Top Ten

May 15, 2019

"Proactive" security starts with AI at MRU

Mount Royal University has upgraded its aging security system with AI technology and equipment. An MRU release states that the new system will use iCetena technology, which "learns" and recognizes normal activity as patterns of movement across campus. Grant Sommerfeld, Associate VP of Facilities Management, added that the system does not detect individual people. Instead, it converts the movements of bodies into pixels in order to track irregular movements. MRU has also installed additional emergency stations and card readers to provide better access to security services. "The bottom line," said Sommerfield, "is that we do have better eyes. We’re protecting people and safeguarding assets." MRU (AB)

UQAR receives $800K for cutting-edge equipment in engineering, biology, oceanography

The Université du Québec à Rimouski has received $800K from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and le ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur to support new laboratories in engineering, biology, and oceanography. A UQAR release states that the university will purchase a dynamic and multiaxial tensile and torsion testing machine for its engineering lab, cellular aging infrastructure for biology, and equipment to study the impact of anthropogenic sounds on marine life. UQAR rector Jean-Pierre Ouellet stated that the laboratories will enable students to better specialize in their respective fields. UQAR (QC)

MB should reverse cuts to Access bursaries: Rossman

Recent changes to Manitoba’s Access bursaries program will make it harder for students in financial need to succeed, writes Christine Rossman. A current student of the Inner City Social Work Program at the University of Manitoba, Rossman notes that she saw her funding cut by $2K after MB terminated 210 provincial Access bursaries, valued at $1.5M, and cut the Access program by an additional $1M. Rossman adds that Access students will take MB to court for breach of contract for cutting off bursary funding mid-program, and that the program should be both reinstated and expanded. CBC (MB)

UBC X̱wi7x̱wa library introduces Indigenous approach to categorizing books

The X̱wi7x̱wa library at the University of British Columbia is working to decolonize the way libraries organize information through an alternative to the widely used Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems. The article explains that such systems cannot easily incorporate Native American languages that use non-Roman characters, and that the Dewey Decimal Classification system often places books on Indigenous communities in the history section. Consequently, information on Native peoples "gets left in the past." "Part of the challenge is to articulate the need to those people who aren’t aware and hopefully get their buy-in that these are issues that need to be addressed," said acting head librarian at X̱wi7x̱wa Adolfo Tarango. Open Democracy (BC)

Northern SK addresses teacher shortage

A teaching shortage in Northern Saskatchewan has led the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and the Gabriel Dumont Institute to partner on training for local educators. Lac La Ronge Education Director Simon Bird told CBC that attracting educators from Southern SK to teach in the north has been difficult, adding, "I think what was missing is having our own First Nations perspective, our own First Nations local instructors really take the driver's seat and attract our Indigenous teachers." Such a connection is pertinent in light of the teacher shortage in SK’s Northern Lights School Division, noted Geordy McCaffrey, Executive Director of the Gabriel Dumont Institute. The program currently costs about $20K per year for each student, but this could change based on each student's circumstances. CBC (SK)

Northern colleges make inroads in Southern ON

The Study North Initiative—an ongoing collaboration between College Boreal and Canadore, Confederation, Sault, Cambrian, and Northern College—has been credited for improved enrolments in northern Ontario. According to the North Bay Nugget, the program has attracted 542 students from central and southern Ontario over the last four years. "Study North can’t be seen as the sole reason for the increase . . . but many of those students had never heard of these colleges before," said Jeannette Miron, Registrar and Manager of Institutional Research at Canadore. Miron added that although the initiative was implemented cooperatively, the six colleges are competing with each other. The Nuggetalso states that the students generate a combined $8.5M for the local community each year. North Bay Nugget (ON)

UAlberta renews MOU with Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The University of Alberta and Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation have renewed a Memorandum of Understanding that promises ongoing collaborations between the partners. A UAlberta release states that the AvH enables researchers to tap into a global network that engages more than 27,000 scientists from more than 140 countries. "UAlberta is proud to be a long-term partner with the Alexander von Humboldt foundation—one of the world's most reputable research foundations," said Matthias Ruth, VP Research at UAlberta. "This partnership has been an effective mechanism for international academic cooperation between Canada and Germany." UAlberta (AB)

Huron turns sod for future heart of campus life

Huron University College held a sod-turning ceremony to mark the construction of a new, 40,000 square foot building. A Huron release states that construction firm EllisDon will lead the project, which will feature state-of-the-art learning environments and gathering spaces for students. "We want this space to become a doorway linking Huron to the wider community," said Huron President Barry Craig. "The 450-seat auditorium in particular will enable an environment for public policy forums, electoral debates and other community engagement events. Its breathtaking design and prominent location along Western Road will make a statement to everyone who sees it." Huron (ON)

Cape Breton businesses embrace international talent

Cape Breton businesses struggling to find staff have found a pool of talented and enthusiastic employees in international students, CBC reports. The benefits are especially felt in the island’s more rural communities, says bakery owner Jenny Aucoin, adding, “There are no people to hire locally. Our population is much older, so we're struggling. Most businesses are struggling here." CBC states that the Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration has taken about 100 international students on tours around the island's rural counties in an effort to match their skills to employment needs. The Centre said that it hopes to see the students settle in Cape Breton after graduation. CBC (NS)

UNBC offers buy-out packages for faculty

The University of Northern British Columbia is offering early retirement packages to faculty to lower costs at the university and close the salary gap with comparator universities, reports the Prince George Citizen. "The Faculty Association and University agree that this is as an opportunity for those who have made significant contributions to UNBC over their long, productive careers, while safeguarding those who plan to continue doing so in the future," said UNBC President Daniel Weeks. Weeks added that the buyout will not see a reduced number of faculty at the institution. "If 20 faculty members choose to take advantage of the proposal, 20 new faculty will replace them.” Those interested in taking up the offer must be at least 55 years old and have been at UNBC for at least 15 years as of the end of the current year, adds the CitizenPrince George Citizen (BC)