Eduvation Blog

Winter Plans & Protests

Good morning, and happy Apple Cider Day!

(Unless your tastes turn to vichyssoise and beaujolais nouveau, which appear to have an equal claim to be celebrated today.)

If you’re feeling particularly reflective, perhaps that’s because today is UN World Philosophy Day. (Sadly, it feels like we’re fighting a losing battle to promote the love of wisdom outside our campuses.) In the wee hours tonight, you can contemplate the longest partial lunar eclipse in six centuries – if by some miracle you have clear skies. It coincides with what the Farmer’s Almanac calls the “Beaver Moon.”

“Philosophy provides the conceptual bases of principles and values on which world peace depends: democracy, human rights, justice, and equality. Philosophy helps consolidate these authentic foundations of peaceful coexistence.”United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization



Louis Riel Day

Considering how much useless trivia like THAT I dig up each morning, I’m ashamed to admit that NONE of my calendar sources mentioned that Tuesday was Louis Riel Day – which is actually a public holiday in Manitoba. (Admittedly, I was pretty focused on Transgender Awareness week…)


CdnPSE Recognizes Louis Riel

Countless CdnPSEs no doubt acknowledged Louis Riel Day on social media on Tuesday. (I spotted this on Twitter from Collège Boréal.) I probably missed more announcements than I spotted, but here’s a sampling: for the first time, Niagara College raised the Métis flag on campus and distributed Métis sash-making kits, and NC Indigenous Education prepared a handy info sheet about Louis Riel Day. Trent U’s School of Educationproduced a compilation of information from the Métis Nation of Ontario, and recommended reading lists. Centennial College brought in Vanessa Prescott for a conversation on being an urban Métis. Saskatchewan Polytechnic held several days of flag-raisings, displays and celebrations on its campuses, and even released a 24-min video of the presentation. Lethbridge College observed “Métis Sash Day” with a cultural showcase, information session and meet and greet.



Winter 2022 Plans

I’ve summed up CdnPSE announcements for the Winter 2022 term twice this Fall (Oct 26 “Winter Term Wonderland” and Nov 5 “Friday Pains & Wishes”), but more have crossed my inbox in the past 2 weeks…

Cambrian College will offer in-person and flexible programs in the Winter 2022 semester. Those programs with on-campus labs will continue to expand in-person learning in theory-based courses, but students may still have opportunities to take hybrid or asynchronous courses. Other programs in flexible delivery format will allow students to join their classes in-person or in real-time via web-conferencing technologies. All employees are expected to return to campus, as will most student services.  Cambrian

Carleton U has confirmed its intention to deliver “more in-person courses” in the Winter 2022 term, “but online options remain available.” Phase 4 of gradual return of staff, on a unit-by-unit basis, will begin in February. (Masks, distancing, vaccination and screening requirements are expected to remain in place throughout the term.) Carleton anticipates it will be able to resume on-campus conferences as of May 2022, and potentially may hold convocation in-person in June.  Carleton News

Conestoga College announced last night that “most Winter 2022 programs will include on-campus, in-person learning,” and that proof of full vaccination will be required on campus as of Jan 3.  Conestoga

Loyalist College “will see students, staff and faculty returning to campus in January at levels we have not seen since before the pandemic began.” With rare exceptions, “all Winter 2022 programs will require on-campus attendance and include in-person instruction.”  Loyalist

“I hope that we will all use the months ahead to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, how we identified new and creative ways to continue on our commitment to providing an outstanding learning experience for our students, and what lessons and best practices emerged that may also be relevant in a post-pandemic era.”Sean Monteith, Senior VP Academic, Loyalist College


uManitoba (still besieged by striking faculty and a student “lockout”) announced yesterday that it is returning to in-person activities on campus for the Winter 2022 term, “and many staff who have been working remotely will be required to return to campus.” Some support staff (but not faculty) can apply to work remotely, if their roles allow it.  UM Today

McMaster U reviewed its guiding framework for Winter 2022 planning on Nov 10, and the ongoing return to campus it calls “Back to Mac.” The principles include a focus on health, quality learning, and the student experience, and “we will support return to work plans that deliver our programs, support our students, learning and research, and enhance McMaster’s sense of community.” Activities and people will return to campus, but some flexible arrangements will continue. Decisions will be made through pre-existing governance processes, and will be “fiscally prudent.”  McMaster

“We need to do more than return to campus. We need to return to strengthening the sense of community that drives intellectual curiosity, inspires students, encourages creativity and makes McMaster an exciting and successful university.”David Farrar, President, McMaster U


Memorial U is planning a return to “predominantly in-person” classes for the Winter 2022 semester, and a return to pre-pandemic class sizes. (Currently just 30% of classes are being held in person, and they are limited to 100 people.) MUN reports that 97% of staff and 92% of students are fully vaxxed.  CBC

uWinnipeg announced Nov 8 that 70% of Winter Term classes will be delivered in person, as it continues its gradual campus reopening. (Masks and vaccination will remain mandatory.)  uWinnipeg

Yukon U announced Monday that full vaccination will be required on its 13 campuses, effective next semester. (The deadline is actually Feb 18.) The vax mandate ensures that “in-person classes and activities can continue as Yukon communities adjust to living with COVID19.” This year, 60% of credit classes are in-person or contain in-person components.  YukonU



Student Frustration

As the saying goes, “you can’t please everyone…” and certainly that seems to be true when it comes to the fraught issue of returning to campus. (I’ll return to issues of remote and hybrid work policies in another issue.) The vast majority of students are eager for a more complete return to campus, but some are equally reluctant…


Carleton U students are apparently frustrated and disappointed that the number of in-person courses for the Winter 2022 semester is being quietly scaled back, with just weeks to go. (The university says it is accommodating PHO recommendations for physical distancing, and that about 50% of all courses will be offered in-person. Ontario’s MCU has said that distancing is no longer required.) Some students are “outraged” that they were “given false hope,” and told they had to move to Ottawa for the academic year. Parents are saying “enough” and blaming faculty for ignoring student mental health. International students feel they are paying too much for pre-recorded lectures. An online petition demanding “transparency in their recent course delivery decision” has at least 950 signatures.  Ottawa Citizen  |  CTV

“I get that it’s not feasible for students to just hop on a plane and move back half-way through the year. They should’ve just declared the whole year online.”Mairah Vance, 3rd year Civil Engineering student, Carleton U


RRC Polytech told Business Admin students they will be switching from remote learning to in-person learning as of Jan 4 – and several are complaining publicly about it. Although they claim they were told to expect a blended approach, their schedules apparently do not permit online learning. Students who are living several hours away from Winnipeg suddenly have to weigh an unsustainable commute, or finding a short-term rental near campus. “We’ve been online since September 2020… we’ve all adjusted… now we are in a good routine.”  CTV


Wilfrid Laurier U students are reportedly confused and frustrated that their courses have been mainly online this Fall, while Western and Queen’s students are mainly in classrooms. (Western announced its vaccine mandate early, to pave the way for a return to campus in September. Queen’s is offering more than 90% of its classes in person.) The provincial government waited until mid-July to encourage a return to campus, and in that leadership vacuum Ontario institutions had to reach their own decisions – based on variable advice from their local PHOs, and negotiated with faculty and Senates who prefer plenty of advance notice. OCUFA says most profs “want to get back in person, but they want to make sure it is safe to do that.”  Toronto Star




Here’s a fun, quick commercial I haven’t shared before…


Choose NC!

Niagara College released a peppy :30-sec commercial last month that is essentially an “apply now” spot, but manages to inject so much energy and diversity in its visuals that it’s worth checking out. Plenty of outdoor shots (since we’re still in a pandemic) but lots of quick cuts between hands-on experiences, beautiful vineyards, and enthusiastic students. “Your time is now. You’re ready for your next big step… Choose Niagara College today.”  YouTube




As always, thanks for reading!

I’ll be spending the rest of my week with curriculum developers from Ontario colleges at their CDAG 2021 (virtual) conference. Today I get to listen a lot, and tomorrow I’ll be presenting a couple of sessions. Both days, I’ll be kept pretty busy, so I’ll be back in your inbox on Monday.

Have a great weekend!  Stay safe everybody,


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