Current News In BC PSE

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Weekly News Roundup


Join CUFA BC each week for a roundup of news in BC’s post-secondary sector

Disclaimer: This circulation is an aggregation of current news. The information provided is from original news sources and doesn’t reflect the views of CUFA BC or its member associations.

NEWSLETTER SUMMER HIATUS: Thanks for your support over the past year. We’ll be taking a break from the newsletter during the summer months to accommodate staff workload and vacation. We’ll return to your weekly inbox in early September.
Week of June 17-21, 2024

Joanne Curry steps into new role as special advisor to SFU President on government relations

SFU President Joy Johnson announced that after 30 years in roles across the organization, including eight years as Vice-President, Joanne Curry, Vice-President, External Relations, has announced her intention to step down from her current role. Joanne’s impact in this role and at SFU has been extraordinary. President Johnson has asked Joanne to remain with the university in the role of Special Advisor to the President on Government Relations to support several projects, including the gondola and School of Medicine, at this critical time. 



UBC expands first-year, small-class experience to all BSc students

A renewed and expanded first-year seminar will give all incoming UBC Science students a crucial small class experience—one that will challenge them to think critically about what it means to be part of the scientific community. Launched in 2010, the SCIE 113 First-Year Seminar in Science has always offered a small class experience with a heavy emphasis on communication skills, scientific literacy, and in-class interaction.



Eleven UNBC natural research projects secure national funding

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is investing $2 million into 11 UNBC research projects over five years. According to the university, these research projects cover a wide range, including environmental science, engineering, and psychology. “UNBC researchers draw upon the unique strengths of northern British Columbia, including the natural landscapes and the University’s deep community ties to lead studies that address both local and global challenges,” says UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne.



Federal funding boosts UBC research projects

A total of 157 new programs and projects led by UBC researchers were awarded more than $36.2 million through the 2024 NSERC Discovery Research Program competition. Over $480 million of this funding provides new awards to researchers through the 2024 Discovery Research Program. An additional $72.4 million was awarded in one-time, one-year extensions with funds to existing Discovery Research grants held by more than 1,800 researchers across Canada impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BC | UBC Medicine | UBC Research


SFU Science researchers receive $9.2 million in new NSERC funding

Simon Fraser University Faculty of Science researchers have received $9.2 million in newly awarded funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery and Research Tools and Instruments grants programs. The funding, announced on June 14, 2024, provides funding for new scientific instruments and long-term operating funds to support research programs led by Faculty of Science faculty in a wide variety of natural sciences and engineering disciplines, including chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics and statistics.



Okanagan College receives $1.75 million in federal grant funding

The BC Beverage and Technology Access Centre at Okanagan College received a big financial shot in the arm from the federal government on Friday. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has awarded a $1.75 million grant renewal of Technology Access Centre funding to the BC BTAC at Okanagan College, as part of its College and Community Innovation program. The Government of B.C. has also renewed its funding commitment to the BC BTAC providing $100,000 annually for five years to support student involvement in the technology access centre.

BC | Castanet


Newly renovated CNC Nursing Lab now open on Quesnel Campus

After four months of renovations, the College of New Caledonia (CNC) opened its expanded Nursing Lab on the Quesnel Campus on Monday, June 17. Last year, CNC received $989,865 in capital support from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills to convert an existing classroom and renovate the current Nursing Lab.

BC | PG Citizen | CKPGToday


SFU administration to discuss divestment from Israel

On May 30, SFU president Joy Johnson and the Board of Governors agreed to discuss divestment from arms companies that profit from the genocide in occupied Palestine. This announcement comes after months of community pressure and over 1,000 students, faculty, and alumni signing the divestment petition of SFU Faculty for Palestine, who are “a network of faculty who support the cause of Palestinian liberation.” In a message to the community about “responsible investments at SFU,” Johnson and Angie Lamarsh, Board Chair, write that “SFU needs to make investment decisions that are aligned with the academic mission, the University Act, and our values. To do this, the existing Responsible Investment Policy must be reviewed and strengthened.”

BC | Peak


TRU publishes investment details online amid public interest

Thompson Rivers University has published its investment details online and pledged to post its investments going forward to demonstrate a commitment to socially responsible investing. While TRU states that the university already follows socially responsible investment practices including the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), it added that this move is intended to respond to the growing public interest in Canadian universities’ financial practices. TRU VP of Finance and Admin Matt Milovick explained that the move is essential to demonstrating transparency, adding that “we expect our investments to support the making of a better world.”



BCcampus Environmental Scan: Professional Development Related to Digital Learning

BCcampus is conducting an environmental scan of professional development opportunities relevant to the B.C. post-secondary Digital Learning Strategy. Our goal is to collaborate across the province to provide timely, sustainable training for educators developing their digital learning skills. We invite you to submit details of planned or recently offered workshops, courses, or sessions, in any format or delivery mode, focused on theories or practices related to digital teaching and learning. Your contributions will shape the future of digital learning in B.C., improving our understanding of the current professional development landscape and identifying areas for enhancement. The survey will close July 31, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

BC | BCcampus(1) | BCcampus(2)


TRU board votes to drop NWCCU accreditation in favour of in-house quality assessments

Thompson Rivers University’s board of governors has voted to begin withdrawing its affiliate status with the U.S.-based Northwest Council of Colleges and Universities in favour of in-house quality assurance processes. The university’s senate passed a motion in March approving TRU’s withdrawal and recommended the board do the same. TRU’s board gave unanimous approval to withdraw at its meeting last week. TRU President Brett Fairbairn said its accreditation with the commission has aided the university in developing quality improvement approaches, but said things have changed.

BC | Castanet


New regulations streamline pathway for international credentials

Internationally educated professionals will soon have a more streamlined, efficient and transparent process to get their credentials recognized in B.C. The International Credentials Recognition Act will come into effect on July 1, 2024, after significant consultation with 18 regulatory bodies, led by the parliamentary secretary for international credentials. The act will require regulatory bodies to reduce red tape and remove barriers in 29 professions and make it easier, more transparent and quicker for those qualified professionals to pursue and achieve credential recognition, no matter where they were trained.

BC | BC Gov News | WL Tribune


Post-secondary minister demands answers in letter to UVic following student’s toxic-drug death

The B.C. minister in charge of universities and colleges has written a letter to the University of Victoria board chair, asking how the institution will handle concerns highlighted by the preventable overdose death of an 18-year-old student, Sidney McIntyre-Starko. Post-Secondary Minister Lisa Beare penned the letter June 13 to board chair Paul Ramsey. Beare felt compelled to reach out to Ramsey after she met with Sidney’s parents. Days after Sidney’s story was published, Beare held a meeting with the heads of B.C.’s 25 universities and colleges, and created an overdose-prevention committee that will develop new post-secondary guidelines.

BC | Times Colonist | Vancouver Sun


JIBC Appoints Len Goerke President & CEO

After an extensive search process, the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s (JIBC) Board of Governors is pleased to announce that Len Goerke has been appointed JIBC’s 6th President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective July 15, 2024. Goerke has more than 10 years post-secondary governance experience, having served both on the Board of Governors for the University of the Fraser Valley and JIBC.



VCC hosts free dental clinic for children, celebrates 50 years of Deaf and Hard of Hearing program

Vancouver Community College students recently held a special clinic to provide children from the community with free dental services. Students in the 10-month Certified Dental Assisting program offered free dental assessments, oral hygiene instructions, polishing, and fluoride treatment to nearly 200 children. “I feel like this event has empowered kids and their families to take control of their oral health, preventing minor problems from becoming big problems,” said VCC student Josephine Jolie. VCC’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing program also recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. To mark the year, the program held a special event that brought together faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

BC | VCC(1) | VCC(2)


Public hearing for VPD sergeant accused of sexual misconduct by officers and students

A sexual misconduct investigation into a veteran Vancouver police officer who also teaches criminology was spurred by anonymous comments on a social media post, the Office of the Police Complaint Commission in B.C. says. Sgt. Keiron McConnell, a Vancouver police officer for 33 years, is accused of misconduct toward seven women, including fellow officers and former students at Royal Roads and Kwantlen Polytechnic universities while serving in the Vancouver Police Department.

BC | Globe and Mail


By the Numbers: Indigenous Post-Secondary Education in Canada

Indigenous postsecondary education in Canada is a dynamic landscape marked by resilience, progress, and ongoing challenges. The latest data from Statistics Canada (StatsCan), as well as the 2021 census data, sheds light on this landscape, emphasizing the pivotal role of colleges and institutes and the need for ongoing efforts to ensure equitable access for these students. While 16% of Indigenous peoples hold a university degree (compared to 36% of the overall population), 23% have obtained a college credential, and 11% have completed apprenticeships—figures that surpass those of the general population (Statistics Canada, 2021). Nevertheless, while the share of Indigenous adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher has increased since 2016, the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations has widened.

National | CIC


Watch the Interviews Winners of the 2024 Distinguished Academics Awards 

Last month, CUFA BC delegates and guests celebrated the 2024 Distinguished Academics Award recipients in Victoria, BC. We had a wonderful turnout of 115 attendees, and we were joined by the Hon. Lisa Bear, Minister of Post-Secondary Labour and Future Skills, and the Hon. Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. We met with the award winners in advance of the gala to talk about their research and their awards, which are now available on our website.

Dr. Amy Parent | Noxs Ts’aawit
2024 Distinguished Academic of the Year Award

Learn more about Dr. Amy Parent | Noxs Ts’aawit, winner of the 2024 Distinguished Academic of the Year Award.

Dr. Francis Juanes
2024 Distinguished Academic Career Achievement Award

Learn more about Dr. Francis Juanes, winner of the 2024 Distinguished Academic Career Achievement Award.


The Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA BC) supports high-quality post-secondary education and research in BC. We represent over 5,500 professors, lecturers, instructors, librarians, and other academic staff through the faculty associations at British Columbia’s research and doctoral universities (the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Northern British Columbia, Royal Roads University, and the University of Victoria). The Confederation has been in existence for fifty years and works closely with member faculty associations at each institution. All of our member faculty associations are unionized under the Labour Code of British Columbia.

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