Top Ten

January 19, 2022

Kenjgewin receives accreditation to grant postsecondary credentials

Kenjgewin Teg has become an accredited Indigenous Institute in Ontario by the Indigenous Education and Advanced Skills Council and will now be able to grant credentials such as diplomas, certificates, and degrees. Indigenous institutions historically have partnered with mainstream institutions to grant credentials, but this change will allow Kenjgewin to develop and offer Indigenous-based postsecondary education. “We wanted to be able to support our Indigenous students in really achieving a culturally relevant higher education,” said Kenjgewin President Stephanie Roy. “I think now what we’re really asserting is developing those credentials that will have that authentic world view of our people.” Kenjgewin Teg | CBC (ON)

BC invests $1.32M to add 147 ECE seats at eight postsecondary institutions

The Government of British Columbia is adding 147 early childhood educator (ECE) seats at eight postsecondary institutions through an investment of $1.32M. The seats will be offered at Northern Lights College, Okanagan College, Thompson Rivers University, College of the Rockies, Selkirk College, Camosun College, North Island College, and Vancouver Island University. They include full- and part-time studies, online learning, and specialty programs. “We’re building a future where child care is a core service that’s available to any family that wants it,” said Katrina Chen, BC Minister of State for Child Care. “Expanding the number of training spaces for early childhood educators supports that future, gives child a strong start and helps families get ahead.” BC | Castlegar News (Selkirk) (BC)

CEC requests OPSEU vote on most recent offer

The College Employer Council (CEC) has requested that the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) conduct a vote with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) on CEC’s most recent faculty contract offer. The offer “includes no concessions,” according to CEC, and includes a wage increase and changes to partial load employees’ work. “[W]e urge OPSEU to keep their promise to put students’ needs first by not escalating the labour dispute,” said Dr Laurie Rancourt, Chair of the CEC Management Bargaining team. “We ask that they allow College faculty to continue working until the results of the employer vote come in, especially given the modest 59% strike mandate result.” Nation Talk | CKDR (ON)

UOITFA requests “no-board” notice to enable countdown toward potential strike

UOITFA, the faculty association at Ontario Tech University, has requested a “no-board” notice from the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development which will enable it to begin the countdown toward a potential strike. UUOITFA says that the concerns around workload, education quality, equity, and job security has not been meaningfully addressed by the Ontario Tech administration. “Our priority has always been to try and settle these issues at the bargaining table and avoid a strike,” said Past UOITFA President Kimberly Nugent. “However, if a strike is the only way to convince President Murphy and the Board of Governors that they need to take action, then we are willing to strike.” Other unions in ON, including CFS Ontario, CUASA, and CUPE 3902, issued statements of solidarity. UOITFA | UOITFA (Solidarity Statements) (ON)

Supporting middle managers in leadership roles: Opinion

Academic middle managers often need additional support to manage their difficult positions, writes Keambra Pierson. Pierson cites a study that found that associate deans want more training and development, as well as coaching, mentoring, and networking opportunities. The author recommends that institutions start training staff for middle manager positions before they begin the position. Ongoing support in the form of formalized networks, coaching, and mentoring would also be beneficial. Pierson also recommends that institutions gather data about what is needed for associate deans to be successful. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

Lethbridge, Hanlon Ag partner to give Engineering Technology students access to HPRTK Network

Lethbridge College has partnered with Hanlon AG to allow students in Lethbridge’s Geomatics Engineering Technology students program to access Hanlon’s High Precision Real Time Kinematic (HPRTK) Network. The partnership will allow students to access instantaneous GNSS data corrections through the internet to streamline the accuracy of their surveying. Jim Pinches, technologist for Lethbridge’s Engineering Technology department, said that students may be able to use the system for field work as soon as early February. Medicine Hat News (AB)

Avoid creating empty slogans instead of engaging in meaningful change: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions should avoid creating empty slogans instead of concrete university policies and programs, writes Harvey J Graff. Graff notes that generic, inspirational, or actively promotional slogans can be used to develop a brand and ensure students develop an emotional attachment to the school. However, some US university presidents have resorted to slogans that contain empty promises in order to recruit students and compete for funding. Graff argues that slogan marketing does not enhance policies and typically is not accompanied by plans and timetables for their implementation or evaluation. He concludes by recommending that institutions “avoid imploding into the vacuum of sloganeering.” Times Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)

Collège d'Alma, Listuguj community partner on AEC Wildlife Protection program

Collège d'Alma and the Indigenous community of Listuguj have partnered to create a two-year program that will train new land protection officers. AEC Wildlife Protection (Geligatmu'g Gmitginu) is adapted from an existing Collège d'Alma AEC program with input from the community to ensure that it meets the needs, realities, and regulations of the Mi'gmaw territory. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work in the Listuguj community as rangers. TVA Nouvelles (QC)

Some institutions navigate pandemic without strong impacts on enrolment, achievement

In a recent article in The Globe and Mail, Joe Friesen discusses how some Canadian postsecondary institutions have managed to navigate the pandemic without a strong negative impact on their enrolment or achievement. Citing Statistics Canada data from 2020-21, Friesen states that university participation was higher for students between 18 and 25 years of age. Retention has also been high, Friesen writes, as seen at Queen’s University where enrolment was up about 16% compared to pre-pandemic levels without a notable increase in students dropping out or taking leave. A Canadian University Survey Consortium poll in 2021 showed that around 2/3 of students were satisfied with the online instruction they received. While some students have struggled with online learning, MCAT and GRE scores have stayed consistent. The Globe and Mail (National)

Proactively teaching students how to articulate their skills: Opinion

Faculty should take a greater role in ensuring students learn how to articulate their skills and competencies for employers, writes Rachel Toor. Noting that faculty members in STEM and professional fields in particular tend to help students get jobs, Toor calls on the arts and humanities to think more about students’ future careers. Toor discusses various ways that staff and faculty have come to gether to help their students recognize their marketable skills, such as connecting co-curricular activities with skills sought after by employers, ensuring curricula competencies match what employers are looking for, engaging students in experiential learning, and incentivizing student engagement in career fairs. “I think it’s incumbent on all of us—especially those who know the back-breaking burden of student loans—to help our students get jobs,” concludes Toor. Inside Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)