Top Ten

April 26, 2021

UCalgary fund to support creation of up to 50 OER resources

Students from the University of Calgary are working on an Open Educational Resources (OER) project after what CBC calls “years of inaction from the provincial government.” An investment of $500K from UCalgary’s new Open Education Resource Fund will support the creation of up to 50 OER resources over the next five years. The projects will both save money for students and provide employment to students who are hired to help. “It’s a home run in so many different areas,” said Chaten Jessel, one of the students behind the initiative. “I really think that it's going to make such a huge difference for students all across our campus.” CBC (AB)

ON invests $15M into rapid training programs to encourage reskilling, upgrading

Ontario has announced that it will invest $15M in rapid training programs that will help people reskill and upgrade their skills through micro-credentials. ON has invited postsecondary institutions to develop more micro-credentials, and institutions will have eight weeks to submit their proposals for funding through the Ontario Micro-Credentials Challenge Fund. Institutions with the best proposals in their regions will be eligible for an award of up to $1M. “Universities and colleges connect the dots of Ontario’s resilient economy by training sought-after graduates, future-proofing workers and offering relevant training opportunities that impact their local and regional communities,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Today, we are making good on our promise to create more industry-relevant training opportunities for Ontarians.” ON (ON)

Generating impactful research ideas: Opinion

Generating new graduate research ideas that impact both science and society can be difficult, write Adam Seth Levine and J Nathan Matias. The authors explain that collaborative conversation can help reveal new ideas to researchers, show the limitations of existing scientific literature, and ensure research is grounded in the problems that interest people in pursuing graduate school. The article offers five steps that researchers can use to pursue collaborative conversations: Researchers should consider the real-world problems that they care about, identify stakeholders working to address these issues, and reach out to them with a clear ask. The article says that researchers should also focus on mutual learning and connect information from their conversations with their field of study. Inside Higher Ed (International)

CAUT censures U of T over Azarova hiring controversy

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has voted to censure the University of Toronto over the hiring controversy associated with Dr Valentina Azarova. Though an external review did not find that there was external influence in the U of T’s decision to rescind the offer of employment, CAUT’s Council delegates concluded that the decision was politically motivated. “In a close examination of the facts of the case, CAUT Council found it implausible to conclude that the donor’s call did not trigger the subsequent actions resulting in the sudden termination of the hiring process,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. The Star says that U of T president Meric Gertler disagreed with the decision, noting that Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell “was the only person who had access to the full base of information.” CAUT | The Star (ON)

Sask Polytech, CTS Tek launch two RPAS courses

Saskatchewan Polytechnic and CTS Tek will be launching two courses to qualify students to pilot Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). The Basic RPAS course is offered online, and allows students to flexibly complete their training and preparation for the Basic RPAS Pilot certification exam. The Basic RPAS course covers a variety of topics, including air law, RPAS airframe design, and meteorology. The Advanced RPAS Pilot certification is delivered asynchronously online, and is designed for those flying RPAS over people or in controlled airspace. Students learn skills related to communicating with Air Traffic Control and complying with clearances and instructions. Students in the courses will be prepared to gain Basic or Advanced RPAS Pilot certification from Transport Canada. Sask Polytech (SK)

Confederation, Selkirk sign SDG Accord

Confederation College and Selkirk College have signed onto the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Accord to work toward a better planet for future generations. By signing the SDG Accord, the institutions have promised to meet 17 sustainable development goals, including addressing poverty, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and quality education. “Taking the lead on joining an ambitious worldwide effort from a rural community college might seem like a very small step, but it amplifies what is required from post-secondary education to increase collaboration, act with intention and make a difference,” says Selkirk President Angus Graeme. “The college’s current strategic plan is aligned with [many] of these goals, so it feels right to formally join and commit to this effort.” Selkirk | Confederation (ON | BC)

BVC introduces new programs focused on reskilling and upskilling

Bow Valley College has introduced two new programs that follow the Competency-Based Education (CBE) model, which assesses incoming students for previously learned skills and creates a learning pathway based on the gaps in their education. The new programs that will launch January 2022 include a Cloud Computing Post-Diploma Certificate and a redeveloped Data Management Analytics Post-Diploma Certificate. “We are hearing a lot about Calgary’s new economy and a need to reskill and upskill successful, experienced workers who have been laid off, or those who are looking to fill gaps in their knowledge,” said BVC President Dr Misheck Mwaba. “Bow Valley College believes Competency-Based Education is an efficient solution that recognizes hard-earned work experience while helping people expand their skills to position themselves as stand-out candidates in our ever-expanding digital world.” BVC  (AB)

USudbury develops plan for transformation into Francophone institution

The University of Sudbury is working on a plan that will transform it into a French-language university that will be located on the Laurentian University campus. USudbury’s Board of Regents has assembled a committee that will oversee the creation of a business plan to be submitted to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities of Ontario. The plan will see USudbury become an institution that is governed by and for Ontario Francophones, and The Star says that Regroupement des professeurs(es) francophones de l’Université Laurentienne (RPF) has released a statement encouraging the support of the move. “It is by all pushing in the same direction that we will achieve this long-standing dream of Franco-Ontarians in the North and their Francophile and New Canadian allies,” the RPF’s Gina Comeau. The Sudbury Star | The Star (ON)

Concordia to offer graduate degrees in Chemical and Materials Engineering

Concordia University’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science has announced that it will be offering graduate degrees in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. The school will be offering master’s and doctoral programs with a variety of themes of study, including renewable energy, rethinking manufacturing techniques and materials, and lowering emissions. The move will expand Concordia’s research capacity and allow it to join global conversations. “These new graduate-level programs will enable us to bring fresh perspectives to existing chemical engineering conversations to benefit industry and society. This milestone further solidifies our position as a top research school in Canada,” said Paula Wood-Adams, interim VP of research and graduate studies and professor of chemical and materials engineering. Concordia (QC)

Student funding delayed for months for Qcom students

A group of students who are studying at Qcom College of Technology in Calgary say that the Government of Alberta’s financial aid disbursements have been delayed for months. The article says that a group of at least seven students had been approved for aid, and were to receive disbursements in September, January, and March, but received none. CBC says that the students reached out to Student Aid, but were not given answers; however, last week the online profiles of these students were changed to “under review” with no further information given to students. The article says that students are concerned that Qcom will ask the students to pay tuition if AB does not give them the funding. CBC (AB)