Top Ten

January 22, 2021

Attracting and retaining talent in a changing international environment: Gertler

An article by University of Toronto President Meric Gertler examines the challenges that Joe Biden’s administration presents to Canada’s ability to attract and retain talent. Gertler explains that while Trump’s policies and Britain’s Brexit agenda have encouraged talented people to come to Canada, “the playing field is already shifting” as Brexit resolves and Biden comes to power. The article discusses ways to attract and retain talent, such as ensuring Canada offers opportunity; creating a funded, co-ordinated “talent moonshot” to recruit talent; or making major investments in R&D. “[W]e need a comprehensive strategy to maintain and enhance Canada’s talent advantage,” writes Gertler. “Our future prosperity depends on our capacity to invest in people, communities and opportunity.” The Globe and Mail (Subscription required) (National)

UAlberta establishes Chair in Forest Growth & Yield

The University of Alberta has announced that its Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) has established a $4.125M endowed Chair in Forest Growth & Yield. The chair will focus on the growth and yield of Alberta’s forests, the management of timber harvesting, and educating forestry professionals. “We need to answer questions like how can we model what the future yield will be, and how can we predict what we will gain through different management approaches like thinning forests or using genetically improved material?” said Ellen Macdonald, head of the Department of Renewable Resources at UAlberta. “We also want to understand how we can use data from emerging technologies, such as remote sensing, to better model how the forest is growing.” UAlberta (AB)

East coast institutions moving towards in-person classes, support services

Postsecondary institutions in eastern Canada are considering the transition back to in-person services and classes. Most students are back at Holland College after PEI’s Chief Public Health Office approved the return to in-person classes. CBC reports that students are excited about their in-person classes and are finding them more productive. Memorial University has announced that most of its staff will return to campus on February 1st, a move that does not apply to students. In Quebec, “intensive” discussions between QC Premier François Legault and health specialist Dr Horacio Arruda have focused on students returning to in-person classes. While public health has not approved a return to class, Journal de Montréal reports that a decision could come after lockdown ends. CBC (PEI) | CBC (NL) | Journal de Montréal (NL | PEI | QC)

Brock launches Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice program

Brock University is launching a Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice (FPAC) program. The program will draw from courses and research from the Departments of Psychology, Political Science, and Child and Youth Studies to cover why people become involved in crime and how institutions respond to this involvement. “Rather than assuming that a behaviour or a system’s response to behaviour stems from any one factor or perspective, FPAC is premised on the idea that factors across disciplines are required in order to provide more nuanced, critical and complex understandings of behaviour and responses,” said Psychology Professor Angela Book. Brock says that this program is unique in Canada. Brock (ON)

Concordia launches Humanities+ career preparation program

Concordia University has launched a Humanities+ program that is designed to help undergraduates in Humanities-based programs better prepare for meaningful careers after graduation. Students in the Humanities+ program will complete zero-credit courses that cover topics such as digital presentations, professional communications, and job search and interview strategies. Students will also take part in a work-integrated learning experience that will allow them to develop their skills within a workplace and network in a professional context. “This initiative supports our students in that all-important transition from the academic context to the workforce,” says Sandra Gabriele, Concordia’s vice-provost of innovation in teaching and learning. “Closing the gap in the first five years of employment for humanities graduates is critical.” Concordia (QC)

BCIT BMET program receives TAC accreditation

The British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Biomedical Engineering Technology (BMET) Diploma program has received national accreditation from Technology Accreditation Canada (TAC). Graduates of the accredited program are able to expedite their certification through Canadian certifying bodies, including the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC, allowing them to become registered biomedical engineering technologists in other regions of Canada. “This national accreditation is significant to our program as it allows our graduates to be registered as biomedical engineering technologists in other provinces,” explains Anthony Chan, BCIT Program Head, Biomedical Engineering Technology program. “It is also an acknowledgement that our graduates have acquired recognized skills and knowledge to practice in the profession.” BCIT (BC)

Dal launches graduate professional development program

Dalhousie University has launched the Dal GradPD program, which facilitates professional development for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The program allows students to access workshops and events that will develop their professional skills and support their future careers. The program focuses on four pillars: Communication, Career Intelligence, Health and Wellbeing, and Leadership. Students will build skills in a variety of areas, such as teamwork, time management, project management, and teaching. Students also have the option of working toward a certificate by creating a development plan and choosing workshops and hands-on experiences that will help them achieve their goals. Dal (NS)

BVC announces rebrand that highlights roots, advancements

Bow Valley College has rebranded itself to enter a new era. The rebranding highlights BVC’s roots and the advancements it has made in education. The new logo’s five icons represent respect, creativity, inclusion, resilience, and teamwork, depicted in the form of an abstracted landscape. “Bow Valley College has grown very quickly, adding many great programs covering every kind of career or industry you can imagine,” said Mario Siciliano, VP External at BVC. “We want to make sure that everyone knows that, and knows how excited we are about our future.” BVC (AB)

HEC Montréal establishes Canada CIFAR Chair in Artificial Intelligence

HEC Montréal has established a Canada CIFAR Chair in Artificial Intelligence with $1M funding over five years. The research chair will focus on the study of artificial intelligence, with a focus on fairness in machine learning, and will be held by assistant professor Golnoosh Farnadi. “Nowadays, automated systems based on AI algorithms are being used in a lot of domains and we trust those systems to make fair objective decisions,” said Farnadi. “The reality is that they discriminate and this is mainly because the data we use to train our machine learning models very often reflect the inequalities of our society. My interest is to develop AI tools that are responsible and trustworthy.” HEC Montréal (QC)

Benefits of using rich transcripts: Cutler

Students need transcripts that more accurately describe classes and the skills learned in them, writes Fred Cutler, an associate professor of political science at the University of British Columbia. The author explains that simply including co- and extracurricular experiences on a transcript is not enough; students need “rich transcripts” to present themselves well to employers. Cutler describes the process of designing a rich transcript for students at UBC's political science department, including how the institution gathered data about courses, used this data to create the transcripts, and surveyed student reactions. The author concludes by outlining the steps that the department plans to pursue in the future. Inside Higher Ed (National)