Top Ten

January 20, 2022

UOttawa researchers receive $2.7M LEGO Foundation grant for play-based learning network

Researchers at the University of Ottawa have received a $2.7M LEGO Foundation grant to set up a network for Canadian schools that use play-based learning and teaching to support student achievement and well-being. Eight professors from UOttawa’s Chenine research and development group will collaborate with education professionals, school systems, and civil society organizations to integrate and expand play-based learning into the mainstream in both English and French language systems beyond very young age groups. “[This project is] an opportunity to take play seriously,” said Andy Hargreaves, visiting professor at UOttawa and Director of Chenine. Nation Talk (ON)

UNBC, UBC, ULethbridge researchers create Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences

Researchers from the University of Northern British Columbia, University of British Columbia, and the University of Lethbridge have announced the creation of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences Collaborative Research Group. The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences has provided a $240K grant over three years to support the initiative. The group will bring experts together to focus on research on the role of L-functions in analytic number theory, and will also support the development of joint programs between participating institutions. UNBC (AB | BC)

Seneca business programs accredited by ACBSP

Seneca College has announced that 23 of its business programs have received Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accreditation, making it the first college in Ontario to achieve this. Through the accreditation, Seneca will be able to access exchange programs, research opportunities, and a global network. Students are involved in setting ACBSP standards and will benefit from continuous program improvement, broader acceptance of credits, and credential recognition from regulatory bodies. “We are thrilled that Seneca has joined a very select group of Canadian postsecondary institutions that have earned ACBSP recognition,” said Seneca Business Dean Jeff McCarthy. “Having 23 Seneca business programs accredited globally speaks to the expertise and dedication of our faculty and sets our graduates apart from the competition when they begin their careers.” Globe Newswire (ON)

Memorial announces three new master’s programs, new mechatronics program to launch in Fall 2022

Memorial University will be launching three new course-based master’s programs in September 2022: A master of applied science in software engineering, a master of artificial intelligence, and a master of data science. Through the programs, up to 85 highly skilled graduate-level professionals will be trained each year to meet the growing demand in the province’s technology sector. Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science also announced a new mechatronics engineering program for its undergraduate students, the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada. The interdisciplinary program will provide students with the opportunity to learn how autonomous and intelligent systems are designed, integrated, and developed. Memorial | Memorial (NL)

Canadore announces new nursing programs

Canadore College has announced that it will be launching new stand-alone nursing programs. The college will launch a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program in September 2022 and a Registered Practical Nurse to BScN bridging program in September 2023. “Given Canadore’s northern location,” said ON Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop, “the college is in a unique position to address an acute regional need for nurses and our government is increasing choices and reducing barriers to high-quality, local education for students." ON (ON)

Disclosing mental health conditions as an instructor: Opinion

In a recent article for The Conversation, Jenn Bergen, Ana Carolina de Barros, Jan M Gelech, Shannon Forrester, Simonne Horwitz, and Vicki Squires of the University of Saskatchewan discuss the benefits and challenges of disclosing mental health conditions to their students. Some instructors feel they have a political or moral responsibility to disclose mental illnesses, the authors explain, and disclosure can support students who are struggling. Reflecting on personal experiences and a recent academic project, the authors describe how revealing personal information was perceived by students. The authors write about how instructors who disclose their mental health status receive varying levels of institutional support, though students may give positive feedback. The Conversation (Editorial)

OPSEU begins next phase of work-to-rule campaign, urges members to reject contract offered

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has started the next phase of its work-to-rule campaign and is urging members to reject the contract that the College Employer Council will be offering them in February. “That offer wasn’t good enough [in December] and we don’t expect it’s going to be good enough now, because it hasn’t shifted,” said OPSEU bargaining chair JP Hornick. Hornick says that pay and benefits are not part of the struggle, but that other issues still need to be resolved, such as evaluation time and workload. OPSEU members will put a signature at the bottom of emails explaining that they are in a labour dispute with their employers. CTV News (ON)

Students express concern over changes to Winter semester

As several universities in Canada shift their learning modes in the wake of fluctuating COVID-19 numbers, some are facing student pressure. At McGill University, social work students have gone on strike and are refusing to attend in-person classes until at least February 25th. The Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill University (AGSEM) also issued a statement outlining their concerns about McGill’s return to in-person activities and requested remote work and N95 masks for teaching assistants. At Western University, first-year students have launched a petition against Western’s decision to close residences and only offer virtual studies until February 28th, while allowing upper-years to return sooner. At the University of Lethbridge, students have launched a petition requesting that ULethbridge move the semester online where possible, extend the add-drop deadlines, and refund the UPass cost. CBC Newswire (McGill) | The Star (Western) | Global News (ULethbridge) (National)

Offering lifelong learners a “finger buffet” of options to enhance options: Opinion

Postsecondary education needs to offer lifelong students a “finger buffet” of options rather than a “set menu,” writes Johnny Rich. Rich argues that lifelong learners should be provided with a variety of options that can include shorter courses, courses from different institutions, and night school or online options. Reflecting on the UK context, the author describes how credit transfer framework needs to be adapted to ensure true transferability. Rich also says that lifelong learners should be able to bundle courses with a “capstone” module to connect their previous learning. For students who have completed such a variety of courses that they cannot be packaged as a degree in a specific subject, Rich recommends packaging their learning into a “general degree.” “We need to hand over control to individuals to shape the product they want,” writes Rich. Times Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)

UBCO, University of Exeter sign UBCO-Exeter Excellence Initiative

The University of British Columbia Okanagan and the University of Exeter have signed the UBCO-Exeter Excellence Initiative, which builds on the statement of cooperation signed in December. The initiative will create three funding schemes over three years to support professors and researchers as they collaborate on research and/or education initiatives. “I’m confident the joint funding we’re announcing will take our existing collaboration to a new level,” said UBCO Associate Dean of research and graduate studies, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies Dr Greg Garrard. UBCO (BC)