Top Ten

December 14, 2021

ON college faculty union votes in favour of strike mandate, begins with work-to-rule campaign

The Ontario College Faculty has voted in favour of a strike mandate. Faculty from all 24 publicly funded colleges voted on Saturday, with 59% indicating that they desired to pursue job action. The group will begin with “an escalating work-to-rule and labour action campaign,” which will limit the impact on students. CBC says that job action may escalate to a strike if the College Employer Council does not return to the table, but College Student Alliance director of advocacy Jason Baryluk said a strike is unlikely to happen before spring. The union is requesting a variety of low- or no-cost changes such as preparation time for online learning, hiring full-time academic librarians, and increased student evaluation time. CBC | CTV News | Toronto Star (ON)

President, leadership at StFX test positive for COVID-19

The president of St Francis Xavier University and two other members of StFX’s leadership team have tested positive for COVID-19 after an outbreak related to the university’s X-ring ceremony on December 3rd and related events, reports CTV News. “We are all fully vaccinated and experiencing mild flu-like symptoms,” read a statement from StFX President Andy Hakin. “All Public Health protocols are being followed and we are able to work virtually while we isolate.” In addition to the leadership team, CTV News reports that 125 students are isolating, 26 of whom are in residence. CTV News | Global News (NS)

Holland College receives donation of 12-acre property for watershed management centre

Holland College has received a donation of a 12-acre property worth $2.6M that will be used to establish the John and Christine Andrew Centre of Excellence in Watershed Management. The property, which was donated by Dr John Alan Andrew and Dr Melissa Andrew, includes Andrew’s pond and four-acres of old growth Acadian forest with public walking trails. Holland College will use the property for a variety of research, education, and activities related to improving environmental and watershed sustainability. Students will assist with the renovation of buildings on the property. Holland College says that the donation is the largest single gift in the college’s history. Holland College (PE)

UWaterloo to work on e-cigarette study funded by US National Cancer Institute

The University of Waterloo will be collaborating on a five-year, international study on e-cigarettes and the impact of regulations. The $10M study is funded by the US National Cancer Institute, and will examine seven countries with different regulations on e-cigarettes to determine how effective different methods are. The study will include a survey of young people from Canada, the US, and England about smoking and vaping, and evaluate e-cigarettes from a public health perspective. “The challenge for governments in trying to regulate these products is, how do you strike a balance if a balance can be struck, between supporting smokers … versus youth who may become addicted to nicotine through vaping products?” said UWaterloo Professor of psychology and public health Geoffrey Fong. CBC (ON)

Sask Polytech, PAGC plan for traditional Indigenous encampment

Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) have signed an MOU that will see them expanding education opportunities and exploring the creation of a traditional Indigenous encampment at the Hannin Creek Education and Applied Research Centre. The encampment will be used in applied research projects, cultural awareness and language acquisition training, and education about the history of Indigenous people. “Thanks to this partnership, we will be able to develop the necessary curriculum and ensure that the delivery of the program will be provided in a way that will advance the level of Indigenous participation in the energy sector,” said Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte. SaskPolytech | The Star Phoenix | PA Now (SK)

UManitoba finalizes changes to Fall, Winter semester schedules

Now that the faculty strike has come to a close, the University of Manitoba has finalized changes to its Fall and Winter semester schedules. The fall term will continue until January 19th, and the Winter semester will begin on January 24th, after exams take place. Students will have a compressed exam period and shortened exam times at the end of the Fall Term, as well as a full winter reading week break in February. “It’s a good compromise to not affect students too much and allow the majority of students who wanted a winter reading week to partake in that,” said UManitoba Students’ Union President Brendan Scott. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

Collaborating to decrease climate change impacts: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions should work together to decrease the impacts of climate change, write Emily Shuckburgh and Alyssa Gilbert. Shuckburgh and Gilbert say that before and during the Glasgow Climate Pact, academics demonstrated what they could contribute to international deliberations. They argue that institutions should engage in climate action on campus through actions such as educating their students and staff and decarbonizing their operations. The authors recommend that institutions build on their strengths; build on long-term, sustained funding; and reward staff and students for participating in climate change-focused activities. “[W]e need to think deeply about the depth of collaboration required, perhaps seeking inspiration in the way the sector has responded to the pandemic,” write Shuckburg and Gilbert. Times Higher Ed (Editorial)

AB delays creation of professional college for counselling therapists

The Government of Alberta has delayed the creation of a professional college for counselling therapists. AB has reportedly not given a reason for delaying the proclamation of a regulation that would allow the professional college to move forward. The College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta (CCTA) would regulate counsellors, investigate complaints, discipline members found to be breaching the college’s professional standards or code of ethics, and ensure transparency for the public by providing a way to know if counsellors had breached standards. “We see this as critical right now and an absolutely integral part of the COVID response,” said Association of Counselling Therapy of Alberta registrar CEO Linda Sahli. CBC (AB)

King’s, Bennet University partner to promote student, faculty, staff exchange

King’s University College has announced that it has partnered with Bennet University of Uttar Pradesh, India. The MOU includes a student exchange program promoting academic exchange and intercultural activities and projects, a faculty and staff exchange, and opportunities for joint collaboration on research and academic activities. “I am thrilled to begin this partnership with such an outstanding institution,” said King’s President Dr David Malloy. “I look forward to meaningful collaborations and exchanges for years to come with our new friends and colleagues at Bennett University. Students at both universities will be enriched by this agreement.” King’s (ON)

Queen’s, UVic, SLC move exams online due to COVID-19 health concerns

Queen’s University, the University of Victoria, and St Lawrence College have announced that they will be changing exam formats due to concerns around COVID-19. Queen’s is changing exams to alternative delivery formats where possible and will be postponing those that cannot be delivered in a different format until next year. UVic has announced that it will not be holding further in-person exams this semester and has requested that instructors hold exams online or in another format. SLC shifted final exams to alternate delivery formats as a precaution in response to changing COVID-19 conditions in the community. Queen’s | CBC (Queen’s) | UVic | SLC (National)