The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has published its annual Sustainable Campus Index and several Canadian postsecondary institutions have ranked highly in the index. The index recognizes top-performing institutions from around the world across 17 impact areas. In the Overall Top Performers rankings, Humber College, Nova Scotia Community College, and Mohawk College appeared in the top associate colleges; Thompson Rivers University appeared in the top master’s institutions; and the Université de Sherbrooke and Université Laval appeared in the top doctoral institutions. USherbrooke was the top-scoring university in Canada and in the International Top Performers ranking with a score of 92.73.
Capilano University is partnering with the shÃshÃ¡lh Nation to establish a new program in Indigenous arts mastery. The Carving Shed: Supporting Indigenous Arts Mastery (SIAM) program will involve two year-long courses in wood/silver carving and plant medicine, which will be held at kÃ¡lax-ay, CapilanoU’s Sunshine Coast campus in Sechelt. “To give our students the opportunity to feel safe in their own environment while learning with artists, Elders and community members is an amazing gift,” said CapilanoU Indigenous faculty advisor Jessica Silvey.
Dalhousie University has opened the Centre for Psychological Health, a Halifax-based clinic that will improve access to mental health and addictions care in Nova Scotia. The centre will be staffed by 10 registered clinical psychologists and 30-40 clinical psychology PhD students, who will rotate through the space annually. Centre co-director Dr Shannon Johnson conveyed that Dal students are eager to support clients of diverse identities. “In addition to providing mental health care to Nova Scotians in need, the Centre will provide a wealth of new clinical training opportunities for students in our program as they proceed on the path to becoming clinical psychologists,” said Johnson. The Government of Nova Scotia will provide $4.5M over three years to fund the clinic.
Keyano College has announced that it will implement an Indigenous Advisory Circle and an Elder or Auntie-in-Residence Program. These initiatives are part of a broader effort to foster the academic success and cultural integration of Keyano’s Indigenous students and community members, promote Indigenous-led solutions, and encourage equity and reconciliation. “For transformation to happen, we must implement curricular and non-curricular programming that is mindful of Indigenous history and ensure that our campus policies and support services align with Indigenous traditions,” said Keyano President Jay Notay. These initiatives are supported by a nearly $700K donation from the Suncor Energy Foundation.
Amid ongoing staffing restructuring and a changing postsecondary environment, some institutions in the UK and Australia have increasingly hired for a new role: the “Director of Future Students.” Kim Martin of explains that the role is focused on bringing domestic and international student recruitment efforts under one roof. The role can include a plethora of duties, including tasks related to global recruitment and outreach, admissions and applicant experiences, and international partnership development. Martin explains that the overall goal of the role, however, is to encourage collaboration between domestic and international recruitment teams, and in so doing improve the student experience.
Algoma University and the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board (DPCSB) have signed an agreement to offer the university’s Learners’ Early Access Program (LEAP) to Grade 11 and 12 students. DPCSD students who take part in LEAP will spend a semester at AlgomaU’s Brampton campus, taking on two university courses while they complete their high school education. The purpose of the program is to help students envision themselves in a university setting. This partnership follows on from AlgomaU’s recent agreement with the Peel District School Board to offer LEAP to PDSB students.
Northlands College, Thompson Rivers University, and University of Saskatchewan have each announced enrolment improvements this Fall. Northlands recently celebrated a 19% increase in its domestic enrolment. Northlands President Karsten Henriksen attributed this achievement to the “relentless efforts” of college faculty and staff. TRU also reported a surge in registrations among its international students, marking a 900 student increase this year, despite having reportedly experienced a decrease in international applications and admissions in most programs. TRU says that it benefitted from expedited study permit processing and established initiatives to encourage new and continuing students to register early. USask has reportedly witnessed a 3% increase in its first-day enrolment over the last year, which has been driven by increases in its international and Indigenous student populations.
Lakehead University and the University of Toronto Mississauga have installed new Indigenous structures and symbols on campus. Lakehead held a National Truth and Reconciliation Flag Raising ceremony on its campus to honour the survivors of Canada’s residential and day school system. “This is an incredibly important location. There are many First Nations in this large geographic area and we want to be inclusive of all of them at the university and come together as often as we can,” said Lakehead President Gillian Siddall. UTM raised its Tipi and Teaching Lodge, which will be permanent structures on campus. The Tipi will be used for traditional, sacred ceremonies, while the Teaching Lodge will be used as a teaching environment for special events.
The University of Regina Students Union (URSU) has called on the Government of Saskatchewan to increase funding for postsecondary education and lower provincial tuition fees. According to a new URSU report entitled “Fund the Future: The State of Saskatchewan’s Post-Secondary Sector,” SK undergraduate tuition fees are higher than the national average and causing considerable financial stress for students. In response, SK Minister of Advanced Education Gordon Wyant said that the ministry is in the process of examining the report’s findings. Wyant added that a potential tuition cap is on the table and underlined that the province has significant supports available to students.
Three institutions recently released plans and planning updates. British Columbia Institute of Technology has introduced the BCIT Accessibility Plan 2023. The plan provides an overview of the Accessible BC Act and includes information about BCIT’s framework and actions under consideration to make the college barrier-free. In an update on its digital strategy work, the University of Manitoba shared that it is currently exploring ways to improve the university’s data and infrastructure, introduce new learning and teaching supports, and improve systems like its course registration process. The University of Calgary recently announced its strategic plan for 2023-2030: “Ahead of Tomorrow,” which is built on commitments in five areas: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility; Indigenous Engagement; Mental Health; Global Engagement; and Sustainability.