Lankford and Gregory P Crawford have penned an article discussing how they worked together through the process of retiring an athletics mascot with a racist name. The process enabled the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University to forge an open and trusting partnership that has led to collaboration on language and cultural revitalization efforts. Lankford and Crawford encourage institutions to get rid of mascots which are “damaging relics” and to embrace friendship and learning from each other. “We are equal partners in a project where both sides benefit, never one at the expense of the other,” write the authors. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)