Top Ten

October 15, 2020

A look at the mental health crisis in Canadian universities: Maclean’s

In an article about the mental health crisis at Canadian universities, Sarah Treleaven of Maclean’s describes the experiences and challenges that postsecondary students have faced at several institutions. These challenges include lengthy wait times to see a counsellor, inadequate representation in decision making related to mental health services, mandated leave policies, mandatory sick notes, and overall accessibility issues with student mental health. Treleaven goes on to describe what institutions and national organizations are doing to introduce and improve student supports, support student wellness, and push for national policy changes. Maclean’s (National)

Facing remote learning through “permanent restructuring” of courses: Opinion

Online education within postsecondary institutions is here to stay, writes Steven Mintz, and instructors must try for a “permanent restructuring” that addresses the main problems associated with remote learning: isolation, engagement, rigor, and quality. Mintz discusses how he builds community within the classroom, ensures students stay engaged and motivated, and keeps students on track. He also describes how instructors can ensure students have a quality learning experience that includes engaging hands-on assignments, as well as how he incorporates student support and academic rigor into the virtual classroom. “The key lies in intentional, thoughtful course design,” says Mintz. “Let’s … embrace this transition moment as an opportunity to move higher ed in a direction that can better serve today’s incredibly diverse, highly differentiated student body.” Inside Higher Ed (International)

Mohawk announces first stand-alone degree

Mohawk College has announced that it will be offering a Bachelor of Digital Health (Honours) degree, which is Mohawk’s first stand-alone degree program. This program will focus on training students in computer science, health, and business studies so that they can develop IT solutions in healthcare settings. The program will ensure that students understand the Canadian healthcare system’s digital health principles, including issues around “patient safety, personalized health delivery, self-management and behaviour modification.” “Mohawk College is proud to commit ourselves even more intensely in the digital health sector, offering students a comprehensive grounding in the knowledge and skills they need to deliver IT services in a wide variety of healthcare settings,” said Mohawk’s President Ron McKerlie. Mohawk (ON)

MUN officially opens $440K Underwater Exploration Lab

Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute has officially opened its $440K Underwater Exploration Lab. The lab is used to train students on piloting remotely operated vehicles, conducting underwater tasks, and data visualization. Students will use the same technology as used in the industry. “The underwater exploration lab enables MI to keep pace with advancing technology used in the field of subsea robotics, ensures our students will be well-prepared to participate in this industry and supports the continuing development of the region’s ocean technology sector,” said Glenn Blackwood, MUN VP (Marine Institute). MUN (1) | MUN (2) (NL)

CIHR funding supports health research projects across Canada

Health researchers across Canada have received funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR). This funding supports 330 principal investigators in designing and conducting health-related research projects. Among these projects, York University has been awarded $368K to support two mental health research projects; two University of Saskatchewan research teams have been awarded $400K to support research on mental health projects; $5.76M has been awarded to seven members of Queen’s University’s Faculty of Health Sciences; and $15M has been awarded to 22 University of British Columbia research projects. CIHR | Queen’s | UBC | YorkU | USask (National)

Western, WLU experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks

Western University and Wilfred Laurier University are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks in student residence buildings. Four students at Western’s London Hall have tested positive and are in isolation, with some of their close contacts moved to quarantine locations. Western is working with the Middlesex-London Health Unit to do contact tracing and to identify students who should be tested or quarantined. Two floors of WLU’s Clara Conrad Hall residence are experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. Public Health requires that residents of both floors isolate for two weeks. Both institutions emphasize that they are supporting their students throughout the COVID-19 outbreaks. Western | WLU (ON)

GPRC creates Workforce Advisory Council to help connect training with industry

Grande Prairie Regional College has created a 20-member Workforce Advisory Council that will help GPRC connect with industry needs. The council, which is informed by GPRC’s strategic priorities, recommendations from the Alberta Colleges’ Economic Recovery Task Force, and the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs Report, will focus on meeting industry needs, integrating skills development in established and emerging industries. “The creation of the Workforce Advisory Council is an essential next step for GPRC to support the regional and provincial economic recovery,” said Robert Murray, President of GPRC. “Through the work of the Council, GPRC will develop greater alignment of its programs and courses by identifying the workforce needs of the region, and producing a career ready workforce.” GPRC (AB)

Co-curricular pathways can improve student retention: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions should use co-curricular pathways to improve student retention, says Terry Vaughan III, as this can significantly improve student retention through the use of high-impact experiences. He describes how co-curricular transcripts can be used to track co-curricular activities and show what students have learned during their studies, which can help students see the value of their degree. “Retention inherently depends on structure and engagement, and co-curricular pathways can provide a vital institutional structure for creating engaging experiences for students of all academic, social and economic backgrounds,” said Vaughan. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Keyano cancels Arts Centre Project

Keyano College’s Board of Governors has cancelled an “Arts Centre Project that had previously been approved in November 2019, releasing the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) from their financial commitment. The international art gallery would have extended the Keyano Theatre space and provided flexible studio space. However, Keyano’s Board of Governors said that this is not the right time for this project to go forward. “Given the current situation with a global pandemic, the fiscal realities of the College, and the aftermath of the Fort McMurray Flood, there are other priorities that need to be addressed at this time,” said Dale Mountain, Keyano’s Interim President. “We feel the funds would be better utilized by the RMWB in other areas.” Keyano College | (AB)

BC NDP pledges new medical school at SFU Surrey Campus

As part of its election platform, the British Columbia NDP party has pledged a second medical school at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey Campus. The Prince George Citizen reports that the new medical school would be established in partnership with the Fraser Health Authority, and include a partnership with the First Nations Health Authority. However, expert Rita McCracken said that a second school producing more graduates may not be the solution to the shortage. “Despite us having seen drastically increased numbers for both medical students and family practice trainees, we have not seen a concordant decrease in people searching for a family doctor,” she said. Times Colonist | Prince George Citizen | (BC)