Top Ten

November 2, 2020

TRU to submit plans for unique early years hub

Thompson Rivers University is planning to centralize its early childhood education program, research, and non-profit day-care services into one building. The three components are currently located across TRU’s campus, but the new centre will bring them together in a unique way, creating an early years learning hub in British Columbia’s interior. TRU will be submitting an application for the project to Kamloops council in November. “It’s like this perfect community of practitioners, children themselves, those who are learning to be teachers and researchers,” said TRU dean of faculty of education and social work Airini. “It’s that combination of teaching, research, practice, which makes it available for informing policy and for helping our community develop in really good ways.” Kamloops This Week (BC)

Canada announces funding for COVID-19 research and development projects

The Government of Canada has announced that the National Research Council of Canada will support a number of COVID-19 related research programs under its Pandemic Response Challenge program. Three universities will receive funding through the program, which supports research and development that meets specific needs identified by Canadian health experts. The University of British Columbia will receive $147K for a contactless sensors project, and OCAD University will receive $150K to develop guidelines and functionalities for virtual care software. The University of Toronto will receive $200K for two projects: $100K will support a project focused on rapid COVID-19 tests, and the other $100K will support a project focused on visual detection of SARS-CoV-2. Canada (National)

UOttawa, support staff reach tentative agreement

The University of Ottawa and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) have reached a tentative agreement that could end UOttawa’s support staff strike . This tentative agreement was reached after a mediator joined the talks on Wednesday. Staff have been directed to go back to work until union members are able to vote on the deal. No information on the deal has been released, and the date for the vote is still unknown. CBC | Ottawa Citizen (ON)

ACAC explores expansion into eSports

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) is exploring expansion into eSports through running a pilot online eSports program. The pilot eSports competition is sponsored by ACAC and will take place in November 2020. The program could include participants from 17 or more postsecondary institutions in Alberta. “Discussions about hosting an ACAC sponsored eSports competition have occurred in the past however conditions created by the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions accelerated ACAC planning,” writes ACAC. “This is a pilot project to evaluate interest amongst the post-secondary student population and additional events may be scheduled in the future based upon the outcome of a post-event review.” Portage College (AB)

UManitoba faculty hold strike vote, students fear repercussions

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) will be holding a strike vote over the latest contract’s wage re-opener clause. UMFA president Michael Shaw says that faculty feel they must hold a strike vote because of their concerns, but that they do not want to strike because of pandemic complications and challenges for students. CBC reports that UManitoba students have also raised concerns regarding a potential strike, saying a faculty strike would exacerbate the stress faced by students already facing isolation and mental health issues due to the pandemic. In response to the possibility of a strike, the University of Manitoba Students’ Union plans to poll students on what they would like to see done if faculty go on strike. CBC | Global (MB)

Aurora College to become Aurora University

Aurora College will become Aurora University in 2025. Aurora College has released its implementation plan, which outlines four areas of specialization: skilled trades and technology; earth resources and environmental management; northern health, education and community services; and business and leadership. CBC reports that specific details, such as where the main campus will be and what courses will be offered, have not yet been determined. Chris Joseph, NWT government director of Aurora College transformation, said that a key priority of the transition is supporting “social and economic development, but within that, ensuring that northerners are first in line for jobs in [the] Northwest Territories, addressing labour demand that ensures our businesses and industries are successful in the N.W.T.” CBC (NWT)

UWaterloo proposes plans for innovative health facility in Kitchener

The University of Waterloo, in partnership with the city of Kitchener, has proposed a new 90,000 square foot innovation health facility. The facility, to be located in a repurposed UWaterloo-owned building on its Health Sciences Campus, would cost approximately $35M to complete and would focus on solving health challenges through technology and innovation. The proposed facility would house UWaterloo’s Velocity incubator program and a multi-use biosafety, clinical, instrumentation, product development, and wet lab space. It will also house some of UWaterloo’s health-related, interdisciplinary research, as well as the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre. CBC (ON)

McMaster uncovers systemic anti-Black racism in athletics culture

McMaster University has completed a Systemic Review of the Black Student-Athlete Experience and the McMaster Athletics Climate, which has uncovered “extremely concerning experiences” faced by Black student athletes. Current and former McMaster student athletes and McMaster staff participated in the review. CBC reports that the review describes a variety of racist incidents, including racial slurs and derogatory comments directed at Black student athletes. “I view this process as an exercise in understanding,” said lead reviewer Ivan Joseph. “Together, our job is to use this as an opportunity for learning, for expanding the way we think, and for seeing more clearly, more deeply, more broadly.” An action plan to implement the report’s recommendations has already been launched by McMaster’s Dean of Students and AVP Students. Daily News | CBC (ON)

QuestU to sell campus, lease buildings back

Quest University has announced it will be selling its campus and leasing back the buildings following an agreement with Primacorp Ventures Inc. The university announced its campus was for sale in September, after entering into financial protection in January of this year. The release states that QuestU will continue to offer its unique programming and preserve its needs regarding student housing and environmental integrity. “Over months of conversations, it’s become clear that Primacorp is truly enthusiastic about the Quest program and is committed to seeing our university thrive,” said QuestU president George Iwama. Squamish Chief (BC)

Carleton launches PANL Perspectives platform

Carleton University has launched a new platform, PANL Perspectives, through its master and graduate diploma programs in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (PNL). The platform will generate and curate “evidence-based resources and insights about philanthropy and non-profit leadership,” and will contain resources that inform students about Canada’s charitable sector. Articles on the platform include topics such as leadership and governance, social justice and change, public policy, fundraising, and social finance. “The intention behind PANL Perspectives is tied to our approach in delivering the PNL programs,” said Calum Carmichael, interim supervisor and professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA). Carleton (ON)