Earlier this week, several institutions hosted events or embarked on initiatives to mark Emancipation Day. At Dalhousie University, students prepared to visit the Cape Coast site in Ghana”once a central part of the slave trade”as part of a two-week study abroad opportunity. At the University of Waterloo, AVP Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Dr Christopher S Taylor issued an Emancipation Day statement and shared resources for those looking to learn more. Champlain College Saint-Lambert shared some of the history of the day and celebrated the Black Lives Allyship Mission campus group, which organizes events and activities that provide a learning opportunity for the rest of the campus. Western University Professor Emeritus Anton Allahar co-hosted an event at the London Public Library with Carl Cadogan and Western Master of Library & Information Science students coordinated a special event.
A new report from the Auditor General of British Columbia found that Vancouver Island University’s board of governors is falling short in its oversight of cybersecurity risk management. The audit was conducted between April 2022 and March 2023 at VIU, which was selected because “it is a similar size to many other universities” in BC. VIU accepted the recommendations in the audit: Reviewing and approving governance and policy documents as scheduled, creating an annual development program, updating the board orientation program, and reviewing its cybersecurity risk mitigation strategies throughout the year. BC Auditor General Michael Pickup hopes that other boards will review the audit report and use it to do a self-assessment.
Mount Royal University will be launching a four-year bachelor’s degree in data science that the university says is the first of its kind in the province. Students will learn about math, statistics, and computer science and domain knowledge and will have the opportunity to pursue various concentrations, specialized courses, and work-integrated learning. Graduates will be prepared for work as data scientists, data analysts, and data and artificial intelligence domain architects. “Employers have told us that graduates who can extract valuable insights from datasets are increasingly sought after,” said MRU Science and Technology Dean Dr Jonathan Withey. “We are meeting the needs of Alberta learners seeking to embrace a wide variety of opportunities in the field of data science.”
Student advocacy groups are concerned about the housing situation in Nova Scotia as the Fall semester draws nearer. CBC reports that there has been no word on when the Government of Nova Scotia’s first student housing strategy”which was expected to be released in the spring”will be released. Students Nova Scotia Executive Director Georgia Saleski said that access to housing determines access to education, a notion that was echoed by Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association vice-president of advocacy Anubhav Gupta. Gupta noted that the rental climate is forcing students to move farther away or live in crowded spaces, a trend that leaves international students without prior experience with the rental market particularly vulnerable. Student leaders are calling for the creation of more off-campus support and hope that the NS strategy will provide guidance for student renters and a centralized database of verified rentals.
Queen’s University has partnered with the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) to launch the Queen’s Venture Creation, Experiential Learning, and Net-Zero Training (QVENT) project to prepare undergraduate students to become climate leaders. Students will gain hands-on experiences that focus on net-zero and sustainability issues. The project draws on support from the Government of Canada to develop a “green talent” pipeline and features four program streams: Course-embedded green industry projects and learning challenges in class curriculums; a Certificate in Leading Sustainable Change Towards a Net-Zero Economy; net-zero venture creation with seed funding opportunities for students; and the provision of at least 100 net-zero internships.
Sources report that the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has filed a court action against the University of Lethbridge after the university cancelled a talk by a controversial speaker in February. The court action was filed on behalf of speaker and former Mount Royal University professor Frances Widdowson, ULethbridge Professor Paul Viminitz, and ULethbridge student Jonah Pickle. “The court action seeks a declaration that UofL breached the applicants’ freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly guaranteed under the Charter, as well as an injunction requiring the [university] to permit the event to proceed on campus,” said JCCF.
Simon Fraser University has announced that it has begun constructing a new art museum at its Burnaby campus. The museum–which will replace SFU’s current gallery–will have a “relaxed and informal” design, include an indoor common area for community-focused events, and will be home to artist-led learning and community engagement offerings. “What makes Edward and Marianne Gibson’s vision so extraordinary is that it inspires an entirely new kind of visual arts facility,” said SFU Galleries Director Kimberly Phillips. “As a result, we are committed to creating a space that will extend the ways we support artists, strengthen the arts ecology of our region, and manifestly reimagine what an art museum can do, and for whom it exists.” The Marianne and Edward Gibson Art Museum is supported by over $23M in collective donations.
Northwestern Polytechnic has launched the Agriculture & Biosciences Applied Research Centre (ABARC). The applied research facility will be equipped with the tools and resources needed to conduct research in the agriculture and forestry sectors and will explore regional solutions to industry needs. The Centre’s logo includes two bee shapes in the form of a double helix representing “cross-pollinated discovery” and the intersection of research and industry, as well as six petals to represent the scientific method. “ABARC’s inception is timely as we work to maximize regional partnerships and research potential at our Beaverlodge Centre and across NWP campuses,” said Acting NWP President Dr Vanessa Sheane.
Acadia University has launched the Evans Teaching and Learning Scholar Program. The program”created as a collaboration between the university’s Centre for Teaching and Learning and the Office of Advancement”will focus on teaching innovation and creating communities of practice. Scholars serve a three-year term in the role, during which time they receive a three-credit-hour course release and funds to support their project work. The inaugural scholars are Dr Daniel Blustein (Evans Scholar in the Pure and Applied Science faculty), Dr Michelle Boyd (Evans Scholar in the Professional Studies faculty), and Dr Chelsea Gardner (Evans Scholar for the Arts faculty). The program is supported by donors and alumni Donna and Rod Evans.
Faced with an unexpected housing crunch, one US college has taken a unique approach to freeing up space in dorm: Paying students to take a leave. Juniors and seniors who plan to live on-campus at Middlebury College in Vermont have been offered $10K USD to take the fall and winter terms off. Approximately 30 students will be able to claim the offer on a first-come, first-serve basis. These students will be given preferential status for the housing draw for Spring 2024. The issue is not expected to be a long-term one: Students were given sweeping permissions to take a leave of absence during the pandemic, which delayed graduation dates and inadvertently created a temporary “pile-up” of demand for on-campus housing. The college had also explored using space at its secondary campus or converting buildings to housing, but ultimately decided against these solutions due to factors such as costs, timeline, and student feedback.