Top Ten

July 25, 2019

14 Canadian universities to benefit from $117M for genomics research

A total of $117M has been announced for genomics research across several fields at 14 Canadian universities. The funding stems from the federal government, provincial governments, businesses, and research partners from across the country and will be used to support over 300 genomics researchers. “Innovative research like this is what drives a productive and prosperous agriculture sector,” stated Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “From developing new tools, to increasing sustainability in agriculture, to breeding more resilient crops - our genomic researchers are the heart of advancing science so that our farmers have the tools they need to be successful.” Genome Canada (National)

NAIT, U of A partner with AB organizations to bring in more local food

Several major institutions and organizations in Edmonton, Alberta have partnered to boost their purchases of locally-produced food. Alberta Flavour, which includes NAIT and the University of Alberta, has been working to increase the amount of locally produced food purchased by large organizations with food-service operations. "If you do want to scale up local food within the larger food system, institutional procurement is a really powerful and potent way to do that," said U of A researcher Mary Beckie, who added that the institutions in the partnership benefited from sharing their solutions to common problems. "We like to incorporate ourselves into the community that we are living in," said NAIT Assistant Manager of Supply-chain Management Kim Allen. "Supporting local food is part of that." CBC (AB)

Despite good intentions, patronizing advice, vacuous assurances not needed say ECAs

There are several ways that permanently employed academics can help support early-career academics who are facing precarious work prospects, writes Sarah Burton, and this help does not include often “patronizing” and “impractical” advice or “vacuous assurances.” In particular, Burton encourages permanently employed academics to consider providing financial supports; treating ECAs as intellectual equals and taking their perspective on academia seriously; and taking the initiative to invite ECAs to participate in career-building activities. “Precarity hurts us all;” concludes Burton, “genuine collegiality is how we challenge it.” Times Higher Education (International)

SAIT, HCT partner to boost UAE workforce opportunities

SAIT Polytechnic and Higher Colleges of Technology have established a partnership that will support UAE’s commerce and industry sectors. HCT, in cooperation with SAIT, will launch a Logistics Academy and a Retail Academy in September 2019, and will launch additional academies throughout 2020 for industries such as Hospitality, Petroleum, and Artificial Intelligence. “SAIT is pleased to be invited to be the lead consulting organization for this national initiative, working in tandem with HCT and the UAE government,” said SAIT President David Ross. “This is an incredible opportunity for SAIT to provide our expertise in delivering innovative competency-based education as the country charts its path in diversifying its economy through its progressive workforce transformation.” HCT (AB)

Centennial, Algonquin recognized by Ashoka for dedication to social change

Centennial College and Algonquin College have both been recognized by Ashoka for their "commitment to accelerate changemaking." Both institutions reportedly took on or committed to activities that would support changemaking on campus, including Centennial's participation in the Changemakers Challenge, a series of social change learning experiences offered to students during reading week; and Algonquin's pledge to introduce new programming and a new innovative and entrepreneruial mindset. The colleges are "joining Ashoka U's global community of higher education innovators who are collectively activating and equipping the changemakers the world needs,” said Jessica Lax, Ashoka U's Growth & Partnerships Director. “We're thrilled to celebrate [the colleges'] commitment and look forward to sharing it with others through this campaign." Newswire (Centennial) | Nation Talk (Algonquin)

Ryerson receives $500K gift, celebrates 20 years

Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies has received a gift of $500K from the P and L Odette Foundation. The gift was announced at a celebration of the school’s 20th anniversary. The funds will be used to create the Tanis Doe Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Gender, Disability and Social Justice, the first of which will be awarded in July 2020. The fellowship recognizes the late Tanis Doe, a Métis deaf woman with other disabilities who formerly worked as an instructor at Ryerson, was a Fulbright Scholar, and was a part of several disability, queer and feminist movements throughout Canada and internationally. Ryerson (ON)

CNC Research Forest Society launches legacy fund

The College of New Caledonia Research Forest Society has launched a legacy fund in order to support projects in the communities served by the college. Research forest manager Carl Pollard explained that the fund will help meet the society’s long-term mandate to provide benefits to students and local natural resource research. "There is now the opportunity to reinvest a portion of the sale of the timber back into the natural resources and people of the region served by CNC through this new legacy fund," said Pollard. Prince George Citizen (BC)

US researchers release database containing millions of university syllabi from around the world

Researchers at Columbia University in the US recently released the second version of the Open Syllabus Project, a database containing nearly seven million syllabi from 2,500 universities around the world. Project director Joe Karaganis described it as a “kind of skeleton key” to the “black box” of higher education, providing a clearer picture of what the contents of a university education looks like. “We’ve begun to pull back the curtain a bit,” he said. Data from the project have revealed the most-taught titles in higher education, allowed researchers to map out how fields of study are related to each other based on shared titles, and been used to help teachers guide curriculums. The project has reportedly seen significant web traffic from developing countries and interest from the open educational resources movement. EdScoop (International)

Bow Valley 150 Startups program receives supports from RBC

Bow Valley College’s 150 Startups program has received a $500,000 commitment from RBC in order to support the program’s network and resources. The program supports over 400 entrepreneurs from postsecondary institutions across the province on an annual basis as they develop and practice entrepreneurship skills. “This is a great opportunity in support of first-time entrepreneurs to help set them up for success. It's well aligned with our Future Launch Program that helps young Canadians prepare for careers of tomorrow through building on their skills, networks and experience,” said RBC Regional President Jeff Boyd. “150 Startups is a great example of ‘paying it forward’ because participants go on to become role models, advisors, and mentors for upcoming entrepreneurs.” Bow Valley (AB)

Fostering a more equitable workplace requires vigilance, transparency, understanding

“Indeed, many people see workload as a can of worms that shouldn’t be opened and can’t be fixed,” write the principal investigators of the US-based Faculty Workload and Rewards Project. However, there are key ways that individuals can help ensure more equitable faculty workloads at their institution. In particular, the authors encourage individuals to push for transparency and the use of departmental data to determine how teaching, mentoring, and service positions are allocated; to be vigilant in meetings and intervene when people are seen “shifting less desirable work to others;” and to help foster accountability in the office. They add that faculty members and administrators need to take the time to recognize the contexts and responsibilities of different members of the department, as well as needing to take the initiative to ask colleagues about their work and workload. Inside Higher Ed (International)