Top Ten

April 28, 2022

OSCC, MRU receive $1.4M to establish chair to support new IBED program

Old Sun Community College and Mount Royal University’s new Indigenous Business and Economic Development (IBED) program has received a $1.4M gift from the Ptarmigan Charitable Foundation to establish a chair position. The chair will support the IBED program in recruiting an Indigenous faculty member who will coordinate the program, teach, and bring in relevant research. “We sincerely thank Richard Bird, his family, and the Ptarmigan Charitable Foundation for this significant donation,” said MRU President Dr Tim Rahilly. “The knowledge the students will gain through participation in the IBED concentration will be invaluable and will begin a ripple effect for generations to come.” Nation Talk | MRU (AB)

UManitoba health research receives $87M investment from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

A partnership between the University of Manitoba’s Institute for Global Public Health and the Government of Uttar Pradesh (GoUP) in India has received $87M USD from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The partnership brings together UManitoba researchers and GoUP’s guidance to create and implement advanced programming, training, and policies in the region. The funding will support research and programming led by institute Executive Director Dr James Blanchard, which focus on driving down maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the region and improving health outcomes. “Each year there are over 5.5 million babies born in Uttar Pradesh,” explained Blanchard, “and so improving the outcomes for mothers and their newborns and children in that state is one of the most important public health initiatives in India and globally.” UManitoba (MB)

International AI lab launched in Montreal

An international consortium of institutions – including McGill University, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), and Mila – Quebec AI Institute from Canada – has formed a new International Research Laboratory. The Montreal-based laboratory will focus on five themes related to artificial intelligence (AI): Fundamental aspects of AI, sequential (real-time) machine learning, robust autonomous systems, natural language and speech processing, and applications to computer vision, signals, and information processing. The centre will emphasize interdisciplinary collaborations in order to bring new methodologies and techniques into the learning system. McGill (QC)

Students at NBCC, ACC, UToronto redirect supplies, create food cupboards to ensure access to food

Students at multiple postsecondary institutions have recently launched new initiatives to ensure their community has reliable access to food. A team of New Brunswick Community College students installed a community pantry in the Riverview community of Moncton that has been filled with donations of packaged foods and goods for families in need. Assiniboine Community College recently installed a community fridge for staff and students, which was initially proposed by ACC student Sara Madill. At the University of Toronto, a student-run chapter of MealCare is collecting, redistributing, and delivering surplus food from campus eateries and grocery stores to local shelters and meal programs. “MealCare is providing a meaningful solution by contributing to sustainability while helping people find food security, a basic human right,” said UToronto student Ana Laura Noda González. CBC (NBCC) | U of T | Brandon Sun (National)

QC announces feasibility study on cégep for Nunavik

The Government of Quebec’s education ministry will be embarking on a feasibility study to determine whether to establish a cégep in the Nunavik region of Quebec. Currently, there are no postsecondary institutions in the northern region, so students must fly south to pursue further education. 12,000 people live in Nunavik, reports CTV News, and the region accounted for 18% of Canada’s Inuit population in 2016. Lisa Mesher of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, the Nunavik school board, expressed hope that a new postsecondary education option in the region would improve postsecondary graduation rates, as currently 3% of the population has a DEC and 1% has a university degree. Mesher noted that students often experience culture shock when travelling for higher education and the region sees high turnover from workers from the south who come to teach or work. Providing a culturally relevant postsecondary education would potentially resolve these issues by fostering local talent. CTV News | TVA Nouvelles (QC)

A look back on 100 years of French language science: Editorial

Jean-François Venne has penned a reflection on the history of French-language science efforts in Canada for University Affairs. The article follows the development of the French-Canadian scientific community in the 1920s, including the creation of Acfas, and the growth and challenges that the community went through in the decades that followed. Drawing on comments from professors from several of Quebec’s francophone institutions, Venne discusses the different experiences of the francophone scientists in QC and those in other provinces, as well as the significant impact of the dominance of the use of English in the 1950s and the rise of the knowledge economy in 1990s. University Affairs (National)

Laurentian pledges 'full co-operation’ in response to scathing auditor general’s report

Following the release of the ON auditor general’s report, reports that Laurentian University has pledged its “full co-operation" and committed itself to “immediate actions.” During a recent board of governors meeting, Board Chair Jeff Bangs reportedly indicated that some of Lysyk’s preliminary report was incorrect. “Some of what she said the other day is ... not entirely correct,” said Bangs. “We believe that. But that's not to challenge her in any way, because she came to conclusions and formulated a preliminary report of eight pages based on the information that she had available to her and the answers that she had had up until that point been provided.” Both Bangs and Laurentian President Robert Haché indicated that the move to enter the insolvency process was unavoidable and that the institution had no alternative. (1) | (2) (ON)

Reflections on an ungrading experiment: What worked, what did not

“Seven years ago,” writes Robert Talbert, “I made a snap decision to walk away from traditional grading.” Frustrated with the failure of traditional grades and the “game of grade grubbing” they created, Talbert drew on methods such as a two-level rubric, extensive feedback, and self-evaluation for a Modern Algebra class. Ungrading the course resulted in a better relationship between the instructor and students and saw fewer students framing their work in terms of “what the prof is looking for” rather than intrinsic value. However, the author noted that ungrading had its downsides, such as having more limited benefits for students without self-reflection skills and possibly increasing equity gaps. Talbert concludes by noting that ungrading is a tool rather than a logical end point for evaluation, and encourages the use of evaluative measures that keep student growth at the centre. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

Arbutus College, Holberton partner to launch computer science diploma

Arbutus College and education company Holberton have partnered to launch a Computer Science and Front-end Web Development Diploma. The 12-month program will train students in business communication essentials, computer science, and programming skills. Graduates will be able to pursue in-demand work in front-end web development. ​​“The digital transformation the world is currently experiencing is shaping the workforce and increasing the demand for experts in various programming languages who are skilled in converting data in ways that users can view and interact with, specifically through web applications and websites,” said Arbutus Director Alfredo Vasquez. Globe Newswire (BC)

Lambton announces new micro-credentials, jointly signs UN Accord with student council

Lambton College will be adding more micro-credential programs to its portfolio, thanks to a recent $697K investment from the Government of Ontario. The micro-certificates include programs related to food service workers, PSWs, and welding fundamentals. Lambton and the Student Administrative Council also jointly signed the UN Accord, in what the college calls a first for Canada. The digital signing officially recognizes the two parties as signatories of the SDG Accord, which is the postsecondary sector’s collective response to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Blackburn News | Lambton (ON)