Top Ten

April 7, 2022

Canada announces $46.9M to support colleges, cégeps, polytechnics in work with SMEs

The Government of Canada has announced $46.9M in funding to support colleges, cégeps, and polytechnics as they work with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The grants will be used by institutions as they work with SMEs to provide new opportunities, support growth, and enhance their competitiveness. inSauga reports that Mohawk College will be using $2.6M to support projects in cross-platform connectivity, sensor integration, and cyber security, while Bradford Today states that Georgian College will use the funds to expand its Competitive Smart Manufacturing program in a broad range of sectors, including retail, food and beverage, and cannabis. “This additional support from the Government of Canada is a testament to the value of colleges, CEGEPs and polytechnics and how they contribute to Canadian innovation – from exceptional applied research expertise and training experience, to outstanding facilities and equipment,” said NSERC President Alejandro Adem. NSERC | News Wire | InSauga | Bradford Today (National)

MSVU, SMU, UBC receive donations toward student bursaries and scholarships

Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary’s University, and the University of British Columbia have each recently received donations to support student bursaries and scholarships. SMU has received a $3M gift from the Durland Learning Foundation and the Durland Family to A World Without Limits: The Campaign for Saint Mary’s University to establish the Durland Scholarships in Graduate Research to support graduate entrance scholarships. The University of British Columbia’s School of Biomedical Engineering has received a donation to create the McEwan Family Entrance Award as well as a $1M donation toward the construction of a cutting-edge facility to support students in education and entrepreneurship. At MSVU, a new fund that provides financial supports for Indigenous students has been established by a $500K donation from Scott McCain and Leslie McLean, which was matched by the university. CBC (MSVU) | MSVU | SMU | Newswire (UBC) (NB | NS | BC)

Mentorship programs for Indigenous students expanded at UManitoba, launched at ULethbridge

Two mentorship programs supporting Indigenous students have received the spotlight in the news this week. The Law Makers program, which is a partnership between the University of Manitoba, Seven Oaks School Division, and the Wayfinders program, has recently been expanded thanks to $16.1M in funding from the Mastercard Foundation’s EleV program. The program gives high school students the opportunity to learn about social justice and connect with Indigenous UManitoba law students, while earning both a high school and university credit. Meanwhile, in Alberta, the University of Lethbridge has partnered with the Influence Mentoring Society to create a new mentorship program for Indigenous students. The Influence Mentoring program aims to create better opportunities for Indigenous postsecondary students and create measurable opportunities for reciprocal mentoring. UManitoba | ULethbridge (AB | MB)

StFX renames science complex, renovates athletics hub after receiving $5M gift

St Francis Xavier University has announced that it will be renaming its Physical Science Complex to recognize a $5M gift from Agnico Eagle Mines Limited. The gift enabled the university to secure an additional $3.5M in matching funds, and will be used to purchase new lab equipment, update existing technology, renovate the Saputo Centre for Healthy Living, and create a bursary fund. The physical science complex will named the Nasso Family Science Centre in recognition of James Nasso, a former member of StFX’s Board of Governors and Agnico Eagle’s long-time board chairman. “We are tremendously grateful to Agnico Eagle for their support and their generosity,” said StFX President Andy Hakin, “and are excited to put their gift to good use.” StFX (NS)

UoGuelph student club develops program to recycle chemistry lab coats

A University of Guelph student club focused on laboratory sustainability has created a new program that will enable students to recycle their chemistry lab coats. Green Labs Guelph was formed after two concerned students brought the idea of a re-use program to the Sustainability Office. The club found that over 2,000 students each year required a lab coat, and that students were interested in a program that allowed them to return a lab coat after using it and get money back. The club will be selling the used lab coats in September, and is exploring other ways to reduce waste. “There are so many opportunities to reduce waste in labs,” said first-year UoGuelph student Youstina Makhlouf, who helped found Green Labs Guelph. “We have looking at PPE sanitation or recycling for things like masks and gloves. We also want to reduce waste in the use of pipettes. The list goes on.” UoGuelph (ON)

Grade forgiveness can incentivize study in STEM fields: Study

A recent study shows that grade-forgiveness policies improve student enrolment and graduation in the STEM fields, writes Maria Carrasco. These policies allow students to retake a course and replace their grades with their improved score. Study co-author Xuan Jiang said that, while grade-forgiveness policy was in place at the studied institution, students were found to be around 10% more likely to enrol in STEM courses. Graduations from STEM programs also increased by 25%. Jiang said that the policy provides incentive for students to challenge themselves and keep from falling behind in their programs. Inside Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)

McGill issues warning to student union over adoption of Palestine Solidarity Policy

McGill University has given a warning to its student union after the union adopted a Palestine Solidarity Policy in a March referendum. CBC reports that the policy says that the Students’ Society will boycott companies and institutions that are “complicit in settler-colonial apartheid against Palestinians,” and will pressure McGill into joining the boycott. McGill responded by threatening sanctions against the student union, which may include prohibiting it from using the McGill name and the termination of its agreement with the university. Union president Darshan Daryanani expressed concerns over democracy being endangered, while Jewish advocacy groups argued that the policy targets Jewish students on campus. CBC (CP) (QC)

YorkU announces establishment of DIVERT Mental Health platform

York University has announced the creation of the Digital Inclusive Virtual and Equitable Research Training in Mental Health (DIVERT Mental Health) platform. The DIVERT Mental Health program will focus on disrupting the status quo and helping those who are racialized, disabled, or from the LGBT2SQ+ community surpass the barriers they face in the mental healthcare system. The program will be supported by $2.55M in CIHR funding, $2.4M in resources from IBM, and over $500K from NGO partners. The platform will be led by YorkU’s Rebecca Pillai Riddell, and will draw on the expertise of principal investigators from Dalhousie University, the University of Alberta, the University of Toronto, and McGill University. YorkU (ON)

Institutions should be cautious of an “unquestioning” adoption of social media: Opinion

In a recent article for Times Higher Education, Zachary Michael Jack describes why he made the choice to not incorporate social media in his teaching, even though its use has been encouraged in academia. Jack describes how professors were first encouraged to be active on Facebook, and have since branched out to other social media mediums. The author argues that though those who oppose social media are considered “dinosaurs,” the full impacts of social media on the current generation of students are not fully understood. Jack questions if social media could one day be proven to have been damaging and a factor in the high rates of mental health issues experienced by students, and argues that, in this hypothetical situation, institutions pushing social media would be viewed as complicit in this issue. Times Higher Ed (Editorial)

CMCC, UNB sign articulation agreement

The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and the University of New Brunswick have signed an articulation agreement that will give UNB graduates a pathway into a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Through the pathway, students will be able to complete both UNB’s Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree and CMCC’s Doctor of Chiropractic program in a total of seven years. “UNB is committed to creating opportunities for our students to build their careers and strengthen their professional avenues,” said Dr Wayne Albert, UNB Dean of Kinesiology. “This new pathway benefits students who wish to pursue a career in chiropractic, reducing the length of time for study and providing them with the support early on, through the collaboration between our institutions.” CMCC (ON | NB)