Cumberland College and Parkland College will officially merge on July 1, 2023, under the new name of “Suncrest College.” The colleges selected the name “Suncrest” to mark the beginning of their new joint chapter: The “sun” represents new growth and beginnings; while the “crest” signifies a peak and the college’s shared vision for growth. Cumberland and Parkland interim President Alison Dubreuil said that the new name builds upon the colleges’ respective legacies and shared values. “Suncrest College will unify us and ensure we are an institution that people want to learn, work and partner with,” said Dubreuil.
The Government of British Columbia has announced a $3.8M investment into Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning Pathways programming, which will provide domestic students with free access to the pre-requisites for high-priority postsecondary programs. Institutions that have received funding for 2023-2024 include Camosun College, College of New Caledonia, College of the Rockies, Douglas College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langara College, North Island College, Northern Lights College, Okanagan College, Selkirk College, Thompson Rivers University, and Vancouver Island University. “Too often, people wanting to improve their work opportunities experience barriers that restrict their ability to prepare for the meaningful career and life they want in B.C.,” said Selina Robinson, BC Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “This government is increasing access to learning and upgrading supports.”
The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) has announced $4.5M in funding for the creation of three joint research chairs in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and healthcare. The objective of this initiative is to develop interdisciplinary expertise in AI and life sciences in order to train the next generation of students. The new research chairs will be held by Eric Lécuyer (Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal) and Mathieu Blanchette (McGill University); John Kildea (McGill) and Amal Zouaq (École polytechnique de Montréal); and Keith Mural (McGill) and Kaleem Siddiqi (McGill).
Laurentian University’s Board of Governors chair Jeff Bangs has announced that he will step down at the end of June. Bangs said he made the decision to step down due to health concerns and to avoid a possible conflict of interest after his partner, Céleste Boyer, was named the university’s general counsel. “I think one of the things I’m most proud of is the relationships that we’ve started to rebuild with our labour partners, with our university internal community, our staff, with our broader stakeholder community in Sudbury,” said Bangs. “We’re seeing signs of hope again, which is what Laurentian needs.” Laurentian has begun the process to select a new chair.
The University of Manitoba has unveiled new Indigenous-designed convocation robes for its chancellor and president. The robes were reimagined by Jackie Traverse, an Ojibwe artist from the Lake St Martin First Nation. They feature the Prairie crocus to represent Manitoba and depict red and orange flower buds to symbolize the missing Indigenous women and children. The robes also integrate the colours of the four symbolic nations of the medicine wheel. UManitoba President Michael Benarroch said that he is proud to wear these robes at all future convocations. “These robes help demonstrate the University of Manitoba’s respect for the territories this university resides upon and our commitment to creating experiences that are more welcoming to Indigenous students,” said Benarroch.
The Government of the Northwest Territories has announced changes to the Student Financial Assistance (SFA) program in order to remove barriers to postsecondary education. NWT has made a variety of changes, including increasing the benefit levels for tuition, books, and living allowances; increasing Grants for Students with Disabilities and expanding supports to students with persistent or prolonged disabilities; removing semester limits and expanding remissible loans; providing additional funding for tuition and book costs for Northern Indigenous students; and removing suspension penalties for withdrawing from or failing a course or program. “The changes will remove barriers that may prevent Indigenous students from achieving their educational goals and will promote access to post-secondary education for all NWT residents,” said NWT Minister of Education, Culture and Employment RJ Simpson.
Several postsecondary institutions in Atlantic Canada have announced new short-term learning opportunities. Holland College has partnered with the University of Prince Edward Island’s School of Climate Change & Adaptation, Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture, and the Abegweit First Nation to create new micro-credentials. These partnerships are part of the 12 new micro-credentials that Holland College has announced this year, which are supported by $2.2M in Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery funding. Mount Saint Vincent University and the University of King’s College co-developed a new Indigenous Media Literacy course for students from MSVU, U of King’s College, and Dal. The course draws on a Mi’kmaw worldview to analyze representations of Indigenous people in the media.
Collège Stanislas has officially launched an independent investigation into recent allegations of sexual misconduct at the institution. La Presse reports that multiple allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against college employees, beginning in 2019 with the conviction of a physical education teacher. Collège President Guy Le Clair recently wrote that the institution is committed to investigating these cases and added that the college is already working to integrate more mechanisms to respond to complaints of misconduct in the future. The investigation will be conducted by an independent law firm; the final reporton the findings is expected to be released over the summer.
The National Association of Career Colleges has partnered with Windmill Microlending to introduce new financial aid options for prospective career college students. Windmill offers low-interest loans to help immigrants and refugees pay for costs related to education, training, certification, designation, accreditation, and professional development. The new partnership will enable eligible career college students to access up to $15K in financial aid to pay for costs such as tuition, textbooks, equipment, and more while they complete their studies.
Classes, activities, and events on Capilano University’s campus have been suspended due to strike action. In a show of solidarity, the Capilano University Faculty Association (CFA) joined the strike led by MoveUP, which represents Capilano employees. In May, Capilano offered an agreement that included a wage increase of 12-13%, but MoveUP reportedly rejected the offer “over the single issue of remote work.” CityNews reports that MoveUP Local 378 wants to see specific language regarding remote work included within the collective agreement, which would enable members to seek grievances if the employer does “not live up to their obligation.”