Top Ten

September 8, 2021

USask, Lakehead, Western, Seneca commit to a better climate, sustainable futures

The University of Saskatchewan, Lakehead University, and Western University have each recently taken steps to make a positive impact on the climate. Lakehead has declared the upcoming school year to be the Year of Climate Action (YOCA). YOCA will include research awards, a webinar series, a Sustainability City Workshop, a Youth Sustainability Summit, and more. USask has signed a joint pledge with the City of Saskatoon that will expedite the transition to a green economy. The partners have pledged to improve and accelerate equitable climate performance in areas such as equity, diversity, and inclusion; sustainable transportation; and leadership. Western has made changes to its residence food services in order to serve locally and ethically sourced food, provide more options for special dietary needs, and use packaging and cutlery that is environmentally friendly. Seneca College has launched its first sustainability plan, Our Path Forward, which charts its cross-institutional approach to improving sustainability over the next five years. Lakehead | USask | Western | Seneca (ON | SK)

HEC, American University of the Middle East partner to launch graduate program

HEC Montréal and the American University of the Middle East (AUM) in Kuwait have partnered to launch a new graduate program. Through the program, AUM students will be able to gain both an MBA from AUM and a Specialized Graduate Diploma (DESS) in Business Administration from HEC. The program takes two years to complete, and students will receive training in multidisciplinary management and issues such as globalization, competitiveness, innovation, and technology. “For students at AUM, this pathway is an opportunity to add an international dimension to their training, and also to benefit from the expertise of both institutions while obtaining 2 diplomas,” said Hassan N Taghvaï, HEC executive director of international partnerships. HEC (QC)

Student petition to bring back Vote on Campus program gets over 20,000 signatures

A petition calling on Elections Canada to bring back its Vote on Campus program has been signed by over 20,000 students, reports CBC. The program was cancelled this year because of the short timeline and uncertainty of whether students would be on campus. Second-year University of British Columbia student Esmé Decker organized the petition out of concern about potentially decreased voter turnout, especially if students are unaware of the cancellation or haven’t made other voting arrangements. “It should have been a priority, because this is a really important demographic,” said Decker. “I think Elections Canada must have known to some extent that there was [talk] about having an election this year and that it would probably be a snap election.” CBC (National)

ON universities bolster mental health supports, students still experience barriers

Universities in Ontario have bolstered their mental health supports, writes Nadine Yousif of The Star, but students who need them are still experiencing barriers. The author says that several postsecondary institutions–including the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, McMaster University, and Queen’s University–have made changes to improve their mental health services. However, students are often unaware of the services and may still experience long wait times for psychotherapy or psychiatry services. Additionally, students have difficulty explaining their need for accommodations to educators, and international students may not be able to access services due to their locations. The Star (ON)

Compassion is needed in back-to-campus messaging: Opinion

Back-to-campus messaging should be compassionate towards those who are experiencing anxiety and grief, writes Marcelle Christian Hayashida. The author argues that anxiety is normal, and that institutions should prepare people to be compassionate about the feelings of others rather than simply laying out policies and procedures. “The goal is to recognize that this is, in many ways, an exciting as well as a scary new chapter for us all – that both things can be true at the same time,” writes Hayashida. “It is to acknowledge our shared humanity, the presence of negative feelings right alongside the positive ones and how hope can buoy us as we engage science, empathy, compassion and wisdom.” Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

UAlberta left “bleeding” from UCP budget cuts: Phair and Lafortune

The University of Alberta has been left “stabbed and bleeding” by the provincial government’s budget cuts, write former chair of UAlberta’s board of governors Michael Phair and executive director of Public Interest Alberta Bradley Lafortune, who say that the response to this must be policy-based and political. The authors argue that the budget cuts make education less accessible, “demolish” the jobs of over 1,000 university staff, and undermine UAlberta’s “claim to greatness.” The article says that Public Interest Alberta will be walking alongside institutions and their allies to protect UAlberta and other Alberta postsecondary institutions. “[T]he university has been an Edmonton treasure and its excellence has brought nationwide recognition and acclaim to the city and the province; under the UCP and Minister Nicolaides the university is bleeding,” write the authors. Edmonton Journal (AB)

Conestoga launches Technical Communication graduate certificate program

Conestoga College’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies has launched a Technical Communication graduate certificate program. Students in the program will gain practical experience in researching, documenting, and presenting technical processes or products to ensure material they create is accessible for all audiences. The program takes one year to complete, and will include an optional co-op work term. “Technical communicators are key players at companies in almost every industry, including IT, manufacturing, medical science and marketing,” said program coordinator Suzanne Rintoul. “They transform complicated technical content into clear and concise formats to address the needs of a specified audience and purpose, whether it’s internal or external, expert or non-expert.” Conestoga (ON)

UVic, UBC ask students to stop partying to limit spread of COVID-19

The University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia are asking students to stop partying after photos and videos of large gatherings in university neighbourhoods were shared. The footage showed large gatherings of individuals who were not wearing masks or distancing. While the gatherings were technically allowed under British Columbia’s reopening plan, UVic and UBC have asked students not to gather in large groups for parties in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. UVic’s AVP of student affairs Jim Dudson explained that the parties could “jeopardize” the return to campus. “We have worked hard for a healthy, safe and successful fall term,” Dunsdon said. “We know that our students want the same.” Global News | CBC | City News (BC)

CICan to lead development of occupational standard for personal care providers

Colleges and Institutes Canada has announced that it will lead the development of a national occupational standard (NOS) for personal care providers. The NOS, which is funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program, will aim to address challenges such as labour shortages and skills gaps. CICan will work with members, personal care providers, employers, provinces and territories, educators, workers’ organizations, and sector representatives to create the standard. The NOS will define what it means to work as a personal care provider; identify the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for success in the industry; and help employers, job seekers, workers, students, and educators make hiring, training, and career decisions. CICan (National)

Interdisciplinary research, interpretation should not strive to imitate the sciences: Opinion

Interdisciplinarity is not about avoiding, emulating, or imitating the “hard sciences,” but is about creating knowledgeable interchanges between humanities and science, writes Harvey J Graff. Some in the humanities attempt to imitate science by mixing terms and information in seemingly “scientific” ways, but the author argues that this can create confusion and misses the opportunity to explore the subject in new ways Graff instead encourages those engaging in interdisciplinary research and interpretation to use relevant scholarly research and literary criticism to create an interchange between the humanities and sciences. “[S]cience can be a false and misleading goal/god,” writes Graff. “This is particularly true when academics imitate an image of ‘science’ uncritically and outside its historical and intellectual context.” Times Higher Ed (Editorial)