Top Ten

October 26, 2021

Kingston, Guelph grapple with continued student street parties, police presence

Kingston and Guelph police are continuing to grapple with student street parties. A gathering of approximately 3,000 people near Queen’s University was declared an aggravated nuisance party by Kingston Police. The Queen’s student association has responded that the parties were “over-policed,” while Alma Mater Society Director of Communications Maddie Zarb said that the police used tactics that were “ineffective and the effects of increased policing are even greater for our marginalized students.” In Guelph, the city’s police board has unanimously voted to approve a motion asking that the University of Guelph pay police expenses related to an unsanctioned Homecoming party that saw thousands of students gathering on Chancellor’s Way. The costs are around $65K. CBC (Kingston) | Global News (Queen’s) | Guelph Mercury Tribune | Guelph Today (ON)

Atlantic university enrolment trends upward

Enrolment in Atlantic Universities is trending upwards according to a new report from the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU). AAU says that, overall, universities in Atlantic Canada have seen a surge of both undergraduate and graduate enrolments, with a 17% increase in full-time, first-year students, and an almost 7% year-over-year increase in international students. CBC reports that enrolment has “bounced back” at New Brunswick universities, where the AAU has seen an overall increase in full time enrolment by 3.2%. Though St Thomas University saw an enrolment drop of 7%, STU spokesperson Jeffrey Carleton explained that its share of liberal arts students has been stable. The University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College have also seen enrolment going up, which Saltwire reports is due to a notable increase in international enrolments. CBC | Saltwire | AAU (Atlantic)

BC PSE faculty, staff raise concerns about lack of enforcement of vaccine requirements

Vaccination status verification audits have not started at some postsecondary institutions in British Columbia, reports the Globe and Mail, despite institutions having implemented vaccine and testing requirements. Faculty and staff have expressed concern about a lack of enforcement. Some indicated that testing was not required if they did not declare their vaccine status, and two university instructors tested the system by choosing not to submit vaccination status or by submitting a random photo instead of proof of vaccination and found that there were no ramifications. The Globe and Mail reports that students might assume that those in class who have not been vaccinated are taking COVID-19 tests, but that this is not necessarily the case. The Globe and Mail (BC)

OIEG acquires Halifax career college

The Oxford International Education Group (OIEG) has announced that it has acquired the East Coast Language College and East Coast International College in Halifax. OIEG will expand the college’s vocational offerings with the Continuing Care Assistant program in 2022. Students will be able to complete their education through a hybrid format, which will enable them to work alongside their schooling to increase their skills. “Our new Career College route is a real validation of the quality of our educational models and our responsiveness to the needs of our local communities,” said OIEG chief executive Lil Bremermann-Richard. The Pie News (NS)

SSHRC, CIHR partner to co-fund social sciences and humanities projects with focus in health

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has partnered with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in an initiative that will see more projects funded under the Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative. Up to 16 social sciences and humanities projects will be funded through the initiative, which will provide $3.6M in support over 3 years. Projects receiving support will be focused on race, gender, and diversity and have a health focus. The funding will include three-year partnership grants that are expected to serve as hubs that will incubate new research partnerships. SSHRC (National)

Lessons that Nobel Prizes in the sciences can teach higher education, science

Reflecting on the recent Nobel Prizes, Philip G Altbach and Tessa DeLaquil discuss the lessons that can be taken away by higher education and science from this year’s prize winners in the sciences. Altbach and DeLaquil say that those who receive Nobel Prizes tended to be male scientists who have made several career moves between the top international universities and who are currently working in the US. The selection shows that while science is international, winners tend to come from elite circles from Europe or the United States. Altbach and DeLaquil say that these results show that “basic science is both concentrated and stratified,” with little change foreseeable in the future. University World News (Editorial)

UBC, AB, ATCO collaborate on clean hydrogen production project

The University of British Columbia will be working with the Government of Alberta and ATCO on a $7M project that aims to lower the cost of hydrogen and encourage its adoption. The team will test a system that can produce hydrogen without using water and with reduced or no emissions at an ATCO facility in Fort Saskatchewan. “It’s very exciting to apply this innovation beyond our provincial borders, effectively extending UBC’s ‘campus as a living lab’ approach, in western Canada and potentially beyond,” said project lead Dr Walter Mérida. The project is funded by $4.98M from Alberta Innovates and industry contributions. UBC (BC)

ISM consortium receives $1.4M funding increase from ministry

The Institut des sciences mathématiques (ISM) – a consortium involving eight universities – will be receiving an increase in funding of over $1.4M from the ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur over the next three years. The funding will support mathematics research and training, and will support the next generation of scientists through scholarships. The consortium is located at Université du Québec à Montréal’s Président-Kennedy Building, and includes Concordia University, Université Laval, McGill University, Université de Montréal, UQAM, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Université de Sherbrooke, and Bishop’s University. UQAM (QC)

Ryerson launches Black Studies minor

Ryerson University has announced that it has launched an interdisciplinary Black Studies minor. The minor feature courses that explore the histories and cultures of Black diasporas from 13 departments and schools within the Faculty of Arts. Priorities include engaging with Black history and thought as well as building a community by facilitating connections between Black students and Black scholars. “This Black Studies minor is long overdue and came to fruition with student initiatives that have been ongoing for years,” said advisor to the dean in the Faculty of Arts, Blackness and Black diasporic education Melanie Knight. “We have heard their voices and this minor is very much a response to their calls to centre and amplify Black-focused content.” Ryerson (ON)

UOITFA votes in favour of strike, UMFA sets strike deadline

Two Canadian faculty associations have announced votes related to strikes. Members of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association (UOITFA) has voted in favour of striking and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) has set a bargaining deadline after voting in favour of a strike. The UOITFA and Ontario Tech University’s collective agreement expired in June 2021. UOITFA members have been bargaining for six months, and have requested action on issues such as workload, mental health, pay equity, and pension issues. The UMFA has set November 2 as a strike deadlinee. CBC says the University of Manitoba indicated last week that it was aiming to conclude a collective agreement with the bargaining team. UOITFA | CBC (UMFA) (MB | ON)