Top Ten

March 1, 2018

Federal budget invests nearly $1B in new funding into Canadian higher ed

The federal government’s 2018 budget has committed nearly $1B in new funding to investigator-led research, as well as another $763M for research infrastructure. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will both receive $354M over the next five years, and $215M will go towards the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. $140M will be directed to the College and Community Innovation program to support applied research at Canada’s colleges and polytechnics. The budget further commits $5.5M over five years to the development of national best practices addressing sexual violence and create safe campuses across the country. Universities Canada | CICan | Polytechnics Canada | CASA

Academia yet to fulfill TRC recommendations on education: Solomon

While academia has made productive steps toward fulfilling the TRC’s calls to action on education, challenges persist, says Marc Solomon, Director of Student Life at Seneca College and member of the Henvey Inlet First Nation. Solomon expresses particular concern about the “brain drain” that Indigenous communities are experiencing due to the influx of Indigenous experts into Canadian universities. “I actually believe that communities are suffering. I say that because we’re almost sucking everything out of them,” says Solomon. “When an institution wants something, they can grab it and that's because they have big payrolls and big research grants.” While emphasizing these challenges, Solomon also credits universities for capital and resource expenditures that have fostered Indigenous visibility on campus. CBC

Conestoga looks to bolster applied research with new contributions to hub

A new applied research hub at Conestoga College will receive up to $2.6M in funding from the Government of Ontario and the private sector for select applied research projects. The Waterloo Region Record reports that the hub is expected to lead a boom in applied research at the school, with 25 Conestoga students participating in 13 research projects beginning in June. The City of Cambridge is also contributing $1M to the initiative, saying that it believes the hub will play a vital role in promoting business activity and job growth in the area. Waterloo Region Record | Cambridge Times

USask graduate students seek seat on board of governors

Graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan are asking for a seat on the school’s Board of Governors. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that having such a seat would give the Graduate Students’ Association a greater voice in the school's financial decisions. While the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union has a member on the board, this organization only represents undergraduate, certificate, and extension students. The GSA's request has reportedly received the support of USask's University Council, which oversees academic affairs at the school. Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Industry partners, Mohawk begin work on applied research projects

The Government of Ontario's Colleges Applied Research & Development Fund will support 21 applied research projects undertaken by Mohawk College and industry partners, the Hamilton Spectator reports. Each industry partner will receive $10K from the province, which they will match to cover student salaries, equipment, and material costs. Mohawk has reportedly started work with partners in Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, and Etobicoke on projects such as a reconfigured control system for smart wheelchairs. Hamilton Spectator

Ryerson takes another step toward launching its own law school

Ryerson University has taken another step toward launching a law school. Last week, the Law Society of Ontario accepted that Ryerson’s proposed common law degree program fulfils the national requirement for law school programs, and that individuals who hold the Ryerson common law degree should be permitted to apply for admission to the Law Society of Ontario. “We can all take pride in this achievement knowing full well there is much more hard work ahead of us,” says Anver Saloojee, assistant vice-president, international at Ryerson and dean of record for the proposed program. Ryerson

UoT teaching assistants, instructors vote to ratify agreement

Teaching assistants, course instructors, and exam invigilators have narrowly avoided a strike after six months of negotiations with the University of Toronto, reports Global Newswire. Graduate funding, health benefits, and improved pregnancy and parental leaves were reportedly crucial to the negotiation process. “The new contract will have tangible positive effects on members’ lives - that means more money in their pockets, removing barriers to better mental health care, addressing issues that disproportionately affect equity-seeking members,” stated CUPE 3902 Chair Pamela Arancibia. 86.1% of the union’s membership reportedly voted to ratify the agreement. Global Newsire

Brock introduces intercultural communications coordinator

Brock University has created a new intercultural communications coordinator position that is reportedly among the first of its kind in a Canadian university. In addition to enacting intercultural competency and awareness programming, the role is designed to foster values such as inclusion and cultural respect in the campus community. “It’s about supporting the person, helping them to see things differently,” said the inaugural holder of the title, Trecia McLennon. Leigh-Ellen Keating, Director of Brock International, added that “[i]ntercultural competency equips students with the tools and skills to succeed in a rapidly changing, highly diverse and competitive education structure and global economy. It increases students’ ability to work together effectively, learn from their diversity and take advantage of the plethora of experience around them.” Brock

Spotlight shines on the “unsung heroes” at six Canadian universities

Universities rely on countless “unsung heroes” to run smoothly, writes Mark Cardwell, who highlights six higher ed professionals across the country whose crucial contributions might often go unacknowledged. The profiles include Carleton University’s Colin McFadyen, who fought back against a malware attack on campus; University of Manitoba’s Liv Valmestad, who has been personally cataloguing the sculptures and artworks on campus; McMaster University’s Simon Oakley, who personally developed a fully automated system to prepare diplomas and convocation booklets printing; and other on-campus heroes. University Affairs

NSCC receives $500K to help students in need access food

Nova Scotia Community College has received $500K for its Urgent Aid Fund in order to help students in need access food on its campuses. The donation comes from Chartwells, a member of Compass Group Canada, via Make Way – The Campaign for NSCC. “Students sometimes find themselves facing unanticipated financial challenges that may affect their ability to remain in school,” says NSCC President Don Bureaux. “They may have nowhere else to turn. Our Urgent Aid Fund is there to help them address those challenges and get back on track.” Beginning in 2018-2019, the funds will provide meal vouchers or swipe cards that can be used in Chartwells’ dining halls, and through grocery-store gift cards for use off-campus. NSCC now