Top Ten

April 26, 2019

New cross-Canada health database to investigate health-care reform

A new health database will examine the different approaches to family health-care reform across the country. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced that the Government of Canada, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the University of British Columbia, and several other partners will contribute $81M over seven years to support the database and improve responses for health-care priorities at all provinces. “What we’re doing is trying to build those resources up front so when a researcher comes along and has that sort of question, it’s a much, much faster journey to get that answer,” said UBC Professor Kim McGrail, the scientific lead for the new health research database. Vancouver Sun (CP) | BC Local News

University students feel they lack basic academic skills: Study

A new study conducted by researchers from York University, Western University, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Toronto (Scarborough and Mississauga) has found that over half of students feel they lack competence in basic academic skills. The study surveyed 2,230 students on their confidence in their writing, test taking, analysis, time and group management, research, presentation, and numeracy skills. Only 44% felt that they had the skills necessary to succeed in their academic studies. “The most shocking findings were that many of the students who were surveyed and said they have low levels of academic skills also reported being given very high grades in high school,” said Western Sociology Professor James Côté. “Some of the same students apparently can make their way through university without much trouble and without acquiring basic academic skills." York

UoGuelph, City partner to protect drinking water

The University of Guelph and the City of Guelph have partnered to develop a risk management plan to protect local drinking water, which UoGuelph states is a first for a university in Ontario. “Protecting our community’s drinking water sources is important for us today and for Guelph’s future,” said Guelph’s Source Water Protection Program Manager Peter Rider. “We’re pleased to see the University has a comprehensive plan in place to do their part in protecting our local drinking water sources, and we’ve enjoyed supporting them through this process.” UoGuelph used the city’s risk management planning framework and incorporated university policies, procedures, and response programs to help implement the initiative. UoGuelph

Canada provides safe haven for academics from strife-torn countries

As a partner of the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, Canada is hosting nearly 30 professors from strife-torn countries in a bid to help them continue their research and teaching, reports the Globe and Mail. The Globe highlights two professors from Yemen, Abdullah Gharamah and Mustafa Bahran, who have procured fellowships through the program. Gharamah, posted as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta, is researching schistosomiasis, a deadly parasite that affects hundreds of millions of people. Bahran has secured a visiting professorship at Carleton University, where he also sits on the Scholars at Risk committee. Globe and Mail

U of T joins 8 other universities to build new generation of digital credentials

Nine universities from around the world, including the University of Toronto, have embarked on an initiative to “build the next generation of digital credentials.” Campus Technology reports that the partners are aiming to establish standards for issuing, storing, displaying, and verifying academic credentials that are based on new advances in public key infrastructures, public ledgers, and blockchains. "Digital credentials are like tokens of social and human capital and hold tremendous value for the individual," said Philipp Schmidt of MIT’s Media Lab. "The crucial opportunity we have today is to bring together institutions that share a commitment to the benefit of learners, and who can act as stewards of this infrastructure" Campus Technology

Royal Roads, NVIT sign MOU to advance sustainability, education for local communities

Royal Roads University and the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate collaborations in research, academic programs and student and faculty exchanges. “Royal Roads is delighted to partner with NVIT,” stated Royal Roads President Philip Steenkamp. “As the university continues to work and learn in a spirit of reconciliation each and every day, we appreciate the guidance that NVIT can provide as BC’s Indigenous public post-secondary institution.” The two institutions will establish more specific plans for the MOU in the coming months. Royal Roads

MUNSU expresses concerns about budget, proposed tuition increases

Memorial University’s student union has expressed concern about a budget report suggesting that the university increase tuition fees by as much as 57% to account for ongoing budget shortfalls, reports CBC. MUNSU Director of External Affairs Liam O’Neill said that even if provincial funding stayed the same, the university faces a backlog of infrastructure problems that cannot be addressed without more money. In an email to CBC, MUN stated that “there is no proposal to raise tuition.” CBC adds that MUN implemented a 30% tuition increase for international students following a budget shortfall last year, sparking student protests.

UWindsor sexual assault disclosures skyrocket with increased awareness of resources

The number of people who have disclosed a sexual assault at the University of Windsor has risen over 300% from the 2016-2017 school year. UWindsor’s Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office Coordinator Dusty Johnson explained that the jump is likely a positive thing, as it indicates that the community “is becoming aware of the resources that are available to them.” CBC adds that UWindsor has hired a new staff member to oversee public education on the issue. “What we're doing is shifting our resources to the front end to educate, to make people aware, to de-stigmatize, to allow people to feel comfortable in coming forward to talk about these issues,” explained UWindsor Interim President Douglas Kneale. CBC

McLean: Canada needs more purpose-built student housing

Canada is facing a shortage of off-campus, purpose-built rental student housing, writes Steve McLean, and the demand created by increased enrollment is not met by new building initiatives. The article discusses the unique needs, turnover timing, and barriers faced by rental student housing, and notes how Canada’s student housing market differs from those of the United States and Europe. “It’s ironic that the Canada Pension Plan makes investments in student housing in America and Europe and not in Canada because there isn’t any to buy,” said Derek Lobo, CEO of SVN Canada. The article points to Waterloo and Oshawa as regions that are successfully addressing the demand with purpose-built housing. RENX

Durham, Coding for Veterans partner to provide computer skills training

Durham College and Coding for Veterans have partnered to provide retired Canadian military personnel with the skills required to enter and succeed in Canada’s workforce. The Coding for Veterans Durham College Certificate program will feature accelerated online training in coding, programming, and computer software skills. “We are very proud to be using our expertise and experience in offering online continuing education to support this vital initiative,” said Durham President Don Lovisa. “In doing so, we are able to help Canadian veterans gain the skills they need to succeed in their lives after the military while also driving the innovation economy.” Durham