Top Ten

October 21, 2020

Queen’s to rename Sir John A. Macdonald Hall

Queen’s University will rename its Sir John A. Macdonald Hall after a two-month public consultation process. Dean Mark Walters said that the name was sending a conflicting message about the “values and aspirations of the current law school,” and emphasized that changing the name takes action to address systemic racism. “This decision is grounded in the university’s present-day academic mission and commitment to honour the values of equity, diversity, and inclusivity and to ensure all students, faculty, and staff feel welcome within the Queen’s community,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “It also supports our commitment to take action to address systemic racism and ensure every member of our community may enjoy the benefits of our institution equally.” Queen’s | The Whig | CBC (ON)

UoGuelph’s Ridgetown Campus receives provincial funding for new building

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has given $6.5M to the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus for the construction of a new field crop services building. The building will serve as a research and learning for space students, and bring the university’s crop sample receiving, processing, and storage facilities together in one building. “As Canada’s food university, the University of Guelph is committed to providing Ontario’s farmers with world-class research and on-farm solutions that promote crop health and productivity,” said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research). Construction of the 12,000-square-foot facility is set to be completed by spring 2022. ON | UoGuelph (ON )

UAlberta to expand agriculture research

The University of Alberta will receive funding over the next three years from the province’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The $3.7M will move several government research programs to the institution. The province hopes that the move will enhance the quality of the research and create valuable learning opportunities for students. In addition to the transfer of programs, the funding will support increased capacity for additional scientists and technicians within UAlberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences. “The agreement today brings together the collective expertise to strengthen research and discovery that will lead to tangible benefits, including a more abundant, lower-cost food supply for all Albertans, higher returns for farmers, and a higher quality of life for rural communities,” said UAlberta president Bill Flanagan. UAlberta | Edmonton Journal (AB)

HEC Montréal, IAE France partner on specialized immersive programs

HEC Montréal has partnered with IAE France to provide “Learning Expeditions,” or specialized immersive one-to-three-week intensive programs. Participants will attend workshops, lectures, and seminars on HEC Montréal’s campus to learn about the latest management issues. “Every program is carefully developed in co-operation with the partners and HEC Montréal professors, so that participants can benefit from a rewarding international experience and make progress toward their academic and career goals,” said Hassan Taghvaï, Executive Director, Development of International Partnerships at HEC Montréal. “This agreement will let us forge links with all IAE France members and offer this kind of intensive training to more participants.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Activities and Student Mobility team will offer a remote version of the programs for 2021. HEC Montréal (QC)

Sheridan exceeds campus greenhouse gas reduction goal ahead of schedule

Sheridan College has exceeded its sustainability goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 50% by 2030. As of 2020, the college has reached a 54% reduction of emissions. Sheridan is also using 35% less energy per student, has a 54% reduction in landfill wastes, and a 167% increase in recycling and organics. Sheridan has focused on constructing sustainable buildings, and engaging in community initiatives such as its Bike Hub and Community Garden Project. “Getting to this point has required investment in energy and waste infrastructure as well as changes to policies and practices,” said Sheridan’s Office for Sustainability report author Anna Pautler. “It also calls for a shift in campus culture through engagement from students, employees, internal and external vendors, and community members alike.” Sheridan (ON)

ACC receives $1M towards expanding agricultural training opportunities

Assiniboine Community College has received a $1M donation from Sunrise Credit Union to support and expand its agricultural training opportunities. The funding will be put towards its plans to build The Prairie Innovation Centre, which will provide space for more than 800 students to engage in hands-on training in agriculture, environment, and related technology programs. “The college has long focused on providing leadership in agriculture and this donation is a significant step toward this major undertaking in expanding training to meet current and emerging labour demands,” said ACC president Mark Frison. “The Prairie Innovation Centre brings the next generation of ag, environment and technology forward.” The college expects that the centre will cost a total of $10M. ACC | Brandon Sun (AB)

NorQuest, Students4Change create anti-black racism action plan

NorQuest and Students4Change have created an action plan to address systemic anti-black racism within the college. Students4Change met with NorQuest president Carolyn Campbell to discuss allegations of discriminatory behaviour by eight staff members, resulting in a joint news release announcing a plan to address anti-black racism. “As we review these additional allegations that have since been brought forward, we are ensuring due process and impartiality – including seeking external advice – is at the core of our action so that we can best listen to our community and work to address the concerns of BIPOC students,” wrote Campbell. Campbell also invites students with concerns to speak to whomever they feel comfortable with so that they can review these concerns. CBC (AB)

McGill creates jobs for students amid pandemic

McGill University will be providing work-integrated learning opportunities for 169 undergraduate and graduate students this fall with the support of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program and TECHNATION. Students will have the opportunity to work as Remote Learning Assistants and support instructors as they adapt to online teaching. “This provides much-needed support for professors to smoothly and fully leverage remote platforms, while creating skill-building employment opportunities for our students. It’s a win-win situation,” said McGill Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Fabrice Labeau. McGill (QC)

Canada’s postsecondary institutions to host virtual open houses

A number of institutions across the country are preparing to host their fall open houses virtually. Schools are using online event platforms in order to facilitate the experience, and are running the events over a number of days. On the west coast, Okanagan College will be conducting interactive Zoom presentations with prospective students. In Alberta, Lethbridge College will also be hosting Zoom sessions, while MacEwan University has planned self-guided virtual tours, information sessions, and virtual booths and chat rooms. In Ontario, Lakehead University is incorporating a “virtual backpack” that students can use to explore various exhibits to collect resources. Université du Québec à Montréal is also hosting webinars, chatrooms, and virtual tours, while Dawson College has scheduled chat sessions for individual services and programs. Okanagan | Lethbridge | MacEwan | Lakehead | Dawson | UQAM (National)

Rethinking how higher ed will function post-COVID-19: Opinion

Institutions should use the current crisis to rethink higher education in the face of constraints, writes Steven Mintz. The author proposes three challenges that institutions can take to improve their financial situations. Mintz’ business model challenge urges institutions to move towards a sustainable financial model through higher student retention, cost savings, and revenue enhancements. The student satisfaction challenge encourages institutions to work toward increasing student satisfaction through enhancing student experience. The author’s political challenge urges institutions to partner with other neighbouring institutions to share resources and support each other. “What we really need to do is the hard work of addressing higher education’s biggest challenges in a context of resource constraints,” wrote Mintz. Inside Higher Ed (International)