Top Ten

August 18, 2021

Conestoga, UWaterloo, WLU receive $3M to launch, run LiftOff incubator

Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre will receive almost $3M to support the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region (CCAWR) in launching and running the LiftOff incubator. The LiftOff incubator will aim to boost the number of Black entrepreneurs by pairing entrepreneurs with coaches who can help them plan their goals and through connecting entrepreneurs with resources and networks. The LiftOff incubator will be based out of UWaterloo’s Velocity space and will employ 6 full-time staff as well as part-time coaches and mentors. WLU’s Entrepreneurship Centre and Conestoga will help deliver LiftOff’s programming, with programming based on Conestoga’s Venture Lab’s “universal business incubator.” The program has no age restrictions, and women are encouraged to apply. Conestoga | CBC (ON)

UAlberta to tear down Soaring mansion, sell property

The University of Alberta will be tearing down the $26M Soaring mansion to prepare the property for sale, reports the Edmonton Journal. The mansion, which was donated to UAlberta in 2010 by Sandy and Cécile Mactaggart, had been rented out for conferences and events. It was closed in 2018 as part of UAlberta’s attempts to cut its budget, and the Journal states that the demolition is expected to be finished by late October. “The decision to decommission, clear the site and eventually sell the property was made after careful assessment, with advice from our agent, and aligns with the integrated asset management strategy,” said UAlberta spokesperson Shelby Soke in an email. “This brings the greatest benefit to the university and community in support of our core mission.” Edmonton Journal (AB)

2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities released

Shanghai Ranking Consultancy has released its 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities. The ranking reviewed 2000 postsecondary institutions around the world and ranked the 1000 best universities. The top three institutions overall were Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Cambridge. Four Canadian universities appeared in the top 100 universities: The University of Toronto (22), the University of British Columbia (42), McGill University (67), and McMaster University (92). ShanghaiRanking | ShanghaiRanking (Release) (International)

Increased risk for drug overdoses amidst return to campus: Wyton

As students in British Columbia return to campus, they may be at an increased risk from drug overdoses, writes Moira Wyton of The Tyee, and postsecondary institutions must address the issue through harm reduction. The drug trade has reportedly become more unpredictable, and drug testing has revealed an increase in toxic substances in the drugs at a time when students may have a reduced tolerance to drugs. University of British Columbia PhD student Samara Mayer argues that students need low-barrier, peer-delivered harm reduction services, including resources at parties and peer-led response teams. Mayer states that institutions should incorporate compulsory harm reduction education. UBC’s student union has been holding naloxone training and peer support training, but some say that the issue must be addressed by the province as well. “The university, and we as students, can’t control the drug supply. There definitely should be a safe supply on campuses across BC so we can focus on prevention and harm reduction,” said Saad Shoaib, UBC’s AMS VP of external affairs. The Tyee (BC)

AB, ON postsecondary institutions announce mandatory COVID-19 vaccines

Three universities in Alberta and more institutions in Ontario are announcing COVID-19 mandates for vaccines on campus. McMaster University, Mohawk College, and Fleming College have announced that they will be requiring any students, staff, faculty, or visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before coming on campus. In Northern Ontario, Collège Boréal, Cambrian College, and Laurentian University will be making vaccinations mandatory for all people accessing campus. Those who do not show proof of vaccination must follow testing and screening requirements. Redeemer University has said that it will not require vaccinations due to its small student body, but that those who are vaccinated might “enjoy fewer barriers.” In AB, the University of Calgary, University of Alberta, and University of Lethbridge issued a joint announcement indicating that those coming to campus would require either a vaccine or rapid testing. CBC (McMaster, Mohawk, Redeemer) | Fleming | CBC (Boréal, Cambrian, Laurentian) | UAlberta (AB) (ON | AB)

Students might be ready to embrace in-person post-pandemic learning: Report

Kevin O’Neill, Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University, has penned a new article for The Conversation on how students will select their preferred course delivery format. In a recent study that examined student behaviour prior to the pandemic, O’Neill found that students chose the courses they would complete online strategically, and preferred to study in person for courses they needed more assistance in. The study also found that students who had taken more courses online in the past were more likely to prefer online courses, but that 30% of the time students chose online courses because they did not get into the in-person version. O’Neill says students have not significantly changed their priorities when choosing how to take a class, and argues that this challenges the assumption that the limiting factor on expanding online learning is reluctant professors. The Conversation (National)

BUFA passes motion to support mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations at BrandonU

Brandon University’s faculty union has passed a motion calling for BrandonU to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus. BUFA president Gautam Srivastava explained that mandating vaccines would help ensure student, staff, and faculty health and safety, and that BUFA is willing to work with the administration, even if it means the deadline for community members to receive vaccination will be later in the year. “We believe that this is a reasonable step we can take to ensure as normal a return to campus life as we can expect during the fall term,” said Srivastava, who clarified that BUFA would make exceptions for students with medical exemptions and give international students a grace period so that they could receive their shots. CBC | Brandon Sun | Global News (MB)

UManitoba holds Land Blessing Ceremony for future site of NCTR

The University of Manitoba held a Land Blessing Ceremony guided by Elders and Survivors to prepare the new permanent home of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). The future site is located on the Red River and is part of UManitoba’s Fort Garry campus. The new building will support the NCTR’s work, provide a safe space for Survivors, and support NCTR research on residential school records. “We are humbled to be the host of the NCTR and to put plans in place to continue to support the NCTR, and Truth and Reconciliation in our country,” said UManitoba President Dr Michael Benarroch. “The new home for the NCTR will open up many opportunities for education and learning on residential schools for students, staff, and faculty as well as the rest of the country.” UManitoba (MB)

Increased online courses frustrate ULaval students

Several Université Laval students expressed their disappointed to the Journal de Montréal after learning that they will be studying via distance learning for the Fall semester. The university is expected to offer a higher percentage of online courses than prior to the pandemic, even though the Government of Quebec is allowing postsecondary students to return to campus. Confédération des Associations d’étudiants et étudiantes de l’Université Laval (CADEUL) president Cyndelle Gagnon expressed the group’s disappointment with the high rate of online classes, but encouraged students to be understanding. ULaval reportedly made the decision to not change course delivery modes after June 15 to avoid causing students stress and to enable students to plan ahead for the Fall semester. Priority for in-person courses has been given to students in practical courses and first-year students. Journal de Montréal (QC)

Carleton, CUASA ratify new collective agreement

Carleton University and the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA) have ratified a new collective agreement which is retroactive to May 1, 2021. The agreement includes a salary increase of one percent per annum across-the-board, as well as highlights such as three additional research days for librarians, an extension of modifications to teaching evaluation administrations during COVID-19, and travel and conference grants for second and subsequent sabbaticals. The agreement will be in place until April 30, 2024. Carleton (ON)