Top Ten

November 3, 2022

Canada, provinces announce changes to student loan repayment

The Government of Canada has announced changes to the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program’s repayment assistance program that are expected to bring more flexibility to students and apprentices. These enhancements include an increase to the zero-payment threshold for single borrowers, alignment of repayment income for larger households with Canada Student Grant income thresholds, and a reduction to the monthly student loan payment cap. “Starting today, more graduates can focus on building their careers instead of worrying about student loans,” said Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. The changes are also being made by the provincial governments of Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, according to City News. NB announced that it had eliminated interest on provincial student loans as well, effective at the start of November. City News (National) | NB | Global News (NB) | SK (National)

Queen's Jewish student centre raises warning about rising cases of antisemitism

The Jewish Student Centre at Queen's University has raised a warning about rising antisemitism in Kingston. Swastika graffiti and messages of violence have reportedly been found on campus in recent weeks, including in the university's new Albert St residence. “I think, as a Queen’s student living in Kingston, it’s absolutely horrifying,” said Queen's student Georgia Gardiner. “ In the past, ...all the antisemitic graffiti found on sidewalks back in 2019, that could have been someone off-campus … but in a residence, that means it’s another student." University President Patrick Deane condemned the discriminatory messaging, stating "that there is no place at Queen’s for antisemitism or for hate or violence of any kind against any member of our community." Global News | YGK News (ON)

UWindsor approves new interdisciplinary department

The University of Windsor’s Senate has approved a new Interdisciplinary and Critical Studies Department. The department will grow the university’s Women and Gender Studies, Latin American Studies, Disability Studies, Labour Studies, and Black Studies programs and offer new viewpoints on topics such as law, accounting, and medicine. Drawing on the Windsor-Essex region's "working-class cosmopolitan" identity, the department will prioritize the needs, perspectives, and histories of marginalized people in academic study. “The University of Windsor is affirming its commitment to challenge and dismantle systemic oppression,” said UWindsor President Robert Gordon. UWindsor (ON)

Early-career researchers receive funding for brain-focused research

Early-career researchers from across Canada have recently received funding through Brain Canada for projects focused on understanding the brain. 20 grants of $100K each were given to researchers from a variety of institutions. The projects include a study on Accessible Youth Mental Health Support out of Lakehead University, a Memorial University project on Huntington’s disease, and a project out of the University of British Columbia on the interaction between the gut and the brain. “As a nation, we are among the world’s five most active countries in neuroscience,” said Brain Canada President Dr Viviane Poupon. “By funding early-career research in conditions ranging from epilepsy to depression to multiple sclerosis, Canadian researchers will continue to contribute to major scientific advancements in brain science that will further the field both nationally and internationally.” EurekAlert | Lakehead (National)

Discouraging the use of text spinners: Opinion

In an article for Inside Higher Ed, Elizabeth Steere warns about student use of 'text spinners’ to hide plagiarism and discusses how instructors can take steps to prevent this. Text spinners are online tools that replace words in a text with synonyms or change the structure of the sentence in order to avoid plagiarism detectors, the author explains. To tackle the growing use of text spinners, Steere suggests that instructors create assignments that can be personalized by the student or that are based on unique prompts or new texts. In cases where assignments cannot be adapted, Steere recommends teaching students about plagiarism and proper citation, carefully examining students' assignments, and opening up to questions regarding plagiarism from students Inside Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) (Editorial)

UoGuelph receives $1M gift to establish Doody Family Chair for Women in Engineering

The University of Guelph has announced the creation of the Doody Family Chair for Women in Engineering, thanks to a $1M gift from retired engineers Diana and Brian Doody. The gift will be matched by UoGuelph over the next 15 years for a total value of $2M, which will support a variety of School of Engineering programming focused on increasing the number of women who enrol in and graduate from engineering programs. The chair will be held by Associate Professor Dr Jana Levison. In the role, Levison will focus on four areas: STEM activities and events, student research opportunities through research apprenticeships, K-12 outreach with local teachers, and reviving the RISE conference for women studying engineering and science. UoGuelph (ON)

Lethbridge offers new ECE level II certification program for students working in field

Lethbridge College is offering a new option for working Early Childhood Education (ECE) professionals who are interested in attaining their Early Childhood Education Level II certification. The ECE internship certificate program is designed to ensure that students can continue working at daycares or childcare centres and count this time toward their work-integrated learning requirements. Students will also complete classes in a cohort model at the end of the workday. Students who are interested in gaining a Level III certification can continue studying for an additional year. “Students in this new option don’t have to quit a job to continue their studies, and they get the benefit of applying their learning in their own workplaces immediately,” said Lethbridge Centre for Justice and Human Services Dean Trudi Mason. Lethbridge (AB)

UMoncton joins MyCreds™ National Network

The Université de Moncton has announced that it has joined the MyCreds™ National Network. The network will provide students with a portal through which they can securely access and share official academic documents such as diplomas and transcripts. “For us, it was important to make this change to make the sharing of official documents more accessible, efficient, and secure, while ensuring trustworthiness and reliability,” said UMoncton Registrar Stéfanie Wheaton. “This digital shift will benefit not only our university community, but also our graduates and current and potential employers who request these documents.” UMoncton says it is the first postsecondary institution in NB to join MyCreds as well as the first French postsecondary institution outside of Quebec. UMoncton (FR) | UMoncton (EN) (NB)

SaskPolytech, RRC Polytech, NAIT partner to build prairie EV infrastructure

Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Red River College Polytechnic, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology have partnered on an applied research project focused on Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure in the prairies. The project, funded by Natural Resources Canada's Zero Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative, will use the institutions' collective expertise to research and raise awareness about charging options and show how to adapt the current infrastructure for Level 1 workplace charging. The institutions will also establish charging stations at their respective campuses, with SaskPolytech already having installed two for employee use. The institutions will draw on infrastructure that is already in place across Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan to implement EV charging in a cost-effective manner. The project also aims to build up a workforce in sustainable transportation infrastructure through student participation. SaskPoltech | CTV News (National)

Saanich police investigating sexual assault against student at UVic

Saanich police are reportedly investigating a report of a sexual assault against a student on the University of Victoria’s campus. After the assault was reported to campus security, UVic issued a safety alert that included information about the assault as well as how to access related supports. Police were called to the scene of the incident, which occurred in the campus’s Commonwealth Village Cluster neighbourhood. “While the investigation is still early, we believe that the survivor and the suspect did not know one another,” stated a Saanich police spokesperson. “This is a very sensitive file and we are working closely with the survivor by providing support.” UVic | Times Colonist | Saanich News | CTV News (BC)