Top Ten

January 10, 2023

YorkU announces $4.05M in CIRC funding for interdisciplinary research projects contributing to UN SDGs

York University has announced that it will be supporting a variety of interdisciplinary research projects that contribute to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) through its Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (CIRC) program. CIRC will provide $4.05M in funding to support interdisciplinary collaboration, global research excellence, and world-class training opportunities. Funding includes $150K over three years for seven projects. Six other proposals will receive $100K per year for two years. “As the world continues to address urgent global challenges such as climate change, global health crises and political polarization, and their impact on people and the planet, it is critical now more than ever for York to support novel interdisciplinary research collaborations that drive innovative solutions to these grand challenges,” said YorkU President Rhonda Lenton. YorkU (ON)

UCalgary officially opens Mathison Hall

The University of Calgary has officially opened Mathison Hall at the Haskayne School of Business. The building will unite business students in one place and increase Haskayne’s capacity. Some highlights of the new building include twelve technology-enhanced classrooms, an 80-person round room for discussion and dialogue, the graduate student floor, and collision spaces to encourage students to gather and work together. The building itself aims to achieve LEED platinum certification. “With the official opening of Mathison Hall, we are going to help start hundreds and thousands of careers – ones that will make Canada's most enterprising city even more so, propelled by the entrepreneurial thinking that runs through the university's DNA,” said UCalgary President Ed McCauley. Newswire (AB)

UWaterloo sessional instructors join CUPE

At the University of Waterloo, sessional instructors have officially joined the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The decision at the Ontario Labour Relations Board follows a vote in December. “Waterloo is a great, world-class university, but as instructors we’re way behind other universities in this province,” said organizing sessional instructor Scott Sorli. “It’s time to bring us up to standards for things like employment security, benefits, professional development and basics like appropriate office space and equipment.” The Financial Post notes that the decision closely follows similar votes at Brock University and the University of Toronto’s New College. Financial Post (ON)

ACC, SEL Housing Inc partner to provide hands-on learning to construction students

Assiniboine Community College and SEL Housing Inc have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see them offering hands-on learning opportunities for carpentry, electrical, and plumbing students. Through the partnership, students will have the opportunity to construct a single-family dwelling at the North Hill campus using housing and building plans provided by the housing company. SEL Housing will appraise the students’ labour and make a donation to a fund to support trades at the college. “This initiative will allow students to put their newly acquired skills to practice in a real-world application under the guidance of journeyperson-certified instructors,” said Assiniboine Dean of Trades Kevin Poirier. ACC (MB)

Improving employee engagement, retention: Opinion

With many postsecondary staff and faculty looking to leave their job this year, postsecondary institutions will need to improve employee engagement and retention, writes Brandon L Wolfe for Inside Higher Ed. Citing two studies out of the US, Wolfe writes that 57% of staff and faculty are planning to leave their jobs in the coming year, and 79% of provosts have noted that their faculty members have been leaving at somewhat or significantly higher numbers. The author advises institutions to address these issues by fostering a culture and climate of belonging, prioritizing psychological safety, and ensuring that wellness initiatives are competitive and accessible. Wolfe also notes that internal communication should be clear, intentional, time-sensitive, inclusive, and authentic to further foster a positive work culture. Inside Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) (Editorial)

FNU meets with Prince Albert city council to discuss new, permanent campus

First Nations University is hoping to expand its presence in Prince Albert with a new permanent northern campus. The university met with Prince Albert city council on Monday with a goal of having a request for the purchase of five acres of land approved. The city council previously approved a similar request in 2021, but FNU was unsuccessful with the application for federal funding. The new proposed location is also contingent on federal funding, and the campus would include a two-storey building with childcare, spaces for elders and knowledge keepers, and a ceremonial space. It would also include a future plan to transition the campus to renewable energy. CBC (SK)

Okanagan launches sponsored Construction Craft Worker program

Okanagan College has launched a fully funded Construction Craft Worker program. The 10-week program will be delivered at Okanagan’s Salmon Arm Trades Centre and will teach students about topics including job site preparation and cleaning, masonry, site security, and operating equipment. Students who meet certain criteria will be provided with free tuition, tools, and meal and transportation supports. “We are continually looking to collaborate with industry partners to respond in areas where the communities in our region have real needs in the workforce,” said Okanagan President Neil Fassina. “This new program in Salmon Arm shows how working together with partners and decision-makers supports people who are looking for more training to help them advance in their careers.” Okanagan | Castanet (BC)

Technological growth can expand registrar’s role, degree tracking: Interview

In a recent interview with the EvoLLLution, Heather Bjorgan discusses how technology has changed the role of the registrar. Bjorgan writes that developments in technology have expanded the registrar’s role to include increased services for students, faculty, and administration and provide registrars with a greater ability to help students understand how they can complete their programs. The interviewee discusses the way that the registrar’s office acts as a hub with access to almost every student, which means that registrars must keep up as savvy students drive changes to processes. Bjorgan writes that transcript evaluation from other institutions has seen a great improvement and that the office of the registrar has also taken on a larger role in strategic enrolment management since registrars have an intuitive knowledge about programs. EvoLLLution (Editorial)

Sask Polytech, GDI, partners extend water treatment program for Indigenous learners into 2023

The kanātan nipīy program offered by the City of Saskatoon, Gabriel Dumont Institute, Radius Community Centre, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and the Saskatoon Tribal Council has been extended into 2023. The collaborative effort was first offered in 2019 to provide Indigenous learners with pathways to employment in water treatment. “The program included three months of in-class work,” said program alumnus Ashley Ratt. “In that small timeframe we ended up getting a lot of good education, good skills to get a good career.” Participants receive training in water treatment and distribution, First Aid/CPR, and WHMIS. They also complete two weeks of work experience. The program was designed to meet the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call To Action #92. Sask Polytech (SK)

Pre-med peer support group restarts at CBU

A pre-med peer support group at Cape Breton University has been restarted to provide supports to those who are interested in pursuing medical school. Mykel Denny of Eskasoni First Nation, who is currently studying biology at CBU in hopes of becoming a doctor, was told that the group was inactive due to COVID-19 restrictions and a lack of interest, and spearheaded the group’s revival. Denny noted that most students who are preparing for medical school need support to navigate the entry requirements, protocols, and procedures. “It is a very scary and tedious process,” said Denny. “But having a team or a group of people you can fall back on is such a huge benefit for anybody.” The group is hoping to offer resources for students, which may include Medical College Admission Test prep material, opportunities to practice interview skills, or a podcast with interviews and mentorship. CBC (NS)