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Today's Top Ten

December 8, 2023

Government of Canada Minister of National Defence Bill Blair has announced the members and mandate of a board that will lead a review of Canada’s military colleges amid the ongoing sexual misconduct crisis. The Canadian Military Colleges Review Board is comprised of five external education and culture experts and two Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces members, who will have a year to make recommendations pertaining to part of former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louise Arbour’s Independent External Comprehensive Review Report. The board will review the advantages and disadvantages of how Royal Military College Kingston and Royal Military College Saint-Jean operate and will assess the different potential options for educating naval and officer cadets. “The education experience that naval officer cadets receive must reflect the values of the Canadian Armed Forces and the 21st-century Canada in which we live,” said Blair.
Re$earch Infosource Inc has released its Top 50 Research Universities 2023 rankings and Top 50 Research Colleges 2023 rankings. The rankings assess the institutions according to their research income in the 2022 fiscal year. The top five research universities stayed consistent with the rankings for 2022. Overall, the University of Toronto took first place, followed by the University of British Columbia (2), McGill University (3), Université de Montréal (4), and the University of Alberta (5). The top five research colleges were Niagara College (1), Cégep de Trois-Rivières (2), Lambton College (3), Olds College (4), and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (5).
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue has committed to training all its students in Indigenous perspectives by 2026. This initiative will integrate Indigenous knowledge into the academic curriculum of each UQAT department, offering courses and programs that have been designed, evaluated, and revised by and with First Peoples. Work is already underway and is being led by the Dean of Studies and the Mamawi Mikimodan Service. “Through this initiative, UQAT recognizes that Indigenous knowledge is just as important as scientific knowledge,” said UQAT Rector Vincent Rousson. “This recognition gives Indigenous perspectives a place in the programs offered at UQAT, thereby building on a plurality of knowledge.”
Capilano University has announced the courses that it will offer at its new Squamish campus in September 2024. Marking the beginning of its academic operations at the former Quest University campus, CapilanoU will offer courses in the following programs: Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate Arts Degree; Tourism Management Co-operative Education Diploma; Early Childhood Care and Education Diploma; and Adult Basic Education – General Upgrading. CapilanoU is also consulting with Indigenous communities to explore course offerings specific to Indigenous learners at the Squamish site.
NOSM University will offer a new residency program in urology. The program will prepare students to provide urological care to rural patients who may not have access to a urologist in their community. The program covers topics such as voiding dysfunction, reconstructive urology, oncology, pediatrics, and infertility. Residents will be based in Thunder Bay and will complete additional training in smaller communities and regional hospitals. The University of Toronto will provide additional mandatory rotations that will provide specific training not available in Northern Ontario clinical settings through an inter-institutional agreement. “Training urologists in the North will encourage more specialists to stay here to practise and to fill regional health-care needs,” said NOSM U Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education Dr Rob Anderson.
In an interview with University Affairs’ editor Daniel Halton, Universities Canada Board of Directors Chair and McGill University President Deep Saini discusses the ongoing challenges and opportunities facing the postsecondary sector. Saini discusses diversity, international students, and funding, and highlights the importance of using education to combat ignorance. “Ignorance thrives in dark places,” states Saini. “An education, however, has the power to shine a light on those dark places, to open new horizons and sensibilities that prevent disinformation and misinformation from taking root.” Saini additionally underscores the significance of listening to young people about their concerns and harnessing their “tremendous energy” to tackle the pressing problems of the day, including climate change and global disorder.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the University of Regina, and the University of Saskatchewan recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will provide the framework for the establishment of the Saskatchewan-based Global Institute for Energy, Mines and Society (GIEMS). This institute will develop high-level research to meet the needs of the mining and energy industries and provide training and experiential learning for the province’s tradespeople, engineers, and scientists. “Our institutions have a shared commitment to be highly responsive to the needs of the economy […] by providing quality post-secondary research, education and training opportunities,” said URegina President Dr Jeff Keshen. “[W]orking collaboratively through GIEMS provides an exciting opportunity to amplify our global impact as innovators in sustainable energy and mining.”
King’s University College has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Economics and Law (UEL) at Viet Nam National University to foster global perspectives, academic excellence, and cross-cultural understanding. Under this MOU, the two institutions will collaborate to facilitate student exchange programs for study abroad initiatives; explore opportunities for 2+2 pathway or dual degree options; and encourage faculty and staff exchanges, seminars, joint research projects and co-authored publications. “I know our students, faculty, and staff would find UEL to be a perfect place for a global exchange, and we can’t wait to welcome UEL students, faculty, and staff to King’s,” said King’s President Dr David Malloy.
Thompson Rivers University has unveiled its Regenerative Agriculture (RGEN) program, which was previously known as the Applied Sustainable Ranching program but has since been renamed and restructured to better suit the needs of its students and the changing environment. The program retains its foundations in business management and soil health, but features a number of updates, including new courses in Food Sovereignty, Technology in Agriculture, and Emergency Preparedness; three-week course lengths to better suit students’ schedules; and a formalization of the host-farm practicum credit course. “With the effects of climate change looming all around us, the importance of understanding and learning how to apply regenerative agriculture practices has never been more vital,” said TRU RGEN Program Coordinator Gillian Watt.
Sault College has announced that five of its School of Natural Environment programs have received Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECO Canada) accreditation. The following programs were granted seven-year accreditation: Natural Environment Technician – Conservation and Management, Forestry Technician – Conservation, Adventure Recreation and Parks Technician, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Technician, and Natural Resource/Environmental Law – Inspection and Enforcement. This accreditation gives students access to Environmental Professional in training student membership and demonstrates that the programs provide learners with competencies aligning with the National Occupational Standard for Environmental Employment.

Indigenous Top 10

November 29, 2023

The First Nations Public Service Secretariat (FNPSS) will receive $5.5M from the Government of British Columbia to support research on workforce needs and advance training and employment opportunities. The funding will boost the development and delivery of training for current and future First Nation government administrators, bolster programs that increase youth employment, and support mentorship and networking events. FNPSS will also conduct a labour market research project that will produce demographic data on First Nation public service workforce needs. This data will be used to strengthen First Nations governments' capacities to deliver programs and services, manage fiscal resources, develop policy laws, support economic development, and manage intergovernmental relations and resources.
Several postsecondary institutions recently hosted ribbon skirt and shirt workshops to help students make their own ribbon skirts. Institutions across Atlantic Canada held workshops hosted by Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey in partnership with Indigenous Student Affairs offices, and Lakehead University and its Indigenous Student Services Centre held a workshop. Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey gifted each of the 15 participating institutions a sewing machine and kits for 10 skirts and two shirts. Kits were created by Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey and included fabric that was sourced from a local Mi'kmaw store. At St Francis Xavier University, students took part in a two-day workshop in which they created a ribbon skirt while building connections with other Indigenous students. “Any opportunity to connect with other Indigenous students and feel the culture in a university setting feels good,” said StFX student Alice Frost, who is from the Yukon. Lakehead's Indigenous Student Services Centre also held a Ribbon Skirt Making Workshop to help students celebrate their culture.
School District 43 in Coquitlam, BC has partnered with kʷikʷəƛəm First Nation to create a custom Minecraft world that teaches students about kʷikʷəƛəm culture and history. Students at École Montgomery Middle School showed CBC how they can interact with and learn from items that were added to the game. Culturally iconic species of plants and animals—including cedar trees and bears—were added to ensure the game world reflected the culture and history. “We have to have cedar — it is the heart of the whole community here on the West Coast,” said School District 43's Indigenous education resource teacher Rob Cowie. “They were gracious enough to actually rename and re-skin certain trees that were in the game so that we could have cedar.” The world also includes unique limits such as only allowing players to harvest one salmon. “We want to be resourceful and not waste food,” said Montgomery student Ara Bella.
The McMaster University Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI) has released a living guidance document for researchers whose work engages with Indigenous Peoples and communities. The MIRI Indigenous Research Primer provides advice on how to conduct community-based participatory research, outlines Indigenous methods and research paradigms, and provides guidelines on what to do if a community does not consent to being involved in the proposed research. “As researchers, we all have our curiosities. We have our passions and our interests,” said MIRI Director Savage Bear. “But when you want to work with an Indigenous community or individuals, none of these might be their concern. We need to follow the community's lead.”
The Circle of Indigenous Youth and Allies (CIYA) at Maple Ridge Secondary recently hosted a toy drive to help those who are in need during the holiday season. Rambo's Toy Drive was organized entirely by Indigenous leadership students who wanted to highlight the giving nature of their community. Karen Aitken, an adult involved with CIYA, said that the students view the toy drive like the traditional gift giving ceremony potlach. The event included carols sung by the school's choir and free hot chocolate provided by the CIYA students. Leadership students from Eric Langton Elementary will come to Maple Ridge to ensure that battery-operated toys have batteries and to help distribute the gifts. “The more community is involved, the more celebration it can bring,” said Aitken.
A Québec judge has ordered McGill University to comply with a deal it had previously reached with Kanien'kehá:ka Kahnistensera (the Mohawk Mothers) on the search for unmarked graves at the former Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal. The Mohawk Mothers argued that McGill and Québec's infrastructure agency did not properly involve a panel of archaeologists who had been appointed to oversee the search. In response, McGill argued that the panel's mandate had already expired. Superior Court Justice Gregory Moore rejected McGill's argument and ordered the university to abide by the panel's recommendations to guide how they continue the search. Moore rejected the Mohawk Mothers' request that the excavation work be suspended, asserting this would be unnecessary.
Stoney Education Authority closed Nakoda Elementary School and Mînî Thnî Community School for three days last week after a “large number of staff and students” became ill. Stoney Health Services CEO Aaron Khan clarified that the measures were prompted by the prevalence of cold and flu-like symptoms. “There were some kids that were still coming to school but after being seen by a nurse, had to be sent home,” said Khan. “The decision is really based on the interests of the community.” Khan noted that the community is currently facing challenges with overcrowding and that multiple generations often live in the same household. He told Mountain View Today that closing the schools will keep the illnesses from spreading further.
Université Laval has partnered with BMO to launch the BMO Young Indigenous Leaders Program. The program will improve access to scholarships, partnerships and community projects, mentorships, and more in order to support the academic and professional journey of Indigenous forestry students. The program is led by the ULaval Chair of Educational Leadership in Indigenous Forestry Jean-Michel Beaudoin and supported by a $500K donation from BMO. “BMO and Université Laval share a desire to showcase the voices, legitimacy and skills of young First Nations leaders,” said ULaval Rector Sophie D'Amours. “This distinctive experiential program will strengthen the development of their forestry skills and entrepreneurial spirit.”
Students at Caledon's Maawnjidiing Wiingushkeng Centre for Indigenous Excellence and Land-Based Learning recently launched a 12-foot birchbark canoe that was built by eight students under the tutelage of traditional canoe builder Chuck Commanda (Kitigan Zibi). Students learned how to build a canoe with all-natural materials such as spruce root, wood nails, spruce sap, and animal fat while learning stories, teachings, and traditional knowledge from Commanda. “They built the entire canoe, from beginning to end, using all-natural materials, the way our ancestors used to make them,” said Peel District School Board Coordinating Vice-Principal of Indigenous Education Nicole Reynolds. Students had a chance to take the canoe they built on a voyage, and all participants received a credit toward their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The canoe will be brought to each students' home school so they can share their experience with their school communities.
A long-lost artifact from the 1885 Resistance has been repatriated to the Gabriel Dumont Institute's (GDI's) Métis Museum. The item—a Hollis & Son's Hudson's Bay Company Indian Trade Fusil—was taken from the Métis or a First Nations ally in 1885 by an Ontario-based soldier and later was stored at the Fanshawe Pioneer Village (FPV) in Ontario. GDI and FPV agreed that the fusil should be repatriated to GDI to hold in trust on behalf of the Métis as an act of reconciliation. “A heartfelt maarsii should be directed to Matthew and Dawn and to the Fanshawe Pioneer Village, and to the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum for allowing this artifact to come home to Saskatchewan and to the Métis,” read a statement from GDI.

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