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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Week of May 19 – 26, 2003

Week of May 19 – 26, 2003

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May 21, 2003
College move: dangerous precedent or positive change?…While many BC parents are celebrating changes to the makeup of the BC College of Teachers, SFU education professor Peter Grimmett calls them foreboding. Education Minister Christy Clark recently announced that the number of political appointees to the 20 member college will rise from five to 12. While parents see the move as positive, because it will provide them with more opportunity as potential appointees to influence the regulation of teachers, Grimmett warns the reduction in the number of teacher appointees elected by their peers spells the end of the college as a self-regulating body. He adds the change also sets a dangerous precedent for professions. "The principle of self-regulating professions having a majority of its council or board elected from the membership has been violated," says Grimmett. "The real reason, I suspect, is a political opportunity to weaken the BC Teachers Federation, which is all rather ironic when the official explanation for the changes is that the College of Teachers has become too politicized."

Improved Rover heads for ‘Mars’…There are no known aliens or armed and dangerous robots running around on Devon Island in the Canadian high Arctic. But that hasn't stopped scientists from making a risky road trip to the home of a Mars-like environment in the invincible Humvee Rover. Sci-fi star Arnold Schwartzenegger made the all-terrain rover famous in his Terminator movies. The military also uses the vehicle. Devon Island is home to Haughton Crater, which NASA is studying because of its likeness to Mars. The MARS Institute, a non-profit corporation advancing Mars exploration, recently had the Humvee's maker, AM General, refurbish the rover to traverse the Arctic's treacherous stretches of sea-bound ice from Cornwallis to Devon Islands. SFU scientist Stephen Braham, vice-president of the MARS Institute's board of directors, is leading the design of an advanced power, computing and communications system for the new Humvee called MARS-1. It will serve as a long-distance roving field lab for NASA scientists exploring Haughton Crater. The Humvee's maneuverability in the Arctic’s craggy and climatically unforgiving environment will enable scientists "to access and deliver data as we go about our scientific field work on Devon Island. From that experience we'll learn how to do the same thing for planetary exploration," explains Braham, who can elaborate on the significance of the new Humvee's inaugural trip to Haughton Crater in July. Braham can also expand on how this Canadian Space Agency funded project will advance the design of pressurized rovers for human moon and Mars exploration.