Top Ten

May 11, 2016

IBM partners with UNB, UOttawa, UWaterloo to train Watson for cyber security

IBM is partnering with eight North American universities—including the University of New Brunswick, the University of Ottawa, and the University of Waterloo—to reportedly train IBM's Watson for Cyber Security software to combat cybercrime threats. In a yearlong project, students will enter 15,000 cyber security documents into the computer system to help it process and analyze cybersecurity data. “Our students are getting involved in a real-world cyber security project with a global company,” says UNB Computer Science Dean Ali Ghorbani, “not only will they increase their knowledge, but also create a relationship with IBM for future collaborations—either jobs for our students or more research and development projects with IBM.” CBC | UNB | Cape Breton Post | Globe and Mail

Western to enhance leadership in central banking with $4 M endowed chair

Western University has created a new endowed chair that will encourage excellence in teaching, mentorship, and research in the field of central banking. Based in Western’s Department of Economics, the Stephen A Jarislowsky Chair in Central Banking will benefit from a $2 M donation from Montreal’s Jarislowsky Foundation, along with matching funds from Western. The London Free Press notes that the subject of central banking has received more scholarly attention since the 2008 financial crisis. The chair’s namesake and patron, Stephen Jarislowsky also expressed his hopes that the chair would help improve the decisions of central banks. London Free Press | Western

WIL can be a social leveler, boost soft skills

Work-integrated learning (WIL) has many benefits beyond making students more employable, according to the CEO of RBC. In an address to Universities Canada, David McKay builds on his recent piece in the Globe and Mail to emphasize how WIL students “vastly improve the classroom” when they return from co-op placements or other WIL experiences. He adds that WIL improves economic access for marginalized groups to prospective employers by giving them the direct connections that have traditionally been enjoyed by those privileged enough to be “someone who knows someone in society, who already has pull and influence.” A recent report from the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis also highlights how Canada’s effort to boost WIL is crucial for helping students learn the “soft skills” and entrepreneurial thinking desired by many employers. Universities Canada | World University News (Swedish Report)

Dal launches new MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance

Dalhousie University has launched the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance, named for former Liberal MP Allan MacEachen. The centre’s scholarly director Kevin Quigley told CBC that the institution will be “progressive” but strictly non-partisan. Quigley explained that “we have representation from across the parties, public sector, private sector, not-for-profit … working on big policy challenges for this region.” CBC also reports that the centre has been founded with the help of $2.3 M from a trust created by the Nova Scotia Liberal Party several years ago. CBC

Scholars respond to criticism of the “slow professor”

The concept of the “slow professor” is not a project for the privileged few, but a collective effort to remake scholarship in a way that benefits all university faculty, write Alison Mountz et al for University Affairs. The authors respond to recent criticism leveled against the concept of the slow professor, which accuses this concept of applying only to “privileged, self-indulgent professors to protect their time while ignoring—or even making worse—the problems of part-time and adjunct faculty in the increasingly neoliberal university.” The authors agree that looking at the slow professor through an individualistic lens makes it clear that critics of the movement are correct. Looking through a collective lens, however, shows how a large body of faculty supporting slow professor principles can help defend the rights of all faculty, especially those who are most vulnerable. University Affairs

Georgian approved for $5 M from Barrie for research centre

Georgian College’s request for $5 M toward an advanced technology, innovation, and research centre has been unanimously approved by Barrie’s city council. Based at Georgian's Barrie Campus, the three-storey centre will contain labs, multiuse classrooms, and applied research space. Its construction will also allow the college to demolish the environmentally and operationally expensive Helen & Arch Brown Centre for Visual Arts while moving programs such as the fine arts into the city's core. “We are focused on ensuring students in the entire region have the best access possible to high-quality degree programs, and we will continue to work with Georgian to make sure this happens,” affirmed Barrie MPP Ann Hoggarth in a statement, later adding, “my support for Georgian College has never wavered.” Barrie Examiner

PSE institutions must do more to align grads with labour market, writes Conference Board

Canadian employers are expressing concern about a lack of desirable skills among recent PSE graduates, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada. The report states that this concern stems largely from a lack of alignment between Canada’s postsecondary system and labour market demands. The report also provides recommendations for improving this alignment, such as improved labour market information systems, shorter school-to-work transitions, partnerships between employers and educators, and more informed employers. Conference Board | Report

Former Seneca staff member charged with defrauding college of over $200 K

A former Seneca College employee has been charged with fraud after allegedly defrauding the school of $200 K. The investigators reportedly found that the employee, a former facilities manager, had submitted false invoices between 2013 and 2016 to the college using false company names. York Regional Police Constable Laura Nicolle reports that that the employee has been arrested and charged with “fraud over $5000 and uttering forged documents.” The Spectator | CTV News

The importance of becoming “global citizens” through study abroad

Study abroad is invaluable for “helping prepare our students to become global citizens,” writes US college president John Roush, which is why Roush encourages “parents of college students in general to be supportive of their sons and daughters who seek to embark on similar experiences at whatever institution they attend.” Roush notes that as the world grows ever smaller, today’s PSE students will need to foster a greater understanding of how work is conducted on the global stage. The author concludes that study abroad experiences “will prepare young women and men to engage with others despite distance, language, and culture in whatever profession they choose, even if they never live or work abroad.” University Business

Algonquin launches unique Indigenous cook pre-apprenticeship

This week, Algonquin College launched a one-year Indigenous Cook pre-apprenticeship program through its School of Hospitality and Tourism. The program will see up to 20 students applying skills such as food theory, classical kitchen language, and practical food preparation to the creation of traditional Indigenous meals. Wes Wilkinson, Academic Manger of the School of Hospitality and Tourism, noted that “the feedback and response from the Indigenous community—across the country—has been overwhelmingly positive, as a means of reconnecting with their tradition while receiving valuable skills they can bring back to reserve or to the culinary industry.” Algonquin