The University of Toronto and Tata Trusts have partnered to launch The University of Toronto Centre in India. The centre will host researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators as they collaborate on challenges and issues related to urban research and entrepreneurship. It will host an entrepreneurship hub where Canadian and Indian innovators and entrepreneurs can connect to share knowledge and resources, as well as an alliance dedicated to creating a network of Canadian and Indian researchers focused on urban issues. The centre will also support U of T initiatives in India by providing opportunities for students, researchers, and start-ups in both countries.
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced a $5.5M investment into expanding healthcare worker training. Over 550 spots in 18 programs will be created in the province, allowing more students to study healthcare professions in SK. The increase also includes interprovincial training agreements, with new opportunities for SK students created at the University of Alberta, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Students will also be able to access targeted grants, bursaries, and other incentives.
The Government of Alberta has announced that it will be making changes to protect free speech on campuses in response to the University of Lethbridge’s decision to not let a talk by controversial speaker Frances Widdowson proceed. Brandon Sun reports that AB Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides will be announcing changes in the coming days. The Canadian Association of University Teachers also issued a statement criticizing ULethbridge’s decision to cancel the talk, saying that it “raises serious concerns about the University of Lethbridge’s commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom” and that the university should “welcome controversial speakers and vigorous debate, not seek to restrict discourse or speakers.”
Centennial College public relations students have partnered with The GenWell Project to host a challenge that will encourage international students to build face-to-face connections in Canada. The #traveltheworldin28days challenge was launched as part of the Face-to-Face February campaign, which encourages students to explore their city’s neighbourhoods. Everyone is invited to participate in the challenge, but the campaign focuses on bringing awareness to the challenges that international students face as they study in a foreign country. The GenWell Project will post a challenge each day on its social media platforms, encouraging students to engage in experiences such as international cuisine, outdoor activities, cultural conversations, and community events and celebrations.
The University of Calgary and the British Columbia Institute of Technology have both launched new innovation hubs on their campuses. UCalgary launched the Social Innovation Hub (SIH), which will provide support to innovators and start-ups focused on solutions to social problems as they launch and scale. The hub provides members with connections to mentorship, networks, funding, space, a makerspace, and more. BCIT and Teck Resources Limited opened the Teck Copper Innovation Hub, which will use 3D printing to produce copper and composite healthcare devices. The hub will provide a space for students and researchers to explore how copper can be used to enhance safety in healthcare devices and in other real-life applications.
Several new resources have been rolled out to help instructors understand ChatGPT, revise their assessment methods, and identify academic integrity issues. OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, has created an “imperfect tool” that assesses the likelihood that a body of text was generated by AI. “We know that it can be wrong and will be wrong at times — much like using AI for any kind of assessment purposes,” said OpenAI Policy Research Director Lama Ahmad said. “We are emphasizing how important it is to keep a human in the loop … and that it’s just one data point among many others.” Meanwhile, York University has launched new web resources for instructors and teaching assistants. The resources provide information on what generative AI technology can and cannot do, outline ethics and institutional expectations, and offer suggestions for leveraging AI as a learning tool in the classroom.
The University of New Brunswick, OCAD University, and Northwestern Polytechnic have each recently announced the launch of new or expanded programming. UNB is expanding its biology-psychology Bachelor of Science program to its Fredericton campus, enabling more students to study the human body and human behaviour through an interdisciplinary approach. “The development of the bio-psych program is in response to repeated requests from students,” said UNB Fredericton Psychology Chair Dr Sandra Byers. At OCAD U, art and design students will be able to complement their studies with a minor in Science and prepare for careers in industries where a working knowledge of topics such as analytics, physics, or biology is required. NWP recently added two new bachelor degrees—a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Computing Science—and announced that its School of Business has been approved to offer post-diploma certificates in business administration with specializations in Financial Planning, Human Resources Management, and Marketing.
After undertaking a significant overhaul, the University of Saskatchewan’s medical school has received a positive review from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS). The program was reportedly overhauled after it was placed on probation in 2002 and 2013, with CACMS citing problems such as issues with inconsistent training of residents. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that the medical college underwent curriculum changes and other updates in the years that followed, returning to a fully accredited status in 2018. Now in 2023, CACMS has evaluated the medical school’s operations and indicated that the school achieved satisfactory results on 96 of the assessed elements. “We achieved a very significant turnaround for our college and for us that means we are delivering a program of which we can be proud,” said Medical School Dean Dr Preston Smith. “For Saskatchewan people it means we are supporting the needs of our patients and health system by training great future physicians.”
In a recent Inside Higher Ed article, Steven Mintz discusses strategies that postsecondary institutions can use to help their instructors improve their teaching quality. Mintz writes that this can be done by designing evaluations that examine mechanics, such as clarity, organization, engagement, and responsiveness; and course substance, which includes an analysis of course content level. However, it can be difficult to ensure that faculty introduce changes without incentives. The author suggests three solutions: Requiring faculty members to provide evidence of teaching improvement, identifying courses that impede student success and proactively addressing the issues in these classes, and creating a culture dedicated to teaching improvement.
The University of Victoria has launched an investigation into complaints of harassment brought forward by the Ukrainian Students Society. The student society was reportedly harassed at the University of Victoria Students Society’s Clubs and Course Union Days event, and UVic states that it has met with the student society to support a resolution. “I want to assure the university community—as well as those who have provided comments from further away—that we are taking action to address the discriminatory, harassing behaviour that some of our students have been experiencing on campus,” said UVic President Kevin Hall. Times Colonist reports that the student society recently advised university security about its general meeting as a precautionary step in case someone from outside of the group “turned up to cause problems.”