Top Ten

August 3, 2021

Canada announces $2.2B for biomanufacturing and life sciences sector

The Government of Canada has announced that it will be investing over $2.2B over seven years into Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector. The funding will create the Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, which will aim to grow the domestic life sciences sector while creating jobs. The strategy is also intended to prepare Canada for future health emergencies through investments in the sector. The five pillars include a focus on strengthening research systems and the talent pipeline, which will ensure that people will receive postsecondary training that qualifies them to work on state-of-the-art projects. Canada (National)

AlgomaU to offer aviation programming at Brampton campus

Algoma University’s School of Business and Economics will be introducing two new aviation programs in the Fall semester at its Brampton campus. Students who complete the four-year Aviation Management Professional Program (AMP) program will earn a Bachelor of Business Administration with an Aviation Specialization. Those participating in the one-year Aviation Management Certificate (AMC) program will learn the skills they will need to work at a management level, and will be able to transfer into the AMP program if desired. AlgomaU says that it is one of only three universities in ON that offers aviation programming. AlgomaU (ON)

CAUT releases database of postsecondary back-to-school plans, reopening assessment checklist

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has released a database of postsecondary back-to-school plans for the Fall 2021 semester. The database includes information about course delivery modes, institutional health and safety plans, and any available hybrid teaching and vaccination requirement information. The database shows that 43% of institutions plan to deliver courses primarily in-person with some online and hybrid courses, while 31% plan to use a blended learning approach. 12% will require students in residence to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. CAUT has also released the COVID-19 Guidance for Assessing Campus Re-opening Plans checklist, which can be used to assess the reopening plans of institutions. CAUT (National)

CSLF study finds training in English in French programs, encourages monitoring language

The Government of Quebec’s Conseil supérieur de la langue française (CSLF) has completed released a report following a survey of over 2,700 university programs offered by the 15 French-language universities in the province. The report found that, while 88.5% of programs allow training entirely in French, the remainder contain at least some English. The study authors noted that English appears in education in a myriad of ways, including testimonies and surveys; required readings, examinations, and lesson plans; and university research and scientific publications. The Montréal Gazette reports that the study recommended that the presence of English within French-language university training be “monitored constantly.” QC (Report) | Montreal Gazette (CP) | Journal de Montréal (QC)

International students in Canada are becoming less diverse: Report

Canada’s international students are becoming less diverse, which could be problematic for Canada, reports The Star. International students are reportedly being drawn to programs that are shorter in length; lower cost; located in Ontario; and focused on fields such as business, management, and public administration are rising. The report also indicates that Canada is receiving an increasing number of students from the top 10 countries, with 66.8% of college students and 21.3% of university students coming from India. The Star states that these trends go against Ottawa’s International Education Strategy, which emphasizes the importance of diversification to ensure that students pursue education at a variety of regions and schools in Canada; come from a variety of international markets, reducing the impact if a country goes into an economic downturn; and develop diverse skillsets. The Star (National)

Sault, Trent establish Environmental Sciences pathways

Sault College and Trent University have signed four new articulation agreements that will allow students to deepen their understanding of the environment. Graduates of select Sault College programs will be able to complete a degree at Trent in just two or three years. Students will have the opportunity to take advantage of the institutions’ broad range of courses, on-campus nature areas, and globally recognized experts, as well as fieldwork and research projects through Trent. “This partnership builds on our commitment to creating pathways for students between college and university and draws on the strengths of both our institutions in providing environmental science programming that prepares students to address some of the biggest global challenges of our time,” said Trent Dean of Science Dr Holger Hintelmann. Sault | SooToday (ON)

Using trauma-informed pedagogy to reduce student stress: Opinion

A new article from BCcampus describes how instructors can use trauma-informed pedagogy to prepare for the uncertainty of returning to the classroom and reduce student stress. Stress can impede a student’s ability to process information, make choices, and focus. The article encourages instructors to use incorporate a variety of qualities to reduce stress for students, such as predictability of announcements and schedule, flexibility with assignments and how meetings are carried out, and connection and warmth with a focus on compassion. The author also encourages instructors to build relationships with their students and empower them through engaging learning and alternative assessments to high-stakes exams. BCcampus (BC)

MUN unveils blue whale skull to be installed in new core science building

Memorial University has unveiled a 6-metre blue whale skull, part of the whale skeleton that will be installed in the Blue Whale atrium of MUN’s new core science building. The skull and 356-bone skeleton will be the centerpiece of the science building. The skeleton was taken from a blue whale that washed up in Rocky Harbour in 2014 and was flown to Ontario to be naturally decomposed. Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey described the new building as “a cornerstone to the rest of the world to attract students and professors alike.” Costs associated with transporting, preparing, and putting up the skeleton were covered by a private donation. CBC | VOCM (NL)

NIC introduces Access to Practical Nursing program

North Island College has announced that a new program that will provide a bridge for those working as health care assistants to enter NIC’s Practical Nursing program in their second year. The Access to Practical Nursing program will teach students content that is not covered in the health care assistant course, creating a pathway for working Health Care Assistants to enter level three of NIC’s Practical Nursing Diploma program. “The Access to Practical Nursing program acknowledges and honours the experience and knowledge that working Health Care Assistants bring with them to the classroom,” said Laurie Michaud, associate dean, health and human services at NIC. NIC (BC)

Ways to improve the use of technology in post-pandemic courses: Opinion

Online classes can be intensely rigorous, demanding, and active, writes former college president Roger Martin, and there are opportunities for them to be improved. Martin reflects on his experience taking an online course for the first time in 2020 and discusses the challenges and limitations faced by instructor and students alike in the course. The author argues that instead of going back to a pre-pandemic “normal,” postsecondary institutions should consider having hybrid courses, using flipped classroom, linking in-person courses with distance technologies, and offering virtual office hours and libraries. Additionally, Martin says institutions might consider hiring a tech staff member to support online pedagogy by incorporating demos into faculty meetings and orienting faculty with the available online and hybrid techniques. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)