Top Ten

February 15, 2022

NIC to build student on-campus housing

North Island College has announced that it will be building its first student housing project on campus. The $65.9M student housing complex–which is funded by the Government of British Columbia, the BC Student Housing Loan Program, and NIC–will provide 157 individual and 60 family-specific beds at the Comox Valley campus. The buildings will be built of mass timber and will include a variety of common areas including interfaith rooms, a community food garden, play areas, and gathering spaces. The project is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2024. “The Housing Commons is a physical expression of NIC’s commitment to people and communities across the North Island,” said NIC President Lisa Domae. “It represents NIC’s core values of access to education and training for everyone.” BC | PWB News | Nation Talk (BC)

SK, AB institutions adapt to provincial lifting of vaccine, mask mandates

More postsecondary institutions in Saskatchewan and Alberta have shared their response to provincial vaccine and mask mandates changing or coming to an end. SK plans to remove public health orders such as self-isolation, masking, and proof-of-vaccination. The University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina have announced that they will continue to use a proof-of-vaccination policy and require masking, as well as requiring students who are unvaccinated or do not declare their status to submit rapid antigen tests. In AB, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology has announced that it will no longer require vaccinations and will not require masking as of March 1st. Ambrose University has announced that it will discontinue its proof of vaccination program on campus. UCalgary plans to remove its vaccine mandate for future semesters. CBC (1) | CBC (2) | CBC (3) | Ambrose (SK | AB)

Black scientists need equitable research funding to stay in Canada: Editorial

If Black scientists do not have access to equitable research funding, they may leave Canada to complete their research in other countries, writes Kate Bueckert of CBC. Bueckert says that Black scientists are facing a variety of challenges with accessing federal research funding in Canada, such as being less likely to have had relevant leadership opportunities and not having their life experiences recognized. McGill University Professor Loydie Jerome-Majewska said she has only received grant funding when listed as a collaborator. “They’re not saying that your science sucks,” says Jerome-Majewska. “It’s just that, well, there’s very little money and we know this other person, and it’s probably subconscious, right?” CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC have launched equity and diversity initiatives, reports CBC, while the Canada Research Chairs program is undertaking actions to “address the underrepresentation of individuals.” CBC (Editorial)

BC invests $5M into expanded seats, support for apprenticeships in the trades

The Government of British Columbia has provided $5M to the Industry Training Authority (ITA) to support apprentices who are pursuing training and certification in the mechanical, electrical, or automotive trades. The funds will be used to increase the number of seats and expand the supports available to students. “We’re delighted to work with government and training providers to facilitate funding that will directly increase training program seats and supports, which will allow more people to enter trades training and achieve certification,” said ITA CEO Shelley Gray. “We remain committed to ensuring apprentices [and] tradespeople … have the opportunity to access training and support they need to succeed in their career.” BC (BC)

OCAD U launches online repository of art from Black cultural producers

OCAD University’s Centre for the Study of Black Canadian Diaspora has launched an online resource that will allow people to access a repository of art from Black cultural producers. The repository will include artwork from the last 35 years that has been identified by researchers in consultation with arts organizations, galleries, museums, libraries, and archives. The site will include writing and oral histories of artists and curators and provide links to other resources. “This vital research will raise the visibility of Black creators and their incredible output,” said OCAD U Interim Vice-President, Research and Innovation and Dean of Graduate Studies Dr Ashok Mathur. “It also acts as a necessary tool for scholars and creative professionals to build deeper understandings of Black culture and aesthetics in Canada.” OCAD U (ON)

USherbrooke students create cave paintings in underground tunnels

Université de Sherbrooke students had an opportunity to participate in a hands-on lesson in prehistoric rock art this semester when course instructor Adelphine Bonneau gained permission to have her class recreate cave paintings on the university’s underground tunnels. Students in the course created paintings using a variety of mediums, including clay, ochre, calcite, and talc, which was bound with oil, egg yolk, egg white, or pig’s blood. Students were able to experience applying their mixtures to the wall with different techniques. The paintings are located within USherbrooke’s publicly accessible tunnel system. “Rock paintings are supposed to be secret,” said Bonneau, “so I won’t tell you exactly where they are.” CBC (QC)

Addressing gender inequity in STEM fields: Yates

Postsecondary institutions must act to address systemic barriers that contribute to gender inequality in STEM, writes University of Guelph President Dr Charlotte Yates. Yates writes that the pandemic has exacerbated barriers to gender equity. In light of this, institutions must renew their commitments to gender equity in STEM fields in order to strengthen research and fulfill the strong demand for STEM researchers. “[C]ollectively we need to do more to identify and dismantle systemic barriers to participation in our institutions and in wider society,” writes Yates. “Until we address and correct systemic societal disparities, the playing field for girls and women in STEM education and careers will never level itself.” UoGuelph (Editorial)

Faculty at TRU pass motion of non-confidence against leadership

Thompson Rivers University’s faculty association has reportedly passed a motion of non-confidence against the institution’s leadership following misconduct complaints against two senior administrators. Over 80% of those who voted indicated that they had lost confidence in TRU’s president. Faculty association president Tara Lyster said that a variety of concerns are being voiced, including concerns over the length of the investigation and the lack of action to address faculty trauma over not feeling that their concerns are being heard. “All of this has led to increased anxiety among faculty, which in turn leads to a lack of confidence and trust in the president of TRU,” said Lyster. CBC (1) | CBC (2) (BC)

Tips for graduate students proposing internships: Opinion

While internships hold great benefits for graduate students, many students may struggle to access these opportunities if they do not receive adequate support from their institution, writes Robert Pearson. Pearson describes how internships allow students to gain hands-on opportunities to develop their skills and networks, and to explore if they would enjoy a job in that field. The author advises interested students to take the necessary steps to ensure a smooth internship experience, including considering whether the internship aligns with their institution’s policies, articulating the benefits of completing the internship to their supervisor or advisor, ensuring that the internship fits with their professional and personal goals, and developing a plan to continue their research while completing the internship. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

Laurentian interim board chair says concerns over green space are being heard

As Sudbury community groups continue to express concerns about the future of Laurentian University’s green space, Laurentian’s interim board chair Jeff Bangs has made a statement to the community assuring them that their concerns are being heard. Community groups shared that they are worried that the university’s 230 hectares of green space will be sold to cover the institution’s debt. CBC says that Laurentian recently had Cushman & Wakefield complete a comprehensive real estate review. “The detailed information contained in the reports will help to inform key decisions the board will take related to the university's financial plan and emergence from CCAA as a financially sustainable institution,” explained the institution in a statement. No promises were made regarding the green space’s future. CBC | (ON)