Top Ten

March 4, 2021

Ryerson receives $2.5M for Indigenous Youth-Centered Justice Project

Ryerson University’s National Indigenous Courtworkers: Indigenous Youth-Centered Justice Project (IYJP) is receiving nearly $2.5M from the Government of Canada’s Department of Justice over five years to help improve outcomes for Indigenous youth who are both involved in the child welfare and the youth criminal justice systems. The funding will support IYJP’s efforts to reduce or eliminate custody for Indigenous youth, reduce time within the youth criminal justice system, and keep youth from moving into the adult system. “The Indigenous Youth-Centered Justice Project is a strong example of the power of partnership, and we look forward to working with Indigenous Courtworkers to seeing the project launched in additional provinces and territories,” said Ryerson President Dr. Mohamed Lachemi. CA (ON)

Niagara builds Cannabis Production Research Chamber

Niagara College has announced that it is building a Cannabis Production Research Chamber. The new facility, which will be located at the Daniel J Patterson Campus, will provide research space and will house equipment. The Research Chamber will provide space to grow crops, complete trials, and test a variety of technology including lighting and pest management. “The installation of the CannaResearchBunker will allow Niagara College to expand our trailblazing work with the cannabis industry,” said Dr Marc Nantel, Niagara VP, Research & External Relations. “With this dedicated cannabis research facility and access to state-of-the-art equipment, our staff and students can push forward our vision of being a globally recognized teaching, training and applied research institute.” Niagara (ON)

Indigenous, Black students, faculty experiencing structural issues in postsecondary institutions

Black and Indigenous students across Canada are continuing to experience racism and tokenism in higher education. An article from CBC explains that students, faculty, and staff have experienced anti-Black racism on Manitoba campuses and that structural inequalities have not been addressed in meaningful ways. “I think our leaders need to put new systems in place to hold our current systems accountable,” said University of Winnipeg student Keesha Harewood. The Star reports that Indigenous instructors’ work is also impeded by structural issues; while institutions are pushing to “Indigenize,” Indigenous faculty and leaders do not always feel supported, and poor screening of candidates can result in “ethnic fraud.” “That surface-level inclusion hasn’t really pushed colleges and universities to think deeply, critically and creatively about what it actually means to bring Indigenous people, students, communities, knowledge, pedagogies, research methodologies into these spaces,” says Hayden King, an Anishinaabe educator and adviser to the dean of arts on Indigenous education at Ryerson University. CBC | The Star (National)

UQO invasive species, drought project receives $987K from NSERC, organizations

Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) has announced that professor Audrey Maheu has received $987K grant from NSERC, the Government of Quebec, and Kenauk Canada to study the impacts of drought and invasive beech trees on temperate forests. The research focuses on identifying and assessing areas where large-leafed beech trees have invaded maple groves, as well as assessing the impact of more frequent and severe droughts. The research will assess the risk of ecosystem collapse and suggest approaches to its restoration. UQO (QC)

Approaches to using video-on policies during online classes: Opinion

Two articles from Inside Higher Ed discuss the nuances of camera-on policies during online classes. In the first article, Zachary Nowak discusses how compassionate video-on and attendance policies implemented in their class encouraged students to be present and active in the class, and made it easier for teaching assistants to engage with students during discussion groups. In the second story, Margaret Finders and Joaquin Muñoz discuss the ethical concerns with video-on policies during online classes, arguing that forcing students to keep their cameras on can be culturally insensitive, racist, classist, and sexist. The article explains that students may be uncomfortable having their cameras on because of family members and pets, the pressure to be “camera ready,” technological issues, or unwillingness to allow others into their personal space. The author gives tips on alternative ways to engage students. Inside Higher Ed (1) | Inside Higher Ed (2) (Internation)

AB NDP, CAUT express concern over budget cuts to PSE sector

Alberta’s NDP officials and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) are reacting to the cuts to postsecondary funding announced by the UCP last week. NDP leader Rachel Notley called postsecondary education “the economic engine of our province,” and expressed concern that students would leave Alberta to study in other provinces. Notley called for a tuition freeze, for a halt on performance-based funding, and a halt on student loan rate hikes. CAUT has also expressed concern about the cuts. “This privatization of public post-secondary education reduces quality and denies access to those who are in need of opportunity,” said CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith. “The decision to cut post-secondary education is short-sighted. Robust recovery will not be possible without strong post-secondary education.” Calgary Herald | CBC | CAUT (AB)

SMU, Atlantic Gold enter five-year partnership on mine site remediation technology

Saint Mary’s University and Atlantic Gold have entered a five-year partnership to research technology that could be used to remediate Nova Scotia’s historic gold mine sites. Atlantic Gold will provide $1M to a research team led by Dr Linda Campbell, which will focus on developing a low-cost remediation strategy for areas that have been contaminated by tailings. The research will use studies of former mine sites to develop a technology that can remediate contaminated wetlands without compromising their function. “This partnership is an exemplar of innovation with a community-centred approach,” said SMU President Dr Robert Summerby-Murray. “It addresses a challenge with an immediate local connection but with far-reaching national and international implications.” The Halifax Examiner reports that some in the community have criticized the partnership as a “greenwashing,” and called on the provincial and federal governments to provide funding for research. SMU | Halifax Examiner (NS)

UQAM announces revisions to program focused on behavioural intervention for ASD

The Université du Québec à Montréal has announced that a revised version of its DESS in behavioural intervention for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will be available in the Fall. The institution is revising the program to reflect the terminology now used in the DSM-5, explains psychology professor Nathalie Poirier. Graduates of the one-year program will be able to work with people with ASD to assess their needs, provide recommendations, and design interventions for them and their families. Poirier noted that Quebec is seeing an increase in diagnoses of ASD, especially among young people. UQAM (QC)

BrandonU announces switch to CampusNexus digital system

Brandon University has announced that it will be switching to a new digital system called CampusNexus. The system is expected to go live this summer for new students. CampusNexus will have three components, which will improve the areas of student enrolment and registration, communication and engagement, and financial needs. Moving applications to the new system will reduce the strain on the current system while improving the speed of application processing. “This is a multi-year project,” said BrandonU VP (Administration and Finance) Scott Lamont. “The amount of focus and forward progress during this pandemic year is remarkable and a testament to how important this overhaul is.” BrandonU (MB)

COTR reduces food waste through new composter

College of the Rockies will be using a composter to reduce campus food waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The composting program will initially be introduced on a limited basis and will expand through a composting education program when the campus is back at full operation. “Our long-term goal is to reduce the amount of food waste destined for the landfill to zero,” said Greg McCallum, Sustainability Committee chair at COTR. “Not only will this help to reduce our environmental footprint but will also provide our facilities crew with some amazing compost for gardens and plants on our campuses.” e-know (BC)