Top Ten

June 24, 2022

AB creates $15M New Beginnings Bursary program for low-income students

The Government of Alberta has announced that it will be providing $15M over three years to create the New Beginnings Bursary program. The program will provide $5K bursaries to low-income students to help cover costs such as tuition and living expenses. The bursaries will be available to students studying in sectors that are key to AB’s economic recovery, including energy, agriculture and forestry, tourism, culture, technology, aerospace and aviation, and finance and financial technology. The bursaries will be available starting in the 2022-23 academic year. University of Calgary students’ union President Nicole Schmidt expressed concerns about the bursaries, saying that they do not make up for recent postsecondary cuts and tuition increases. Schmidt further argued that funding for low-income students should not be tied to their programs of study. AB | CTV News | CBC (AB)

NL psychology students struggle to complete doctoral studies due to suspended residency program

Psychology students in Newfoundland and Labrador are struggling to find opportunities to complete their residency programs, and so are unable to complete their doctoral studies, reports CBC. CBC reports that Eastern Health, which offered one of the province’s two residency programs, suspended its program for the 2022-23 school year due to high supervisor turnover, which indicated a need for additional supports for the program. Some students have chosen to leave NL to complete their degree, despite the shortage of psychologists in the province. Memorial University Student Elizabeth Wallack says that the province needs a “co-ordinated and concrete process to be able to cross that finish line here in the province and keep these incredible people.” CBC (NL)

Peer reviewers should strive for kindness in their reviews: Editorial

In a recent editorial for The Conversation, five authors discuss the challenges researchers face when receiving feedback during peer reviews and call for more kindness in the process. Catherine Clase (McMaster University), Josee Bouchard (Université de Montréal), Manish M Sood (University of Ottawa), Rachel Holden (Queen’s University), and Sunny Hartwig (University of Prince Edward Island) argue that peer review can and should be made kinder, with reviews that provide accurate and robust feedback while avoiding patronizing and unkind language. The authors write that there is a power dynamic between those writing feedback and those receiving it, and that reviewers may confuse harshness with intellectual rigour. Those receiving the feedback may follow this pattern and perpetuate this kind of feedback in their own reviews. The authors recommend that journals “make a commitment to kindness in review” to improve the advice given by reviewers. The Conversation (Editorial)

UWindsor experiences cybersecurity incident resulting in systems outage

The University of Windsor has been experiencing an ongoing “cybersecurity incident” since Monday morning, reports CTV News. The incident caused a temporary systems outage that has made its website, Blackboard Learning Management System, UWinsite Student, and campus Wi-Fi unavailable. UWindsor said that it is taking steps to secure the university’s systems, mitigate the incident’s impact on data, and get community members back online as soon as possible. Students have reported that they are currently unable to access resources for their courses, and some have asked the university to reconsider midterm dates as their studying has been affected. CBC | CTV News | Blackburn News (ON)

ULaval, ETS receive nearly $2M in funding from Canada, QC for greenhouse sector

The governments of Canada and Quebec announced nearly $2M in funding for Université Laval and the École de technologie supérieure in support of greenhouse research. The funding will be used to establish two research and teaching chairs in greenhouse energy and climate management and greenhouse plant protection at ULaval. It also will support ETS’s development of a greenhouse model that is unique to Quebec and uses sustainable materials. The funding is provided through the Agri-Food Innovation Partnership Program. "The investments made at Université Laval and the École de technologie supérieure will support Quebec's greenhouse growers in growing fresh fruits and vegetables year-round," said federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau. Canada (QC)

Loyalist, ALCDSB partner to strengthen international education program

Loyalist College and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB) have signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at increasing and diversifying international student enrolment at both institutions. As part of the MOU, ALCDSB will offer English as a Second Language courses aligned with Loyalist intake calendars so that international students can transition seamlessly between the two institutions. "As Loyalist builds on its Destination College vision, we are always looking for new ways to expand and create seamless pathways and expand access to postsecondary education for international students," said Loyalist President Dr Ann Marie Vaughan. Loyalist (ON)

SMU exceeds 2025 greenhouse gas reduction goals three years early

Saint Mary’s University has announced that it has achieved its greenhouse gas reduction goals three years ahead of schedule. SMU originally planned to reduce its greenhouse gasses by 40% by 2025, but exceeded this goal by taking on projects such as installing a high-efficiency hot water plant, switching to natural gas heating, and installing more efficient lighting. “We are exceeding our emissions reduction goal, and with innovative projects such as North America’s tallest solar-integrated building Saint Mary’s is taking a leadership role in the post-secondary sector towards a more sustainable future,” said SMU Senior Director of Facilities Management Dennis Gillis. SMU (NS)

Students from institutions across Canada hear from Ukraine President

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to university students across Canada on Wednesday in a Q&A event hosted by the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and broadcast to universities across the country. The event aimed to raise awareness about the ways that Canadian universities can support Ukraine. Zelensky answered questions, thanked Canadian universities for receiving Ukrainian students, encouraged students to raise awareness and support for Ukraine, and asked students from Ukraine to return after the war ends to help rebuild their country. Students from the University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, Université de Montréal, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, Western University, Queen's University, University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Dalhousie University attended the event. CBC | Globe and Mail | Global News (UAlberta) | London Free Press (Western) (National)

Nipissing receives $1M to establish funds to support students, future Simulation Centre

Nipissing University has received a $1M donation from the George and Helen Vari Foundation to establish two new funds. The George and Helen Vari BIPOC Student Scholarship and Bursary Fund will provide financial support to students who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour. The George and Helen Vari Simulation Fund will support programming at Nipissing’s future Simulation Centre, where the university intends to name two simulation labs after the donors. “This type of support changes lives,” said Nipissing President Kevin Wamsley. “It improves access to education and enhances the student experience, ensuring our students are able to reach their full potential and give back to society in a meaningful way.” Nipissing (ON)

Researchers benefit from having contrarians challenge their research: Opinion

Researchers should cultivate beneficial relationships with contrarians in order to ensure there is always a point of view in the room that challenges overconfidence, writes Gerd Gigerenzer. Gigerenzer writes that collaborative work between researchers has become more common. Having someone in the collaboration who openly questions the research can help reveal cognitive biases, explains the author, so it is beneficial to cultivate a research group that is open to criticism and includes a “contrarian” from a different discipline who works on the same topic. Additionally, Gigerenzer argues that these individuals should be located in the same spaces so that they have more opportunities to interact on a daily basis and build trust. “Contrarians shape the intellectual and social climate of a group,” writes Gigerenzer. “In turn, they shape the quality of its science.” Times Higher Ed (Sub. Req.) (Editorial)