Top Ten

June 16, 2021

Canada invests over $635M in science, research, and engineering research

The Government of Canada has invested over $635M to support over 4,800 researchers and teams in the areas of science, research, and engineering. The funding will support over 3,400 NSERC grants, 1,315 research projects through SSHRC grant programs, and 156 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs. The funds will support research in areas of critical importance such as Indigenous reconciliation, women’s health, climate change, chronic pain, and race and inclusive policies. “It is inspiring to see the ingenuity and dedication Canadian researchers embrace in exploring big ideas that will fuel the discoveries and innovations of tomorrow to make our world a better place and create prosperity for Canadians,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. Canada (1) | Canada (2) (National)

VIU, Island school districts partner to share information about educational grants

Vancouver Island University’s Office of Community Partnerships has partnered with Island school districts to promote provincial education savings grants among families with 5-to-8-year-old kids. VIU will be involved in sending educational materials about the no contribution required Registered Education Savings Plan to families in five school districts, which will help families understand how they can claim a $1.2K grant to put towards their child’s future postsecondary education. “We see this as an opportunity for improvement in the regions VIU serves,” says William Litchfield, AVP of VIU’s Office of Community Partnerships. “Nearly 80% of the jobs of the future will require some form of post-secondary training. We need to ensure children in our region are taking advantage of every opportunity that will help them attend.” VIU (BC)

Trent, Chitkara University collaborate on BBA degree program

Trent University has collaborated with Chitkara University to develop an academic mentorship agreement that will allow Chitkara students to earn Trent Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. Students in the program will learn Canadian curriculum at Chitkara for the first two years of their studies before completing their final two years at Trent’s School of Business. The program structure allows students to specialize their degrees, provides an opportunity to complete a community-based research project, and includes guaranteed hands-on experience. Students will benefit from saving in international tuition fees while studying abroad, and will be eligible to apply for three-year post-study work permits. “Working together, we will provide more opportunities to international students in India, who will embrace their future in a global arena,” said Glennice Burns, AVP of International at Trent. Trent (ON)

Community members concerned about UAlberta “shrinking," call for federal funding for Saint-Jean

University of Alberta community members are concerned about the major impacts of budget cuts, reports the Edmonton Journal. Columnist Elise Stolte writes that cuts to UAlberta’s operating grants have resulted in the institution “shrinking” as staff positions are eliminated and faculties and services are restructured. Stolte also notes that UAlberta slipped in the recent QS World University Rankings, partially because of the worsening ratio of students-to-faculty. Reporter Ashley Joannou writes that students at Campus Saint-Jean do not believe AB will provide the necessary financial support to their campus and are calling for federal support. The article notes that Campus Saint-Jean students can no longer complete their degrees in French due to the loss nearly 20% of its programming. Edmonton Journal | Edmonton Journal (Campus Saint-Jean) (AB)

Queen's defends against allegations of false Indigenous identity, scholars issue open letter

After the circulation of an anonymous document alleging that several Queen’s University faculty and staff members had made false claims of Indigenous identity, Queen’s has issued a statement rejecting the report and its contents. The university’s statement indicated that the institution is investigating the origins and nature of the document and “will take what action it may deem appropriate” to support its team members. Inside Higher Ed and CBC report that an open letter signed by Indigenous scholars and supporters has called on Queen’s to retract the statement. The signatories argue that “there is a larger issue here that Queen’s, along with many other academic institutions in Canada, blatantly refuse to address – that is their legal obligations to […] develop transparent policies and procedures regarding the equity hiring of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis faculty.” Queen’s | Global News | Inside Higher Ed | CBC (ON)

Contradictions provosts must face as they navigate the “mega-crises”: Opinion

Provosts must lead differently as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice crisis, write Karlyn Crowley and Jay Roberts, and this requires them to apply sometimes-contradictory truths in order to address the issues faced by their community. Crowley and Roberts identify a variety of different contradictions that leaders may face, including how being strong in a crisis means being vulnerable, little actions often mean more than bigger ones, and focusing on oneself in order to care for others. Finally, the authors explain that after a “mega-crisis,” leaders must be prepared to continue to lead without the expectation that “getting back to normal” will ever be achieved. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

Boréal, CFGT extend collaboration to develop resources, community services

Collège Boréal and the Center francophone du Grand Toronto (CFGT) have signed a formal agreement to extend their collaboration as part of their interest in developing educational resources and community services. The agreement will see the two parties working together to provide opportunities to one another: CFGT will provide work-based learning opportunities to Boréal students at its Richmond Street location, while Boréal will provide CFGT with more visibility at events such as its annual community services fair and will continue its sponsorship of CFGT’s annual celebrations of Black History Month. Both parties will collaborate on joint grant projects. Boréal President Daniel Giroux stated that the joint work will continue to be of service to both students and the community. Boréal (ON)

YorkU to establish University Services Centre

York University has announced that it will be establishing the University Services Centre (USC), an integrated shared services entity that centralize the delivery of services to faculty, instructors, and staff. The USC will bring a variety of administrative services together into one service delivery centre to provide users with a single point of contact for consistent and simple access to services. Two teams – the Pension and Benefits Office and the General Accounting team – will join the USC right away, with the Procurement Operations team joining in August or September 2021. “[T]he USC will also alleviate long-standing pain points in administrative service delivery, enabling the community to focus on what matters most – teaching, research and learning,” said Charles Frosst, YorkU USC AVP. YorkU (ON)

How Zoom has helped connections, discussions during COVID-19: Opinion

Teaching over Zoom has led to extraordinary experiences within courses, writes Samuel J Abrams, and instructors should consider keeping aspects of Zoom even after going back to in-person instruction. The author describes how using Zoom allowed students to bring their authentic selves to class by sharing a glimpse of their home lives, brought the diversity of student locations into conversation, and often revealed the best of students. The author suggests keeping some aspects of Zoom post-pandemic, such as office hours and student meetings, academic talks, the informality of teaching, and the ability to collaborate with other institutions. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Editorial)

Durham launches Social Impact Hub

Durham College has announced the launching of the Social Impact Hub, which is its fifth applied research centre. The hub will focus on improving or redesigning societal systems in order to address societal challenges. “As a leading post-secondary institution and applied research centre, we are committed to exploring and developing solutions to the barriers our communities face,” said Durham President Don Lovisa. “The applied research being completed at Durham College underscores the importance of innovation and ingenuity, and I am incredibly excited to see how the Social Impact Hub will help address the gaps and inequalities that exist within our society through this lens.” Durham (ON)