Top Ten

July 21, 2020

Feds warns of hacking threat for organizations involved in COVID-19 vaccine research

The Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and Canadian Centre for Cyber Security have issued a warning about “Russian cyber threat activity” directed at vaccine research organizations in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The CSE states that the pandemic poses “an elevated risk to the cybersecurity of Canadian health organizations involved in the national response.” The University of Saskatchewan, which is currently developing a candidate vaccine for COVID-19, told the Regina Leader-Post that they will “remain vigilant.” While the university has not found any evidence of increased cyberattacks, USask Chief Communications Officer Gord Hunchak indicated that increasing the security of the university’s networks is an ongoing priority. Regina Leader-Post (Canada)

MUN launches graduate programs in maritime studies

Memorial University’s Marine Institute has launched two new graduate programs: master of science in maritime studies and a doctor of philosophy in maritime studies. Full-time and part-time students in both degrees will complete online course work in maritime safety and survival research, statistics and research design, science communication for maritime studies and human factors studies. “The industry needs strong scholars with industry experience to advance research in this field,” said MUN Professor Heather Carnahan. “Our programs will produce world-class researchers who have as much industry exposure and experience as possible to ensure they have a unique perspective when they graduate.” MUN (NL)

CAUL to lead cost-saving textbook initiative

The Council of Atlantic University Libraries (CAUL) is leading a new pilot project that will put student resources, such as textbooks and teaching materials, online for free, accessible use. Executive Director of Students Nova Scotia Clancy McDaniel states that with students in the province spending between $800-$1,000 on textbooks each year, there is hope that the project will expand in coming years. “If we’re able to save folks some money by making this widely available, that’s a top priority for us,” said McDaniel. The article states that a similar initiative was introduced in British Columbia in 2012 and has since saved students almost $19M. Halifax Today (National)

HEQCO researchers release preliminary recommendations from online accessibility survey

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario’s Jackie Pichette and Jessica Rizk have released preliminary recommendations from their survey of more than 600 Ontario postsecondary students regarding accessibility needs amid the shift to online learning. The authors recommend that faculty lean on their colleagues and, especially, their local Teaching and Learning centres to help strategically develop online delivery that is attentive to students’ diverse needs. Pichette and Rizk also recommend that instructors share information about course requirements as soon as possible to allow students to obtain resources in an accessible format and/or arrange for accommodations. Finally, the authors recommend that instructors facilitate the development of transferable skills, such as digital literacy, time management, and organization, that will help them with successful course completion and beyond. HEQCO (ON)

Diversity in Canada’s university sports leadership falls short: Opinion

“When people talk about a racial gap in college/university athletics, they're usually referring to the United States,” writes Jesse Campigotto. However, the author argues that “the Canadian university sports system also falls short to a degree,” especially when it comes to the representation of people of colour at upper levels. Specifically, an examination of nearly 400 key sports positions at universities that compete under the U Sports governing body's umbrella found that only about 10% of these jobs were held by those who were Black, Indigenous, or persons of colour. In addition, CBC found that only one of the 56 universities had a non-white athletic director. "If you have a white athletic director and a white [university] president and they're making the key hires in your athletic department, the people they know are more than likely to be white," explained Richard Lapchick, founder and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics and Sport. "So, they're going to turn to them in that selection process as opposed to who [else] might be out there." CBC (1) | CBC (2) (National)

BUSU president, vice-president drop lawsuit following reinstatement

The president and vice-president internal of the Brandon University Students’ Union (BUSU) have dropped their lawsuit against the union after their election wins were ratified. In a statement provided to students, BUSU’s disciplinary board determined that the vice-president should be reinstated as no complaints has been directly made against them. In terms of the BUSU president, the disciplinary board came to the conclusion that the accusations against him could not be substantiated by the evidence provided. His election win was ratified as of July 13th. Brandon Sun (MB)

Brock, regional partners launch sustainable infrastructure development project

Brock University in partnership with the Town of Lincoln and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has launched The Prudhommes Project: building community resilience through green-blue infrastructure development. The project, which is researching ecosystem-focused approaches in urban landscapes, will explore the need for nature-based solutions to pressing landscape issues, providing immediate application and policy implications. “In working closely with all our partners on this project, we will generate actionable knowledge about green-blue infrastructure right here in Niagara with widespread scholarly and practical implications,” said Ryan Plummer, Director of Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and Darby McGrath, Vineland’s Program Leader. “This will also allow us to share how other leading jurisdictions and governments are building, supporting, incentivizing and creating world-class destinations,” added Plummer. Brock (ON)

ULethbridge provides details regarding health centre privacy breach

The University of Lethbridge has shared details regarding a privacy breach at the university’s health care centre. An Excel document with personal information of 1,225 patients was inadvertently shared with a student. ULethbridge states that the breach happened when an email that was intended to be sent from one health centre employee to another was inadvertently sent to a ULethbridge student email address. Immediately following the breach, the centre contacted the office of the information and privacy commissioner to determine next steps and begin an investigation. “There is no indication the student opened, saved or forwarded the attachment and the email was deleted from the system by the university’s information technology department,” the statement reads. The university also added that the centre’s protocols for handling personal information have been thoroughly reviewed and communication policies and privacy protocols have been reinforced with all staff members. Global News (AB)

PolyMTL expresses concerns with easing of PEQ guidelines

Following the announcement of changes to the Programme de l'expérience québécoise (PEQ), Polytechnique Montréal has expressed concerns about the new conditions that will be imposed on international students studying in the province. In particular, the polytechnic indicated concerns with the amount of work experience required for Temporary Foreign Worker status and a delay in application processing. “[International students] often make significant sacrifices to come and study here. The prospect of permanently settling here in Québec and contributing to it as citizens upon graduation has enormous appeal for many of them,” stated PolyMTL President Philippe A Tanguy. “Given our highly competitive global world, our society simply cannot deprive itself of this generation's presence, talents, and creativity.” PolyMTL (QC)

Canadian students share stories of campus racism, assault through hundreds of Instagram posts

Student-led Instagram accounts sharing stories of racism and sexual assault on Canadian postsecondary campuses have appeared seemingly overnight. The accounts have published hundreds of posts detailing experiences at Canadian institutions that include Concordia University, Dalhousie University, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Ottawa, Western University, and York University, as well as boarding school Appleby College. “I only have one year left,” said Kelly Weiling Zou, who started the Queen’s account, “and I desperately want to leave this school a better place than when I came in.” The accounts have reportedly taken inspiration from similar accounts started in the United States with a focus on Harvard University and Cornell University. The Star (National)