Top Ten

June 7, 2021

NOSM to become standalone medical university

The Government of Ontario has passed legislation that will see Northern Ontario School of Medicine become the first standalone medical university in Canada. With this change, NOSM will separate from Laurentian University and Lakehead University, and will form a new Senate and Board of Governors. “We will build upon the strength of our flagship campuses in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with an expanded medical school, new residency programs, innovated health professions education, and population-based research within a pan-northern regional model,” said NOSM President Dr Sarita Verma. Lakehead University, which opposed the bill, issued a statement expressing its surprise at the news and concerns about the impact on medical education in the North. NOSM | CKDR | Lakehead (ON)

NRC, UBC launch Collaboration Centre for Clean Energy Transition

The National Research Council of Canada and the University of British Columbia have announced the launch of the Collaboration Centre for Clean Energy Transition. The Centre will host researchers from NRC and UBC as they work together to develop innovations in hydrogen and carbon technologies, including materials, systems, technologies, and industrial applications. The work will complement the objectives and activities of the NRC-University of Toronto Collaboration Centre for Green Energy Materials. Newswire (BC)

Sask Polytech, IMII collaborate on digital upskilling pilot project

Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) have announced the launch of a digital upskilling pilot project. The program will provide digital skills training that will improve productivity and efficiency as the mining sector experiences a technology shift and will upskill employees to enable them to keep up with digital advances. “This collaborative pilot project with IMII will address the training needs for the technology jobs that the mining industry currently requires, the jobs they will need in the future, and the core digital skills that are essential for these careers,” said Dr Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech President. SaskPolytech | IMII (SK)

Dal receives support from Tesla, NSERC for research on batteries and grid energy storage

Dalhousie University has announced that a team at its Faculty of Science will be receiving $3.1M from Tesla and $2.9M from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to conduct research on batteries and grid energy storage. The fund is the largest Alliance Grant that Dal has received. The research project will focus on improving the cost, lifespan, energy density, safety, sustainability, and maintenance of electric vehicle batteries and electrical energy storage applications. In addition to moving the industry forward as a whole, Dal states that achieving these goals will help to make electric vehicles and renewable energy more accessible and affordable to Canadians. Dal (NS)

UWaterloo launches sustainability program, announces plans to reduce carbon footprint of investments by 50% by 2030

The University of Waterloo has announced the launch of a new degree that will combine sustainability and financial management, which the university says is the first of its kind in Canada. The program will prepare accounting and financial professionals to lead businesses into an era of environmental sustainability, and will include paid on-the-job experiences through the co-operative learning program. The university also announced that it plans to reduce the carbon footprint of its pension and endowment investment portfolios by 50% by 2030, with plans to become completely carbon neutral by 2040. UWaterloo says that it is making the move as a response to the climate emergency and to protect its investments. UWaterloo (1) | UWaterloo (2) | Kitchener Today (ON)

UCalgary Students’ Union requests delay to proposed tuition increases

Students at the University of Calgary have requested that UCalgary delay its proposed tuition increases due to an “inadequate consultation” process. The University of Calgary Students’ Union said that students were only told about the proposed changes after classes had finished, even though institutions are required to consult with students about increases within a 10-month window. UCalgary Students’ Union president Nicole Schmidt said that prior consultation had been “nothing more than surveys given out to students with no context or numbers on the actual increases.” Schmidt argued that consultations should have occurred early in the period to allow students to actively participate while enrolled in classes. CBC | Calgary Herald (Subscription Required) (AB)

StFX students to receive degree parchments in Latin, Mi’kmaw

St Francis Xavier University has announced that I will offer parchments written in both Latin and Mi’kmaw to graduates from the 2021 Spring Convocation onward. The idea, which originated from Terena Francis, StFX Coordinator, Indigenous Student Affairs, was inspired by students who expressed a desire to receive parchments in Mi’kmaw. The move is meant to be a step towards reconciliation and to honour the treaty relationship. “This Mi’kmaw parchment provides a sense of belonging,” said Francis. “Honouring languages is also a key step forward in ensuring First Nations people can revitalize the language.” StFX (NS)

Douglas launches global competency certificate

Douglas College has announced the launch of a 15-credit Global Competency Certificate. Students in the certificate program will gain global perspectives on the content and issues of their respective discipline, while also developing global competencies and engaging in intercultural learning opportunities. Courses from all six of the college's faculties will be available, enabling students to complete the certificate while working on their primary credential. “Not only will they earn a credential in their chosen discipline, but they’ll also have the skills to apply it in broader global contexts," said Dr Jason Bourget, GCC Program Developer. "At this point in history, we need grads who are able to critically examine global and intercultural issues and engage in open, appropriate and effective cross-cultural interactions.” Douglas (BC)

HEQCO releases report on postsecondary credential attainment for students with disabilities

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released a new report: Postsecondary Credential Attainment and Labour Market Outcomes for Ontario Students with Disabilities. The report has found that students with disabilities are less likely to participate in PSE, are more likely to take time off from their program, and face challenges when transitioning from high school to PSE. Students with mental health, learning, or physical disabilities are less likely to graduate and have poorer labour market outcomes than other graduates. HEQCO concludes with recommendations for designing programs and support systems for students with disabilities. HEQCO (ON)

Academics, staff should both be involved in selecting educational technology: Opinion

Decision-making silos in the academy can make for disappointing results when it comes to choosing educational technology, writes Jenae Cohn. Cohn argues that these silos can result in a chicken-and-egg situation, where IT staff are left uncertain about faculty needs and preferences for the classroom, while academics are confused about the rationale behind the tools they are given. Cohn identifies key factors such as poor communication, a lack of representation, and “rogue” instructors that contribute to this issue. The author encourages institutions to involve faculty members in the technology purchase process and to reconsider the roles of educational-technology professionals to ensure that their experience influences choices of technology procurement, testing, and implementation. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Editorial)