Top Ten

August 30, 2021

CNC opens new Vanderhoof campus

The College of New Caledonia is celebrating the official opening of its new Vanderhoof campus. The campus will expand CNC’s capacity to provide trades training, applied business technology, and university studies programs in the region; and will also provide supports to Health Career Access Program students. The campus will include spaces for classrooms, libraries, and Digital Delivery Instruction, which will make it possible for students to virtually join the classrooms in Prince George. “The opening of a new campus in Vanderhoof strikes at the core of CNC’s new strategic plan, lhulh whuts’odutel’eh – Learning Together,” said CNC President Dennis Johnson. “This campus reflects the responsive approach CNC takes to the diverse needs of the communities in our region.” BC (BC)

USask receives $1M for VIDO facility

The University of Saskatchewan has received a $1M donation toward the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization’s (VIDO) facility. Malcolm and Marilyn Leggett donated the funds with the intention of supporting VIDO’s research in areas such as COVID-19, vaccines for farm animals, and more. “We greatly appreciate this extraordinary donation from Marilyn and Malcolm,” said USask VIDO director Dr Volker Gerdts. “Knowing we have this level of support from leaders in our community is critical to our organization and our vision for the future.” USask (SK)

Student unions concerned over suspension of Vote on Campus program

Student unions are expressing concern over Elections Canada’s suspension of the Vote on Campus program, which allowed students to vote from campus. Student union representatives are concerned that the change could affect voter turnout among students and are calling for Elections Canada to commit to ensuring students have equitable access to voting. “In a pandemic during which civic engagement has reached all-time lows across the nation, now is not the time to scrap the only measure in recent history which has markedly improved voter turnout,” wrote Western University economics student Ethan Gilhula. CBC (1) | CBC (2) | CBC (3) (National)

Supporting IT staff during COVID-19: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions can use a variety of techniques to support IT staff during COVID-19, writes David Raths. The author explains that IT staff are particularly susceptible to burnout as they provide support through institutional changes, budget cuts, and staffing shortages. Raths describes strategies his institution has used throughout the pandemic to mitigate burnout with staff, such as enhancing communication through check-ins, updates, and walk-in hours; offering support to those personally impacted by racial incidents and COVID-19; providing flexibility in employee workplaces and schedules; and seeing the pandemic as an opportunity to gain influence and thrive. Raths further encourages supervisors to set healthy boundaries to promote work-life balance and to support career advancement. Campus Technology (Editorial)

VCC launches Automotive Collision and Refinishing Foundation program

Vancouver Community College has launched a new Automotive Collision and Refinishing Foundation program. The program combines material from two formerly distinct programs: automotive collision repair and automotive refinishing prep. The overlap between the former programs has been eliminated, and students will be introduced to both fields before they choose their specializations. The new program will be recognized across provinces to enable students to complete apprenticeships in different locations. “These students will have a better understanding of both sides of the trade and be more successful on any path they take,” said VCC Automotive Collision and Refinishing department head Keith Mew. VCC (BC)

Cégep dropout rates likely increasing after virtual classes

Cégep dropout rates seem to be increasing after a year of virtual classes, reports the Journal de Montréal . The number of students at cégeps has reportedly only increased 0.3% this fall, as opposed to 3% last year. Fédération des cégeps President Bernard Tremblay explained that this change likely means students have decided to take time off from their studies and/or have opted not to register due to pandemic uncertainty. The Journal adds that some programs may be threatened by the lack of international students who have not received their study permits yet. The Fédération des cégeps expects to know the impact of this within a few weeks. Journal de Montréal (QC)

Agents prey on increasingly vulnerable international students: Editorial

International students are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation by agents who profit from their enrolment at Canadian postsecondary institutions, writes Nicholas Hune-Brown of The Walrus. Hune-Brown reports that international student demographics have changed, with many students now coming from poorer families that are struggling to support their children’s education and future permanent residency. Hune-Brown says that agents often take advantage of the students, charging fees to the students in addition to being paid by postsecondary institutions and enrolling them in any program that will get them to Canada, even if it will not help them attain their goals. The article discusses the effect this has on student mental health, as well as the complexities faced by those looking to address the situation. OCUFA | The Walrus (Editorial)

Sask Polytech adds to Indigenous visual identity through three designs

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is working with Dakota artist Chantel Yuzicappi to add to its Indigenous visual identity. Yuzicappi has created three designs for Sask Polytech, which will be used to celebrate and share Indigenous culture. “The concept for each piece is developed with the idea of learning and fulfilling a dream of one’s chosen career path,” explained Yuzicappi. “They represent success and hope for future generations.” The designs include a brown buffalo, which represents success and the beauty and educational services of Sask Polytech; a geometric star, which signifies the path of hope and depicts teaching and learning between instructors and students; and a Dakota floral design, signifying the growth and evolution of Sask Polytech students. Sask Polytech (SK)

ON universities strengthen COVID-19 vaccination policies

Several Ontario universities have announced that they are strengthening their COVID-19 vaccination policies in preparation for the start of class. The University of Toronto, Queen’s University, Western University, King’s University College, and Carleton University have updated their policies and will no longer allow those coming on campus to opt out of COVID-19 vaccination through regularCOVID-19 testing. Those arriving on-campus will be required to be fully vaccinated or have an accommodation for a valid exemption, and those who have an exemption will be required to take additional health measures such as frequent testing to come on campus. A Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health letter to postsecondary presidents encouraged strengthening the measures. “Rapid testing protocols are not preventive and are not a replacement for immunization and should be used only in instances where vaccination is not possible,” read the letter. The Star (U of T, Queen’s, Carleton) | King’s | London Free Press (Western, Fanshawe) (ON)

How public scholarship can lead to non-academic engagement: Opinion

Higher education is often distrusted by the non-academic population, writes Leonard Cassuto, but the public humanities provide an opportunity to address this issue. While some scholars do not like public attention, public writing and outreach can be a way to garner public support and help the general public understand what academics do. Cassuto describes the work of philosophers who would work at a public “Ask a Philosopher” booth answering questions and encouraging discussion. The work was fun for students engaged in it, and led to engagement from a wide range of people. “[H]aving fun in public is a possibility that academic philosophers lose sight of too often,” writes Cassuto. Chronicle of Higher Ed (Paywall) (Editorial)