Forbes has released its list of Canada’s Best Employers for Diversity 2023, a ranking of the top 150 organizations across the country promoting creative, diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. Forbes surveyed 12,000 Canadian workers at companies with at least 500 employees on their diversity practices and analyzed the companies’ diversity-related best practices. The top three postsecondary institutions on this year’s list were Toronto Metropolitan University (#1), McMaster University (#3), and Memorial University (#4). Other institutions ranking in the top 100 included: Sheridan College (#12), University of Manitoba (#14), University of Waterloo (#20), University of British Columbia (#22), Concordia University (#54), University of Alberta (#55), Dalhousie University (#59), University of Toronto (#67), and University of New Brunswick (#97).
Canadian universities are reviewing their security systems following the recent stabbing at the University of Waterloo Global News and The Globe and Mail reports that the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, and Western University have each announced that they are evaluating their security protocols to identify additional opportunities to improve campus safety. “An attack like this is a reminder that we need to have both the right security measures in place on campuses, but also the right cultural and social environment to prevent these attacks,” said Universities Canada CEO Philip Landon in an interview with the Canadian Press.
Canadian Indigenous registered charity Indspire has released a follow-up statement on Nadya and Amira Gill, who were investigated for fraud after claiming Inuit identity in order to apply for awards and scholarships that were reserved for Indigenous students. Among these awards, the sisters received Building Brighter Futures funding from Indspire to support their education at Queen’s University. The sisters used their Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) enrolment as proof of their Indigenous identity to receive Indspire funding, but have since been removed from the NTI enrolment list after their identities were questioned. Indspire has requested that the sisters return these funds.
The Canadian Transfusion Trials Group (CTTG) has received $2.3M from Canadian Blood Services to develop a transfusion medicine research community across Canada. CTTG is led by co-directors Jeannie Callum of Queen’s University and the University of Toronto and Donald Arnold of McMaster University. The funding will support the network’s efforts in protocol development and grant submissions, centralized data management and biostatistics, and mentorship for junior researchers. “This funding acknowledges the innovative nature of the trials group and its potential to inform best practice in transfusion medicine through a national network and multi-disciplinary partnerships,” said Arnold.
In a recent paper for Teaching in Higher Education, Ian M Kinchin (University of Surrey) discusses how higher education can take to shift from an “industrial model” to an “ecological” model that treats the university as an ecosystem. With the current model of higher education frequently decried as “a broken system,” Kinchin explains that there is a more optimistic body of work developing in educational research literature that focuses on the “ecological university.” Kinchin explains the theory of the ecological university system before embarking on an explanation of what needs to be done to achieve the “operationalization of the ecological university.” The author concludes by highlighting some of the potential challenges institutions could face if they pursue an ecological model.
The University of Alberta has received $560K over two years from the Government of Canada to conduct the first comprehensive national review of how medical assistance in dying (MAID) is provided. The funding will also be used to evaluate individual and family experiences of MAID programs. “Medical assistance in dying is a complex and deeply personal issue for many Canadians,” said Canadian Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos. “The University of Alberta’s project will provide valuable data regarding MAID delivery across the country and the experiences of Canadians who request MAID.”
The Ontario Police College has introduced a new course that provides police recruits with mental health training. The 18-hour course was designed in response to the 2018 Iacobucci Report and uses a trauma-informed approach that is focused on building trust. It includes scenario-based training using a virtual reality platform and actors, which gives students the opportunity to watch scenarios that are not optimal, deconstruct what happened, generate alternative solutions, and then apply the techniques within a simulated environment. Simon Fraser University Professor Curt Taylor Griffiths questioned the priorities of the course and whether the curriculum effectively prepares officers for the realities they will face in the field.
In an editorial for the Chronicle of Higher Ed, David Delgado Shorter (University of California) argues that student evaluations should not be used as the basis for merit or promotion decisions in the postsecondary sector. Delgado Shorter argues that student evaluations of courses and teachers are ineffective and often afflicted by gender and racial bias. Although some student evaluation results are useful in helping instructors rethink their assignments and course content, the writer concludes that these metrics are not reliable and should be combined with other forms of assessment in the case of personnel decisions.
The University of Calgary’s Students’ Union (SU) recently issued a statement drawing attention to the city’s student housing crisis, reporting that many students are living in unsafe spaces due to the rising cost of rent. Th union has asked Calgarians to consider renting spare rooms to students if they are able and has called on the Calgary City Council and UCalgary to work towards further solutions. In a statement to City News, UCalgary said that its residences are currently full and the university has placed ads in community newsletters asking people to consider renting out spare bedrooms.
Mohawk College recently announced that it has partnered with Haldimand County to offer a free landscape construction course. The course will be taught in Mohawk’s mobile classroom and will cover basic construction techniques. The Spectator also recently reported that Mohawk is touting a $12M surplus, despite originally projecting a $5M deficit for the year. Mohawk Chief Operating Officer Paul Armstrong noted that several factors have played a part in the surplus, such as a rebound in international enrolment, increased provincial funding, and increased funds from ancillary services like parking.