Top Ten

May 27, 2021

MRU partners with Shaw Communications to launch Community Podcast Initiative

Mount Royal University’s School of Communication Studies has announced that it is partnering with Shaw Communications Inc to launch the Community Podcast Initiative (CPI). The initiative aims to amplify the voices of marginalized and underrepresented groups through sharing stories that are not heard in traditional media. The CPI will support podcast production through providing a variety of support such as space, technology, and instruction on writing strategies; workshops, conferences, and awards to advance podcast knowledge; and research on podcasting’s role in knowledge mobilization. The CPI will also support Indigenous storytelling, advance reconciliation, and boost voices from marginalized and BIPOC communities. MRU says that the program is a first of its kind for a Canadian university. Financial Post | (AB)

YorkU launches Learning Experience Design certificate

York University’s School of Continuing Studies has announced its new certificate in Learning Experience Design. The three-course, part-time program allows instructors and employers to up-skill and learn to design “engaging and empowering” adult learning experiences. “Understanding how people learn and comprehend new material is an essential skill that educators and trainers need to transform learning experiences in the digital world,” said Tracey Taylor-O'Reilly, AVP of Continuing Studies at YorkU. The certificate is aimed at corporate trainers, HR professionals, teachers, professors, and curriculum developers, and is set to launch September 2021. Business Insider (ON)

Drawing on supportive virtual 2SLGBTQ+ communities during COVID-19: Opinion

Queer students have adapted to overcome pandemic challenges through connecting with virtual communities and supporting each other, write University of Toronto PhD Candidate David J Kinitz and Carleton University Disability Studies instructor Alan Santinele Martino. The authors discuss how queer students have not been able to access the social networks, queer-friendly resources, academic spaces, and independence from family that provided them with support pre-COVID-19. The article explains that queer people have harnessed digital technology to connect with others, access support networks, and find a sense of belonging since “safe” physical spaces have been lost. They conclude by encouraging institutions to make space for the voices and stories of marginalized individuals. “Our creative and queer ways of fostering resiliency are not impermeable to discriminatory social conditions,” write the authors. The Conversation (Editorial)

Brock, MacEwan announce new funding for scholarships, bursaries for Indigenous students

Brock University and MacEwan University have announced new funding for scholarships and bursaries supporting Indigenous students. Brock’s Faculty of Math and Science will be providing $110K to fund three new entrance scholarships for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students. “We are seeing increasing numbers of Indigenous students entering STEM ... programs and this funding will help them achieve their dreams,” said Robyn Bourgeois, Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement. MacEwan has also announced new financial support for Indigenous students. A “major donation” will support Indigenous students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and a $250K donation from the Rupertsland Institute will go towards the Métis Scholar Awards Endowment, which provides bursaries to up to 30 Métis students annually. Brock | MacEwan | NationTalk (ON | AB)

Concordia, QcSE, V1 Studio collaborate on Scientific Venture Program

Concordia University’s District 3 Innovation Hub, the Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship Program (QcSE), and V1 Studio have collaborated to create the Scientific Venture Program. The two-year postdoctoral program will support PhD candidates and recent graduates in developing deep technology companies to commercialize their research and keep them living in Montreal. Participants will receive an annual $71K package that includes a stipend, access to workspaces, coaching, workshops and programs, guidance, and an international network of investors and partners. “More ideas and technologies coming from academic research could make it beyond the lab, but often scientists lack the resources and skills to commercialize,” said Paula Wood-Adams, interim VP of research and graduate studies at Concordia. “We need to enable early career researchers to develop those skills and commercialize their research outcomes, so entrepreneurship is a viable career path.” Concordia (QC)

First Nations pharmacy professor at USask resigns due to alleged racism

A University of Saskatchewan pharmacy professor, who CBC reports is Canada’s only First Nations professor in the field, has resigned. Jaris Swidrovich, member of the Yellow Quill First Nation, alleges that he has faced racism while working at USask that “started to affect me at all levels of my health and wellbeing.” Swidrovich explained that “[i]t no longer felt right to continue my teaching and scholarly work in the areas of racism and Indigenous heath as an employee of an institution that has inadequately responded to racism.” USask provost and academic VP Arini has responded by noting that school is working to support its Indigenous staff and students. “We remain committed and ready to learn and continue to take action,” said Arini. CBC | CTV News (SK)

UCalgary to launch Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program

The University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law has announced that it will be launching the Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program, which will help foreign-trained lawyers meet the qualifications necessary for practicing in Canada. Students in the 12-month program will complete the course requirements for National Committee on Accreditation, and network with local and provincial professionals. Participants will also have opportunities to receive professional development training, articling and career placement assistance, and student support and mentorship. “We are extremely excited to launch our foreign-trained lawyers program, and to help improve access to justice in Alberta and across Canada,” said Ian Holloway, dean of the Faculty of Law. The release says that the program is the only one of its kind in southern Alberta. UCalgary (AB)

CanSSOC joins higher ed collaboration to share intelligence on cyberthreats

Information technology and cybersecurity organizations in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia have collaborated to share information about malware attacks through a platform called Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP). MISP, which was funded by the European Union, will enable organizations in higher ed to share intelligence about cyberthreats in real time. One of MISP’s founding partners is the Canadian Shared Security Operations Centre (CanSSOC), which is coordinated by the University of Toronto and uses a technology platform led by McGill University. CanSSOC will collaborate with international organizations Jisc (United Kingdom), AARNet (Australia), and REN-ISAC and OmniSOC (US). “With this partnership, we’re really building relationships and working together to tackle this international problem,” said Isaac Straley, chief information security officer for both CanSSOC and U of T. U of T | CanSSOC | Inside Higher Ed (National)

McGill launches research centre for energy storage and conversion

McGill University has launched the McGill Centre for Innovation in Storage and Conversion of Energy (McISCE). The research centre will investigate sustainable technological solutions to improve electrical energy storage and conversion, supporting Quebec’s 2030 Plan for a Green Economy. McISCE will bring together a network of expertise from a variety of McGill’s faculties, and plans to pursue partnerships with important energy stakeholders from across QC and Canada. “The time has long [passed] for the wide array of McGill research talent to work in a coordinated and united fashion,” explained Professor Sylvain Coulombe, Co-leader of the McISCE. “The problems we face as a society are too complex for researchers to approach individually. Combining the strength of our network will yield far better results.” McGill (QC)

NorQuest expands SAGE program to support integration of persons with disabilities

NorQuest College has announced that it will be expanding its work in Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, and St Lucia through the Skills to Access the Green Economy Program (SAGE). Through SAGE, NorQuest will provide education that will help institutions develop supports for persons with disabilities, with the end goal of integrating persons with disabilities into technical and vocational education training (TVET) and employment. “This is important work, as the message from the UN is leave no one behind,” said Angela Wilm, NorQuest Instructor and consultant for the project. “NorQuest has a proven and successful track record in supporting individuals who have been marginalized, which includes people with exceptionalities, and we’re very happy to share our expertise.” NorQuest (AB)