The Government of Alberta and Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the ties between postsecondary institutions in Alberta and India. The two-year partnership will facilitate new student opportunities, greater collaboration and knowledge sharing, and increased engagement with students and faculty. It also includes priorities for both jurisdictions, including enhancing recruitment strategies for students from India, promoting AB-India educational collaboration, and engaging industry in both locations. “Through this agreement with the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, we’ll be able to build an enhanced network between our respective PSIs, creating more opportunities for knowledge and culture exchange,” said AB Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides.
Concordia University has created a new admissions pathway to help Indigenous students complete the prerequisite courses they need to pursue STEM programs at the postsecondary level. Students in the Kaié:ri Nikawerà:ke Indigenous Bridging Program will be able to enrol in math and science courses without having the prerequisites. It also includes university skills courses designed by the Student Success Centre and events at the Otsenhákta Student Centre. The program aims to remove barriers for Indigenous students who may not have been able to take the required math and science courses during high school and to ensure that students feel supported and have their needs met. “We’re trying to find opportunities for students to feel connected to their community through the seminar course, and vice versa,” Kaié:ri Nikawerà:ke Indigenous Bridging Program coordinator Saba Din. “The goal is for students to see that the work they’re doing is going to benefit them and their home as well.”
Mohawk College and Schlegel Villages have expanded their partnership and launched a permanent satellite college campus location in Burlington at the Village of Tansley Woods retirement and long-term care home. The training centre, called the Living Classroom, will provide students with the opportunity to learn while providing care to residents at the Village. Mohawk’s Personal Support Worker, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Physiotherapy Assistant programs will be offered at the Village, and the location will host a skills lab, faculty offices, a student lounge, and a mock apartment. Mohawk also announced an industry-partnership with Stelco: Mohawk is prototyping a customized vision and communication system for the company’s blast furnace.
Simon Fraser University has made a $10M investment through Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB). The returns from the investment will be used to advance SFU’s long-term academic, research, and housing infrastructure strategies. “We’ve been looking to expand our responsible investments in ways that directly benefit people in our community,” said SFU Treasury Department Director Jacky Shen. “Vancity Community Investment Bank supports projects that align with our values and we’re proud to be the first Canadian university to invest with them.” SFU states that it is the first university to choose VCIB’s Impact GIC, and that it has now invested over $50M in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) funds and impact investments.
Some international students are unwilling to report sexual assaults due to fears of deportation and a lack of understanding of Canadian laws, reports CBC. At Cape Breton University, several students have reported to a friend or to the student’s union that they have been victims of a sexual assault. CBC and CTV News report that the students were afraid to formally report the assaults, and that they were often unaware of the available resources. President of CBU’s student union Damanpreet Singh said that another hurdle is teaching students about consent. “We need to educate these students as well that this is not justified, this is not acceptable here,” said Singh. CBU said that it has made resources available online and is working to remove barriers to reporting.
In a new article for The EvoLLLution, St Francis Xavier University Director of Centre for Online Learning & Professional Studies Jack Rice reflects on the education sector’s relationship with standardized curriculum and assessments. Rice discusses the limits of the “imperfect relationship” between educational standards and how students are evaluated against them, and how technological developments may disrupt how institutions rely on standardized evaluations and their proxies. “The standardization of education into terms, semesters, credits, departments, lectures, midterms, finals, papers, and grades matched well with a society where all learners were 18 – 22 and diversity, equity and inclusion were observations rather than guiding principles,” writes Rice. “But in today’s world when there are so many ways to connect … have we considered that we may not need these proxies at all?” Rice concludes by expressing hope that technology will help higher education to release its hold on obsolete models and enter into a new age of teaching and learning.
Assiniboine Community College has officially celebrated the opening of its Centre for Creative Media. The new space is multi-functional and includes a post-production classroom and a dedicated screening area. Students will be able to train with cutting edge technology, gain the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the industry, and connect with professionals through the centre. “We are thrilled to showcase this new innovative space alongside our community and industry partners,” said ACC President Mark Frison. “It’s an important space for the college and a big step in our continued growth.”
Holland College has announced that it will be offering a Resident Care Worker Program in Souris in order to address a labour need in the community while providing an opportunity for rural residents to gain further education. The 30-week program will prepare students to work as resident care workers in settings such as long-term care, homecare, mental health and addictions, and acute care settings. The program is supported by Health PEI; the Department of Health and Wellness; and the Department of Economic Growth, Tourism, and Culture through Skills PEI, and will offer financial assistance including free tuition for eligible individuals.
Postsecondary and business must collaborate to support growth within Alberta, write University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business Dean Jim Dewald and Al Monaco, former president of Enbridge Inc. Dewald writes that postsecondary institutions must take a strategic, collaborative approach to ensure they are positioned for the future and are able to equip youth to drive the future and advance the economy. At UCalgary, the author describes how the Haskayne School of Business works with AB businesses to support their work and connects students directly with industry members through classroom presentations, co-ops and internships, mentorship, and project-oriented courses. “It’s about businesses and the university working together to invest in future leaders and doers,” writes Dewald. “In business parlance, this will establish a sustainable competitive advantage that will generate dividends well into the future.”
Two institutions have recently shared their future plans for renovations and new facilities on campus. Collège Lionel-Groulx has embarked on a real estate plan that will lead to a distinctive campus with larger facilities. The college will soon begin work on a new learning facility with 29 classrooms and food services. Meanwhile, Queen’s University is planning to renovate the Stauffer Library for the first time since the 1990s. It will also be re-examining its website and digital offerings to increase their diversity and accessibility.