Nov 14, 2002

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Kretz wins scholarship
SFU student Patricia Kretz, 19, is one of four Canadian students to receive the 2002 Fessenden-Trott scholarship from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. The $9,000 scholarship, named for the Canadian creator of the wireless telegraph service, recognizes the outstanding academic achievement and community involvement of a student who has completed one year of post-secondary education. It is renewable for up to three years. Now in her second year of biology, Kretz earned a 3.96 grade point while also playing soccer for SFU, coaching a girl's soccer team, working as a tutor, and volunteering weekly in a local soup kitchen.

High success rate
The overall success rate of Simon Fraser University graduate students applying for scholarships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) was significantly higher this year compared to last. This year's rate was 81 per cent compared to 66 per cent last year. The national average was 70 per cent. Thirty three grants worth $17,300 each were awarded to students in their first, second or third year of graduate studies. Ten grants valued at $19,100 each were awarded to third, fourth and fifth year graduate students. In another category, for which the success rate is not available, 11 post doctoral fellowships ($35,000 each) were awarded to SFU graduates. A federally sponsored granting council, NSERC awards scholarships and fellowships to university students performing outstanding research in the sciences and engineering.

Sitter awarded honour
The American Statistical Association (ASA) has named SFU statistics professor Randy Sitter a fellow member for his contributions to sample survey methodology and the design and analysis of industrial experiments. The designation of fellow has been a superlative honour in the ASA for 87 years. In order to be honoured with the title of fellow, members must have an established reputation and have made an outstanding contribution in some aspect of statistical work. Sitter was one of 48 members recognized as a fellow this year. There were 91 nominations for the title.

Contribute to senate review
The senate committee on international activities (SCIA) undertakes periodic reviews of SFU's involvement in other countries. Currently, SCIA is examining SFU's role in the People's Republic of China. To contribute to this review, consult the terms of reference posted on accessible through the SFU home page.

Be a movie star
Beetle Box Media is looking for volunteers to participate in the filming of a TV short featuring the Morris J. Wosk centre for dialogue, on Nov. 19, 4:45 - 6:30 p.m. The short film - Comitium - is for national broadcast on the Bravo network. It will use the Wosk centre to promote the importance of conversation and communication. To reserve a seat, send an email to (

Scots' friends raise funds
A volunteer committee called the Friends of the centre for Scottish studies has raised approximately $57,000 since last spring to add to the centre's existing $33,000. The total raised to date, $90,000, will go toward establishing an endowment-funded chair for the centre. The group, led by senior volunteer Ian Davidson, vice-president at RBC Dominion Securities, responded to a challenge from SFU chancellor Milton Wong, who agreed to contribute $10,000 if they could raise the same amount or more. SFU faculty of arts advancement officer Susan McAlevy says the committee members' fundraising enthusiasm is fuelled by their passionate interest in Scottish culture and heritage.

Puzzling experience
Brad Bart had a puzzling experience in October. The SFU computing science lecturer was among 80 worldwide competitors who gathered in Oulu, Finland for a world puzzle championship. Bart, as it turns out, achieved 18th place in a competition where a top-20 performance is considered a huge accomplishment. The top Canadian puzzler came in fourth and the Canadian team, of which Bart was also a member, came in fifth. The puzzles, he says, can be about anything independent of language.

New high-tech lab
Simon Fraser University is home to a new lab that boasts a mathematical computational environment and a high-tech playroom unrivaled anywhere in Canada. SFU's Colab opened in June. It is equipped with four 50-inch interactive plasma computer screens, and a 72-inch projected screen, all linked with touch sensitive capabilities and high performance computing capabilities. Financed largely by a $500,000 New Opportunities grant tied to Shrum professor Jonathan Borwein's Canada Research chair, the CoLab is involved in three major projects. They all seek to optimize collaboration, research and learning in an environment where advanced communication and computational technologies are able to complement each other.

Park wins award
SFU's Discovery Park is among six in the B.C. network of Discovery Parks that have won the 2002 outstanding research/science park achievement award from the Association of University Research Parks, an international organization of 230 parks. The award recognizes parks that excel in bringing technology from the university laboratory to economically viable business activities.

Maclean's ranks SFU third
The top three comprehensive universities in Canada all swapped places again in the 2002 Maclean's magazine university rankings. Simon Fraser University now ranks third behind Waterloo, with Guelph taking the top spot this year. “We are aware of the challenges these rankings point out,” said SFU President Michael Stevenson. “Nevertheless, members of the Simon Fraser University community have every reason to be proud of our performance. In the 11 years that Maclean's has ranked comprehensive universities, we've consistently been in the top three, placing first five times, second four times and third twice.”

Although SFU maintained its ranking in 11 of the 22 categories measured, and improved in five categories, drops in five others contributed to the university's third place showing. In particular SFU lost ground on class size in both upper and lower division classes. It also saw a decline in operating budget. SFU faculty continue to top the category for social sciences and humanities research grants, and rank among the top three for research grants in the natural sciences and for awards per full-time faculty.

Province funds research
Five major research projects involving Simon Fraser University professors will receive the provincial funding they need to access federal funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) program. The province is collectively putting $7 million into the projects through its B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF). B.C. advanced education minister Shirley Bond recently announced that the following projects will receive portions of the latest BCKDF allotment. The interdisciplinary research in the mathematical and computational sciences (IRMACS) facility, led by mathematics professor Peter Borwein, receives $4.6 million toward a total project cost of $11.5 million.

Associate professor of mathematics Keith Promislow receives $828,000 to help develop a computational fuel cell dynamics facility to study proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Associate professor of chemistry Zuo-Guang Ye will use his $278,000 to upgrade equipment for research on magnetic materials. Nadine Schuurman, assistant professor of geography, has been awarded $160,000 to help develop a geospatial data lab for the storage and analysis of large data sets. The Bamfield marine centre is getting $1.2 million to improve facilities that support the research of scientists at SFU and other western Canadian universities.

Top students apply to SFU
The senate policy committee on scholarships, awards and bursaries reported a 51 per cent increase in top B.C. high school graduates accepting an offer of entrance scholarships at SFU in 2001-2002. In its annual fiscal report to senate for 2001, the committee attributed the increase to its new self-reporting grade initiative. Under it, high school graduates can base their applications for entrance scholarships at SFU on estimated final grades. Committee chair John D'Auria noted that getting fall estimates of final graduation marks for students seeking January/February entrance to SFU enables the university to get a jump on courting top students.

Senate approve centres
Senate has approved the creation of the centre for wildlife ecology in the department of biological sciences and the centre for public policy research in the faculty of arts. The centre for wildlife ecology will allow for expansion of a wildlife ecology program that Fred Cooke chaired. The recently retired SFU goose biologist secured the original NSERC and Canadian Wildlife Service funding that has financed the chair program since 1993. The centre for public policy research will be the research arm of SFU's public policy program and complement a proposed master's in public policy graduate degree program. It will promote interdisciplinary research, education and dialogue on public policy issues in Canada.

Craft fair in AQ
Don't forget to shop for Christmas gifts at the annual Christmas craft fair sponsored by student services. More than 25 exhibitors will showcase their wares November 26-29 in the north concourse of the AQ, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Labour studies certificate approved
Senate has approved the creation of a certificate program that will be the first academic, university program of its kind in B.C. The labour studies certificate program is especially designed to attract labour-related professionals seeking to further their education. Established in the department of history, the 24 credit labour studies certificate program will incorporate courses from a broad spectrum of departments. The overall goal of the program is to deepen students' understanding of labour and labour issues in the contemporary workplace.

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