Thursday, February 11, 2021 | Category: Eduvation Insider
I’ve been trying to figure out how CdnPSE social media managers always seem to know what days, weeks, and months to recognize well in advance. Me, I’m always scrambling to keep up, based on a few early tweets (thank you guys!) and sometimes it can be tough to sort out.
According to the National Day Calendar, today (Feb 11) is National “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day,” “Inventor’s Day,” “Make a Friend Day,” “Peppermint Patty Day,” “White Shirt Day,” “Giving Hearts Day,” and “Shut-In Visitation Day.” (Maybe not this year, OK?)
But there are some more important national and international days being recognized today…
As Queen’s U reminds us, today is the 6th annual UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science. It “promotes full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls” – and considering that just 33% of the world’s researchers are women, it’s important to “celebrate and inspire present and future women in STEM.” College of the Rockies president Paul Vogt interviewed two female science instructors in a 3-min “Wednesday Wander” video yesterday. And uVic released a 1-min video about Women in Science this week.
A national movement began in northern BC 10 years ago, “to promote gender equity, healthy relationships, and positive ideas of masculinity by speaking out against gender-based violence.” In particular, it recognizes that Indigenous women are 3x more likely to experience domestic violence or be killed by someone they know, and that the COVID19 pandemic has only increased the problem. “This cycle of violence came from residential schools, racism against our Peoples, and colonization.”
“Silence is not good enough, and simply being a non-abuser is not good enough. We must speak up and take action.” – Moose Hide Campaign
Virtual National Ceremony
The Moose Hide Campaign, now in its 10th year, is “a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence towards women and children.” Its goal is to raise awareness, by distributing 10M small moose hide squares across Canada, to be worn by supporters and witnesses. Today, they will be attending virtual workshops and an online national ceremony, and in some cases fasting from sunrise to sunset. A daybreak ceremony will be streamed at 7:21am AST, “when the sun touches Turtle Island in the east,” and the plenary livestream is scheduled for 8:30am PST. The “fast-breaking” ceremony will take place at 5:29pm PST, “when the sun leaves Turtle Island in the west.” The campaign website includes a social media playbook, fasting guide, and guides to organizing events and kiosks.
On Social Media
Expect to see the hashtags #FastToEndViolence and #MooseHideCampaign across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms today. I’ve seen tweets already from Collège Boréal, Vancouver Island U, Medicine Hat College, and College of the Rockies. Ontario Tech is encouraging its community to share video or photos of themselves making a pledge, and sharing a LibGuide about the movement and the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
So far I’ve also come across 2 Ontario institutions who are hosting Red Dress Campaign events tomorrow, in recognition of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Originally the brainchild of artist Jaime Black, empty hanging dresses can be found at fashion shows, galleries, and on campuses across Canada. Laurentian U is hosting guest speaker Fallon Farinacci, “a survivor and advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA peoples.” Fleming College is promoting the Red Dress Exhibit on both its campuses, for people to visit in person or as part of a whole week of virtual educational events. (And no doubt many other CdnPSEs will be posting announcements today and tomorrow.)
If you’re feeling like you simply cannot keep up with the barrage of news affecting the higher ed sector, you’re not alone…
Wouldn’t you know it? Within 6 HOURS of my post about the Jan OUAC stats, OUAC removed those pages from their website and published updated stats as of Feb 3. My apologies to those of you who tried to access my links yesterday: you can see the latest applications by university or applications by program at these links. (At least, for a few more hours!)
Thankfully, very little changed in a month; most numbers shifted by 0.1% or less, so in general my conclusions stand. (Phew!) Slightly larger shifts move Algoma ahead of Ottawa, Lakehead ahead of Guelph, and King’s ahead of Guelph-Humber, but otherwise the graph by institution looks the same. Changes to applications by program were even more subtle.
The real reckoning will come when we switch from applications (which can be 3 or more per individual applicant) to confirmations (which is when individuals put their money where their mouth is and make a final decision. Stay tuned…
The aftershocks of Laurentian’s CCAA announcement are still being felt throughout Ontario PSE, and institutions are reassuring stakeholders that their own finances are sound…
Increased Budget Scrutiny
In the wake of Laurentian U’s insolvency, the Ontario government has signalled that it may impose financial oversight measures to prevent something similar happening elsewhere. COU president Steve Orsini does not believe any other institutions are in a similar predicament, but he notes that the COVID19 pandemic has imposed ~$1B in additional expenses and lost revenues on Ontario universities “so far.” PSE consultant Ken Steele told the Globe & Mail that governments won’t likely allow a major public university to fail, but in Laurentian’s case, the ministry likely wants to see a much more sustainable financial model before it offers more support. “I think this is tough love.” (Ah, if only that guy could come up with pithy sound bites like that more often!) Lakehead U and Algoma U emphasize that they have run balanced budgets for several years. Nipissing U is projecting a $5M deficit this year, but plans to increase international enrolment eightfold by 2026. Globe & Mail
“The Laurentian experience has made us all sharpen our pencils and think about how to overcome the challenges in the system.” Cheryl Sutton, Interim President, Nipissing U
Ryerson U president Mohamed Lachemi acknowledged on Tuesday that Ontario universities “are experiencing broad and increasingly complex financial repercussions that will have long-term implications for our sector, our students and the communities we serve.” Despite that, Ryerson “remains in good financial standing” thanks to a decade of balanced budgets, and has an Aa3 rating from Moody’s. The pandemic has imposed extraordinary expenses for emergency student bursaries, remote teaching, software licenses, library materials, and the development of online courses – and of course reduced ancillary revenues from parking, food services, retail sales, residences, theatre and venue rentals. In planning for the new fiscal budget starting May 1, Ryerson will be looking at “numerous ways” to address the budget challenges. Ryerson
“Our institutions are experiencing broad and increasingly complex financial repercussions that will have long-term implications for our sector, our students and the communities we serve.” – Mohamed Lachemi, President, Ryerson U
York U president Rhonda Lenton held a virtual town hall on the budget last week, and described the need to balance response, mitigation and recovery in the face of the challenges of the pandemic. Deferred maintenance now exceeds $526M, and >$200M in major capital projects are currently underway – not counting the $275M Markham Centre Campus, expected to open Fall 2023. In addition to plans to hire 122 new faculty members this year, York has invested $2.3M in emergency bursaries, launched the SAVY virtual assistant and Civitas advising platform, and made strategic EDI investments. York
I mentioned yesterday that Newfoundland & Labrador’s abrupt increase in COVID19 cases has stalled plans to return employees to campus, with a provincial “circuit-breaker lockdown,” and more details came out yesterday…
College of the North Atlantic is closing its 3 campuses and facilities in the St John’s Metro region, moving programs to online delivery from Feb 15 through Mar 8. Reading Week break will be Mar 1-5 as scheduled, and management and support staff will return to campus Feb 25. CNA
Memorial U will “continue to operate as a remote teaching, learning and work environment” from Feb 9 through Feb 23 (subject to change based on PHO direction). MUN
Elsewhere in Canada, more institutions have clarified their operations for the immediate future…
Algonquin College announced yesterday that it is assessing the impact of the end of Ontario’s state of emergency on Feb 9, and the “gradual reinstatement of a regionalized system of assessment and restrictions.” In practice, Algonquin’s Pembroke campus is in a region that returned to the colour-coded system yesterday, while Ottawa and Perth will return on Feb 16. Pembroke campus can already “operate largely as it had through the Fall term.” AC
U Canada West announced yesterday that its Spring 2021 term will be held entirely online. Twitter
Since Wednesday, I have added 1 more COVID19 cases associated with CdnPSE. (Many cases go unreported, but see my master spreadsheet for a running tally.)
Red River College reported a confirmed case at its Notre Dame campus in Winnipeg yesterday. RRC
Yesterday uLethbridge released a decidedly artful music video to help drive students to online services and supports…
It’s Going to Get Better!
Shazam doesn’t recognize the music, so perhaps this is an original composition. In any case, the lyrics nicely capture our current reality: “Easy to get caught up in the fight when you’ve been wrestling with the night, Oh the rain can’t stay, When you feel like you’re running in place… ‘Cause you know it’s only gonna get better, the seasons know when to change.” There’s beautiful cinematography of empty halls and classrooms on the UofL campus, Zoom classes, frustrated and anguished students, and oh so many laptops being slammed shut! But the video turns toward brighter, more optimistic scenes of people smiling, dancing, and waving to each other through windows. In the end, it’s the sort of reassuring hopeful minute we could all use right now. YouTube
As always, thanks for reading! Please let me know if you’ve spotted something interesting or significant, at your campus or elsewhere.
Be safe and stay well!
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