Top Ten

April 4, 2022

Canada invests over $31M in funding, in-kind support to HRTP

The Government of Canada has announced that it is investing over $31M in funding and in-kind support into the Health Research Training Platform (HRTP) over six years. The funding, which is provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the BC Women’s Health Foundation, Egale Canada, Mitacs, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, will support 13 unique HRTP programs at universities and research hospitals across Canada. The universities that will be receiving funding and hosting HRTPs include Université Laval, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Toronto, and York University. The funds will support increased research capacity on certain diseases and health challenges and help trainees and early career researchers develop skills for their careers. Canada | Backgrounder (Projects) (National)

NOSM University officially becomes independent medical university, gets increased seats

As of April 1st, NOSM University has become Canada’s first independent medical university. “Health care and health education and research have never been more important,” said NOSM University President Dr Sarita Verma. “We all know how complex and fragile the health-care system is across northern Ontario. NOSM University will transform the system for the north and reach into underserved communities like never before.” At the official launch of the university, the Government of Ontario announced an increase in NOSM University’s number of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education positions: Over the next five years, NOSM’s undergraduate seats will be expanded by 30 and its postgraduate positions by 41 to address northern Ontario’s doctor shortage. Greater Sudbury | NOSM | ON | Bay Today (ON)

BC announces sector-wide review of postsecondary funding, plans to modernize funding system

The Government of British Columbia has announced the launch of a sector-wide review of its postsecondary funding model. The current model has not been updated in 20 years, and so the review will be used to determine how to modernize the funding system. It will focus on establishing a fair and impartial funding model to support the public postsecondary sector, aligning provincial funding with skills needs, and supporting students by ensuring access to education and expanded supports. The review will start with engagement with key stakeholders before proceeding into the development of policy options and a design for a new funding model. BC | CBC | Nation Talk (BC)

Report by ON French Language Services Commissioner finds Laurentian neglected obligations under FLSA

In a report investigating the cuts to Laurentian University’s French-language programs, French Language Services Commissioner Kelly Burke found that the university – as well as Ontario’s Ministry of Francophone Affairs and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities – had neglected their obligations under the French Language Services Act (FLSA) when choosing programs to cut during the financial restructuring process. Burke found that Laurentian had not consulted with the ministries before suspending or cutting French programs, which consequently impacted the Franco-Canadian community. The report includes 19 recommendations to address communication gaps, improve planning processes, and propose other initiatives to ensure that the situation is not repeated. The ministries and Laurentian accepted all of these recommendations and promised to report back on implementation progress. CBC | Ombudsman Ontario (ON)

Postsecondary institutions release April Fool’s announcements

A variety of postsecondary institutions celebrated April Fool’s Day on Friday with spoof announcements focused on animals. Mount Saint Vincent University announced the launch of a Bachelor of Crow-munications, which would offer students courses such as Crisis Crow-munications: When Feathers Ruffle and Stakeholder Engagement: the Shiny Object Effect. Vancouver Community College announced a new mascot – Rainy the Racoon – who would be an example of hand washing and mask wearing. Camosun College announced a rebranding of its athletics as the Camosun Mustangs. “While a Dodge Charger is a great car, I’ve always been a big fan of Ford Mustangs,” admitted Camosun President Lane Trotter. “Thank you to the student-athletes and staff for understanding my preference. It means a lot to me.” Camosun further advised that it would be using a donkey as mascot until a suitable horse was found. MSVU | VCC | Camosun (National)

George Brown joins SONAMI

George Brown College has announced that it has joined the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), which supports small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by giving them access to technology, knowledge, and funding. George Brown’s membership will provide SONAMI with increased capabilities in product design and innovation. “We are so pleased to join SONAMI and stand alongside such strong players in the innovation ecosystem,” said George Brown Associate Vice-President, Research & Innovation Dr Krista Holmes. “This membership will allow us to sustain a pipeline of steady, reliable support for our partners—past, present and future.” George Brown | Niagara (ON)

US survey finds women in PSE feel passed over, have fewer advancement opportunities: Study

A new survey of 10,594 faculty at American postsecondary institutions has found that 28% of women respondents believed that they had not received a promotion or opportunity due to their gender. This was around double the rate for working women in the US in 2013, and that Hispanic and Asian female faculty and staff were more likely to feel passed over due to their gender than others. When asked about advancement opportunities, only 23% said they had the same advancement opportunities as others with the same experience and only 35% of all female faculty and staff felt they were paid fairly for their work. Gallup | Inside Higher Ed (Subscription) | Chronicle of Higher Ed (Subscription) (International)

HEQCO study examines the experiences of the first cohort to enter studies during pandemic

A new Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) study examines the experiences of students who began their postsecondary studies in the 2020-21 school year. These students, who were the first cohort to enter postsecondary during the COVID-19 pandemic, encountered a variety of challenges. The study found that studying remotely impacted students’ academic integration, engagement, satisfaction, and mental and physical health. Students, especially those in STEM and with lower GPAs, felt that learning in a fully online environment negatively affected their learning. Based on these findings, HEQCO made recommendations to institutions that included helping students to develop online learning skills, integrating Universal Design for Learning principles into their offerings, and monitoring student success by collecting data. HEQCO (ON)

UCalgary launches BSc in Sustainable Systems Engineering

The University of Calgary has launched a new engineering degree: the Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Systems Engineering. The multidisciplinary program will bring different engineering disciplines together to work on designing, integrating, and managing systems. The program will include four main focus areas, including sustainable systems; cities and communities; energy and resources; and food, agriculture, and biomass. It will also teach students about Indigenous issues so that they understand both the physical and cultural impacts of projects. “There’s a very strong realization that we have to do better in terms of the environment and there’s a widespread recognition that the industry needs to change,” said UCalgary professor Dr David Wood. “There’s a pull from industry, but also from students, to make this change.” UCalgary (AB)

Institutions must invest in part-time faculty as a way of supporting student success: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions need to invest in part-time faculty to support student success, writes Rachel Bonaparte. Bonaparte argues that while part-time faculty tend to outnumber full-time faculty, they have been the most vulnerable during the pandemic and have often not received the same supports as their full-time counterparts. The author advises institutions to intentionally create a space with resources for part-time faculty members so that they have access to an office and other necessities, expand professional development opportunities for part-time faculty, and invest in these faculty members’ long-term goals. “As we continue to transition to a post-pandemic world, institutions should apply the same energy and commitment that they do to ensuring student success in their future endeavors to ensuring part-time faculty members in theirs,” writes Bonaparte. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)