The University of Alberta will soon host 20 AI research chairs, thanks to a $30M investment from the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) over five years. The UAlberta researchers supported by the funding will hold co-appointments as Amii Fellows and will be eligible for appointment as Canada CIFAR AI Chairs. “The exponential growth of artificial intelligence is transforming all areas of our society – from energy and food security to healthcare and Indigenous initiatives,” said UAlberta President Bill Flanagan. The funding is part of a research investment from the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Several postsecondary institutions on Vancouver Island have noticed declines in their enrolment, reports The Times Colonist. Enrolment levels at Camosun College, Vancouver Island University, and the University of Victoria have reportedly not returned to pre-pandemic levels. The institutions have indicated that the low enrolment is partly attributed to the low unemployment rates in the region, with Camosun pointing out that “enrolment in postsecondary education is typically inverse with the economic cycle.” VIU is reportedly looking to “significantly limit spending” in the coming financial year, and UVic has advised faculty and staff to expect a 4% budget reduction for 2023-24.
McGill University has closed three of its Macdonald campus buildings after swipe tests revealed the presence of asbestos. McGill states that asbestos was found in the Raymond building, which is currently under renovation, and the university has closed the Macdonald-Stewart and Barton buildings as a precaution. Classes held in the buildings will be held virtually for the next two days, and those that cannot be held virtually will be cancelled. McGill is conducting testing to find and isolate the source of the problem and to inform the development of a timeline for when the buildings will reopen.
Athabasca University’s board of governors has reportedly released Peter Scott, who became president of the institution in 2022. Due to privacy concerns, the board has reportedly not provided information on why Scott was let go or how the decision was made. However, CBC and Alberta Politics note that Scott was opposed to the provincial government’s plan to move 500 employees to the Town of Athabasca. Three board members spoke to The Tyee and said that they were left out of the board vote about Scott, which occurred while Scott was on leave.”Everything that happens in the board is confidential, but the university itself, the board of governors of the university is just looking forward to moving forward with an evolving vision,” said Board Chair Byron Nelson in an interview with CBC News.
The hacker group Vice Society has reportedly released the data stolen through a ransomware attack against Okanagan College. The group recently claimed responsibility for the cyberattack and threatened to release 850 gigabytes of data from Okanagan and its stakeholders. In a recent update, Okanagan noted that it did “not entertain conversations about paying a ransom” as this would not have ensured the destruction or non-publication of data. Forensic investigators are reviewing the compromised data, and Okanagan has instructed stakeholders not to try to access compromised information, as it may be infected with malware. Students spoke to Global News to express their frustration with the situation, noting the impact on international students and on students’ ability to complete their studies.
The University of New Brunswick has received a $1M donation from the Harrison McCain Foundation. The funds will go towards the Harrison McCain Young Scholars Awards, which provide eligible new or recently hired faculty members with $25K to help them establish their academic careers at UNB. The funds can be used for research projects, additional studies, travel equipment, and more. “This [commitment] allows UNB to continue to make strategic investments in the research of our newest and brightest academics, those who have chosen to make UNB and New Brunswick their home,” said UNB President Dr Paul J Mazerolle. “These scholars, in turn, bring a dedication and enthusiasm that inspires our students, their colleagues and the entire university.”
The University of Windsor has recognized the start of Black History Month by raising the Pan-African Flag on campus for the first time. The flag includes red, black, and green stripes: The red represents the blood shared by those with Black African ancestry and bloodshed in Black liberation, the black represents Black people, and the green represents Africa’s natural wealth and hope for the future. The flag was raised by UWindsor and by the Black History Black Futures working group. “I’m really proud today to see the gathering and support, but also to see us raising this flag for the very first time in our history and hopefully it won’t be the last,” said UWindsor VP of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Clinton Beckford.
Thompson Rivers University’s Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics and Supply Chain Canada have signed an accreditation agreement that will benefit supply chain students. Eligible graduates of select TRU programs in supply chain management will be assured of advanced standing toward the Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation. “It saves [students] time and money, but also gives them a head start on earning an in-demand designation in an in-demand profession,” said TRU Gaglardi Department Chair and Associate Professor Dr Nancy Southin. “Employers are increasingly asking for designations when hiring and people with designations earn more money.”
Several colleges have released new courses to meet the needs of local industry and the community. Portage College and Rocksolid Building Products have collaborated to launch the first Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Training course for construction trades in Canada, which will train students to work with a more sustainable construction material. College of the Rockies will be holding a five-day Solar Photovoltaic Design & Installation course to teach participants about solar energy, electrical basis, and other related topics. Cumberland College has extended its Conversation Circles program and is offering free English language classes to help Ukrainians learn English and meet other newcomers. Ontario’s colleges have launched new upgrading courses to help internationally educated nurses attain the qualifications necessary for working in Ontario within four to six months.
Seneca College students had a surprise on Wednesday when Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds appeared on campus for a tour of the Faculty of Communication, Art, and Design’s labs, studios, and classrooms. During his visit, Reynolds dropped in on students who were in the middle of a class broadcast. He was filmed reading about a talk show from a news prompter with a Seneca student. “Thank you for the tour, Seneca College. [I] wish something like this existed when I was starting out,” said Reynolds on Twitter.