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SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - December 21, 2007

December 21, 2007

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

A timely seasonal present: Today’s Parent magazine this week named SFU as one of Canada’s “Top 10 Family-Friendly Employers”. More on this below.

And another present: Rob Gordon, director of SFU’s school of criminology, is this year’s winner of the SFU’s President’s Award for service to the university through media and public relations. You’ll see Gordon’s name below—several times.

BC NEWS

  • Economist Nancy Olewiler, director of SFU’s Graduate Public Policy Program, was named this week to new board of TransLink. (The board takes over Jan. 1 when TransLink becomes the South Coast B.C. Transportation Authority.)

    Olewiler, who is already a director of BC Hydro, was on leave in Australia, and missed the widespread BC media coverage—and the political flak—generated by the new board. It was appointed by the BC government, replacing directors who were all elected mayors or city councillors.

    “They are a hand-picked group of Liberal flunkies,” Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan snorted in The Vancouver Sun. “(They) will be receptive to do whatever the Liberals want them to do.” He continued that theme in Burnaby Now.

    TheTyee.ca objected: “It's also noteworthy that Marvin Shaffer, a long time adviser to TransLink and adjunct professor in public policy at Simon Fraser University . . . wasn't even on the short list. Why not? Schaffer is probably the number one expert in the field but is seen as a leftie! Might that have been the reason?”

    But in a Province story, Warren Gill, SFU vice-president and a transportation expert, called Olewiler "truly terrific." And he added: "I look at it (the board) as professionals, professionals with good judgment.”
  • The Vancouver Sun was the first paper to use a news release from SFU on how chancellor emeritus Milton Wong and his family have donated $3 million to SFU’s new School for the Contemporary Arts quarters in the Woodward’s redevelopment project. Wong also chairs the $30-million capital fundraising campaign for the school.

  • The Surrey Leader ran on Dec. 16 the first of a two-part series on research at SFU’s Surrey campus. The story began: “Some outstanding and innovative university research is happening in our own back yard at SFU Surrey." Part II runs this Sunday, Dec. 23.

  • The Chilliwack Times reported that last week's massive landslide into Chehalis Lake was “perfectly natural.” It quoted Olav Lian, adjunct professor of earth sciences at SFU. “It's a crazy place to live," Lian said of geological BC. "This could happen anywhere and is going to happen sooner or later everywhere."

  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was quoted in a Vancouver Courier column on the city’s proposal to expand the “ambassador program"—adding to the ranks of private security patrols in downtown Vancouver.

  • Criminology director Rob Gordon was on CKNW, discussing the huge international drug bust that began in Vancouver last week, and in the Victoria News in a story on connections between the local drug trade and gangs in Vancouver. The latter story also ran in the Saanich News and Goldstream News-Gazette.

  • Psychologist Stephen Hart was on CTV News on the story of a Kamloops family who came home to find their dog had been killed—and a neighbour who freely admitted that he killed the animal because its barking disturbed him.

  • Economist Stephen Easton was on CKNW talking about the marijuana business in BC.

  • And the Surrey-North Delta Leader said there are an estimated 30 to 50 suspected marijuana grow operations there, down from nearly 1,000 thanks to fire-department inspections of big electricity users. The paper cited a study on the inspection initiative by SFU grad Parvir Girn. The story also ran in the Peace Arch News.

  • The Fraser Valley edition of the Business Examiner carried an SFU news release on how SFU business students are proving to be better money managers than investment professionals. Since 2003, they have achieved an average annual return of 13.2 per cent on the university's student-managed endowment fund, now standing at $10 million. SFU treasurer Jim Boyd and MBA student Jenn Julé were quoted.

  • ChannelM-TV interviewed Toby Donaldson of the School of Computing Science re: his annual list of hi-tech toys for Christmas 2007. You’ll find it here.

  • The Vancouver Sun caught up to the appointment of Arthur Robson, Canada Research Chair in Economic Theory and Evolution at SFU, as one of only 10 Canadian Fellows of the Econometric Society. It is the most prestigious learned society in the field of economics.

  • Epoch Times and Asian Pacific Post picked up on an SFU news release about a study showing many highly educated immigrants to BC are stuck in low-paying jobs with little protection of their rights. The study is from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Philippine Women Centre. Co-author is Habiba Zaman, an associate prof of women’s studies at SFU.

NATIONAL NEWS

  • The Canadian Press news agency examined the state and fate of the RCMP. Among those quoted was Rob Gordon, director of criminology. “A reconstituted RCMP would probably be a good way of going. . . . They still are focused more on the need to have polished boots than they are to have polished brains.” The story promptly ran in 10 media outlets across the country.

  • In a follow-up to the Robert Pickton serial murder trial, Gordon was quoted in a Canadian Press story on Pickton’s future in the prison system. He suggested that, like child serial-killer Clifford Olson and sex-killer Paul Bernardo, Pickton may have to be held in the tightest security possible to protect him from other cons. The story ran in a dozen Canadian papers.

    Meanwhile, the Ottawa Citizen quoted SFU criminologist John Lowman as estimating that street sex workers are 60 to 112 times more likely to be victims of fatal violence than non-sex workers. “The sad truth is that Mr. Pickton is the tip of the iceberg,” said the paper.

    Lowman was also on GlobalTV, saying: “I think the Pickton experience has shown us we must immediately do something to make women involved in the survival sex trade on the street, we must do something to make them safer.”

    As well, Lowman was quoted in a Dan Gardner column on the subject in the Ottawa Citizen. And that column then ran in the Victoria Times Colonist.

    Also following up on the trial, The Vancouver Sun examined how lawyers and judges could make it easier for jurors to understand the law and legalese. This in a Peter McKnight column that quoted SFU psychologists James Ogloff and Gordon Rose.

    Rose was also mentioned in an editor’s column in the Langley Times. He and editor Frank Bucholtz had appeared earlier on the Bill Good show on CKNW. The column ran in the Tri-City News as well.
  • CanWest News Service looked at Statistics Canada migration numbers, and quoted Gordon Price, director of SFU's City Program, on why BC has become the second-fastest growing province: “There's a natural pull being in a place that doesn't really have winter. But the fundamental one is, is there a job and can I afford to live here?" The story ran in The Vancouver Sun and the Victoria Times Colonist (and in Real Estate in Victoria).

  • The Globe and Mail reported Ottawa is reimbursing emergency passport fees paid by thousands of Lebanese-Canadians who were evacuated from war-torn Lebanon last year. Prof emeritus John Chant said he couldn't understand the government's decision. "It does seem puzzling to me.” The story also appeared in Lebanon’s Ya Libnan online.

  • The Edmonton Journal looked at new instruments that aid forensic psychologists and psychiatrists in their understanding of the criminal mind and of the threat posed by certain types of offenders. Forensic psychologist Stephen Hart of SFU was quoted. Also quoted was risk consultant Christopher Webster, who taught at SFU in the late 1990s.

  • The Edmonton Journal, Western Star and the Prince George Citizen became the latest papers to carry a Vancouver Sun feature on the MITACS internship program that connects businesses across Canada with university expertise to conduct important research. Arvind Gupta, scientific director of SFU-based MITACS, was quoted.

  • The December issue of Today’s Parent magazine named SFU as one of Canada’s “Top 10 family-friendly employers”. It noted SFU “tops up parental leave benefits to 100% of salary for 37 weeks, for new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents (and) offers on-site daycare, including summer day camp programs.”

    It’s our first time in the list in its five-year history.

    THE ENVIRONMENT
  • A year-end roundup story by The Canadian Press news agency began:The ghosts of Kyoto treaties past and future haunted the beginning and the end of 2007.” Included was a challenge to politicians from SFU’s energy guru, prof Mark Jaccard: “We have 20 years of politicians telling us about the tough stuff they're going to do the next year. To me, the default is don't believe them, they don't have any credibility.” The story quickly ran on CBC Radio and in a dozen other media outlets across Canada.

  • The Canadian Press also carried a national feature on the Mackenzie Delta, “a global hotspot for climate change, where impacts are expected to hit first and hardest.” Among those quoted was river ecologist Lance Lesack of SFU. "We really might be changing the system quite dramatically. We didn't think it would happen this fast."

    The CP story ran in more than a dozen media outlets.
  • CanWest News Service wrote about marketing loyalty programs that are going green. Quoted was SFU marketing prof Lindsay Meredith: "The big trend here is that the corporate world has seen the bucks in green. The idea of reducing your carbon footprint is high profile, it's sexy, and most of all, it's easy to market." The feature ran in The Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Regina Leader-Post, Winnipeg Free Press, Windsor Star, and Montreal Gazette.

  • The Vancouver Sun quoted Jaccard in a story that looked at the future of the "Bali road map" toward tackling climate change. Jaccard, of SFU’s school of Resource and Environmental Management, said it will take more difficult negotiations and "trade pressures" before an international agreement can be reached. He said the deal "really has to wait until we get a new government in the U.S."

  • Science Magazine (followed by Canadian media) reported on a new study suggesting fish farming could cause several populations of one species of salmon in BC to plummet by 99% within eight years. "It's a shocking number," said John Reynolds of SFU, who holds the Tom Buell BC Leadership Chair in Salmon Conservation.

  • The Vancouver Sun reported that a number of churches are urging BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor to include a carbon tax in the next budget, saying such a measure would help save God's creation—the planet Earth. The story noted that 69 economists from SFU, UBC, UVic and UNBC recently signed an open letter to Taylor calling for such a tax in B.C. The Kamloops Daily News picked up the story.

  • Sudbury-based NorthernLife.ca carried a column saying climate change is worse than imagined. It cited the book Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge, written by Jaccard, SFU researcher Nic Rivers, and Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson.

  • A Canadian Business article on entrepreneurial opportunities stemming from global warming quoted Deborah Harford, program director of SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team.

  • The New Westminster Record wrote about green Christmas presents. It quoted Boyd Cohen, assistant prof of sustainability and entrepreneurship. “"It's better to buy a massage or manicure instead of jewelry or watches or other products because services have almost no environmental impact." The story also ran in Burnaby Now and Surrey-North Delta Leader.

  • In a guest column in the Athabasca (AB) Town and Country, Larissa Duma, a fourth-year environmental science and biology student, offered Albertans some tips on how to act on climate change and reduce energy consumption.

HEALTH

  • GlobalTV carried a feature on how Burnaby Hospital has reduced in-hospital hip fractures from 14 in 2003/2004 to three in 2006/2007. Featured was Fabio Feldman, manager of seniors' falls and injury prevention for Fraser Health Authority. He is finishing his kinesiology PhD at SFU. The station filmed Feldman and his work at the Burnaby campus.

  • The Province ran a story that began: “In pain? Skip the morphine, and try a video game.” It featured the work of pain researcher Diane Gromala, founding director of SFU's BioMedia lab. Gromala, who suffers from chronic pain herself, is working with doctors to learn how virtual reality therapies can give people ways to express and keep track of their pain.

    By way of CanWest News Service, the story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist, Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald. The item also appeared in half a dozen video-gaming blogsites.
  • The Toronto Star wrote that Canada’s health-care system cannot keep up with the tide of diabetes. In a sidebar story, the Star quoted Scott Lear, associate professor of kinesiology at SFU, as saying waist circumference is a better measure of the risk of diabetes and heart disease than body mass index.

EDUCATION

  • The Vancouver Sun reported that the University of BC Senate rejected this week a recommendation that would have ended the requirement for students seeking admission to write four Grade 12 provincial exams. Last week, the University of Victoria accepted such a proposal. SFU will look at the issue in January.

  • The Surrey North Delta Leader promoted SFU’s invitation to First Nations, Metis and Inuit to sign up for the Aboriginal University Prep Program, which begins in January at the Surrey campus. The program helps students build a foundation of academic and personal skills in preparation for post-secondary education.

SPORTS

  • Burnaby Now reported that plans for a multi-use sports complex at Sprott Street and Kensington Avenue have been given third reading by city council. Mayor Derek Corrigan said: "Obviously we'd like to see the development go ahead. Synergies with the SFU project would be great." That refers to the proposed Burnaby Mountain Sport and Medical Centre, a $250-million project that includes two rooftop fields, an indoor track and field, and sports medicine labs and treatment areas on the Burnaby campus.

  • Burnaby Now also reported that former Clan basketball coaches Stan Stewardson and Alex Devlin will enter the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame. Stewardson twice coached the Clan to 20-win seasons. Devlin was an All-American and NAIA all-star during his basketball playing days at SFU. He also coached at SFU from 1976 to 1978. They’ll be inducted in February.

  • The Province featured Burnaby wrestler Haislan Garcia of the SFU-based Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club—and even began to compare him to SFU’s Olympian, Daniel Igali. Garcia won the 66-kilogram division at Canada's 2008 Olympic trials tournament last weekend.

ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT

  • The Province reported that SFU’s writing program is calling on people to submit a brief recollection of the Downtown Eastside, in writing and/or photos or artwork, for later display or publication.

  • The North Shore News featured Lisa C. Ravensbergen, actress, writer and director, former First Nations programs director at SFU, and a fine arts grad of the university. She has just completed The Ecstasy of Rita Joe at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre, to rave reviews.

  • A guest column in The Vancouver Sun looked at public art—and the works of public art that people love and hate. With his urban geographer’s hat on, VP Warren Gill was quoted as saying "public art is a challenging and intellectual stimulus."

  • The Vancouver Sun featured Grant Strate, a one-time lawyer who became a dancer and choreographer for Canada’s National Ballet, created the York University dance program, and later became the head of the Centre for the Arts at SFU. The story marked a special 80th birthday celebration for Strate.

  • Rogers Broadcasting named Paul Ski as CEO of its radio division. Ski joins Rogers after more than 30 years with the CHUM radio group, most recently as president. He has an MBA from SFU.

  • The South Delta Leader featured a new book on the history of Tsawwassen. The author is Leader columnist Gwen Szychter, who, the paper noted, has a masters from SFU.

COMING UP

  • Criminology chief Rob Gordon is to be the cover “personality” story—and posed for the cover picture—in the coming winter issue of Scrivener, the magazine of the Society of Notaries Public of BC. He talks about the influence of TV’s CSI shows on criminology enrollment, BC’s adult guardianship law, and the coming SFU master’s program for BC Notaries. Also featured: forensic entomologist Gail Anderson, and the CSI:SFU work being done in the new SFU forensic labs.

SFU’s news releases appear online at: http://www.sfu.ca/pamr/media_releases/

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