Current News In BC PSE


Weekly News Roundup



Week of April 19 – April 23, 2021

CUFA BC weighs in on BC Budget 2021

Today’s budget includes significant investment in the province and targets many of the vulnerable sectors most affected by the pandemic, including advanced education,” says CUFA BC President Dr. Daniel Laitsch. “With these supports from Government, BC’s post-secondary institutions can see themselves as key partners in driving the economic and social recovery toward a just recovery for everyone.

BC | CUFA | BC Budget | FPSE


UNBC: Faculty collective agreement implementation working group

For the past two weeks, the University of Northern British Columbia Faculty Association and UNBC have met to discuss the transition to the newly ratified Collective Agreement. The Agreement is ratified and in effect while the Implementation Working Group works through the remaining transition articles. The Implementation Working Group assists in the timely adoption and implementation of the new agreement.



UNBC voluntary retirement incentive plans

UNBC offers Voluntary Retirement Incentive Plans (VRIPs) to Faculty and Exempt employees, working with CUPE 3799 to extend VRIP to CUPE employees.



Historical bargaining finally begins for SFU research assistants

Nearly 18 months ago, Simon Fraser University made history by becoming the first post-secondary institution in Western Canada to voluntarily recognize union representation for research assistants. Negotiations just started last month.

BC | The Tyee


How producing videos on TikTok is impacting teaching

It’s the accessibility and immediacy that initially drew Dr. Blakney, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of British Columbia, to TikTok. She joined the app in October 2020 as part of Team Halo, an international collection of scientists who wanted to provide answers to the general public on anything and everything related to the COVID-19 vaccine effort. Now, Dr. Blakney has more than 215,000 followers on her TikTok account, including her own students.

BC | University Affairs


On the front lines of the pivot to online: Measuring the real impact of alternative assessment in remote learning

BCcampus Research Fellow Elle Ting, instructional associate at Vancouver Community College’s Centre of Teaching, Learning, and Research provides insight into the pivot to online and remote teaching and “pandemic-proofing” initiatives during the pandemic. Ting and colleagues asked the questions: Had the conversation of assessments to a remote learning format become the determining factor for increased academic misconduct? If so, and assuming continued remote learning, what means do instructors have to mitigate academic integrity violations?

BC | BCcampus


Federal budget provides relief to postsecondary students, makes some investment in research

CAUT reports “Today’s federal budget makes historic investments in childcare and long-term care, extends emergency supports for students and provides a welcome boost to minority language post-secondary education, but is a missed opportunity to address core issues facing the post-secondary education sector, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), which represents academic staff at universities and colleges across the country.

National | Federal Budget | CAUT UA


Two misconceptions about ‘collegial governance’

Dr. Shannon Dea, Dean of Arts and professor of philosophy at the University of Regina, discusses collegial governance. Academic staff are not only employees; they are also the ‘collegium’ charged with the academic governance of universities.

Additional resource: CUFA BC shares its 2020 whitepaper on university governance in BC.



The problem is pandemics and Canadian university research is the solution

David Farrar shares his opinion that universities are uniquely positioned to steer us out of the COVID-19 crisis and the next pandemic.

National | Hill Times


The unexpected ways climate change is reshaping college education

Climate is finding its way into unexpected corners of the academic world.

International | Time


Eduvation Insider maps out timeline and development of micro-credentials in post-secondary

Ken Steele of Eduvation provides coverage on the emergence and development of micro-credentials in Canadian (and elsewhere) post-secondary institutions.

National | Eduvation


Sudbury MP crafting bill to amend CCAA process in wake of Laurentian University insolvency

In the historic move by Laurentian University to seek process outside the collective agreement to deal with financial crisis, questions arise about the status of financial exigency clauses in collective agreements at Canadian post-secondary institutions. Sudbury Liberal MP Paul Lefebvre told an emergency House of Commons debate on the Laurentian University financial crisis that he will table a private member’s bill to amend the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Lefebvre said he wants to prevent other universities from going down the same path as Laurentian and using the CCAA process as a tool to restructure.



Student leaders cry out for support in federal budget, wary of long-term pandemic consequences

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt multiple blows to Canadian post-secondary students, altering their schooling and drastically affecting their job options. Student leaders and policy experts are calling for them to get more help in the federal budget, wary of long-term consequences if they are not supported.

National | CBC


Taking stock of Canada’s superclusters

John Knubley, Canada’s former Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, reports on the rationale, challenges and performance of the Superclusters. These “clusters” were conceived as areas of targeted business activity comprising large and small companies, academic institutions, non-profits, and accelerators that work collaboratively to boost innovation and growth in a specific sector. This report offers a timely reflection on how each Supercluster has evolved and progressed, challenges encountered and lessons learned, where they could go next, and what role they might play in Canada’s “build back better” agenda after COVID-19.

National | Brookfield Institute


Ottawa opens new pathway to permanent status for temporary essential workers and graduates

The federal government will introduce a new pathway to permanent residency for foreign nationals working in Canada in essential jobs. The new policy will allow up to 90,000 workers and international graduates to obtain permanent residency.

National | CBC


Protests, calls for resignations, honourary doctorate renounced in wake of Laurentian layoffs

Academica provides consolidated update on developments at Laurentian University, tracking protests, resignations, political interventions. UVicFA releases statement of solidarity with Laurentian U Faculty Association.

ON | Academica | UVicFA


Forced out: The faces of higher education’s historic layoffs

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, US higher education has suffered its greatest job losses on record. The Chronicle set out to tell the stories of those affected.

International | Chronicle


Here’s who was hit the hardest by higher ed’s pandemic-driven job losses

Since the pandemic started, US institutions of higher education have shed a net total of at least 570,000 workers. Put another way, for every nine workers employed in academe in February 2020, at least one had lost or left that job a year later. Certain workers in higher ed have endured a disproportionate share of the losses, including workers with limited labour protections, administrative support workers, food service workers, and people of colour.

International | Chronicle


Zoom addresses academic freedom concerns

Videoconferencing platform Zoom published a new policy giving higher education institutions greater control over their online events and the speakers to whom they chose to give platforms. For academics and groups supporting free speech and academic freedom who reviewed the policy last week, the changes are a welcome step in the right direction. But some critics worry the policy doesn’t go far enough and the company could still exercise its power to censor certain academic discussions and debates.

International | IHE