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Universities Minister visits Abertay

26 August 2016

Shirley-Anne Somerville 2

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP (left) with Chief Scientfic Advisor Professor Sheila Rowan (second from right) in the ethical hacking lab looking at electronic children's toys that can be hacked over the internet. Third-year students Cheryl Torano (right) and Wayne Coughlin-Baily (second from left) explain the dangers to the minister.

Scotland’s universities minister was given an exclusive tour of Abertay University by three of its current students today (Friday 26 August), hearing at first hand about what it’s like to study at the nation’s top modern university.

Abertay, which earlier this month was confirmed by the National Student Survey 2016 as Scotland’s best modern university, was showing Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Higher and Further Education and Science, its international pre-eminence in computer games and cyber-security education.

She also learned about Abertay’s ground-breaking work in opening up university education to school-leavers who might otherwise miss out, by seeing at first hand the innovative work of the Dundee Academy of Sport – a partnership between Abertay and Dundee & Angus College,

The students introduced Ms Somerville, who was accompanied by Professor Sheila Rowan, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Scottish Government, to academics in computer games, cyber-security and sports.

Among those she met were Dr Natalie Coull, lecturer in ethical hacking and cyber-security, discussing Abertay’s unique contribution helping to protect critical services in new, high-value knowledge-based industries which rely heavily upon keeping their systems secure.

Ms Somerville also met Ian Lowe, Project Leader for Dundee Academy of Sport (DAoS), which uses uses sport as a vehicle to encourage pupils who might otherwise skip higher education to reconsider their options. DAoS has so far worked with 22,000 pupils from 81 primary and secondary schools across Tayside and Fife through various ‘learning through sport’ initiatives.

Professor Seaton said: “I am particularly delighted that Ms Somerville decided to come to Abertay so soon after being appointed as Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science as I believe Abertay has a significant role to play in each area of her brief.  “

“As well as being a top-rated modern University, as demonstrated by the recent student satisfaction survey where our students rated us the highest of any modern University in Scotland, we also work closely with colleagues in further education such as through our partnership with Dundee & Angus College to deliver the Dundee Academy of Sport.  Finally, we are also at the cutting edge of new scientific endeavour, no more so than in our pioneering work on video games and ethical hacking.”

Minister for Further, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:  “Scotland’s universities have a track record of success.  Abertay University is no exception having been internationally recognised for computer gaming.  The School of Arts Media and Computer Games is listed in the Top 25 Schools to Study Game Design in the Princeton Review 2016, the only European university accorded that recognition.  However, it’s not just gaming that this University does well at, it’s also their approach to widening access and the innovative use of sports programmes.  Dundee Academy of Sport, in collaboration with Dundee & Angus College, is an exciting way to encourage primary and secondary school students to think about the opportunities that further and higher education can offer.”

“I was delighted to meet with current students who gave me an insightful tour of the University they study at and to learn all about their unique work in ethical hacking, games design and sport.”  

“We have invested over £4 billion pounds in the higher education sector over the last four years and will continue to invest over £1 billion in our higher education institutions in 2016-17, ensuring that all of our institutions receive financial support to enable them to deliver high quality teaching, world class research and knowledge exchange. We are committed to widening access to higher education and we will continue to work with universities and colleges to advance the bold and ambitious agenda for change set out by the Commission on Widening Access.”

Find out more on our BSc (Hons) Ethical Hacking course page,  our BSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology course page, and the Dundee Academy of Sport pages.

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