Top Ten

June 14, 2017

Canada set to spur innovation, research with Global Skills Strategy

Canada’s new Global Skills Strategy will be vital in supporting universities’ efforts to attract and retain top researchers and innovators from around the world, according to a recent Universities Canada release. The new strategy includes a work-permit exemption for foreign faculty and researchers coming to Canadian campuses for academic stays up to a maximum of 120 days. The strategy will also provide an immigration service channel to Canadian universities’ top recruits who come to Canada as holders of federally-funded research chairs. “These measures will make Canadian universities even more attractive to the brightest minds in the world, building universities’ capacity to advance knowledge, foster innovation and build prosperity,” says Universities Canada President Paul Davidson. Universities Canada | Canada

Canada, QC invest $9.6M in postsecondary infrastructure in UQTR, Cégep de Trois-Rivières

The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec are investing $9.6M in projects at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and Cégep de Trois-Rivières. UQTR will allocate part of the funding to the Quebec interuniversity personalized medicine platform, which brings together researchers specializing in molecular biomarkers that support the detection and prevention of cancer and other diseases. Cégep de Trois-Rivières will use the funding to improve the energy efficiency of Innofibre’s pilot-scale plants and to replace windows in the science pavilion. “Our commitment is clear: do everything possible to help our students and professors accomplish great things,” says QC Minister of Higher Education Hélène David. Canada

Equity, excellence are mutually conducive: Ryerson dean

“Excellence and equity are mutually conducive and the sooner we all understand this, the more successful and competitive Canada will be on the world stage,” writes Imogen Coe, Dean of the Faculty of Science at Ryerson University. Responding to a recent editorial by the Globe and Mail’s Margaret Wente, Coe contests the notion that academia operates within a “fair and equal” system, arguing that “surely you know that, like the rest of society, this is a falsehood.” Rather than continuing to insist that academia is a true meritocracy, Coe argues that “we need the privileged to stop being blind to the barriers that exist and we need everyone to have the courage to say the establishment needs to change if Canada is to maintain standard of living and quality of life, for everyone, over the next 150 years.” Medium

UAlberta student's #WorldMosaic campaign receives support from mayors around the world

An anti-Islamophobia campaign created by a University of Alberta student in April 2016 has since spread across Canada and the globe with the support of influential mayors. UAlberta student Jeremiah Ellis first pitched his #WorldMosaic campaign to Edmonton Mayor Don Ivison on the street in April of last year. Two days later, Ivison made a post on social media holding a #WorldMosaic sign and stating “Islamophobia has no place in Edmonton.” Since then, mayors from across Canada have made similar posts, as well as mayors in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. “Different leaders throughout the world and throughout the country have been supporting the testaments and the fact this idea that diversity is our strength isn’t just a Canadian value,” said Ellis. Edmonton Journal

The unconvincing case for the value of the humanities

“Many humanists have difficulty in presenting their case because they are used to speaking one way among themselves and another way to outsiders,” write Gary Morson and Morton Schapiro for Inside Higher Ed. The authors argue that when humanists speak to the public, they still make claims about the value of great books written by great writers, whereas among one another, they find these ideas to be outdated and naïve. The only remedy to this situation, the authors argue, is for humanists to approach “great literature as a source of wisdom that cannot be obtained, or obtained so well, elsewhere.” The authors conclude that few students will think it worth the effort to read difficult books if those books do not contain some knowledge or perspective that they could not gain otherwise, adding, “if you really want to save the humanities, make sure it is a version worth saving.” Inside Higher Ed

CICan President praises new federal FIA Policy

CICan President Denise Amyot has responded to the launch of Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy, praising the initiative as one that aligns with CICan’s own priorities. “Having always worked to make post-secondary education accessible to all, both at home and abroad, we were thrilled to see the minister announce a new Feminist International Assistance Policy that perfectly aligns with our own priorities,” stated Amyot, who pointed to Canadian institutions’ long history of working to support underrepresented groups, such as women. “We were especially pleased to see renewed commitments in support of technical and vocational training for women, improving their education outcomes and increasing their participation in economic decision-making.” CICan

New pathway into BCIT offers more students access to mining programs

The British Columbia Institute of Technology has collaborated with three BC colleges to deliver a program that provides students across British Columbia with a local and alternative pathway into Mineral Exploration and Mining Technology or Mining and Mineral Resource Engineering Programs at BCIT. Students of the Collaborative Mining Engineering and Technology Diploma/Degree Program will begin their academic studies toward a technology diploma or engineering degree at their home institution before transferring to the full program at BCIT. The three collaborating colleges are the College of New Caledonia, Northwest Community College, and Okanagan College. Okanagan

WLU, student group work with NGOs to support students overcoming war

A student-led group at Wilfrid Laurier University has met with growing success since the school’s administration announced in April that it would provide more support for students from war-torn countries to come study at the university. International Students Overcoming War provides full scholarships to international students whose lives have been disrupted by violence in their homeland. Money for the scholarships comes from three sources: a student levy, WLU, and partnering NGOs. “[ISOW] are always very aware of the cultural differences and sensitivities,” says May Mahrat, an ISOW scholar currently studying at WLU. “They take care of these issues and they are like friends for us. I have developed a sense of belonging here and I look forward to contributing back to the club and the Canadian community.” University Affairs

Fanshawe agri-business program moves to Western Fair District, downtown centre reaches budget

Fanshawe College’s agri-business program will now be housed at the Western Fair District in London Ontario, reports the London Free PRess. Agri-business students will reportedly spend up to 30 weeks at the District among producers in the industry, allowing them to be immersed in a range of agricultural shows and events. Fanshawe has also reportedly reached its formal budget target for its downtown centre. “This (new building) is central to Fanshawe’s future and central to a vibrant and alive downtown core in London,” said Fanshawe president Peter Devlin. “We’re tremendously proud to be a part of it.” London Free Press (Agribusiness) | London Free Press (Downtown site)

Niagara receives accreditation for Civil Engineering Technician Program

Niagara College’s Civil Engineering Technician Program has been accredited by Technology Accreditation Canada for a five-year period. The auditing team noted Niagara’s breadth of subject matter as a key program strength, as well as the academic qualifications and industry experience of the college’s faculty. “Accrediting its Civil Engineering Technician program demonstrates Niagara’s strong leadership and commitment to its students” stated TAC Executive Director Richard Stamper. “It seems very appropriate to make this announcement on World Accreditation Day with this year’s theme, delivering confidence in construction and the built environment.” Niagara