Jan. 6, 2022

Most-read UCalgary news stories of 2021

Navigating COVID-19, new programs, staff courses and community collaborations were highlights
Campus Sign
Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Each year, more than 1,000 articles are published to the University of Calgary’s news network. This includes stories about students and research (you can see those most-read stories here and here). It also includes news stories that kept us informed of the happenings at the university and called us into action.

In 2021, the university offered a free course on artificial intelligence, launched a program that opened pathways for foreign-trained lawyers, and developed a website to help teachers learn and teach Indigenous stories. 

If you were out and about in the city, you may have seen science-themed murals in windows or been part of a massive data-collection project that included citizen-scientists.  

In 2021, we mourned losses and celebrated successes. And, of course, we continued to navigate the world of COVID-19. 

These are the most-read UCalgary News stories of 2021, according to Google Analytics.

UCalgary collaborates with Microsoft and RBC to deliver free AI certification program

Supply met a significant demand. The announcement of a Continuing Education course about the fundamentals of artificial intelligence (AI) tapped into huge public interest from both learners and industry. Leading up to the 2021 course offering, there were more than 17,000 job postings in Canada that required skills related to AI. The course was free and required no technical background. Both of those factors emphasized how important accessibility is to this type of learning. The course was made available to 6,000 students through the summer.

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In Memoriam: Haskayne School of Business mourns loss of David Lertzman

In May 2021, Dr. David Lertzman, PhD, passed away. The sadness of the loss was immediately met with reflections and appreciation for all the Haskayne School of Business professor gave to the university and the wider community. He was a champion of sustainability, committed to ii’ taa’poh’to'p, UCalgary’s Indigenous Strategy, and his approach to leadership training was powerful and meaningful. Later in the year, arch magazine wrote about the impact of the immersive wilderness retreat Lertzman led

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Messages from the president

After more than a year of remote learning, in-person classes resumed in September. But the pandemic continued and another wave of infections late in the summer was spurred by a new variant. In mid-September, provincial restrictions changed and the university had to temporarily pause in-person classes to evaluate those changes. President Ed McCauley released back-to-back messages to the campus keeping us informed and outlining the details we needed to know about our COVIDSafe Campus measures. 

New provincial COVID-19 guidelines: All in-person classes cancelled Thursday through Sunday

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In-person classes resume Monday; proof of vaccination requirements

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New UCalgary resource helps Canadian K-12 teachers bring Indigenous storytelling into the classroom

An interactive website that includes details on more than 250 books, poems, songs, art collections and websites from Indigenous creators was launched by Werklund School of Education scholars. The website was built through community collaboration and includes lesson plans and other resources to help teachers engage in the content as they Indigenize their classroom practice.

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UCalgary offers new certification pathway for foreign-trained lawyers

The Faculty of Law launched a new 12-month program in September 2021 that includes evening classes, professional-development training, student support and mentorship, and articling and career-placement assistance. It’s all aimed at making it easier for internationally trained lawyers to integrate into the Canadian legal services market. There was growing demand for this type of program in Calgary, and it will improve access to justice in Alberta.

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Human ingenuity is the engine of the new economy, says Distinguished Business Leader Award recipient

Dr. Chen Fong, MD, Hon. LLD’19, received the Haskayne School of Business and Calgary Chamber’s 2021 Distinguished Business Leader Award. Fong helps turn university-based intellectual properties into successful companies. He has invested in and mentored more than 60 startups and is widely credited with launching Creative Destruction Lab - Rockies at Haskayne. He was honoured at a gala in June 2021.

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Artists and scientists join forces to create dazzling window displays in downtown Calgary

The weather outside was frightful, but a series of murals on display at the outdoor Chinook Blast festival in February were very insightful. UCalgary graduate students, postdocs and faculty working in sciences paired with student artists from Alberta University of the Arts for the Art of Science exhibit. The teams created window art that conveyed scientific research on topics such as the brain’s networking system, and bat conservation. The murals were found throughout downtown Calgary during Chinook Blast. Today, they are available to view online. 

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UCalgary scores high on World Ranking Survey

When the QS World University Rankings were released in 2021, UCalgary was in the top 50 for five subjects, with several subjects moving up the list. The rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per paper and the “h-index” (a measure of scholarly impact). The purpose is to help prospective students identify the world’s leading schools in their chosen field.

“We are offering future-focused programs, reducing barriers to research and providing meaningful community engagement, so our students are equipped to thrive in any situation,” says UCalgary President Ed McCauley.

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UCalgary is committed to ensuring a harassment-free work environment

In late 2020, the university launched its Harassment and Violence Awareness Training program. By 2021, all employees were required to take the course and it was added to the onboarding process for new hires. The course is part of UCalgary’s commitment to creating a more equitable, diverse and inclusive environment for working and learning. This article providing links to that course as well as additional training was published in 2020 and continued to be one of the most-read articles in 2021.

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Citizen science portal for wearable tech puts Calgary in fast lane to healthier communities and economic diversification

Riding the success of collecting 140,000 hours of physical activity data from Calgary cyclists, another call was put out for citizen-scientists. Data from wearable fitness devices worn by participants, like Fitbit and Garmin watches, was used in 16 research studies. The collaboration is part of the Wearable Technology Research and Collaboration (We-TRAC) program that partnered with the City of Calgary, along with more than 40 other local and national partners. When this news article was published, We-TRAC was training more than 50 graduates across eight faculties and leading the way in post-secondary wearable technology training and research.

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