Current News In BC PSE


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.
Week of January 23 – January 27, 2023

UVic, faculty association reach tentative agreement

The University of Victoria has reached a tentative agreement with members of the University of Victoria Faculty Association under the Province’s Shared Recovery Mandate. Details will be revealed after the university board and faculty association members go through the ratification process, which faculty association president Lynne Marks said should be complete in the first week of February. “We’re pleased that after 10 months of pretty intense bargaining we have a tentative agreement that we’re pleased to take to our members,” Marks said.
[PS. Congratulations from your friends and colleagues at CUFA BC]
BC | BC Gov News | UVic | Times Colonist


Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills appoints Ministerial Advisor

Josipa Stojkovic has been appointed ministerial advisor for the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. She began her appointment January 24.

BC | BC Gov


City of Prince George tried to silence UNBC critics, emails show

A Prince George Citizen opinion article written by a group of UNBC faculty, which criticized the City of Prince George for removing belongings and shelters from an encampment on Lower Patricia Boulevard, prompted a backlash from the city, emails obtained by the Citizen through a freedom of information request show. UNBC Faculty Association president, professor Jacqueline Holler, said the emails obtained by the Citizen “should concern everyone…Based on the email communications quoted in the article, it appears that UNBC changed its plans to share the op-ed because of objections from City Hall. If so, UNBC demonstrated a weak commitment to academic freedom and the open exchange of ideas,” Holler said in an emailed statement.

BC | PG Citizen


SFU launches new five-year strategic research plan

Simon Fraser University is starting the new year with the launch of its new five-year strategic research plan. With a reputation as one of Canada’s fastest growing research institutions, SFU’s 2023-2028 Strategic Research Plan (SRP) identifies key areas of strength and focus for the future. The plan embeds the core values of the university’s institutional plan into research practice using six approaches and includes five institutional research priority areas that demonstrate SFU’s commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

BC | SFU | Education News Canada


UVic: 2023 Research and Innovation town hall

Join Vice-President, Research and Innovation Lisa Kalynchuk to learn more about UVic’s recent research accomplishments and progress with Aspiration 2030, receive an update on our strategic research priorities for the coming year and gain new insights on UVic’s reputation and rankings. The presentation will take place February 2nd from 1-2pm.

BC | UVic


UBC senate summed up: Senators discuss unclassified students, hear about 2021/22 research

The UBC Vancouver Senate met for the first time in 2023 Wednesday night to vote on amended requirements for unclassified students and hear a presentation on the university’s 2021/22 research achievements. Senators approved changes to continuation requirements for unclassified students, which passed following a short discussion. Senators also heard a report from VP Research and Innovation Gail Murphy on her office’s work through the 2021/22 academic year. According to the report, $773.7 million was raised in research funding over the academic year, supporting over 10,000 research projects.

BC | Ubyssey


UVic proposes 9-acre mixed-use university district

UVic is hoping to follow in the steps of other universities in BC as it proposes to replace the Ian Stewart complex on Gordon Head Road with a mixed-use university district. The plan is UVic’s first big step towards providing a UBC-like model of housing solutions, said UVic land planner and director of campus planning and sustainability Mike Wilson. The proposal is in extremely early stages, but the focus will be on providing housing and commercial opportunities.

BC | Capital Daily


Beacon Community Services and Royal Roads University team up for thrift shop innovation

Greater Victoria’s Beacon Community Services could become one of the region’s most innovative non-profits thanks to the help of a challenge being hosted by Royal Roads University. The charity has been chosen as the school’s partner for this year’s Design Thinking Challenge. The challenge sees business students work with a local social organization to come up with innovative solutions for the challenges they face. This year, the challenge being addressed is how Beacon Community Services can bolster inclusivity and community connections with its thrift stores.

BC | Goldstream News Gazette


GradCOLA protests against the student funding crisis at SFU

The SFU Graduate Student Society (GSS) and Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) at SFU organized a noise demonstration in December in response to the funding crisis that many students across North America face. GSS and TSSU formed the GradCOLA coalition and the noise demonstration initiated the beginning of the GradCOLA campaign, which now has a list of demands for the university. Their demands include offering a minimum of $32,000 to graduate students doing research-based work, freezing tuition increases, paying graduate student research assistants the equivalent to teaching assistants, and increasing SFU’s budget for research and academic work.

BC | Peak


The Herle Burly: Beautiful #BCpoli with McDonald & Meggs

The Herle Burly podcast goes in depth with chiefs of staff to BC’s former premiers. Geoff Meggs (former CoS to Horgan) and Mike McDonald (former CoS to Clark) are labelled two of the “best political thinkers, and doers, when it comes to [BC].” This episode talks all things Eby government. What is it about and how is it performing? Will it hold the Horgan coalition or reshape a new one? What are the issues that might give it trouble and what will its relations with Trudeau be like? Then … B.C. United. What’s the impact from the name change … now and down the road? Is their leader, Kevin Falcon, catching on? What are his strengths and weaknesses? Conversation covers climate change, housing, reconciliation, and more.

BC | YouTube


KPU among the first to issue Indigenous language parchments

New Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) graduates will now receive graduation parchments featuring the Indigenous language spoken by the Kwantlen First Nation. KPU is among the first universities in Canada to offer students an Indigenous language parchment, in addition to the English versions graduates already receive. The new parchments will feature a blend of English and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (pronounced HUN-kuh-MEE-num).



NVIT introduces new Board Chair: Melissa Louie

The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology announced on January 13, that there is a new Chair for the Board of Governors. According to a press release by NVIT, board member Melissa Louie was acclaimed as new board chair, effective since November 22, 2022. Louie is a Coast Salish and Syilx lawyer and a citizen of the Tla’amin nation, located north of Powell River, BC, with family ties to the Penticton Indian Band.

BC | Merritt Herald


Okanagan College warns students, staff of possible private information leak

Okanagan College (OC) is offering credit monitoring to students and staff, after it was determined that certain private information may have been obtained during a cyberattack at the institution. Students currently enrolled at OC will soon receive instructions and/or can access information on the school’s website, including how to access a free credit monitoring service that’s being provided by the college.

BC | Okanagan College | Global News


Skills Roadmap helps people in the mining sector

“There are a lot of opportunities for British Columbians to find rewarding careers in mining,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “The Skills Roadmap is a step towards bringing more labour certainty to the industry as a whole and helping people receive the training they need to bridge the skills gap for good jobs today, tomorrow and beyond.” The Skills Roadmap Report was recently completed by the B.C. Centre of Training Excellence in Mining. It fulfils a recommendation from the B.C. Mining Jobs Task Force to develop a cohesive roadmap for enhanced mining-sector training to meet the sector’s future skills and labour needs through a collaborative, inclusive, innovative and geographically focused approach.

BC | BC Gov News


Access to high-speed internet on the way for six more Indigenous communities

Construction has begun on a fibre-to-the-home project that will bring access to high-speed internet to more than 500 households in six Indigenous communities: Sqwá (Skwah) First Nation’s Skwah 4 and Skwali 3; Cook’s Ferry Indian Band’s Entlqwekkinh19 and Kloklowuck 7; Squamish Nation’s Cheakamus 11; and Upper Nicola Band’s Nicola Lake 1. The plan to connect every household in B.C. to high-speed internet services by 2027 will level the playing field for British Columbians and ensure every community has better access to jobs, education, training and health care.

BC | BC Gov News


Number and salaries of full-time teaching staff at Canadian universities, 2021/2022

The median age for full-time academics in Canadian universities has increased by 13 years over the previous five decades, from 38 years in 1971/1972 to 51 years in 2021/2022. At the same time, women’s representation in academia has more than tripled. In 1971/1972, over 1 in 10 academics (12.7%) were women. By 2021/2022, this proportion had increased to over 4 in 10 (42.1%). In 2021/2022, more men are in the cohort of professors nearing retirement age. As this group retires, the share of women may increase further, as they are more represented in the younger cohorts of academics. Statistics Canada is releasing new data on academic teaching staff from the Full-Time University and College Academic Staff System for the 2021/2022 academic year. This includes information for 111 public degree-granting institutions with 47,799 full-time academic teaching staff in 2021/2022.

National | Report


Surging Demand for Hybrid Learning in Canadian PSE

C.D. Howe Institution published a report on the demand for hybrid learning in Canadian PSE. Since hybrid learning emerged during the pandemic, questions remain about the long-term demand for online learning in Canada. It will have lasting impact and is here to stay, say some, while others have emphasized the many factors that will repel students from online classes and send them back onto campus. The longer-term impact of online/hybrid learning requires study. However, none of this is possible in Canada until we start doing a better job of tracking student participation in various course delivery methods, and linking that information to outcomes. Perhaps most importantly, these data need to be made accessible to analysts capable of distilling insights that can guide digital learning policy discourse and strategy in a timely fashion.

National | Report


Indigenous Identity

Higher Education Strategy Associate’s Alex Usher discusses current issues in addressing Indigenous identity within universities. The issue of identity – specifically, the identity of scholars claiming to be Indigenous – is one of increasing importance in Canadian universities. Acknowledging the well-received report from Jean Teillet at the University of Saskatchewan, Usher identifies significant unresolved issues in how institutions identify “authentic” Indigenous communities and how institutional hiring practices support local Indigenous communities.

National | Higher Education Strategy Associates


Inside the mind of ChatGPT: How artificial intelligence is changing the way we learn

Intentional or not, this nascent AI software is altering decades-old educational structures and changing the way we think about learning. “This will fundamentally change education,” said Alan Mackworth, the Canada Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence at the University of British Columbia. “I don’t see any other option.” If software like Turnitin can be duped by the bot, forget about trying to discern if ChatGPT was used with the naked eye. “Do I think I could be fooled? I absolutely do,” TMU’s Angela Misri said. “Everyone’s going to get fooled, but quite frankly the students are losing out if they are relying on this to get through a degree program.”

National | Global News | University Business


Dr. Brian Menounos 

UBC & UVic Researchers find traffic pollution impairs brain function

A new study by researchers Dr. Chris Carlsten and Dr. Jodie Gawryluk at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, has shown that common levels of traffic pollution can impair human brain function in only a matter of hours.