SFU People in the news - October 12, 2007

October 12, 2007

A look at how SFU and its people fared in the news media: Oct. 5-12, 2007                                                           


  • Maclean’s magazine this week named SFU as one of Canada’s Top 100 employers.

    “Every year the competition gets bigger and tougher, as the winners raise the bar on what Canadian workers can expect from their employers,” said the magazine. “These are the companies that understand what it takes to attract the best talent, and to boost the bottom line.”

    SFU was cited for such pluses as summer day-camp programs open to employees’ and faculty members’ children, and free fitness facilities.

    The University of Toronto was the only other university, as such, in the Top 100. (The McGill hospital/teaching centre and the academic health sciences centre, U of Toronto, were in there as well.)


  • Knowing that VANOC would announce Thursday its 2010 Olympics ticketing plans and prices, marketing professor Lindsay Meredith volunteered to be a go-to guy for reporters. And they called him: He started with CBC Radio, then moved on to the Christy Clark show on CKNW, did a CTV National interview, was interviewed by the Globe and Mail, and then did another CBC Radio show.

  • Does second-year SFU student “B.B.” have any idea how much personal information she has posted about herself online?If she read The Province last Sunday (Oct. 7), she certainly found out. The Province used her case as an example of “hanging it all out online.” The paper added the warning: “You can post your whole life on the web now, but you can't control who sees it and what they do with the information.”
    Via CanWest News Service, the story went on to appear in National Post, the Victoria Times Colonist, Nanaimo Daily News, Calgary Herald and Winnipeg Free Press.
  • The Globe and Mail carried a guest column from Richard Lipsey, professor emeritus of economics and a key player in SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT). “Anyone can opt out of efforts to ameliorate the causes of climate change, but no one can opt out of dealing with its effects.”

  • The Ottawa Citizen, in a story on the Nobel prize won by physicists Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg, quoted physicist David Boal of SFU, who studied at Carleton with Grünberg. Meanwhile, the Toronto Star, in its story, quoted another SFU physicist, Bret Heinrich, a longtime friend of both laureates. Fert and Grünberg independently discovered novel nanotechnology that allows more and more data to be squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces. iPods, cellphones and laptops depend on it.

  • The Daily Planet show on the Discovery Channel aired this week a mini-documentary it shot on SFU’s “Worms in Space”. The microscopic worms returned to SFU in July after six months aboard the International Space Station, thanks to biologists Bob Johnsen and David Baillie. Their return generated hefty media coverage around the world—and sedt in motion this Daily Planet special.

  • Speaking of the Discovery Channel: Forensic entomologist Gail Anderson took in a camera crew from another Discovery Channel program, The Leading Edge, and spent four hours with them in her new lab. The show won’t run until next year, though; date TBA.

  • GlobalTV followed up on a U.S. court decision on Internet file sharing. A Minnesota woman faces copyright fines of more than $220,000. Global interviewed Jean Hebert of SFU’s School of Communication: “It's a ludicrous outcome to begin with, I mean, twenty-four songs, that's what she was sharing. It's probably not even worth $200.”

  • CBC Radio National News featured criminologist Neil Boyd in a discussion on the federal government’s new plans to crack down on illicit drugs. Said he: “If anything, it's a reduction in the amount going to treatment and prevention. But more importantly, the signal around mandatory sentencing is very disturbing.”

    CBC also spoke to professor Bruce Alexander, professoressor emeritus of psychology and this year’s Sterling Prize winner for controversial work on addiction. “Harm reduction has disappeared from the screen in this plan, and that's scary. That will cost lives, I think it's safe to predict.”

    Meanwhile, The Province and The Vancouver Sun carried a story on the award of the Sterling Prize to Alexander. The Province interviewed Alexander; the Sun quoted Ronald Ydenberg, SFU biological scientist and selection committee chair.Alexander also appeared on Omni-TV. National Post and CKNW put him on their story lists, too.

    Incidentally, SFU will webcast Alexander at Tuesday’s Sterling Prize ceremony: Tuesday Oct. 16, 7pm. The webcast link will be at
  • The Globe and Mail carried a feature on the state and fate of Vancouver’s Gastown, and said: “Of course, the redevelopment of the Woodward's building is a huge boost to the area's economy as well. . . . The presence of Simon Fraser University will bring the vitality of student life to the area, always a boost to retailers.”

    Speaking of redevelopment: The Vancouver Sun reported that Surrey's Central City area will get the two tallest towers between Vancouver and Calgary, 36- and 40-storey residential buildings. The story said of the neighbourhood: “At its heart is the Surrey campus of Simon Fraser University, along with shops, restaurants and recreational facilities, all within walking distance of SkyTrain.”

  • The Globe and Mail said Canada will cut the number of countries receiving Canadian aid, but will put more foreign-aid workers in the field. Among those quoted was John Richards, SFU public policy professor and author of an influential study on Canada's aid effectiveness. The story also appeared in Pakistan’s and on the Pakistan news service Online International News Network.

  • The Globe and Mail looked at a Tory campaign promise (in the Ontario election) to spend $6 million to put electronic ankle bracelets on 500 more high-risk offenders, sexual predators and domestic abusers. SFU criminology professor Brian Burtch was quoted.

  • CTV News reported on the RCMP’s hunt for a serial rapist who has attacked five women in three months in the Kelowna neighborhood of Rutland. SFU criminologist Eric Beauregard spoke about the patterns and rituals of such criminals. "Their ritual usually is fed by fantasy.”

  • CBC News reported on a study that found patients in danger of heart disease and stroke reduced their risk by receiving health "report cards" and telephone counselling. A co-author of the study is Andrew Wister, chair of gerontology at SFU. The study appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

  • Embassy magazine (“Canada’s foreign policy newsweekly”) named Prof. Mark Jaccard’s latest book as one of the “20 most influential” books in the last year. (Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge was written by Jaccard, SFU researcher Nic Rivers, and Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson.)

    Jaccard was also on GlobalTV on Oct. 11. Then he went to speak at the Burnaby campus as part of the Sustainability Festival. (Info: He will probably be on CKNW tonight, and will sign books and give a lecture about his climate-change research next Wednesday, Oct 17, at 7 p.m. at SFU’s Vancouver campus. And the Royal City Record plans to feature him as a New Westminster resident.
  • In a story about immigration rules that affect the families of immigrants and refugees, the Toronto Star noted. “The criteria for earning enough ‘points’ to immigrate—from education to language skills—can be so rigid that, according to a study last year by Simon Fraser University, barely a third of native-born Canadians would qualify for entry into their own country.”

  • There was more play for a CanWest News Service feature on the World Health Organization’s new guide to the creation of age-friendly cities. Habib Chaudhury, an assistant professoressor in gerontology, was quoted. The story’s latest appearance: in the Edmonton Journal.

  • The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix picked up a guest article byHerb Grubel (a senior fellow with The Fraser Institute and professoressor emeritus of economics at SFU) that said “the cliche about the rich getting richer and the data supporting the claim are both highly misleading.” The op-ed piece appeared in some other papers two weeks ago.


  • The Vancouver Sun carried an op-ed piece from Desiree Tommasi, a grad student in biology at SFU, who is researching the fate of the Rivers Inlet sockeye run. The run comprised millions of fish in the 1920s, became unstable in the 1970s, and crashed in 1999. “What is even more alarming is that after the complete closure of the sockeye commercial fishery in 1996 the stock failed to rebuild.”

Meanwhile,the Barriere (BC) Star Journal reproduced an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Gordon Campbell that says “ . . . the debate is over; sea lice breeding on farmed salmon are threatening B.C.'s wild Pacific salmon.” The letter calls for a ban on open-water salmon farms. Among the signatories are SFU professors Richard Routledge and Larry Dill. The letter first ran in the Prince Rupert News last week.

  • The Vancouver Courier looked behind the scenes at the Lower Mainland’s food supply, and the logistics and economics) of food distribution. Herb Barbolet of the SFU Centre of Sustainable Community Economic Development was quoted as saying lower labour costs in other countries drive the importation of some foods that can be grown locally; but this will change over time.

  • The Courier also reported how criminologist Neil Boyd will conduct research related to Vancouver’s supervised drug injection site on behalf of Health Canada. Boyd will research the extent to which injection sites, particularly Insite on East Hastings, contribute to or detract from public order.

  • As well, the Courier reported that Vancouver is hosting the International Drag King Community Extravaganza (IDKE) later this month. Quoted was organizer Supriya Ryan, who is majoring in women's studies at SFU.

    The Vancouver Sun and Surrey Now ran an item on SFU’s new bachelors degree in world literature and culture. The program was launched at the Surrey campus this semester.
  • Surrey Now reported on an SFU project to develop a mobile, electronic museum guide that will bring museums to life—digitally. Ron Wakkary and Marek Hatala of SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Surrey will work with the Surrey Museum, researchers at Carleton University, and with Vancouver-based electronics firm Ubiquity Interactive.

  • The North Shore News covered a local forum on drug problems. Among speakers was criminologist Ray Corrado. He suggested that prevention is a more useful approach than enforcement, and advocated an approach that would combine social housing, education, health care and justice to target at-risk children when they are still very young.

  • The Abbotsford Times finally ran a story on a survey of 430 students from SFU and the University College of the Fraser Valley, finding more than 73 per cent of them had participated in binge drinking—many without realizing it.

  • Political science professor Patrick Smith was on Public Eye Radio (a weekly segment on radio station CFAX, Victoria) talking about the lack of openness and accountability in local government.

  • Jo Anna Ashworth, dialogue program director, was interviewed by CBC North, CKWL in Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Tribune about a community cross-cultural dialogue event that she facilitated in Williams Lake.

  • The North Shore News reported the North Shore Rescue team now boasts three father-son teams. One is team leader Tim Jones and son Curtis Jones, a student at SFU.


  • The Province sports pages preceded last Saturday’s Shrum Bowl football game with a double father-son story. It featured Chris Passaglia of the Clan and famed dad Lui Passaglia, and Braden Smith of the UBC Thunderbirds and dad Danny Smith, one of the most storied players in UBC football history.

  • The Province also carried a sidebar on Mark Nykolaichuk, a former UBC linebacker who now works in administration for the SFU department of recreation and athletics.

  • UBC went on to win the game 31-2. It was the 30th Shrum Bowl (the record now is 15-14-1 in UBC’s favour) and the first played on the Burnaby campus. The loss led coach Dave Johnson to tell The Province and The Vancouver Sun:
    "We stunk. We were an embarrassment. Our defence played with some guts and intestinal fortitude, but our offence was pitiful. We didn't play with any passion. We didn't play with any poise . . . I don't know what to tell you other than recruiting season is obviously well under way and we'll go find some guys who have got some passion if that's what we need to do."

  • The Province featured Clan volleyball player Sarah McNeil. She’ll be on court this weekend as the Clan hosts the first annual West Coast Classic—a two-day, five-team affair in the new West Gym on the Burnaby campus.

  • Surrey Now featured Clan cross-country runner Kristen Kolstad, who in three cross-country events in September recorded two wins and a third-place showing. Coach Brit Townsend was also quoted: “She's the captain of the cross-country team and she's taking that really seriously. She's a really good role model for some of the younger women on the team."

  • GlobalTV did a story with Townsend, SFU’s head track and field coach, about the use of steroids in young athletes.

  • Burnaby Now reported that a massive sports complex proposed for Burnaby Mountain has two councillors worried about a smaller project slated for the Burnaby Lake area. A group of investors is working on a proposal for a $250-million project on the Burnaby campus, that would give SFU access to the sports facilities.


  • Burnaby Now promoted the newest event-schedule for SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts—“a full season of productions that will appeal to a range of tastes.”

  • And The Vancouver Sun promoted the Oct. 9 gala fundraiser at SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business, for The Walrus magazine, assisted by the Writing and Publishing Program at SFU.

  • The Vancouver Sun interviewed author and film-maker Douglas Coupland. It mentioned that he has an art installation (Fifty Books I Have Read More Than Once) at the SFU Gallery, until Oct. 20.

  • The Sun also featured Alan Franey, 20-year director of the Vancouver International Film Festival. He studied film production, history and theory at SFU in the 1970s.

  • CBC Radio and The Canadian Press reported that Madeleine Thien, author of Certainty, won the 2006 First Novel Award from and Books in Canada. Thien, 32, she studied dance at SFU before switching to UBC’s creative-writing program. The first novel award carried a prize of $7,500.


  • Metro reported that UniverCity has won an award for Innovations in Creating a More Liveable and Sustainable Region. This from the Urban Development Institute.

  • Coquitlam Now featured Gleneagle Secondary teacher Mike McElgunn, who teaches old-school photography using pinhole cameras, film and a darkroom. The paper noted he graduated from SFU as a teacher.

  • Software developer Orbital Technologies Inc. of Vancouver told media it has doubled to $20,000 its endowment to fund the Orbital Technologies scholarship in computing science at SFU.

  • The Surrey Board of Trade's Business in Surrey publication announced Norbert Haunerland's appointment as SFU’s new associate vice-president of research, and carried a story about opening of the final two floors at the Surrey campus and new programs there.

  • A Globe and Mail mini-feature on investors and their strategies featured software engineer Ray Yong, an SFU grad (1998).
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