In a mandate letter to Government of Alberta Advanced Education Minister Rajan Sawhney, AB Premier Danielle Smith outlined a series of goals for the advanced education portfolio. The mandate letter goals include accelerating auto-credentialling, investing in more mental health professional spaces at postsecondary institutions, increasing seats in key program areas, and protecting free speech rights. CBC reports that advocacy groups have raised concerns about funding and oversight in relation to the mandate to work with private career colleges to create pathways to the delivery of accredited diploma and degree programs. Sawhney reportedly asserted that public funding would not be directed to for-profit institutions “unless there is a compelling economic reason.”
Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute has officially joined the Seabed 2030 Project. Seabed 2030 is a collaborative effort between The Nippon Foundation and The General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) that seeks to map the world’s ocean by 2030 and store all bathymetric data in a freely accessible GEBCO Ocean Map. “We are delighted to partner with Seabed 2030 in this groundbreaking initiative,” said Memorial VP Dr Paul Brett. “Our institution has long been dedicated to advancing marine science and technology, and this collaboration aligns perfectly with our vision of fostering a sustainable ocean through knowledge and innovation.”
Wilfrid Laurier University and Camosun College have both launched art and design projects to celebrate Indigenous culture. At WLU, Ojibwe artist Mike Cywink is developing a mural for the university library’s southwest wall in collaboration with 120 community volunteers. “The vision and hope for this wasn’t just to commission an artist to do the design and the whole project itself,” said WLU Associate VP, Indigenous Initiatives Darren Thomas. “It was always the intent of building community.” At Camosun, Cowichan canoe builder Francis Wilson is guiding Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training students to design cedar paddles. The designs on the paddles are drawn from artwork created by Coast Salish artist Dylan Thomas and featured on Camosun’s strategic plan.
Several groups are voicing their concerns regarding the Government of Ontario’s recent decision to reject the Université de Sudbury’s funding request to create a standalone French-language university. Three MPPs penned an editorial for Sudbury.com calling on ON to reverse the decision and “invest in a French-language university worthy of our youth, worthy of our thinkers and worthy of our aspirations.” The Coalition nord-ontarienne pour une université de langue française has filed two Freedom of Information requests with ON to learn more about the reasons behind their refusal. A petition has also been launched by MPP Jamie West, MPP Guy Bourgouin, and ON NDP leader Marit Stiles that calls on the province to fund USudbury.
In a recent article from the evoLLLution, Arthur Thomas (Syracuse University) discusses the challenges with and best practices for scaling micro-credentials. Thomas writes that a “mindset of scale” is critical to the success of this endeavour: This “mindset of scale” means keeping in mind the goal of serving thousands of learners across many different programs when evaluating workflows, procedures, infrastructure, staff, and marketing and communications practices. The author also recommends assembling a network of people from across the institution who are already working with micro-credentials in order to identify and work toward solutions as a group. Finally, the author discusses ways of addressing resistance to change, such as incentivizing organizational change, and developing an adaptive project plan to manage future states.
A former Thompson Rivers University student is reportedly suing the university over “misleading information” regarding housing options that resulted in hardships. Saeide Shaabani filed a notice of claim indicating that TRU “explicitly promised” to provide a dormitory which would be suitable for a married couple, but this was not available. Shaabani incurred additional expenses after seeking temporary accommodation at a hotel and subsequently withdrew from the university, asserting that it was impossible to study without proper housing. “Given the misrepresentations and the adverse impact on my experience, I believe it is just and fair to seek a refund of my tuition fees,” Shaabani said. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Durham College has announced a partnership with Blue Door–an emergency housing provider in the York Region–to deliver the Blue Door Construct carpentry training program. This three-week training program will provide participants with hands-on learning opportunities in construction. By the time they graduate, learners will have earned Health & Safety Training, First Aid & CPR, and Working at Heights training certificates. “The certifications and training gained will set up our participants to obtain meaningful job opportunities that will start building their career in the trades,” said Construct Director of Social Enterprise Rudi Genovese. “By connecting participants with Durham College, Construct is able to support them in building strong relationships and career paths in their community.”
Capilano University has announced that it has reached a tentative agreement with MoveUP Local 378. The new collective agreement is pending ratification, and both parties accepted the mediator’s recommendations on the return-to-work protocol. “The agreement is one that works for the union, the University and most importantly, supports the students who have chosen to pursue their education at CapU,” read a release from CapilanoU. Picket lines have now come down and members returned to work on Monday.
The University of Manitoba recently received two pots of funding for its research and programming. UManitoba has received nearly $900K from the Government of Canada for a research project in child maltreatment, child welfare, and family violence. The funding will be used to create a collaborative, sustainable network of researchers who will work together to protect children and help caregivers use positive parenting strategies. UManitoba also received $412K from the Government of Manitoba to double the number of seats in its doctoral clinical psychology training program. MB Advanced Education and Training Minister Sarah Guillemard explained that this investment will help grow the clinical psychology workforce in the province.
A recent research report from D2L examining micro-credentials suggests that workers in North America are interested in upskilling but that they do not understand the value of micro-credentials or how to obtain them. The researchers surveyed 1,000 adults living in Canada or the United States and uncovered four key findings: Continuous upskilling is not a norm, participants had no clear preference for training providers, micro-credentials are not widely understood, and people most commonly requested help with financial assistance and understanding credentials. The report recommends that postsecondary institutions invest in upskilling-focused continuing education, employers invest in skills development for their workers, and governments pass policies supporting financial aid and training.