Top Ten

April 3, 2020

UManitoba surpasses goal, raises over $626M

The University of Manitoba has announced that its funding campaign, Front and Centre, has raised over $626M. Launched in 2015, the funds raised greatly surpassed the school’s $500M goal, and is described by UManitoba as the largest-ever fundraising campaign in the province’s history. “At the heart of this campaign are the donors who have put the work of University of Manitoba faculty and staff front and centre, magnifying their impact in our province and in communities around the world,” said UManitoba President David T Barnard. “They are a reminder that even in such an exceptionally difficult time, we still have much to be grateful for.” Manitoba (MB)

USask researchers receive $5M for national network of Indigenous health research centres

University of Saskatchewan researchers have received $5M to develop a network of health research centres driven by and grounded in Indigenous communities. Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research will work collaboratively with centres in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, the Maritimes, and Canada’s circumpolar region to advance national and international Indigenous health research partnerships, establish an annual international Indigenous health research conference, and help evaluate the effectiveness of the new research networks. “This Indigenous-led, community-based approach will ensure better health outcomes for Indigenous peoples and foster the next generation of Indigenous health researchers,” said USask Vice-President of Research Karen Chad. “This is reconciliation at work.” USask (SK)

Schools move spring/summer courses online, status of fall semester uncertain

Several Canadian postsecondary institutions have announced their plans for the upcoming spring/summer semester. Humber College, the University of Windsor, and North Island College are among the schools that have decided to deliver the upcoming semester’s classes remotely. Regarding the fall semester, ON Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano has not issued any expectations, stating instead that he is focusing on the short-term. Western University’s vice-provost of academic programs John Doerksen told The Star that the admissions process for the incoming class this fall are moving forward, and the university has already made offers. “We are in the early stages of that planning process,” on what will happen in the fall, Doerksen explained. “We will definitely have a very robust plan and strategy in place.” Humber | UWindsor | Campbell River Mirror | Toronto Star (ON, BC, National)

Dal researchers say sustained efforts, up to $20B in funding per year could save marine life by 2050

Dalhousie University researchers have found that immediate action could reverse a significant portion of the damage done to marine life within 30 years, while preserving vital ocean services such as global fisheries, tourism, and climate regulation. The researchers explain in a recent research paper that the rebuilding of marine life in diverse environments will require continued efforts and financial support of roughly $10B to $20B per year. “We have a narrow window of opportunity to deliver a healthy ocean to our grandchild’s generation, and we have the knowledge and tools to do so,” says Dal researcher and paper co-author Carlos Duarte. “Failing to embrace this challenge, and in so doing condemning our grandchildren to a broken ocean unable to support high-quality livelihoods, is not an option.” Dal (NS)

How Reddit provides a glimpse into future brand issues for universities

Concerns raised by professors and prospective students on the social media platform Reddit may indicate serious upcoming problems for institutional brands, writes Sean Carton. Carton describes how the professors have faced rampant technical glitches and clumsy handling of the crisis by administrators, while prospects and parents have voiced confusion about how their application will be handled in light of cancelled high school classes and potential online classes in first year. “Even forgetting about the financial issues many schools are certain to face, the effect of the coronavirus response on their brands ... may linger for a long, long time,” writes Carton. “That is, unless communicators at universities start doing something about it now.” Carton provides a series of suggestions for those in marketing and communications who wish to blunt COVID-19's impact on the institution. Inside Higher Ed (International)

U of T, Gila Inc, Toronto Public Library partner to create reusable face shields using 3D printers

The University of Toronto, Gila Inc, and Toronto Public Library have partnered to create reusable face shields using the public library’s 3D printers. The library loaned 10 of its 3D printers to the team at U of T’s Lynn & Arnold Irwin Advanced Perioperative Imaging Lab. Working with researchers at Gila Inc, the U of T team used face shield designs from existing open source blueprints as a basis for their face shields. Currently, the shields are intended for use by health-care workers, but researchers say they may be distributed to other essential service workers in the future. “We’ve received inquiries from grocery chains for example – so there is potential to expand the project,” said U of T professor Azad Mashari, “but we are supplying hospital networks first.”  U of T (ON)

Grad students petition to suspend tuition denied by Queen’s

Requests from graduate students, backed by the Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901, to waive graduate student summer tuition have been denied by Queen’s University. Last month, over 800 letters were submitted to the school by the university’s graduate students asking for tuition for the spring/summer term to be suspended amid campus closures. According to a release from the union, graduate students received an email response from Queen’s provost Mark Green stating that, “Even though we appreciate the difficult circumstances you are facing, Queen’s, like many Canadian universities, is not in a position to waive graduate tuition for the summer term at this time.” The union, however, has responded with a statement arguing that campus closures will prevent some graduate students from moving forward with their research, delaying their completion time and requiring further funds for tuition. Whig Standard | PSCA Local 901 (ON)

How higher ed can help in the fight against COVID-19 beyond campus borders

“Long after the dust from the COVID-19 disruption has settled,” write S Abu Turab Rizvi and Peter Eckel, “higher education institutions will be remembered for how they helped bring this crisis under control and supported broader communities through the upheavals caused by it.” To win the fight against COVID-19, the authors state that higher education institutions need to lead efforts that go beyond campus borders, including supporting new and continuing community needs. YWCA Brandon executive director Heather Symbalisty explains that women’s shelters are sometimes overlooked when it comes to donations and expressed her appreciation of Brandon University’s recent donation of medical supplies to the local YWCA.  Inside Higher Ed | Brandon Sun (International, MB)

Tips for forming emergency finance plans for senior admin

“The most important task this week for presidents, provosts, CFOs and board members is to begin to pivot from short term emergency response to long term strategic adjustment,” writes John Kroger. According to the author, postsecondary institutions need to adopt a 12- to 18-month emergency finance plan to address major revenue losses due to campus closures, stock market decline, and rising unemployment. To create a successful emergency financial plan, Kroger provides five tips: form an emergency financial planning committee; model the potential impacts of the crisis; plan for draws on endowments; limit all future cash outlays; and devise a political strategy. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Suspect arrested in connection with Camosun arsons

Sannich police has arrested a man in connection with arson fires set in the area of Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus early Monday morning. “The nature and extent of damage of these deliberate fires was significant,” said Saanich police constable Markus Anastasiades. “Detectives worked quickly to piece together the events before, during and after the fire to positively identify a suspect.” Times Colonist reports that the most serious of the fires caused extensive damage to three vehicles stored in a maintenance compound at Camosun.  Time’s Colonist (1) | Time’s Colonist (2)  (BC)