By: Jenna Tziatis, Marketing Assistant, McMaster University Continuing Education

In today’s tough job market a degree alone may not be enough to get you the job or promotion that you’re looking for.  Employer expectations are higher and are expecting more than the knowledge that comes with a degree. They are also scrutinizing candidates based on their enhanced skill-sets and experience to ensure they are hiring someone who will fit and integrate into their business and culture with the least disruption.

Savvy students are realizing this trend and responding by upskilling themselves to ensure that they stand out in the employment crowd and that their resume rises to the top of the pile.  If you’re thinking about getting ahead, McMaster Continuing Education offers a variety of learning options from diplomas and certificates to micro learning options. Whether your focus is in the field of business, health or professional development, there are many to choose from:

To make it easier for Mac students, McMaster Continuing Education offers a faster route to get you ahead with Degree + Diploma.  This opportunity allows you to earn a diploma or certificate while you work toward your degree.  You can use your elective credits in your current program of study toward a diploma or certificate with Continuing Education, allowing you to gain your qualifications faster. This opportunity is gaining popularity among Mac students and can be easily set up by contacting your Academic Advisor.    

If you’re not ready to jump straight into getting a diploma or certificate you can always try one of McMaster Continuing Education professional development courses or attend our upcoming free Business Entrepreneur Series micro learning session that is running in spring.  It’s a great way to gain valuable and recognized skills in a condensed learning format.  To attend this series you can sign up at mcmastercce.ca/events/free-business-entrepreneurship-series

Regardless of what you decide, by recognizing the demands of today’s job market and being proactive to acquire the skills that businesses are looking for will make you more visible and appealing to employers.  Continuing Education will give you that competitive edge to get ahead and land that job you’re looking for.

To learn more about these valuable learning options visit www.mcmastercce.ca

 

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Photos C/O Kyle West

The McMaster Students Union recognizes over 350 clubs. According to the MSU Clubs page, the purpose of these clubs is to “provide an insightful and meaningful contribution to the McMaster and Hamilton community.”

Being a MSU recognized club affords certain privileges including being eligible for funding from the MSU. This funding comes directly from the MSU organizational fee, a $130.26 fee that all full-time undergraduate students pay. Within this fee, $8.02 are collected per student to support MSU clubs.

As students are paying for the operations of these clubs, the MSU has a responsibility to ensure that these clubs are not deliberately sharing and promoting misinformation that can be harmful to students.

McMaster Lifeline is the pro-life group on campus. Their mission statement is “to advocate with loving care the legal rights and social support of pregnant women and their unborn children.”

While the presence of a pro-life group on campus is already cause for controversy, the issue at hand is not solely the groups’ existence but that they use student space and resources to share information that is factually incorrect.

The group can often be found at a table in the McMaster University Student Centre, a privilege of being a MSU club, spreading scientifically false information on abortions and reproductive health. In addition to misinformation, the group is known for distributing graphic and potentially triggering images.

Groups like McMaster Lifeline should not be given a platform by the MSU to disseminate false information about individuals’ health.

Namely, the group fails to state that abortions are safe, medical procedures that are fully legal in Canada. Instead, they spread the false rhetoric that “abortions are never medically necessary”, which is simply a lie.  

In fact, any student-run group on campus does not really have the credentials to provide healthcare information or advice to students. Abortion is a serious topic that should be discussed with a healthcare professional who can provide factual, non-judgemental information, not with students who some of which have “no experience engaging with people on the topic.”

The MSU should be cautious in ratifying clubs that provide this type of information, as the results can be extremely harmful to students.

With over 350 clubs, it can be difficult for the MSU to ensure that operations of each of their clubs are aligned with the core goal of supporting students. However, that is not an excuse for allowing this behaviour to occur.

Multiple students have on many occasions voiced their concerns against these clubs’ actions. The MSU failing to take action blatantly goes against their responsibility towards their student constituents.

The MSU Clubs Operating Policy states that the MSU “will not attempt to censor, control or interfere with any existing MSU club on the basis of its philosophy, beliefs, interests or opinions expressed until these lead to activities which are illegal or which infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others”.

Due to this policy, on March 22, pro-choice students who were protesting McMaster Lifeline’s table in MUSC were removed and not allowed to distribute pro-choice pamphlets. A claimed “victory for free speech on campus” by the MSU only served to help promote the misinformation on campus.

While the actions of McMaster Lifeline may not be illegal, they certainly are harmful to students and may actually be violating the Clubs Judicial Policy, stated under the MSU Clubs Operating Policy.

Specifically, their actions may be considered to “unnecessarily cause a significant nuisance for an individual or group” (5.1.1.3), have “conduct unbecoming of an MSU club” (5.1.2.7) and most importantly, actions that “unnecessarily jeopardize the safety or security of any person or property” (5.1.3.3).

If the MSU truly wishes to provide a meaningful contribution to the McMaster and Hamilton community, it can begin with properly investigating clubs that may be found guilty of any offences described by the Clubs Judicial Policy. Only then can they truly ensure that their clubs support and protect McMaster students.

If students do wish to learn about their options with respect to their reproductive health, the Student Wellness Centre offers birth control counselling. If a student wishes to speak in a more informal setting, the MSU Student Health Education Centre offers relevant literature, referrals and peer support.

 

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Photo by Catherine Goce

By: Evonne Syed

The topic of integrating artificial intelligence and robots into the workforce rouses the concern of anyone wishing to enter the job market, and the same goes for postsecondary students.

Fortunately, the future is optimistic for students as automation is not expected to prevent graduates from attaining their career goals.

In fact, the rise of automation actually improves career prospects for university graduates, as it is creating a new job market. Forbes Magazine reports that artificial intelligence is predicted to create 58 million jobs as 2022 approaches.

As the popularity of automation systems and the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace becomes more widespread, there will be more and more people required to actually build and develop these systems.

This will open up opportunities for those who wish to enter the fields of robotics and information technology. BBC News anticipates the prominence of data analysts, social media specialists and software developers, as a result.

For this reason, while one may argue that automation has resulted in the elimination of certain jobs, the introduction of automation in the workforce is actually creating more jobs and opportunities in our current digital age.

Luckily, McMaster University has many programs to equip students with the necessary skills to flourish in our digital age. The recent construction of the Hatch Centre shows McMaster’s testament to students advancing in these fields.  

Even if one is not interested in working in the field of automation, that does not mean that they are otherwise at risk of being unable to obtain a job. There is an increasing demand for “human skills” in the workforce since these skills are what distinguish robots from actual human beings.

University graduates tend to seek out careers that require a higher level of education which simply cannot be programmed into automation systems. It would be way too costly and time consuming to teach a robot the knowledge a person has acquired from their post-secondary education.

There are also plenty of skills, academic and otherwise, that students learn and develop through their time at university. Education and experiential opportunities prepare students to apply their knowledge in a variety of situations.

For example, critical thinking skills and problem solving are transferable “soft skills” that employers seek and students develop during their time at university.

Some jobs require humanistic qualities, which are simply not possible for a machine to replicate. For instance, no matter how much technology advances, robots may never be capable of understanding human emotions and experiences.

The interpersonal skills, empathy and compassion that people develop by interacting with one another are skills that are beneficial for the work environment. These skills equip anyone to thrive professionally as the future of the job outlook changes.

Technological advancements such as automation will inevitably impact life as we know it, and that includes changing our work environments. However, these changes are not inherently harmful and the possibilities for post-secondary graduates remain promising.

Students must be proactive, take initiative to educate themselves as much as possible and work on developing these skills. Provided that students make the most of their university experience, and are willing to undergo some extra training to keep their learning sharp, robots are sure to have nothing on them.

 

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Photo from Silhouette Photo Archives

Canada is currently plagued by an opioid crisis. Opioids such as fentanyl are drugs that are commonly used to relieve pain. These drugs, however, can be extremely addictive and their misuse has led to thousands of overdoses and deaths.

In 2017, 88 Hamilton residents died from opioid overdoses. So far into this year, Hamilton Paramedic Services has already responded to 161 incidents of suspected opioid overdoses. In comparison to other cities within the province, Hamilton has the highest opioid-related death rate.

While there is no publicly available data on the demographics of opioid use in Hamilton, in general, young adults aged 18 to 25 are the most vulnerable to opioid misuse. As the rate of opioid misuse increases annually, it is imperative that students are aware of the availability of naloxone.

Naloxone is a fast-acting drug that temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdoses until medical emergency services can arrive. As of March 2019, Public Health and the Naloxone Expansion Sites in Hamilton have distributed 2496 doses of naloxone, with 285 people reported as being revived by the drug.  

McMaster University’s student-led Emergency First Response Team and McMaster University security officers carry and are trained to use naloxone nasal kits in case of emergency situations. While Mac’s security officers only recently began to carry the kits, EFRT responders have been carrying them since August 2017.

Fortunately, EFRT has not had to use any of their kits since they began carrying them. While this may imply that opioid-related overdoses have not occurred on campus, this does not guarantee that students are not at risk at opioid misuse.

As EFRT responders and McMaster security cannot always be available to respond to students’ needs off-campus, students should be more aware of their ability to carry and be trained to use naloxone kits.

While the Student Wellness Centre does not carry the free naloxone kit, the McMaster University Centre Pharmasave located within the McMaster University Student Centre does, in addition to the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies located near campus. To obtain a kit, all students must do is show their Ontario health card.

The fact that this life-saving drug is so readily available to students on and near campus is amazing. It is disappointing then that the university hasn’t done a sufficient job in advertising this information to students.

Students should be given naloxone kits and mandatory opioid information and response training at the beginning of the academic term. At the very least, this information can be distributed during Welcome Week along with other orientation events.

The opioid crisis is one that affects us all, especially here in Hamilton. McMaster University should help fight this crisis by ensuring that their students are equipped with the knowledge to recognize an opioid overdose and have the necessary tools to help reverse them.

 

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Photos C/O Abi Sudharshan

By: Abi Sudharshan

On Feb 3 at 5 p.m, the McMaster Students Union Student Representative Assembly convened for the second time since the Ontario government announced major changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program and tuition framework.

In the first portion of the meeting, MSU president Ikram Farah took to the floor to address the issue. According to Farah, by the end of this week, the MSU and university administration expect to see the release of an exact breakdown of affected ancillary fees.

Farah says this expected announcement will guide the MSU’s response moving forward.

During the delegation, Farah highlighted the MSU’s current campaign to mobilize students through promoting an understanding of the effects that these changes will have on McMaster students.

Ikram encouraged the assembly disseminate information regarding the impact and importance of MSU-funded services.

Stephanie Bertolo, MSU vice president (Education) noted a modest victory thus far: initially removed, transit passes have been re-included in the list of mandatory fees under the Ontario government’s student choice initiative.  

The SRA meeting also focused heavily on updates on the construction of the Student Activity Building, a four-story building that is projected to feature a grocery store, study spaces, a multi-faith prayer space and a nap room.

According to MSU vice president (Finance) Scott Robinson, the SAB has experienced a minor setback.   

Quotes by companies regarding materials and services for the SAB came back much higher than the original 2016-17 projections.

The past four months have been spent negotiating to bring the project back within the parameters of the viable budget.

Initially, construction for the SAB was slated to begin in October.

Robinson reported that these decisions are to be solidified shortly and that the construction of this student space will begin construction in March 2019.

This will likely mean that the SAB is not in full operation by the fall of 2020 as promised.

Apart from these two primary items, much of the meeting was allotted to the opening and closing of seats on the MSU services, university affairs and elections committees.

Another message stressed the meeting was the importance of ensuring that the SRA maintains a respectful environment and allows all voices to flourish.

The next SRA meeting will held at 5 p.m. on Feb 24 in Room 111 of Gilmour Hall.

 

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Expand upon your post-secondary studies to discover your pathway to an exciting career in health information. Learn and apply industry standards for the collection, use, and analysis of personal health data.  Study information management’s principles and practices for privacy, confidentiality and security, and how these are applicable to health information systems. Learn  how electronic information management is revolutionizing health care within service sectors: primary care, administration and research.

As the Canadian health care delivery system evolves, so does data collection, health information usage and analysis, privacy and security, and the integration of information systems.

That’s why McMaster University Continuing Education is thrilled to announce that its Health Information Management Plus Diploma program is now accredited by the Canadian College of Health Information Management (CCHIM). This accreditation means that the program has met the strict regulation requirements upheld by both the certifying body and the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA), the national association representing leadership and excellence in health information management across the country.

This post-graduate, part-time, instructor-led program is an online learning experience designed by leading experts in the country in consultation with professional associations. Graduates of the program are eligible to become Certified Health Information Management (CHIM) professionals, who are in high demand in a variety of health care settings across the continuum of care and within provincial and federal governments. These professionals will use electronic information management to revolutionize health care.

The CHIM credential is recognized across Canada, and our members play key roles in the Canadian health system, including privacy and information analytics, to decision support and the coding and classification of records.

McMaster University Continuing Education provides its learners with academic programs that are well-designed, accessible,  and relevant to the professional field.  Programs within health information are designed for learners with an undergraduate degree or college diploma seeking to build upon their prior knowledge and skills.

To qualify for the Health Information Management Plus Diploma (45 units), students must complete all ​required courses for the program. In agreement with CHALearning, McMaster University Continuing Education students will register and complete 3 coding courses offered by CHALearning. Upon successful completion of the 3 courses, students receive 6 units of study to be applied to the HIM Plus Diploma. All program courses are offered online. This diploma program is accredited by the Canadian College of Health Information Management (2018-2020).

Applications for the winter term cohort open on January 2, 2019. To find out more about admission requirements, please visit mcmastercce.ca/health-information-management or contact us at mcmastercce.ca/contact-us.

 

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By: Elliot Fung

If you are a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in at least 18 units, you are eligible to vote in this year’s McMaster Students Union presidential election. Here is some more information about the election and how you can successfully cast your ballot.

What is the role of the McMaster Students Union president?

The president is the primary spokesperson for the MSU and serves as the representative for McMaster students to the university, Hamilton and the provincial and federal government.

The next MSU president will hold the position for a one-year term beginning on May 1, 2019 and ending on April 30, 2020.

The MSU president is also the chair of the board of directors of the Student Representative Assembly, which is comprised of the vice president (Finance), vice president (Administration) and vice president (Education).

 

How many candidates are running this year?

This year’s election has four candidates: Madison Wesley, Jeffrey Campana, Josh Marando and Justin Lee. More information about their platforms can be found here.

 

How will voting work?

The voting system will be “single transferable vote.” What this means is that, on your ballot, you will get to rank candidates in order of preference.

In particular, you will have the opportunity to rank your preference of candidate from one to four. However, you do not have to rank all candidates.

Your vote will count towards the candidate you rank first.

The candidate with a majority of total first choice votes will be the president-elect. If a majority is not achieved through the initial counting, the candidate with the least number of first-choice votes is eliminated.

However, if you voted for the eliminated candidate, your ballot still counts. Your vote will be transferred to your second-choice candidate. Votes are then recounted.

If a majority is still not achieved, the process of vote transfer is repeated until a candidate has a majority of first choice votes.

 

What would happen to my vote if a candidate gets disqualified?

Should a candidate be disqualified or withdraw from the election after polling takes place, your vote will still count too as long as you indicated a second-choice candidate.

In this case, your vote would be transferred to your second-choice candidate.

 

When does the voting period open and close?

Voting opens on Jan. 22 and closes on Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. Ballots are being sent out via email, so check your McMaster email as soon as you get the chance!

You can also vote at www.msumcmaster.ca/vote. Log in using your Mac ID and an election link will appear if you are eligible to vote.

 

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Kacper Niburski / Silhouette Staff

If you are reading this article, then you already know. You’ve always known. You were raised knowing. When you asked a question, it was found in slow evaporation of ignorance. When you uncovered a mystery of the Universe, it was behind the whispered curiosity if something as whimsical as a truth could ever possibly exist. Even now as you surf through the vestigial media of the past – a newspaper – you understand.

Hell. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you stay here. Because from a very young age when you asked why the sky was blue or how rainbows formed or if Santa really fit in the chimney, you learned that knowledge is power. Information is power. And you’ll be damned if anyone told you otherwise.

But even you, dear reader, have had some doubts. You’ve seen first hand that sometimes it only matters who you know, not what you know, and you comfort yourself with the fact that that this is something you know very well. Besides that, the inane facts you’ve learned over the years feel static without some active creativity behind them. Without constant stimulation, they flare and wane, eventually sitting idle in a cerebral black hole alongside your grandma’s birthday and basic algebra.

You’ll be the first to admit that some days, knowledge seems a fad no more permanent than a slinky. This is not entirely your fault, however. It stems from the fact that the power knowledge brings with it isn’t yours to begin with anyways. In fact, it never was. It was, and remains to be, with those who hold the information. For they, and only they, can express the undifferentiated mass of everything we’ve learned and everything we haven’t in a way that’s accessible for everyone.

While this seems falsely utopian in nature, listen: underscoring the tacit feeling that we’re all in this – whatever this thing is – together is the drive that we’re learning about “this” so others don’t have to. For no matter how selfish our desires may be, we are not that which comes and goes. We are footprints, handprints, writings and vocal traditions. We are stencils on caves and the unmistakable smells of calcium carbonate on a chalkboard. We are stories told around campfires. We are laughter and tears and happiness and sadness. We are the Bible and the Quran. We are the Rig Veda. We are Macbeth. We are Catch-22. We are a history that stretches from the Serengeti to the Tundra that has gazed upon the stars at night and has soared with the likes of them too.

And it is in these stars floating around a world we did not create, a body we did not ask to be born into, and a Universe that seems just as much as a hilarious accident as we are, where humanity’s legacy stems. There among the celestial bodies waltzing in the seamless black blanket of the sky, our knowledge expands only to find its limit. It is contained in our Universe defined by some edge, and we, so far as we know, are the only ones who are conscientious of that fact.

Yet even with this knowledge, even with this power, we have become victims of our brilliance. Aaron Swartz, an unparalleled programmer and Internet activist who took his life on Jan. 11, knew this well.

Cursed with an open mind coupled with an unrelenting passion for the betterment of humanity, he understood that only by possessing such inborn intelligence and such a wealth of knowledge could we have devised systems that hurts more than heals, that widens the wealth gap between otherwise equal humans, that works to punish the poor and those who challenge the powerful, and that locks the very cultural information we have been born into behind an array of corporate interests and private wealth. In short, he knew the pain of being human.

In an attempt to rectify this pain, he tried to change the world. Besides creating Reddit and Really Simple Syndicate, both of which have become foundations of the Internet, his work was dedicated to make the world a better place for us all.

While his most recent selfless act has been marred in complexities, it shouldn’t be the case. Any way it’s told, he remains the Robin Hood of information by attempting to bring the academic world out of the puppetry of private greed. By accessing four million documents on JSTOR, a nonprofit academic online library within MIT, he was charged on twelve accounts of felony and could have faced up to thirty-five years in jail.

Murder, slavery, and pedophilia have shorter terms.

Yet the senseless severity of the punishment brings to light the very needed discussion on cyber legislation, something being seen widely as a threat in the political world. No matter what comes from this, however, I will remain to be incredulous. Trying to bridge the Old World with the New results in the massacre on the scales of Columbus. One side loses, the other wins. Always. My only hope is that it’s the New World ushered by the Internet that will win out again.

Aaron hoped as much. In 2008, he wrote, “With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge – we’ll make it a thing of the past.” I’ll add a secondary wish that privatization on information will become vestigial knowledge reserved only to frighten children on the failings of humankind.

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