Top Ten

July 26, 2021

UVic plans $89.6M project to expand, construct science facilities

The University of Victoria is planning an $89.6M project to expand its engineering and computer science building and construct a new research and structures lab. The expansion will house labs and teaching space, while the research and structures lab will include a space for structural testing and large-scale geotechnical experiments. The facilities, which are funded through $64.8M from the Government of British Columbia and $24.8M from UVic, will support the addition of 500 seats in computer science and engineering. Both buildings will meet net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by using passive house design, mass timber structures, and sustainability features. “These landmark buildings will provide a dynamic environment for the training of future engineers and computer scientists,” said Mina Hoorfar, dean of UVic’s faculty of engineering and computer science. Times Colonist | BC (BC )

UAlberta professors create new online course on Indigenous governance, lead summer internship

University of Alberta professors Kim TallBear and Jessica Kolopenuk have created a new online course that will teach students about how science can be used as a tool to promote Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty. The course covers a variety of topics, such as federal regulations and intersections between science and Indigenous peoples’ livelihoods. “One of the main kinds of assumptions is that science is neutral and objective, that it’s this pursuit of truth and unveiling of truth rather than actually constructing truths in particular ways,” said Kolopenuk. TallBear and Kolopenuk will also be leading the Summer internship for Indigenous Peoples in Genomics Canada, which will teach participants how to work scientifically and ethically within Indigenous communities. UAlberta (AB)

Eight genomics projects with focus on strengthening environment receive funding

Almost $60M has been invested in eight genomics projects across Canada that aim to strengthen environmental sustainability. Funding includes $24.4M from the Government of Canada, $1.5M from Genome Canada and Natural Resources Canada, and $35.4M from universities, industry, and international partners. Projects include research on supporting the North Atlantic Right Wale co-led by Timothy R Frasier of Saint Mary’s University; a project on oil spill response in the North led by University of Manitoba researchers; and a project on biodiversity protection led by researchers from the University of Victoria, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Université du Québec en Outaouais, and Université Laval. “Improving our resiliency to a changing climate will increase the competitiveness of our natural resources sector,” said Seamus O’Regan Jr, Minister of Natural Resources. Genome Canada (National)

Lakeland, New Holland Agriculture renew partnership

Lakeland College and New Holland Agriculture have renewed a partnership through a 10-year commitment that will see New Holland continuing to maintain Lakeland’s Student-managed Farm. Students will have access to agricultural facilities and equipment through the partnership, and will be able to use crop and pastureland to experience agricultural scenarios before they graduate. New Holland also will contribute $450K to further Lakeland’s agriculture technology programs. $150K will go to Lakeland’s Agriculture Technology Centre and support the development of curriculum for a new bachelor of agriculture technology program, research projects, agriculture technology initiatives, and lab materials. My Lloydminster Now (AB)

ON institutions make decisions on mandating vaccines for students

The University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Guelph, and McMaster University have announced that they are mandating COVID-19 vaccines for students living in residence. UWaterloo and WLU students will be required to have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and to have plans to get their second shot by November first. UoGuelph and McMaster will require students to be fully vaccinated before moving into residence. While neither the University of Windsor nor St Clair College plan to require students on campus to be vaccinated, UWindsor is launching the “Knock Out COVID” vaccination campaign to encourage vaccination among its community. The Record | Journal de Montréal | UWindsor | CBC (ON)

A look at the campus as more than a physical space: Editorial

While at first blush, a campus seems to simply be the physical space a postsecondary institution occupies, writes Elizabeth A Lehfeldt, "it also embodies a host of aspirations that lie at the very heart of higher education." As institutional communities return to campus, Lehfeldt encourages leaders to think further about the role and meaning of a campus and the campus experience. The author describes the campus's attributes as a physical space, an intangible good, a place of community, and a creator of nostalgia; as well as how its role was impacted by the pandemic. "Many people are calling for our emergence from the pandemic to be a reckoning," concludes Lehfeldt. "For those of us in higher education, it should start with the very spaces and sites that house our aspirations for, and commitment to, all our students and their well-being." Inside Higher Education (Editorial)

Medical school at USask ends pregnancy centre placement option

Students at the University of Saskatchewan’s college of medicine will no longer see the Saskatoon Pregnancy Options Centre (SPOC) on the list of second-year “Medicine in Society” placement options. CBC reports that though SPOC has been on the list for ten years, students raised issues with its appropriateness last year, as the centre does not have trained medical professionals, includes discredited information on its website, and encourages clients to “choose the gift of life.” USask previously stated that SPOC was a “suitable” placement option, but after backlash on social media Dr Meredith McKague said that the college will complete an “in-depth review.” Preston Smith, dean of the college of medicine, has said that USask will review its partnerships for the placements regularly to “to ensure our students are able to achieve their learning objectives.” CBC (Reversal) | Global News | CBC (Backlash) (SK)

King’s UC experiential learning trips to return in 2022

King’s University College has announced that its experiential learning trips will potentially be returning in the next two years after being cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. King’s is planning a variety of experiential learning trips in 2022, including trips to Rome and Italy, the Dominican Republic, and Belgium and France which will be dependent on public health regulations. “Experiential Learning (EL) deepens the learning experience and is invaluable in the development of career-related competencies and skills,” said Jenny Richmond-Bravo, King’s Promise Developer and Experiential Learning Coordinator. “EL connects learners with practical experiences, encourages self-reflection, and promotes community collaboration.” King’s UC (ON)

AB should support OER resources to help students: Opinion

The Government of Alberta must make meaningful moves to support its objective of having open educational resources (OER) available for students in AB, write Chaten D Jessel from the University of Calgary Students’ Union, Erik Christiansen from Mount Royal University, and Michael McNally from the University of Alberta. The authors argue that AB documents lack details on how to make OER resources more accessible, but that students need OER access to save money as tuition rises. Jessel, Christiansen, and McNally encourage AB to reinstate the AB OER initiative by providing funding, recruiting educators to volunteer with the OER initiative, and developing partnerships with provinces with OER initiatives. The authors explain that an OER coordinating and funding body would be transformative, and that instructors must also be encouraged to create OER content. The Edmonton Journal (Subscription req) (Editorial)

Save Our Sudbury, SWEAC call for intervention in Laurentian’s restructuring

The Save Our Sudbury group and the Sudbury Workers, Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC) are calling on the Government of Ontario’s new Minister of Colleges and Universities, Jill Dunlop, to intervene in Laurentian University’s restructuring. The Save Our Sudbury group has outlined 12 actions that it would like Dunlop to take, including speaking out against the CCAA proceedings and making a commitment to disallow public institutions to use the CCAA. SWEAC is asking that Dunlop end Laurentian’s insolvency, remove Laurentian’s president and board of governors, and reverse job cuts. Dunlop stated that impacted students would have their pathways to graduation protected and that the government would continue to monitor Laurentian’s situation. The Sudbury Star | CBC (ON)