Top Ten

August 24, 2021

Canadian PSE institutions announce mandatory vaccines, Fall classroom expectations

Several postsecondary institutions recently announced vaccine mandates. On the east coast, universities such as the University of New Brunswick, Université de Moncton, Saint Mary’s University, and Memorial University have announced vaccination requirements for those on campus. New Brunswick Community College told CBC that it did not plan to make vaccines mandatory. In the prairies, Providence University College, NorQuest College, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic have recently announced new measures for the fall. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Booth University College will not be holding in-person classes in the Fall. CBC (NB) | CBC (SMU) | CBC (MUN) | WFP (MB) (National)

Vice-chair “bewildered” after being removed from Banff Centre board

Former Progressive Conservative MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans is reportedly “bewildered” after being removed from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Board of Governors. CBC reports that Kennedy-Glans's appointment was rescinded by the Government of Alberta at the request of the Banff Centre’s leadership, who cited her “continuing and varied failure to adhere to Banff Centre’s code of ethics.” Kennedy-Glans said that she participated in an interview with CBC in May in which she commented on the UCP, which in turn generated an “incredible outburst” from the Banff Centre CEO and the board chair. “I was admonished and really browbeaten for a conversation that had nothing to do with the Banff Centre, had nothing to do with post-secondary education,” Kennedy-Glans said. “There is nothing I have done that is wrong. I have violated nothing.” CBC | Globe and Mail (AB)

McMaster, Sartorius embark on antibody, virus-based treatment research

McMaster University and Sartorius Stedim Biotech have partnered to improve the manufacturing processes of antibody and virus-based treatment for diseases such as COVID-19, cancers, and genetic disorders. McMaster will use a state-of-the-art, multi-column chromatography system provided by Sartorius to perfect the process for purifying therapeutic viruses, which will create the opportunity for new, affordable treatments for patients. "Teaming up with Sartorius Stedim Biotech is an exciting opportunity for McMaster Engineering,” said John Preston, associate dean, research, innovation and external relations in the Faculty of Engineering. “This research will push the envelope in leading advanced, cutting-edge research in bio-manufacturing," Newswire (ON)

Elections Canada to not offer special polling stations on campus

The Canadian federal election is scheduled to take place after the beginning of the school year, but Elections Canada is reportedly not offering special polling stations on campus. Elections Canada offered polling stations on 39 campuses in 2015 and 109 campuses in 2019 through the Vote on Campus program. However, the organization cited the ongoing pandemic and planning difficulties given the uncertain election timing as reasons for not continuing the program this year. Global News reports that there are concerns that the youth turnout rate for the election may decrease this year, particularly without campus voting options. Spokesperson Matthew McKenna explained that the organization has been working with student organizations and has vowed to re-implement the program for future elections. CTV News | Globe and Mail (Paywall) | Global News (National)

Five tips for finding a well-suited postdoc: Editorial

Selecting a postdoctoral position that is a good fit can set a graduate student up for success. Tina Solvik outlines five practical steps for graduate students considering pursuing a postdoc. The first steps focus on understanding what postdocs are and determining whether one is a good fit for the student’s career aspirations. If a postdoc would be beneficial, Solvik explains how to search for postdoc opportunities, apply and inquire about opportunities in a tailored fashion, and identify through interviews whether an opportunity would be a good fit. “Postdocs can be an incredibly valuable experience in your professional development,” concludes Solvik. “Choosing to do a postdoc for specific career goals, applying to opportunities that support those career goals, and assessing how the postdoc environment can promote your success will help make sure you get the most out of the experience.” Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

Concordia Edmonton, ULethbridge, NorQuest, MacEwan co-launch VacciNATION to promote vaccine confidence

Concordia University of Edmonton, University of Lethbridge, NorQuest College, and MacEwan University have announced a joint initiative called VacciNATION to promote confidence in the COVID-19 vaccinations. The initiative uses a peer-to-peer approach to share information, dispel myths, and promote immunization among youth across the province. VacciNATION ambassadors who create informative content for Gen Z can win cash prizes. “To date, the focus of the conversation has been on protecting vulnerable populations, which is accurate and extremely important;” explained Dr Cecilia Bukuto of Concordia University of Edmonton, “however, new variants of concern have emerged that are affecting younger populations and leading to severe illness, hospitalizations, and long-lasting health conditions.” Concordia Edmonton (AB)

SSHRC announces Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has announced its Advisory Committee to Address Anti-Black Racism, which will advise SSHRC's vice-president on ways to break down barriers, ensure equitable access, and amplify Black scholars’ voices and visibility in SSHRC programs. The committee is comprised of 11 members of the Canadian community of Black researchers. The meetings will be co-chaired by McGill University Assistant Professor Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey and University of Ottawa Doctoral Candidate Karine Coen-Sanchez. SSHRC (National)

Universities should focus on imparting intergenerational wisdom to drive long-term solutions: Opinion

As the current pandemic upends how we live, learn, work, and connect with one another, Annelise Riles writes that institutions have the opportunity to engage in long-term, intergenerational solutions to global challenges. “The university’s greatest distinguishing factor is its ability to anticipate and care for the long term, beyond business or political cycles,” writes Riles. “They’re also sites of important generational struggle, [… such as] immigration debates, climate change activism, calls for racial justice, the Me Too movement, and more.” Riles notes that universities can go beyond knowledge accumulation to focus on imparting wisdom and judgment, and reflects on how this may require a rethinking of the learning experiences provided by the institution. “If a sustainable future is what we want to create,” concludes Riles, “intergenerational wisdom must be the goal of the university of the future.” Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

U of T, UoGuelph to require proof of vaccination

The University of Toronto and University of Guelph have announced that staff and students will need to display proof of their COVID-19 vaccination. CBC reports that U of T previously required proof from certain students, such as those living on-site, while others would declare their status using a screening app. The university updated its policy after a recent announcement from Ontario’s chief medical officer. UoGuelph has announced that, beginning September 7th, staff and students accessing university buildings and facilities at either the Guelph or Ridgetown campuses would need to register their proof of vaccination. The university will be providing details on how proof of vaccination will be collected soon. CBC | UoGuelph (ON)

Gender parity in research set back by "at least a year" by pandemic

Academia’s progress on gender parity in research has been set back by “at least a year,” during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study out of Spain. The study examined over 500,000 research articles from across five major repositories deposited between 2017 and 2020. Up until the pandemic, the researchers say that the proportion of women authors steadily increased year over year; but that lockdowns reversed this progress. “Previous articles looking at work and family life were already pointing in that direction,” explained study co-author and University Carlos III of Madrid Associate Professor Margarita Torre. “However, quantifying the magnitude of the effect is important to show the extent of the problem.” Times Higher Education (Editorial)