Top Ten

December 11, 2020

UCalgary’s AINA establishes food production facility at KLRS

The University of Calgary’s Arctic Institute of North America has established an off-grid hydroponic food production facility at its Kluane Lake Research Station. The facility is predominantly solar powered and is adapted to be efficient in the sub-arctic temperatures. During peak production, the facility is expected to produce over 2,000 kilograms of produce, which will be sold in local communities. The project will enable researchers to study the viability of producing food in this way in remote locations. “Remote and northern communities often have few fresh food options available, especially during the winter,” said Henry Penn, project co-lead and KLRS manager. “In this containerized unit, we will grow a variety of fresh produce throughout the year, even in the winter months, which is particularly exciting.” UCalgary (AB)

Algonquin receives $2.5M to lead pandemic-related training program for Indigenous youth

Algonquin College, through $2.5M in COVID-19-related funding from the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, will be leading a program to help up to 275 Indigenous youth gain hands-on training and employment skills related to the pandemic. Algonquin will fund a number of organizations that will support Indigenous youth across Canada through training and development programs and work placement on projects that generally reflect community response to the pandemic. “This is a welcome opportunity at a very difficult time for everyone,” said Ron (Deganadus) McLester, Algonquin Vice President of Truth, Reconciliation & Indigenization. “It is quite interesting and very telling that half of the partner communities are focussing on sustainability and food security, reflecting a very real need on First Nations.” Algonquin (ON)

UWindsor receives $3.12M from ON for campus upgrades

The University of Windsor has received $3.12M from the Ontario government for campus upgrades. UWindsor will use the funds on roof replacements, campus security and accessibility upgrades, classroom upgrades and gender-neutral washrooms, and renovations to façades. “Providing a world-class education depends on both the best possible instruction and ensuring the physical environment for learning that encourages collaboration and innovation,” said UWindsor president Robert Gordon. “All of these projects will have a significant impact on campus renewal at the University of Windsor, and will greatly benefit our students, staff, and faculty.” UWindsor | CBC (ON)

How unconventional approaches to book reviews can enhance scholarly engagement: Opinion

Book reviews can be a place to experiment and innovate in form, structure, and content, writes Letitia Henville in response to a question about whether writing book reviews is worth the effort. The author explains that while it can be useful to follow the pattern of a conventional book review, this approach does not necessarily further scholarly conversations. The author discusses how unconventional or creative book reviews – such as collaborations, interviews or responses from authors, and “remixes” – are more likely to lead to scholarly engagement. Writers can innovate in form, structure, and content while still giving readers the information they seek about a text. “Don’t take the sausage-factory approach – that form of book review is mere deadwood on your CV,” writes Henville. University Affairs (National)

SLC granted permission to accept applicants toward stand-alone nursing degree program

St Lawrence College has been granted permission to accept applicants to a new, stand-alone Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, with the caveat that the program receives final approval from the Canadian Nursing Organization. SLC received approval without conditions from the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB) following a site visit and robust quality assurance review. “This achievement, without conditions, is rare and shows that our curriculum is deemed exceptional, and that our program supports, and services are outstanding,” said SLC President Glenn Vollebregt. “It’s been many years of advocacy and I am thrilled by this news; I’m so proud of our college and excited for our students.” The PEQAB approval is for a period of seven years. SLC (ON)

URegina launches new initiatives to support children, youth, caregivers during COVID-19

The University of Regina is launching new initiatives for the well-being of children and youth. A URegina researcher will receive $400K for the Northern Prairie Spirit Youth Cultural Continuity Project. Through the project, researchers will seek to understand issues of violence and bullying and develop culturally-sensitive prevention practices. URegina’s Child Trauma Research Centre has launched a Digital Connections Hub that will provide support to children, youth, families, and service-providers during the pandemic. These supports will include child well-being research and resources, access to content addressing the needs of children, and support tools for those working with children. The hub will allow service providers to share, access, and apply best practices in order to support young people based on evidence-based research. URegina (1) | URegina (2) (SK)

Using breakout rooms productively: Opinion

Teaching using breakout rooms on Zoom does not have to be painfully awkward, writes Beth McMurtrie. The author covers some of the main issues people have with breakout rooms, and discusses a variety of techniques instructors can use – such as adding clear roles, specific tasks, and time limits – to strategically design breakout rooms to be effective. The article suggests assigning students to particular roles within the group and changing these assignments occasionally. McMurtie discusses how using a shared document can help instructors follow along with groups without the awkwardness of unexpectedly “popping in” to a breakout room. Additionally, the article discusses choosing ideal group sizes, giving groups different assignments, and ensuring that breakout rooms are an appropriate length. Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

Lakehead to launch modules on Truth and Reconciliation

Lakehead University has announced that it will be launching eight modules on Truth and Reconciliation for its campus community. Four modules will be launched online this December with the intent of encouraging discussions about social inclusion, Indigenous culture, and holistic approaches to dialogue. The modules are created to be specifically relevant to Lakehead’s geographies and the Indigenous territories on which the campus is situated. “The pandemic has prompted many changes in how we interact and how we will continue to do so in the future,” said Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Lakehead Chair on Truth and Reconciliation. “A response to either crisis or opportunity has gifted us with a flexible approach to beginning and sustaining a different kind of dialogue.” Lakehead (ON)

SFU, UBC, CapilanoU, UVic extend winter break

Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, Capilano University, and the University of Victoria have extended their winter breaks for students. All four institutions have extended their winter breaks until January 11. SFU, CapilanoU, and UVic noted that the semester will end several days later. The extension is meant to give students and staff extra time to rest and prepare for the next semester. “Senate made the decision to extend the winter break to support student wellness during the pandemic,” says UVic Acting Vice-Provost Susan Lewis. “It also provides valuable time for our faculty and instructors to prepare for their courses.” UVic | CBC (BC)

Leader of inquiry into U of T’s hiring resigns

Bonnie Patterson has resigned as the leader of the inquiry into the University of Toronto’s cancelled hiring of a new director of the International Human Rights Program. The Globe and Mail says that this is the second significant shift in the inquiry. U of T President Meric Gertler said that Patterson resigned after doubts were raised about “the credibility of the report she was to have prepared,” but that both Gertler and Patterson do not “accept the validity of these claims.” David Robinson, executive director of the CAUT, said that “it appears the university is responding to serious gaps in the review and the ongoing mishandling of the matter.” The inquiry will be led by former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell. Globe and Mail (Subscriber) (ON)