Top Ten

January 24, 2022

Canada invests in seven new Applied Public Health Chairs

The Government of Canada has announced $10M in new funding to increase Canada’s public health research capacity through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada. $8M of the funding will be invested in seven new Applied Public Health Chairs whose research will focus on implementing new approaches that will help address Canada’s health challenges. Each chair will receive $1.15M over six years to support their work. Researchers at seven institutions, including Université Laval, the University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Alberta, and Simon Fraser University will receive funding. Canada | Canada (Backgrounder) | Dal | U of T (National)

OUAC data sees 8.4% growth in applications from ON secondary school students

New data from the Ontario Universities Application Centre has revealed major shifts in Ontario high school student application numbers compared to last year. Overall, ON universities received 8.4% more applications for a total of 511,893. In terms of % difference, the strongest growth was noted at Ontario Tech University (33.4%), University of Guelph (22.1%), and Algoma University (18.9%), while the greatest declines were seen at Laurentian University (-43.5%), Université de l'Ontario français (-26.3%), and Université de Hearst (-11.8%). ONFR+, reports that while UOF saw a notable drop in applications from ON high school students, more applicants opted for UOF as their first-choice institution. OUAC (PDF) | CTV News (Laurentian) | ONFR+ (UFO) (ON)

ESG UQAM Chair receives $900K to create research group focused on labour market

The Government of Quebec minister in charge of labour and employment, Jean Boulet, has announced $900K in funding for labour market research through the Université du Québec à Montréal’s École des sciences de la gestion. The three-year funding agreement with the Chaire en macroéconomie et prévisions will support the creation of a research group that will conduct studies on issues related to the labour market, such as recruitment needs, available workers, and labour scarcity. Boulet explained that the project is particularly pertinent as QC is currently facing a labour shortage. The project will be led by ESG Professor Dr Étienne Lalé. UQAM (QC)

Humber, Boréal students allowed to work in bereavement sector to fill need

The Bereavement Authority of Ontario has announced that, due to staffing shortages in the death care industry, students from Humber College and Collège Boréal will be authorized to work in the sector before completing their studies. Under the new rules, CTV News says that around 100 students will work in the industry providing funeral services. The students will reportedly help to address the demand created by a rise in COVID-19 related deaths. “This is a temporary measure to address exigencies created by the Omicron situation,” reads the release. Students must still complete their program to be eligible for licensure. CTV News | BAO (ON)

Mitigating the “Great Faculty Disengagement:” Opinion

Faculty are increasingly becoming more disengaged as the pandemic continues, writes Kevin R McClure and Alisa Hicklin Fryar. McClure and Fryar write that though academics may not be resigning at the same rate as people from other industries, they are approaching their jobs differently. The authors say this change can be seen in an emotional withdrawal from certain aspects of their jobs, a loss of the “spark” they used to find in their work, and weakening ties to their institution. McClure and Fryar encourage leadership to acknowledge the issue, dedicate resources to researching how widespread it is, and act on any recommendations. “The pandemic will eventually transition into something else, but its effects will linger,” write the authors. “For how long and with what consequences depends on what college leaders decide to do right now.” The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)

Institutions make, adapt decisions on returning to class in person

Several postsecondary institutions across Canada have recently made and adapted their decisions on whether to return to classes in person. Most of the U15 institutions are choosing not to go back in person until January 31st or after. McGill University plans to go back to in-person education on January 24th, but continues to face push-back from students who feel unsafe at in-person lectures. Some institutions, such as Western University, are phasing in in-person education, while others, such as the University of Toronto, will reduce in-person activity. Queen’s University is offering students rebates to not return to residence until February 28th. In the east, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health released a statement saying that it is safe for institutions to resume in-person learning with appropriate safety measures in place. The Globe and Mail | Atlantic Universities (National)

Video of rat in UBC Open Kitchen cafeteria goes viral

A video of a large rat being grabbed with tongs at the buffet at the University of British Columbia’s Open Kitchen cafeteria has reportedly begun circulating online. First-year student Isabel Curiston, who filmed the incident, said she was in line waiting for food when she noticed the rat. “I look up and I see this rat coming out of the cracks where they keep fruits and vegetables, and just standing there,” said Curiston. UBC Food Services Director Colin Moore said the situation is being addressed and employees have been educated on the proper sanitation measures. “[We] are working actively with our pest control partner to address the situation,” said Moore. “We have also proactively contacted Vancouver Costal Health, and will work closely with them as needed.” CTV News | Castanet | Daily Hive | CTV News (Video) (BC)

Georgian launches new one-year construction techniques certificate

Georgian College has announced that it will offer a new certificate program in construction at its Muskoka Campus this September. The one-year certificate will provide graduates with the opportunity to try out seven trades: Cabinetmaker, carpenter, electrician, gas technician, HVAC technician, plumber, and small engine mechanic. After graduation, students will be able to pursue a trade-specific program or an apprenticeship in their trade of choice. “Encouraging interest and growth in the trades and attracting new skilled workers will help deepen the pool of talent locally and give people yet another reason to build their futures here,” said Graydon Smith, Mayor of the Town of Bracebridge. Georgian (ON)

Faculty members at Acadia, ULethbridge come closer to striking

The faculty unions at Acadia University and the University of Lethbridge have come closer to striking. The Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) says that an impasse was declared, which started a 14-day countdown to a possible strike or lockout. 94% of the members who took part in the strike vote authorized a strike. The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) has withdrawn from mediation, and will enter a 14-day “cooling off” period after which they can strike or ULethbridge can hold a lockout vote. “We’re totally open to not having to have a strike, but I should say that given the severity of the issues and the disrespectfully slow pace of negotiations, we’re not afraid to go on strike,” said UFLA President Daniel O’Donnell. CBC (AUFA) | Lethbridge Herald (UFLA) (NS | AB)

Designing classes to pivot can lead to less ambitious planning: Opinion

Designing a class so that it can easily be pivoted online may be most convenient during a pandemic, but it can set an upper limit on what an instructor can achieve with their students, writes Beckie Supiano. Supiano argues that there are upsides to designing a class that can be easily pivoted online, such as increased accessibility and less vulnerability to disruption. However, the author says that this design can be difficult as classes must avoid having students work in person or with materials that may not be available at home. Additionally, Supiano draws attention to the challenges of designing hybrid courses, as the number of students in person or online could fluctuate, forcing instructors to create less ambitious plans. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)