Top Ten

August 12, 2021

Canada invests over $77M in over 332 research infrastructure projects across Canada

The Government of Canada has invested over $77M through the John R Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) in over 332 research infrastructure projects across the country. The funds will support projects covering a wide range of topics from climate change to healthcare at 50 universities across Canada. Projects include the University of British Columbia’s work on the prevention and treatment of infections, the University of Guelph’s work on Indigenous research methods, the University of Saskatchewan’s development of real-time testbeds for energy management systems, OCAD University’s work on “shadow pandemics,” and the University of Calgary’s work on eco-friendly concrete. “These investments will not only support our ground-breaking contributions to science and research but also improve our economy, environment and quality of life,” said Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. Globe Newswire (National)

UOttawa, NiagaraU, Western, Huron, Brescia, KingsUC announce campus vaccine requirements

The University of Ottawa, Niagara University, Western University, Huron University College, King's University College, and Brescia University College have each announced that they will be requiring those on campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. UOttawa will require anyone accessing the campus to have received at least one shot by September 7th and a second by October 15th. Students who are not vaccinated will be required to follow protocols such as frequent testing and personal protective equipment requirements. Western and the affiliate university colleges have introduced a new policy requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for students, staff, and faculty. NiagaraU has announced that it will be requiring vaccination for students attending any of its campuses, including its Vaughan campus in Ontario. The universities are also offering online options for students who choose not to get vaccinated. (ON) CBC | NiagaraU | Western | Ottawa Citizen | The Star

Canada launches regulatory college for immigration and citizenship consultants

The Government of Canada has announced that it is launching a new College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants to regulate the profession across Canada. The college will aim to protect those looking to immigrate to Canada as it works to prevent immigration fraud. John Shields, a political science professor at Ryerson University’s public policy department, said that fraud committed by “ghost consultants” has been an issue “for a long time,” and that “there is mounting evidence that the regulation of immigration consultants remains inadequate.” The College Act will make it a crime to provide services without a license, which will help prevent unauthorized practitioners from taking advantage of immigrants. New Canadian Media says that more education is needed to teach people about resettlement and the dangers of ghost consultants. Newswire | Vancouver Sun | New Canadian Media (National)

Former medical student wins court ruling against UManitoba

Former medical student Rafael Zaki, who was expelled from the University of Manitoba, has been granted a new consideration of his expulsion after winning a court ruling against UManitoba. Zaki had posted “pro-gun and pro-life” Facebook posts in February 2019 and was expelled in August 2019. Zaki appealed the decision through UManitoba’s internal processes, but the University Discipline Committee found the posts to be misogynistic and negative for the learning environment. Provincial Judge Ken Champagne evaluated the decisions and found a perception of bias and that Zaki’s Charter rights to freedom of expression were not considered, as Zaki held “conscientious and religious beliefs that abortion is harmful.” National Post | Northern News (MB)

Encouraging diversity through the mindful use of diversity-related language: Opinion

Two recently published opinion pieces from Maria Qadri and Jill Stoner discuss the challenges with using acronyms and vague language to discuss diversity in academia. Qadri argues that educators should take time to consider the true meanings of words such as “equity,” “diversity,” “inclusion, “equality,” and “representation.” Shortening these words to acronyms is problematic, Qadri writes, because it obscures their meanings. Stoner discusses the military and corporate history of acronyms, and explains that they were typically used in cultures of secrecy or irreverence. Stoner argues that acronyms diminish the significance of the words and link them together in instances when they may not all be relevant. “To effectively do the work of dismantling systemic racism, we cannot afford to take shortcuts, linguistic or otherwise,” writes Stoner. Inside Higher Ed (Qadri) | Inside Higher Ed (Stoner) (Editorial)

MHC, N-APPL sign MOU to give CAF members prior learning credits

Medicine Hat College and National Advanced Placement & Prior Learning (N-APPL) have signed a MOU that will give postsecondary credits to current or former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members for the training and experience they have acquired. Eligible individuals will be able to enter the second year of MHC’s Business Administration diploma with up to 25 prior learning credits. “We are proud to work alongside N-APPL to provide local educational pathways to those who are currently or have formerly served our country,” said Miranda Davies, MHC business administration coordinator. “We recognize that the skills and experience they attain provides great value in the world of business, and we are eager to support these students through their post-secondary journey.” MHC (AB)

McGill, UdeM announce mask requirements

McGill University and Université de Montréal have announced that they will be requiring students to wear masks in class, which is reportedly a stricter stance than the provincial government’s requirements. The Government of Quebec currently requires students to wear masks while unseated or walking around. McGill will also limit class sizes to 150 people and will expect students to maintain physical distancing while seated. UdeM will allow masks to be removed if a person is alone in an enclosed office, individual workroom, meeting room, or sitting two metres from others in a dining area. CTV News (QC)

UWFA calls for mandatory masking, vaccines

The University of Winnipeg’s Faculty Association (UWFA) is calling for the University of Winnipeg to mandate the use of masks indoors and COVID-19 vaccines for students and staff who are participating in on-campus activities. The association voted overwhelmingly in favour of mask use and mandatory vaccines during a recent special meeting, said UWFA President Peter Miller, who added that vaccines are necessary to ensure that the return to campus is safe and uninterrupted. “[I]t is also an opportunity to be a leader,” said Miller. “We have members who have children under 12 who are concerned about COVID-19 transmission. We have members who are concerned about bringing this many people back to the downtown community, which we all know was labelled a hot spot.” CBC reports that all institutions in Manitoba have said that fully vaccination would be “highly encouraged” but not mandatory. Global News | CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (Paywall) (MB)

Dan Levy fans raise over $50K for UAlberta Faculty of Native Studies

Global News reports that fans of Dan Levy raised over $50K on Levy’s birthday for the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies. In 2020, Levy signed up for UAlberta’s Indigenous Canada MOOC and invited his social media followers to join him, which resulted in over 50,000 learners enrolling in the course alongside Levy. Funds will be used to support programming for students, community research-based initiatives, and programming for public engagement. “For us, this is a really big boost and a really big surprise too,” said Paul Gareau, academic lead for the Indigenous Canada course. Global News | Pink News (AB)

Developing a remote-work policy in academia: Opinion

Though remote work offers a variety of benefits, Allison M Vaillancourt argues that institutions should make thoughtful decisions about their remote work policies as it can also cause complications for administrators. Vaillancourt says that administrators should consider what their organizational values are, consider how issues of trust are affecting decisions, and consider fairness in who is allowed to work from home. The author encourages administrators to consider if they have the necessary infrastructure to support remote work and to question if they are missing anything by focusing on work-from-home policies. “Talented people have options,” concludes Vaillancourt, “and they will choose organizations that make it possible for them to have both meaningful jobs and meaningful lives.” The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Editorial)