Top Ten

February 10, 2022

ON announces $583M in infrastructure support for postsecondary institutions

The Government of Ontario has announced $583M in funding to support the modernization of postsecondary infrastructure. The investment will fund classroom modernization, critical repairs, environmental sustainability improvements, and virtual learning projects to increase postsecondary accessibility. $493M will be distributed through the Facilities Renewal Program, $60M through the College Equipment and Renewal Fund, and $30M through the Training Equipment and Renewal Fund. “We’re pleased the province continues to invest in new technology and critical repairs,” said Colleges Ontario President Linda Franklin. “This helps colleges deliver programs that are at the forefront of the new economy and accelerating innovation.” ON (ON)

NS, Michener partner to expand healthcare training capacity

The Government of Nova Scotia’s Departments of Advanced Education and Health and Wellness and Nova Scotia Health have signed an MOU with the Michener Institute of Education at the University Health Network to support healthcare worker training. The MOU includes exploration of how to increase training capacity, as well as work on identifying priority program areas, training delivery, and funding. “For more than 60 years, the Michener Institute of Education at UHN has been graduating much-needed health professionals to work in complex areas of health care and support excellent patient care,” said Michener Principal Harvey P Weingarten. “We look forward to partnering with Nova Scotia as we continue to fulfill our commitments and obligations to Ontario.” Michener (NS | ON)

USB receives funds to permanently expand BEd program

Université de Saint-Boniface will be receiving 350K from the Government of Manitoba to permanently expand USB’s Bachelor of Education degree program for French and French immersion teachers. The funding will allow the program to transition from temporary federal grant funding to a more stable funding model. 60 to 70 students will be able to join the program each year. “With this, USB will continue to work toward addressing the increased demand for French-speaking teachers and fulfilling its academic and social mission in support of the continued development of the francophonie manitobaine,” said USB President Dr Sophie Bouffard. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that some critics have called the funding a “smoke screen” due to its coincidence with a report on deficiencies in MB’s second-language resources. MB | CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

Brock launches accelerated concurrent Bachelor of Nursing/Master of Nursing program

Brock University has launched an accelerated concurrent Bachelor of Nursing/Master of Nursing program. The program, which is reportedly the first of its kind in Canada, will give students the opportunity to complete a 20-month expedited Nursing program and graduate with both an undergraduate and graduate degree in nursing. The program will provide students with both clinical and theoretical experience, and graduates will be eligible to write the NCLEX-RN registration exam. “Our graduates are health-care leaders, and I can’t wait to congratulate our first nurses of the program,” said Brock Dean of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Peter Tiidus. Brock (ON)

Sask Polytech forms two partnerships facilitating student opportunities

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recently formed two partnerships to facilitate new opportunities for students. Sask Polytech and New Southern Plains Métis Local 160 (NSPML) have signed an MOU that will facilitate collaboration with the Métis of Moose Jaw and encourage inclusion of Métis culture within Saskatchewan’s education systems. The partnership will involve a variety of projects, such as language revitalization initiatives and the promotion of Métis culture and resources. Sask Polytech’s welding programs also recently partnered with FROST festival to create metal fire boxes to serve as warming stations. Students in Sask Polytech’s two welding certificate programs fabricated the boxes as part of a hands-on welding project. Sask Polytech (MOU) | Sask Polytech (FROST festival) (SK)

Academic freedom is an indicator of a healthy democracy: Spooner

“A country’s institutional commitment to academic freedom is a key indicator of whether its democracy is in good health,” writes University of Regina Professor Marc Spooner. Spooner discusses some of the warning signs that democracy may be in danger, including bans on certain areas of study, elimination of tenure, and the loss of protection of academic freedom. The author says that a democracy enables faculty to speak truth, which can be used to inform and disrupt processes and policies and act as a check on the government. “As more countries flirt with democratic backsliding, we should all be concerned,” writes Spooner. “A country’s tolerance and respect for academic freedom serves as a key indicator of the health of its democracy; let’s not ignore this important warning.” The Conversation (Editorial)

ULethbridge cancels application to delay strike action, progress made at bargaining table

The University of Lethbridge has cancelled an “urgent interim application” that would delay strike action as faculty and administration make progress in bargaining. The application to delay strike action was reportedly made so that the labour relations board could deal with a “bad faith” bargaining complaint that was filed last week against the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA). “The university withdrew an application before the [labour relations board] in recognition of progress made at the bargaining table with the ULFA yesterday,” read a statement from ULethbridge. ULFA President Dan O’Donnell confirmed that the negotiations were proceeding. “I think where it really counts, at the table, the teams are meeting, they seem to be talking reasonably well,” said O’Donnell. CBC | Lethbridge Herald (AB)

Western responds to interim recommendations on gender-based, sexual violence

Western University has accepted the four interim recommendations regarding gender-based and sexual violence provided by an action committee. Western will be providing new students with information about the institution’s stance on gender-based and sexual violence and requiring them to complete training before they arrive on campus. Western will also develop a new process for hiring and training upper-year students who provide guidance to first-year students, creating an enhanced staffing model that will support staff working in student residences, and hiring at least one more support case manager and one more prevention and education coordinator. “We are looking forward to the final report from the committee in the spring and the report from the independent reviewers,” said Western’s acting president Sarah Prichard. Globe and Mail | Global News | Sarnia This Week (ON)

Lethbridge, COTR launch new programs to support women in the trades

Lethbridge College and College of the Rockies have both recently announced programs that will support women looking to pursue jobs in the skilled trades. Lethbridge has partnered with Vestas and Women’s Building Futures to offer a Vestas Wind Turbine Technician Readiness program later this year. The program builds on the college’s Wind Turbine Technician program and will include a three-week fully paid hands-on training opportunity with Vestas in Portland, Oregon. “This program will bring great opportunity to women in Canada who are looking to explore a career in an ever-growing industry with plenty of room for career growth,” said Jess Thomson, Director Stakeholder and Government Relations for WBF. COTR will be offering a 12-week, tuition-free Women in Trades Sampler program this spring. Students will be able to explore roles as an electrician, carpenter, welder, and more, while also completing key workforce certificates such as Forklift Training and WHMIS. Lethbridge News Now | E-know (COTR) (AB | BC)

World University Rankings provide perspective on inequities in postsecondary for women: Opinion

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings provide another perspective on the inequities present in higher education and careers in academia for women, writes Rosa Ellis. While almost half (49%) of university students across the globe are female, women only made up 37% of faculty in 2019. Ellis says that the rankings’ 2022 data shows the regions and subjects in which women face barriers to progression. The lowest proportions of female students are found in Asia (45%) and South America (50%), while the lowest proportions of female faculty are found in Asia (32%) and North America (41%). The gender ratio also varied drastically by faculty, with engineering reporting the lowest proportion of female students and faculty (25% and 20% respectively). The greatest five-year increase among female faculty was noted in psychology programs in North America (43% to 49%) and clinical and health subjects in South America (49% to 54%). Times Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)