The Government of Canada has announced that it is tightening restrictions for funded research occurring in a “sensitive research area” that could be considered a risk to national security. Canada will not provide funding to projects with members who are affiliated with a university, research, or laboratory that is connected to the military, national defence, or state security entities of a foreign power which is considered a risk. The policy applies to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the three federal research granting councils—SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR—and will quickly be implemented. The Record reports that the University of Waterloo has said it is ready to respond to any security risks related to its international research relationships.
The Government of Alberta has announced a new tuition cap and changes to the student loan system in order to make postsecondary education more affordable for students. Domestic tuition will be capped to 2% starting in 2024-25. Several changes have been made to the student loan system, including a reduction in student loan interest rates to the prime rate, doubling the student loan interest-free grace period to give students more time to find a job before paying back their loans, and increasing the thresholds for the Repayment Assistance Plan to $40K. AB will also retroactively increase the Alberta Student Grant by $225 a month during the 2022-23 loan year. CBC reports that international students were not included in these programs, and some students told City News that the tuition cap will come too late to help with upcoming tuition increases.
The University of Prince Edward Island will be delaying the opening of its new medical school until 2025, reports CBC. “The development of the medical program is multifaceted and revolves around three main pillars: infrastructure, accreditation and curriculum, and health system integration,” said UPEI Interim President Dr Greg Keefe. “Admission of the first cohort of students depends on achieving milestones in each of these areas.” Keefe said that completion of the infrastructure component could not be guaranteed, so the decision was made to move the admission date. This shift will also allow for UPEI and Health PEI to thoroughly assess and respond to the results of a study on integrating medical learners into PEI. Residencies will not be required until 2029.
St Clair College has announced that it is launching Ontario’s first EV technician diploma program. The program covers EV powertrains, energy storage systems, and the computerized systems used in electrical vehicles. “We’re very excited about it, and I think it’s really going to help the economy with what’s coming to Windsor,” said Lido Zuccato, Dean of the schools of Engineering Technologies, Apprenticeship and Skilled Trades at St Clair. Zuccato added that the college consulted with the automotive industry throughout the program’s development and heard that this type of program is in high demand. Students who enrol in the two-year diploma program will receive a certificate in Electrical Vehicle Fundamentals after their first year, at which point they can choose to enter an apprenticeship.
The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has become the first non-US organization in the Research Alliance for Veterinary Science and Biodefense BSL-3 Network (RAV3N). The network focuses on bio-containment, bio-surveillance, diagnostics, and countermeasures against pathogens of veterinary importance. “Canada and the United States share the world’s longest undefended border, and our wildlife and livestock face similar threats,” said USask VIDO Director Dr Volker Gerdts. “By participating in RAV3N we strengthen our collective preparedness for emerging infectious diseases.”
Faculty need to learn new skills and approaches so that they can prepare students for jobs, writes Rachel Toor. Toor writes that academics are often so accustomed to teaching the way they were taught that they miss the opportunity to prepare students for the job market with relevant projects and the development of essential skills. The author encourages faculty to shift their mindsets to recognize that they may have a knowledge gap in understanding today’s employment climate and what it takes for students to secure non-academic careers. Toor further encourages faculty to teach students about career-related topics such as AI screening processes, networking, how to translate their experiences, and how to tailor their resumes.
Several cégeps have recently launched programs. Cégep de Drummondville, Cégep de Lévis, Cégep de l’Outaouais, and Cégep Édouard-Montpetit collaborated to launch a one-year continuing education program focused on insurance for member companies of the coalition pour une relève en Assurance de dommages. Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles will be launching a new version of its three-year techniques for special education program this Fall that will follow an emerging, nature-based pedagogical approach. Info Suroit reports that Cégep de Valleyfield will be launching fully overhauled programs in the humanities and early childhood education this fall.
Northwestern Polytechnic, the Peace River School Division, and the Grande Prairie Catholic School Division have announced a joint engagement initiative during which they will explore visions for education in the Fairview region. The three partners will conduct a value scoping exercise, discuss the benefits of streamlining infrastructure and operational costs of standalone buildings, and consider potentially establishing a joint high school on NWP’s Fairview Campus. “NWP is delighted to be working alongside our school districts and local community members to ensure a bright future for the students in Fairview and surrounding areas,” says NWP President Justin Kohlman. “These conversations are timely and further proof of our shared commitment to delivering exceptional student experiences and to fostering entrepreneurial connections along the continuum of education.”
Several technology companies have begun developing and launching tools that educators can use to detect AI-generated copy. Turnitin, a plagiarism detection company, will be offering an AI writing detection tool as part of its products and services as soon as April. The tool is reportedly able to identify content written by ChatGPT and GPT 3.0 97% of the time with a false positive rate of less than 1%. K16 and GPTZero have also partnered to incorporate an AI writing detection tool for K-12 and postsecondary schools into K16’s software solutions in order to help institutions detect AI-generated content.
The First Nations University of Canada, the University of Regina, and the Mongolian National University (MNU) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will focus on building relationships and reciprocal learning opportunities. The MOU will focus on promoting Indigenous cultures in Canada and Mongolia through joint education and research activities, academic material and publication exchanges, academic programming, and leadership practicums. Students from the three institutions will be able to engage in exchanges and study abroad programs where they can explore other Indigenous lands, cultures, and programs. “The importance of Indigenous Knowledge Systems is becoming increasingly apparent, and this international collaboration will benefit, not only our institutions, but language and cultural sustainability initiatives globally,” said FNUniv President Jaqueline Ottman.