Top Ten

June 2, 2022

Institutions raise flags, prepare events to kick off Pride Month

Several postsecondary institutions in Canada have raised flags and launched initiatives to mark the beginning of Pride Month. In an article from McMaster University, McMaster AVP Equity and Inclusion Arig al Shaibah reflected on the recent human rights gains and the work to be done in Canada and beyond. McMaster noted that the university would be raising the pride flag outside University Hall. Queen’s University has raised the Progress Pride flag and will be sharing resources and events with its community. The university also highlighted the work of the QueerMed committee, a student group that will be reviewing Queen’s MD pre-clerkship curriculum and making recommendations on how the university can increase and enhance 2SLGBTQIA+ representation. University of Manitoba President Michael Benarroch announced that it had permanently raised the Progress Pride Flag in front of the UMSU University Centre, and shared a number of events that would be held throughout the month. Langara College shared events and resources, including an LGBTQ+ Reading List curated by the college’s library. McMaster | Queen’s (1) | Queen’s (2) | UManitoba | Langara (National)

Interim report shows individuals experienced vulnerability, sexual violence without support at U of King’s College

The University of King’s College has announced the release of an interim report on the independent review into the allegations of sexual assault against former professor Wayne John Hankey. The report notes that individuals had experienced sexualized violence or vulnerability and did not have the necessary support or protection they should have. “What is called for is a fundamental change in our culture and a deep reckoning with our past,” said William Lahey (President), Sarah Clift (VP), Jordan Roberts (Sexual Health and Safety Officer), and Katie Merwin (Dean of Students). “We have started that process of change, but we must recognize we have a long way to go and that it is the responsibility of the university as a whole … to take the lead role in this work.” The university has unequivocally accepted all recommendations from the interim report. U of King’s College | U of King’s College (Report) | CBC (NS)

Academic freedom is affected by stepping into an administrative role: Opinion

In a recent article for University Affairs, University of Regina Dean of Arts Shannon Dea discusses how academic freedom can be affected by taking on an administrative role. Dea reflects on the experience of becoming a dean and finding it necessary to refrain from “extramural expression” such as walking out in protest of a speech or speaking publicly about difficult topics in which they are not an expert. Dea also notes that criticizing the university becomes more complicated, as administrators need to be critical and tell the truth without damaging the university. Working in administration, they write, led to navigating matters of academic freedom using people-centred, restorative approaches. “I didn’t say goodbye to academic freedom,” writes Dea. “Rather, I came to understand, use and defend it in new ways.” University Affairs (Editorial)

Holland College announces student wellness centre

Holland College is launching a new wellness centre that will centralize health and education services for students, staff, and their families. The wellness centre will offer a variety of services, including a health clinic, academic and career support, mental health support, and academic counselling. Holland Collage will receive $2.4M for the project from the Government of Prince Edward Island and will engage in external fundraising for the remaining funds. "We want to provide an integrated, supportive environment so our students can grow in our community and lead healthy, empowered, and productive lives," said Holland College President Dr Alexander MacDonald. "We also want to ensure that our staff and their families have timely access to the appropriate health and wellness supports they require." The centre is expected to open in 2023. Holland College | CBC (PEI)

EduNova launches program to train overseas student recruitment agents

EduNova has announced that it will be launching the Agent Training Program, the first program in Nova Scotia focused on training overseas student recruitment agents. The Agent Training Program will prepare agents to accurately represent the options that are available for prospective international students. The Canadian Bureau for International Education will provide the training in an online, self-paced format and will cover the Canadian education system, NS postsecondary options, and immigration options for international students. “Having well-trained recruitment agents will help provide prospective international students with excellent service from the point of first contact through to enrolment at our world-class post-secondary institutions,” said EduNova board chair and Acadia President Dr Peter Ricketts. EduNova (NS)

USask, UAlberta to complete project examining carbon sequestration in perennial forage and pastures

The University of Saskatchewan and the University of Alberta will be completing a $3.2M project that aims to examine carbon sequestration in perennial forage and pastures. The project is led by Dr Angela Bedard-Haughn of USask and Dr Cameron Carlyle of UAlberta. Research will focus on examining soil carbon stocks in SK’s perennial forage systems and identifying practices that promote carbon sequestration. The project will aim to map carbon in SK’s pastureland and rangeland, among other outcomes. The project is funded by $3.2M from the federal and provincial governments. The Star Phoenix | CJWW Radio (SK | AB)

How the “great resignation” is playing out in academia: Editorial

In a new article for Nature, Virginia Gewin discusses how the “great resignation” is playing out in academia. Gewin says that a wave of departures has occurred as academics – particularly scientists – have begun to re-evaluate their careers and lifestyles. The author says that the pandemic added demands to researchers and increased unhappiness levels, with academics struggling with parenting, increased workloads, or pay cuts. Additionally, some have faced inequity in promotion or gaining funding. In response, academics have begun to leave academia to pursue work in industry. “At a certain point, it doesn’t make sense to continue what we call ‘costly persistence,’” said researcher Sarah Tashjian. Nature (Editorial)

UToronto launches anti-Asian racism working group

The University of Toronto has launched a working group to tackle anti-Asian racism on campus and make the university more inclusive and welcoming. The group plans to develop a tri-campus inventory of existing resources, initiatives, and projects that address anti-Asian racism and advance inclusion; and will recommend actionable steps to respond to anti-Asian racism across the university’s three campuses. The working group is co-chaired by Carol Chin, the principal of Woodsworth College, and Vikram Chadalawada, the assistant director of student information, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration and Information Technology Services. “This is not just for the Asian community,” said Chadalawada. “It’s also for everyone who interacts with members of the Asian community at U of T – so, it applies to all of us.” UToronto (ON)

Okanagan receives boost for Gateway to Tech program, launch of Gateway to Community and Business

Okanagan College’s Gateway to Tech program has received a $250K boost from Scotiabank to support high school students in building technology-related skills. The 17-week program enables students from Grades 10-12 to earn credits while they discover if they would enjoy working in the industry. It aims to remove barriers to education for students as well as enable them to contribute to society in the future. Using the funding, Okanagan will develop and launch the Gateway to Community and Business, which is intended for Indigenous students. “Strengthening opportunities for high school students to experience post-secondary programs promotes diversity and inclusion, which benefits our entire community – businesses, organizations, families and of course the students,” said Okanagan President Neil Fassina. Okanagan (BC)

YUFA, CUPE Local 339 ratify collective agreements

New collective agreements have been signed at both York University and the University of New Brunswick. The York University Faculty Association (YUFA) and York University have ratified a three-year collective agreement with improvements in areas such as equity; workload and working conditions; funding for teaching, research, and professional development; and governance and tenure and promotion processes. YUFA members will also have expanded benefits and see an increase in salary and compensation. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Local 3339 and the University of New Brunswick have signed a five-year Collective Agreement with a “mutually beneficial settlement.” OCUFA | UNB (ON | NB)