Top Ten

July 30, 2021

Doctors call for national curriculum standard to address health needs of 2SLGBTQIA+ patients

Doctors across Canada are calling for the implementation of a national curriculum standard that would support the health care needs of 2SLGBTQIA+ patients. Doctors such as Miranda Schreiber, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine, and Dr Elise Jackson emphasized the necessity of changes that would support the integration of queer and trans health skills into student assessments. Jackson explains that simple shifts such as explaining gender-inclusive language and raising awareness of queer- and trans-specific health needs are important to ensure that 2SLGBTQIA+ patients can access health care. Jackson explains that a national standard would ensure that education is not left up to those who are passionate about the subject. A petition on the topic that Shreiber helped launch has already received over 3,700 signatures. The Star (National)

AB colleges, polytechnics create Agriculture and Food Research Collaborative

Seven of Alberta’s Colleges and Polytechnics have signed a declaration to advance agriculture and food research in the province collaboratively. Each of the seven institutions – Grande Prairie Regional College, Lakeland College, Lethbridge College, Medicine Hat College, NAIT, Olds College, and SAIT – will bring their unique applied research specialties to the table. Under the agreement, will share data, research, and expertise, and support the evolution of policy and advocacy for the industry. “There is much we can learn from each other as we continue to find new and innovative ways to serve our students, our communities, and our global society,” said MHC president Kevin Shufflebotham. AB (AB)

QC postsecondary anticipates return in person even if vaccination target is unmet

Sources from the Government of Quebec suggest that the province will announce that postsecondary students will be returning to campus in person, even if the population does not meet the COVID-19 vaccination target. Journal de Montréal reports that QC will likely not meet the 75% vaccination among the 16- to 29-year-old population, but 78.6% of college students and 83% of academics are expected to be fully vaccinated this fall. Campus vaccination campaigns will target those who have not yet been vaccinated. Discussions are ongoing about if masks will be required, though Université de Montreal associate professor Roxane Borgès Da Silva, expressed concerns to the Journal about the spread of the Delta variant as students attend class in large lecture halls. Journal de Montréal (QC)

QS releases global rankings for 2022

QS Top Universities has released its 2022 global rankings, which includes over 1,300 universities around the world. The rankings took into account factors such as the ratio of faculty to students, the number of research citations from faculty, and reputation with employers. 28 Canadian universities were included in the rankings, with the University of Toronto (#26), McGill University (tied for #27), and the University of British Columbia (#46) ranking highest. Other institutions that ranked within the top 250 institutions included Université de Montréal (#111), the University of Alberta (#126), McMaster University (#140), University of Waterloo (tied for #149), Western University (#170), University of Ottawa (#230), University of Calgary (#235), and Queen’s University (tied for #240). QS (Release) | QS (Rankings) (International)

WLU to explore namesake through Laurier Legacy Project

Wilfrid Laurier University has announced that it will be exploring its namesake’s history through the Laurier Legacy Project, which will examine Laurier’s life and legacy from a scholarly perspective. The project will examine Laurier’s policy decisions and legacy, and the way the past contributes to the present. Two postdoctoral fellows and one Indigenous visiting professor will help complete the research on Laurier’s legacy, the university, and indigeneity or decolonization. “As an institution of higher learning we have a responsibility to research and reflect upon our namesake,” said WLU President Deborah MacLatchy. “The combination of scholarly studies and public education will best position us to appreciate the meaning of Laurier’s legacy for our institution and our country.” Nation Talk (ON)

$10 regulated childcare spaces drives early childcare educator recruitment, retention in PEI

The Government of Canada and Government of Prince Edward Island are partnering to increase access to early childcare education and provide $10-a-day regulated childcare spaces by 2024. To meet the increased demand, the Early Childhood Development Association of PEI’s (ECDA) has scaled up recruitment and retention efforts of early childcare educators in the province, and is working with Holland College and College de l’Isle to develop programming. “[C]ommitment to the workforce and competitive wages, education opportunities — all of that while parent fees are cut in half — it’s a dream,” said ECDA interim executive director Jennifer Nangreaves. CBC | PM (Canada) (PEI)

Sault announces mandatory vaccines for those in residence, varsity athletics program

Sault College has announced that it will require those working or living in residence and those involved with its varsity athletics program to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Those in residence will need to prove that they are fully vaccinated by September 20 or face eviction; while staff, students, and coaches associated with Sault varsity athletics programs must complete their vaccination on a prescribed schedule. Sault will also have fewer international students this year, and will oversee students to ensure that they follow regulations. “The health and safety of our campus community is an important priority and these mandatory vaccination policies will complement this,” said Sault President Dr Ron Common. “The College will continue to follow all public health guidelines and protocols this fall to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff.” Sault | CBC (ON)

AB asks UAlberta to revise tuition hike proposals, conduct more student consultation

The Government of Alberta has requested that the University of Alberta revise its tuition hike proposals and conduct more student consultation before resubmitting them by October 29th. The students’ union had stated that the consultations had been conducted during the winter final exam period. Christian Fotang, the union’s external vice-president explained that “[i]t didn’t feel like a consultation — it just felt like we were being informed, so what we’re asking is to actually work with students to ensure that their concerns and aspirations are reflected in the proposals.” UAlberta provost and VP academic Steven Dew thanked AB for providing more time for the consultations, and said that students would be supported through increased financial assistance in the event of an “exceptional” tuition increase. The Edmonton Journal (Paywall) (AB)

UVic students struggle to find housing

Times Colonist reports that first year University of Victoria students are struggling to find housing due to a shortage of on-campus housing. UVic is not guaranteeing first-year students on-campus housing due to factors such as increased admissions, previous commitments made to deferring students, and renovations which have resulted in fewer beds being available. First-year students told Times Colonist that they are facing challenges securing alternative rentals given that they have no credit rating or rental references, and that students and parents are considering options such as buying a condo after being waitlisted. UVic says it is supporting students through offering tools and tips for finding accommodations. Times Colonist (BC)

Navigating the return to “normal”: Opinion

As postsecondary institutions recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they should recognize that “returning to normal” may be difficult or impossible for some people, write Brandy L Simula and Kate Willink. The authors explain that faculty are facing psychological issues, including trauma, grief, and exhaustion as a result of the pandemic, and that conversations about transitioning back to “normal” can cause stress and erase the reality of the situation. Simula and Willink describe a variety of ways that leadership can support faculty, including naming and normalizing pandemic-related psychological issues, creating spaces for sharing positive emotions, recognizing long-term COVID-19-related effects while planning, and providing opportunities for reflection. The authors also encourage reviewing the benefits of remote and hybrid work and allowing people to choose their own timeline for returning. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)