Top Ten

November 3, 2021

CICan, Universities Canada commit to positive environmental, social impact

Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada have made new commitments to making a positive environmental and social impact. CICan’s membership has committed to having their campuses achieve net-zero emissions, with all public colleges, cegeps, polytechnics, and institutes aiming to achieve this goal by 2050. Universities Canada has commited to following eight social impact principles that address the responsibilities of the higher education sector. These commitments include enriching local communities, recognizing the value of Indigenous knowledge and lived expertise, and tracking and reporting social progress. CICan | Universities Canada (National)

SK announces global engagement strategy to encourage international student population growth

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced a new global engagement strategy that will encourage the growth of the international student population over the next five years. The strategy’s key components include fostering new international partnerships, developing a new International Education Practitioner Program, and increasing targeted recruitment in French language markets. “The strategy developed in partnership with the post-secondary sector will assist institutions to attract international students in innovative ways, while meeting commitments outlined in Saskatchewan's Growth Plan,” said SK Advanced Education Minister Gene Makowsky. “International education is a major contributor to the Saskatchewan economy and this strategy will help position the province as a destination of choice for international students.” SK (SK)

UOttawa, IBM Canada partner to create Cyber Range facility

The University of Ottawa and IBM Canada have partnered to create an experiential learning facility to provide cybersecurity and cyber safety training to students. The Cyber Range will deliver training in English and French, supported by a $21.65M donation of in-kind services over five years from IBM and $7M from UOttawa. Cyber Range will train students in managing cyber incidents, including proper planning, response, management, containment, and remediation. Students will also be trained in how to defend systems against current and future threats. “This fully immersive and interactive Cyber Range will create exceptional opportunities for innovative interdisciplinary research, experiential training programs, and professional skills development,” said UOttawa Vice-President, Research and Innovation Sylvain Charbonneau. Beta Kit | Canadian Security Mag | UOttawa (ON)

Newly launched Black studies programs fill longstanding curriculum gap

Universities in Canada are launching Black studies programs that are filling a “longtime curriculum gap,” writes Jenna Benchetrit of CBC. Benchetrit describes how institutions have slowly begun to add Black studies programs, beginning with a Black African Diaspora minor that was launched at Dalhousie University in 2016, followed by programs at York University and Queen’s University. New programs are also forthcoming, with Ryerson University set to start a Black studies minor in Fall 2022 and institutions such as Concordia University, University of Waterloo, Queen’s, and Dal discussing new and expanded programming. Benchetrit says that students, who are more vocal about not seeing their experiences reflected in the curriculum, are pushing for the changes. CBC (National)

Universities will play an important role in leading recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

Universities will play a vital role in helping Canada and the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, says University of Toronto President Meric Gertler. Gertler, who recently took on the role of chair of the board of Universities Canada, described how universities are leading the transition back to in-person activities. He further shared how in-person activities can help to tackle pandemic issues such as tribalism and political polarization. “[A]s university leaders, let’s focus on enhancing the ability of our institutions to break down barriers, educate citizens, foster debate, engage difference, prize truth and discovery, create sustainable communities and open portals for social mobility,” said Gertler. U of T (ON)

Rebuilding Canada post-pandemic through supporting international students: Opinion

Canada needs international students to help it rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Martin Basiri, cofounder of ApplyBoard. Basiri argues that Canada needs immigrants to fill its jobs, and international student immigrants are eager to succeed in Canada and contribute to the economy. Basiri says that Canada must fuel immigration and draw in international students by providing additional supports and opportunities to succeed. “The more people around the world who have improved access to global education, just like I did, the stronger and more prosperous Canada and the world will be,” writes Basiri. The Star | Press Reader (Editorial)

UWaterloo launches Bachelor of Science in Climate and Environmental Change

The University of Waterloo has announced that it is launching a Bachelor of Science in Climate and Environmental Change. The program will train students with the aim of creating leaders who can work across traditional boundaries to integrate climate solutions. Students will learn about the influences of weather and climate, as well as solutions-oriented approaches to environmental challenges. “By taking a transdisciplinary approach to climate change we’re meeting the demand for workers and citizens who can identify and find climate solutions where our natural and human environments meet,” said Jean Andrey, Dean of the Faculty of Environment at UWaterloo. UWaterloo (ON)

MHC, Prairie Rose Public Schools partner to provide high school students with micro-credentials

Medicine Hat College has partnered with Prairie Rose Public Schools to provide high school students with an opportunity to complete micro-credentials and develop skills before graduation. Students will be able to take micro-credentials in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Advanced Pilot Training, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Permaculture Design, and Rainwater Harvesting. “Employers are looking to address skills gaps now and micro-credentials provide an efficient and targeted approach to meeting their needs,” says MHC Dean for the School of Business and Continuing Studies Timothy Spielman. “Whether learning in a high school classroom or building additional career capacity as a working professional, the online and flexible delivery of micro-credentials meets learners where they are at in life.” MHC (AB)

Tips for effectively reviewing administrators: Opinion

Administrator reviews should be done carefully to ensure that they serve their institutions and support those who are being reviewed, writes George Justice. Justice describes the process of undergoing a poorly done review, and provides tips on how the administrator-review process could have been done more effectively. The author recommends tailoring the review to the circumstances the leader is in, focusing survey questions on the leader’s duties and roles, and sharing the results of the review with the person being reviewed. Justice encourages reviewers to use a formative evaluation process and to give the administrator time to improve their performance or look for another job. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Editorial)

NB, UMFA postsecondary workers on strike after failures to negotiate wage increases

New Brunswick public sector workers and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) members are on strike after negotiations fell through. In NB, CUPE members, including community college workers at New Brunswick Community College and Le Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick are on strike after the wage increase offered by the province was not accepted CUPE. “[Premier Blaine Higgs is] not interested in offering wages that are above inflation, which is difficult to understand after he’s predicting a fifth consecutive surplus,” said CUPE spokesperson Simon Ouellette. In Manitoba, UMFA members voted to authorize a strike deadline of November 2 after mediation failed. CBC reports that the University of Manitoba was willing to continue to negotiate, but that the union chose to go on strike. CBC (UMFA) | CTV News (UMFA) | CBC (NB) | Medicine Hat News (NB) (NB | MB)