The University of Saskatchewan has embarked on the largest fundraising campaign in its history, which the institution says is also the largest of its kind in the province. The university has set a goal of raising $500M to support research, Indigenous achievement, student success, and the design of visionary spaces and gathering places. $322M had already been raised as of the official campaign launch. “It represents our ambitions to be a university that stands for excellence,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff. “We’re being deliberately ambitious (and) courageous in that goal.”
The Government of Canada has announced the recipients of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Alliance grants and Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grants for 2023. Over $50M was awarded to 75 recipients from a variety of universities to support their work in quantum science and technologies. “The projects awarded today are deepening collaborations with domestic and international partners to help Canadian researchers take advantage of opportunities that arise and to solidify our leadership in this fast-growing field,” said Federal Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Philippe Champagne.
Educational leaders from all areas of Manitoba’s education system recently gathered to re-sign the Indigenous Education Blueprint. By signing the Blueprint, signatories commit to 10 concrete practices to support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit residents as they navigate the education system. Signatories from the Canadian postsecondary system included Assiniboine Community College, Brandon University, Canadian Mennonite University, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Red River College Polytechnic, University College of the North, University of Manitoba, Université de Saint-Boniface, and University of Winnipeg; as well as the MB Department of Advanced Education and Training. The Blueprint was first signed in 2015.
McGill University and BXVentures have partnered to support the commercialization of cleantech projects that originate in McGill’s labs. BXVentures is a venture studio that specializes in net-zero technology. “By aligning with McGill University, internationally recognized for its cutting-edge fundamental and applied research, we can accelerate the launch of new research-based cleantech ventures in a wider range of fields than previously possible.” stated Marc Guilbert, head of the Canadian office at BXVentures. The two partners hope to announce their first joint endeavour in the near future.
The University of Victoria is launching the Coastal Climate Solutions Leaders graduate training program, which will prepare graduate students to tackle the climate crisis. The program will provide students with interdisciplinary climate change training, experiential training in the form of internships and climate solutions research, and specialized workshops to hone skills that will help them translate technical knowledge. “UVic’s combined climate research expertise and community network allows us to deliver unique programs such as Coastal Climate Solutions Leaders, which will equip our graduate students with invaluable skills to take their climate careers to the next level,” said UVic Faculty of Graduate Studies Dean Robin Hicks.
Collège Boréal and Réseau-femmes du Sud-Ouest de l’Ontario (RFSOO) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will provide new opportunities for Francophone women in Southwestern Ontario while raising awareness about violence against women. The collaboration includes preferential access to supports such as employment services, socio-economic integration navigation services, and training programs at Boréal’s Windsor campus. RFSOO will also have access to the Windsor campus facilities, while Boréal students will gain access to more internship opportunities. The MOU also includes dedicated support for Boréal students who are newcomers or who are at risk of domestic violence.
In a recent interview with the EvoLLLution, Glenn Whitehouse (Florida Gulf Coast University) explains the trends, opportunities, and challenges associated with microcredentials. “There are two reasons higher ed is getting into—and needs to get into—microcredentialing: the skills gap and the future of work,” explains Whitehouse. Whitehouse describes microcredentials as a method of providing rapid, relevant re-skill and up-skilling opportunities to workers. “Good” microcredentials, he explains, complement existing degree programs or act as a connector between institutional silos, use badging that engages the whole campus, and may have local or employer-specific focuses. However, introducing these programs comes with challenges such as determining responsibility for the program within the institution and educating employers. Whitehouse concludes with key considerations for leaders considering introducing these programs on their campuses.
The closure of a program at Seneca College and course cuts at Northwestern Polytechnic are causing concern for students and industry. CBC and Deeper Blue report that Seneca has cancelled its commercial diving program due to low student demand and high operating costs. The commercial diving industry has cited concerns about workplace safety and labour shortages, as there is a need for more qualified people in the industry. While students will be able to finish their program, they will have to travel out of province to complete their recertification. In Alberta, CBC reports that NWP will not be offering music or advanced French courses in the next academic year. NWP President Justin Kohlman said that the institution only receives a set amount of government funding and that demand in other areas such as healthcare and the trades has increased while enrolment has declined in French and music. Kohlman added that the polytechnic will also be examining demand for the campus’s music conservatory.
A recent pair of articles published in the Lancet and University World News (UWN) debate the future of institutional rankings. In the Lancet, Richard Horton points to a recent deconstruction of leading university rankings and their methodological issues. He discusses how rankings could be moved from a “game of winners and losers” to something that “measures what we really believe universities are for.” In UWN, Richard Holmes agrees with several of Horton’s points, but disagrees with the proposed solutions. Holmes provides an overview of the broader ranking field and recent trends in this area before concluding that the solutions proposed by Horton and others–including abolishing or radically restructuring rankings–are not likely to benefit the sector or the public.
Laurentian University has announced that it will be joining the Nature Positive University Alliance (NPUA) in celebration of Earth Day. NPUA supports nature restoration at 128 universities around the world, including four in Ontario. As a first step of joining the alliance and becoming “Nature Positive,” Laurentian will complete a baseline study of its campus’ biodiversity with clear actions and transparent reporting. “The Nature Positive University Alliance is an initiative that will form a major contribution to the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration,” said Anastacia Chartrand, Chair of the Laurentian University Environmental Sustainability Committee. “It will also allow us to uphold Laurentian’s existing environmental legacy and make even greater contributions to ecosystem restoration.”