Top Ten

November 23, 2017

RMC faces criticism in new auditor general report

Canada’s auditor general has released a report claiming that the Royal Military College is not producing quality officers and that the cost of education at the school is twice as expensive as that of a civilian university. “In our opinion, the academic environment at the college does not consistently support the teaching of military conduct and ethical behavior,” said Auditor General Michael Ferguson, who added that “the College must re-establish its focus as a military training institution so that it can produce the leaders the Canadian Armed Forces require.” The report also found 87 incidents of academic misconduct, including plagiarism and cheating on assignments, between September 2014 and December 2016. CBC | Toronto Star | iPolitics

UCalgary to create state-of-the-art psychology clinic with $3.5M alumni gift

The clinical psychology program at the University of Calgary will become home to a new in-house psychology clinic thanks to a $3.5M gift from two UCalgary alumni. A university release reports that the gift from Lori Egger and Steve Laut will provide increased training opportunities for clinical psychology graduate students under the supervision of doctoral-level registered psychologists. The clinic will also welcome community members from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. “This generous gift will allow our graduate students and faculty to learn through hands-on experiences and greatly enhance our clinical psychology program,” said UCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon. UCalgary

Imagining a “reconciled education system”

Universities and colleges continue to face challenges in pursuing the goal of Indigenization, writes Martha Troian. One of these challenges, the author notes, is how Indigenous faculty can burn out when facing a growing list of demands at their schools, on top of the demands of liaising with Indigenous community members. Reflecting on the recent Building Reconciliation Forum at the University of Manitoba, Troian notes that many speakers touched on the importance of recruiting more Indigenous faculty as a path to reconciliation. The article explores how a number of schools are working to pursue this and other goals. University Affairs

ESG UQAM partners with Montréal Cowork

The Université du Québec à Montréal’s school of management sciences, ESG UQAM, has signed a partnership agreement with Montréal Cowork that will see the development of conferences, training, and round tables. The partnership will begin with a monthly series of conferences, the first of which will be held on December 30th and be led by ESG UQAM Deputy Director of International Affairs Benoit Chailfoux. UQAM states that the agreement stems from ESG UQAM’s mission to support the Montréal business community. UQAM

Open-access publication shifts cost from reader to author: McGlynn

The price of accessing academic journals has become indefensibly excessive, write Andrew Suarez and Terry McGlynn, yet the turn to open-access publishing often displaces these same costs onto researchers. The authors write that while open-access publishing has brought some benefits, it is “clearly not freely open to the scholars who are required to pay exorbitant fees to publish their results, often out of their own pockets.” The authors note that graduate students who wish to publish two open-access articles in one year may need to spend more than a quarter of their income to do so. The authors conclude that “we find both the traditional and the open-access models to be unacceptable because they impose substantial barriers among researchers, publication, and the public.” Chronicle of Higher Education

AIAWCA launches ski training centre in Calgary to support athletes in pursuing PSE

The Alpine Insurance Alberta World Cup Academy (AIAWCA) is launching a new training centre in Calgary that will allow athletes to excel in cross-country skiing while studying at the University of Calgary. The development comes in response to a recent report that pointed to a significant demand from athletes for more support to attend university while training for elite competition. “This is a game changer,” said Norbert Meier, president of the Alberta World Cup Society. “We have recognized that ours is a sport where development happens over a period of years and athletes today do not want to forestall their education in order to pursue their goal of being chosen for the National Ski Team and represent Canada internationally.” Crag and Canyon

New AI software can write research papers, say creators

A US software company says that it has created a program that leverages artificial intelligence to write academic papers. The creators of the “Manuscript Writer” software boast that the program can save researchers time, as well as the tedium of summarizing their methodology and findings, by using artificial intelligence to draft papers. The papers are not a finished product, but rather a draft that the researcher can “build upon,” say the creators. Critics of the software warn that it might result in many cases of unintended plagiarism and take away the incentive for young researchers to learn how to write well. Times Higher Education

VIU, CPHR BC & Yukon agreement helps HR students become accredited more quickly

Vancouver Island University and the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of BC & Yukon (CPHR BC & Yukon) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see VIU Human Resources students gain their professional accreditation more quickly. The agreement ensures that VIU’s HR program meets or exceeds the CPHR’s professional requirements, and allows students to bypass the CPHR examination and incurred costs. Once students complete their articling work, they will be accredited. “We are very happy with these partnerships,” said CPHR BC & Yukon President Anthony Ariganello. “Why should we test what you are already testing? It just makes sense. It also provides an opportunity for students to start growing their career before they even graduate.” VIU

Queen’s doctoral student's discovery might prevent spread of cancer

A PhD student at Queen’s University has reportedly made a discovery that may have the potential to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Caitlin Miron, a PhD student in the chemistry department at Queen’s, has identified a chemical compound that may be able to “switch off” cancer cells in order to stop their growth. She explained her discovery by comparing a single-stranded DNA to a necklace with beads that move along it until they hit a knot. “You can go in and untangle that knot, but in this case someone has gone in there first and they’ve used superglue to hold it together,” Miron said. “What we’ve discovered in that case is that glue.” CTV News

US university uses pets to teach students about cybersecurity

A recent survey in the US found that the #1 cybersecurity challenge facing IT professionals on campus is educating users about security policies and practices, writes Lindsay McKenzie. Among students surveyed, just 25% deemed the cybersecurity training or education efforts on their campus as very effective. The article notes that the University of Massachusetts at Amherst recently worked with its student government and other campus organizations to launch a poster campaign to raise awareness about weak security passwords. The posters featured a picture of a pet dog or cat accompanied by the tagline: “My name is not a good password.” “We were thinking about things that are familiar to students and that they know, maybe something from home that they miss,” said Iris Chelaru, web communications manager at UMass. Inside Higher Ed