Top Ten

February 11, 2022

AB postsecondary institutions respond to removal of Restriction Exemption Program

Following the Government of Alberta’s removal of the Restriction Exemption Program, AB Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides expressed an “expectation that all of Alberta’s universities, colleges and polytechnics will align their COVID-19 policies and practices with that of Alberta’s Government.” The University of Calgary and Medicine Hat College have each noted that their policies are not a part of the Restriction Exemption Program. UCalgary and Alberta University of the Arts announced that they are not making changes to their COVID-19 policies, while MHC stated it is waiting for sector-specific guidance, with masking and vaccination requirements in place until government directives are provided. The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology is reviewing the public health measure changes, with its current policies remaining in the meantime. CTV News (UCalgary ) | NAIT | AU Arts | Medicine Hat News (MHC) (AB)

Anderson, Westervelt announce plans to combine forces

Anderson College of Health, Business and Technology and Westervelt College have announced that they will be joining together to form one of Ontario’s largest career colleges. By joining forces, the colleges will be able to expand their reach and impact. “The marriage of our two colleges is an integral next step in our collective vision,” said Anderson President Mihkel Ranniste. “From a student-centred approach and hands-on training in a supportive and caring community environment, to hiring industry-expert instructors, Anderson and Westervelt, together, are poised to expand our reach and impact.” News Wire (ON)

VIU launches Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy graduate certificate program

Vancouver Island University has launched a Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy graduate certificate program, which it says is the first of its kind from an accredited university in Canada. Students in the program will complete theory and supervised practice as they learn how to deliver psychedelic-assisted therapies. The program was developed with learnings from Roots to Thrive, and VIU’s Elder-in-Residence will help deliver the curriculum to support decolonization and reconciliation. The program coordinators and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) have collaborated to ensure that students in the certificate program will also meet the requirements of the MAPS MDMA Therapy Training Program. The program will be offered in a part-time, online format so that working professionals from across Canada can access the training. VIU (BC)

Tips for hiring an academic couple: Opinion

Hiring an academic couple can be a great benefit to an institution, but spousal and partner hires can also present a variety of challenges during the hiring process, writes David D Perlmutter. Perlmutter says that hiring a partner can be tricky due to policies, procedures, funding schemes, and cultural norms, and recommends focusing on the small details to plan the partner-hiring process. The author recommends becoming familiar with all the latest department and college hiring rules, understanding the costs of the hire and who will pay them, and developing an understanding of the partner’s goals. Lastly, Perlmutter recommends creating a written plan that outlines each step and tracks the questions and concerns that may come up. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)

Mohawk, George Brown partner with CHHA to address barriers for the deaf, hard of hearing community

Mohawk College, George Brown College, and the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) have partnered to address barriers to employment faced by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ontarians. The partners will collect, analyze, and synthesize multifaceted data about this group of Ontarians; raise the profile of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in Ontario; and provide employers with opportunities to further support individuals in the workplace. The partnership has received a $750K investment from the Government of Ontario. “This project will allow the partners to create a gateway that would enable employers to see the value of hiring Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ontarians to strengthen their workforce," said Bruce Belcher, Mohawk Deaf Empowerment Program Employment Pathway Lead. "We are resilient and possess the necessary skills to meet the demands of today’s economy.” Mohawk | Global News (ON)

Students express mixed feelings over returning to in-person classes

Postsecondary students are expressing both excitement and concern as their institutions return to in-person classes, reports CBC. In the east, around 350 students from St Thomas University, the University of New Brunswick, and New Brunswick Community College signed a petition requesting that in-person learning be delayed. Other students are apprehensive, but are looking forward to connecting with their classmates and instructors. Some University of Saskatchewan students told CBC that they feel ready to return to campus and connect with their peers, while some are concerned contracting COVID-19. Royal Military College students have already returned to the classroom, and are happy to be back in in-person classes. “It’s great to see all of my fellow students,” said RMC officer cadet Sebastian Lees. “It’s been two years since I’ve last seen them.” CBC (USask) | CBC (NB) | Global News (RMC) (National)

HEQCO shares “graduation predictor” to identify what students need additional support

In a new article for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, Rob Brown and Gillian Parekh described the creation of a “graduation predictor” that can be used to show which students may need additional support from their postsecondary institutions. Researchers investigated three factors, including students’ first sessional GPA, first year credit accumulation, and if they entered postsecondary directly or indirectly from high school. They found that GPA, completion of 15 or more credits during the school year, and direct-entry status were strongly related to graduation. They also found that these patterns revealed issues around forms of privilege. Brown and Parekh say that institutions can use the data to consider how they could create further opportunities for students to develop their study skills, ensure courses are adopting inclusive pedagogy, and integrate accommodations for students with responsibilities outside the school. HEQCO (on)

UQTR creates trading room with $1M donation from La Fondation Jean-Louis-Tassé

The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières has received over $1M from La Fondation Jean-Louis-Tassé to create a trading room at the university’s school of management studies. $750K will be used to create the training room, while the remaining $300K will be awarded to students in the form of scholarships that will support business leader development. The trading room, which will be named for Jean-Louis-Tassé, will launch in the 2022-23 academic year and provide a place for students and instructors to work with the financial market. Professor Diane Gagné explained that the room will offer a realistic stock market simulation environment where users can practice portfolio and investment management. UQTR (QC)

Trent concludes Campaign for Trent Durham Greater Toronto Area after raising $6.6M

Trent University has concluded its Campaign for Trent Durham Greater Toronto Area (GTA) fundraising campaign. The campaign raised a total of $6.6M, surpassing its original goal of $5M to support the growth of Trent’s GTA campus. Phase 1 ended in February 2021 after raising $5.6M to fund a new residence and academic building, and phase 2, which has just concluded, raised an additional $1M that will go toward student financial aid and experiential learning. “Our generous supporters are providing students with the gift of education, which has a big impact on making their educational dreams possible,” said Sherry Booth, Trent AVP, Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. Trent (ON)

Re-examining terms related to academic collegiality: Opinion

Academic collegiality and related terms such as “colleague,” “review,” and “mentor” should be re-examined, writes Harvey J Graff, as they frequently are misused and abused in the relationship between senior and junior academics. Graff argues that power structures can create pathological surrogate parent/child relationships between supervisors and PhD students, and that the complements and confirmations of mentors can influence mentees without taking into account the psychological challenges the mentees will face in academia. The author points to the way that the use of the terms, as well as power dynamics and other “unstated and ignored rules and procedures” for advancement, work against a sense of solidarity, especially among vulnerable scholars. Graff says these complexities harm younger scholars, and calls for collective re-examination of the way these terms are used. Times Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)