Top Ten

August 24, 2020

SSHRC invests $32M in research grants

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has announced $32M for over 1,000 researchers at 69 institutions across the country. The funding is from the 2019-20 Insight Development Grants competition, which supports early stages of research and will support social sciences and humanities research. Topics include the impact of mental health climate on employees, the building blocks of constructing gender and race in primary education, and young Canadian’s success in career decision-making in the digital economy, among others. SSHRC (National)

BC to compensate students for transcript error impacting PSE in BC, AB, ON

The Government of British Columbia’s Education Ministry has accepted all recommendations made by BC Ombudsperson Jay Chalke, including issuing an apology and developing a compensation fund for students whose provincial exam scores were incorrectly reported last year. An investigation by CTV News reports that over 110,000 transcripts with potentially incorrect grades were received by postsecondary schools across British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. The errors affected scores for three examinations in English, Communications, and French and impacted course registrations for some students. CTV News reports that approximately half of the scores were inaccurately low and the rest inaccurately high. CTV News (BC)

York launches food accelerator program

A food accelerator program at York University is providing a boost for entrepreneurs in the sector. The York Region Food and Beverage Accelerator Program helps consumer-packaged goods companies accelerate sales, scale their businesses, and launch new products. Other perks of the program include virtual workshops, expert mentorship, and peer-to-peer circles. It is led by York’s innovation hub, YSpace, in partnership with The Regional Municipality of York and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. “The need for our Food and Beverage Accelerator Program is greater than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says David Kwok, associate director of entrepreneurship at Innovation York and YSpace. “Business owners are concerned about smaller retailers closing their doors for good, supply chain delays and the increasing cost of operating production facilities and research development labs because of requirements like personal protective equipment and redesigned workstations.” York (ON)

CEGEPs to primarily operate online this fall

The Montréal Gazette reports that Quebec’s CEGEPs will be operating mostly online this semester. The institutions and student associations described the hurdles they have encountered while preparing for the fall, such as maintaining a sense of student life and issues around scheduling courses of different delivery modes. “This year, the greatest challenge … will be keeping motivation up for students,” said Kareem Brochu, president of the Vanier College Students’ Association. “There’s just so many ways, I think, for students to lose motivation whether that’s because their classes just aren’t as engaging or just the fact they’re not getting out of the house.” Montreal Gazette (QC)

Sask Polytech unveils new program name, mechatronics courses

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recently announced that the CAD/CAM Engineering Technology program has been given a revamped curriculum and a brand-new name: Design and Manufacturing Engineering Technology. Students will now be able to take a mechatronics stream in the program, which ties electronics, programming, mechanical design, and manufacturing together. “We’re excited to offer new mechatronics programming to our engineering students,” says Jamie Hilts, dean for the School of Mining, Energy and Manufacturing. “This multidisciplinary field is growing rapidly and with its focus on developing technologies of the future, we felt it was an important area for our students to gain hands-on experience in.” Sask Polytech (SK)

Stat Can announces salaries, number of full-time teaching staff

Statistics Canada has released the first group of data on university academic teaching staff from the Full-time University and College Academic Staff System (FT-UCASS) for the 2019-2020 school year. The data provides a detailed portrait of full-time academic staff in Canadian universities and includes details such as gender, academic rank, responsibilities, and salary and administrative stipends. The current data includes 90 of the 111 universities that have reported to date, and Stat Can states that the 2019-2020 data will be updated this winter to include all universities. Stat Can (National)

UoGuelph student group calls for defunded, abolished campus police

At the University of Guelph, the Guelph Black Students Association have created a petition calling for the university to defund the Campus Community Police and reduce police presence on campus “significantly, with the ultimate goal of the abolishment of the CCP by 2022.” The association argues that many of the incidents that police are called to should be responded to by counselling and other departments. The organization cites the recent actions of the University of Minnesota, Ryerson University, and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board as examples of action being taken both locally and more broadly. Guelph Mercury | Guelph Today (ON)

USask partners on supercluster project to help lower crop pesticide use

The University of Saskatchewan’s Global Institute for Food Security will be collaborating with other members of the Protein Industries Canada (PIC) consortium to develop technology that lowers pesticide use across Canada. The $26.2M project has received an investment of $12.8M from PIC and $13.4M from the other partners. “The university’s role is to develop a way to find out precisely where the weeds are so that they can be sprayed more efficiently to reduce pesticide use and help protect the environment,” explained lead researcher, USask computer scientist Ian Stavness. “We will develop software to automatically sort through drone images of fields to identify weeds.” USask (SK)

Universities announce increased tuition for upcoming school year

Many institutions have reportedly confirmed their plans to increase tuition for the upcoming school year. The universities cited reasons such as the cost of switching to online learning and increasing financial aid for students in need. “We’re hearing from our members, students, who are extremely concerned whether they will be able to afford coming back to post-secondary institutions this fall,” said Canadian Alliance of Student Associations Chair Bryn de Chastelaine. The Star reports that University of British Columbia has increased tuition by 2%, McGill University and Dalhousie University have increased tuition by 3%, and the University of Manitoba has increased fees by up to 7% for some programs. The University of Saskatchewan is freezing most of its tuition rates, but will be increasing its law, veterinary, and dental school programs by up to 15%. The Star (National)

VCC introduces courses in positive personal change

Vancouver Community College Continuing Studies is launching a new program area called Transformative Learning. Courses are focused on helping people achieve success in their personal health and wellness, careers and relationships. “The world around us is rapidly changing. That’s why it’s important to build a knowledge base around critical topics and develop methods for embracing our unknown future,” says Transformative Learning program coordinator Sarah Murray. The courses feature a wide range of topics from stress reduction to urban farming to systems change and will be offered online this term. VCC (BC)