Top Ten

September 19, 2017

MacEwan report into $11.8M phishing scam loss delivered to government

MacEwan University has delivered a report to the Alberta government examining how it lost $11.8M in a phishing scam last month. After the incident, the university was ordered by AB’s Department of Advanced Education to produce and deliver a full report from university administrators looking into the events surrounding what the Edmonton Journal calls one of Canada’s largest-ever publicly disclosed email phishing scams. University Spokesman David Beharry told reporters that Board of Governors Chairwoman Ione Challborn signed off on the report Thursday and that it has been submitted to the province. “The internal investigation of the incident continues through our internal audit function with a focus on financial controls,” Beharry added. “We continue to focus on recovery efforts to retrieve the funds, but we know that will take time.” Edmonton Journal

Nearly half of QC teaching students fail mandatory French-language examination on first try

Nearly half of Quebec’s prospective teachers failed to pass the mandatory French examination for their teaching certificate on their first try last year. La Presse reports that this failure rate comes in spite of a number of assistance measures implemented in QC universities in recent years. Across QC, the first-pass success rate has reportedly dropped from 58% in 2011 to 53% in 2016. Under the current system, students have an unlimited number of attempts to pass the test. Last year, 63% of the aspiring teachers passed the exam after two attempts, while more than 98% succeeded after four attempts. La Presse | CBC

UBC faces new sexual assault human-rights complaint

The University of British Columbia is facing a new human-rights complaint from a student alleging that the school’s lack of action on her reported sexual assault caused her to struggle in class and take medical leave. The Globe and Mail reports that the complaint is the second of its kind that the university is currently facing. Former student Stephanie Hale is seeking an order requiring the university and her alleged attacker to make up for her lost educational time, her past and future wage losses, and complaint-related costs. She is also asking the university to facilitate the completion of her degree and revise its new institutional sexual assault policy. Globe and Mail | Medicine Hat News (CP)

CapilanoU, shíshálh Nation sign affiliation agreement

Capilano University and the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation are set to sign a historic agreement at kálax-ay, the university’s Sunshine Coast campus this Thursday. A CapilanoU release states that the Affiliation Agreement Regarding Post-Secondary Educational Opportunities will cement and expand upon the existing collaboration between the two parties in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation. CapilanoU currently offers a Sechelt Nation Language and Culture Certificate, and the affiliation agreement states the school will continue to support the promotion and study of Aboriginal history, culture, language protocols and values. “The signing of this affiliation agreement is historic and significant, especially considering the negative impacts that the residential school legacy has had on our people,” says Ashley Joe, education and employment manager for the shíshálh Nation. CapilanoU

Organization representing 60,000 SK students planning province-wide protests

A new organization representing more than 60,000 post-secondary students across Saskatchewan is planning a series of co-ordinated protests with the goal of stopping further provincial cuts to spending on universities and technical institutes. The Saskatchewan Student Coalition was created in the wake of the SK government’s 2017-18 budget, which cut $25M from postsecondary institutions. The protests are scheduled for September 29th in Saskatoon, Regina, and Prince Albert. The protests are reportedly aimed at reversing the latest cuts and preventing future reductions. Asked whether the coalition’s truly thought it could reverse the 2017-18 cuts and prevent more cuts in the future, University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union President David D’Eon replied, “in Saskatchewan we move mountains, and that’s why we don’t have any.” Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Mohawk officially opens FANUC robotics lab

Mohawk College has formally opened its $3M FANUC robotics lab. CHCH repors that the college is the first school in Canada to have robots in the classroom that do not need protective barriers and to have students training on FANUC collaborative robots. Mohawk Mechanical Engineering Professor Emily Lord states that the technology allows Mohawk to offer a certificate that is otherwise only available through the manufacturer, which means that graduates will have in-demand, valuable skills. “The fact that we’re the first students to get the training is big,” said Mohawk student Nicholas Rutka. “Using code, the movement, the joints, every aspect of the robot itself, the maintenance of the robot, it’s an all around learning process.” Global News | CHCH

Canada must overhaul its universities’ IP policies, say BC researchers

Canada needs a nationwide overhaul of its universities’ intellectual property (IP) policies if universities are to become drivers of commercial innovation and economic growth, write Bart De Baere and Elicia Maine. The authors argue that many of the current IP policies governing the creations of university-based scientists are unnecessarily complex and act as a major disincentive for outside investors. For this reason, the authors advocate for “a harmonized intellectual property policy based on the creator-owned model.” In this system, the creator-scientist is the sole owner of the intellectual property they create. “This kind of policy change will not only attract outside investors,” the authors conclude, “it will help retain our most promising scientist-entrepreneurs (and attract those from elsewhere) and contribute to building a thriving knowledge economy around our research universities.” University Affairs

NAIT launches first-of-its-kind drill rig operator program

NAIT is launching a two-year Drill Rig Operator Program, slated to start in January 2018, which the school states is the first of its kind in North America. The program features nine online courses in areas such as operations, mechanics, and blueprint reading, as well as 1,500 work hours. The program was developed at the request of the Western Canadian Chapter of the Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors, which also provided $480K in funding. “I want to make sure I leave this industry better than I found it, and proper training is a big part of that,” stated ADSC, Western Canadian Chapter Past-President Kevin Sharp. “This program will increase safety and understanding among drill rig operators.” NAIT

WLU opening new research office in Yellowknife

Wilfrid Laurier University has announced that it will open a research office in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories as part of an effort to further develop its national and international leadership in cold regions research. The office will be home to a year-round staff made up primarily of research associates and postdoctoral fellows. The university reports that the office is also a base for its research activities in the North and for liaising with partners, including various levels of government and Indigenous communities. “Laurier has a longstanding commitment to research and to local communities in the Northwest Territories,” said Robert Gordon, WLU's vice-president research and acting provost. “Establishing a research office in Yellowknife will allow us to maintain an ongoing presence in the North, expand our capacity for year-round research, and deepen our relationships with our partners.” WLU

Schulich School of Business names new building in honour of Rob and Cheryl McEwen

The Schulich School of Business at York University has announced that it will name its new graduate study and research building after Rob and Cheryl McEwen, in honour of an $8M donation that the McEwens made to the school’s Leading Change campaign. The donation reportedly marks one of the largest gifts ever received by Schulich. “The Schulich community is honoured and privileged to receive this valuable support from Rob and Cheryl McEwen, two of Canada’s most inspiring philanthropic and business leaders, who understand the critical importance of continued investment in leading management research and graduate education,” said Schulich Dean Dezsö Horváth. YorkU