Top Ten

April 5, 2018

MacEwan recovers $10.92M previously lost in phishing attack

MacEwan University has announced that legal proceedings to recover funds lost in an August 2017 phishing attack are now concluded, and that the school has recovered $10.92M of the $11.8M that was stolen. According to a MacEwan release, the school’s administration credits the recovery of such a large percentage of the funds to “the swift response and diligent efforts of an internal team at the university, legal counsel in several jurisdictions, fraud units at the banks involved in the transactions and law enforcement agencies.” The release adds that MacEwan has put stronger financial controls in place to prevent further incidents, and is implementing IT security awareness and training programs for its staff and faculty. MacEwan

Concordia journalist-in-residence, students revitalizing Mohawk language

The Concordian reports that an initiative by Concordia students and Journalist-in-Residence Steve Bonspiel is attempting to revitalize and preserve Kanien’kéha, the language of the Mohawk people. According to Bonspiel, colonialism and residential schools almost wiped out the language, and while the federal government funds English and French education, Indigenous languages have yet to be incorporated into school curricula. He added that although parents would like their children to learn Kanien’kéha, “they also want them to have a higher education in university, so oftentimes it is seen as choosing between the two.” The Concordian

Preventing faculty burnout with four tips

“Is it just that time of the semester, or are academics more and more stressed out?” asks David Gooblar. The author writes that faculty burnout is a growing problem in academia and offers four key tips on how to help prevent it. Gooblar advises faculty to: take time off, if only for an evening; remember that a job is a job, even when you love it; find ways to say no; and choose sleep over extra class-prep time. “If you’re feeling stressed and emotionally exhausted, it’s for good reason,” Gooblar concludes. “Most likely you care about your job and believe in the importance of doing it well. But there’s no benefit to running yourself into the ground.” Chronicle of Higher Education

How to deal with the growing issue of contract cheating

“How do you deal with cheating if you can’t be sure it’s happening?” writes Emily Baron Cadloff, adding that the problem is becoming worse in a world where students can easily purchase untraceable term papers. Further, the author notes that researchers have had difficulty identifying just how big the problem is. One way of dealing with the issue, says University of British Columbia Okanagan Instructor Shirley McDonald, is to structure assignments so that purchasing a finished paper is not worth a student’s time. This can be accomplished, McDonald adds, by spreading a class’s final mark across many smaller assignments instead of large, end-of-term papers. University Affairs

Union votes to ratify three-year CBA at Carleton

Support staff at Carleton University have returned to work, ending a nearly month-long work stoppage, reports CBC. Carleton Assistant VP, Human Resources Rob Thomas stated in a press release that “[t]he new agreement is a balanced, fair and reasonable settlement that protects the pension plan and its governance and keeps the plan financially sustainable. It also includes salary increases over three years, enhancements to benefits and improvements in contract language for CUPE 2424 members.” The pension plan, in particular, had reportedly remained the sticking point for the union, which claimed that the original language of the proposed CBA would allow the university to eliminate defined benefits without first consulting the union. According to the Ottawa Citizen, a new provision prohibits the university from unilaterally altering pension benefits. CBC | Ottawa Citizen | Carleton

$1M gift supports Indigenous entrepreneurs program at UVic

The Victoria Times Colonist reports that BMO Financial Group has donated $1M to support and expand the Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program (ACE) at the University of Victoria. Developed out of a partnership between UVic's Gustavson School of Business and Tribal Resources Investment Corporation, ACE offers culturally-informed business education for Indigenous communities in BC. According to UVic business professor Brent Mainprize, ACE has helped launch 72 businesses through the province, with an additional 128 in the planning stage. “Learning business skills is going to be transformational,” adds Miles Richardson, UVic’s executive director for the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development. “Maybe you can turn that money over in our communities, which is the beginning of having our own economy.” Victoria Times Colonist | Nation Talk

Tenure foremost concern for WesternU faculty, teaching assistants threaten job action

The London Free Press reports that the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association is preparing to enter negotiations for a new collective agreement, while the university’s 2,000 teaching assistants appear to be on the verge of a strike. Tenure reductions are reportedly a major concern for UWOFA. Citing a poll by OCUFA, Law Professor and UWOFA head Stephen Pitel stated that “students want their courses taught by professors who have job security, fair pay and benefits. The public understand that when faculty working conditions decline, it affects education quality.” Meanwhile, the school's teaching assistants have voted to strike if they reject the university’s latest offer. According to census data, TAs at Western earn an annual income of $22.7K, situating them amongst London’s lowest wage earners. London Free Press

An Indigenous history course at UAlberta is the most popular in Canada

With an enrolment total of nearly 20K students, the University of Alberta’s “Indigenous Canada” is reportedly the country’s most popular online course. UAlberta Assistant Professor of Native Studies Paul Gareau states that the course, which includes modules on pre-contact history, settler colonialism, and Idle No More, “focuses on telling an Indigenous experience of Canada” while inviting Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to participate. CBC spoke to Sixties Scoop survivor Shirley Jubinville, who recently enrolled in the course. Jubinville described her experience with the course as both emotional and edifying. “What I've learned in the last six weeks has been amazing. It's a completely different world,” she said. CBC

Queen’s alumnus connects Faculty of Education with teacher-candidates in Global South

The Faculty of Education at Queen’s University has reportedly partnered with 1 Million Teachers, a startup by Queen’s alumnus Hakeem Subair, to “help attract, train, and retain 1M teachers, as well as develop the capacity to train more” in the Global South through an online platform. Rather than a top-down approach, faculty advisors from Queen’s will reportedly engage in dialogue and information exchange with participants. “The teacher-candidates are excited because the whole point is to go sit with these teachers, who are their colleagues, and say ‘What do we have in common and how do we support each other?’” said Education Professor Jane Chin. Subair added that 1MT also provides teacher-candidates with access to advanced pedagogical methodologies that might be otherwise unavailable. Queen’s

US colleges responsive to demand for accelerated degrees

The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles several US colleges that have introduced three-year degrees in response to complaints from students, parents, and administrators that four-year programs are too long. In addition to potential savings on tuition costs, the Chronicle notes that three-year degrees can benefit freshmen who hold advanced placement credits from high school. Other students reportedly wish to finish their degrees early to pursue their chosen career more quickly. Josh Boyd, Director of Undergraduate Studies at Purdue University, states that some students have expressed concern that a three-year degree leaves little time for extracurricular activities, but he claims that he has not noticed a drop in extracurriculars amongst three-year students. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)