The Government of Canada has released its 2023 federal budget, which focuses on a “Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, [and] Healthy Future.” Of note to the postsecondary sector, the budget includes $108.6M in new funding to expand the College and Community Innovation Program and adjustments to the Canada Student Grants and Canada Student Loan programs. Colleges and Institutes Canada and Polytechnics Canada have each issued statements praising the budget for its investments in applied research. Universities Canada issued a statement describing the budget as a “missed opportunity to keep Canada competitive in science and research,” noting the lack of funding increases to the research granting councils and graduate scholarships.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Simon Fraser University was recently beheaded in an act of vandalism. Burnaby RCMP received a report of mischief and theft on Monday night, though they say it is unclear when the vandalism took place. Police reported that power tools were likely used to remove the statue’s head, which was subsequently stolen. Police have canvassed the neighbourhood and asked any witnesses to come forward. In the meantime, the statue has been removed from campus while SFU Galleries determines “next steps.” “We are deeply disappointed that someone would do such an act,” read a statement from SFU. “Vandalism of any kind will not be tolerated.”
The University of Montreal is reportedly still considering whether or not it will return a donation that is allegedly linked to a Chinese influence campaign targeted at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The National Post reports that UMontreal received $550K in 2016 on behalf of Canadian businessmen Zhang Bin and Niu Gensheng, who were allegedly backed by the Chinese government. The university expected to receive another $250K from Bin and Gensheng, but never received this money. Post reports that UMontreal was also offered $50K to create a statue of Pierre Trudeau, which the donors wanted to have positioned alongside Chinese communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. University of Toronto professor emeritus Nelson Wiseman said that there seems to be little reason for UMontreal to return the money because it is not likely to still have any influence.
Durham College is launching a new Early Childhood Education program (ECE-E) stream for ECE assistants who wish to earn their ECE certification while continuing to work in an early years environment or childcare program. Classes in the ECE-E program will be offered between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm so that students can work in before- and after-school programs while they study. “With this innovative stream of our popular ECE program, Durham College is providing valuable solutions not only to students, but to the families who count on child care programs in Durham Region and across Ontario,” said Durham Associate Dean, Faculty of Social and Community Services Joanne Spicer.
An article for Nature profiles the efforts of a group of researchers who are taking innovative steps to decarbonize their ongoing research. Computational biologists in Australia have planted trees to offset the emissions of their work, while astronomers in France are considering conducting research from archived observatory data rather than prioritising the energy-intensive collection of new data. Other scientists are holding virtual meetings to avoid emissions produced by travel to and from research institutions. The article concludes by underlining the necessity for both individual and institutional support for these carbon-cutting measures.
Concordia University and Lakeland College have both received investments that will support student success. Scotiabank has donated $1.4M to the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen Now. The funds will support Concordia’s Kaié:ri Nikawerà:ke Indigenous Bridging Program, which offers an alternative admissions pathway for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples who do not meet the university’s standard admissions requirements. The investment will also support the Career Roadmap for International Student Excellence (C-RISE), which helps international students to forge their careers after they graduate. Lakeland has received $650K from Cenovus Energy to support its Indigenous student success programs. The funds will be used to strengthen programming and student success resources for Indigenous students.
Selkirk College has banned TikTok from all school-owned devices, joining a growing list of governmental and postsecondary institutions which have blocked the use of the social media app. In a directive issued to college employees, Selkirk VP Kerry Clarke stated that the ban was made in response to concerns about TikTok’s collection of user data. The notice also urged employees to proceed with caution when using other related apps on college-issued devices. “While TikTok has been identified as a particularly concerning app due to its data collection practices and potential for censorship, it is not the only app that poses a risk,” said Clarke, who went onto cite Telegram and WeChat as other apps currently under scrutiny.
The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology School of Transportation has received $850K from the Royal Bank of Canada. The investment will support electric vehicle (EV) readiness training, youth skills programming, and Transportation and Manufacturing Industry Nights at SAIT. These initiatives will focus on encouraging technologies programming and ensuring that SAIT graduates are prepared for their careers. “SAIT continues to deliver on our promise to evolve with industry and provide our students with the skills they need to lead the next generation,” said SAIT President Dr David Ross. “This gift from RBC will provide greater access to the technology needed to advance our labs and create opportunities to integrate practical work experience into SAIT’s transportation programming.”
The University of Manitoba’s Extended Education division has launched a non-credit program focused on media literacy, critical thinking, and investigative journalism. Participants will learn how to consume media with a more critical eye as they develop their technical skills in research, reading, and journalism. The program is aimed at anyone who wants to improve their media literacy. “In one way or another, everybody consumes media,” said UManitoba course instructor Cecil Rosner. “Therefore, I think it’s important everybody understands how to read it; how they can be misled if they are not careful, how to identify misinformation and how to source information.” The program is offered completely online and takes six weeks to complete.
Collège Boréal and the Windsor Youth Centre are partnering on a new program for 16-to-25-year-old youth. The Navigator program will help at-risk youth set and achieve education- and career-related goals. Youth will work with a designated “navigator” who will help them construct a career plan with measurable milestones. “That’s what this program is all about: setting clear intentions, a firm plan in place, and being able to follow through with the support necessary to get there,” said Boréal Manager of Employment and Settlement Services Simon Goulet.