Top Ten

January 18, 2021

CAUT signs San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has announced that it has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). The DORA international initiative supports best practices in assessing scholarly research, focusing heavily on avoiding overreliance on journal-based metrics when making hiring, promotion, and funding decisions. “High quality research is multifaceted, can reflect varying types of knowledge and ways of knowing and must be assessed on its own merit,” said CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith. “Academic staff associations are urged to improve the way in which the quality of research output is evaluated and to bargain for language in their collective agreements that protects their members against the use of performance metrics.” CAUT (National)

SPU launches two graduate programs in social innovation and transformative leadership

Saint Paul University has launched two graduate programs in the areas of social innovation and transformative leadership. Students in the Doctorate in Social Innovation will gain “conceptual tools and research opportunities that will enable them to analyze contemporary social problems, conceptualize structural changes and plan possible paths to achieve real social transformations.” The Graduate Diploma in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality provides an opportunity for participants to enhance and develop leadership skills and practice social transformation. Credits earned through the graduate diploma will also count toward an MA in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality. SPU (ON)

McGill, Alimentation Couche-Tard launch retail innovation lab

McGill University has partnered with Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc to launch a retail innovation lab store to test frictionless technologies. The lab’s frictionless technologies allow customers to enter the Couche-Tard Connecté section using an app, pick up items, and have payment for these items processed through the app. Researchers will be able to gain insight on customer patterns through using artificial intelligence, and will work to improve the shopping experience through virtual reality. “As society progresses into our ‘new normal’ of physical distancing,” said Saibal Ray, Academic Director of the Bensadoun School of Retail Management, “it is increasingly important for researchers and students to study the evolving shopping experience of the future.” McGill | Journal de Montréal (QC)

Retiring during COVID-19: Opinion

“We of the current retiring class leave academe at what seems like an inflection point,” writes Patrick Scanlon upon retiring during COVID-19. The author describes how most instructors have “retired” in a way behind plexiglass or through teaching through Zoom. Scanlon says that the separation from campus due to the pandemic has sharpened his feelings about retirement and made him realize how much he will miss the physical aspects of education. “I think the experiment is demonstrating how badly we need those physical realities of the educational enterprise -- how much we miss them,” writes Scanlon. “How much I’ll miss them after finally, at the close of this semester and of my career, I’ll turn in my final grades and say goodbye … by hitting Enter.” Inside Higher Ed (International)

Canadian PSE launch new supports to improve diversity in programs and initiatives

Postsecondary institutions are launching initiatives to help financially support minorities who are pursuing postsecondary education. Canada Life has invested $250K at Brescia University College to support “non-traditional” students with the goal of increasing diversity and women’s leadership. $100K will be used for scholarships and bursaries, while the remainder will be support faculty and program development and research. McMaster University’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has created the NSBE McMaster Chapter Entrance award to provide funding for first-year Black students who have demonstrated leadership skills and community contributions. Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick will award recruitment grants to male students who are in predominantly female health care fields. Canada Life | McMaster | CCNB (National)

BrandonU expands work-integrated learning opportunities

Brandon University has announced that is it expanding the number of departments offering work experiences. The release explains that this expansion means that “almost every single student” will have had an opportunity for work experience before graduation. Through the expansion, more students will be able to develop their talent and improve their future career outcomes while gaining work experience in their field. “We are building BU into Manitoba’s top experience university,” said Dr Steve Robinson, VP (Academic & Provost) at BrandonU. “We now offer the most comprehensive list of Arts department majors with Co-operative Education in the province. That is because experience in the workforce cements the lessons of the classroom, and helps students network for their future careers; it is learning and earning.” BrandonU (MB)

Taking on the role of leading a struggling department: Opinion

Denise K Magner describes strategies new administrators can use when they find that they have stepped into a struggling department or organization rather than their dream job. The author recommends owning the mess rather than distancing yourself from it, using “us” rather than “you” to show you are committed to the organization and making improvements, and highlighting what is working in the department. Finally, Magner writes that sharing data and facts about the situation gives colleagues the information they need to understand the need for change. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

Durham, NorQuest, Okanagan deliver medical cannabis course

Durham College, NorQuest College, and Okanagan College have partnered to deliver a Medical Cannabis Essentials for Health Professionals course. The two-day course will be taught live online, and will focus on helping participants understand the use of medical cannabis as a part of client-centred care. The course will cover a variety of topics related to medical cannabis treatment plans, and will equip medical professionals with practical information about dosing, titration, client risk factors, and the views of regulatory bodies. Durham’s School of Professional and Part-time Learning will deliver the course, and those who complete it will receive a digital badge. Durham | NorQuest (National)

RDC launches ESL to Health Care Aide program

Red Deer College has launched a 52-week ESL to Health Care Aide program that will enable English language learners to study toward a Health Care Aide Certificate while developing English skills. Students in the program will spend 14 weeks developing reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills in English, with the remaining 36 weeks dedicated to the program’s academic and practical components. The program will cover a variety of healthcare topics, such as the human body, communication and documentation, and person-centred care, and will include hands-on labs and in-person clinical placements. Graduates will be prepared to work in environments such as hospitals, homes, and care facilities. RDC | Red Deer Advocate (AB)

Tips for preparing for a new term of pandemic instruction: Opinion

Frances B Henderson offers three tips to help prepare BIPOC instructors for the semester. The author encourages faculty to revisit and revise their courses with what worked last semester in mind, while re-evaluating what material needs to be covered and what assessments need to be made to meet institutional goals. Henderson encourages faculty to avoid “reinventing the wheel” during online course development. She further suggests preparing for a classroom experience that might include discussions around race, gender, and social justice, especially in American classrooms given the current political climate. Finally, the article encourages instructors to keep their classes simple, flexible, and engaging for students. Inside Higher Ed (International)