Top Ten

May 10, 2021

UBC breaks ground on renewable energy hub

The University of British Columbia has announced that it has broken ground on a renewable energy hub. The $23M hub will transform a city block into a smart energy district, and will include clean energy solutions such as a “green hydrogen” vehicle refueling station, a solar array, reversible EV charging, and smart energy storage. The BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation will provide $5.6M in support for the project. “In the face of a growing climate crisis, we are mobilizing even more of our institutional education, research and innovation capacity to pursue climate solutions,” said UBC president Professor Santa J Ono. “This renewable energy hub is an important piece, and we are truly grateful to our partners in government and industry who helped bring it to life.” UBC (BC)

Cross-country partnership delivers Material Handling 4.0 pilot program

A partnership between four community colleges – Mohawk College, Red River College, Nova Scotia Community College, and Vancouver Community College – is bringing workforce training in goods movement and the supply chain sector to students across the country. The new program is an expansion of the training model used by Mohawk’s City School initiative, which combines industry-driven training, individualized support, and practical work experience. Over 200 people will receive training through the Material Handling 4.0 pilot program, which includes industry-specific instruction, a two-week paid work placement, wrap-around supports such as childcare and PPE, and referrals to support services. The Star | InSauga (National)

HEQCO releases Making Sense of Microcredentials report

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released a report called Making Sense of Microcredentials. The report defines microcredentials as “a representation of learning, awarded for completion of a short program that is focused on a discrete set of competencies (i.e., skills, knowledge, attributes), and is sometimes related to other credentials.” It also provides insight into the value that microcredentials hold for the postsecondary sector, for employers, and for students. The report recommends that the Government of Ontario “work towards establishing a common framework for microcredentials” with clearly communicated quality markers, and encourages institutions to innovate and experiment with programs that focus on competence rather than time spent. HEQCO (ON)

UWaterloo to create the Waterloo Eye Institute

The University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science has received UWaterloo’s approval to create the Waterloo Eye Institute (WEI). The WEI will be housed in a state-of-the-art 67,000 sq. ft. centre and will reportedly be the Waterloo region’s largest eye and vision care centre. The Centre will provide a variety of eye and vision care for residents, including surgery, wellness, and rehabilitation, and will have an ambulatory surgical centre to meet needs for cataract surgery and a tele-optometry centre to meet the needs of remote and underserved communities. The school has launched a fundraising campaign to support the initiative and anticipates that constructoin will begin in Spring 2022. UWaterloo (ON)

UAlberta proposes retroactive wage decrease

The University of Alberta is reportedly considering a new contract proposal that would include a 3% retroactive wage decrease for non-academic staff due to provincial budget cuts. The Globe and Mail says that staff would be required to repay “overpayments,” see reduced benefits, and have their wages frozen except for step-based performance increments. UAlberta is also reportedly proposing to reduce tenured faculty benefits by 15%, and reduce the wages of instructors with top salaries by 15%. UAlberta has started the bargaining process, but contracts have not yet been agreed upon. “Taking money from out of the pockets of hard-working people is just absolutely devastating at a time like this,” said Jay Runham, a web designer at UAlberta. Edmonton Journal | The Globe and Mail (AB)

Fleming, Seneca partner to create pathways for Fleming students

Fleming College and Seneca College have announced a five-year agreement that will create pathways between the colleges’ programs. The partnership will see the creation of 80 pathway options for Fleming graduates to pursue one of 12 honours bachelor programs at Seneca. Students will be able to further their education in a variety of areas, including business, child development, marketing, mental health, and crime analysis. “The omnibus agreement provides an opportunity for nearly all of our students to stretch their Fleming diploma further and enhance the value of their credentials even more,” said Fleming President Maureen Adamson. “The new pathways significantly build on our already strong partnership with Seneca, and lay the foundation for further collaboration.” Fleming (ON)

Avoiding being taken advantage of by authoritarian regimes: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions must be careful to avoid being taken advantage of when engaging in collaborative and financial relationships with authoritarian regimes, write Mick Zais and Reed Rubinstein for Inside Higher Ed. Zais and Rubinstein discuss the impact that funding from authoritarian regimes can have on institutions, including causing institutions to inadvertently facilitate atrocities through the provision of intellectual property or regimes “buying” technological breakthroughs without proper public disclosure. The authors say that postsecondary institutions should prioritize five principles: safety, freedom, security, transparency, and reciprocity. The authors write that “we should pause and question what the relationship is for” if it does not meet these five principles. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Ontario Tech designated official IAEA Collaborating Centre

Ontario Tech University has announced that it has been designated as an official Collaborating Centre by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Ontario Tech’s faculties of Engineering and Applied Science and Energy Systems and Nuclear Science will contribute to the collaboration by providing support for research and development and training and education on renewable energy systems as well as supporting IAEA activities that will attract more women to the fields of nuclear science and engineering. “The Collaborative Centre designation is a timely initiative given the momentum the university has in all aspects of energy,” said Dr Steven Murphy, Ontario Tech President. Ontario Tech says that it is the first Canadian institution to receive the designation. Ontario Tech (ON)

UCalgary law school launches Innovation Internship Training Program

The University of Calgary’s law school’s Career & Professional Development Office has launched the Innovation Internship Training Program, an internship program that pairs law students with employers in the legal profession. Through the program, students will gain hands-on experience addressing key business challenges with employers. They will gain experience “in key methodologies used for identifying, developing and implementing solutions to industry issues, including process mapping, stakeholder needs identification, project management, and communication.” Students will also have the opportunity to develop their understanding of how data analytics and legal technology solutions can be used within the industry. UCalgary (AB)

UQAM professors, students receive over $17M from Fonds de recherche du Québec

Around 180 professors and students at the Université du Québec à Montréal have received over $17M total in grants from the three Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture, Santé, Nature et technologies. UQAM professors received individual or team grants totaling over $9M, while graduate level and postdoctoral candidates received over $8.6M in research or training grants. The funds will support a variety of different projects, including projects on childhood education, postsecondary educational pathways, knowledge and capital in Montreal, and multi-national democracies. UQAM (QC)