SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS November 9, 2007

November 9, 2007

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A look at how SFU and its people fared in the news media: Nov. 2-9, 2007                  


  • In Maclean’s magazine’s annual rankings of Canadian universities, SFU moved up two spots, to #2, in the ratings for “overall academic excellence” among the 11 comprehensive universities.
    Among those mid-sized universities, SFU placed first for medical/science grants, faculty awards, social science and humanities grants, and operating budget per student.
    SFU also placed #139 in the world in the Times of London rankings—up from #282 last year.
    More on the rankings at the end of this report.


  • With yet more gangland murders and gunfire in the Lower Mainland this week, criminology director Rob Gordon was much in the media again: a round of interviews with GlobalTV, CBC, CTV and Channel-M, as well as speaking on CKNW, and talking to the Globe and Mail, The Province, and Metro. One Canadian Press story quoting him ran in newspapers and broadcast outlets across Canada.

    The Province concluded that police don’t have enough research and information on gangs. Gordon said the gang landscape has changed a lot since the 1990s, and he argued again for formation of a single regional police force, rather than having independent forces relying on “integrated” units to fight organized crime. The Province story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist.

    The Canadian Press quoted Gordon as saying it would be a mistake for the government to throw lots of cash at the gang problem without an oversight body that holds police accountable.

    The Globe and Mail reported that West Vancouver police chief Kash Heed (an SFU grad) publicly suggested such amalgamation of police—but that quickly earned him a public rebuke from BC Solicitor-General John Les. Gordon was in that story, too, arguing that criminals continue their rampages for longer periods in regions where policing is fragmented. And Heed’s SFU background was cited in a column on the issue in the Vancouver Courier.

    Retired prof Gary Mauser was also on GlobalTV, talking about how Canada’s gun registry and gun legislation has not prevented, and cannot prevent, gangs from acquiring and using guns.

    Criminologist Ray Corrado, an expert on the recruitment of adolescents into gangs, was quoted in The Province, saying a large part of the problem is the gangland glamourization of guns and their availability. "If someone is packing a gun, you're going to be packing one, too."


  • Science writer Andrew Nikiforuk, now teaching at SFU in Vancouver, wrote a feature in the Globe and Mail on the threat to bees—and thus to farming in general—of viral 'colony collapse disorder'. "About one-third of the world's food depends on bees for pollination.” The article focused on SFU's Mark Winston, who retired SFU's honey bees last year after becoming academic director of the SFU’s Centre for Dialogue. The story concluded with this quote from Winston: "Our agricultural philosophy is all about overwhelming nature rather than collaborating with it. If we could hear bees talk, they would be crying right now and they would be saying, 'Leave us alone.' "

  • A Margaret Wente column in the Globe and Mail began: “A terrific thing happened to single mothers and their kids over the past decade. They've become a lot better off. Single mothers today are far less likely to be poor and far more likely to have jobs. And their income has shot up.” The column cited the recent study of poverty and employment by public policy prof John Richards.
    And a column by Lorne Gunter in National Post, arguing that “Work, not welfare, eliminates poverty”, also cited the Richards study, done for the C.D. Howe Institute.
  • A Barbara Yaffe column in The Vancouver Sun cited “an excellent article” in the Literary Review of Canada by urban studies prof Anthony Perl. Perl says Canada’s transportation system was never designed with energy efficiency in mind. “A Plan B will be needed to rapidly introduce energy-efficiency transportation alternatives." The column was reproduced in the Brandon (MB) Sun.

  • Economics prof David Andolfatto had bad news for the Yukon government and its investment of $36.5 million in a 30-day “asset-backed commercial paper” that now is frozen. Andolfatto told CBC News it could take years before the Yukon government finds out how much it will be able to recoup—and there's no guarantee on how much it will get back. "Your government took a bet, and the bet turned out poorly."

  • A Globe and Mail column on the potential of international trade embargoes to force other nations to reduce emissions quoted energy prof Mark Jaccard. "I've been saying this for 20 years. One way the world will take collective action on climate change is the rich countries imposing trade threats on developing countries. That is not something I'm advocating necessarily, but I'm just predicting the most likely scenario."

  • An article by international relations prof Alexander Moens, which appeared in several Canadian papers last week, defending the Security and Prosperity Partnership launched by the United States, Canada, and Mexico in 2005, ran this week in three more: the Peterborough Examiner, Guelph Mercury and Yorkton (SK) This Week. (And, farther afield, he wrote on the subject on two Dutch public affairs websites, Reformatorisch Dagblad and Yord.)

  • Walrus magazine carried a feature on electronic music. Among those quoted was SFU composer Barry Truax, who developed a number of groundbreaking computer music applications in the 1970s and 1980s. “In relatively living memory, it’s gone from something very esoteric to something that’s part of popular culture.”


  • Vancouver Sun writer Douglas Todd, a former Shadbolt Fellow at SFU, wrote a lengthy weekend feature in the Sun on an SFU-sponsored conference devoted to imagining the future of health care in B.C. 30 years from now. The sessions on Bowen Island were part of the "Imagine B.C." series, financially supported by SFU's Dialogue Programs, Vancouver philanthropist Rudy North and, more recently, the BC government.

    Among those making the conference a success was Joanna Ashworth, director of dialogue programs at SFU. Meanwhile, the Powell River Peak promoted tomorrow’s community dialogue workshop there, one of a series around BC that Ashworth is facilitating.
  • The Vancouver Sun, in a story about the state of the loonie, quoted economics prof Nicolas Schmitt: “There are lots of people around the world who want to buy Canadian dollars or Canadian assets denominated in Canadian dollars. It's like houses in Vancouver. The price of condominiums and houses in Vancouver is high [because of demand]. Canadian dollars is exactly the same thing."

  • The Vancouver Sun told readers that pharmaceutical researcher Robert Young at SFU will receive $4.5 million in grants as the B.C. Leadership Chair in pharmaceutical genomics in drug discovery. The money is to be used to find new drugs, focusing initially on osteoporosis and bone-degenerative diseases.

  • Burnaby Now followed up an SFU news release with a feature on the rescue of five totem poles from Naheeno Park on the Burnaby campus. Barbara Winter, curator of SFU's Museum of Ethnology and Archeology, was quoted. Bill Nelson of SFU's facilities management was also named in the story. And the paper used a photo taken and provided by Marianne Meadahl of SFU Public Affairs and Media Relations.

  • Gordon Price, director of SFU's City Program, wrote a guest article in The Vancouver Sun's Westcoast Homes section. He lauded former Vancouver planner Ray Spaxman. And he underlined Spaxman's warning that any new building should be "respectful of its neighbours, and of the citizens on the street"—but that we seem to be headed for, rather, ostentatious "pigs in space."

  • Price was also in a Vancouver Sun article on the architectural character (or lack of it) offered by the new Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre. "It's not a terrible building," said Price. "But it's not a great building, either. We could and should do better."

  • Speaking of buildings, the Journal of Commerce reported that SFU’s Technology and Science Complex II (TASC2), a $62.1-million research and office complex on the Burnaby campus, won a Silver Award—for general contractor Stuart Olson Inc.—from the Vancouver Regional Construction Association.

  • The Vancouver Courier ran the second of two columns looking at the work of Bruce Alexander, professor emeritus of psychology and this year’s Sterling Prize winner for his controversial work on addiction.


  • Maclean’s magazine, in its pages on rankings of Canadian universities, included a special feature that examined SFU’s dual-degree program with Zhejiang University in China, and, among other things, SFU’s introduction of requirements for courses in writing and analysis. President Michael Stevenson was quoted at length.

  • The Victoria Times Colonist, in an editorial, branded as “unwise” the support given by SFU’s dean of education, Paul Shaker, to a BC teacher’s refusal to give a required teaching test to a Grade 3 student in Langford BC.

    Said the paper: “ . . . the advice he offered, while perhaps suited to his own workplace, is incompatible with the duties his students will bear. Civil disobedience, and disrespect for authority, are not the hallmarks of professionalism.”

  • A similar editorial in the Globe and Mail concluded: “Sometimes, civil disobedience is just plain old disobedience.” The editorial noted the public defence of the teacher by Shaker. The dean’s stance was also mentioned in a National Post story on testing, though he was not named.

    And he was interviewed on the Dave Rutherford radio show on CHQR Calgary and CHED Edmonton.


  • Many sports outlets reported on awards to the Clan men’s soccer team. Team captain Luca Bellisomo was named the 2007 NAIA Region I Player of the Year, while head coach Dave Elligott was honoured with the his second Region I Coach of the Year award. Four Clan student-athletes were also named to the All-Region team: goalkeeper Thomas Lindley, midfielder Justin Carvery, striker Lucas Barrett, and Bellisomo.

  • The Vancouver Sun reported the Vancouver Whitecaps prepared for Wednesday’s soccer game against the L.A. Galaxy and David Beckham by holding two meetings with SFU sports psychologist David Cox. Caps coach Todd Wawrousek said: "Some of our players have never played in front of a crowd of this size (which turned out to be 48,000). We thought it would be a good idea to have a couple of meetings with David Cox, who has a very good reputation of helping athletes in a variety of ways.”
    Meanwhile, The Province carried a tribute to Beckham by lifelong admirer David Chen of Burnaby, who, when he moved to Canada from China, gave himself the name “David” to honour Beckham. Chen graduated from SFU last year.

  • The Province covered Petro-Canada’s invitation to Canadians to come up with a new sport to pitch to the Canadian Olympic Committee. The entry from Vancouver: bocce—suggested by Jesse Meredith, an SFU education student. He and friend Andrea Holan will face off against three winners from Calgary, Toronto and Montreal in an online vote. The winner will get a $15,000 trip for two to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.


  • A special advertorial section of The Vancouver Sun featured (in two stories) the Verdant development at UniverCity, "a leading-edge example of healthy, sustainable building practices and an esthetically attractive, community-friendly project at UniverCity." It added: "Verdant is estimated to use 65 per cent less energy and 50 per cent less water than a code building." UniverCity itself was also featured.
    And urban affairs columnist Trevor Boddy reported on the awards in the Globe and Mail.
  • The Globe and Mail and The Vancouver Sun reported that the 901-unit Sky Towers development in Surrey sold out within 30 hours over last weekend. Said the Sun: “The towers are directly across the street from the five Infinity highrises being built at the King George SkyTrain station. Together the projects are valued at $1 billion and, along with the Surrey campus of Simon Fraser University, are being described as the nucleus of Surrey's first downtown community.”


  • The Province featured a new Vancouver “Performance Posture clinic”. Among those quoted was Anna-Kristina Arnold, an ergonomics lecturer with SFU’s kinesiology department.

  • A feature in the Globe and Mail looked at impact of global warming on skiing and snowboarding. The story quoted Johannes Koch, formerly a glacier scientist at SFU. "Most glaciers will be gone from the Alps in the next 50 years. Most maps are now out of date in 10 to 20 years. We don't know what's going to happen in the future."

  • Two Ontario papers, the Kingston Whig-Standard and the Peterborough Examiner, looked at student loans and students' debt loads. Among those featured was Julian Benedict, co-founder of the Coalition for Student Loan Fairness. He graduated last year from SFU with an honours degree in history—and an accumulated debt of $36,000 in student loans.

  • The Vancouver Sun reported that Sara Orlesky been hired by TSN to work the Toronto scene as a Maple Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays and Argonauts reporter for SportsCentre. She began her sports broadcasting career while she was a communication student at SFU.

  • The New Westminster Record featured Frank Ciaccia, an inspector with the New Westminster Police Service, who now has become deputy director of the Justice Institute of B.C. He studied criminology at SFU, the paper noted.

  • The Province featuredMan Meets Woman, “a Vancouver company that teaches shy, socially awkward men the finer points of attraction and seduction.” The founder is Ronald Lee, who studied kinesiology and communication at SFU.


Maclean’s magazine came out this week with its annual Canadian university rankings. While open to debate over methodology, the issue is Maclean’s biggest seller each year. It covers 47 universities.
Maclean’s has far too much information and too many statistics to cover here in full, but here are some highlights:

How SFU ranked among the 11 comprehensive universities in various items:

(Last year’s standing in italics.)
SFU #2

SFU #1

SFU #1

SFU #1

(National awards)
SFU #2

SFU #5, 21.1

(per faculty member)
SFU #5, $103,623

(percentage of university budget)
SFU #3, 5.6%

SFU #1, $13047

(percentage of operating expenditures)
SFU #7, 6.8%

(percentage of operating expenditures)
SFU #6, 4.5%

Maclean’s also produced some national rankings covering all 47 universities. Among those highlights:

(From the magazine’s own survey of high-school principals and guidance counsellors, university officials, heads of organizations, and corporate CEOs and recruiters.)
Best overall
SFU #12
Highest quality
SFU #15
Most innovative
SFU #11
Leaders of tomorrow
SFU #16

SFU 86.1%, fourth highest in Canada


The Times Higher Education Supplement each year ranks the Top 200 universities in the world.

In this week’s release, SFU placed #139.

Last year, we didn’t make it into the Top 200 and stood at #282.

McGill ranked #12 this year, the highest in Canada. UBC was #33, up from #50 last year. Queen's was #88, Alberta 97, McMaster 108, Waterloo 112, Western Ontario 126, and Calgary 166.

Harvard was #1, followed by Cambridge and then Oxford.

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