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Canadian University Report 2019 editor Christina Varga: As students face the challenges of the future, they will need strategies to build skills, not only academic but also soft skills.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

As we have covered the role of postsecondary education in the lives of students over the past decade-plus, we have heard their hopes, and also fears, about facing a future of increasingly rapid change. Universities, too, are all-too-aware of the role they need to play helping young people navigate emerging new fields and fluctuating patterns of employment.

In this issue, we look at how grads can combat automation and the gig economy by preparing themselves with a combination of digital and technical skills, as well as the soft skills of creativity, problem solving and an entrepreneurial mindset. Universities are pioneering new programs, such artificial intelligence and robotics, and providing students with development opportunities, such as co-op and other work-study options.

We also delve into the trailblazing research happening in universities, including fields where Canada has achieved renown, such as artificial intelligence, genomics, Indigenous knowledge and peering into the dawn of the universe.

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As students face the challenges of the future, they will need strategies to build skills, not only academic but also soft skills. One of the most important of these is resilience – the ability to roll with the punches, so to speak. In this issue, we look at an unexpected place where this trait is cultivated by necessity: art and design schools. But all schools offer a myriad of resources to help students develop soft skills such as leadership outside the classroom. We also examine ways students can get help coping with the stresses and anxieties of university. We even look at how universities have been planning for the legalization of marijuana, from responsible usage to the risks.

To help prospective students and their parents with the often difficult task of choosing which school to attend, we present the sixth edition of our popular profiles of more than 70 schools across the country, including French-language and faith-based public institutions.

Finally, we hear from current students who offer advice to incoming students in hopes their own experience will ease the way a bit for those coming behind them.

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