Top Ten

December 2, 2020

YorkU, African organizations partner on COVID-19 modeling project

York University researchers are partnering with organizations in Africa on the Predictive modeling and forecasting of the transmission of COVID-19 in Africa using Artificial Intelligence project. The project, which will receive funding of over $1.2M from the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC), will use artificial intelligence to predict and model the spread of COVID-19 in low and middle-income African countries. “This timely collaboration brings together York’s research strengths in disease modelling, global health, artificial intelligence and emergency management, with African AI and modelling expertise,” said Rhonda Lenton, president of YorkU. “It will allow our researchers to access the practical skills, perspectives and sensitivity that only local organizations can provide, enhancing outcomes and creating positive change in local communities.” YorkU (ON)

CNA to launch skills-based IT program

College of the North Atlantic has announced that it will launch an Information Technology Career Focus pilot program, which is supported through funding from the Future Skills Centre. The program, which is aimed at equity-seeking groups such as people with disabilities and women, will help participants develop technical skills in information technology through hands-on work experience. “This collaboration is an opportunity for CNA to meet the challenges of underrepresented groups in our region,” said CNA President Liz Kidd. “We are confident this program will also provide employers access to a local talent supply while building a more inclusive, accessible, diverse workforce in the Information and Communications Technology sector.” CNA (NL)

UAlberta, Tsinghua University renew research partnership

The University of Alberta and Tsinghua University in China have renewed their partnership focused on the Joint Centre for Future Energy and Environment. The centre allows Canadian and Chinese researchers to collaborate on environmental research that will reduce energy-driven greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainability. “Sharing our knowledge, research, and technology is one of the best ways for us to address the universal challenges we face — to help slow climate change and mitigate its effects — to transform our cities, protect our environments, and secure sustainable energy for people across the globe,” said UAlberta president Bill Flanagan. UAlberta (AB)

CICan releases white paper on the role of postsecondary institutions in resilient recovery

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has released a white paper describing the role postsecondary institutions can play in supporting Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery. The paper covers how institutions can support a recovery-ready workforce; drive innovation; support a sustainable, green recovery; and leverage their full potential. “Colleges and institutes are ideally placed to support Canadians and help their communities recover in the months ahead,” states CICan. “Through their deep community connections, their commitment to respond to the evolving needs of local stakeholders and employers, and their proven track-record in terms of skills development, they are poised to support a strong and sustainable economic recovery.” CICan | CICan (Report) (National)

Postsecondary institutions participate in Giving Tuesday initiatives

Several Canadian postsecondary institutions participated in Giving Tuesday initiatives to raise support for students experiencing food insecurity. In Nova Scotia, Mount Saint Vincent University, Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, St Francis Xavier University, Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Atlantic School of Theology, NSCAD University, and the University of King’s College collaborated on a project inspired by the J & W Murphy Foundation. The foundation provided each institution a minimum donation and offered to match additional funds raised. Centennial College also launched a campaign to help students who face housing and food security issues. In addition to seeking donations for the Student Emergency Fund, Centennial encouraged the community to participate in the “Love Notes to Centennial Students” social media campaign. MSVU (NS) | Centennial (National)

Reopening postsecondary institutions safely: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions must address safety challenges and risk mitigation using a variety of approaches as campuses reopen in 2021, write Karen Robinson and Anthony Rotoli. The authors provide four guiding principles that can help postsecondary institutions reopen safely. The article explains how including a COVID-19 addition on a campus code of conduct and enforcing clear consequences can set standards for students and maintain a safe environment. The authors write that institutions should structure committees and task forces in a way that will ensure that bureaucracy will not impede action. Additionally, the article describes how technology should be used to manage the process of opening campuses safely. “It is vital to look closely at campus policies and compliance processes, monitor and communicate with your campus communities to help mitigate risk and drive compliance,” write the authors. Inside Higher Ed (International)

USask students write letter to SK calling for better COVID-19 measures

Over 100 medical students from the University of Saskatchewan have signed an open letter to the Saskatchewan government asking that more measures be implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19. The letter calls for increased testing, more education about COVID-19, and better contact tracing once numbers are under control. Additionally, it calls for a shutdown of high-risk venues such as casinos and rinks. “I think we have an obligation to advocate on behalf of patients, but we are also citizens. We would like action,” said Shayan Shirazi, a second-year medical student. “We felt the need to outline our concerns, but also outline some solutions.” CBC (SK)

Humanities prepare students for a changing economy: Opinion

The role of the humanities in preparing students for a changing economy might be overlooked in Ontario’s new performance-based funding model, writes Robert Wright, a history professor at Trent University Durham. The author explains that postsecondary institutions have shifted toward training students in specific skillsets that will lead to employment. However, the author writes that humanities graduates find employment in a variety of fields, and develop significant employable skills, such as strong writing and communication and the ability to analyze data through their education. “One thing can be said with certainty,” writes Wright. “The introduction of Queen’s Park’s revolutionary SMAs may not be measuring what matters most when our 20-somethings enter a workforce in which they will be expected to adapt relentlessly.” Ottawa Citizen (ON)

UQAR Student Project Support Fund exceeds $2M

The University of Quebec at Rimouski’s Student Project Support Fund, which is funded by UQAR and voluntary student contributions, has exceeded $2M. Contributions to the Student Project Support Fund are invested back into students at the same campus who have initiated projects that will enrich their university careers. Students involved in these projects learn a variety of skills such as budget management, teamwork, and dealing with the unexpected through the management of their projects. The fund supports about 100 projects during the academic year. UQuebec (QC)

WLU, ULethbridge offer new courses in Indigenous issues

Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Lethbridge are offering new courses in Indigenous issues. WLU’s Gladue Principles: Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Criminal Justice System courses will teach students and professionals about the experiences of Indigenous peoples within Canada’s criminal justice system. ULethbridge’s Conversational Indigenization: Reconciling Reconciliation will allow students to learn terminology used in reconciliation and Indigenization, focusing on the business and governance perspectives. In addition to clarifying terms, the course will examine what addressing past wrongs and making amends might look like. WLU | ULethbridge (ON | AB)