Top Ten

August 11, 2021

A look at how COVID-19 research funding was spent: Owens

In a recent University Affairs article, Brian Owens examines the research funding provided for COVID-19 over the past 18 months by the federal and provincial funding bodies and discusses the programs' effectiveness using the perspectives of several academics. Paola Marignani, a molecular biologist at Dalhousie University, noted that the funds may have been more effectively spent by adding them to regular open competitions to fund projects in related areas, while Jim Woodgett, a cell biologist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute explained that political pressure would have made it difficult to invest in a long-term strategy. Shirin Kalyan, an immunologist at the University of British Columbia, noted that the broad criteria for funding made it difficult for peer reviewers to gain clarity on what kinds of applications were desired. University Affairs (Editorial)

UWaterloo implements new COVID-19 measures for students, staff

The University of Waterloo is implementing new COVID-19 measures for those on campus. UWaterloo students and staff will be required to self-declare their vaccination status before coming to campus, and attendance will be automatically reported through UWaterloo’s wireless network. Starting September 1st, those who have not been vaccinated or who do not indicate their status will be given information about public health measures and vaccination and will be directed to a rapid antigen testing screening program. Unvaccinated students will be expected to undergo COVID-19 antigen screenings twice a week, and those who have positive test results must take an on-campus COVID-19 test and self-isolate. CTV News | CBC (ON)

MHC, JBS Better Futures to provide free college tuition to team members, dependents

Medicine Hat College and JBS Better Futures are partnering to provide JBS Brooks team members and their dependents to access free MHC tuition. The program aims to remove barriers to postsecondary education while improving lives and building rural economies. “We applaud JBS for their vision and commitment to their community,” said MHC president Kevin Shufflebotham. “Medicine Hat College is proud to partner with and support JBS in their efforts of increasing access to education of their employees’ families through the Better Futures program.” The program’s first class will be eligible to begin studies in the Fall semester. Medicine Hat News (AB)

Comparing Goodreads data to university syllabuses: Study of women writers

University of Calgary Associate Professor Karen Bourrier shares the findings of a recent project that examined the presence of women writers on syllabi and their popularity among online platform Goodreads readers. University professors include women writers on their syllabi less often than male writers, explains Bourrier, while Goodreads readers are more willing to read books written by either men or women. The author describes how she used Open Syllabus Project data and scraped data from Goodreads to understand reading practices. The study found that Goodreads users read books assigned on syllabi around as often as they were taught by university professors, but that these users also read writing by women with strong female protagonists more often than it was assigned in university classes. Bourrier argues that this research shows that professors should assign writing by women more often. The Conversation (Editorial)

ACC moves Adult Collegiate program to Victoria East campus

Assiniboine Community College has moved its Adult Collegiate program to the Victoria Avenue East campus, reports the Brandon Sun. The “Centre for Adult Learning,” which is currently under renovation, will open in September at the new location, which will provide mature students with better access to ACC’s main campus facilities and resources. The new location was chosen based on the information that more mature students lived near ACC’s Victoria East campus. “I think it will be easier for them to see themselves as a college student and feel part of that (culture), and will encourage more to transition to post-secondary,” said Kate Pelletier, ACC director of access programs. Brandon Sun (MB)

ON postsecondary institutions announce vaccine requirements for residence, sports, music

Postsecondary institutions across Ontario are announcing new COVID-19 vaccine requirements for students. Canadore College will require students living in residence to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 15th, and will hold a residence move-in vaccination clinic. Carleton University will require vaccinations for students living in residence, as well as those participating in activities such as music instruction and athletics. Students living in residence who are not vaccinated will face eviction. Wilfrid Laurier University, Conestoga College, and Fanshawe College will all be requiring student athletes to be fully vaccinated in order to fully participate in sports in order to ensure a safer sports experience. CBC (Carleton) | Nugget News (Canadore) | Global News (Laurier, Conestoga) | Fanshawe (ON)

French cégep students experience delays receiving study permits

Journal de Montréal reports that some students from France, who were planning to study at Cégep de Jonquière in the Fall semester, are experiencing delays receiving their study permits. Students were forced to submit incomplete applications due to shutdowns in France and submitted additional documents as soon as possible. Though the deadline for issuing study permits was Friday, students are still waiting to hear back about the status of their permits. One student told the Journal that he had to cancel his flight to Montreal, and others are worried that they will not be able to enter Canada to start their program in the Fall semester. Journal de Montréal (QC)

Atlantic universities are a “go-to location” for students due to their COVID-19 readiness: Russell

Universities in Atlantic Canada are leaders in COVID-19 readiness, writes St Thomas University President Dawn Russell in an article for New Canadian Media. Russell argues that the Atlantic’s successful limitation of the spread of COVID-19 combined with its top-tier postsecondary institutions has made the Atlantic a go-to location for both domestic and international postsecondary students. “Atlantic Canadian universities are in a position to safely welcome students to our campuses, where they can enjoy a sense of normal university life and where the surrounding communities can be confident that we are respecting their well-being,” writes Russell. New Canadian Media (Editorial)

StFX completes renovations on historic Morrison Hall dining room

St Francis Xavier University has completed a number of renovations on its main student dining room that will increase energy efficiency while adding modern technology to the building. The front windows were replaced with more energy-efficient windows which will improve insulation without the use of curtains. The new windows maintain the traditional look of the old ones, but have “fritted” thermal glazing. A variable refrigerant flow cooling and heating system has been incorporated for climate control. The project also includes other improvements such as the replacement of the main dishwasher and dish tabling system. StFX will also be replacing the waste disposal/composting system, doubling the My Kitchen size, and relocating the salad bar and dessert stations. StFX (NS)

Tenure, promotion systems must change to allow for new modes of scholarship: Opinion

The tenure and promotion systems at postsecondary institutions must be reimagined to make space for new modes of scholarship, write Amanda Coolidge, Director of Open Education at BCcampus, and City University Open Education Coordinator Andrew McKinney. The authors explain that many tenure candidates are evaluated on their research, teaching, and service, and that the type of work is often not taken into account. Coolidge and McKinney say that the University of British Columbia is the only institution in North America to explicitly mention OER in its tenure and promotion policies, and argue that other institutions should also recognize OER-related activities. “[I]t’s time that we ensure that innovative approaches like open education are provided with the same space and security to flourish and have positive impacts on institutions, educators and students,” write the authors. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)