SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - (September 14-21, 2007)

September 21, 2007

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A look at how SFU and its people fared in the news media: Sept. 14-21, 2007                    


  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was all over the media this week on the subject of the soaring Canadian dollar. He did an interview with GlobalTV National while at his dentist’s office. (That’s the second time he’s stood in front of the camera while at the dentist’s office!)  He also appeared on GlobalTV locally, plus CKWX News 1130, The Vancouver Sun, CanWest News Service, CTV News and CFUN.
  • Meredith scored huge coverage for SFU: a full two minutes on Global National, two minutes on GlobalTV locally, another minute on CTV News and well over two minutes on a CTV consumer segment.
  • Earlier, Meredith was also in The Vancouver Sun in a story on Canada's big  cigarette manufacturers introducing new marketing labels. (Brands formerly labelled "light" or "mild" now have new tags such as "prestige", “distinct" and "rich". )
  • Sadly, news media across Canada and in Washington State were quick to pursue stories Thursday when award-winning SFU professor Randy Sitter (actuarial science) was reported missing after taking his kayak out on the water near Bellingham.
  • The Canadian Press did a national newsfeature—used by many media—on plans by a number of Canadian universities to use text messaging for emergency alerts to students, faculty and staff. SFU’s plans-in-progress were among those mentioned.  (Concordia began the surge last May.) Maclean’s magazine and CTV News also mentioned SFU’s plans.
  • The Canadian Press carried a national story on how the US Patriot Act is having far-reaching effects on Canadian universities and academics, involving the privacy of computer data. Ian Forsyth, SFU’s information and privacy coordinator, was quoted, as he had been in an earlier story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • CanWest News Service picked up, and moved across the country, a feature from The Province on the mechatronics degree program at SFU’s Surrey campus. "There is a huge demand in industry for people with this education and training," said Farid Golnaraghi, director of the SFU program and the prof who initiated a similar degree at Waterloo. "There is so much demand, these engineers can work anywhere they want."
  • Design News, the largest design engineering magazine in the U.S., is working on a story on mechatronics that will mention the new Surrey program. 
  • The Globe and Mail reported the city of Surrey is ready to act alone to restrict the sale of hydroponics equipment as a way of stopping illegal marijuana grow ops.  SFU criminologist Neil Boyd was quoted: “ . . . It seems to me the solution is to regulate the industry, not try to pretend you can get rid of it."
  • Also in the Globe and Mail was a story on a Columbia University report saying fragmented, weak and inefficient securities law enforcement in Canada costs billions of dollars in lost economic output each year. Among those quoted was Peter Klein, a professor of finance at SFU.
  • National Post carried a feature on educated women “marrying down” (to less-educated men) as female university enrolment swells to record levels. SFU economics prof Douglas Allen was quoted.
  • National Post also asked executive MBA (EMBA)  program leaders across the country: “Who will benefit most from your EMBA program?” For SFU, Diane Cross, executive director of graduate business programs, replied: “For more than 38 years, the SFU Business Executive MBA has appealed to intelligent, talented, motivated individuals whose success in business to date has come without a business degree. They recognize the Executive MBA will prepare them for senior executive positions by strengthening their leadership, strategic-thinking and problem-solving skills and providing them with a global perspective.”
  • In a guest article in the Winnipeg Free Press, Herb Grubel (a senior fellow with The Fraser Institute and professor emeritus of economics at SFU) examined the argument that the gap between the rich and the poor in Canada is at a 30-year high. “Claims like these make good headlines, but the cliche about the rich getting richer and the data supporting the claim are both highly misleading.”  The op-ed piece also appeared in the Dawson Creek Daily News in BC and the Montreal Gazette, Peterborough Examiner and Windsor Star.


  • The Vancouver Sun reported how SFU student Jessica Des Mazes would be awarded this week the SFU Terry Fox Gold Medal, which recognizes courage in the face of adversity.
  • Des Mazes was paralyzed from the waist down by a 1994 auto wreck, but has won multiple medals in wheelchair athletic events. She hopes to qualify for the Paralympics in Beijing next year. She’s a communication student at SFU.
  • BC solicitor general John Les called in The Vancouver Sun for heftier sentences for gang members who use guns. SFU criminology director Robert Gordon said in the story that RCMP and other police forces know of more than 100 organized crime groups in BC, but many don't even get investigated because there isn't a coordinated regional policing approach.
  • Gordon was also interviewed at the opening on Wednesday of the Arts and Social Sciences Complex 1 building on the Burnaby campus. While several media outlets did stories last week on the building’s new forensic labs, the opening itself drew ChannelM-TV, Fairchild TV, CBUFT-TV (CBC French), Sing Tao and Burnaby Now.
  • As The Province ran this week a series on teen gangs, gang crime, and gunfire in the streets, criminologist Ray Corrado was quoted several times. Colleague Neil Boyd was also quoted. So was The History of Street Gangs in Vancouver, a 1993 thesis by Michael G. Young, an SFU criminology student.
  • Gordon Price, director of SFU’s City Program, writes a monthly column in Business in Vancouver. This week, he focussed on the commitment to sustainability of Gordon Harris, CEO of the UniverCity residential development at the east end of the Burnaby campus.
  • Meanwhile, Burnaby Now reported that Burnaby council gave preliminary approval this week for revised plans for the latest residential, retail, office and child-care project at UniverCity. A public hearing is set for Oct. 23.
  • In a business column in The Vancouver Sun, writer Don Cayo argued that PST/GST harmonization is a good idea, and overdue. He cited a paper by SFU prof Jon Kesselman, and called Kesselman “one of Canada's most astute tax analysts”.
  • Surrey Now featured Rupinder Gill, a teacher from India who is just about to be certified in BC thanks to SFU’s Professional Qualification Program. Program coordinator Kanwal Neel was also quoted.
  • Business in Vancouver listed SFU as tied for seventh spot in a list of “Biggest convention and meeting venues in B.C.”  Ranking was by square footage available for such uses. SFU and UBC shared #7 with 70,000 square feet apiece.  (BC Place is #1 with 247,000 square feet.)
  • And in a story on nanotechnology, Business in Vancouver noted that “funding for nanotechnology at B.C. institutions increased to more than $64 million in 2006 from $20 million in 2005, largely due to construction of 4D labs at Simon Fraser University.”
  • The Province (Sunday) and The Vancouver Sun (Saturday) covered last Friday’s official  opening of the new masters program in digital media, at the Great Northern Way campus in Vancouver.  SFU is a partner in the project.
  • A long list of media did advance stories on the full-scale strike that began Monday at the SFU Childcare Society. It has closed the Childcare Centre, affecting 250 families and 263 children, and 49+ childcare employees.
  • The Vancouver Sun listed SFU Burnaby’s Mackenzie Cafe as among restaurants serving up tastes of BC for the rest of this month in the second annual Eat BC! promotion of locally-produced foods.
  • Burnaby Now ran a feature about the Whytecliff Agile Learning Centre in Burnaby, a school for troubled teens that is turning lives around. Among those quoted was Wanda Cassidy, associate professor of education and director of the Centre for Education, Law and Society at SFU. “I think it's just a wonderful model. They are doing things that every school should be looking at doing."
  • Burnaby Now also picked up our SFU news release of two weeks ago, reporting that enrolment is six per cent above target, even though there are fewer Grade 12 graduates in B.C. Kate Ross, registrar and senior director of student enrolment at SFU, was quoted.


  • The Province featured Dylan Gant, psychology major, All-America runner, and the Clan's senior cross-country star. Clan coach Brit Townsend was also quoted. (The Clan men’s cross-country team moved from No. 24 to 13 in rankings released Wednesday after a fourth-place finish in the open division at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle last weekend. The SFU women, currently ranked No. 1, won the Sundodger team open title.)


  • The Vancouver Sun and other media reported that a novel by SFU’s David Chariandy, assistant prof of English, is on the long list for this year's Giller Prize. Chariandy named his first novel, Soucouyant, after a vampire-like spirit in the Caribbean. Chariandy teaches Canadian and postcolonial literature at SFU.
  • (The Giller long list singles out 15 novels in all. The short list of five will be announced Oct. 9. At a ceremony on Nov. 6, one writer will win the $40,000 prize and four finalists will take home $2,500 each.)
  • The Georgia Straight promoted two exhibitions at the SFU Gallery on the Burnaby campus: Douglas Coupland’s new sculptural work, Fifty Books I Have Read More Than Once, and silkscreen prints by R.B. Kitaj. For more info on these shows go to
  • Georgia Straight also carried a mini-feature on Milton K. Wong, chancellor emeritus of SFU, philanthropist, supporter of the arts—and of the planned move of SFU's School of Contemporary Arts to the old Woodward's site. "By having a contemporary arts institution there, it allows that segment of our community to have a direct linkage to cultural development. And that's going to be very exciting."
  • The Vancouver Sun featured a new dance, music and multimedia work exploring the “Triaspora” of Chinese immigrants to Canada. The cast includes dancer Jessica Jone,  a graduate of the dance program at SFU.
  • The Vancouver Sun had a mini-feature on Carla Olson, video production manager for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee for the 2010 winter Olympics. The Sun mentioned that she’s a 1998 graduate of SFU’s film studies program.
  • The Surrey North Delta Leader at last ran an SFU news release of August 12, reporting that the SFU Pipe Band, four-time world champions, placed a strong second in the 2007 World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow.


  • News releases sent out by SFU this week included one on Dr. James Chi Ming Pau, 2007 recipient of the Thakore Visiting Scholar award. The award is administered by SFU’s Institute of Humanities on behalf of the Thakore Family Charitable Foundation and the India Club of Vancouver. Pau’s dedication to providing health and support services to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents spans over three decades.


  • In a letter to the editor in The Vancouver Sun, chemistry department technician Eva Derton warned that some "natural” foods and products can be harmful or allergenic, and may contain synthetic additives. “Pure synthetic ingredients may actually be safer than naturally derived mixtures because they are well tested and because they aren't as susceptible to spoilage.”
  • SFU came in for numerous mentions in news media this week in stories about Terry Fox, and the annual fundraising runs and walks in his name.
  • The American Society for Microbiology announced one of its Young Investigator Awards will go to Michael Bruce Zwick, an assistant prof at the Scripps Research Institute of La Jolla CA. He got his doctorate at SFU.
  • Agents of Change, a non-profit involving some SFU students and grads, raised more than $31,000 via a bike ride to Tijuana.  They had coverage in Metro, 24 Hours, CKNW, CKWX News 1130 and most recently the Early Edition on CBC Radio. “Being a part of the upcoming SFU Viewbook is also quite amazing!”, noted Christina Wu, an  SFU business student.
  • Maclean’s magazine reported that five Canadian student unions have filed petitions to end their membership with the Canadian Federation of Students. SFU’s student society is one.
  • Norman Toye, director of treasury and risk management at the Royal Canadian Mint is being recognized by the Association for Financial Professionals in its honours program for 2007. The association noted he has a BBA from SFU.
  • Air cargo carrier Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. named Jason Grant as senior VP and CFO. He has an MBA from SFU.
  • Nicer Canada Corp. and CEO Paul Chen were featured in a Vancouver Sun story on growing technology links between Taiwanese and Canadian companies. Chen attended SFU before founding the Burnaby Internet company.
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