Top Ten

October 29, 2021

Canadian universities must ensure support for women in presidential positions

With a noticeable lack of women in presidential positions, postsecondary institutions in Canada need to take action to ensure that their leadership reflects their communities, writes Julie Cafley. Cafley says that, overall, women have held 61% of unfinished presidential terms and 87% of unfinished U15 presidential terms. The author encourages institutions to make commitments that use data and metrics, including information on how often women need to be approached for them to take on leadership roles. Cafley also notes that institutional culture needs to be changed in terms of power dynamics, and women leaders must be recruited with intention and focus, with boards recognizing differences in support for female presidents. University Affairs (Editorial)

ON announces plans to add 2,000 additional nurses to long-term care sector

The Government of Ontario has announced plans to add 2,000 additional nurses to the long-term care sector through an investment of up to $100M. The funding will provide personal support workers with up to $6K a year in support to become registered practical nurses and practical nurses with up to $10K a year in support to become registered nurses. Recipients must commit to working in the long-term sector for the same period of time as they received support. The Nursing Program Transformation in Ontario’s Colleges will also increase access to nursing training by introducing hybrid practical nursing and new Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs, creating 500 additional enrolments in bridging programs, and providing internationally trained nurses with $6K a year to gain the work credentials required in ON. CBC | ON (ON)

MB amends act to allow postsecondary institutions to establish institutional safety officers

The Government of Manitoba has announced that it will be amending its Police Services Act to allow postsecondary institutions to establish institutional safety officers. These officers will focus on maintaining campus safety and security, and will have training in areas such as public safety and crime prevention, enforcement of provincial laws, arrests, searches and seizures, use of force and officer safety, and mental health awareness. Enhanced training will be provided through authorized training providers such as Assiniboine Community College. “We know that … post-secondary institutions face unique security concerns due to size of facility and number of people,” said Justice Minister Cameron Friesen. “Our government is proud to take action to enhance the authority, training and skills of these safety officers to increase safety and security for people and property.” MB (MB)

To deal with the “hydra” of predatory publishers, introduce new policies: Editorial

The latest scam to arise among predatory publishers is bootlegging, renaming, rebranding, and republishing of papers and journals without the authors’ permission, write Kyle Siler, Philippe Vincent-Lamarre, and Vincent Larivière of Université de Montréal and Cassidy R Sugimoto of the Georgian Institute of Technology. The authors provide an overview of OMICS’s activities, and say that these practices appear to occur at other predatory or “hijacked” journals as well. In order to counter this, Siler, Vincent-Lamarre, Larivière, and Sugimoto call for policies such as audited peer reviews, linking quality assurance to funding, and refusing to reward papers that appear in predatory journals. Nature (Editorial)

TSSA suspends ATIC’s authorization to provide gas technician training programs

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has suspended the Appliance Technical Institute of Canada’s (ATIC) authorization to provide gas technician training programs. The move was made after TSSA found that ATIC was offering the Gas Technician 2 course despite only being authorized to offer Domestic Appliance and Gas Technician 3 courses. A six-month suspension on ATIC’s TSSA-accredited fuels training programs has been implemented, and ATIC will be responsible for hiring a compliance officer to provide oversight once the institution resumes the programs. “Proper training and certification of workers providing fuels services is essential to protecting public safety in the province,” said Sam Sadeghi, TSSA’s Director, Fuels Safety Program. “When unaccredited training providers deliver programs, it is a serious breach of safety laws that puts public safety at risk.” Globe Newswire (ON)

AB proposes changes to higher education statutes through Bill 74

The Government of Alberta has introduced legislative changes in order to support the strategic direction of the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs initiative and the Skills for Jobs Task Force recommendations. The newly introduced Bill 74 includes proposed updates to the Postsecondary Learning Act, amendments to the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act, and the creation of the Minister’s Advisory Council on Higher Education and Skills (MACHES). “As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, Bill 74 makes important changes to existing legislation to enshrine the strategic vision of the initiative, and paves the way for phased implementation,” said AB Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides. AB (AB)

UQTR, Fondation À deux pas de la réussite partner to offer mentorship for elementary students

The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières has partnered with the Fondation À deux pas de la réussite to offer a mentoring program for students at elementary schools in Joliette, Repentigny and L’Assomption. Students in UQTR’s bachelor’s degree in éducation préscolaire et en enseignement primaire will provide support to elementary students with learning difficulties who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The partnership allows UQTR students to gain professional experience while helping children succeed. The tutors will receive training from individuals such as remedial teachers, directors, or teachers. UQuebec (QC)

Instructors should respect students enough to let them hold objectionable beliefs: Opinion

Instructors should respect their students enough to not “force” them to move on objectionable beliefs, writes Scott Parker. Parker describes an experience teaching a student who produced an essay containing racist ideas, and reflects on alternative ways that the situation could have been handled. “[I]f I want to persuade her from those opinions, I will succeed not by putting up a fierce resistance but by meeting her where she is and paying her the respect of taking her seriously,” writes Parker, who says that the student may change her position on racism in the future, as teachers “rarely see the fruits of the seeds we plant.” Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

UVic signs on to Race to Zero to reduce carbon emissions

The University of Victoria has announced that it has signed on to the Race to Zero (RtZ) campaign. As a part of the RtZ, UVic will aim for an emissions reduction of 20% in the next eight years, and will change how it measures and reports on emissions. UVic is working on a plan to support a transition to low-carbon energy heating and hot water in its buildings, and intends to lower carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 through implementing a responsible investment policy. “The RtZ targets support the planning currently underway in the development of our new Climate and Sustainability Action Plan,” says Mike Wilson, UVic director of campus planning and sustainability. “The campus community will be invited to provide input on the draft goals, strategies and actions for the plan in the new year.” UVic (BC)

Western launches data science undergraduate program

Western University has launched a new data science undergraduate program. Each lecture, assignment, and lab in the interdisciplinary program is designed with the end goal of providing students with the skills they will need to be successful in the industry. Students can choose levels of specialization, such as a minor or certificate for students from any faculty to an honours specialization or major. “This skillset – the ability to handle, analyze and visualize data – is becoming essential,” said Western Professor Mark Daley. “This program will prepare students of all disciplines to have the fundamental tools for a career in the 21st century.” Western (ON)