Top Ten

November 5, 2021

How academia can discourage Indigenous identity fraud: Opinion

The Canadian academic system currently encourages Indigenous identity fraud, writes University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies Dean Dr Chris Andersen, who is Métis. Andersen reflects on the recent news about Dr Carrie Bourassa, and states that the situation should lead to questions about why these dynamics are able to continue in universities. Andersen calls on universities to create an ethical approach to help ensure authenticity in claims to Indigeneity through actions such as asking candidates to describe their connections to the Indigenous community in the interview, hiring community-connected Indigenous scholars into upper roles to assist with vetting Indigenous identity, and forming partnerships with local Indigenous communities. CBC (Editorial)

Queen’s announces consultation to improve clarity, equity of Indigenous hiring, internal policies

Queen’s University has announced that it will be launching a consultation with Indigenous members to improve the clarity and equity of its hiring and other internal policies. This year, the university came to the conclusion that hiring and other internal processes at Queen’s have not been consistent. Queen’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives will be leading the consultation, and will hold meetings with Indigenous community members, university stakeholders, and Indigenous representatives. “I … look forward to hearing from the community on how we can move forward respectfully and meaningfully to ensure our internal processes are fair, just and reflect the needs of Indigenous community members at Queen’s,” said Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane. Queen’s | Globe and Mail (ON)

MUN opens The Launch, names newest facility after Dr Arthur W May

Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute has opened a new ocean innovation hub and has dedicated its new building at the facility the Dr Arthur W May Building. MUN’s Holyrood Marine Base has been renamed The Launch and will support at-sea research through providing expertise, facilities, and infrastructure. “The Launch will be an integral pillar in advancing work in the oceans sectors, building on the solid foundation of people and place,” said says Laurie Skinner, VP (administration and finance) Marine Institute. “It will also be a convening space for inclusive collaboration and partnerships.” The newest addition at the facility will be named after Dr Arthur W May, who was MUN’s president when the Marine Institute joined MUN. MUN (1) | MUN (2) (NL)

USask VIDO receives $6M from CEPI for vaccine development

The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has received $6M from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for vaccine development, which is reportedly CEPI’s first award to a Canadian university. The funding will be used to formulate vaccines, manufacture them, and do clinical testing, as well as adapt COVID-19 vaccines to be effective against variants. An aim will be to make vaccines that are suitable for use in low- and middle-income countries. “This significant investment is an endorsement of VIDO’s international role in fighting COVID-19 and future pandemics,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff. “VIDO’s achievements are just one example of how our university is delivering research the world needs.” VIDO (SK)

Regis College, St Mike’s announce federation agreement

Regis College and the University of St. Michael’s College have announced that they will be joining forces by becoming a federation. The federation agreement will see both schools continue to have separate boards of governors, presidents, and chancellors, while integrating their graduate faculties and transitioning to having a single dean of theology by next July. The collaboration will also allow for a bigger faculty, a wider range of specialties and subjects, and an alignment with bigger theology schools in North America. The Memorandum of Agreement states that the federation will have the purpose of “forging a world-class centre of excellence in Catholic theological study, whose mission is to promote teaching, research and formation to serve the needs of the Church and society, in Canada and globally.” Catholic Register | St Mike’s (ON)

Global Skills Opportunity project to provide postsecondary students with international study, work

Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada are celebrating the official launch of the $95M Global Skills Opportunity program which will provide students with short-term funded field trips at global institutions. The program is open to any Canadian postsecondary students, and will focus on providing international work and study opportunities to those from groups who have traditionally had less access to such experiences, such as Indigenous students, low-income students, and students with disabilities. “Global Skills Opportunity is breaking down financial, social and logistical barriers that have prevented too many underrepresented students from participating in global study and work opportunities,” said Universities Canada President Paul Davidson. “Through this ambitious and ground-breaking program, thousands of young Canadians will have transformational experience abroad.” The Pie News | Universities Canada (National)

HEQCO releases report on impact of school closures on PSE transitions in Toronto

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released a report on the impact of emergency school closures in 2020 on student transitions from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) into the postsecondary system. The study found that TDSB students applied and confirmed their acceptance to postsecondary studies at a greater rate during the pandemic, and that university confirmations increased by 3% over the previous year. Some traditionally underrepresented groups, such as southeast Asian and Latin American or Latino students, saw lower rates of confirmations of acceptance. Students with special education needs also had lower growth in applications and confirmed acceptances while college confirmations for students with disabilities declined. Confirmation rate was also affected by the affluence of the high school’s area, with students from the least affluent schools experiencing below average university confirmations. HEQCO (ON)

CNA, PDIFC sign MOU for education opportunities for Indigenous students

The College of the North Atlantic and the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre (PDIFC) have signed a MOU that will see both parties collaborating on training, innovation, student engagement, research, and community and economic development initiatives. These initiatives will prioritize EDI while providing unique opportunities for education and training to Indigenous students. “We are proud to be part of this innovative partnership which will allow us to enrich the lives of our indigenous students and our community as a whole,” said CNA President Liz Kidd. “It is important that CNA’s offerings and culture embrace their needs so that we can provide the best possible environment for indigenous students and employees to thrive at our campuses.” CNA (NL)

SFU divests from fossil fuels, students cancel hunger strike

Simon Fraser University has committed to a full divestment from fossil fuels. SFU currently has zero direct investments in fossil fuels, but has committed to divesting its remaining indirect investments in fossil fuel-related industries by 2025. “This is the final step in the journey toward full divestment,” reads SFU’s release. SFU student activists were set to hold a hunger strike to push for the university’s full divestment, and have withdrawn following SFU’s statement. “I would advise other campaigners to not give up and escalate their nonviolent tactics,” said campaign media coordinator Jaden Dyer. “We are the last generation who can save this planet.” CBC | Burnaby Now | SFU (BC)

Integrating a co-op model into the public humanities to benefit PhD students

A co-op model can be used to provide career training to public humanities PhD students in an area of interest, writes University of British Columbia PhD candidate Henry John. John describes how a program at UBC provides students with skills growth, financial stability, mentorship, and career paths. The opportunity prepares PhD graduates, who are not typically trained for careers outside of the academy, with the skills they need for success in non-traditional jobs. John argues that participating in a co-op provided insight into how humanities scholars could engage with the expertise of those who are not scholars. “[Co-op] has given me the financial security and intellectual space I need to develop relationships that are enhancing my work as a historian,” writes John. Inside Higher Ed (Paywall) (Editorial)