Mount Allison University has embarked on a fundraising campaign to support $65M in upgrades for its Ralph Pickard Bell Library and Archives. The retrofits will include renovations to reduce the building’s environmental footprint, as well as the addition of digital teaching and learning resources, audio-visual media labs and broadcasting studios, an incubator space, community spaces, and an Indigenous knowledge space. MtA has received $36M in combined federal and provincial funding for the retrofits, and the fundraising campaign will help cover the remaining $29M. “Receiving the largest public sector gift in the University’s history means we can forge ahead on an innovative project that will transform the heart of our campus and significantly enhance our academic mission, as well as the student experience,” said MtA President Dr Jean-Paul Boudreau.
Assiniboine Community College has received a $10M investment from the Government of Manitoba to support the development of the Prairie Innovation Centre. MB reports that the college has proposed several new and expanded programs for its North Hill Campus, and that it will need the centre to accommodate the campus’ anticipated enrolment growth of 600 students. “We know there is a real need in our agriculture sector, where projections show one in five jobs could go unfulfilled by 2029,” said MB Premier Heather Stefanson. “Right here in Brandon, Assiniboine Community College is offering a solution.” The Winnipeg Free Press reports that ACC has campaigned for the centre since 2019 and raised over $16.5M in private industry support.
Dr Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond has voluntarily returned her Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Vancouver Island University, report CBC and Victoria News. The decision was reportedly made after VIU informed Turpel-Lafond that the institution would be moving forward with a process initiated by requests from members of the university community and the Indigenous Women’s Collective. The university is currently developing an Indigenous Identity Policy and reviewing honorary doctorate policies and procedures. The Vancouver Sun reports that the University of British Columbia recently issued a statement saying it regrets how it responded to questions about former professor Turpel-Lafond. UBC is now reviewing its processes around Indigenous status.
Re$earch Infosource Inc has officially released its Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities List for 2022. The institutions leading the rankings overall are the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, Université de Montréal, and the University of Alberta. The organization also published a special spotlight report on Granting Council Research Income Performance, which evaluated the research income received from each granting council between 2017 and 2021. The leading institutions for their respective categories in this spotlight included Dalhousie University, McGill, Ontario Tech University, Simon Fraser University, Wilfrid Laurier University, U of T, the University of Northern British Columbia, the University of Regina, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Victoria, the University of Waterloo, the University of Windsor, the University of Winnipeg, and York University.
As part of a broader federal investment in Alberta’s hydrogen economy through Prairies Economic Development Canada, the University of Alberta and the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) will be receiving $3M. UAlberta and AMTA will work together to increase access to hydrogen fuel and highlight how heavy vehicles such as freight trucks, municipal buses, and heavy equipment can benefit from hydrogen technology. The funds will be used to acquire hydrogen-fuelling equipment to use in pilot projects, work with fleet operators looking to trial hydrogen fuel use, educate the public and engaging industry, and commission a pilot hydrogen fuelling station in Calgary.
Algoma University has suspended a part-time professor from his duties at the institution and prohibited him from visiting the campus or contacting students after he was arrested and charged with sexual assault, reports CBC. A statement from the Sault Ste Marie Police Service explains that they began investigating complaints in December 2022 and that officers “developed grounds to believe that the accused victimised five people,” who Soo Today identified as AlgomaU students. “The University is working directly with those impacted to ensure appropriate support is available and are making those support services available to any faculty, staff or students who require them,” said AlgomaU in a statement.
Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) has announced that it has reduced the sanctions placed on Cégep Beauce-Appalaches Condors after the Bol d’Or trophy was destroyed in November. The trophy was badly damaged after the team’s victory, leading to sanctions and an investigation to identify the individuals who damaged it. Beauce-Appalaches appealed the RSEQ’s decision in mid-December and has now regained the ability to participate in next season’s playoffs and championship game. The cégep will still be required to pay the costs of repairing the trophy as well as a $10K fine, and will be on probation for two years. All Condors members will also be required to take an ethics course.
Two German researchers, Julian Hamann and Leopold Ringel, have published an exploratory study in Higher Education regarding the critiques commonly leveled against rankings and how rankers respond to these challenges. Hamann and Ringel discuss the growing presence of university rankings and related criticisms in global education and review common criticisms and ranker responses. The authors tentatively conclude that while the ongoing conversation between rankers and critics can appear hostile, this back-and-forth results in a “discursive resilience” of university rankings that contributes to their longevity.
Simon Fraser University has opened a newly renovated innovation space in downtown Surrey, British Columbia. The SFU Innovation Plaza houses the Quantum Algorithms Institute, the BC Centre for Agritech Innovation, and the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Coast Capital Venture Connection. The plaza includes offices and open seating, meeting rooms, and classroom space. The renovations were supported by over $2.5M from the federal and provincial governments. “At the SFU Innovation Plaza, academia, government, and industry will come together to generate new technology solutions that position BC as a global leader in innovation,” said SFU President Joy Johnson.
In response to a recent article published in Inside Higher Ed, Benjamin Rifkin writes that instructors should respect their students as unique individuals and consider the world that they will be working within. Rifkin argues that instructors should be intentional about assigning authentic tasks to their students rather responding to poor performance by defaulting to a failing grade. The author writes that instructors can decrease the number of Fs they give by considering the amount of work they assign, assigning authentic tasks that focus on skills used in the workforce, and considering changing their classroom evaluation methods to be more authentic. “Ultimately, it’s my responsibility as their professor to assign work that aligns with my learning goals for them and to create structures in my course that motivate the students to do the work because it’s transparently meaningful to them,” writes Rifkin.