Top Ten

September 23, 2021

U of T opens Queer and Trans Research Lab

The University of Toronto has opened a new Queer and Trans Research Lab (QTRL) at its Mark S Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. The QTRL will aim to provide a space for queer and trans researchers to collaborate and strengthen ties with the wider community, and for students to learn and participate in projects and meetings. “The lab wants to break down … divisions by creating a space where community leaders and artists and others can work and create together with faculty and student researchers,” said Dana Seitler, director of the Bonham Centre. “The reality is that those of us doing this kind of work are also active members of the queer, trans, and BIPOC communities working for change.” U of T (ON)

MRU professor teaches psychology in virtual reality

Mount Royal University Psychology Professor Dr Tony Chaston has developed a new psychology course that will teach students using virtual reality (VR). The course, which is called The Digital Frontier: Perception, AI and Virtual Reality in Psychology, uses VR to teach students about VR and how it can be used to lower stress levels. Students will access the course through headsets, and will participate in Google Meet learning to take breaks from the headsets. “Immersion in media is a topic that’s been around for a long time, but it takes on a whole different level when you talk about it in VR,” said course creator Dr Tony Chaston. MRU says that this is the first class of its kind in Canada. MRU (AB)

Teaching PhD students how to be good mentors: Opinion

PhD students should be taught how to be good mentors during their education, writes Maria LaMonaca Wisdom. The author describes using exercises, readings, and activities in a course designed to help students to reflect on their “mentee” experiences and develop their skills as future mentors. Wisdom says that the course offered students a safe space to discuss their mentorship relationships, clarified the roles of mentors and PhD program advisers, and provided students with an understanding of what mentorship is. “[W]hen I see the growth and change possible among individual doctoral students — just from a two-week immersion in mentorship training — I feel renewed hope for the future of academe and the new generation of young PhDs,” writes Wisdom. The Chronicle of Higher Ed | (Editorial)

Niagara receives $1.75M to continue food, beverage innovations

Niagara College has announced that it will be receiving a continued investment of $1.75M from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The investment will provide $350K per year over five years to support food and beverage innovations through the Niagara’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre. “This is exciting news, as it allows us to further our delivery of high-quality services to local and domestic food and beverage SMEs, in order to enhance their global competitiveness,” said Niagara VP Research & External Relations Marc Nantel. “We are able to better serve the innovation needs of these food and beverage companies who may have had difficulty developing new products and services for lack of affordable research expertise, equipment and facilities.” Food in Canada | Niagara (ON)

UBC opens Biorefining Research and Innovation Centre

The University of British Columbia has officially opened the Biorefining Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC), a bioenergy research facility where researchers and industry partners will work toward reducing fossil fuel reliance. The Centre will work toward developing clean energy alternatives, and will embark on a variety of projects related to biofuel technologies, bio-oil and biochar products, and wood pellets. “There is enormous potential for biomass like BC forest waste to help meet both local and global renewable energy needs,” says BRIC director Dr Xiaotao Bi. “BRIC offers a unique opportunity not only to transform organic materials into low-carbon, high-value fuels and other bioproducts, but to do so at a demonstration scale in a virtually risk-free environment.” Bioenergy Insight | Energy Global (BC)

UAlberta launches Renewable Energy Technologies Certificate program

The University of Alberta has launched a new certificate program that will help prepare energy professionals for work in Alberta’s renewable energy sector. The Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) Certificate provides online, part-time classes with no admission barriers to students who are interested in renewable energy. Participants will gain foundational and mid-level expertise, and will be prepared for careers in a variety of areas, including as policy analysts, and environmental sector workers. “Renewable energy sources and efficient technologies are at the forefront of finding solutions to climate change, and industries and organizations are undergoing an energy transition,” said course instructor Gabriel John Malashi. “They need professionals who can provide the understanding and strategic solutions around the challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy space.” UAlberta (AB)

YorkU launches Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages

York University has announced the launch of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages (CIKL). The new organized research unit, which will be led by York professor Deborah McGregor, will focus on Indigenous knowledges, languages, practices, and ways of being. It will support research based on traditional and contemporary knowledges. “CIKL will foster collaborations and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and others that create ethical space for dialogue on how research relationships can be envisioned, negotiated, practised in support of Indigenous futurities,” said McGregor. “Creating this ethical space in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and our colleagues across the University also creates opportunities for critical dialogue, reflection and change to take place in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges.” YorkU (ON)

CBC Sports announces agreement to broadcast U Sports national championships

U Sports and CBC have signed an agreement that will see every U Sports national championship broadcasted on CBC Sports for the next four years. The Vanier Cup’s English-language broadcast will only be live on CBC-TV, and annual national championships will have an even split of men’s and women’s sports. “Today, is the first step towards reshaping coverage of university sport in Canada,” said John Bower, U Sports’ director of marketing and communications. “U SPORTS look forward to growing our audience with CBC so that the performances and stories of our student-athletes reach the widest possible audience.” CBC (National)

Selkirk opens new Indigenous classroom

Selkirk College has opened its new Indigenous classroom. A smudging ceremony was held outside the classroom before students, faculty, staff, and Elders entered the room, which is designed to inspire openness and interconnected learning. A large moon mask rug is in the centre of the room, surrounded in a circular fashion by wood furnishings created specifically for the room. “This classroom is a collective vision that is meant to inspire students and faculty by sharing the knowledge of our Indigenous Elders, artists, scientists and storytellers, acknowledging the right to practice and articulate the wisdom of our ancestors,” said Indigenous Studies Instructor Elizabeth Ferguson. “We invite all to share this knowledge with us.” Selkirk (BC)

Queen’s signs agreement to provide AI, data science training to Egyptian students

Queen’s University has signed an agreement with the Government of Egypt that will see Queen’s providing artificial intelligence and data science training to Egyptian students. The program will provide remote training through Queen’s School of Computing’s Master of Data Science and Machine Learning to up to 100 Egyptian students as part of the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s Digital Egypt Builders Initiative. The partnership will help address Egypt’s need for those with data science and machine learning backgrounds to build capacity in modern technologies. “Queen’s is pleased to support this new partnership with Egypt, supporting postsecondary education and preparing students to be leaders in their communities,” says Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane. The program is set to start in January 2022. Queen’s (ON)