Top Ten

December 16, 2021

Report recommends QC define academic freedom, make rules against requiring trigger warnings

A report from a Government of Quebec committee investigating academic freedom says that QC university classrooms are not safe spaces and that instructors should not be required to provide students with “trigger warnings.” The report said that 60% of university professors indicated they self-censored and avoided using certain words, while 82% of teachers were in favour of no restrictions on what they could teach or say in class. The report includes a variety of recommendations, such as adopting a bill creating a universal definition of academic freedom, rules against imposing trigger warnings, and the creation of a committee to oversee conflicts between students and teachers around controversial topics. “I think we forgot ... the mission of universities,” said Alexandre Cloutier, who led the committee. “Universities are specific institutions… where you advance knowledge through debates.” CBC | Journal de Montréal (QC)

UCN to receive $4.3M to fund additional nurse training seats

The Government of Manitoba has announced that it will be investing up to $4.3M to fund 37 additional nurse training seats at three University College of the North campuses. The funding is part of a multi-year plan that will enable UCN to expand its program through supporting equipment acquisition, classroom renovations, and instructors for the additional seats. “Recruitment and retention of professionals in rural and northern regions is always a challenge and the best, most cost-effective solution is to grow our own and ensure northern people are in northern jobs,” said UCN President Doug Lauvstad. MB (MB)

George Brown receives $10M donation for construction of Limberlost Place

George Brown College has announced that it has received a $10M donation from philanthropist Jack Cockwell that will be used to fund the construction of Limberlost Place. The new learning facility will be constructed from mass timber sourced in Canada and will be heated and cooled without the use of fossil fuels. George Brown will use the new facility to house its School of Computer Technology, School of Architectural Studies, the Brookfield Sustainability Institute, and a new childcare facility. “Limberlost Place highlights the future leadership role George Brown will play in the city’s Waterfront development as a sustainable city,” said George Brown President Dr Gervan Fearon. “This stylish addition to the city skyline … will help George Brown students to work, study, learn, and grow.” Newswire | Urban Toronto (ON)

Institutions make changes to exam schedules to control spread of COVID-19

Postsecondary institutions across Canada are making changes to exam schedules in order to control the spread of COVID-19. Dalhousie University, Cape Breton University, and Acadia University have announced that they will not be holding further in-person exams. Dal, Mount Allison, and Acadia will be moving exams online, postponing them, or cancelling them, while CBU is working on options such as take-home exams, online exams, and alternative assignments. Saint Mary’s University will continue with some in-person exams but has implemented new guidelines. Western University has announced that it is moving its in-person exams online starting on Friday as a precautionary measure. CBC (NB) | CBC (NS) | Western (National)

SCALE AI funds four new research chairs, supports for QC, ON institutions

SCALE AI has announced four new AI research chairs at Quebec and Ontario postsecondary institutions: the SCALE AI Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence for Urban Mobility and Logistics at HEC Montréal, the SCALE AI Chair in Data Science for Retail at McGill University, the SCALE AI Chair in Data-Driven Supply Chains at Polytechnique Montréal, and the Data-Driven Algorithms for Modern Supply Chains at the University of Toronto. The chairs will be funded through a $2M investment from SCALE AI and the institutions, and will focus on applying AI to supply chains. Yahoo (QC | ON)

Providence receives grant to establish Centre for On-Demand Education

Providence University College & Theological Seminary has received a nearly $1M grant from the Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow initiative. The grant will support Providence in developing a Centre for On-Demand Education, which will respond to present and future challenges facing pastoral leaders of Christian congregations. Providence will offer learning methodologies such as competency-based theological education, adult degree completion, and prior learning assessments to support students in their access to education. Providence (MB)

Business schools need to embrace a new ethos to solve world challenges: Opinion

Business schools should adapt their ethos in recognition of the impact that shareholder capitalism has had on threats such as environmental damage, world hunger, and curtailed democracy, writes Carl Rhodes. Rhodes argues that even though some business schools have attempted to create change, “business schools remain enthralled by the neoliberal business model” which emphasizes rivalry and economic surpluses. The author says that business schools are unique because of their history of using free inquiry to create and share knowledge, and that focusing on capitalism will not help them solve the world’s problems. “[I]f business schools are to reconcile with their past, they need first to reimagine themselves not as beholden to illusory masters of shareholder capitalism, but to the very real citizens of democracy,” writes Rhodes. Times Higher Ed (Editorial)

Loyalist, Canadore, Ontario Genomics partner to advance bioeconomy sector

Loyalist College, Canadore College, and Ontario Genomics have signed an MOU to drive economic growth, improve quality of life, and provide leadership in the bioeconomy. The three partners will collaborate on industry-led applied research opportunities in genomics-related fields, create work-integrated learning opportunities for students, and advance the bioeconomy across Ontario. “Now more than ever, we understand the power of genomics to unleash innovations across industries, drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for people in Ontario, Canada and the world,” said Ontario Genomics President Dr Bettina Hamelin. Canadore | Loyalist (ON)

UVic establishes research chair in Indigenous mental health

The University of Victoria is establishing a research chair in Indigenous mental health through a $1.5M gift from UVic political science alumnus Bruce McKean. The chair is named after the late Chief Mungo Martin, a renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artist whose work with the creative arts led to the shifting of cultural perceptions of mental health. The chair will focus on developing mental wellness research and learning through engagement with Indigenous communities and partners. “This new position, with its focus on mental health and by supporting research grounded in traditional knowledge, reflects the university’s commitment to providing community support and to being accountable to the commitments we have made to taking action on truth, respect and reconciliation,” said UVic President Kevin Hall. UVic (BC)

Concordia, McGill each receive $1M for varsity basketball programs

Concordia University and McGill University have both received $1M gifts for their varsity basketball programs from former university basketball star George Lengvari. The funds will be used to create five annual awards for the men’s program at each institution, with one at McGill named in honour of Ben Zwolak, a men’s team student-manager who died suddenly in 2020. The gift will also support an annual award for the women’s program at Concordia, which is named in honour of Lengvari’s mother. “We are very grateful to George Lengvari for this unique joint gift,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. “It will provide varsity basketball players at McGill and Concordia with the means to emerge as well-rounded individuals, ready to make their mark on the world.” McGill (QC)