The Government of Ontario has announced that it is extending the current tuition freeze throughout the 2023-24 school year and launching a blue-ribbon panel to address the sector’s financial stability. The panel will include eight academic and business leaders who will provide recommendations to the provincial Minister of Colleges and Universities on how to enhance the sector’s financial sustainability, support skilled workforce development, and promote economic growth. They will also provide recommendations on a long-term tuition-fee policy. Council of Ontario Universities leader Steve Orsini and Colleges Ontario President Linda Franklin responded to the tuition freeze with disappointment. “We weren’t given the flexibility to respond to escalating cost pressures,” said Franklin.
The Government of Canada has established five new research hubs that will strengthen the country’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector. The hubs will be led by the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, Université de Montréal, the University of Ottawa, McMaster University, and the University of Toronto and will host research, training, and development activities. The hubs were established through a $10M investment made through Stage 1 of the integrated Canada Biomedical Research Fund and the Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund.
Université de Moncton President Denis Prud’homme has called on the Government of New Brunswick to eliminate tuition fees for nursing students to boost the number in the province. Prud’homme spoke out against the recent announcement that would see the province subsidizing NB students who pursue Beal University’s nursing program in Maine. “There was a lack of transparency in the establishment of that program,” argued Prud’homme, who asserted that the grant was “inequitable” to students pursuing their Bachelor of Nursing at UMoncton or at the University of New Brunswick. Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission CEO Catherine Stewart told MLAs that the commission has agreed to fast-track Beal’s two-step assessment process to help the university win final approval for the nursing program agreement, but that Beal has not yet submitted its program proposal for approval.
In a recent article for The Conversation, David Baidoo-Anu, Christopher DeLuca, and Liying Cheng from Queen’s University discuss the challenges of evaluating international student applications based on their grades. Baidoo-Anu, DeLuca, and Cheng write that academic performance is often evaluated differently in international contexts. A recent comparative analysis of grading policies, for example, found that grading in Canada and China reflect different student attributes; in Canada, teachers focus on capturing achievement of curriculum content, whereas in Chinese schools, teachers include achievement of content, learners’ personal dispositions, and acquired skills. The authors recommend that postsecondary institutions revisit their admissions processes to consider indicators of student performance that are related to the skills, knowledge, and attributes that will help future students succeed in their studies.
University students from twelve institutions—including Lakehead University, the University of British Columbia Okanagan, and University of Windsor—recently participated in protests against RBC’s presence on campus. A recent report placed RBC as the fifth largest funder of fossil fuels in the world, according to CBC, and the protesters are calling on the bank to defund the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline; divest from fossil fuel expansion immediately; phase out fossil fuel financing by 2040; and respect the consent of Indigenous peoples. Students told CBC and Kelowna Capital News that they would like to see their institutions take a stand against RBC. In a statement released to media, RBC states that it is committed to achieving net-zero lending by 2050.
During a recent trade mission to India led by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, postsecondary institutions connected with and struck partnerships with Indian institutions as part of a broader effort to foster collective knowledge exchange between SK and India. The University of Saskatchewan signed Memorandums of Understanding with Chandigarh University, the National Institue Technology Jalandhar, and the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. USask VP Research Baljit Singh hosted roundtables between delegates on topics such as critical minerals and the energy transition in the SK and Indian markets. Saskatchewan Polytechnic reportedly signed MOUs with Shoolini University, Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, and IREU Education.
The University of New Brunswick’s Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) will be expanding thanks to over $1.3M from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and funding leveraged from other sources. OCRC will use the funds to advance its research and innovation in the area of off-site construction alternatives. The funds will also be used to support industry partnerships, the construction of a building envelope testing facility, and the development of an off-site construction education and certificate program.
Students in York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School will soon benefit from a new $1.2M Davies Fellow Award that has been established with funds from Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP and Osgoode alumni. The award will support the creation of a bursary for a first-year JD student who has demonstrated financial need. “We count among our lawyers at Davies, individuals who have overcome obstacles to achieve excellence in the profession, and we recognize that we have an opportunity to expand access to a legal education to students from equity-deserving groups,” says Osgoode alumna and Davies senior partner Patricia Olasker.
The Syndicat des professeurs de l’Université Laval (SPUL), which represents 1,280 faculty at the university, has voted in favour of an unlimited general strike. Bargaining sessions are scheduled for next week and La Presse reports that the strike could be called as soon as March 13th. SPUL is reportedly calling for changes such as workload reductions, protections for precariously employed instructors, and salary increases to bring pay more in line with other Canadian universities. ULaval rectrice Sophie D’Amours explained that the university is negotiating in the context of the province. The Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) recently issued a statement expressing their support for SPUL.
Queen’s University launched a new user-friendly design for its central website. The fresh design aims to enhance the user experience and support the Queen’s Strategy and is aligned with the university’s revitalized visual identity guidelines. “At Queen’s, we have a community of faculty, students, and staff committed to tackling society’s greatest challenges,” said Queen’s Vice-Principal (University Relations) Michael Fraser. “Our updated website showcases these efforts and accomplishments with the wider world and to our key audiences, positioning our university as one committed to leading positive change.”