February 05, 2004

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Bennathan choreographer-in-residence
French-born choreographer Serge Bennathan, who trained in Paris in classical and modern dance and has led Toronto's Dancemakers as artistic director since 1990, will be the first choreographer-in-residence to visit SFU under the Iris Garland dance program enhancement fund. Established in memory of SFU emeritus contemporary arts professor Iris Garland, the fund brings visiting international choreographers to SFU to work with faculty and students.

Bennathan will visit SFU from Feb. 2 to Feb. 20, choreographing a work for advanced dance students in the contemporary arts program and also teaching a series of master classes. He will make a public presentation on campus Feb. 18, at 5 p.m. at the Halpern centre. For more information, please contact: Gloria Casciano at 604-291-4672.

Canadians support university education
A large majority of Canadians see the benefits of a university education and believe government should do more to ensure there's a spot for every qualified student, according to a recent poll by Ekos Research Associates. At least three-quarters of Canadians say that a university degree greatly improves job prospects, lifetime earnings and career advancement, as well as quality of life and personal growth. Two-thirds of Canadians, however, don't believe that universities have room for all qualified students wishing to attend.

Nearly four-fifths of Canadians support additional government grants to universities to expand their capacity. Nearly nine out of 10 Canadians see this spending as a good long-term investment for the country. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada estimates that rising demand will push up enrolment at Canadian universities by at least 30 percent, or 200,000 additional full-time students, in the decade ending in 2011. Full poll results are available at

Count your steps
A national health research initiative launched Jan. 26 is targeting what motivates people to get active. Canada on the Move is encouraging Canadians to count their daily steps by clipping on pedometers and donate their steps - both with or without the use of the pedometer - to research. People can submit their daily step counts on a website, SFU kinesiology professor Diane Finegood says pedometers can be helpful, but more research is needed to learn about how they are used and what motivates people to increase their levels of physical activity.

Finegood is the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Diabetes which is undertaking the initiative with the support of the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis. Research shows that an active person walks about 10,000 steps a day.

Pekarsky named to board of governors
Daniel Pekarsky, president of the Corporate Advisory Group, has been appointed to a three-year term by order-in-council to the SFU board of governors. Pekarsky, who holds bachelor of law and a bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Alberta, is a former president and chief executive officer of Rothschild Corporation (Canada) Inc., and was vice-chairman of Rothschild Canada Ltd. Pekarsky practiced law in Edmonton, Alberta from 1961 to 1979. In 1984, as a member of the advisory committee to the minister of state for finance, he examined Canada's financial services industry. A former member of the Vancouver Symphony Society board, Pekarsky is past national chairman of the Canada Israel Committee.

Energy saving upgrade
During the next four months, SFU will continue with an energy efficient lighting upgrade, retrofitting lighting systems in buildings ranging from the west mall complex and Diamond university center to the Shrum science buidling and the greenhouses. Phase one of the lighting upgrade, which included the academic quadrangle, library and R.C. Brown buildings, is almost complete.

Sam Dahabieh, director of facilities management, says SFU is spending approximately $3 million on the upgrade and expects to save $250,000 annually as a result of lighting energy efficiency. The improvements are also beneficial to the environment, since SFU will save 6,300,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year. B.C. Hydro and Natural Resources Canada support this initiative through the Power Smart and Energy Retrofit assistance programs.

First novel published
Applause from the Writers Studio ... but it's not a real studio. The Writers Studio is an intensive, part-time, one-year mentoring program that is the focal point of a non-credit certificate in creative writing, organized by continuing studies' writing and publishing program. But the applause is real. It's for the author of the first novel published by a studio member - James Sherrett.

His book, Up in Ontario (Turnstone Press), earned favourable reviews in the Globe and Mail which calls the story of the changing relationship between a son and his father “deceptively conventional,” with an ending that “gradually casts the whole novel in a revealing new light.” Sherrett worked on his manuscript for more than six years, surviving publisher's rejection and a rewrite. With a publication contract in hand he joined the Writer's Studio for the opportunity to work on his manuscript with Stephen Osborne, founder of Arsenal/Pulp Press and editor of Geist magazine.

Electronic pay slips coming soon
Pay slips for SFU staff and faculty are going digital. The new PeopleSoft human resources/payroll software implementation goes live in May 2004 and, in preparation, all pay slips will move online by the end of March. Electronic pay notification isn't new, says Denis Berube, director of finance and ancillary services. “We've had it in place for a couple of years, with about 300 people signed up for it.”

He says the 300 beta users are finding the new system useful, with easier to understand and better information and improved security over paper pay slips. There are three easy steps to accessing electronic pay notification: click on mysfu on the SFU homepage, log in using your SFU email user name, click on the staff tab at the top of the page and your pay notification will be automatically displayed. Berube notes that electronic pension calculations for administrative and union pension plan members can also be accessed from the same tab.

Make education a priority, Ottawa urged
The post-secondary education community across Canada is calling on Prime Minister Paul Martin to make post-secondary education a priority for Canada. Six national education associations, including the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, have called on the federal government to stress the importance of post-secondary education. They recommend that the federal government commit to working with provinicial and territorial governments to design and implement a fiscal transfer to the provinces and territories for the specific purpose of funding post-secondary education.

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