Top Ten

June 15, 2022

MB faculty express concern over government consultations on performance-based metrics

Faculty in Manitoba are expressing concern over the Government of Manitoba’s consultation process regarding performance-based metrics, reports CBC. A recent virtual consultation about MB’s implementation of performance-based metrics was reportedly not well attended by postsecondary representatives: the University of Manitoba Faculty Association said their invitation went to their spam folder, Brandon University’s faculty could not attend the meeting, and the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations received a last-minute link and was removed from the meeting after it started. University of Winnipeg Faculty Association President Peter Miller said that provincial staff appear to have assumed that everyone was already on board. “We decided this was not really a consultation as far as we understood it, because it was starting from the assumption that we agreed with this process, that it would make sense to implement performance metrics,” said Miller. CBC (MB)

Dal launches DalOpen to increase accessibility to courses

Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development has launched a new initiative called DalOpen. DalOpen will increase access to education by providing everyone with the opportunity to take select Dal courses fully online without being in a Dal program. Through the initiative, learners can take university-level courses without applying to a full program and learn on a schedule that works for them. Courses that are currently available include “Exploring Sustainability” and “Innovation: An Introduction to Design Thinking.” “We have a responsibility, as a civic university, to forge even stronger connections with the communities we serve and DalOpen is one way we can extend our reach and offer university learning to even more people,” said Kim Brooks, Dean of Dal’s Faculty of Management. Dal (NS)

URegina restores iconic frog sculpture, searches for student creators to hear their experiences

As the University of Regina restores an iconic frog sculpture located on its Avenue campus, the institution is searching for the 10 students who helped to create it in 1971 under the guidance of the late sculptor Joe Fafard. The frog is one of several of Fafard’s funk sculpture style creations that were created with support from students and placed on campus, and is the only one that is still standing. While the frog has been credited to Fafard, 10 student artists contributed to the collaborative project. URegina will be installing a plaque with information about the frog’s history and restoration and is hoping to find the students that helped create the frog to hear about their experiences. CBC (SK)

Faculty, students should collaborate on letters of recommendation: Opinion

Faculty should collaborate with students on letters of recommendation in order to fix inequity-related challenges associated with the process, write Rebecca E Burnett, Rebekah Fitzsimmons, Courtney A Hoffman, and Patricia R Taylor. The authors recommend that faculty share an early draft of a letter of recommendation through a collaborative space so that the applicant can edit and review the final letter before its submission. The authors argue that taking this approach helps reduce power differentials, decreases the likelihood of inappropriate personal information being disclosed, and increases the accuracy of the letter while “deconstructing some of the toxic hierarchies inherent to the academic system.” Inside Higher Ed (Sub. Req.) (Editorial)

Queen’s renames UK campus Bader College

Queen’s University has announced that its Bader International Study Centre in the UK has been renamed Bader College. The new name highlights Bader College’s connections with the university and honours the contributions of Alfred and Isabel Bader, who gave Queen’s the campus. It also reflects the unique academic and on-campus experiences that the campus provides to Queen’s students. “This new name will signal to the international community the importance of the castle to our university and its pivotal role in Queen’s new global engagement strategy,” said Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane. Queen’s plans to release a new brand identity for the campus in the coming weeks. Queen’s (ON)

UCalgary, CIBC announce multi-year Energy Transition Centre agreement

The University of Calgary is entering into a multi-year sponsorship agreement with CIBC to support the university’s new Energy Transition Centre. The centre will open in downtown Calgary in September 2022. It will support academic and industry personnel through career development and technology development; foster innovation-led clean energy development; and generate economic activity in research and development with incubation space, commercialization programming, and investment in start-ups. As a sponsor, CIBC will provide funding and contribute to programming for the centre. UCalgary (AB)

NBCC, UNB, Marshal Skills Academy partner to address skills shortages

New Brunswick Community College, the University of New Brunswick, and the Marshall Skills Academy have partnered to provide experiential learning opportunities in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. The partnership is intended to address skills shortages for people who are underemployed, newcomers, or transitioning from military to civilian life. Under the agreement, the partners will work together to attract high-quality engineers to the region and retain them. “Through this collaboration with NBCC and Marshall Skills Academy, we can create work integrated learning opportunities and professional development training solutions, as well as retain valued workers in New Brunswick, increase incomes and job security,” said UNB VP Saint John Dr Petra Hauf. NBCC (NB)

YorkvilleU launches two graduate certificates in education

Yorkville University’s Faculty of Education has launched two new education graduate certificates in the areas of Leadership in Social Justice and Teaching and Learning. Both certificates will be available starting in Fall 2022 and are offered completely online. The Leadership in Social Justice certificate will train students in equitable leadership and policy and practice development. The Teaching and Learning certificate is geared toward those who have an advanced skills or trades background and will train students in topics such as program development, pedagogical strategy, assessment, and evaluation to prepare them to work as instructors. YorkvilleU (ON)

MB invests $450K in training program to tackle shortages at provincial shelters

The Government of Manitoba is investing $450K in a Shelter Support Foundations micro-credential training pilot program that will tackle the "unprecedented" staffing shortages faced by provincial shelters. Red River College Polytechnic will develop the curriculum with the aid of the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (MAWS) and End Homelessness Winnipeg. The course will be delivered primarily in an asynchronous learning format by MAWS, and will train up to 30 participants to provide frontline services in shelters. "As we continue recovering from the pandemic, community supports and a safe place for Manitobans to stay are needed now more than ever," said MB Families Minister Rochelle Squires. MB | CBC News | Winnipeg Free Press | Brandon Sun (MB)

STU course sparks discussion around teaching critical digital literacy

St Thomas University's new course on how to sift through online misinformation has generated a conversation around the need to build critical digital literacy skills in students. The course was developed by STU instructors Dr Andrew Klein and Dr Katherine Thorsteinson, and teaches students how to sift through online misinformation. The course drew the attention of members of the community, such as the CEO of a cybersecurity firm and the province's education minister, who noted that these skills needed to also be taught to young people in high school or even elementary classes. "There's so much out there for them, they don't always have or haven't always given themselves a moment to just think about where all this stuff is coming from," said Klein. CBC News (NB)