Several women academics and leaders in Canadian postsecondary education marked International Women’s Day by penning editorials and raising awareness. “The history of International Women’s Day is not an academic one,” said University of Northern British Columbia Associate Professor Dr Zoë Meletis. “[But] universities give us a place and a home to help mark it, and so we think it’s important.” Brandon University Dean of Science Bernadette Ardelli spoke to the Brandon Sun about her experience working in STEM and her efforts to encourage other STEM faculty to be role models for students. Institutional leaders such as Brock University President Lesley Rigg, York University President Rhonda Lenton, and York VP Equity, People & Culture Sheila Cote-Meek issued statements to their communities about the day’s importance. Rebecca Jaremko Bromwich of the University of Manitoba and Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant of Queen’s University each wrote editorials about International Women’s Day and gender inequality for The Conversation.
Saint Mary’s University received $25M in funding from the Government of Nova Scotia to improve patient care with new health-related programming. With the investment, the university will develop a diploma program in healthcare analytics and provide a business administration program for healthcare administrators, office directors, and family doctors. SMU will also work with Nova Scotia Community College to expand options for combined college-university learning.
The Government of Manitoba’s newly released 2023/24 budget includes a 12% increase to the postsecondary education system’s funding envelope. The University of Manitoba received a 10.8% ($37.8M) increase to its operating grant as well as $12.6M to address deferred maintenance needs. The University of Winnipeg will receive over $77.58M, as well as $1.2M for deferred maintenance, which is a 20.2% increase to its operating budget. “I am very pleased with this year’s allocation,” said UWinnipeg President Dr Todd Mondor. “These funds will relieve some the of financial pressures we have faced and allow us to look forward with optimism to the enhanced contributions we can make to our province, city, and especially to supporting all of those in our community.”
Cape Breton University will receive $58.9M in funding from the Government of Nova Scotia to develop its new medical school within the next two years. With the newly announced funding, CBU will develop a new medical sciences building, a new collaborative care clinic at Nova Scotia Community College’s Marconi campus, and an expanded CBU health and counselling centre. The school will aim to address the doctor shortage by training Nova Scotians interested in practicing within local communities. “This will be a campus with a rural heartbeat, instilling a rural mindset within the next generation of doctors,” said CBU President David Dingwall.
The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine in Regina recently celebrated the expansion of its medical doctor program and the official opening of new learning spaces. The expanded program will enable students to complete all four years of the program in Regina at the Regina General Hospital. As a result of the expansion, students will no longer need to move between Saskatoon and Regina during their studies. The hospital has also been equipped with a new classroom, study spaces, and an anatomy lab. “What’s unique here in that this is the only [Canadian medical education campus] based entirely in a hospital,” said USask Dean of the College of Medicine Preston Smith.
Lakehead University and the City of Orilla launched an innovation hub that will focus on innovation and research programming to drive business and employment. The city has committed $500K toward the three-year project, which will bring people and ideas from a variety of industries to the city. Lakehead also opened its Nursing Skills Lab, which provides opportunities and equipment for nursing students to apply the assessment and skills they have learned into practice.
Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne released an institutional statement on the exercise of academic freedom earlier this week. The cégep released the statement in response to recent concerns among instructors regarding their freedom to choose course content and discussion topics with their students. A working group drafted the statement to specify the fundamental principles and conditions surrounding academic freedom, as well as the college’s formal commitment to protecting it in educational activities. Sébastien Piché, directeur des etudes du Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne, stated that institutional leadership will work with the community to guide teachers as they address sensitive topics in class and support students who might feel offended.
A new national risk assessment tool will be available in Fall 2023 to address and prevent sexual and gender-based violence at postsecondary institutions. The tool was designed by a team co-led by MacEwan University Professor Sandy Jung and Toronto Metropolitan University Faculty Member Jesmen Mendoza. It is intended to help campus administrators and support staff respond to incidents and formulate policies regarding sexual assault and gender-based violence in a survivor-centered, trauma- and violence-informed way. “To build safer campuses, we can start by using a community risk assessment to make difficult decisions about a person who has caused harm, and where to allocate resources to prevent future incidents of sexual and gender-based violence,” write Jung and Mendoza.
Students from Victoria University and Trinity College at the University of Toronto and York University are putting pressure on their schools to divest from fossil fuels. In a series of student-led demonstrations across the Toronto-based campuses, students demanded that their universities commit to clean investments and decarbonization. In response, spokespeople from Victoria University and YorkU said that their respective investments are guided by environmental, social, and governance factors. Students maintained that these investment processes should be more transparent and cited recent divestment commitments from the University of Guelph and Simon Fraser University as potential models.
Queen’s University, Lambton College, and Capilano University announced updates to student housing projects. Queen’s revealed that the recently opened Albert Street student residence will be named Endaayaan–Tkanónsote in recognition of the region’s Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Indigenous communities. “This name acknowledges the history of this area and seeks to further strengthen the relationships between the institution and the region’s Indigenous communities,” said Queen’s Indigenous Studies Program Director Thanyehténhas (Nathan Brinklow). Lambton is reportedly looking to construct a new campus residence with 300 to 350 beds. The District of North Vancouver approved the creation of 315 new rental units near CapilanoU, half of which will be made exclusive to students and staff.