Top Ten

September 7, 2016

NorQuest issues statement on security breach, alleged fraud by former employee

NorQuest College has issued a statement announcing that the college was the target of alleged fraud and misconduct by a former employee. The college release states that the employee in question engaged in fraudulent activities dating back to 2008 that are valued at approximately $1.2M. CBC reports that NorQuest first became aware of the breach in 2013 when its former IT Manager Clarence Orleski began circulating inappropriate emails and alluding to confidential information. NorQuest reportedly found that Orleski had “harvested” information of an “intensely personal and private nature including emails between employees and their spouses about finance and personal matters.” Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre Executive Director Linda McKay-Panos has criticized the college for not publicly disclosing the security breach when it first learned of it, though a spokesperson for AB’s privacy commissioner noted that NorQuest was not legally required to do so.

CBC (Orleski allegations) | CBC (Data breach) | NorQuest

Nine Canadian institutions make top 200 in QS World University Rankings 2016/17

Quacquarelli Symonds has released its World University Rankings for 2016-17, and Canada has increased its representation the top 200 with nine Canadian institutions this year. McGill University appeared as the top Canadian institution at #30 overall, while the University of Toronto placed at #32, the University of British Columbia placed at #45, and the University of Alberta placed at #94. Other Canadian institutions to make the global top 200 were l'Université de Montréal (#126), McMaster University (#149), the University of Waterloo (#152), the University of Calgary (#196), and Western University (#198).

QS (Release) | QS (Rankings) | QS (Methodology)

Canada announces winners of $900M in research funding

Thirteen projects led by Canadian universities will split a total of $900M in federal funding. Spread over seven years, the money will come from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, with the mandate of helping Canada’s top scientific researchers become world leaders in their fields.  Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan says that the funds will “equip Canada to respond to some of the most pressing issues it will face in the future.” The institutions receiving funding are Dalhousie University, l'Université de Montréal, McGill University, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, Western University, Queen’s University, Laurentian University, Polytechnique Montréal, and York University.

Globe and Mail

Canada sees steady growth in international student numbers

The past five years show a “national trend toward a steady rise in the number of overseas students arriving in Canada,” reports the Edmonton Journal. The article notes that Manitoba has nearly doubled the number of international students studying in the province since 2011-12, while Alberta has seen a 40% increase and Saskatchewan has seen a 24% increase over the same period. The article highlights how specific institutions in AB have promoted themselves to international students and how they benefit from growing international cohorts. “Internationalization is important because the world is becoming more globalized and it’s important that students and staff have the capabilities to work well with each other,” says NorQuest College Chair of Graduate Studies Ron Horton. Edmonton Journal

Laurentian names Harquail School of Earth Sciences in honour of $10M donation

Laurentian University will be renaming its earth sciences department the Harquail School of Earth Sciences in light of a $10M donation from David Harquail's family foundation to the institution's Department of Earth Sciences and its Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC). “This is a step towards making Laurentian the leading center for mineral exploration research in the world,” Harquail stated in a release. “Success will come from the development of new concepts and tools to find the next generation of ore deposits.” $8.3M of the donation will reportedly go towards new lab equipment and supplies, as well as scholarships and support for international PhD students; the remaining money will go towards other initiatives such as the recruitment of a research chair. LaurentianCBC

Report finds PSE operating grants down 20%, revenues from tuition up 400% in BC

A new report issued by postsecondary educators in British Columbia accuses the province of “failing students” by underfunding postsecondary education. The report alleges that BC has effectively reduced operating grants—after adjusting for inflation—and permitted fee hikes that exceed provincial regulations. Federation of Post Secondary Educators President George Davison argues that “the largest single investment the provincial government makes in post-secondary education—the per-student operating grants—has declined by more than 20 per cent since 2001, when adjusted for inflation.” Davidson also argues that BC’s revenue from tuition fees as increased nearly 400% since 2001, demonstrating that the “cost of post-secondary education has primarily been shifted to students.” Vancouver Sun

MUN to replace animal research facilities with $14.4M from Canada

Memorial University has received $14.4M from the federal government to replace two of its animal research care facilities. A federal release explains that the funding will help MUN continue its biomedical research activities and to offer certified degree programs in connection with this research. MUN will reportedly provide an additional $15.6M for the initiative. “Animal care facilities are the backbone of much research that happens at universities,” says MUN President Gary Kachanoski. “A new centre will have a tremendous impact on teaching, learning, research and outreach capacities across many disciplines.” Canada

BrandonU partnership with US company creates project-based learning opportunities for students

Students of Brandon University’s Systems Programming course will have new opportunities to gain hands-on experience, thanks to a new partnership agreement between the university and the Texas-based ACD Systems International. Students will complete projects for their course by working with real-world advanced code from ACD Systems to share and sync media between mobile devices and to display media on a mobile device. “This is an exciting opportunity for BU students,” says Gautam Srivastava, an Assistant Professor in BrandonU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. “These are third-year students and they’re ready for a new challenge. They’ll be communicating with professionals in the industry and applying what they’ve learned.” BrandonU

Few parents speak to children about entering trades

A large majority of Ontario parents support the idea of their children working in trade-related professions, but few speak to children about apprenticeship opportunities, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll. The poll found that 95% of ON parents supported the idea of their children working the trades, yet only about 38% said they had spoken to their children about opportunities in these fields. “I'd say it was closer to 5%,” says Mac Greaves, Associate Dean of Apprenticeships at Georgian College's Midland and Bracebridge campuses. “Most parents have no idea what apprenticeship is really about.” Despite this, Greaves adds that many millennials are showing a growing interest in the trades and that many courses are beginning to accumulate wait lists. Barrie Examiner

KPU first NA institution to sign MOU with BUCM

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has signed a MOU with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine that will allow KPU acupuncture diploma program graduates transfer into the fourth year of BUCM’s Traditional Chinese Medicine degree program. A release states that KPU is the first North American institution to sign a transfer agreement with BUCM. “This moment is so many things for us – it’s historical, it’s thrilling, and it’s a major achievement for the two leadership teams from KPU and BUCM, but most of all it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for graduates of KPU’s acupuncture diploma program,” said KPU President Alan Davis. KPU