SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - February 15, 2008

February 15, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: Feb. 8-15, 2008                  

Maclean's magazine was the first to tell readers that Malgorzata Dubiel in SFU's math department is one of the 10 people selected for an elite 3M National Teaching Fellowship for 2008.
The magazine (which had several SFU names in it this week) noted the senior lecturer uses such things as puzzles and a Homer Simpson TV clip as she teaches math to future teachers.
Two of her students were quoted. "She touches the students who are very frustrated," said Nicole Weber. Added Nicole Engel: "She actually made me love math."


  • There were dozens more stories this week on the invention by SFU kinesiologist Max Donelan and colleagues of the high-tech "knee brace" that generates electricity as you walk. Many had headlines along the lines of “Power from the People.”
    We saw the story and follow-ups in media outlets this week from Singapore to Sri Lanka to South Africa, from the prestigious Economist to the New Scientist and Business Week, and from to the Stratford (ON) Beacon-Herald—as well as on a welter of websites and a bevy of blogs. Jay Leno even joked about the invention—although without attribution to Donelan or SFU—in one of his monologues.
    And the media calls continued to come in to SFU. Among them were France's national and international TV5 (500 million viewers on five continents), India's Hindustan Times (circulation, 1.2 million a day) and East News Photo Agency in Poland. All called to seek photos and/or videoclips.
  • Then Newsweek and other media reported Donelan’s gadget faces competition: Said a Newsweek blog: “If you thought that electricity-generating knee brace thing announced last week in the journal Science by researchers at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia looked like too much work, take heart. . . . Now nanotechnology researchers are announcing fabrics that scavenge mechanical energy from sources as leisurely as heartbeats and ambient noise, and turn it into electricity. Call it the ultimate power suit.”


  • Criminologist Gail Anderson was interviewed at length on CBC Radio after the bizarre discovery this week of a sneaker-clad human right foot—the third in six months—washed up on a Gulf Island. She was also interviewed by The Vancouver Sun, and The Province. By way of Canwest News Service, the Sun story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist and the Edmonton Journal, andwas picked up by the  United Press International news agency.

  • John Reynolds, Tom Buell leadership chair in salmon conservation at SFU, was quoted in a Globe and Mail story about a Dalhousie study that found salmon farms are having a negative impact on wild salmon across the world. "It's very significant research," said Reynolds. "It's basically the first time anybody has put the global data together."

    The Pew Environment Group also quoted Reynolds in its news release on the study. (Pew manages the Lenfest Ocean Program, which funded the study.) That release ran on And the story was quickly run by, among others, FOXBusinessTV and the UK’s EarthTimes website.  Reynolds was also quoted in an editorial in the Campbell River Courier-Islander.
  • Speaking of fish:  NSERC (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council)  issued a news release as SFU's Suzana Dragicevic made a presentation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston today.

    She suggests unwanted "by-catch" in fisheries (of such things as dolphins and turtles) could be reduced by using digital mapping and mathematical analysis to better understand the location of the most vulnerable marine habitats. She's an associate professor and director of the Spatial Analysis and Modelling Laboratory in SFU’s geography department.
  • From fish to ants: Science Daily reported that a Swiss-based research team finds the eggs of harvester ants are predetermined to become workers or queens from the moment they are laid. The key researcher quoted was Tanja Schwander, post-doctoral fellow in SFU biological sciences (Crespi lab). The research was published online on this week in Current Biology.

  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was on GlobalTV in a story about angry Aeroplan customers. (They say they got inadequate notice of plans to wipe out their travel points because of inactivity in their accounts.)

    Meredith was also on GlobalTV speaking about the marketing and promotion of the city of Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. And he was on CBC Radio talking about Whistler’s efforts to portray itself as “global-warming-resistant”.
  • The Montreal Gazette ran a newsfeature that began: "Here, as in other universities and colleges across North America, students are being stalked by depression, anxiety, aggression, dependence, bipolar disorder, suicide and self-injury in unprecedented numbers."

    Among those quoted was Charlotte Waddell, psychiatrist and director of the Children's Health Policy Centre at SFU. "Are there real increases? We don't know. We need to keep a careful eye. There are some surveys going on."
  • The Globe and Mail reported that  colleges and universities are increasingly creating hybrid degree programs that include environmental studies. "At Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, B.C., for example, acting director of the environmental science program Leah Bendell-Young oversees a small group of statisticians in the program's environmetrics stream. . . . About eight students are in the Simon Fraser program, which looks at environmental issues within a statistical context, while also placing an emphasis on studying the environment at home or abroad."

  • The Canadian Press carried a national feature on post-traumatic stress among journalists who spend time in war zones on stressful stories. It cited a recent study by Patrice Keats, assistant prof in the counselling psychology program, Faculty of Education.  She found rampant drug and alcohol abuse among the 34 journalists and photojournalists she spoke with who covered traumatic events.

  • The Wall Street Journal carried a feature on the impact on marriage of a move to a foreign country. Writer Alan Paul moved to China, and found "A move abroad can strengthen a marriage if both partners are on the same page."  Among those quoted was Mila Lazarova, an international business prof at SFU who specializes in expatriate management.

  • The Christian Science Monitor carried a story on Patrick Ball, a U.S. statistician who specializes in finding ways to uncover the scale and pattern of human rights violations. Said the Monitor: "The level of expertise and discipline his work requires puts Ball on par with Olympic runners or violin virtuosos. Lara J. Nettelfield, a Balkans scholar at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, says he's 'one of the very small group of people in the world who could properly analyze and consult on [mass atrocities]'."

  • Another SFU Balkans scholar, International Studies prof Lenard Cohen, was quoted in a Maclean’s story about last Sunday's election in Serbia. "This is a historic election. Twenty years down the road, I suspect Serbia will have overcome this virus of nationalism that (Slobodan) Milosevic reinforced."

  • Maclean’s also interviewed adjunct prof Graham Fuller on his case that even if Islam had never existed, there would still be huge areas of potential conflict between East and West. And on his view of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan: “Canadians are justifiably proud of their past role in peacekeeping globally, as opposed to the war-fighting aspect of American troops, but I fear that most Afghans and people in other Muslim countries really don't make this distinction. I think most locals simply view Canada as being involved in what is essentially an American project.”

  • Closer to home, Maclean’s looked at how companies used to give cheques to charities, but are increasingly turning to employee volunteerism and "cause marketing”. SFU marketing prof John Peloza said such models allow non-profits to tap into a company's management, human resource and marketing expertise.


  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader reported that King George Developments and McDonald Development Corporation will build a student residence one block from the Surrey campus. "When complete, the highrise proposal would have 228 units housing 536 students." SFU will train resident advisors living in the dorms, just as it does on its Burnaby campus.

  • And several BC media outlets BC reported how SFU criminology honours student Shaela Rae Wlodarczyk is in the running to become the 2008 Miss World Canada.
    "It's actually pretty hilarious. . . . In high school I was captain of the rugby team, I played basketball and volleyball and the yearbook called me mostly likely to end up on TSN. I didn't wear make-up, I wouldn't wear the colour pink and I would never have imagined that I would end up being one of those 'girly girls' that I always made fun of."
    There was coverage by CFUN radio, the On the Coast show on CBC Radio, BCIT's student radio station, and plans for coverage by the Tri-City News, CTV, and potentially CBC-TV. The Kamloops Daily News also carried a story.
  • The Province featured Angela Fong, SFU communication and publishing student, who's looking at a new career: pro wrestler. The 23-year-old BC Lions cheerleader has been to World Wrestling Entertainment's boot camp, and could show up on any of WWE's three-ring platforms in the next few months. She also has to wrestle with four more classes to complete her BA.  Maclean’s also carried a “Newsmaker” item on her.

  • Scott Young, a student in SFU's undergraduate semester in dialogue, wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun, asking if Canada's "mosaic" model truly the best possible formula for our multicultural society. "The mosaic says that minorities can retain their heritage while immersing themselves in Canadian culture. But  . . . ethnic minorities have little motivation to challenge the status quo, preferring the balkanization of Canada."

  • Psych grad student Sari van Anders (now at Indiana University) was in The Province in a full-page pre-Valentine’s Day feature about her SFU study on cuddling, published in the journal Hormones and Behavior.  (Said The Province: "It turns out the most potent aphrodisiac of all is a simple hug.") A fun feature but "old news": SFU News covered the story in March 2007.

  • Also in The Province, a look at how kids’ playtime has gone virtual with the proliferation of online playgrounds. Communication prof Richard Smith was quoted: “A lot of games are nothing more than opportunities to market things to kids. The online games are ways to enculture kids as consumers."

  • Also quoted: Sara Grimes, a PhD candidate at SFU whose research is centred on children's relationships with new technology. She warned that parents can easily be lulled into a sense of safety because media companies are careful not to raise red flags with violent or sexual content on children's sites.


  • Rob Gordon, director of criminology, was in the news as the BC government's throne speech this week promised a review of criminal sentencing in BC, and changes to the Police Act to improve the police complaints process.
    Gordon told The Vancouver Sun that both announcements were good news, but having separate complaint procedures for the RCMP and municipal police is "absurd". (The RCMP would continue to fall under the federal complaints mechanism.)
    And Gordon told the Victoria Times Colonist that  BC lacks "hard data" about how its sentencing practices stack up against other provinces. "What we do know is that there's an impression that somehow sentencing in B.C. is weaker than in other jurisdictions in Canada." He urged the government to find a reputable independent person to lead the research.
    A Gary Mason column in the Globe and Mail mentioned a 2006 study by Gordon and colleague Bryan Kinney. It suggested B.C. is the best jurisdiction in which to commit certain types of crimes based on the sentences that are handed down for similar offences across the country.
  • The Vancouver Sun reported that 56% of all RCMP in-custody deaths over the past five years occurred in BC despite the fact only 33% of the force's officers work here. Gordon, a former police officer, said it's possible officers in B.C. are simply dealing with more violent and troubled people than in other parts of the country. Or, he said, it’s also a possibility that “inexperience is leading to mishandling of situations and deaths are resulting.”

  • Gordon was quoted in a Black Press survey of Lower Mainland residents’ experiences with crime. He said the poll suggests public alarm about crime has hit an extraordinarily high level—even though reported crime rates have been steadily falling. This story ran in the Surrey-North Delta LeaderNorth Shore Outlook and the Mission City Record.

  • The North Shore Outlook alsoquoted Gordon in a story on gang violence: “The violence is not going to change until we go after organized crime in a systematic and organized way with a regional (police) force."
    Earlier, an editorial in the Outlook applauded the call by West Vancouver police chief Kash Heed (an SFU alumnus, by the way) for a regional police force. The editorial quoted Gordon as also applauding Heed. Said Gordon: “We're still operating as if we're a collection of towns when we're not; we're a large metropolitan area—the last large metropolitan area in Canada not to have its own police force."
  • Meanwhile, seven community papers carried stories this week on a Feb. 6 forum that debated the idea of a regional force. The forum, co-sponsored by Criminology, was held at SFU's Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue.  (The seven papers: Surrey-North Delta Leader, Peace Arch News, North Shore News, Delta Optimist, Tri-City News, Maple Ridge News and the Langley Times.)


  • The Burnaby Newsleader reported a proposed agreement between the Burnaby school district and SFU will allow secondary student-athletes to be able to attend school in Burnaby and train every second day at SFU.

  • Surrey Now reported the Vancouver Whitecaps are negotiating with Delta municipal officials to build a training/practice facility at John Oliver Park. If it happens, the synthetic turf fields the Whitecaps use at the Burnaby campus “would become secondary practice fields.”

  • Sports media across Canada reported that history was made Wednesday: the National Basketball Association got its first Canadian head coach. Just for a day, though, as assistant Jay Triano filled in for Sam Mitchell of the Toronto Raptors. And he won: The Raptors beat the New Jersey Nets 109-91.
    Triano, of course, is the Clan great who also served as Canada's National Team head coach for six years. (Mitchell took a leave of absence to fly home to Atlanta following the death of his father-in-law.) The Vancouver Sun, marking two years to go until the 2010 Winter Olympics in BC, featured “12 athletes from our province most likely to stand on the podium in 2010”. They included bobsleigh brakeman Justin Kripps of Summerland BC, a former track runner for SFU.
  • The Sun’s main story on the Vancouver Organizing Committee (Vanoc), noted: “Vanoc . . . abandoned Simon Fraser University as the site of the speed skating oval, moving it to Richmond and angering an academic institution that had long been an Olympic booster.”  (The move of the oval was also mentioned in The Province.)

  • Meanwhile, the Edmonton Journal carried a feature on Carolyn Murray, training in Australia in the hopes of winning a spot on the Canadian triathlon team at the Beijing Olympics this summer. Murray got into triathlon in 2001, after graduating from SFU with a BSc in kinesiology.

  • The Globe and Mail featured Mike Blady, the newest Zamboni driver (and building power engineer) at GM Place, home rink of the Canucks. The Globe mentioned that he worked part time at Burnaby’s rinks while taking a bachelors in kinesiology at SFU.


  • The Vancouver Sun reported that Microsoft Canada and Seven Group are providing the Masters of Digital Media program at Vancouver's Great Northern Way Campus with state-of-the-art software for student work stations. Grads of the 20-month program receive a masters bearing the seals of SFU, UBC, BCIT and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.



  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader and the Epoch Times carried stories about Surrey's Winterfest last weekend, including activities that took place at the Surrey campus.

  • The Cornwall (ON) Standard-Freeholder featured Canadian film-maker Anna Stratton,  co-producer of Emotional Arithmetic. The film was applauded when it closed the Toronto International Film Festival last September. As for Stratton: "I was studying communications and education at Simon Fraser University. I was a complete academic. I'd taken dance and music classes but, in fact, I was going to become a journalist. But I got involved in theatre at university and never looked back."

  • The Peace Arch News carried an entertainment story with an SFU connection, promoting a concert this week whose program included vocalist Vanessa Davey “a former Vancouver Bach Children's Choir member now working on an arts degree at SFU.”



  • The Kelowna Capital News promoted a public forum on Smarter Growth: The Okanagan Challenge. A key speaker was Douglas MacLeod, architect and director of the Canadian Design Research Network at SFU. "Right now our buildings account for one-third of Canada's greenhouse gases. But with today's technology we could cut that by half, if we did things differently."

  • The Province reported “the illegitimate son of former U.S. president John Fitzgerald Kennedy lives on an island somewhere in B.C.”‑and named him as one Jack Worthington. The story quoted SFU history prof Mark Leier: "In a society that does not have royalty, but worships wealth, the Kennedys come close to royalty in America, and they do have some loot.”


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