A student at the University of British Columbia has been bringing happiness to students at the university by hiding coffee gift cards on campus. The Redditor, nicknamed “Jazzy” by the community, places gift cards for coffee shops in locations such as in library books, on shelves, and on classroom chairs or podiums. Jazzy then posts pictures of the cards with a hint about where they are hidden on the UBC Reddit page in order to spread positivity and help improve students’ mental health. “You just do it for the sake of doing it,” said Jazzy. “That’s why it’s anonymous. I was just raised like that. You give back. It gives me a sense of trying to do my part.”
Booth University College, Cape Breton University, and Parkland College have each announced new programs this week. Booth UC has launched several two- and three-year programs, such as a Community Mental Health stream program and an Associate of Business Administration degree, each of which can be laddered into further credentials; as well as a four-year BBA program with a major in accounting. CBU has launched a 16-month Bachelor of Social Work program that has been pre-accredited through the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE). The program’s curriculum will cover topics such as reconciliation and decolonization, the environmental impacts of health, and generational dimensions of poverty. Gabriel Dumont Institute and Parkland College have partnered to offer an Introduction to Carpentry program that will include key safety ticket training.
Several Ontario universities and student groups took time on and around Valentine’s Day to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). Students walked through McMaster University’s campus holding roses to commemorate Indigenous women and girls who have lost their lives to violence. The University of Windsor held an event to remember and honour the spirits of MMIWG. Laurentian University held an event honouring the Red Dress campaign and hosted guest speakers from the community and a Red Dress workshop to draw awareness to MMIWG. “When taking a moment to pause and reflect on the tens of thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA, we have to remember that one was too many,” noted Mary Laur, director of the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre at Laurentian.
Members of the Syndicat des professeures et professeurs de l’Université Laval (SPUL) have announcd that they intend to go on strike as of Monday. The union has reportedly been in negotiation with Université Laval since September and the two parties have not yet come to an agreement. SPUL members voted 96% in favour of a strike in January. Key issues for the negotiations include salaries, workload, and protection of colleagues without permanent status who are taking sick leave. Teaching and learning activities led by union members will be suspended for two weeks.
Brock University has launched a new cybersecurity awareness campaign during its month-long “Level Up” campaign. The campaign will include a phishing simulation created by Brock University Information Technology Services where participating students and employees will be sent realistic phishing emails in a controlled manner. The process will educate staff and students about how to recognize phishing attacks and appropriately navigate these threats. Participants also will be able to view their personal phishing simulation statistics and complete a phishing training program.
Postsecondary leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the “cliff edge” that is the aging population, writes Nick Cuthbert. Cuthbert writes that this “cliff” impacts both the number of domestic students and the number of international students available to fill the growing gap. The author discusses the threats posed by a shrinking market and highlights the impact this is expected to have in countries such as China, Japan, the UK, the US, Italy, and South Korea Some, such as China, face a drop in population at the same time that the economy needs more workers; others, such as the United States, face demographic shifts and changes. In the United Kingdom, which is facing a population decline, higher education saw more students returning to study during the pandemic as well as a rise in the number of non-EU students.
South Korea’s Ministry of Education has unveiled a new plan to strengthen its regional universities by creating “glocal” universities: universities that develop programs with global companies that are linked to local economic priorities. University World News reports that the country’s universities are beginning to face an upcoming demographic cliff, with regional universities already faring poorly as students are drawn to major city centres. In response to this, the ministry will be allocating over half of its university grant budget to local governments, which will be expected to help develop individual regional institutions to meet local needs, as well as providing further funding to support industry partnerships. UWN states that there are some concerns about whether local governments have the capacity or experience necessary to appropriately to allocate the funds.
The University of Lethbridge has partnered with Shad Canada to join a network of universities that host high school students that offer a Shad-led STEAM program each July. High school students completing the Shad program are encouraged to collaborate with others and build relationships with those from outside their home province, with each campus bringing together a mix of students from different backgrounds. “We are delighted by this new partnership with Shad Canada, which highlights ULethbridge as a national leader in the delivery of quality hands-on learning experience at all stages, and to do so within one of the finest research and training facilities in Canada,” said ULethbridge Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science Dr Matt Letts. ULethbridge is one of 22 universities across Canada to host the program.
Collège d’Alma has launched a new web service to help students search for jobs in the community. The college states that the service was launched to distribute job opportunities to the student community in response to the increasing requests from employers in the region. Employers who use the platform will be expected to understand and commit to respecting the unique circumstances and priorities of student employees before they can submit job offers. College student life director Justin Carrier explained that collaboration between employers, educational institutions, and youth is essential to the future of the region.
Immersive education can help instructors reach students and combat the growing sense of apathy, writes Beth McMurtrie. With apathy growing in its prevalence on campuses, McMurtrie argues that postsecondary institutions must directly respond to this trend and help students understand how their postsecondary education can help them engage with the world. In the United States, some educators are calling for a reinvestment in engaged teaching practices to help shift conversations and make education more meaningful. McMurtrie discusses a variety of options available to postsecondary institutions, including investing in interdisciplinary programs, revamping general-education coursework, and creating immersive-learning courses and building them into majors.