Fanshawe College, Georgian College, Humber College, Lambton College and Loyalist College have partnered to enhance program access for military-connected students. The partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to break down barriers for learners who currently serve in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and their immediate family members who have moved interprovincially as part of their service. Initiatives include supporting course credit transfer between institutions, streamlining the enrolment process between institutions, and sharing assessment and recognition practices for military-affiliated prior learning. The Ontario College Application System also now allows military-connected learners to self-identify their affiliation with the CAF, which will help establish supports for these students.
North West College and the University of Saskatchewan have signed an agreement that will see USask establish a Research Ethics Review Process for North West’s research activities. Under the agreement, USask will act as North West’s Research Ethics Board as the college embarks on applied research. North West representatives will join the University Research Ethics Approval Board and college staff will have access to advanced training. “[This agreement] is a signal of our commitment to the highest standard of research and of our belief that participation in applied research is an essential component of higher education,” said North West President Dr Eli Ahlquist. “This partnership provides the foundation for our growth in applied research.”
In a recent Nature article, University of British Columbia Assistant Professor and Nlaka’pamux woman of mixed ancestry Jennifer Grenz discusses how ethics boards fail Indigenous researchers and communities. Grenz writes that even though some ethics boards have tried to decolonize, many of the processes and assessment criteria used are primarily created for non-Indigenous researchers. Imposing these processes, she explains, can alienate Indigenous researchers from their People. The author calls for institutional research-ethics review processes that are designed specifically for Indigenous researchers conducting research alongside Indigenous communities and argues that Indigenous academics should be able to answer solely to their communities. “[O]ur accountability is greater,” writes Grenz. “Breaking trust is the worst thing that could happen.”
Teaching and research assistants at Concordia University have officially formed a new union: The Concordia Research and Education Workers’ Union (CREW). The new union–which is affiliated with the Conféderation des syndicats nationaux (CSN)–will focus on improving the working conditions of thousands of student employees at Concordia. Student media outlets stated that the union is particularly looking to secure wage parity with workers at McGill University. CREW replaces the school’s existing union, the Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia Union (TRAC). “Student workers at Concordia are essential to the running of the university,” said campaign organizer Ria Mayer. “This new union gives us the chance to really fight for the pay, protections and conditions we deserve.”
Lakeland College and the Northern Alberta Institution of Technology (NAIT) have established a transfer agreement to create more sustainable energy education opportunities. Graduates of Lakeland’s sustainable energy technology diploma program will be able to continue their studies through NAIT’s bachelor of technology program and earn a degree with only two additional years of education. “Sustainable energy is an essential and growing industry, and our students graduate with the technical skills they need to make a difference in this critical field,” explained Lakeland Dean of Business and Energy Brad Onofrychuk. “Through this partnership, our students will be able to continue their education and further develop the leadership skills they need to leave a lasting mark in the world of sustainable energy.”
Dalhousie University’s Medical School has approved a new initiative to make the admissions process for its medical school more equitable by reducing barriers for Black applicants. Under the Black Learners Admissions Pathway, prospective students who self-identify as Black will be considered for a holistic file review, which will be evaluated by the Black Learners Admissions Subcommittee (BLAS). “Representation matters, and it is lacking within the physician workforce in the Maritimes,” said BLAS lead Dr Leah Jones. “I can’t wait to see that change and improve health outcomes for Black communities.” The pathway is approved for the 2023/24 application cycle.
Seneca College has announced the creation of the Seneca Film Institute, which the college calls “one of the most comprehensive film training institutes in Canada.” The institute will provide students from across disciplines with the opportunity to gain the skills they need to succeed in Canada’s growing screen industry. “With a focus on innovation in storytelling forms and technologies, the SFI will offer students an enriched cross-disciplinary experience,” said Seneca Film Institute Director Mark Jones. “We will advance Seneca’s impact in this sector through our world-class programs, business development partnerships, and community outreach.”
Université de Moncton’s Shippagan campus and the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation community recently signed an agreement to co-develop an arboretum. The project includes planting over 100 trees and shrubs on campus and creating an Indigenous people’s medicinal plant garden, a wigwam, an outdoor teaching pavilion, an interpretive centre, and walking trails. The arboretum plans focus on reproducing an Acadian forest with 26 species of woody plants, addressing the coastal zone ecological crisis, and acting as a gesture of reconciliation Acadian and Indigenous communities.
In an article for Nature Hong Yang contends that instead of banning large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, postsecondary educators should integrate them into their teaching practices. The author offers practical tips for doing so, including encouraging teachers to define clear parameters for using ChatGPT in the classroom and to diversify their teaching assessments to avoid plagiarism. Yang also underscores how LLMs can often provide biased, inaccurate representations of marginalized communities and accordingly urges educators to exercise caution while using ChatGPT. “The widespread use of LLMs might exacerbate the over-representation of privileged groups, further marginalizing those who are already under-represented,” argues Yang.
Western University is planning to construct two new student residences to house 900 students and help alleviate the city’s housing affordability crisis, reports the London Free Press. Western President Alan Shepard announced the plans at a recent event, noting that the locations of the new buildings are yet to be determined and that the university is currently in the process of selecting architects for the buildings’ design. The Free Press reports that one of these new buildings will house first-year students, while the other will be targeted toward upper-year and graduate students. “It will be important to Western and important to London that we continue to grow because if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking, and that’s not where anybody wants to be,” said Shepard.