June 5, 2008

A look at how SFU and its people made news: May 30-June 5, 2008           


  • The Vancouver Sun reported the approval by SFU’s Board of Governors of the planned Faculty of the Environment and other faculty restructuring. Academic vice-president John Waterhouse was quoted: “The creation of this faculty will clearly establish SFU as a leader in this crucial area and better position the university as a centre of research and teaching excellence in environmental issues."
  • “When Simon Fraser University throws a party, it's an event like no other.”  That’s how Burnaby Now began a story about the May 31 Open House at the Burnaby campus. Epoch Times and Fairchild TV also visited the Open House. And CBC Radio set up an interview session with the Cheondoong Korean drumming troupe who performed at  the event.
  • Deyar Asmaro, SFU’s 2008 Terry Fox Gold Medal winner for overcoming adversity, was once driven by private-school bullying to spend two years living in the wilds and on the street. The Christy Clark show on CKNW set up a live interview with him on the subject of bullying.  Burnaby Now also did a story. APNA Roots, serving the South Asian community across Canada, also went for a story, and a picture.
  • The On the Coast show on CBC Radio interviewed Anthony Gurr, a masters of education student and veteran videogame developer. He’s working on a pilot TV series on trends in gaming and its societal impact.
  • The Vancouver Sun reported that chances are you've never heard of the mountain beaver, one of the most endangered animals in BC, and so rare and secretive it's extremely difficult to see. “But it's out there, and it's worth saving, according to a Simon Fraser University doctoral candidate in biology who, along with dozens of international colleagues associated with the London Zoological Society, has worked out a list of 4,511 mammals which, according to their genetic uniqueness, are most deserving of our help.” The grad student: Dave Redding.
  • Political scientist Patrick Smith was in the Georgia Straight, saying Vancouver mayoralty candidate Peter Ladner hasn’t created enough campaign distance between himself and mayor Sam Sullivan. “What is left in people’s minds is more about Mr. Ladner’s ambition to be mayor than what he might do as mayor.”
  • Communication prof Bob Hackett was also in the Straight, in a story on the BC government’s legislation to limit third-party advertising in provincial elections.  “There must  be a balance between the peoples’ right of expression and not having public discourse simply available to the highest bidder. . . .But the terms of this specific law may well be too restrictive.”
  • The Burnaby News Leader reported Burnaby council has taken a strong stand against the provincial plan to twin the Port Mann Bridge.  Among those quoted was Gordon Price, director of SFU's City Program, who said we need to get people out of cars: “The problem isn't so much the bridge. More importantly a message is sent out that you should continue to orient your life around cars or trucks, and if it gets a little congested we'll build you another bridge.” It also ran in the New Westminster News Leader.
  • Gordon McBean was on CBC Radio for yet another interview about a project of SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT). ACT is partnering with BC’s Ministry of Environment to help government, industry and communities identify adaptation strategies for extreme weather events and natural hazards caused by climate change. McBean is policy chair for the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and is ACT’s lead policy author for the project.
    Meanwhile, the Delta Optimist carried a story on Extreme Events: Adapting to Climate Change—a public dialogue this week organized by ACT as part of the program. Surrey Now also ran the story.
  • The New Westminster Record carried a guest column by Marjorie Griffin Cohen, prof of political science and women's studies. “The income gap between rich and poor is widening, immigrant incomes are plummeting, and young people entering the labour market are earning less than their parents a generation ago.”  The Trail Daily Times ran it, too.
  • A guest article in The Vancouver Sun protested the idea of supertankers carrying oil to northern BC ports such as Kitimat. “A Simon Fraser University study concluded that industry averages suggest that if Enbridge's Gateway project were built, we could expect a major spill approximately every 16 years.”
  • The Castlegar News featured Liana Zwick, who battled breast cancer and chemotherapy but never missed a BGS class at SFU. She graduated with a GPA of 4.0, and attended convocation June 4.
  • The Business Examiner used an SFU news release to report that The Boeing Company has given a $1.35-million grant for visual analytics research to SFU and UBC.
  • The Terrace Standard picked up a story from a couple of weeks ago on an independent scientific review of the Skeena River salmon fishery. Panel members included two fisheries experts from SFU: Randall Peterman and  John Reynolds.


  • National Post compared policy models for tackling greenhouse gas emissions. Among them was a model from SFU prof Nancy Olewiler (economist and director of the Public Policy Program) and U of Calgary prof Jack  Mintz. Noted the Post:  “The plan's most enthusiastic booster may be Stephane Dion, the Liberal leader, who appears to be using the professors' work as the model for his party's plan.”
    Later in the week, Mintz wrote a guest column in National Post, saying in part: “Nancy Olewiler of Simon Fraser University and I estimate that a restructured fuel excise tax on all sources of carbon, holding the gas tax unchanged, would yield $12- to $15-billion in additional revenues. Such revenues could be used to offset higher fuel prices for Canadian consumers and businesses, as well as to fund investment tax credits in carbon-reducing technologies.”
  • Warren Gill, urban geographer and SFU vice-president, was interviewed by GlobalTV National on a report from Statistics Canada showing more people owned their own homes in 2006 than at any other time in the past 35 years, but it's costing them more than ever.
  • CBC Radio, in continuing coverage of the Maxime Bernier fiasco in Ottawa, spoke to Shauna Sylvester, a Fellow at the SFU Centre for Dialogue and the Director of Canada’s World—a national citizens’ dialogue on Canadian international policy. Said she: “It wasn't so much that he made gaffe after gaffe, I think the other thing is he brought to his position such a libertarian view of government. As a consequence, our diplomatic corps suffered. The understanding of the complexities of working in the international arenas suffered.”
  • Host Amanda Putz of the Sounds Like Canada show on CBC Radio interviewed SFU Surrey business students Ivy So and Gavin Norquay. This about their student club's business plan that helped turn a local clothing store around.
  • The Financial Post Business Magazine, from National Post, ranked Canadian universities by 2007 total revenue. SFU was No. 18 at $501,732, sandwiched between No. 17 Guelph ($567,044) and No. 19 Dalhousie ($438,858).  Toronto was No. 1 with income of $1.94 billion. UBC was second at  $1.59 billion, and Alberta third at $1.25 billion.
  • The federal industry department told media that SFU prof Anthony Perl (director of the SFU Urban Studies program) will be part of a cross-Canada research project examining the role of public policy in the Canadian automobile industry.
  • The Ottawa Citizen carried a Canwest News Service story on how an international team is pondering ethical and legal issues around the "ownership" of cultural heritage and relics. It’s led by SFU archaeologist George Nicholas. The story appeared in nine Canadian dailies, including the Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times Colonist.
  • The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business featured Gerri Sinclair, executive director, Masters of Digital Media Program Centre, Great Northern Way Campus. “Gerri Sinclair is a true Renaissance woman. In fact, she was a Renaissance drama scholar before turning her mind to computers, entrepreneurship, and thought leadership about on-line avatars in virtual worlds.”
    Meanwhile, the St. John Telegraph-Journal, Moncton Times & Transcript, and the New Brunswick Business Journal picked up last week’s Canadian Press feature on careers in the video-gaming industry. Among other things, it noted that “gaming giant Electronic Arts has invested heavily in the master's digital media program of Great Northern Way Campus in Vancouver”. That’s a collaboration, CP noted, of SFU, UBC, the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and BCIT.
  • The Ottawa Sun reported on plans to mark the 200th anniversary of Simon Fraser’s voyage down the river that bears his name, with celebrations at his restored gravesite at St. Andrew’s ON.  The story noted that SFU contributed to the restoration.
  • Metro newspapers in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver featured Kayode Fatoba, who started a soccer program for children under 12. He is one of 20 people to receive a TD Canada Trust Community Leadership scholarship. The papers noted he's heading for SFU  in the fall, to study health sciences.
  • And a careers-page story in the Metro papers featured Ken MacAllistair,  who is working on a masters in Educational Technology at SFU after taking his BA in cognitive science. Fred Popowich, computing science prof, was quoted.


  • Still more worldwide media coverage this week on the Human Security Report from Andrew Mack, director of the Human Security Report Project at SFU’s School for International Studies. Latest outlets to run the story included the Daily Star in Bangladesh,, the East African (Kenya), Frontline magazine (India) and, in the U.S., FOXBusiness and a string of small American newspapers, among them the Hawaii Reporter. There was also a mention in the Washington Times, and stories in Australia’s Brisbane Times and Sydney Morning Herald.
  • The U.K.’s Wildlife Extra carried a story on a study that concludes more than half of the world's ocean-going sharks are at risk of extinction. Quoted was the lead author, SFU’s Nicholas Dulvy, Canada Research Chair in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.


  • Robin Blaser, professor emeritus, won this week the $50,000 Griffin Prize for Canadian poetry. This for The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser (University of California Press). "Poetry is the deepest language we've got,” said Blaser, 83. “I encourage you all to get busy and start writing.”  Media across Canada picked up the story from The Canadian Press.
  • The Georgia Straight reviewed the SFU Gallery exhibition:E. J. Bellocq: Storyville Portraits. “Few photographic series can generate as much critical discussion and conflicted response as E. J. Bellocq’s shots of Louisiana prostitutes.” It’s on until June 14.


  • Burnaby Now reported on the joint multi-sport academy of SFU and the Burnaby School District. It allows secondary school students to obtain course credits while meeting provincial government requirements for physical education. The academy features swimming and diving and softball to start. SFU head coaches Mike Renney (softball) and Liam Donnelly (swimming) were quoted. The New Westminster Record picked up the story as well.
  • The Prince George Citizen featured Cassie Keeping of the Clan track and field team. She’s a product of the Prince George Track and Field Club.


  • Coquitlam Now featured Paul Carriere of Port Coquitlam, one of SFU’s two top co-op students for this year. Carriere was also recognized by the B.C. chapter of the Association for Co-operative Education for his co-op stint at Burnaby's D-Wave Systems.
  • Surrey Now featured Lawrence Haiducu, a North Surrey Secondary grad who is among this year's Premier's Excellence Award winners for being among B.C.'s top graduates last year. “Haiducu has worked at Simon Fraser University as an assistant lab technician, and is now studying science there.”
  • The Coquitlam school district named Maureen Dockendorf as assistant superintendent. She has been in education for 36 years, as a teacher, principal, director—and SFU faculty associate—and with the provincial Ministry of Education.


  • SFU tallied its 100,000th graduate at Convocation June 5: Krista Gerlich-Fitzgerald, a criminology major who now is headed to law school at the UK’s Manchester University
    SFU’s news release included quotes from SFU’s very first grad, Bob Thompson, now a professor emeritus in biology at Mount Allison University.
    Thompson received SFU’s first degree (an MSc) on May 20, 1967, two years after SFU opened.
  • SFU told media how archaeologists from SFU and members of the Tla’Amin First Nation on the Sunshine Coast will begin working together this summer to uncover details about the region’s rich archaeological history.
  • And SFU spread the word that Novus Entertainment, a cable-TV broadcaster with more than 22,000 viewers in several Vancouver and Burnaby neighbourhoods, is picking up Your Education Matters. That’s the SFU program, hosted by education dean Paul Shaker, that has been running on ShawTV.

SFU’s news releases can be found online at:
Its newsletter, SFU News, is also online, at

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Globe and Mail mentioned the donation of “$4.6-million and climbing” by Vancouver’s  Sam Belzberg to Action Canada, a non-profit that provides fellowships for up to 20 people annually to help them develop leadership skills and work together on public policy initiatives. The Globe noted that Jack Blaney, former SFU president, is a founding director of Action Canada and is active in it.
  • The Globe and Mail reported that Dennis Roberts, SFU’s first information officer and news service director (1966-82) died at 82. In his first few years at SFU, he went through "a presidential firing, teacher dismissals, a student occupation, blacklists by academic bodies, employee strikes, and even bomb and death threats." Vancouver Sun columnist Jack Wasserman then wrote that Roberts' job reminded him of a reporter in a war zone.
  • The Globe and Mail also carried an obituary feature on newspaper cartoonist Bob Bierman, who died in Victoria after a stroke. He was 86. More than 500 Bierman cartoons are held by the W.A.C. Bennett Library at SFU, the Globe noted.
  • Coquitlam Now reported Peter Legge was one of 15 B.C. residents to receive the Order of British Columbia. The paper noted the entrepreneur, public speaker and community activist was awarded an honorary degree by SFU in 2001 for raising $20 million for 40 different charities over the course of 20 years.
  • The Province featuredVancouver urban planner Lama Mugabo, who has devoted the last four years to his charity, Building Bridges with Rwanda, organizing donations and volunteers to help rebuild the country. The paper mentioned that he attended SFU.
  • At the same time, The Province featured Vancouver's Melanie Wood, who is in Rwanda to make a documentary, Women's Work. It looks at Rwandan women who lost everything, yet are still helping to rebuild. The paper noted she’s an SFU grad and former CBC-TV director and producer.
  • The Ottawa Citizen featured Toomas Hendrik Ilves, president of Estonia, during an official visit to Ottawa. Ilves served as director and administrator of the Vancouver Arts Centre from 1981 to 1983 and briefly taught Estonian literature and linguistics at SFU.
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