Top Ten

September 6, 2022

UVic opens new student housing facility, re-opens upgraded transit exchange

The University of Victoria opened a new student housing facility, as well as its upgraded transit exchange, late last week. The eight-storey residence will provide 398 beds to meet student housing needs, primarily for first-year students, and includes a 715-seat dining hall with a passive house kitchen. “On-campus housing helps students transition to post-secondary studies and creates a sense of community and connection,” said UVic President Kevin Hall. “These new student-housing buildings will also help to alleviate pressure on the rental market in the surrounding community.” The UVic transit exchange has also re-opened after it was closed for work over the summer. In addition to a redesigned layout, the exchange features upgraded bus shelters, lighting, signage, landscaping, and asphalt driving surface. BC | Victoria News | chek NEWS (BC)

Georgian introduces mixed reality simulation for firefighter training

Georgian College is using a new mixed reality simulation to train firefighters. Firefighting trainees will don virtual reality glasses to take part in a simulation that is augmented by physical objects such as a fire hose, thermal imaging camera, and vest that heats up as users approach a fire. The simulator will provide a safer training ground for students and give them an opportunity to complete some of their training without the risk of burns. “It’s really valuable for developing muscle memory, for knowledge of procedural tasks, so that fire students have a good solid foundation before they go to real fire practice,” said Georgian Immersive Technology Manager Rob Theriault. Georgian is reportedly the first college in Canada to test this technology. CTV News (ON)

VIU receives investment to build nine-storey student housing

Vancouver Island University will soon sport new student housing, thanks to a $87M investment from the Government of British Columbia. The nine-storey hybrid mass-timber building will include space for 266 beds, a common area, and a new dining hall. With the new beds, the university’s on-campus student accommodations will increase by over 50%. “Secure, stable and affordable housing is essential for students to be successful at their studies,” stated VIU President Deborah Saucier. “Additional on-campus housing promotes a deeper connection between learners and the land our campus is located on, which provides students with a fully accessible space to live while they explore their potential studying at VIU.” BC (BC)

Tentative agreement reached between CEC, OPSEU/SEFPO CAAT-Full-Time Support Staff

A tentative agreement has been reached between the College Employer Council (CEC) and OPSEU/SEFPO CAAT-Full-Time Support Staff. The deal is a three-year collective agreement that recognizes the value that Full-Time Support staff bring to the postsecondary education system. “Full-Time Support staff are an integral part of the College sector and the ongoing development of Ontario's higher education system,” said CEC CEO Graham Lloyd. “Thanks to the hard work, respect, and commitment of both bargaining teams, we were able to reach agreement.” iHeartRADIO | OPSEU | CEC (ON)

NSCC, CSU partner on transfer agreement

Nova Scotia Community College has partnered with Columbia Southern University (CSU) on a transfer agreement for students studying occupational health and safety. Students from NSCC’s related diploma program will be able to transfer their credits to a Bachelor of Science at CSU. NSCC employees and students will also receive a 10% discount off CSU tuition, as will their immediate family members. “NSCC is excited to collaborate with CSU to open a new doorway for our occupational health and safety program graduates,” said NSCC VP, Academic Jill Provoe. “In today’s environment, this is such an important sector and professionals are in high demand. This is a tremendous opportunity for those wishing to augment their skills and education by moving into CSU’s Bachelor of Science degree in OHS studies.” NSCC (NS)

Academics must have academic freedom to effectively do their work: Spooner

Academic freedom is a work-specific consideration rather than a “luxury perk,” writes University of Regina Professor Marc Spooner. Spooner argues that while current debates often treat academic freedom as being synonymous with free speech, academic freedom differs in that it ensures that academics can research and speak freely about their findings without fear of upsetting those in powerful positions. The author writes that academic freedom can be likened to other special considerations granted to those in certain jobs, and that in this context it is “neither unique nor unreasonable.” “[Academic freedom] is simply the commonplace and understandable request of workers asking for the conditions they need to competently and effectively carry out their duties as expected, required and urgently needed by society,” Spooner concludes. The Conversation (Editorial)

RRC Polytech transforms street into pedestrian-friendly Elgin Plaza

Red River College Polytechnic has announced the opening of a new outdoor space: the Elgin Plaza. The polytechnic closed the street between two of its buildings in order to transform it into a pedestrian plaza. The space includes outdoor gardens, seating areas, recreational spaces, a rainbow walkway, areas for food trucks, and a projector that will showcase student work. Plants in the space include native and adaptive trees and shade-tolerant foraging plants that will be used as resources for Indigenous teachings. “Developments like this allow us to build on our partnerships and strengthen our shared vision to enhance the student experience,” said RRC Polytech President Fred Meier. RRC Polytech (MB)

Ten ON institutions to participate in new ARUCC MyCreds pilot project

ARUCC MyCreds has announced that ten Ontario postsecondary institutions will be participating in the MyCreds™ Ontario Virtual Skills Passport pilot project. The project will focus on ensuring that digital micro-credentials are verifiable and developing open standards for digital micro-credentials. Ten institutions have been approved to receive funding to participate in the project: Brock University, Centennial College, Conestoga College, Durham College, Fleming College, Humber College, Niagara College, Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute, University of Windsor, and Western University’s Western Continuing Studies. MyCreds (ON)

UMoncton, CCNB support NB initiatives to improve health care, training

The Government of New Brunswick has embarked on improvements to the health care sector that will be supported by institutions such as Université du Moncton and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick. NB and the Nurses Association of New Brunswick announced that NB nursing graduates will have an alternate pathway to a nursing career through the Quebec nursing entry exam. The Université du Moncton collaborated with NANB to post online resources for nursing students who are studying for the QC exam. NB also announced that a new training program for emergency medical technicians will begin this fall to reintroduce EMTs to Ambulance NB and to keep more ambulances staffed in the province. Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick will provide the French-language training for the program. NB (1) | NB (2) (NB)

HEQCO, OCAS release new data about the benefits of increased flexibility for students

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario and OCAS have released a new report that discusses how the switch to remote learning during the pandemic affected adult learners. Report authors Jackie Pichette, Hagar Effah, and Melissa Fritz found that adult learners whose decision to apply to college was affected by the pandemic indicated that an important factor in their decision-making was the availability of a flexible delivery format. Most respondents said that their learning preferences were affected by the pandemic, with 77% stating that they were more responsive to online learning. The authors argue that colleges should consider how remote learning can be used to meet the needs of all students rather than focusing on returning to “normal.” HEQCO (1) | HEQCO (2) (Report)