April 5, 2006

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Social networks help solve problems
Want to know more about the role of social networks related to a wide range of issues that include terrorism, gangs, adolescent friendship, entrepreneurial business, migration patterns, sex and drugs, or infectious diseases? An April 24-30 conference in Vancouver on social networks, the International Sunbelt Network Conference organized by SFU communication professor Bill Richards, has attracted more than 400 registrants from around the world. “Social networks touch so many aspects of life,” explains Richards. “People are starting to realize that if you take a network approach to problems, you can make more headway in addressing serious issues.” The conference has attracted more than 350 papers on a vast range of social networks. To attend the Vancouver conference, visit or contact

Ovenell-Carter wins writing award
For the second consecutive year Julie Ovenell-Carter, assistant director of media and public relations, has won a Northern Lights award from the Canadian Tourism Commission. She received the award, which recognizes outstanding travel writing about Canada, at a ceremony in Beverly Hills, California on April 4. The competition draws entries from media outlets across North America and is judged by journalism professors from Ottawa's Carleton University. A long-time freelance travel writer, Ovenell-Carter was recognized for her recent Georgia Straight article on Churchill, Manitoba. This is her second writing honour this year: in February, she won the SeeAmerica award for travel writing excellence for a Globe and Mail story about hiking in Arizona's Havasu Canyon.

Nominations open for service awards
It's nomination time for the many service awards available at SFU. Some are applicable to students, others to staff and/or faculty and alumni. There are two new awards this year - the $1,000 Meloche Mennox outstanding student leadership award recognizes a third or fourth year student who demonstrates a combination of outstanding academic achievement and leadership at SFU or in the broader community. The $1,000 Dr. B.R. Ambedkar humanitarian award recognizes a student who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement, leadership and/or service at SFU. This award gives preference to service related to human rights. For more information on all the awards and nomination requirements, contact

Associate VP-research sought
SFU is seeking internal nominations for the new position of associate VP-research. This position will share responsibility for academic leadership in, and administration of, research and other scholarly activities by all personnel associated with the university. A major responsibility will be advocating the university's research mission externally and internally. The five-year term commences Sept. 1. Deadline for nominations/applications is May 1. For more information visit

Retirement seminar planned
Does retirement beckon? For faculty and staff who are 50 years or older, the department of human resources is holding a pre-retirement planning seminar on April 27 at 9 a.m. in room WMC 3210 at the SFU Burnaby campus. Seminar topics include retirement package options, investment strategies, organizing a will and power of attorney, and a panel of retirees who will discuss the pros and cons of their retirement choices.To register, contact

Budget set, tuition fees rise 2 per cent
Basic tuition fees for credit courses at Simon Fraser University will rise by 2 per cent effective September 2006. The increase was passed by the board of governors on March 23 as part of the university's 2006-2007 operating budget. During discussion before  the vote, board chair Saida Rasul read a message from student board member Shawn Hunsdale outlining the student position in opposition to the proposed increase.  Student services fees and recreation and athletics fees will also rise two per cent.  

The university's 2006-2007 operating budget is set at $331,978,000 and may be modified following final grant notification from the provincial government. One fund that has been severely pruned pays for cyclical maintenance of buildings and grounds. It received a 33-per-cent reduction from 2005-2006 with the result that only the highest priority items will receive attention.

Plant sale set for May 17
Simon Fraser's annual plant sale takes place on May 17 from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Town Square, next to the Cornerstone building. All proceeds support student bursaries through the Campus Community Bursary Endowment Fund. 

The bursary endowment, established in 1997 with plant sale and community support, has grown to nearly $241,000, providing more than $35,000 for students in financial need. All donations from perennial and herb gardens are welcome. There will be a great selection of clematis and other interesting house and garden plants.  For more information contact: Malgorzata Dubiel, 604-291-3800 or

Silent auction begins May 1
The 2005 silent auction benefiting the Campus Community Bursary Endowment Fund was so popular organizers are doing it again, this time as part of the annual plant sale. The auction runs from May 1-17.  The call is out for interesting donations. For more information contact Wanda Dekleva at 604-291-3093 or

Grad sparks biotechnology deal
SFU alumnus Terry Snutch's research has sparked Canada's largest biotechnology licencing agreement. The company he founded, Neuromed Pharmaceuticals, recently signed a deal worth a potential $500 million with global pharmaceuticals firm, Merck & Co.  The deal will push Neuromed's lead compound NMED-160 further towards commercialization. The drug, which is based on Snutch's research, is a powerful new painkiller that is currently in the second of three phases of human testing. Snutch earned a bachelor of science degree at SFU and then studied for his PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry with SFU professor David Baillie, who is a founding shareholder in Neuromed.

“Terry was a fantastic graduate student - very bright and very determined,” says Baillie. “He has golden hands. When he does an experiment, it almost always works.”  Snutch graduated from SFU in 1984 and went on to do post-doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology before moving to UBC where he began the research that evolved into NMED-160. In 1994, SFU honoured him with an outstanding alumni award for academic excellence.

Corazza, Richardson top athletes
Clan soccer star Andrew Corazza and wrestler Emily Richardson are the university's athletes of the year. Corazza, who won the same honour in 2005, was recently drafted by the Vancouver Whitecaps and is now training with the team. The Clan's all-time leading goal scorer, Corazza set the team's career scoring record, closing his senior year with 179 career points and scoring 81 goals in 69 games.

Richardson won the gold medal in her weight class (59 kilograms) at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport  championship and was named most outstanding female competitor at the meet. She also placed seventh at the senior world championship and finished the season undefeated in collegiate competition. The women's cross country team, winners of the 2005 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship, earned the President's Team Award, given to the program that achieves the highest combined performance in academic, athletic and community service.

Recipes wanted
Stir up some enthusiasm for SFU's 40th anniversary by contributing a simple, foolproof recipe to the campus activity group's cookbook fundraiser, which debuts at the June 3 SFU open house. The cookbook is targeting students learning to cook in their first years away from home (or living in their parent's basement). Funds raised will be evenly split between the United Way and SFU's student bursaries and scholarship fund.

Coordinator Paulette Johnston is looking for easy recipes for appetizers, salads, soups, stews, pastas and sauces and desserts. No-bake recipes, one-pot meals and microwave dishes are particularly welcome, she says. Deadline for submitting recipes is April 18. All recipes will be taste-tested. LIDC design team Ivana Filipovic and Jonathan Nodrick will design the cookbook and Raj Nadrajan in SFU reprographics will print it in colour with the support of Xerox. For more information, log in to with your SFU computing identification and password and follow the instructions.

Holt wins administrator award
Doctoral candidate Carrie Holt has won a graduate student award from the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada in recognition of her academic excellence and outstanding leadership.
Holt's thesis, which is almost finished, evaluates management strategies for Pacific salmon fisheries in B.C. and Alaska. She has discovered that current target harvest rates may not be appropriate because they don't account for uncertainties in meeting these targets.

“Uncertainties in how well you can achieve your targets are critical when managing fisheries,” says Holt, whose thesis proposes a new computer simulation model to account for the deviation. She's hopeful that this new model will help fisheries managers to maximize the catch while avoiding any conservation concerns. Holt has also found time in the past five years at SFU to organize a graduate students' network for those studying fisheries and marine ecosystems.

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