Top Ten

January 20, 2021

ON universities create fellowships for Indigenous and Black doctoral students

Six Ontario universities have partnered to create fellowships for Indigenous and Black doctoral students in the areas of engineering and technology. Those involved in the partnership include Queen’s University, McMaster University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, and Western University. The fellowship program aims to increase representation of Indigenous and Black students within STEM programs and to prepare them for careers as professors or industry researchers. Queen’s | U of T | Western (ON)

RDC, GPRC may not become universities as planned

CBC reports that Red Deer College and Grande Prairie Regional College may not transition to universities as previously planned, pending the results of the provincial system review. Reporter Janet French explains that though RDC and GPRC had been granted permission by the previous government to become universities, AB Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides is questioning “[w]hether or not they need to become a university.” CBC reports that the changes would be expensive, and that the colleges would not need to be classified as universities in order to grant degrees. Nicolaides also notes that if RDC is successful in adopting a “polytechnic university” model, they may “shed some of those programs that are needed by the local community, so I think we have to find the right balance.” CBC (AB)

Preprints and the spread of information about COVID-19: Alperin, Fleerackers

In a new article from The Conversation, Simon Fraser University Assistant Professor Juan Pablo Alperin and PhD Student Alice Fleerackers describe the challenges of publicizing unreviewed preliminary scientific research. Preprints, which are posted online without receiving formal verification from the scientific community, can share important information in an accessible and free format. However, since preprints are unreviewed, they can create confusion when read outside of the scientific community. Alperin and Fleerackers describe how this happened during the first months of COVID-19 where preprints received much more media coverage than normal. A study conducted by the authors shows that around half of the stories about preprints that they reviewed did not alert readers to the fact that the research was unverified. The article ends by highlighting the importance of responsible communication about preliminary research. The Conversation (National)

Lakeland receives $1.9M for two agricultural research programs

Lakeland College is receiving $1.9M from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and the Strategic Research and Development Program to take over two critical agriculture research programs in Alberta: the pulse agronomy program and the beef production system program. The investment will allow Lakeland to expand its research capacity in the pulse agronomy and beef production systems. The agreement is part of the Research Driven Agriculture Research to ensure farmer and rancher-led research. Lakeland | Alberta (AB)

McGill, partners launch Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre

McGill University has partnered with Bell Let’s Talk, The Neuro, and the Lady Davis Institute to launch the Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre (MMHRC). The MMHRC is an online resource that aims to improve the mental health of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds through making it easier to find resources. It includes practical tools, videos, and information in multiple languages for patients and their families; health care professionals; community organizations; and policy makers, planners, and administrators. “Addressing issues of language, culture, religion and other aspects of diversity, the MMHRC will promote greater equity in mental health care,” said MMHRC lead Dr Laurence Kirmayer, an international researcher in transcultural psychiatry. “Mental health is often viewed differently in different cultures, which requires culturally responsive approaches to meet the needs of those seeking help.” McGill (QC)

Loyalist launches Massage Therapy Ontario advanced diploma program

Loyalist College has launched a Massage Therapy Ontario college advanced diploma program at its Belleville campus. Students in the three-year diploma will learn through on-campus and clinical placements. Graduates will have knowledge in a variety of areas, including massage treatment plans, business principles, and plans of care. “Our new Massage Therapy program responds to the surge in physical and mental health requirements, which are exacerbating the current shortage of massage therapists,” said Loyalist President Dr Ann Marie Vaughan. “As Loyalist College expands its health and wellness programming and applied research projects, we will continue to support our region through new innovative learning spaces and career-ready graduates who are committed to community care.” Loyalist (ON)

UWindsor, Air Canada partner to provide affordable flights for international students

The University of Windsor has partnered with Air Canada to give international students the ability to fly to Canada. The agreement will give students access to promotional rates on Air Canada’s flights, making travel more affordable. “We are delighted to have entered into a partnership that helps our students travel to Canada, especially given the changing international travel landscape,” said Chris Busch, UWindsor associate VP for enrolment management. “Co-operation between the University of Windsor and Air Canada will facilitate the flight booking process while offering exclusive promotional rates for our students as they start their educational journey.” UWindsor (ON)

Cegeps see course “incompletes” rise, fewer failures

The Journal de Montréal reports that an increased number of cegep students are requesting “incompletes” for their classes. During COVID-19, institutions have temporarily waived the need for students to fill out a medical form to apply for incomplete status. The article explains how eight cegeps have seen a dramatic increase in students requesting incompletes for a variety of different reasons, including contracting COVID-19, having a poor internet connection, or experiencing mental health concerns. However, cegeps have also seen far fewer course failures. The article explains that students who have chosen to request an incomplete will have to retake the entire course. Journal de Montréal (QC)

Boréal launches new battery electric vehicle maintenance course

Collège Boréal has announced the launch of a new course on the maintenance of battery electric vehicles. The course, which is the first of three components of the training, will be offered online and will take 40 hours to complete. Students will be introduced to a variety of different topics, including basic knowledge about battery electric vehicles and workplace safety. “Collège Boréal is proud to be the first college to offer training in maintenance of battery electric vehicles,” said Boréal Director of Business Development Julie Nadeau. “This customized training was developed in collaboration with several partners: businesses that use these vehicles as well as their manufacturers. It will certainly bolster skills and provide a qualified workforce in a field that is increasingly vital for mining companies.” Boréal (ON)

Dal launches part-time Dental Hygiene degree

Dalhousie University’s School of Dental Hygiene has launched a Bachelor of Dental Hygiene. The two-year, part-time degree allows practicing dental hygienists to continue their education while working. Students in the BDH program participate in teaching first-year dental hygiene students and in outreach activities that promote oral health in different settings. They additionally complete a research project as part of the degree. “The BDH really is a stepping-stone to new avenues for dental hygiene students,” said Dr Leigha Rock, director of the School of Dental Hygiene. “And it helps to bolster our profession. Students with the BDH can go on to masters and other degree programs. To think that we have increased accessibility to these opportunities for a whole new group of people is so exciting.” Dal (NS)