Top Ten

October 16, 2014

Hacker defaces UNB Student Union website with pro-ISIS messages

The website of the University of New Brunswick Student Union was hacked on Monday night by a group claiming to support the terror group ISIS. The content of the website was changed to include the phrase “I love you, ISIS,” as well as other anti-American and pro-ISIS messages. The messages appeared on the website for about 2 hours. The UNB Student Union said that it has informed the RCMP of the attack. In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Union said, “we are very concerned and upset about what has happened to our website and will be doing our best to rectify this situation as soon as possible.” Despite the hack, experts do not believe that ISIS poses a significant cyberattack threat. National Post

Credit transfer councils sign MOU to promote student mobility

Credit transfer councils in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Ontario have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will help reduce barriers for students wishing to transfer between Canadian colleges and universities. The agreement, signed by the AB Council on Admissions and Transfer (ACAT), the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT), the NB Council on Articulations and Transfer (NBCAT), and the ON Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT), calls on each organization to enhance information channels for students, help institutions build additional pathways, and engage in research that will lead to comprehensive, transparent pan-Canadian credit transfer and student mobility processes. The groups also agree in the MOU to take on a more pronounced leadership role in enhancing student mobility through outreach and engagement with a number of key organizations. ONCAT News Release

Yukon College announces its first independent degree program

Yukon College has announced that it will begin offering its first made-in-Yukon degree and post-graduate certificate programs in 2017. The college currently offers 3 degree programs in collaboration with the University of Alberta and the University of Regina. The new degree program, a 3-year Bachelor of Policy Studies in Indigenous Governance, is designed “to foster executive leadership with respect to administrative, political and corporate management, and from an Indigenous perspective," said Director of First Nations Initiatives Tosh Southwick. The Yukon government has committed to help fund the new degree program and the new one-year post-graduate certificate in climate change and public policy. YK Minister of Education Elaine Taylor stated, “by enabling more Yukon students to remain at home and continue their education, and by creating niche programs that attract more students from around the world, these advancements will develop and retain knowledge in the North, as well as bring new dollars to the territory.” Yukon College News | CBC

UBC-O to establish Survive and Thrive Applied Research facility

UBC has received $3.8 M from the BC government to create the Survive and Thrive Applied Research (STAR) facility at its Okanagan campus. The facility will provide a space in which industry and university researchers will collaborate on new technologies for human protection, survivability, and performance in extreme or remote conditions. STAR will also provide practical training opportunities for students. “We’re working on compelling projects directly related to our primary research, and which also create new ideas for future research and real-world learning opportunities for students,“ said Paul von Donkelaar, Director of UBC’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences. Among its first projects will be the development of a new helmet to reduce the risk of concussion in sports. UBC has also contributed $4 M to help establish the facility. UBC News Release | Global News

Ottawa pledges $20 M for tanker safety to UVic's Smart Ocean Program

The federal government has pledged $20 M over 3 years to the University of Victoria’s Smart Ocean initiative in order to help build a “world-class tanker safety system.” The program will use oceanographic data collected at UVic to help prevent marine oil spills and enhance navigation safety. “The goal of the Smart Ocean Initiative is to help prevent marine accidents, predict and warn of natural hazards, and improve overall marine situational awareness near Port Metro Vancouver, Campbell River, Kitimat, the Douglas Channel, and Prince Rupert,” the government said in a news release. Kate Moran, President of Ocean Networks Canada, which runs the Smart Ocean initiative, said, “the contribution announced today by the government of Canada will enable Ocean Networks Canada to continue operations of its world-leading ocean observing infrastructure and to harness its science and research capacity for the benefit of Canadians through enhanced marine and public safety, and increased environmental monitoring.” Canada New Release | Times-Colonist

uSask to build 90-seat on-campus daycare centre

The University of Saskatchewan has announced it will build a new on-campus daycare centre to address demand. The new centre is expected to have room for 90 children and will be constructed as part of uSask’s College Quarter development. Earlier plans to develop a daycare at the site were put on hold in the spring while funding was secured. The University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU) began calling for increased daycare spots in 2010; at the time the waiting list was 400 names long. According to the StarPhoenix, the waiting list now has nearly 700 names on it. Current daycares on campus provide room for 110 children. uSask has secured all necessary funding for the new daycare, with the SK government providing nearly $1.4 M. The child-care expansion committee has also been given permission from the board to explore further long-term possibilities for childcare expansion, including renovations to the existing USSU Childcare Centre. The project will go out to tender next month, with the daycare tentatively slated to open by 2016. uSask News | StarPhoenix

Postscript: April 6, 2015

Construction has begun on the new on-campus child care centre at the University of Saskatchewan, and the builder estimates that the project will be more than $200,000 under budget. The new facility will have space for 90 children, bringing the total child care spots on campus to 200. The $4.5 M centre is funded by the university and the provincial education ministry, and will be a one-storey building designed around the belief of the “environment as the third teacher.” “Child care availability is an important consideration for recruiting and retaining students, staff and faculty,” said Patti McDougall, VP Teaching and Learning. “It is also a particularly important factor affecting the accessibility of postsecondary education for Aboriginal students who have a demonstrated need for child care.” uSask has not yet determined how the new spaces will be allocated, but 75% of total daycare spaces will be reserved for children of students, with the other 25% for children of employees. uSask News | StarPhoenix

Carleton announces new awareness campaign and website

Carleton University has unveiled its new public awareness campaign, “Distinctly Carleton,” in celebration of its upcoming 75th anniversary. The multi-year campaign features portraits of prominent alumni, students, and donors which will be posted throughout campus, on billboards and street banners, and via social media, websites, and other advertising methods. “Carleton’s outstanding graduates inspire and impress through incredible careers and genuine commitment to community,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. Carleton has also launched a redesigned website, created to be more accessible and platform-responsive, to coincide with the new campaign. Carleton News Release

Canadian Chamber of Commerce releases report on getting graduates into labour market

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has released a new report entitled “A Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose: Getting Young Canadians from Education to Employment.” The report considers 3 factors that it says affect young Canadians' ability to join the labour market: labour market information, career decision-making, and work-integrated learning. The CCC calls on governments, education providers, and businesses to collaborate in order to mitigate skills mismatching and to help students transition from education to employment, and identifies the development of basic skills—including literacy, numeracy, technological literacy, and problem solving—as a priority issue. The report emphasizes the value of “soft” skills, including relationship-building skills and communication skills, as being particularly important for entry-level positions; moreover, it highlights the importance of strong labour market information to help guide career decision-making, curricula design, recruitment strategies, and education policy-making. The CCC also emphasizes the value of work-integrated learning, and suggests that it is underused by university students. CCC Blog | Full Report

Debate over institutions' investment in entrepreneurship

Colleges and universities across the country are investing heavily in entrepreneurship initiatives, but some are asking whether launching incubators and accelerators is worthwhile. An article in the Globe and Mail questions whether PSE institutions have figured out how or whether entrepreneurship can be taught, and notes the number of successful entrepreneurs who launched their enterprises after dropping out of school. The article also suggests that success in entrepreneurship can be difficult to measure: even a failed venture can be valuable from an education standpoint. This can make it difficult for PSE institutions to settle on a model of entrepreneurship education that works. Some benefits, for instance, may not be realized until well after a student has graduated. Others have wondered if “entrepreneurship” has simply become a buzzword that is too broadly applied to be meaningful. Moreover, the appeal of entrepreneurship may not be as attractive to a younger generation of students that values work-life balance and named the federal government as its second-most-desirable employer. Globe and Mail

FutureLearn CEO says MOOCs have been overhyped

Simon Nelson, CEO of UK-based education platform FutureLearn, says that the disruptive potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has been “overhyped” and that they “will not transform education.” In a Times Higher Education podcast, Nelson distanced his Open University-owned company from the term MOOC, describing it instead as a “social learning platform,” and contended that “the early evangelists of MOOCs … overstated the case for what they could be, and there’s a degree to which they’re being hoist by their own petard.” But Nelson does not believe that MOOCs are likely to disappear anytime soon. While they are not as revolutionary as some have claimed, neither are MOOCs a short-term phenomenon. According to Nelson, it is the Internet that is transforming education, with MOOCs being just one facet of an overall shift. Times Higher Education