Top Ten

February 26, 2021

Canadian universities work towards UN Sustainable Development Goals

Moira MacDonald explores how Canadian universities are embracing and applying the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs include topics such as ending poverty and hunger, reducing inequality, and taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. “The SDG project is an all-of-society challenge,” said Jean Andrey, dean of the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment and chair of the 44-member Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Canada. “Universities are so well-positioned to play an important role because of their research strength and because of the way we help to shape future leaders.” The article highlights the efforts in recent years of several institutions across Canada. University Affairs (National)

Sudbury community, leaders concerned about impacts of Laurentian’s restructuring

Members of the Sudbury community and city leadership have expressed concern about how Laurentian University’s restructuring will impact them. An article from the Sudbury Star says the lack of provincial funding for Laurentian and other universities has been an ongoing problem, and warns that Sudbury will be significantly impacted by the restructuring. “Since the Ford government is choosing to do nothing to support Laurentian, my community is now at risk of losing hundreds of jobs in the middle of a pandemic,” said Sudbury MPP Jamie West. Sudbury’s city councillors have sent a letter to the province asking for funding to “stabilize Laurentian University's operations” and requesting that ON review the funding models of other universities. “I think Laurentian University has brought to light the fact that the funding for our post-secondary institutions is inadequate,” said Councillor Robert Kirwan. The Sudbury Star | CBC (National)

Postsecondary institutions should be collecting data on LGBTQ+ groups: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions need to carefully collect data on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, writes Ken Chatoor, a senior researcher at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The author explains that the data collected for LGBTQ+ students in the K-12 sector shows differences in educational success, but that the data that could be used to help improve success rates for LGBTQ+ students in PSE is either not collected or is not collected consistently and accurately. The article describes some of the challenges with terminology, including how terms like sex, gender, and trans/transgender can be used inconsistently or improperly. Chatoor calls for postsecondary institutions to collect more administrative data and to use available resources to structure questions meaningfully. HEQCO (National)

UAlberta’s MD AIDE program expands to all people from underrepresented groups

The University of Alberta’s MD Admissions Initiative for Diversity and Equity (MD AIDE) program, which provides mentorship, tutoring, and a three-month prep course for the medical college admission test, is expanding its eligibility to more groups. CBC reports that any students who have been underrepresented in medical schools, including people of colour, students with disabilities, immigrants, and those from rural areas, are now eligible to access the program. “Given current events around the world, that was one of the biggest factors in helping us to make our case for expanding our target demographic this year and just kind of broadening it to say that we’re here for anybody who falls into that underrepresented category,” said Prachi Shah, MD AIDE co-lead and second-year medical student. CBC (AB)

Institutions investigate allegations of racism in campus and surrounding communities

Several Canadian institutions have recently issued statements and/or taken action to address racist comments and posts from members of their community. Nova Scotia Community College announced that is investigating an incident in the classroom that involved “racist language used by a member of the community” who is now “no longer with the College.” Mount Allison University has initiated its internal review processes after receiving complaints about a faculty member’s blog. The leaders of Brescia University College, Fanshawe College, Huron University College, King’s University College, and Western University also issued a joint statement against acts of racism in the city following an incident involving a restaurant in London. NSCC | CBC (MtA) | King’s UC (Joint Statement) (National)

CBU, Loyalist, StFX to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics

Cape Breton University, Loyalist College, and St Francis Xavier University have announced that they will host COVID-19 vaccination clinics. CBU has announced that vaccines will be offered at the Canada Games Complex starting with people who are 80 years and older. Loyalist’s gym and dining hall will be the location of a vaccination clinic for high-risk health care workers and those who work in long-term care homes as part of Ontario’s Phase One of the vaccine rollout. StFX has announced that they expect to host a vaccination clinic within the Bloomfield Centre, and to remain a vaccination centre until the vaccination rollout is complete. CBU | StFX | 91X FM (Loyalist) (National)

Heritage students, staff warn that caps on English language cegep could backfire

Students and staff at Cégep Heritage College in Gatineau are expressing concern over the Quebec government’s reform of the French Language Charter, which may see seats in English language cegeps capped. The article says that though the intended purpose of this move would be to keep Francophone students in French schools, it could drive students who want to expand their employment opportunities to pursue education at private schools or to leave the province altogether. “There’s no suggestion that they lose their language or their culture with attending [an English-language CEGEP] for two or three years….” said Leslie Elliott, chair of the faculty association at Heritage. “In fact, what they seem to be gaining are employable skills.” CBC (QC)

Holland launches pilot program to waive tuition fees for people who spent time in care

Holland College has announced a pilot project that will allow students who have spent time in foster care to access free education. Students of any age who are residents of PEI and have spent at least 24 months in foster care are eligible to have their program’s tuition and fees waived. The program will support students who have previously spent time in care in gaining education as they transition to adulthood. “[W]e thought that we were uniquely situated here at the college to help them with those transitions,” said Holland College president Sandy MacDonald. CBC says that the program is the first of its kind in PEI. CBC | Holland (PEI)

Ryerson’s School of Journalism temporarily removes “Ryerson” from magazine name

Ryerson University’s School of Journalism’s magazine, previously known as the Ryerson Review of Journalism, has announced that it will temporarily be removing “Ryerson” from its name. The school of journalism will be reviewing the use of Egerton Ryerson’s name, given the founder’s role in influencing the creation of Canada’s residential school system. The magazines will be known as the () Review of Journalism, the Review, or the () RJ until the end of the winter semester. “The Review’s mission is to probe the quality of journalism in Canada,” the masthead said in a written statement. “One of the central tenets of our mission is to ‘foster critical thinking about, and accountability within, the industry.’ This means we must also foster critical thinking and accountability within our own publication.” The Star (CP) (ON)

Teaching a semester-long course focused on a single text: Opinion

Teaching a course based on just one book provides an opportunity for students to slow down and develop their skills, writes Christopher Schaberg. The article discusses seven reasons why using a single-book approach in a class can be beneficial. Schaberg explains that this method teaches students to slow down, focus, and learn to do close reading, and adds that it can teach students to work through boredom while providing an opportunity to revitalize the class for the instructor. “I highly recommend adopting a single-text model,” writes Schaberg. “Your students will pick up on the energy and excitement of doing something different, more slowly.” Inside Higher Ed (International)