Top Ten

May 13, 2019

Preparing for the rise of the machines: Naterer

A shift to “outcomes-based education” and humanities-style critical thinking can alleviate the disruptive potential of AI in the coming decades, writes Greg Naterer of Memorial University. As machine intelligence exceeds human capacity for technological advancement in the applied sciences, Naterer adds, humans will need to develop new skills and competencies in other disciplines to respond to the real-world implications of those developments. The author discusses a number of initiatives at Memorial that anticipate the technological paradigm he describes, with faculties as diverse as the Social Sciences, Engineering, and Business benefiting from engaging more explicitly in “learning outcomes” and “graduate attributes.” The Conversation (NL)

Canada’s international student boom could be a double-edged sword: Paikin

While Canadian universities have enjoyed a near-$2B increase in international student revenues over the last three years, this increase has also disguised a nearly equally large decline in government funding since 2009, writes Steve Paikin. Citing Academica Group’s Director of Marketing & Communications Phil Glennie, the author adds that as institutions receive less of their revenues from government and more from international student tuition, they shift from serving as institutions of the public good to private entities controlled by market demand. Paikin adds that over-reliance on international students can also have unforeseen consequence in the event of diplomatic disputes, such as those between Canada and Saudi Arabia in 2018 or ongoing tensions with China. TVO (National)

U of T looks to bring under-represented students to campus through partnership with local school board 

A program at the University of Toronto called Support, Engage, Experience U of T (SEE U of T) is bringing students from two Toronto schools to campus for a semester-long course, co-op placements on campus, and other experiential learning activities. The program, undertaken in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, aims to “provide a pathway for students who are under-represented on campus, allowing them to see U of T as a place where they belong and can thrive,” according to U of T. “It reduces barriers in the sense that once you see people that look like you in a certain place, you start to have hope you can be just like them,” says grade-11 student Alexander Olowookeri, who hopes to study biomedical engineering. “It really boosts your morale to know, ‘OK, I can actually go to the best school in Canada.’” U of T (ON)

New RDC Residence promises function, innovation, interaction

Red Deer College has officially opened its new Residence. A release states that the five-storey facility features 145 studio suites (10 of which are barrier free), each with a self-contained kitchen and bathroom complete with a shower. RDC states that the Residence was conceptualized and built by an integrated delivery team from 11 different companies. “This building has been built to be innovative, with 545 solar panels that contribute to our Alternative Energy Initiative. And it was also built to be innovative for how people will live and connect with each other throughout the space,” said RDC Joel Ward. RDC (AB)

Brescia, LHSC team up for practical education

Brescia University College and London Health Sciences Centre have finalized a collaboration agreement that enables students in the Dietetic Education and Practical Training program to complete a portion of their year-long practical education at LHSC. “With this agreement, Brescia and London Health Science Centre are demonstrating their commitment to working together to help educate and develop highly-skilled, trained and well-rounded graduates,” said Paula Dworatzek, Chair of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences. “We are proud to have a long-standing relationship with London Health Sciences Centre, and are confident that this new collaboration will not only prepare our students to succeed as Registered Dietitians, but will also benefit and amplify the research connections and possibilities between our two institutions.” Brescia (ON)

ON cuts health research fund, redirects money to frontline care

The Ontario government has cut funding for 11 research projects under the Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network, CBC has learned. The projects investigated healthcare issues such as de-prescribing and delivery of medication management. The government’s decision followed a budget review in which it chose to redirect funding to frontline patient services. Nancy Waite, a professor from the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy and a researcher on one of the affected projects, said her work could have benefitted patients and healthcare providers in ON while also contributing to better policy. Affected research includes projects at the UWaterloo School of Pharmacy, University of Toronto's faculty of Pharmacy, McMaster's School of Medicine, MacEwan University, the Bruyere Research Institute, and Ryerson University. CBC (ON)

Student overcommitment and what to do about it: Mintz 

“The question – why are college students so sleep deprived and overextended? – is well worth asking,” writes Steven Mintz. The author notes that while students’ overcommitment has been a concern of institutions for some time now, the anxiety and depression that come with overcommitment appear to be a growing problem for student mental health. One of the major forces driving this problem, Mintz adds, is that “being overextended is now regarded as cool. Too many students have embraced, or feel forced to embrace, a culture of busyness.” To help address this, Mintz recommends that faculty adopt course designs that discourage cramming, eliminate high stakes tests that encourage students to vacillate between cramming and blowing off steam, and instead, “encourage more frequent lower-stakes assessments and projects that culminate over time.” Inside Higher Ed (International)

Canada announces $5.3M to improve diversity and inclusion in academic research 

The Government of Canada has announced $5.3M of grant money for 15 post-secondary institutions across Canada to make academic research more inclusive. Federal Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan also announced the launch of a pilot program called Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada, which focuses on the barriers faced by groups such as women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community. “We know when we include everyone, our institutions will be stronger, our research will be better,” said Duncan. “You need that diversity of perspectives to ask diverse questions and to get results that'll benefit everyone.” CBC (National)

Rattlesnake safely returned after ULethbridge misadventure

A rattlesnake that slithered its way into a University of Lethbridge office has been captured and returned to its den, reports CBC. Ryan Heavy Head, known locally as the “Snake Man,” responded to a call from university security who said the reptile had fallen through a grate on the sixth-floor mechanical room and found its way under a faculty member's desk on the fourth floor. “The snakes are connected to their places of birth … so what they've found in studies that if you relocate them away from that den a lot of times they're vulnerable to predators,” Heavy Head added. CBC (AB)

USask launches hockey development academy 

The University of Saskatchewan is launching the Huskie Development Academy for hockey. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that programs will be available for both male and female players, aged 7-17. “At the end of the day, it’s about developing players and making sure we have better players in the province and at the grassroots level and making sure that, at the elite level when they get here, the hockey’s better,” said USask Head Coach Steve Kook. On-ice instruction will be supported by USask athletes, adds the StarPhoenix, with a separate team leading dry-land sessions. StarPhoenix (SK)