Top Ten

October 1, 2021

Mitacs, BC partner to increase access to WIL for underrepresented students

The Government of British Columbia has partnered with groups such as Mitacs and the Information and Communications Technology Council to deliver the Innovator Skills Initiative program, which will support underrepresented students and companies facing talent shortages. The partners will provide students with increased access to work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities. A total of $29M has been invested in the program, including $15M from the Government of British Columbia. The funds will be used to support 1,750 Innovator Skills Initiative placements, as well as 1,250 placements through the Work-Integrated Learning Subsidy top-up. Students from underrepresented groups such as Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, women, and members of the LGBTQ2+ community will be given priority access to the internships. “This program will help clear pathways for skilled, underrepresented people who deserve meaningful, long-term employment that helps them support their families,” said BC Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation Ravi Kahlon. Nation Talk BC (BC)

Queen’s students stage walk-out in support of victims of sexual violence

Students at Queen’s University walked out of class on Monday in support of Western University students who say they have been victims of sexual violence. Many Queen’s students who attended the rally carried posters, boards, and flyers to raise awareness about sexual violence and to call for action. “It’s happening here,” Queen’s student Samantha Lin said. “We all know it. We all talk about it, and we’re aware of it. But what we need more of is the action piece.” Barb Lotan, Queen’s sexual violence prevention and response co-ordinator, said that Queen’s can continue to improve relevant programming, messaging, and policies. YGK News | Global News (ON)

McGill launches innovation fund to support tech, companies emerging from universities

McGill University has announced that it has launched the McGill Innovation Fund, a program that will support technologies and spinoff companies that emerge from the institution. McGill members who have declared a Report of Invention will receive funds to support their prospective spinoff companies and help with the development of technologies. “As a public institution, we have a commitment to bring the benefits of our research to all society,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. “This new initiative will help us enable our research community to make a real difference in our communities, and to the world, by facilitating the transition between discovery and implementation.” McGill (QC)

Defending disinterested work at universities: Opinion

Viewing scholarship as participating in politics comes with the loss of something crucial, writes Justin Sider, who argues in favour of attaining disinterested knowledge during one’s postsecondary studies. Sider says that a lot of today’s scholarship engages with current political issues, but that those that do not do so are not necessarily “propping up an unjust social order.” Sider argues that focusing on politically pressing topics of the time removes students’ freedom, makes it difficult for students to justify a different kind of work, and supports austerity. “In a world that would either instrumentalize or obliterate us, defending the disinterested work of the university might itself be a radical act,” writes Sider. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Editorial)

CASN issues statement regarding nursing shortages in Canada

The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) has issued a statement about nursing education as Canada seeks to resolve a nursing shortage. In the statement, CASN explains that nursing training should not be sped up, as exchanging or accelerating nursing training will lead to serious consequences. “Nursing education programs delivered by an inadequate supply of faculty and insufficient clinical learning experiences will aggravate rather than address the current problem,” states CASN. The association further notes that, in addition to education, nursing students need clinical placement experiences that provide mentorship and coaching. CASN calls for stakeholders to address the working conditions that have led to the nursing shortage and for all new nursing graduates to receive entry-to-practice support. CASN (National)

Loyalist launches two Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning programs

Loyalist College has launched two new Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning (HRAC) programs to fill the skilled trades labour gap. Loyalist’s two-year HRAC Technician diploma program will prepare students to work with furnaces, air conditioners, refrigeration equipment and other appliances. Students will gain hands-on experience in Loyalist’s labs. The HRAC Techniques certificate program will take one-year to complete, after which graduates can choose to continue into the HRAC Technician program. Graduates of both programs will be ready to complete the exams to become certified Gas Technicians or pursue a Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic apprenticeship. Loyalist (ON)

U Sports ends women’s hockey pilot project

U Sports has announced that it will be ending the university women’s hockey pilot project. The project was created in 2014 to test whether enhancing financial scholarships for women’s hockey could keep athletes from joining NCAA. It was extended in 2019 due to “a lack of rigour in reporting data,” and the USports membership voted to end the program after the 2022-23 season. “In RSEQ, it did work,” said University of Montreal head coach Isabelle LeClaire. “The first thing it did was attract more attention to our program. It gave us credibility. It put us on the same level to have discussions with those athletes.” Times Colonist (National)

UMontréal, USherbrooke to offer pathway to accelerate nursing training

The Université de Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke have collaborated to offer a pathway for nursing students to accelerate their education and graduation. The pathway will give students from other university disciplines who have the required prerequisites the ability to complete nursing training in 24 months rather than the usual 36. The program is said to be the first of its kind in the province, and the Government of Quebec will be investing nearly $500K in it. The program is slated to start in summer 2023. Journal de Montréal (QC)

URegina, Cambrian to receive funding for student initiatives through RBC Future Launch

The University of Regina and Cambrian College have both received funds from RBC Future Launch to support student initiatives. At URegina, RBC will be providing $500K for two programs that support Indigenous students: the Neekaneewak (“they are leading”) Leadership Initiative (NLI) and the Full Circle Internship Program (FCSI). Funding will support programming at the NLI centre as well as the NLI awards ceremony. At Cambrian, RBC will be providing $330K over three years to develop new student opportunities, such as an expanded work-integrated learning education program, creating the Cambrian Leadership Academy, developing a stackable credential course, and integrating digital competency badges. The Sudbury Star | URegina (ON | SK)

The case of suspicious “nonsense” papers in scientific journals: Editorial

In a recent Chronicle of Higher Ed article, Tom Bartlett discusses the publication of hundreds of “nonsense” papers in scientific journals. Bartlett explains that hundreds of “bizarre or suspicious” papers, some of which switch back and forth between technical descriptions of topics such as geology to discussions of dance, sports, or other topics, have recently appeared in scientific journals. The author questions what this indicates about academic publishing, as no one has taken credit for the papers, and editors of the journals suggest that they may have been hacked, “deliberately compromised,” or that papers were snuck in using sophisticated technology. Bartlett concludes by noting that these articles raise questions about the usefulness of peer review and whether people actually read the journals. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Editorial)