Sep 04, 2003

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Wexler, Bukszar win teaching awards
“If Webster's dictionary ever decides to put pictures beside words, Mark Wexler's picture would be the ideal one to place beside the word ‘teacher'.” For professors who are committed to their teaching, student comments don't get much better than that.

Wexler, professor of business administration and a renowned expert on ethics, is one of two winners of a $2000 TD Canada Trust distinguished teaching award. Ed Bukszar, associate professor of business administration, also won the coveted award, which is presented each year in the faculty of business administration for excellence in teaching. Awards are based on teaching-related activities such as course development and preparation of teaching materials, as well as on nominees' statements and student comments. Students noted Bukszar's keen intelligence and ability to teach strategic concepts in ways that get the best out of his students. This is the second time that Wexler and Bukszar have won the award.

Two research chairs named
A world renowned earthquake expert and a social psychologist, acclaimed for his research on the roots of prejudice and intergroup discrimination, are SFU's newest Canada research chairs. Stephen Wright, a social psychologist from the University of California in Santa Cruz, has written dozens of book chapters and articles on how different societal groups' concepts of collective identity influence prejudicial attitudes. Wright has been awarded a tier 2 Canada Research Chair in SFU's department of psychology to continue his pioneering research on why and when groups with different collective identities clash or get along.

John Clague, already an earth sciences professor with a Shrum chair in science at SFU, has been awarded a tier 1 Canada Research Chair in natural hazards research in the department of earth sciences. Clague's chair will allow him to focus on evaluating B.C.'s vulnerability to future earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and floods. Clague's chair will be the cornerstone of a new centre for natural hazards research at SFU.

SFU a top 10 playground
SFU claimed one of the top 10 spots in Outside Magazine's September 2003 cover story, 40 Best College Towns. The only Canadian post-secondary institution to make the list, SFU came in sixth, ahead of such prestigious universities as Stanford, Princeton, and Cornell. The article ranks “North America's best places to learn, live, work, and play,” and recognizes 40 schools “that turn out smart grads with top-notch academic credentials, a healthy environmental ethos, and an A+ sense of adventure.” Outside Magazine is published in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mediator appointed in human rights claim
The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is appointing a mediator to help settle a dispute between eight female professors at Canadian universities and Industry Canada. The eight, including SFU political scientist Marjorie Griffin Cohen, filed a complaint with the CHRC this year alleging that the Canada Research Chair program's nomination process at most universities is discriminatory. SFU is named as one of the universities accused of making it difficult, if not impossible, for women and members of minority groups to stand as viable candidates for Canada Research Chairs. Industry Canada, a federal ministry, administers the Canada Research Chair program, a five year initiative allotting $900 million in funding to universities nationally for the appointment of 2,000 chairs. The mediation will take place this fall.

Discovery Park conference set
Research park executives, researchers and entrepreneurs will discuss the global growth of university-based research parks at the 18th annual conference of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP). The Westin Bayshore hotel in Vancouver is hosting the event September 10 to 12. The AURP has more than 200 members worldwide. It is a non-profit group of university-research parks dedicated to fostering university-industry relations, economic development, technology transfer and the incubation of start-up companies.

Discovery Park's site at SFU was the first university research park in B.C. SFU VP-research Bruce Clayman, a member of Discovery Park's board of directors and board secretary of the AURP helped organize the conference. Clayman says the event serves as an important forum where members “learn from the experiences of parks in other jurisdictions and make connections with tenant companies interested in international expansion.” He notes Discovery Park, which hosts more than 40 companies, is not only augmenting SFU's research revenue, but also contributing to the development and promotion of UniverCity, the university's new mountain-top residential community.

Board approves residence, dining hall
In September 2005, 250 additional students will be able to call Simon Fraser University home (or at least, their home-away-from home). The new residence spaces, and an expanded dining hall, were approved at the July 24 board of governors' meeting. With completion of this third, eight-story tower, the Burnaby campus will have accommodation for 1,850 students. The decision to build the additional new facility is welcomed by Jan Fialkowski, residence and housing director. “We are thrilled and delighted,” she says. “There is an overwhelming demand for on-campus housing. At the moment, we are only able to offer accommodation to one in three applicants.”

While the new residence will certainly help fill some of the demand, she says work is underway on a master plan for residence expansion to support the university's academic initiatives.The first two towers and the dining hall will open in fall 2004 with approximately 475 first year students on a mandatory meal program. There are currently about 1,100 residence spaces at SFU: the original residences - Shell house, Madge Hogarth, and Louie Riel, the family apartments - and the newer McTaggart-Cowan and Hamilton halls and the townhouse complex.

Pair win science teaching award
Rustum Choksi, an assistant professor of mathematics, believes in effective teaching, which he defines as the ability to tailor course material so that it is relevant to the students enrolled in the course. It's a teaching philosophy that seems to work - Choksi is one of two science faculty this year to win a science faculty award for teaching excellence. The other winning teacher is Ingrid Northwood, a lecturer in microbiology and biochemistry and undergraduate student advisor in the faculty of science.

Since joining SFU in 1997, Choksi has been tailoring mathematics courses to the interests of both undergraduate and graduate students - 13 different courses in all. And students have been loving it. They rate his teaching at an unusually high 3.58 out of a possible 4.0 and many refer to him as the best mathematics teacher they've encountered.

Northwood, say her students, works tirelessly on their behalf and has a knack for making complicated things seem so easy - a considerable feat considering that she teaches microbiology and biochemistry. Student evaluations rate her teaching at a very high 3.6 in a required third year course and an exceptional 3.8 in her lab courses. Students also note that she makes an effort to introduce them to the most modern and contemporary concepts and technologies in the field, an effort they appreciate since it equips them well for employment or post-graduate education. Both win a $1,000 faculty award.

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