Top Ten

August 19, 2021

StatCan releases paper on financial impacts of pandemic on Canadian universities

Statistics Canada has released a new research paper on the projected financial impact of COVID-19 on Canadian universities. The paper draws on several data sets to create projection scenarios for postsecondary institutions by province that are based on factors such as lowered international student enrolment, domestic student enrolment variations, and government funding. StatCan estimates that Canadian universities could lose between $2.5B and $438M of their projected revenues for the 2020/21 academic year. "Universities may continue to adapt and find new ways to better position themselves as an attraction for both international and domestic students," concludes the report, "and by the end of the 2021 academic year, there should be more clear measures of the impact the pandemic has had on these institutions." StatCan | StatCan (Report) (National)

ON announces mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for postsecondary institutions

The Government of Ontario has reportedly announced a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for those working in public education and several high-risk health-care settings. Postsecondary institutions have been deemed a high-risk setting, according to CBC, and will be expected to have a vaccination policy for staff. The Whig says that ON is currently finalizing a policy that will require regular COVID-19 tests for those at postsecondary institutions who are not vaccinated. ON chief medical officer of health Dr Kieran Moore reportedly does not believe the measures are sufficient and has “made it clear that institutions that wish to implement stricter vaccination policies have the authority to do so.” The Whig | CBC (ON)

UAlberta receives $2.85M to create ALS research platform

The University of Alberta has received $2.85M from Brain Canada to create a platform to support ALS research. The platform – titled Comprehensive Analysis Platform to Understand, Remedy, and Eliminate ALS (CAPTURE ALS) – will gather patients’ biological data such as blood and cerebrospinal fluids, which can be used by researchers to guide more personalized treatment. CAPTURE ALS will also expand work being done by the Canadian ALS Neuroimaging Consortium (CALSNIC) to develop and validate biomarkers to use in the tracking and treatment of ALS. “The harmonization of standard operating procedures across all sites is important, so there can be uniformly high-quality data and materials,” said UAlberta team lead Sanjay Kalra. “Then, all of this will be available to researchers globally.” UAlberta (AB)

Western receives $3.3M for research on safe storage of nuclear fuel waste

Western University has received a $3.3M research grant to fund research on the safe storage of nuclear fuel waste. The project will involve researchers from the university, as well as national and international partner nuclear management organizations, as they explore the creation of steel canisters to hold the waste. Research will be conducted on making the canisters corrosion-proof, existing corrosion-proof analogs, and validating the efficacy of the copper coating. The grant includes $2M from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and $1.3M from Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization. “There’s a very good incentive for collaboration among countries because everyone wants this done in the safest and best way possible,” said Western researcher Des Moser. Western (ON)

QC announces mandatory masking in classrooms for postsecondary students

Faced with rising case counts and hospitalizations, the Government of Quebec has announced new rules for several sectors, including postsecondary education. Cegep and university students will be required to wear masks while they are seated in class as well as when they are in common areas. “Even if it’s warm, even if it’s summer, the situation is worrying and we have to take measures,” said QC premier François Legault, who explained that there are still concerns about the spread of the Delta variant as the weather becomes cooler. “[W]e’re seeing a fourth wave and Quebec will not be spared,” said Legault. Global News | CBC (QC)

Collaboration between advisers, instructors holds key to student success: Opinion

Academic advisers should seek to collaborate more with faculty members in order to support student success, writes Jennifer Arin, as instructors’ perspectives can be key to a full understanding of student issues. Arin argues that discussing student issues with the instructor can lead to productive conversations about changes students can make to see success. “If we are serious about student success — and about advising as a key way to achieve it — then academic counselors and faculty members must engage with one another about our students early and often,” writes Arin. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Paywall) (Editorial)

Brock, DHA Suffa sign MOU creating new international pathways

Brock University has signed a MOU with DHA Suffa University (DSU) in Karachi, Pakistan, which will create new international pathways for students. The 2+2 agreement will allow graduates to earn the equivalent of up to two years’ worth of coursework toward their degrees. The MOU is Brock’s first agreement with a Pakistani university and DSU’s first with a Canadian university, and promotes friendship, international and intercultural understanding, research, and exchanges between the institutions. “On the global stage, Brock is known as a Canadian partner offering high-quality academic programming that is attractive to international students,” said Brock President Lynn Wells. “We also enjoy a well-deserved reputation as a comprehensive institution with excellent scholarship in many fields.” Brock (ON)

MRU to require those in classrooms, labs, gatherings to wear masks

Mount Royal University has announced that it will be requiring masking in classrooms, labs, and other indoor gathering spaces with over 20 people as its community returns to campus. People will also be “strongly encouraged” to wear masks in meeting areas and hallways, and MRU will implement protocols to reduce congestion. Though MRU has not said that it will make the COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory, CBC says the university has hinted that its vaccination policy may be updated in the future. “There are many signs of change when it comes to requirements for people to disclose and/or be vaccinated,” read a statement from MRU. CBC | Calgary Herald (AB)

AlgomaU becomes member of Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Algoma University has announced that it has become a member institution in the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a network of postsecondary and research institutions that address complex global issues. AlgomaU’s membership will allow students, staff, and faculty to connect with SDSN members for work on sustainable development solutions and access SDSN’s online communication platform. “This membership will provide Algoma University faculty and students an opportunity to collaborate with other universities, colleges, research and other knowledge institutions around the world, and help their research efforts on solving some of the complex issues facing around the world,” said Eunjung Riauka, AlgomaU’s Coordinator, Global Engagement & Mobility; Internationalization Lead. AlgomaU (ON)

UQAM's sports teams unveil new visual identity

The Université du Québec à Montréal's Sports Center has unveiled a new visual identity for the Citadins. The Citadins’ new logo is made up of four buildings, which represent the teams’ core attributes of cosmopolitan, commitment, daring, and competitiveness. The logo is in the shape of an open book to represent athletic and academic success. Communications and merchandise related to the teams will include slogans such as “À nous la victoire,” “À nous la ville,” or “À nous la coupe” to represent the unified commitment of student-athletes to the sport, their studies, and their city. UQAM (QC)