In the wake of grade inflation, Daina Lawrence of the Globe and Mail reports that several institutions are using a more holistic application approach. Queen’s University introduced a personal statement requirement, Dalhousie University’s BScN program includes a computer-based online assessment, and the University of British Columbia’s Peter A Allard School of Law and Western University’s Ivey School of Business have both launched broad-based admissions approaches that go beyond grades. “We’ve started to [expand] what we mean by leadership experiences, because individuals that may come from a different socioeconomic background may not have the opportunity to play and be a leader in competitive sports, for instance,” explains Western Ivey Executive Director of Recruitment and Admissions John-Derek Clarke. Lawrence reports that there is a gap, as high schools typically do not train students in the soft skills needed for holistic applications.
Several institutions have released updates on their labour negotiations. The University of Prince Edward Island and UPEI’s Faculty Association agreed to enter mediation on Saturday after several weeks of strike action. At Carleton University, the university and CUPE 4600 Unit 1 reached a tentative agreement, bringing an end to the union’s strike. In Manitoba, the strike for April 11th planned by the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, which represents nearly 1,900 staff at Red River College Polytechnic and Assiniboine Community College, has been cancelled after a new deal was received from the employers. Nicola Valley Institute of Technology has ratified an agreement with its faculty and support staff under the Shared Recovery Mandate.
As part of its larger partnership with the Government of Nova Scotia, the Michener Institute of Education at the University Health Network will be providing medical laboratory technologist training. The three-year program is offered flexibly online and will train 40 people. The program is supported by an investment of around $6M from Nova Scotia, and those who take the program will be expected to sign a return of service agreement to take a position with Nova Scotia Health. “[W]e are committed to identifying innovative solutions that will train more students to fill vacancies in critical health care jobs, like medical laboratory technologists,” said Nova Scotia Health President Karen Oldfield. “This collaboration will provide an opportunity to bring health care professionals from around the world to our province and provide the best possible care for our patients.”
The University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering adjustment factor tool points to a broader grade inflation issue, writes Janet Hurley of the Toronto Star. Hurley writes that UWaterloo Engineering uses an “adjustment factor” as a tool to account for how students from a particular high school have historically performed in their first year at the university. The 2022 adjustment factor list, released in response to a FIPPA Request for Information, identified 62 ON high schools for being below or above the provincial average. “Students still rise to the top even if they are coming from a high-adjustment school,” commented UWaterloo Engineering Director of Admissions Bill Bishop. “We have other tools in our tool kit to select those students.” Saint Mary’s University Adjunct Professor Paul W Bennett commented that there is a “big disconnect” between student achievement and attainment levels and noted that university admissions teams have had to innovate to confront mark inflation.
A group of Mi’gmaq chiefs in New Brunswick have sent a letter to Université de Moncton to express their support of calls to change the university’s name. The chiefs’ letter refers to a petition that was launched in March by Acadian activist Jean-Marie Nadeau. “Mi’gmaq Chiefs New Brunswick lend their support to the university in their pursuit to change the title, to a name that is more inclusive and less offensive,” read the letter from Mi’gwame’l Tplu’taqnn Inc. “From the Mi’gmaq perspective, it is simply the right thing to do.” Global News reports that some other groups have voiced their disagreement with renaming the university, particularly due to the associated costs. UMoncton will be discussing the possibility of a name change at an upcoming board meeting.
Collège Nordique francophone and the Tłı̨chǫ Government have signed an agreement to support the teaching of the Tłı̨chǫ language. The agreement will give more people access to Tłı̨chǫ language courses with the aim of encouraging greater enrolment. Course costs will be fully covered for Indigenous community members and the agreement will also provide no-cost training for a Tłı̨chǫ instructor who will teach the language in communities. “For Collège Nordique, this is a partnership that is a testament to our shared commitment to the revitalization of Indigenous languages and reconciliation,” said Nordique Executive Director Patrick Arsenault.
A recent study from Statistics Canada has identified several childhood factors that are associated with the high school completion and higher education participation rates of young adults who are Métis, Inuit, or First Nations people living off-reserve. The longitudinal study found that factors such as suitable housing, a higher household income, and academic performance are associated with high school completion or higher education. The study also found that older students (21 to 24 years old in 2016) were more likely to have completed high school or postsecondary than their younger counterparts (18 to 20), which aligns with other research that suggests that not all Indigenous people have a direct path to high school completion.
Loyalist College and Base31 have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue a pilot program that will provide the Bay of Quinte region with summer jobs and education. The program will create 30 new summer jobs in the region that offer competitive wages, affordable housing in the college’s Belleville campus residences, and educational opportunities. The two partners will also co-develop micro-credentials in the culinary, hospitality, and tourism industries, and allow employees to take them at no cost. “Loyalist College is proud to partner with the innovative minds at Base31 to help remove barriers to entering the workforce in Prince Edward County,” said Loyalist Senior Vice President, External Relations and Business Development Jeremy Laurin. “We look forward to watching this future-focused initiative grow and expand to include more businesses in the surrounding region.”
In two recently published letters, University of British Columbia faculty members and an international student have called for the university to consider a new housing approach. 92 UBC academics signed a letter to the university’s Board of Governors encouraging the institution to build new housing on its endowed lands for students, staff and faculty to rent at below-market rates. The letter discusses the signatories’ concerns with the university leasing its land and the sustainability and commuting implications of off-campus housing. The letter asserts that the university is large enough to make a difference in the regional housing crisis. UBC student Raghav Pathak also penned a letter for Ubyssey highlighting the impact of insufficient housing options on international students. Pathak questions how the university supports students, and writes that housing challenges threaten to alienate the people who give the university its identity.
As the Alberta provincial election draws closer, AB’s New Democratic Party has pledged to support students if it is elected. The Red Deer Advocate reports that Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley plans to make a variety of changes, including reversing tuition hikes, implementing a tuition freeze at the 2022-23 level, and capping future increases to the level of inflation. The changes would save students around $102M in the next academic year. Notley said that the NDP would also complete a full review of AB’s postsecondary funding and tuition and include students in the conversation. The University of Alberta Students’ Union President Abner Monteiro said that students are particularly concerned about these issues, as some must choose between necessities such as food, shelter, medication, books, and tuition.