Top Ten

July 24, 2019

Canadians believe post-secondary education makes the country better, is more important today than ever: study

A majority of Canadians believe that post-secondary education has a positive impact on society and is more relevant than ever in today’s rapidly changing world, according to a new study commissioned by the Canadian Association of University Teachers. A large majority (78%) of those surveyed viewed universities and colleges as having positive impacts on the direction of the country, while 93% said they would pursue PSE if there were no tuition. Two-thirds (65%) said that Canada’s high post-secondary participation rate makes the country a better place to live. “Post-secondary education makes Canada more united, stronger, and positioned to tackle the challenges we will face today and in the future,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The federal government should support the sector and help make it stronger across the country.” CAUT

Canada requires greater progress on women in skilled trades to meet national demand

More women are finding good work in the trades, but progress is still too slow to meet Canada’s demand for skilled workers, reports CBC. According to data from Statistics Canada's most recent Labour Force Survey, women made only marginal gains in the trades between 2008 and 2018. Of the 934,000 people working in industrial, electrical, and construction trades in 2008, only 34,600 — or 3.7% — were women. Experts say that unwelcoming work environments are a factor in women not entering certain male-dominated trades. "This really started affecting my business about 10 to 12 years ago in Canada and the US," says business owner Mandy Rennehan, adding that the shortage of skilled trades professionals is "a massive economic issue for governments, for business and —more importantly — for consumers." CBC

Let’s say what we really mean when we ask new hires about diversity: Small

“We would do well to replace the diversity question with more tangible queries about teaching and mentoring,” writes Alex Small in an essay challenging the gap between a university’s goals and the questions it asks new faculty about diversity. This gap, the author adds, stems from a mismatch between the language of diversity and the issue that universities are truly trying to address, which is that of disadvantage and underrepresentation. Part of this problem, Small adds, is that very few faculty are adept at speaking about diversity within this context of disadvantage. “This mismatch of goals is fixable if we allow ourselves to leave diversity out of the question,” the author concludes, recommending that committees “ask faculty candidates what they have done and want to do going forward in order to help struggling, underprepared students.” Inside Higher Ed

Carleton, Concordia to create Open Source Cyber Fusion Centre

Carleton University and Concordia University have received $560K from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, PROMPT, and NSERC to fund the creation of an Open Source Cyber Fusion Centre. The project will be led by Carleton Associate Professor Michael Weiss and Concordia Professor Mourad Debbabi and will involve an interdisciplinary team of faculty from the institutions and industrial partners. The project aims to positively impact the security of open-source software and “bring down the cost of a security operations centre (SOC) from $1M to $1K” by working with open-source communities and machine learning. Carleton

Canada invests $49.5M into agri-food network

The Government of Canada has announced an investment of up to $49.5M for the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network. CAAIN is a $108.5M project aimed at developing exportable farming solutions. The network will begin with eight members across five provinces, including Olds College and Lakeland College, and will investigate technologies using artificial intelligence, robotics, and precision agriculture. Olds’ Smart Farm will be used as a hub to develop and test new technologies. “Demand is growing for Canada to help feed a hungry planet,” said Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates, “and our new technologies, approaches and processes, in conjunction with meaningful partnerships, will strengthen our agricultural sector and help meet that demand." Lethbridge News Now | BetaKit

UQAR professor calls on universities to oppose QC suspension of international student program

Université du Québec à Rimouski Professor Kateri Lemmens has called on universities and academics to mobilize against the Government of Quebec following the suspension of the Programme de l'expérience québécoise. The program previously helped international students who studied in the province immigrate more quickly. QC stated that it suspended the program until November 1st in order to give priority to applicants who are already employed in QC. Lemmens described the decision as being unjust and argued that international students who graduate from QC universities are already well-integrated into society, making them prime candidates for immigration. Journal de Québec (1) | Journal de Québec (2)

CBU works to connect students with rural employers through new shuttle service

A new program from Cape Breton University will help students find part-time work and help seasonal employers staff hard-to-fill jobs in the summer months, thanks to a new shuttle service offered by CBU. CBC reports that the program is open to all students, but is specifically targeting international students for participation. The program aims to address labour shortages reported by seasonal businesses in Victoria, Inverness, and Richmond counties. "This program was a really good fit for us because the international students would be finished school at the same time when we need to ramp up our staffing," said Danielle Sampson of the Bras d'Or Lakes Inn, one of the businesses that signed up for the program. CBC

The conversation we must have about fundamental research leading into the next election: Lautens, Naylor

With roughly 90 days remaining until the next federal election, the future of fundamental research in Canada remains unclear, write Mark Lautens and David Naylor. The authors note that the Greens, NDP, and Conservatives have all been scant on details. The Liberals, on the other hand, will likely point to the investments in research they made in Budget 2018, which the authors point out were significantly below the figures recommended in the government’s own commissioned federal report. The authors highlight a number of myths that will need to be busted if Canada is to have a productive conversation about research funding leading into the next election. Toronto Star

MtA strengthens longstanding relationship with Bermuda College with new agreement

Mount Allison has strengthened its long-time connection with Bermuda College with the signing of a new MOU. An MtA release notes that the agreement will open pathways for credit transfers between the two institutions, enabling students in Sciences to earn credentials at both schools. “Mount Allison and Bermuda have a special history together. We’ve welcomed students from the Island for more than 150 years and have a strong alumni base there,” says Kim Meade, MtA Vice-President, International and Student Affairs. MtA

Construction site tour turns into employment for Durham students

What began as a building site tour quickly turned into summer employment for a group of students from Durham College’s Building Construction Technician program. The students were touring the site of Durham’s new residence building in Whitby as part of an experiential learning opportunity when the contractor approached Durham professor Al Martin about hiring summer students to work onsite. A Durham release reports that four students were successful in applying for the job and are now taking their skills from the classroom to the jobsite, honing their knowledge, and building their resumes. Durham