Top Ten

February 28, 2022

Institutions, researchers respond to Ukraine invasion

Several postsecondary institutions and researchers in Canada have issued statements and released supports in response to the Ukraine invasion. University of British Columbia President Santa Ono, University of Alberta President Bill Flanagan, University of Northern British Columbia President Geoff Payne, University of Manitoba President Michael Benarroch, and Vancouver Community College President Ajay Patel were among those who issued statements condemning the aggression and offering support for students and community members affected by the attacks. The University of Guelph is urging students, faculty, and staff who need assistance to reach out to the university’s support services. Some have also spoken to the potential impact on activities in the postsecondary sector: University of Calgary associate professor Robert Huebert spoke to CBC the impact that the attacks and subsequent sanctions may have on the Arctic Council, which is chaired by Russia, while Scott Jaschik penned an editorial about the impact of the invasion and how organizations like Scholars at Risk and CARA are responding around the world. UoGuelph | UManitoba | UNBC | Inside Higher Ed | | UBC | UAlberta | CBC (International)

AB releases Budget 2022

The Government of Alberta has released its Budget 2022. The Ministry of Advanced Education projects that the percentage of the operating expense funded by own-source and reserves will increase to 53% for 2022-23. AB has also announced that it will invest $600M over three years into an Alberta at Work initiative, which will see AB’s K-12 and postsecondary education systems help Albertans to build a solid foundation, develop their work skills, and secure and advance in their careers. The investment will include targeted enrolment expansion in areas such as technology, agriculture, and financial services; funds for reskilling and upskilling opportunities; and $30M for apprenticeship expansion programs. Global News reports that University of Alberta and University of Calgary have both expressed “mixed feelings” about the budget, which supports student enrolment but continues to reduce provincial grants. AB Fiscal Plan (PDF) | Globe and Mail | Global News (CP) | Global News | CTV News (AB)

MB to pay UMFA $19.3M for interfering in collective bargaining talks in 2016

Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Joan McKelvey has ruled that the Government of Manitoba must pay the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) $19.3M for interfering with collective bargaining talks in 2016, reports CBC. McKelvey said that the government mandated a wage freeze and requested that UManitoba not disclose the freeze when speaking with the union, or there would be “financial repercussions.” “Manitoba’s conduct significantly disrupted the balance between UM and UMFA along with their relationship, as well as causing significant discord between UMFA and its membership,” read McKelvey's decision. “There was a serious and substantial undermining and interference with what had been a meaningful and productive process of collective bargaining.” Winnipeg Free Press | CBC (MB)

SK announces $2.2M Training Voucher Program to support reskilling

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that it will be providing $2.2M through a Training Voucher Program to support individuals in reskilling initiatives. The program will help reduce barriers to training opportunities at public and private training institutions in targeted sectors such as information technology, health care, and hospitality. “[W]e recognize economic challenges caused by COVID-19 have impacted some Saskatchewan workers who might want to develop new skills as they re-enter the labour force,” said SK Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison. “The Training Voucher Program will help us achieve the important goal of training and retaining a skilled workforce to match employer needs and help drive Saskatchewan's economic growth.” SK (SK)

U of T establishes Loveland Chair in Indigenous Law through $2M endowed gift

The University of Toronto will be establishing a new chair in Indigenous law, thanks to a $2M endowed gift from alumni Norman and Gay Loveland. The Loveland Chair in Indigenous Law will advance the law school’s Indigenous law research and education priorities. “The Loveland’s commitment to Indigenous law students and Indigenous scholarship is inspiring,” said U of T Dean Jutta Brunnée. “Further expanding our robust expertise and course offerings is a top academic priority, and with the Loveland’s generous gift we will accelerate our teaching and scholarship in Indigenous law.” UToronto (ON)

China, USA among countries where pirate paper site Sci-Hub is most used

In a recent article for Nature, Brian Owens discusses the countries that most use Sci-Hub, a website that gives users access to pirated copies of scientific papers. Users from China are most active on the site, writes Owens, with users from the United States coming in second place. The author says the data indicates that researchers whose institutions do not have the resources to pay for subscriptions tend to use the service heavily. However, Owens notes that the data tracks the statistics from original Sci-Hub websites, and that virtual private networks can skew the data on what countries are using the service most. “Sci-Hub has highlighted how a very passionate community towards scientific endeavours exploits alternative mechanisms to access scientific literature,” Juan Carlos Correa, a data scientist at the Prague University of Economics and Business. Nature (International)

OIENCC receives $1.5M from ON to address demand for nurses

The Ontario Internationally Educated Nurses Course Consortium (OIENCC) is receiving a $1.5M funding boost from the Government of Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. The funding will support OIENCC as it updates its competency-bridging program for internationally educated nurses. Trent University, Ryerson University, York University, and the University of Windsor will be helping to provide training to internationally educated nurses. “This collaboration and the additional funding will allow us to play a key role in addressing the demand for nurses across the province,” said Trent/Fleming School of Nursing associate professor Dr Kirsten Woodend. Trent | PTBO Canada (ON)

NSCC, BrandonU, ECUAD install, display Indigenous artwork on campus

Postsecondary institutions across Canada have recently introduced or installed Indigenous artwork on campus. Nova Scotia Community College graduate Riki Lee Christmas, who is from Eskasoni First Nation, designed a turtle symbol which will be used to mark over 1,500 Mi’kmaw and Indigenous books at all NSCC campuses. At Brandon University, a new sculpture by faculty member and Cree/Métis sculptor Kevin McKenzie has been commissioned as a way to move BrandonU’s commitment to reconciliation forward. The sculpture will be installed on campus in spring or early summer after it is fabricated. Emily Carr University of Art and Design received a new totem pole named “Northern Wolves” that was created by Tahltan-Tlingit master carvers Dempsey Bob and Stan Bevan, which will be completed this summer by Māori carver Lyonel Grant. ECUAD will also soon feature a house post designed by master carver Xwalacktun, who is of Squamish and Kwakwak’wakw ancestry, that was created in collaborated with Indigenous ECUAD students. CBC | Brandon U | ECUAD (1) | ECUAD (2) (NS | MB | BC)

Employers should support students before they begin apply for jobs: Opinion

Employers should strive to engage with and support students before students applying for jobs, writes Liana Thompson, Director of the University of the Fraser Valley’s Centre for Experiential and Career Education. The author recommends that employers broaden their definition of education to include career pathways and transferrable skills, shift their mindset to a focus on “helping” students to show the benefits that they offer to potential employees, and create approachable job ads and opportunities to be inclusive of non-linear path jobseekers. “Curating opportunities for jobseekers and employers to connect early gives employers the opportunity to demonstrate what they have to offer to their future workforce,” writes Thompson. “These efforts yield positive results in preparing students for their future careers.” Career Wise (Editorial)

Queen’s to contribute $750K to support Kingston city services

Queen’s University has announced that it will be contributing $750K over five years to support the City of Kingston’s services. The funds will give the city a larger budget to work with to address the additional pressures that come with policing the university district at certain times of the year. “The university felt that a financial contribution to the City was an appropriate way to acknowledge and address some of the additional pressures placed on our municipal services throughout the year,” said Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane. “As an active and supportive member of the Kingston community, the university recognizes and appreciates the hard work of our many municipal and community partners.” Global News | Queen’s (ON)