Top Ten

January 5, 2023

CBU issues open letter, limits enrolment following concerns about international enrolment

Cape Breton University has issued an open letter and announced limited enrolment to one of its popular programs in response to international student enrolment concerns. The move comes in response to calls for change and questions about whether adequate supports are in place to handle the high influx of students after a recent house fire in the community resulted in the death of an international student. CBU responded to the concerns with an open letter that acknowledged the issues with the lack of affordable housing and employment in the area. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the university will be limiting enrolment to its two-year post-baccalaureate diploma in business analytics, which is popular with international students, beginning in May 2023. CTV News | CBC (1) | CBC (2) | Winnipeg Free Press (NS)

UCN launches Department of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation

The University College of the North has launched a Department of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation. The department will focus on reconciliation, sharing truth, increasing access to Indigenous-focused education and programming, and guiding UCN as it introduces more Indigenous content to its curriculum. “When fully implemented, the department will lead UCN’s efforts in reconciliation, creating opportunities to increase access to Indigenous language training and revitalization, pursuing research in Indigenous languages and culture, and helping to ensure that UCN continues to be a leader in reconciliation in post-secondary education,” said UCN VP Academic and Research Dr Dan Smith. Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation member and UCN Assistant Professor Dr Ramona Neckoway will lead the new department. Winnipeg Sun (MB)

Researchers launch Support Our Science to call for increases to Canada Graduate Scholarships

Researchers have launched a campaign called Support Our Science, which calls for increases to Canada Graduate Scholarships, which have not changed since 2003. The annual stipends currently provide $17.5K for master’s students and $21K for doctoral students, and recipients are expected to work full-time on their research and are often not permitted to take on more than 10 hours a week on other per week in other employment. Carleton University master’s student Jessica Reid noted that the stagnant funding is a motivating factor for many students considering leaving Canada for their graduate studies. “Feeling like you can’t thrive or you just don’t have the resources to stay in this field is definitely going to dampen Canada’s research ability in the coming years,” said Reid. CBC (National)

Universities announce updates to collective bargaining processes

Several universities have announced updates to their collective bargaining processes. The Trent University Faculty Association and Trent University’s Board of Governors have both ratified a new collective agreement that includes improvements to health and dental plans, salary increases, and commitments to advancing EDI and Indigenization. At other institutions, union members have voted in favour of a strike: the Queen’s University Faculty Association and CUPE 3912 at both Saint Mary’s University and Mount St Vincent University recently voted in favour of strikes as negotiations stall. At Memorial University, a reported impasse has occurred between the university and the Memorial University Faculty Association, and the union is “inching closer to a strike.” Trent | Global News (Queen’s) | CTV News (SMU, MSVU) | CBC (Memorial) (ON | NS | NL)

QC changes English eligibility certificates requirements, delays some parts of Bill 96

The Government of Quebec has changed the English eligibility certificate requirements for those applying to English cégeps. Cégeps will now have access to a database that lists the names and codes of students who have English eligibility. The change reportedly was made in response to feedback from English cégeps, which said that it would not be possible for them to change their staffing and curriculum to accommodate the law. Other parts of Bill 96 will be delayed or amended, such as the requirement for students to complete the preparatory courses for the French exit exam and the admission priority for anglophone students. Montreal Gazette | CTV News (QC)

UoGuelph faces lawsuits from professor, on-campus volunteer

Two lawsuits have reportedly been filed against the University of Guelph. CTV News and the Guelph Mercury report that professor Dr Byram Bridle is suing the university and its administration for $3M, alleging “overlapping conspiracies” against him, “significant loss of standing,” loss of income and equipment, damage to his career, mental anguish, and life endangerment due to his views on COVID-19 vaccinations and his public statements on the issue. Bridle is also seeking a permanent injunction to allow him to “freely be present” at the campus. CTV also reports that a $2.5M lawsuit has been filed against the university and the University of Guelph Community Police Service by a woman who alleges that she was tackled on campus property after completing volunteering activities in the area, resulting in a broken arm. On both cases, the university has indicated that it cannot comment on the issues as they are before court. CTV News (1) | CTV News (2) | Guelph Mercury (ON)

UAlberta, New Harvest, Cult Food Science partner on Institute of Cellular Agriculture

The University of Alberta, New Harvest Canada, and Cult Food Science have partnered to develop the Institute of Cellular Agriculture. The new institute will serve as a platform for cellular agriculture development and will provide innovators and researchers with infrastructure, support, and funding opportunities. It will be located at UAlberta’s Agri-Food Discovery Place and will provide students with work-integrated learning opportunities in the industry. “This … will be pivotal in how our research and teaching addresses climate change, industry sustainability and food security issues,” said UAlberta Chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science Heather Bruce. Newswire | Food in Canada (AB)

Sask Polytech, Prairie Harm Reduction, SASWH collaborate on health research project

Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Prairie Harm Reduction, and Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces have received $1.4M in funding from the Government of Canada to address the discrimination and stigma faced by people who use substances and seek assistance from frontline health workers. The five-year project will develop and distribute resources and training for care providers in order to strengthen their capacity to provide culturally safe and stigma-free prevention, testing, treatment, and care. The resources will also be used to train employed health care workers and students preparing for a future career in the sector. Sask Polytech (SK)

HEC creates a research chair in sustainable finance

HEC Montréal has officially announced the creation of a new research chair: a Chair in Sustainable Finance. The chair will be focused on developing cutting-edge knowledge in sustainable finance, facilitating knowledge transfer to the business community, and training new experts in the field. HEC states that the creation of the chair is aligned with its partnership with the University of Oxford, which also focuses on the measurement of companies’ ESG performance. The chair will be held by HEC Department of Finance Professor Dr Iwan Meier. HEC (QC)

Designing professional development programs for adjuncts: Opinion

In an editorial for Inside Higher Ed, Anna Conway encourages postsecondary institutions to strategically design professional development programs for adjuncts to improve student achievement. Since many instructors are adjuncts, institutions should design professional development that specifically meets their needs and provides the skills and knowledge needed to effectively instruct students. The author recommends surveying adjunct faculty on their professional needs, developing professional development offerings from adjunct suggestions, and designing these offerings for virtual delivery to enhance accessibility. Finally, Conway encourages drawing on the principles of connection, consistency, and innovation and striving to support adjunct faculty who participate in these programs with stipends. Inside Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) (Editorial)