Top Ten

April 20, 2022

UMontréal receives $159M for natural science research

The Université de Montréal has received $159M from Fondation Courtois in support of its natural science research. The university states that the funding is the largest donation ever made to the natural sciences in Canada. UMontréal will use the funds to accelerate the discovery of new materials and support research in areas such as chemistry, physics, computer science, and operations research. It will provide research teams with state-of-the-art facilities that can be used to transform science and develop greener and more sustainable technologies. “Advanced materials research is crucial to the green innovation strategy we, as a society, need in order to face the challenges of our time,” said UMontréal rector Daniel Jutras. “We now have the means to make a major contribution to finding the solutions of the future through scientific advances made here in Montreal.” UMontréal | CTV (QC)

NB to eliminate interest on provincial student loans

The Government of New Brunswick’s Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour has announced that it will no longer charge interest on provincial student loans. The interest relief will be implemented in the fall and is expected to help 65,000 existing borrowers as well as future students. “Our government recognizes the importance of making post-secondary education more affordable,” said NB Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. ‟Eliminating student loan interest is something student representatives have asked for, and it has always been our intention to do so. In 2020 we lowered the interest rate, and I am proud we are now at a point where we can eliminate it.” NB (NB)

UAlberta assesses Humanities building for space optimization

CBC reports that the University of Alberta is interested in removing its Humanities building from its inventory. The building is currently being assessed for “space optimization,” which could include leasing, temporarily closing, or demolishing it. “Our asset management strategy ensures changes on our campuses align with that core research, teaching and learning mission, while considering options for renewal, decommissioning, or removal of buildings,” said UAlberta spokesperson Michael Brown, who explained that the building’s removal would also remove operational costs and deferred maintenance. Professor Carolyn Sale expressed concern over the plans, as the building houses the English and Film Studies department as well as an Indigenous student space, student services, offices, and classrooms. “This will be a really negative impact for students to lose this kind of space,” said Sale. CBC (AB)

ON high school program offers students opportunity to graduate as certified PSWs

A new Personal Support Worker program at Montcalm Secondary School in London, Ontario is graduating certified PSWs to help address the labour shortage. The program, which is overseen by the Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators, allows students to graduate high school as certified PSWs with a job lined up. "We are having a struggle with recruiting new people into our field," said Stacey Hutton, PHSS senior co-ordinator. Hutton explained that students who complete their placements and receive their certification will be offered a job with PHSS, an organization that provides residential and day care for people with complex needs. “Honestly I’m so pleased for [the students] that they’re going to be coming out of this with a job,” said teacher Sandra Briars. “I’m so proud they’ve done this for themselves.” CBC (ON)

CIHR announces $250M over three years for Clinical Trials Fund

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has announced that new funding will soon be available in the form of the Clincial Trials Fund (CTF). The funding consists of a total of $250M over three years, which will be provided through three mediums: the Pan-Canadian Clinical Trials Consortium, the Clinical Trials Fund Training Platforms, and Clinical Trials. It will be an integral component of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy and will address the need to build Canada’s biomedical ecosystem to prepare for future health challenges. The funding opportunity is expected to launch in Spring 2022, and CIHR states that additional funding opportunities may follow these original three funding opportunities. CIHR (National)

Professors, avoid discouraging classes from pursuing PhDs: Opinion

Professors should avoid making broad statements to classes encouraging them not to pursue PhDs, writes Karly Ball. Ball argues that professors who make blanket statements warning students against pursuing a PhD may close the door to those who may benefit from PhD studies, but are unsure of how to begin the process of pursuing an application. These students are more likely to be from marginalized backgrounds and need guidance on the process, and approachable faculty can help address demographic gaps in PhD holders. Ball recommends that professors speak with students to find out why they are interested in a PhD and give them the information and tools they need to make an informed decision about their future studies. Inside Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)

Anderson, LifeLabs partner to launch Medical Lab Technologist hybrid program

Anderson College and LifeLabs have partnered to launch a Medical Lab Technologist (MLT) hybrid program. Students will receive classroom instruction and laboratory training at Anderson and will complete their practical experience at LifeLabs alongside licensed MLTs. The two-year program is designed to address the MLT shortage. “By working together, Anderson College and LifeLabs are uniquely placed to help fill the shortages currently faced by the Medical Lab Technology profession,” said Anderson Chief Operating Officer Rose Elia. “This partnership represents tremendous value, not only for Anderson College and LifeLabs, but for Ontario’s healthcare system as a whole.” LifeLabs (ON)

BCcampus releases collection of anti-racism, anti-hate resources

BCcampus recently released a collection of anti-racism and anti-hate resources. The materials include an environmental scan of available resources in British Columbia’s postsecondary sector, a calls to action workbook that discusses how issues affect racialized and Indigenous people, an Empty Chair webinar containing case studies, and a free Equity Sequence training opportunity that is offered in partnership with the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “Anti-racism activities aren’t something you can add to a to-do list and cross off as you complete them or a budget line item in an annual review,” said BCcampus executive director Mary Burgess. “[It’s] a commitment to making the change you want to see.” BCcampus | BCcampus (Workbook PDF) (BC)

Man files lawsuit against U of King’s College, Dal, Synod, estate

A man who accused the recently-deceased professor Wayne Hankey of sexual assault has filed a lawsuit against the board of governors at the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University, as well as the Anglican Diocesan Synod of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and Hankey’s estate. The lawsuit claims that U of King’s College, Dal, and the Synod were negligent in protecting Johnson because they knew or should have known that Hankey “did not have the requisite qualifications or character” to work with minors and “displayed pedophilic tendencies.” The court documents also say that the institutions should have screened and monitored those with authority over minors and taken action over allegations or suspicions of inappropriate conduct. CBC (NS)

Avoiding mistakes when advancing equality for women: Opinion

Those who are seeking to improve equality for women can avoid making mistakes by using an evidence-based approach, writes Michelle Ryan. Ryan describes the common missteps that undermine the efforts of universities, such as focusing on quantity rather than visibility, inadequate recognition, and the provision of fewer available resources to women compared to men. The author explains that women might not receive the same quality of promotion as men, as they may be placed in leadership roles that are precarious or are doomed to fail from the beginning. Other mistakes include emphasizing individual training rather than fixing systems of inequality and being over-optimistic about the impact women are having. Ryan concludes by providing some examples of concrete efforts that universities have implemented. Nature (Editorial)