Top Ten

October 24, 2022

NS makes changes to provincial student assistance programs

The Government of Nova Scotia has announced changes to its provincial student loan program to make postsecondary education more affordable and accessible. NS will be aligning provincial and federal aid programs to provide consistency for applicants and borrowers. NS is also expanding the definition of permanent disability to include persistent and prolonged disabilities, which will make loans more accessible for a larger range of people living with disabilities and give medical professionals more flexibility in ensuring that diagnosed disabilities match student loan eligibility requirements. Finally, NS will be enhancing its Repayment Assistance Plan to help students set up a reasonable repayment plan after they graduate. NS (NS)

Selkirk launches project to address homelessness in region

Selkirk College has brought together 17 supporting partners to launch a three-year research project to address homelessness in the region. The Bridging Rural Homelessness and Well-Being: A Sustainable and Collaborative Regional Response project is led by a Selkirk Innovates team and will focus on developing evidence-based decision making, coordinating regional supports, strengthening collaborative relationships, and building regional homelessness response capacity. The project has received a $360K SSHRC grant, as well as partner contributions and commitments that bring the funding up to $650K over three years. “The complex issues surrounding homelessness in our region are not community-specific and it requires a broader lens to provide the needed improvement to well-being of this vulnerable population,” said Selkirk Innovates project director Jayme Jones. Selkirk (BC)

MB students face delays during provincial, federal loan integration process

Manitoba students are facing delays in funding and communication as the province works to integrate the provincial and federal loan programs. The Government of Manitoba is preparing for the National Student Loans Service Centre to take over from Manitoba Student Aid in April 2023, a transition which has created delays for students applying for loans for the 2022-23 school year. Students report facing a variety of challenges, including waiting for months to resolve errors arising from the transition process, an inability to get through to Manitoba Student Aid, and not receiving funding. Students are concerned about potential consequences such as late fees and the inability to buy textbooks. MB has stated that 95% of applications have now been processed, with more being processed at a faster rate each week. CBC (MB)

Memorial drops Ode to Newfoundland during convocation ceremony

Memorial University has announced that it will be dropping Ode to Newfoundland during its convocation ceremony in an effort to be more inclusive. The decision was unanimously agreed upon by the university’s presidential advisory team. Memorial University VP Lisa Browne said that the main reason for dropping the anthem is that it excludes Labrador, but that there are also other inclusivity considerations. “It’s focused on faith, for example,” said Browne. “It’s focused on one part of the province, and so why upset people within the audience when you want something to be fun and joyous for people?” Some NL leaders have responded with surprise or disappointment to the decision and questioned if there are ways that the anthem could be made more inclusive. CBC (NL)

Changes needed to AB postsecondary education: Opinion

In an article for the Edmonton Journal, Laurie Adkin argues that changes are needed to how postsecondary education in Alberta is funded and structured. While discussing the findings of a report on the restructuring of AB’s postsecondary sector, Adkin argues that the cuts to operating grants have not only caused mass postsecondary job losses while reducing quality of education for students, but have also blurred the boundaries between private and public interest, compromising academic freedom. The author writes that rising tuition fees have made higher education less accessible, despite being understood as “public.” Finally, the author states concerns about postsecondary institutions’ boards of governors usually being populated by corporate sector individuals that lack a diversity of social backgrounds and how this may impact postsecondary policy. Edmonton Journal (AB)

Postsecondary institutions launch, expand gardens focused on community and diversity

Postsecondary institutions across Canada have recently launched or expanded campus gardens. George Brown has launched the Greening Through Food and Education initiative, which includes an Indigenous Medicine Garden and a green rooftop to support its curriculum, while U of T has collaborated with professors, youth, and Indigenous leaders to launch an urban Indigenous garden to help educate people about their interdependence with nature. UAlberta has finished construction of the Diwan pavilion, which completes its Botanic Gardens. The pavilion’s design is based on Islamic architecture and complements the symmetries of the Aga Khan Garden. Okanagan is expanding tours of its K'nma?ka Senqâ?ten garden to allow more children and newcomers to develop a deeper understanding of the traditional use of local plants. Nation Talk (George Brown) | U of T | Dezeen | Castanet (National)

Council blocks demolition by granting heritage protection to house owned by Dal

The Halifax regional council has blocked Dalhousie University from demolishing one of its buildings after voting to include the home in Halifax’s heritage registry. Dal bought the home in 2021 and obtained a demolition permit for the building this May, but neighbours applied for a heritage designation afterwards. While the advisory committee said the building meets the threshold for heritage protection, a heritage architect hired by Dal produced a report that gave the building a score below the minimum needed. Dal external counsel Peter Rogers noted that the house is not worth saving due to years of damage from a leaking roof and shoddy repairs. Dal is reportedly considering its options for the property as it does not serve a purpose for the university. CBC (NS)

Southeast launches professional business micro-credentials

Southeast College has launched a set of Professional Microcredentials for Business which will offer students a chance to develop their management and leadership skills. Southeast is providing four core micro-credentials: Communication for Business, Introduction to Office Management, Advanced Office Management, and Municipal Management. Graduates earn digital badges for completing each of the four classes within each micro-credential that can be added to resumes, portfolios, profiles, and more. Training is provided through Live Online classes and is focused on industry needs and labour market demands. Southeast (SK)

Tips for effective cluster hiring: Opinion

In an article for Inside Higher Ed, Elizabeth H Simmons and Becky R Petitt discuss the approach they use to cluster hire effectively. Simmons and Petitt emphasize setting objectives, such as diversifying the institution; transforming the university’s organizational culture to create an inclusive space for underrepresented faculty; and elevating the visibility of smaller academic programs whose missions emphasize equity, diversity, and inclusion. The authors argue that these objectives help recruit and retain underrepresented faculty. Simmons and Petitt encourage those who are cluster hiring to create a structure that fits their institution and circumstances, such as by hiring new faculty into a home department while affiliating them with an academic program relating to their social justice objectives to ensure they are supported. Inside Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) (Editorial)

KUCFA, King’s sign new two-year agreement

The King’s University College Faculty Association (KUCFA) has ratified a two-year agreement with King’s University College that sees gains for members in a variety of different areas including equity, compensation, workload, and collegial governance. Gains include changes to evaluations of Indigenous-identifying faculty that recognize Indigenous ways of knowing, a reduced teaching load for members who are in their first year of a full-time tenure-track position, and the ability for KUCFA to negotiate a policy or practice that affects employment of members. The new agreement also includes increased compensation and increases in benefits. OCUFA (ON)