Top Ten

November 10, 2017

Basic research alone cannot drive innovation: Robinson

“Innovation is not solely driven by science or basic research,” writes Polytechnics Canada CEO Nobina Robinson. “Yet, the federal government regularly conflates and confuses these concepts in its efforts to push Canada toward an ‘innovation economy.’” Robinson contends that while basic research is important for Canada, it is insufficient as the only means to spur innovation and commercialization. The author argues that Canada must commit more funds to polytechnics and to the PSE-private sector partnerships that these institutions are experts at facilitating. “Innovation is iterative,” concludes Robinson. “It is not born in a lab of white-coated PhDs … Innovation is a team sport; one that can be undertaken from the shop floor by an electrician, right up to the C-Suite offices and by marketing strategists.” Globe and Mail

High Arctic lab receives last-minute funding to stay open

A high arctic research lab in Nunavut has avoided closure once again with a last-minute funding injection, reports CBC. This Wednesday, the federal government announced $1.6M in funding to keep the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) open until fall 2019. Located in Eureka, Nunavut, the lab tracks atmospheric data only 1,110 kilometres from the North Pole. “Driven by our world class researchers, Canada is a leader in atmospheric and climate science in the Arctic,” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said in a news release. “By investing in the PEARL research network, we'll ensure that the research done in Canada's High Arctic continues to deepen our knowledge of the challenges before us.” CBC | NationTalk

Branch campuses enable business schools to reach students in “financial capital”

The development and establishment of branch campuses has allowed many business schools in Canada to capitalize on the variety of students available in Toronto, the “financial capital of Canada.” The Globe and Mail discusses the experiences and successes of Canadian postsecondary schools that have established branch campuses for their business schools in the city. The article features institutions such as Queen’s University, Western University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Concordia University, and Cape Breton University. “We are going to where the students are, rather than have students come to where we are,” says Queen’s Smith School of Business dean David Saunders. “We have a tremendous set of programs and the demand is huge. We have thousands of applicants for them.” Globe and Mail

Reconciliation efforts in Canadian PSE explored in THE

Institutions in Canada are working to increase participation by Indigenous peoples and awareness of their scholarly contributions, writes Ellie Bothwell for Times Higher Education, but the effectiveness of these efforts remains to be seen. Bothwell highlights the efforts of Nunavut Artic College to bring PSE to residents of Canada’s north before delving into a broader examination of how institutions across the country are working to address the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Bothwell concludes with a comparison to how Australia has worked to improve the participation and recognition of Indigenous peoples within its postsecondary system. Times Higher Education

MUN students find anti-racism posters ripped down less than one week into campaign 

Less than a week after it began circulating anti-racism posters, the student union at Memorial University has found many of them torn down. The campaign began on Wednesday after two racist posters were found on the university’s campus in the past week. One urged people to say no to immigration, reading “Stop the invasion,” in capital letters. The other stated “It's okay to be white,” and was stapled over an anti-racism poster. “It's just really sad,” said MUN student Roxanne Dias, who put up many of the anti-racism posters. “It's just promoting a message of peace. Why would you be against that?” CBC | NTV

Holland CIC reopens following $7.5M renovations

Holland College’s Culinary Institute of Canada has completed its $7.5M renovation and expansion and announced its reopening. The institute now features a new dining room, as well as renovations to the cafeteria and marché space. The renovations and additions have resulted in a learning space that is intended to replicate a working environment instead of a typical lab environment. “We just felt we needed our students to be front and centre. Long gone are those times where the chefs and the cooks were in the back room cooking and the wait staff and servers and the clients were on the other side of the wall,” said Holland CIC Program Manager Austin Clement. “Now, there really is no wall. And, that’s a standard now in the industry.” Charlottetown Guardian

Dal introduces Q‑Life resilience program for students

Dalhousie University has developed and introduced a new program called Q-life that aims to teach students about resilience. The program is the product of a three-year study conducted at the institution, and sees students take an assessment on their own stress and coping mechanisms, view a series of teaching videos, and engage with an online journal and question-based workbook to help them apply their learning to their own lives. “Now more than ever we need to offer innovative approaches to maintaining good health, which includes mental health,” says Verity Turpin, assistant vice-provost, Student Affairs. Q-Life is delivered entirely online, and only requires a total time commitment of 8-10 hours over 9 weeks for students. Dal

KPU, Durham, introduce new courses to meet cannabis programming needs

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has announced that it will be launching accredited courses in cannabis cultivation and consultation. KPU has reportedly delivered three courses on cannabis cultivation and sales since 2015, and will be introducing cannabis-cultivation-technician and retail-cannabis-consultant courses courses that will provide graduates with accredited certificates. The theoretical component of the courses will be delivered online, while the second part will be presented on-campus at KPU’s Langley campus. "Our ultimate goal is to offer degree programming in cannabis,” said KPU’s director of emerging business, David Purcell. “We’re working to get there. Obviously, that’s a very long process.” Durham College has also announced that it is introducing a new course to meet the growing demand for skilled medical cannabis workforce. Straight (KPU) | Durham

UQTR Interuniversity Centre for Quebec Studies receives $1.6M

The Interuniversity Center for Quebec Studies (CIEQ) at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières has received a grant renewal of $1.6M over the next six years to plan and execute large projects. The funds will help the CIEQ continue its participation in important collective projects, such as the Integrated Infrastructure of Historical Microdata of the Quebec Population (1621-1965). CIEQ researchers from nine universities will come together through the centre to study the changes in Quebec society since the first settlements. Their work falls under three main research themes: people and their living environments, institutions and social movements, and Quebec culture (diversity, exchange and transmission). UQuébec

Students in ON able to apply for financial support four months early

College and university students in Ontario will be able to start applying for financial aid four months earlier than usual this year. Premier Kathleen Wynne and postsecondary Minister Deb Matthews made the announcement Wednesday at a public high school in Mississauga. The two also spoke of the province’s “free tuition” plan, which came into effect for this school year, with more than 210,000 students receiving non-repayable grants equal to or greater than their tuition fees. “We made some changes a few years ago to make sure that a student could go on to college or university based on their ability, based on their ability to do the work—not based on how much money their families made,” said Wynne. Toronto Star | Ottawa Citizen