Top news stories of 2019

Highlights of UCalgary's progress and impact on the world: A popular MOOC on concussions, inaugural classes at W.A. Ranches, a president’s vision for deeper community ties, and more

Demystifying Concussions 101. It’s a fitting if not official name for the free massive open online course, or MOOC, offered by the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary in April of 2019, in partnership with the Université Laval.

The MOOC was open to anyone concerned about concussion. And plenty of people are concerned. One in five Canadians will report a sport-related concussion in their lifetime and one in 10 youth sustain a sport-related concussion each year.

The response to the MOOC: 8,591 participants signed up. And the article announcing the concussion MOOC led the list of the most-read UCalgary News articles published in 2019.

The university-level, non-credit course provided leading-edge insights on how to prevent, detect and manage traumatic brain injury. Participants interacted with Dr. Kathryn Schneider, PhD, course instructor and assistant professor in the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre. They also watched videos from a variety of leading experts in their fields, many of whose research helped shape the International Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport.

Among those taking the MOOC were parents, teachers, coaches, health-care professionals, school administrators, and patients across the country. And of course, students across multiple disciplines at the University of Calgary.

Stay tuned. The next iteration of the course is scheduled to run in the winter of 2020. The course will be updated prior to each iteration, reflecting the most recent, evidence-informed practices.

Here are nine more top stories about news at the University of Calgary in 2019.

Students tour the W.A. Ranches property.

Students tour the W.A. Ranches property.

January: W.A. Ranches throws open its gates to first class of students

First-year students in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine made university history as they hopped on a yellow school bus to get to their new classroom at the sprawling W.A. Ranches near Cochrane. The 19,000-acre, $44-million, 1,000-head cattle ranch, gifted to the university by  J.C. (Jack) Anderson and his daughter Wynne Chisholm, will help teach students about beef cattle production and also be the site of cattle health and welfare research.

Barry Munro, Ed McCauley, and Naheed Nenshi announce $8.5 million in funding.

Barry Munro, Ed McCauley, and Naheed Nenshi announce $8.5 million in funding.

February: Local, federal governments inject millions to stimulate economic diversification

The City of Calgary announced the university will receive $8.5 million in funding to support specialized programming for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies working in the new Life Sciences Innovation Hub at Research Park. The infusion of support, under the city’s Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, is designed to drive economic benefits for the Calgary region, create high-quality jobs, advance innovation, and benefit society. “Whether we are investigating the human microbiome or cultivating best practices in production animal health, the university is leading the way in diversifying Calgary’s economy, driving innovation and advancing the emerging life sciences sector through discoveries that benefit Calgary and Alberta,” said UCalgary President Ed McCauley.

In another investment of funding, Western Economic Diversification Canada announced a total of $7.2 million targeted at UCalgary initiatives to foster innovation and help diversify Calgary’s economy. The funding includes $3.1 million for the Life Sciences Innovation Hub, $1.1 million for the W21C Digital Health Innovation Hub, $2 million for Alberta Precision Exchange, and $1 million for the Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies.

University of Calgary alumnus Rob Peters, co-founder of Peters & Co. Limited, and his son Brennan Peters, a student in the dual degree program between the Haskayne School of Business and Schulich School of Engineering.

University of Calgary alumnus Rob Peters, and his son Brennan Peters, a UCalgary student.

March: Haskayne's Mathison Hall project gets a boost from Peters family

Calgary-based investment firm Peters & Co. Limited has been instrumental in the growth of Canada’s energy industry since the company opened its doors in downtown Calgary in 1971. In March, the company’s co-founder, Rob Peters, turned his attention to future generations of business leaders with a $5 million gift from his family to the Haskayne Capital Expansion Project. The expansion, announced a year earlier, will result in construction of Mathison Hall, a second building for the Haskayne School of Business, as well as renovations to Scurfield Hall.

Former associate dean Raffin Bouchal with the Faculty of Nursing's Leda Stawnychko and Sandra Davidson.

Former associate dean Raffin Bouchal with Nursing's Leda Stawnychko and Sandra Davidson.

March: Canada’s first master’s program for busy health professionals

Nurses and other health-care professionals have new opportunities to enrol in graduate education, thanks to a pioneering program in the Faculty of Nursing that accommodates the busy realities of work and family life. Teaching and learning take place via a blended online delivery model. Stackable one-year certificates can be taken as stand-alone credentials or they can be combined toward a master’s degree in three years of part-time study. “We are launching the program after extensive consultations with our community partners, who remind us there is a serious shortage of nurses prepared at the graduate level in the province,” said Dr. Shelley Raffin Bouchal, PhD, former associate dean. The four streams started in the fall of 2019 included Addiction and Mental Health, Contemporary Topics in Aging, Innovations in Teaching and Learning, and Leadership for Health System Transformation.

City Building Design Lab satellite campus opens in the heart of downtown.

City Building Design Lab satellite campus opens in the heart of downtown.

April: School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape deepens ties with downtown

The newly named School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape officially opened the doors of its City Building Design Lab, an innovative research hub in downtown Calgary. Now bustling with students occupying the main floor and basement of the former Central Library, the design lab was made possible through an investment of $1.5 million by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation over the next five years. The downtown partnership deepens the faculty’s partnership with the community, supporting students as they embrace entrepreneurial thinking, smart-city technologies, and inventive planning in the built environment. “Cities are the nexus of change, and great cities have great schools of architecture,” said Dean John Brown. “A stronger connection to downtown is vital to be engaged in economic development. It’s where we need to be to create a more equitable and resilient future.”

The "bones" of the structure were largely kept intact, significantly reducing the waste created during construction.

The "bones" of the structure were largely kept intact, significantly reducing construction waste.

August: Main campus welcomes first net-zero carbon building 

Excitement was brimming as the first occupants moved into their new work spaces at the revitalized, net-zero carbon MacKimmie Tower. Unlike any other building on campus, MacKimmie Tower’s double-skin exterior will respond to changing weather, working with mechanical systems to minimize energy use and optimize the internal temperature, daylight and air quality. Occupants of the tower will include the Office of the Registrar – Enrolment Services, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary International, Office of Institutional Analysis, Finance, Information Technologies, and the Office of Advancement.

President Ed McCauley

President Ed McCauley

September: New president shares his perspectives on how a city and campus can thrive together

Following his installation in April as our new president, Dr. McCauley expanded on his trademark passion for the university, the deepening ties between UCalgary and the wider community, and the critical role played by knowledge ecosystems in propelling students to success. “We want to ensure that the new knowledge that is created here benefits society and that we translate those advances as quickly as possible so that society gains from those discoveries.”

Glenbow Western Research Centre on the second floor, Taylor Family Digital Library.

Glenbow Western Research Centre on the second floor, Taylor Family Digital Library.

October: Glenbow Western Research Centre opens on main campus

Glenbow Library and Archives, the paramount collection documenting the history of Western Canada, has a new access point: the University of Calgary. Relocated from downtown Calgary to the second floor of the Taylor Family Digital Library, the new centre offers a spacious reading room for the campus community and members of the public, staffed by experts from the university’s Archives and Special Collections. The facility is built on the generosity of community members; in addition to the founding support of Bill Siebens, O.C., and his family, whose early involvement was integral to the creation of the centre, the Taylor Family Foundation committed $10 million.

UCalgary saw a positive trend in the annual ranking.

UCalgary saw a positive trend in the annual ranking.

October: UCalgary ranked in Top 10 nationally by Maclean’s

In Maclean’s 2020 university rankings, the University of Calgary ranked 9th overall in the Top Medical / Doctoral category, up from 11th place a year earlier. This category includes universities that offer a broad range of research and PhD programs, and have medical schools. In other rankings, UCalgary remained in the No. 6 position in Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities 2019 based on sponsored research income, according to Re$earch Infosource Inc. And UCalgary ranked as number one in Canada and 25th among the world’s best, in the Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2019: Golden Age Universities (between 50 and 80 years old).

President McCauley leads the budget town hall.

President McCauley leads the budget town hall.

November: Budget impacts explained

As a result of significant budget cuts by the Alberta government, the university began the difficult process of finding ways to reduce spending by $32.9 million in the current budget year. President McCauley and Vice-President (Finance and Services) Linda Dalgetty explained that budget decisions will be guided by the Eyes High 2017-22 Strategy, the Academic and Research Plans, and the university’s priorities, while ensuring our commitment to providing a rich teaching, learning and research environment.