Top Ten

June 16, 2015

No data accessed in server hack, Algonquin says

Algonquin College has reported that an unauthorized party accessed one of its servers, possibly compromising some students’ personal information. Upon discovery of the incident, Algonquin immediately shut down the server and launched a security investigation. The investigation did not uncover any evidence of data theft, but did reveal a number of other intrusions. According to Algonquin, the incident only affected students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, delivered jointly with the University of Ottawa, in the years 2007 and 2008, and those enrolled in the Bachelor of Information Technology program, delivered jointly with Carleton University, from 2008–2012. Algonquin News Release | CBC | Ottawa Citizen

$2.5 M donation to SPU will establish School of Social Innovation

Saint Paul University has received an anonymous, $2.5 M donation—the largest in its history—to establish a new school of social innovation. According to SPU Rector Chantal Beauvais, this will be Canada’s first school of social innovation “committed to tackling the issue of poverty reduction in its many forms—health poverty, poverty of civic involvement, intellectual poverty through access to education, situational poverty due to natural disasters, and spiritual poverty, just to name a few.” SPU says that the new school will open up opportunities for engagement with local and national leaders, leading to the development of new programs and services. SPU News Release

Public Safety and Interoperability Platform to be established at uRegina

The University of Regina has received $2.3 M in funding from Western Economic Diversification to establish the Public Safety Interoperability Platform (PSIP). The funding will be used to acquire equipment that will help improve public safety and emergency response across Canada. “We want to help emergency responders talk to and share critical information with each other, allowing them to make informed decisions that complement their existing response processes,” said Yasser Morgan, Principal Researcher at uRegina’s Bridging Research and Interoperability Collaboration (BRIC). Moreover, the PSIP will provide a test-bed for small and medium-sized enterprises to test new technologies for the public safety wireless broadband market. uRegina News Release

Brock faculty call for open search for new president

The Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA) has launched an online campaign to promote an open search for the institution’s next president. BUFA has called for public talks by any short-listed candidates as well as for opportunities for members of the campus community to provide feedback to the Advisory Committee on the Presidency, which is conducting the search. BUFA says that an open search will demonstrate the university’s commitment to transparency and shared governance. However, the Advisory Committee has argued that open searches are rare in Canada and could limit the number of applicants. OCUFA News Release

Students seeking summer jobs face challenging labour market

Students looking for a summer job are facing a tough market, according to data from Statistics Canada. StatsCan’s May Labour Force Survey found that unemployment for returning students aged 20–24 has increased by 1.5% compared to last year, due in large part to the closure of a number of major retailers including Target Canada, Future Shop, SmartSet, Jacob, and Black’s Photography. Roughly 30% of students work in retail and wholesale trade. Some sectors, including construction and accommodation and food services, saw gains; however, students are among those bearing the brunt of a total loss of 15,495 jobs. Globe and Mail

NS employers say high school grads lack basic numeracy, literacy skills

A report released by the Nova Scotia division of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters suggests that young applicants for entry-level manufacturing jobs in the province lack basic math and literacy skills, in spite of holding high school diplomas. The report is the result of roundtable meetings with more than 100 CEOs and business leaders throughout the province. The report says that this lack of skills makes it more difficult and expensive to hire and train employees, and could pose a serious safety risk. Stephen Emmerson, CEO of an Amherst-based packaging company, said, “the school system is letting them down. They’re saying, ‘we’ve prepared you to go into the workplace,’ when in fact they have not.” CBC

National system needed to guide med school enrolments

The National Post reports that the number of medical school students who are unable to find residencies and the number of unemployed medical specialists both continue to grow. According to University of Ottawa professor Ivy Bourgeault, there needs to be a national system to project needs so that the training pipeline can be adjusted accordingly. “Pretty much every country has some sort of system like that, other than Canada,” she said. Enrolments have increased significantly in the last decade, responding to a perceived lack of physicians. However, hospitals working with restricted government funding have not been able to hire enough doctors to keep up, especially as many older doctors defer their retirement. National Post 

Education central to anti-radicalization in Quebec: op-ed

In a Montreal Gazette op-ed, André Gagné, a professor at Concordia University, calls on Quebec to place education at the centre of its anti-radicalization efforts. Overwhelmed and reacting to recent events, the Quebec government has introduced two bills that are a “far cry from what is actually needed.” In Gagné’s view, the source of the problem is religious extremism, and as such, he writes, “the first axis in our fight against radicalization should be education.” “Education,” he concludes, “can truly help Quebecers counter radicalization and empower our youth to liberate themselves from the shackles of its appealing call.” Montreal Gazette

Campus divestment campaigns gaining momentum

As the worldwide debate around divestment from fossil fuels rages, thirty campuses across Canada are now home to divestment campaigns. Reactions have been diverse: Concordia University has created a fossil-free fund, while the University of Calgary has ruled out divesting. Students and faculty have voted in favour of divesting at the University of Victoria and UBC. Internationally, Oxford University and Stanford University have committed to divestment in one form or another. Yet the jury is still out as to its effectiveness. “I really question whether this does anything,” said Kevin Milligan of UBC. However, his colleague David Green says it is important to “establish the social norm that we are moving to a carbon-free society.” Globe and Mail

1 in 5 women at US colleges have experienced sexual assault, survey finds

A new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll lends support to the commonly cited figure that one in five women at US colleges had experienced a sexual assault; the survey also found that 5% of men in college said they had experienced sexual assault. 89% of respondents said that no one was held responsible for the assault, and only 12% of women reported assaults to the police. 47% reported that their attacker was someone they knew well; only 28% said it was someone they did not know at all. More than two-thirds of those surveyed gave their college an A or B grade for responsiveness; only 8% gave a D or F grade. Inside Higher Ed | The Washington Post