greenhouse growing tomatoesSociology professor Glynis George has been awarded a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to conduct interviews with migrant farm workers and their service providers to find ways to close gaps in services. Photo by Erwan Hesry (Unsplash).

Research seeks to improve lives of migrant workers

A UWindsor sociology professor is embarking on research intended to improve the lives of migrant farm workers in Canada.

Glynis GeorgeGlynis George is examining supports for guest workers to identify ways to close gaps in service. It’s part of a larger project also involving researchers from Western University working across Southwestern Ontario in Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, and Windsor-Essex — the regions with the highest concentration of migrant farm workers in the province. Researchers aim to conduct interviews with 200 workers and service providers in each region over the next three years.

“Migrant workers are entitled to certain benefits, and in many cases, they aren’t getting them,” said Dr. George. “These workers contribute significantly to food security in Canada, to the agricultural industry in Canada and locally, and to the local economy, yet their health, safety, and well-being is often at risk.”

Canada’s agricultural sector, including greenhouses in Essex County, is reliant on offshore workers. The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program — one of several streams that bring temporary workers to Canadian farms — brings about 60,000 workers to the country each year. A testament to how important these workers are to Canada’s economy, the federal government exempted migrant farm workers from travel bans during COVID-19 restrictions.

“The pandemic shed light on various gaps in health, legal, and social services for this group,” George said. In response to high infection rates on farms and greenhouse operations, the federal government in 2021 put $58.6 million toward increased inspections and creating a national housing standard, and another $7.4 million to agencies that support migrant workers.

“There is an urgent need for evidence to inform effective service delivery, and to ensure government investments are translated into better outcomes for migrant agricultural workers,” George said.

Migrant workers have limited labour protections and are often exploited, she said. Because of the long hours they work and language barriers, they often don’t get the support to which they are entitled.

“While they are in Canada, separated from their families, they have a limited sense of belonging in the communities where they work and live, and may experience subtle and explicit discrimination, in addition to geographic and social isolation.”

The researchers hope to find examples of best practices that can be shared widely and form public policy across the country.

The project is being funded over three years by a $200,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

George said this project is a natural progression in her research with migrant worker populations locally. She said she is looking forward to working with the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership.

“This project is very focused on workers,” she said. “It will allow me to make connections across the regions.”

—Sarah Sacheli

students building entry in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering CompetitionAn open house in the Centre for Engineering Innovation today will display fourth-year capstone projects, like this entry in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition. Photo by Naomi Pelkey.

Engineering student projects promise benefits to local community and industry

Hundreds of engineering students will display projects today — Friday, July 29 — that have real-world applications and the potential to benefit the community and local industry.

The capstone projects by fourth-year engineering students range from developing a rapid, robust, low-cost solution for specialty wheelchair seat design and manufacturing; sign language recognition system using deep learning; experimental Sounding Rocket Association’s Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition; and design of automated control systems and connected vehicle system for the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Students will present their projects to industry partners and faculty during an open house between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the first floor of the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

The team-based projects are the culmination of the undergraduate program and a requirement for degree completion. Students combine technical skills and hands-on experience acquired during their program and design a project related to their chosen discipline.

Projects within the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering will be on display.

ebooks by Jacqueline LewisOpen-licensed digital content informed texts for two new courses developed by Jacqueline Lewis.

New courses apply virtual learning strategies to explore topics in death, drug policies

Flexibility is the key to new courses developed by UWindsor professor Jacqueline Lewis — one on death and dying and one on drugs and drug policy.

Jacqueline LewisDr. Lewis and her project team, with the support of the Office of Open Learning, created digital content for the online or hybrid courses and accompanying textbooks, funded by $146,746 in grants through the Ontario government’s Virtual Learning Strategy.

“Prior to COVID-19 I had been reimagining the ways I approach teaching to better respond to the evolving ways students learn, as well as their changing interests and needs,” Lewis says. “Remote teaching during the pandemic provided me with the opportunity to further explore some of these ideas, supported by the eCampusOntario funding.”

The courses were designed with both instructors and students in mind.

Lewis’s goal was to develop open-licensed digital content providing instructors with flexibility in the way the courses are offered and students with flexibility in how they can meet their individual learning needs and degree requirements.

She invites all University of Windsor students to consider enrolling.

“I think students will find these courses engaging and will also appreciate that all course materials are freely available to access,” she says.

Versions of the eCampus courses are now incorporated into UWindsor programs of study, including general social science, sociology, political science, and the new interdisciplinary health sciences program. Each is offered with a choice of two course designations enabling students to fulfill their degree requirements.

In Fall 2022, “SACR/SOSC3150 On Death & Dying” is offered as a hybrid online asynchronous/face-to-face class. Students will explore topics related to the study of death and dying, including historical and cross-cultural perspectives, genocide, plagues and pandemics, palliative care and hospice care, medical assistance in dying, grief and bereavement, memorials and commemoration, and death planning.

In Winter 2023, “SOSC/POLS3330 Psychoactive Substance Use & Social Policy” is offered as a fully online asynchronous course. It will consider social factors affecting understanding of psychoactive substances (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opiates, cocaine, psilocybin, club drugs, etc.), their use and relevant social policy, and how these have changed over time.

Both courses combine readings and multimedia resources from a variety of sources and are designed to stimulate critical and personal reflection on complex and challenging issues. The only prerequisite for either is fifth semester or higher standing.

Tip-off Classic graphicThe Lancer men’s basketball team will take on the Huskies of Northern Illinois University in pre-season exhibition play Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Men’s basketball team to host American competitor

The Lancer men’s basketball team will take on the Huskies of Northern Illinois University in pre-season exhibition play Tuesday, Aug. 2.

It’s the return of the NCAA/OUA Tip-off Classic, an annual tradition for the Windsor side.

Admission is free and game time is 7 p.m. Come on out, fans, and cheer on your squad!

The game is set for the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse, as the installation of audio-visual equipment has made the new gym in the Toldo Lancer Centre unavailable.

conference table with monitorThe University has declared a conference table with monitor surplus to its needs and available for purchase.

University offers conference table with monitor for sale by bid

The University has declared a conference table with monitor for sale by bid as Disposal File 1063.

The semi-circular table measures 94" long by 69" wide; attached is a raisable 60" LCD monitor with hard-wired electronics. Click here for details.