Top Ten

September 16, 2022

UBC provides $4M to multiple Indigenous-focused initiatives

The University of British Columbia will be providing $4M in funding to multiple Indigenous-focused initiatives through the Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Fund. The 30 projects receiving funding have been developed by UBC and UBC Okanagan faculty, staff, and post-doctoral students/fellows, and many include community collaboration. The projects cover topics such as the establishment of a self-sustainable micro-forest using Indigenous knowledge, development of new training platforms to support Musqueam (xwməθkwəy̓əm) Indian Band employment opportunities, and improvement of health outcomes for Indigenous Peoples. UBC (BC)

FNU, BMO partner on Nisitohtamowin ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒧᐃᐧᐣ eLearning initiative

First Nations University of Canada has partnered with BMO to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by providing an updated, interactive eLearning initiative. The course is called Nisitohtamowin ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒧᐃᐧᐣ, which means “understanding” in the Cree language. The initiative is publicly available at no cost for the next three years, and provides an introduction to fundamental aspects of Indigenous history such as treaties and nation-to-nation agreement, residential schools, the Indian Act, and struggles for justice. StockWatch | News Wire | BMO (SK)

YorkU, Newmarket partner to increase opportunities in Newmarket

York University and the Town of Newmarket have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on shared goals for Newmarket. YorkU and Newmarket will partner to increase opportunities in key areas such as experiential learning at the Town of Newmarket; and efforts related to research, projects, professional development, or education. “By collaborating together on innovative programming, diverse experiential learning opportunities, and cutting-edge research, we are enriching the student living experience, building the next generation of future leaders and strengthening our impact on the global problems affecting our local communities,” said YorkU President Rhonda Lenton. YorkU (ON)

How to prevent AI-based software from harming college writing: Editorial

In a recent article for The Chronicle of Higher Ed, Jeff Schatten discusses how an AI-based software could harm college writing. The software is able to turn a prompt or query into prose by drawing information from the internet to generate a unique output. While the technology is not yet advanced enough to write academic essays, Schatten writes that it is developing quickly and could be used in the future by students to create cheap, unique essays that avoid plagiarism trackers. To prevent this, Schatten suggests that professors develop assignments that are based on in-class material or professor-specific feedback or that take formats that AI cannot replicate well yet. The author also suggests that professors use the AI as a tool to produce prose that students need to analyze and improve. Chronicle (Editorial)

Stakeholders express relief, frustration in response to approval of Laurentian’s plan of arrangement

Following the recent approval of Laurentian University's plan of arrangement, stakeholders have shared their response to the news. President of the Laurentian University Faculty Association Fabrice Colin called the approval “the beginning of a new chapter for Laurentian University.” Jeff Bangs, Chair of Laurentian’s Board of Governors, stated that he was relieved by the results, but that a lot of outreach work needs to be done with those hurt by the situation if Laurentian is to return to being a thriving university. Some former Laurentian employees who were laid off in 2021 expressed disappointment with the terms of the agreement, as the approval will see most creditors receive only up to 24% percent of what they were owed. CBC | Toronto Star (ON)

UManitoba receives funding for new respiratory therapist seats

The University of Manitoba’s respiratory therapist program will be opening four new seats thanks to new funds from the provincial government. The Government of Manitoba has announced that it will invest over $482K into the program with the intent of helping address the shortage of respiratory therapists in the province. The shortage is projected to increase over the next 10 years. Seats will be added at the university this month and the funding will go towards covering some operating costs as well as providing necessary equipment to support the seats. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

USask sets up emergency fund to support students affected by violence on James Smith Cree Nation

The University of Saskatchewan has set up an emergency fund for students affected by the violence on James Smith Cree Nation. The fund will provide support to students who have experienced financial hardship due to the violence, including expenses related to memorials and funerals, travel and accommodation, or loss of income. It will also be used to provide Indigenous students with additional mental health supports such as counselling and emotional assistance programming provided by Elders and wellness staff. CTV News (SK)

Researchers need more access to citations, metadata, abstracts to improve research

The non-profit association Crossref has made a positive step in offering open access to citation data in scholarly databases, but additional steps from others could open the door to identifying research trends and pinpointing questionable citation practices, write the editors of Nature. The editors describe how initiatives such as the Initiative for Open Citations have made citation data more transparent and easier to access. However, to maximize the benefits of this publicly available data, a more concerted effort from scholarly publishers and others is needed. The authors further argue that citation data should not be considered optional, and encourage publishers to post other metadata and make abstracts more openly accessible. Nature (Editorial)

Brock unveils new name for First Nations, Métis and Inuit student centre

Brock University’s Aboriginal Student Services has been renamed the Hadiyaˀdagénhahs First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Centre. The Cayuga word Hadiyaˀdagénhahs means "they are helpers," and the name describes the centre’s purpose as a welcoming home for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students. The name change reflects the enhancement of existing services and the creation of new opportunities at the centre. “[W]e are undertaking a reconfiguration of our centre that enhances existing services and creates new opportunities,” said Brock Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement Robyn Bourgeois. “It was important to mark this transition with a name change, and one that reflected one of our local languages.” Brock (ON)

Postsecondary education may play a causal role in students’ political attitudes: Study

A recent paper published in Higher Education has found that postsecondary education could have a causal role in students’ political attitudes and contemporary political divisions. Researcher Tom Fryer used the UK’s British Election Study to examine how postsecondary education might influence students’ political views and found that those with higher education experience were 13.8% more likely to be left-leaning than their counterparts. The author also found that students in higher education tended to also become less ethnocentric. Fryer calls for more research to confirm whether this causal role exists and, if so, what specifically about postsecondary education is bringing about these changes. Higher Education (Editorial)