Top Ten

April 27, 2020

McGill Genome Centre shares in $20M for DNA research related to COVID-19

McGill University’s Genome Centre has announced that it will share in $20M of funding to support research on sequencing the genomes of people affected by COVID-19. The funds, which are provided by the Canadian government, are part of a larger $40M grant provided to the newly formed Canadian COVID Genomics Network. “The Government of Canada's $40M investment in COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 genomics is a key element of Canada's response to the current outbreak, while also preparing for a possible re-emergence, and laying the foundation to tackle future pandemics,” said Scientific Director of the McGill Genome Centre Professor Mark Lathrop. McGill (QC)

Journalism schools partner with CAJ, Esri to launch journalism co-op

National broadcasters, news organizations, and 13 universities and colleges have partnered to launch a cooperative that will provide free reporting support, maps, and audience engagement tools to Canadian media outlets. Project Pandemic, led by Concordia University’s Institute for Investigative Journalism, will help Canadian news organizations inform audiences about the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. A particular effort will be made to support reporting in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. “It’s essential that we reach all members of the public at this critical time,” said First Nations University of Canada Patricia Elliot. “Access to information should not be determined by where we live.” Concordia (QC, National)

OCUFA concerned about bypassed collegial governance practices

The Ontario Council of University Faculty Associations has expressed concerns about collegial governance practices at the province’s universities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the organization “appreciates the priority university administrations have placed on protecting the safety and health of members of the campus community,” OCUFA states that some university administrators are failing to respect shared governance structures and are making academic decisions without the involvement or consultation of senates, academic councils, or faculty. “Ontario’s universities have a vital role to play in helping the province navigate this pandemic,” OCUFA stated, “but it is only by working together that we can effectively guide our institutions towards a future where the vibrant energy of students and faculty returns to our campuses.” OCUFA (ON)

Western, McMaster receive nearly $1M to study PTSD among public safety personnel

Western University and McMaster University researchers have received nearly $1M in CIHR funding to find a new approach to treating public safety personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder. Western researcher Ruth Lanius and McMaster researcher Margaret McKinnon have received $990K over three years to investigate the effectiveness of Goal Management Training, which aims to improve cognitive functioning among public safety personnel with PTSD. “What’s really novel about this approach is that we’ll be imaging the brain before and after the treatment, so we can get a sense of not only any potential changes in the structure of the brain as a result of treatment but also any changes in the way the brain functions,” said McKinnon. Western | NationTalk (ON)

Focus on COVID-19 brings “non-essential” medical research to a halt

Many researchers and institutions have been forced to put their work on hold as research related to COVID-19 takes precedence, and patients are struggling as a result. Toronto's University Health Network President Brad Wouters described how the pandemic has placed “thousands of clinical trials deemed non-essential […] on hold,” impacting patients dealing with illnesses and diseases such as pancreatic cancer. Wouters also notes that thousands of researchers are at risk of losing their jobs due to losses in industry funding, and many researchers will need help regaining scientific momentum post-pandemic. "We're really at a tipping point where we're going to see significant job losses if something can't be done," says Wouters. CBC (National)

Ryerson to launch PhD program in Management this fall

Ryerson University’s Ted Roger School of Management has launched a PhD program in Management beginning Fall 2020. The program will allow students to conduct scientific research about complex management problems in the rapidly changing, globally-oriented economy. “The program is unique because it offers flexible study options that allow candidates to do their PhD their way,” said Ryerson Associate Dean, Graduate Programs Hong Yu. “They can take the program full-time or part-time, allowing a successful balance of work, life and school.” Ryerson (ON)

Online university leader says moving online with poor strategy could “ruin” the experience

President of the University of the People Shai Reshef has some concerns about the current and future delivery of online learning at traditional institutions. “All universities are now moving online, but they don’t really know what they’re doing,” said Reshef. “I certainly hope that the experience the universities offer their students right now will not ruin it for them.” To avoid dismal outcomes from the quick shift to online learning, Reshef recommends that institutions charge less for online education and weave collaborative learning into their virtual courses. Times Higher Education (International)

Trent launches BSc program for finance professionals

Trent University has announced the launch of a Bachelor of Science in Financial Analytics program that will provide students with an interdisciplinary approach to the financial world. Launching in Fall 2020, the program will help students establish an understanding of financial theory and its application, and progress toward specialties within finance such as applied mathematics, statistic optimizations, and business. “In Ontario, there are only a limited handful of undergraduate programs in what we call ‘finance,’” said Trent assistant professor Wesley Burr. “Exposure to material from markedly different perspectives will strengthen and accentuate graduates’ skills, making them uniquely qualified to succeed in today’s dynamic, fast-paced finance industry.” Trent (ON)

Conestoga partners with Supply Chain Canada to provide graduates with advanced standing

Conestoga College has signed an agreement with Supply Chain Canada to allow program pathways for students. Specifically, graduates of the school’s Bachelor of Business Administration - International Business Management degree advanced standing towards the Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation program. “This is a good opportunity for our Supply Chain Management stream graduates who want to add another valuable credential to their resumes,” said Conestoga International Business Management professor Fatih Yegul. “Our agreement with SCMA offers a head start to our graduates by giving them advanced standing for seven out of the 14 modules required for the SCMP designation.” Conestoga (ON)

OER can help ease students’ financial burdens in a COVID-19 world: Opinion

“Any current or aspiring post-secondary student looking to go to college or university anytime soon will likely end up doing so largely online and will be further financially stressed because of it,” writes Kyle Hiebert. To help ease some of the financial stress caused by the pandemic, Hiebert recommends that more provinces launch Open Educational Resources (OERs), while more institutions are encouraged to adopt OERs. The author points to successful provincial OER initiatives such as BCCampus, which has saved students $18M on learning materials; eCampus Ontario, which has saved students over $10M; and Campus Manitoba which has saved students over $1M. “As we look ahead at the prospect of living in a post-pandemic world that has changed in many ways,” concludes the author. National Post (National)