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Today's Top Ten

December 11, 2013

The Government of Canada has increased the cost-of-living financial requirements for prospective international students. Single study permit applicants—who previously had to prove they had $10K—will be required to prove that they have $20,635 in addition to the funds to pay their first year of tuition and travel costs. The change was made to address the increasing cost of living and to prevent student vulnerability and exploitation. Moving forward, the threshold will be adjusted each year. Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller added that postsecondary institutions are expected to only accept the number of international students they can provide supports for, including housing options. Miller also noted that the waiver on the 20-hour-per-week off-campus work limit for international students has been extended; a measure allowing online studies to count towards future post-graduation work permits will no longer apply to international students who begin their studies starting in September 2024; and a temporary policy that provided an additional 18-month work permit to post-graduation work permit holders whose initial permit was expiring will not be extended.
Acadia University and the University of King’s College have both adopted the “Can’t Buy My Silence” pledge, through which the institutions have committed to never using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases involving sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, and other forms of misconduct. The “Can’t Buy My Silence” campaign was co-founded by activist Zelda Perkins and University of Windsor Professor Julie MacFarlane and urges all universities to end the use of NDAs in these circumstances, citing that NDAs are sometimes used as tools to silence victims. “The misuse of NDAs can lead to significant harm,” said Acadia President Dr Jeff Hennessy. “It’s important that victims not only recognize the support readily available but also feel empowered to openly share their experiences.”
CBC reports that upwards of 70 posters that used antisemitic language and defamatory statements against the late alumnus Israel Asper were discovered on the University of Manitoba campus. A statement from UManitoba indicates that the identified posters have been removed and that the incident has been reported to the Winnipeg Police Service. “We are deeply proud to have our business school named in honour of alum, Israel Asper,” reads a statement from UManitoba. “UM calls out racism and antisemitism in all its forms and does not tolerate the distribution of hateful propaganda on our campuses.”
In an opinion piece for the Calgary Herald, University of Alberta President Bill Flanagan asserts that the university can play a key role in helping the Government of Alberta achieve its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. Flanagan highlights the need for collaboration between government, industry, and academia; the development and refinement of new technologies; and major investments in research and infrastructure. “There is no magic bullet,” he writes. “We need a multi-faceted and multidisciplinary approach.” Flanagan additionally comments on the ways in which UAlberta can contribute to achieving net zero, including through its ongoing work pertaining to carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects; critical minerals research; and its new major research project entitled “Canadian Net Zero Energy Solutions.”
Students living in a McMaster University residence in downtown Hamilton that is still under construction are demanding action to address ongoing issues pertaining to the building. CBC and Global News report that these issues include tap water quality, constant construction noise, construction workers walking into units unannounced, a bug infestation in the laundry room, and no access to indoor parking that was promised. Students have made a variety of demands, including that McMaster give them partial rent refunds, guarantee 24-hour notice of entry, and implement a no penalty 60-day clause that allows tenants to break their leases. McMaster spokesperson Wade Hemsworth said that the university is working to address issues as quickly as possible and to accelerate the building’s completion.
Concordia University and McGill University have both indicated that they have seen a significant drop in applications from out-of-province students amid discussions pertaining to the Government of Québec’s proposed tuition hike for out-of-province students. Concordia President Graham Carr recently stated that the university has witnessed a 16% drop in applications from out of province students and a 33% decline in international student applications, while McGill Principal Deep Saini said that the university has experienced a “catastrophic” 20% drop in applications so far this year. According to the Montreal Gazette, when asked if McGill would consider moving some operations out of province, Saini replied that the university leadership would “look at all options.”
Durham College’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) has received $2.1M in funding from the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program’s Mobilize grant to support Durham’s applied research centres. The funding will be provided over the next five years and will increase the research and innovation training opportunities available to students. “This funding is critical. It anchors everything that we do in all of our applied research centres,” said ORSIE Dean Debbie McKee Demczyk. “It allows us to maintain a competitive edge. We’ve got expert staff and researchers, and companies know that we’re here to support them and we’re not going anywhere.”
In a recent article for Inside Higher Ed, Ketan Marballi (Toronto Metropolitan University) discusses how jobseekers can use AI to find a job while ensuring that they do not lose their own voice. Marballi recommends that jobseekers write with their original voice and use AI “to complement and for critique.” The author discusses how jobseekers can use their own voice to represent themselves by tying accomplishments to the job’s requirements and skills and by translating their skills into language that the employer uses. Marballi notes that students and postdocs should authentically demonstrate their accomplishments to potential employers by considering how their work affects their field, the organization, and society.
The University of Regina and the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC) have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Khalifa University of Science and Technology in the United Arab Emirates. Under the LOI, the parties have committed to promoting educational and research collaboration for clean energy technologies with a focus on carbon capture, utilization, and storage. The LOI also promotes joint educational activities–including faculty and student exchange programs–between the universities. “Through this partnership, we will enhance our global educational and research collaborations, leading to positive benefits for faculty, researchers, and students, which in turn, creates opportunities within our province,” said URegina President Dr Jeff Keshen.
Confederation College is partnering with the textile recycling program Sic Sox Circular Ltd. to help individuals in Northern Ontario boost their sustainability efforts. Through this partnership, Confederation will enable the placement of Sic Sox collection boxes throughout the community and citizens will be encouraged to donate used textiles that are in any condition. Once collected, Sic Sox will resell usable items or convert landfill-quality materials into industry-approved housing insulation. “Not only does the box prevent textiles from going into our landfills, but it also allows for perfectly good items to be resold at affordable prices, effectively promoting a culture of reuse within our region,” said Confederation Manager of Applied Research and Sustainability Robyn Gillespie.

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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