Top Ten

December 11, 2019

UWaterloo partners with Toyota for engineering education

The University of Waterloo has partnered with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) to support engineering education. The partnership is supported by a $2.1M investment that will launch an undergraduate engineering innovation challenge and support a variety of student, research, and outreach initiatives. “Our partnership with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada allows our students and researchers to tackle difficult engineering and business challenges facing the automotive industry and come up with truly new and sustainable solutions that will strengthen the competitiveness of the Canadian sector,” said UWaterloo Dean of Engineering Pearl Sullivan. UWaterloo | (ON)

Law Society of BC to require Indigenous cultural competency for lawyers

The Law Society of British Columbia has moved to require Indigenous cultural competency training for all practicing lawyers in the province in order to respond to gaps in legal education identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Starting in 2021, all practicing lawyers in BC will be required to take an online course covering the history of Indigenous-Crown relations, as well as legislative changes that could arise from the province’s newly enacted Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Lawyers will have up to two years to complete the mandatory course, a reported first among law societies in Canada. CBC | Vancouver Sun (BC)

How technology can make grading faster, fairer: Opinion

Steven Mintz explores how technology can make grading fairer, more efficient, and less “agonizing” for instructors. The author reviews different technologies and how they can improve the grading process at a postsecondary level. For example, Canvas’ SpeedGrader and Gradescope are online grading and analytics tools that can accelerate the grading process by allowing instructors to grade by question, rather than by student. Alternatively, automated peer assessment—available on many major LMS’s—allows students to engage in the evaluation process. Although not ready for widespread adoption, Mintz writes that big testing firms are developing software that could ‘autograde’ essays. “Such approaches and tools can improve student performance while significantly easing the burden of grading,” concludes the author. Inside Higher Ed (International)

QC council calls for working group to address gender gaps in higher ed

In Québec, fewer and fewer boys are accessing university and graduating, a situation that is "very worrying" according to the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation. The council states that the gender gap has increased since the mid-1980s from 2.3% to 19% in 2017-18, and that men’s success rates for high school, CEGEP, and university bachelor’s degrees have lagged behind that of women’s. Despite these discrepancies, council president Maryse Lassonde explained that women tended to be less likely to opt for studies in science, engineering, and computer science and men’s salaries remained higher on average. Lassonde and the council called for the creation of a working group of experts and community stakeholders to develop courses of action. Journal de Montréal (QC)

CARL releases final report on survey of digital preservation capacity

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) Digital Preservation Working Group has released the final report of the Survey on Digital Preservation Capacity and Needs at Canadian Memory Institutions. The purpose of the survey was to provide an updated and comprehensive picture of digital preservation activities in Canada, as well as to identify existing gaps and outstanding needs at Canadian institutions. The survey found that while all responding institutions are undertaking digitization activities and developing organizational commitments, there was lower availability of formal digital preservation policies and procedures, as well as lower usage of tools for digital preservation. “Developing best practice and modern organizational models in the digital age that more appropriately reflect digital preservation needs can provide the impetus for institutions to begin the restructuring process that is required,” write report authors Grant Hurley and Kathleen Shearer. CARL (National)

UWindsor officially launches Genomics Network for Fish Identification, Stress, and Health

The University of Windsor has officially launched the Genomics Network for Fish Identification, Stress, and Health (GEN-FISH). The project, which involves 23 researchers from 13 academic institutions, aims to make it easier and less expensive for governments and groups to manage and conserve freshwater fish stocks. Specifically, researchers will develop procedures to identify species, monitor the stressors fish are facing based on gene expression, and develop web-based resources and software to help users monitor and react to threats. In July, GEN-FISH received $9.1M from Genome Canada and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada to support the project. UWindsor (ON)

BC postsecondary institutions have surpluses, but what are they being spent on?: Report

Victoria News reports that colleges and universities in British Columbia have attained substantial surpluses largely due to increases in international student tuition revenue, yet there are questions regarding how these surplus funds are being used. According to Victoria News, tuition revenue for BC postsecondary institutions has jumped about 37% since 2016, whereas spending on instruction and student supports has increased by 20% over the last three years. While some postsecondary institutions are investing surpluses in facilities and infrastructure upgrades, others are waiting until they can better understand the needs of the increasing international student population. “The province needs to better regulate international education and the tuition fees students pay,” said Executive Director of the British Columbia Federation of Students Michael Olson. Victoria News (BC)

The challenge of collaborative work in higher ed: Opinion

What are the barriers to greater collaboration in higher ed? asks David Porter. According to the author, although collaboration distributes resources among academic institutions, there are many challenges to collaborating in higher ed, such as organizations that work in silos; funding practices that encourage temporary and transactional collaboration; fiscal restraints; and a lack of incentives to collaborate. “Educators and administrators understand the need to more closely align programs and curricula with workforce needs,” concludes Porter. “However, executing on that requires that they meet and exchange ideas with individuals that may have other perspectives.” University Affairs (National )

Olds suspends equine science program

Olds College is suspending its equine science program, according to CTV News. Although no new students will be admitted to the program next fall, current students will still be able to complete the two-year diploma that covers topics including riding skills, coaching, horse husbandry, and business management. During the suspension, Olds will continue to offer its one-year equine reproduction certificate program and has also stated that the program suspension is not necessarily permanent. The program has been suspended for revaluation, which the school states “happens to all program every three to five years.” "Olds College has a long history of equine training and will work diligently to continue this legacy in the future,” says Olds spokesperson Blayne Meek. CTV (AB)

Five strategies postsecondary institutions are employing to bolster sustainability efforts

How are higher ed institutions “changing their approach to education, community service, and student engagement to embody eco-conscious values?” asks Kayla Matthews. Some noteworthy trends in this area include shrinking institutional carbon footprints, providing sustainable on-campus food options, creating more efficient waste management strategies, offering more degree options in ‘green’ fields, and increasing social engagement surrounding sustainability initiatives in an institution’s local community. “Students and educators play crucial roles in ushering in an era of green practices,” concludes the author. Innovation & Tech Today (International)