Top Ten

October 19, 2022

U of T, USask, UQAM, McGill co-lead satellite system to predict, mitigate extreme weather events

The Government of Canada has contributed over $200M into the High-altitude Aerosols, Water vapour and Clouds (HAWC) satellite system, which is a part of NASA’s Atmosphere Observing System (AOS) mission. HAWC will focus on the prediction and mitigation of extreme weather events, and will provide data that will help scientists and policymakers make decisions to prepare Canada for extreme events caused by climate change. Four institutions are co-leading HAWC: the University of Toronto, University of Saskatchewan, Université du Québec à Montréal, and McGill University. Other contributors include the University of New Brunswick, Université de Sherbrooke, University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, St Francis Xavier University, Saint Mary's University, University of Victoria, Western University, and Dalhousie University. Canada | U of T (National)

UCalgary officially opens Hunter Student Commons

The University of Calgary has officially opened the Hunter Student Commons. The commons provides a purpose-built space for students to gather, seek support, and innovate. The commons includes study spaces and breakout rooms, gender neutral washrooms, and uses natural light and an open-concept design that encourages students to connect with each other. Its second floor houses a one-stop location for a network of student services which include Enrolment Services and the Prospective Student Hub. The top floor houses the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, where students can engage with entrepreneurship through an innovation sandbox, start-up workstations, and an event space. The building’s design is zero-carbon certified and includes solar panels, concrete, and glass for natural heating and cooling. UCalgary (1) | UCalgary (2) (AB)

ACC announces naming of Russ Edwards School of Agriculture & Environment

Assiniboine Community College has announced the naming of its school of agriculture: the Russ Edwards School of Agriculture & Environment. The school was named in honour of a $4M gift from philanthropist and agricultural sector champion Russ Edwards. “This is an incredible gift, and we are eternally grateful to Mr Edwards and his family for their commitment to help us build unparalleled educational opportunities in Manitoba,” said Dean of the Russ Edwards School of Agriculture & Environment Tim Hore. “It will have a long-lasting impact as our college continues to advance its vision for leadership in agricultural education.” ACC says that this is the first time it has named an academic school after an individual. ACC (MB)

How liaisons can help answer job candidate questions: Opinion

In a recent article for Inside Higher Ed, Rachel Gabriele discusses a technique that postsecondary institutions can use to ensure that job candidates receive information they may feel uncomfortable asking about. Gabriele writes that job candidates are often interested in the answers to questions that they are not “supposed” to ask, such as questions about paternity leave, tenure-clock extensions, and the campus community. The author writes that their own institution has addressed this challenge by creating a liaison program; finalists for faculty positions meet with a liaison from outside the search process who honestly and confidentially answers any questions the candidate asks. Gabriele writes that feedback from liaisons leads to hiring and retention advantage as well as positive changes on campus. Inside Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) (Editorial)

TRU, Kamloops, Creative Energy sign MOU to support low-carbon district energy system project

Thompson Rivers University, the City of Kamloops, and Creative Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will support exploration of how the city could be connected to a low-carbon district energy system. TRU and Creative Energy have developed plans for a low-carbon district energy system for heating campus infrastructure, which the city will optimize to bring both students and the Kamloops community sustainable energy. In the project’s first phase, over 90% of TRU buildings’ greenhouse gasses will be eliminated, while the second phase will provide the rest of TRU’s campus and the city with a scalable network of renewable infrastructure. TRU (BC)

HEC launches Financial Education Lab

HEC Montréal has launched a Financial Education Lab that will focus on experimentation in financial education. The lab, which is part of the HEC Montréal Retirement and Savings Institute ecosystem, will be directed by HEC Associate Professor Philippe d’Astous. Research at the lab will focus on debt management and financial investments, and the lab will be devoted to experimental education that strives to improve the well-being of individuals through the development of financial education measures. Objectives include documenting and analyzing individuals’ financial literacy, understanding how financial literacy level impacts financial choices, and analyzing targeted measures to improve financial knowledge. The new lab is funded by a $1.25 million donation from Mouvement Desjardins. HEC (QC)

Seneca, Western, King’s announce changes, updates to COVID-19 policies

Seneca College, Western University, and King’s University College have announced changes and updates to their COVID-19 policies. Seneca will no longer require mandatory vaccination as of January 1st, 2023. The college is keeping its mask mandate until further notice. Western announced that it is extending its mask mandate until the end of the fall term. King’s will also continue requiring masking in instructional spaces. King’s will be providing masks on campus and is encouraging its community members to get booster vaccines if they are eligible. CBC (Seneca, Western) | Masking to Continue in Instructional Spaces | (ON)

Trent receives $2.5M to create endowed bursary fund for students facing barriers to education

Trent University has received a $2.5M gift from the Joyce Family Foundation which will be used to create an endowed bursary fund. The Joyce Family Foundation Bursary Endowment Fund will support undergraduate students who are facing socio-economic barriers to achieving a postsecondary education, with preference given to students from Peterborough, Durham Region, and Haliburton County. Recipients will receive funding, which is renewable for up to four years, and will work with a mentor throughout their program. “This gift, which creates our largest fund for student aid, greatly enhances Trent University’s ability to support students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education,” said Trent President Dr Leo Groarke. Trent | PTBO Today (ON)

LMS data may predict success, but there is a disconnect between data and support for students: Study

Analyzing data gleaned from Learning Management Systems (LMS) shows mixed results in supporting students who struggle in class, writes Jeffrey R Young. Young describes the results of a recently-published research paper that found that LMS data was better than administrative data at predicting student success. However, the study found that this information did not add much value to students: It was most helpful within the students’ first term, worked best in online or blended classes, and was less helpful for classes with fewer initial graded assignments. Paper co-author Kelli Bird writes that while evaluating LMS data can predict success, there is a disconnect between data and supporting student performance. Bird writes that sending students messages that they should seek tutoring or study harder can discourage them, while Patsy D Moskal notes that data organized into dashboards for professors may be useful to identify struggling students. EdSurge (Editorial)

UWOFA, WLUFA vote in favour of strike mandates

Members of both the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) and Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association’s (WLUFA) part-time unit have voted in favour of strike mandates. UWOFA members voted 91% in favour of a strike mandate, with key issues including equitable workloads, enhanced health and wellness, and improved job security for contract faculty. WLUFA contract faculty members voted 95% in favour of authorizing a call for strike action in the event of an impasse. Key issues include job security, compensations, and benefits for precariously employed faculty. Teaching assistants at Dalhousie University could go on strike as of today. Dal teaching assistants have reportedly not had a collective agreement for two years and have not received a raise since 2019. OCUFA (UWOFA, WLUFA) | CBC (ON | NS)