Top Ten

July 14, 2020

AB universities announce changes in dormitory policies

Alberta universities are announcing changes to dormitory living for their students in order to better adhere to the advice of public health authorities. First-year students at the University of Calgary will be moved to apartment-style residences instead of a typical dorm to allow for better physical distancing at the additional cost of approximately $3K. "We understand that this may cause some challenges,” explains a UCalgary statement, “however, the new room assignments are in place to maintain everyone's health and safety while staying with us." Meanwhile, the University of Alberta and the University of Lethbridge have announced that they will either close or significantly reduce capacity in their dormitory-style residences this fall. UAlberta, ULethbridge, and Mount Royal University are also announcing attempts to spread the usual one-day move-in processes over a period of time to better allow for social distancing measures. Several schools are also setting aside spaces for student isolation. CBC (AB)

UManitoba launches BSc in Data Science

The University of Manitoba has launched a Bachelor of Science (Major) in Data Science to help bridge the data science skill gap and meet employment needs. Approved by Manitoba Economic Development and Training, the program will deliver training in data science at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels, providing students with a robust understanding of data acquisition, data management, and modeling beginning Fall 2021. “With this new degree program, we will be training the next generation of movers and shakers in the field,” said UManitoba Dean of the Faculty of Science Stefi Baum. “This program is interdisciplinary, combining a foundation in mathematics, statistics, and computer science with newly developed courses in data science, projects from across the disciplinary fields, applications to broad swatches of industry, and a strong coop component.” UManitoba (MB)

SFU, WLU Press developing podcast network for peer-reviewed academic work

Simon Fraser University and Wilfrid Laurier University Press are developing a network that helps academics share peer-reviewed research through podcasts. Amplify supports academics interested in disseminating their research in the podcast format by helping them understand the equipment they need, how to tell a story over a number of episodes, and how to get those podcasts to listeners. Wilfrid Laurier Press Director Lisa Quinn says that with the help of librarians, the group hopes to launch first podcasts in early 2021. “We live in an age of information hyper abundance, so how do you know where to find robustly, researched, vetted, well-developed content?” asks Quinn. “This network aims to try to provide some of that, not only production support, and editorial development support, but that curatorial function." CBC (National)

SLC launches new brand campaign

St Lawrence College has launched a new brand campaign based around the image and metaphor of an open door. The campaign will be featured in the college’s main markets of Kingston, Brockville, and Cornwall to support the 2021 recruitment cycle. SLC explains that the open door functions as a metaphor for students’ experiences at the college, a representation of a starting point to achieving their career goals. “This is truly an exciting phase for SLC”, said Glenn Vollebregt, SLC President. “The new brand campaign is a perfect illustration of how we help our students achieve their academic goals and connect with the careers of their dreams. St. Lawrence College offers that doorway to the start of that important journey.” SLC (ON)

Canadian varsity athletes keep spirits up amid COVID-19 cancellations

As more than 25,000 Canadian student athletes face uncertainty following announcements of the postponement of many varsity sports for Fall 2020, players are responding with a mixture of frustration and sadness, as well as optimism and positivity. To contend with this, some individuals, teams, and organizations are trying to maintain a sense of team spirit via team Zoom meetings. Coaches are also encouraging athletes to continue their training individually where and when possible, and student athletes report pursuing new activities and ways to work out by engaging in everything from biking to books to crochet. “I get in the habit of learning sports and keeping in shape. I just love competing. I love learning new stuff. That’s what drives me,” said College Boreal student athlete Jaden Chouinard. Some student athletes also commented that institutional decisions to retain eligibility and athletic financial awards despite the cancellations has given them hope and needed support during these challenging times. Sudbury Star (Part 1) | Sudbury Star (Part 2) (ON, National)

Sheridan launches remote, virtual internships for students

Sheridan College has launched an internship program that offers remote and virtual internship options. The Virtual internship Program (VIP) program connects students with community partners in order to help the partners resolve pandemic-related issues. Students are able to earn their work-term credit remotely, and have flexibility in the type of internship that they take on. “The speed at which our staff was able to pivot to ensure internships continue during these trying times demonstrates the very adaptability and resiliency that we strive to instill in our students,” said Sheridan President Janet Morrison. Sheridan (ON)

Sask Polytech signs MOU with Tesla University to explore educational, collaborative opportunities

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has signed a memorandum of understanding with Tesla University of Aruba to explore international education and collaboration opportunities. The two institutions will exchange curriculum materials and research information in fields of interest, and will also contribute to the development of partnerships and opportunities for students and faculty to study and teach abroad. “This agreement capitalizes on our unique strengths and offers a fantastic opportunity to learn from each other as we explore ways of supporting and advancing both institutions,” said Sask Polytech President Larry Rosia. “This partnership supports our internationalization strategy by creating opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, study abroad, applied research and joint curriculum development.” Sask Polytech (SK)

Keyano, McMurray Aviation launch Business Aviation Diploma

Keyano College has partnered with McMurray Aviation to offer a Business Aviation Diploma program this fall. The two-year program will combine 12 aviation and eight business courses, allowing students to graduate with a Commercial Pilot License and a background in business. The program will have two specializations—Airline Operations and Northern Operations—and will accept students with and without aviation experience. “This program addresses a skills shortage gap, it removes barriers to those wanting to join the aviation industry, it is a great example of an industry and College partnership, and it provides very exciting opportunities for students within our region,” said Keyano Vice President Academic Fred Russell. Keyano (AB)

NSCC to break ground on Marconi Campus

Nova Scotia Community College has announced that they will begin construction on a new Marconi Campus in Sydney later this month. Expected to open in September 2024, the Government of Nova Scotia will move the campus to the Sydney waterfront from its existing location beside Cape Breton University in order to attract more students from across the province. "This is something the community has been advocating for years and we're all very excited here in Sydney to see the construction start and the eventual opening," said Derek Mombourquette, MLA for Sydney-Whitney Pier. CBC (NS)

Pandemic highlights how parenting researchers, women disadvantaged by academic systems: Study

A recent report published by the University of Lethbridge researchers argues that, “the current structure of the academic system — funding, publishing incentives and career options — disadvantages parents and women in particular.” HJ Wieden, Ute Kothe, and Luc Roberts suggest that the current pandemic deepens an already existing divide between parenting researchers and their peers without such responsibilities, a divide that will negatively impact “recruiting and retaining junior researchers and maintaining a diverse talent pool.” “It is critical that we analyze the effects of the pandemic on parenting researchers and trainees and seize the opportunity to thoroughly revamp the academic system,” they conclude, “and not simply go back to the old routine once it is over.” ULethbridge (AB, National)