All Posts Tagged With: "Dalhousie University"
Richard Florizone plans for more partnerships
Richard Florizone, a nuclear physicist with an impressive CV that includes Cambridge University, Bombardier, the University of Saskatchewan and the World Bank, was installed last month as president of Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S.
In his installation speech, he outlined a vision for the 21st century research university as a place where industry, government, non-profits, researchers, learners and community members collaborate. He gave this interview over the phone.
Tell me about your path to the president’s office.
I started out as an engineer and a physicist doing my Ph.D. in physics. Until I got to MIT, I assumed I’d become a professor but once I got [there] I saw that people did all kinds of things with their degrees, whether it was going on to be faculty, starting companies, working in government or in think tanks. The other thing I realized through my graduate work was that, as interested as I was in science and physics, in trying to understand the forces behind the universe, I found I was at least as interested in people and how they work together.
Is it just me or do a lot more university presidents these days have those industry skills?
I don’t have the numbers but, if it is a trend, I’d say the reason behind it is a couple things. One is a recognition these days that universities aren’t ivory towers alone anymore. We still have that function but there’s increasing recognition about the kinds of support and partnerships we require.
Where smoking is outlawed it does more harm than good
Students at the University of Prince Edward Island are pushing to ban smoking on campus. Cigarettes, they say, are not only deadly for the poor schmucks who choose to light up but also harmful to the non-smoking citizens forced to walk through their carcinogenic clouds. The student union, reasonably enough, wants a plebiscite.
I’m not a smoker. I think unwanted cigarette smoke is annoying and gross. Ontario’s government must have polling showing many people feel the same way or they wouldn’t have, just yesterday, banned smoking outside at restaurants and bars. I can think of more useful things for the province to do (for example, working on the deficit) but research has shown that smoke doesn’t easily dissipate outside on patios when people are sitting so at least there’s science behind the policy.
But that’s as far as it should go. Campus-wide bans are pointless, draconian and unnecessary.
Universities help first-year students with mentors and more
Shari-Ann Baker, who was born and raised in Jamaica, moved to Toronto in 2010 to attend York University. Her first assignment was an essay for a Canadian studies course. Baker got a B, a mark she was able to improve after learning about the school’s Writing Centre: Her next assignment, for a sociology course, received an A. York’s various facilities, programs and clubs, such as the Community of United Jamaicans, were invaluable in helping her get settled. “People say you’ll get worse grades than in high school,” says Baker, now 22, in her fourth year of a linguistics degree. “If you take advantage of resources on campus, I don’t think it’s a problem.”
First year is a precarious time, fraught with new challenges and responsibilities—both academic and personal. Suddenly, “the world sees you as an adult,” says Barry Townshend, manager of the Centre for New Students at the University of Guelph. “A lot of responsibility comes with that,” from getting to class on time to paying rent, not to mention choosing an academic direction that will help with a future career. It’s a lot of pressure, all at once. Universities are increasingly finding a way to support students through this transition with writing centres, advisers, academic coaches and mentors.
The link between health and well-being and cellphone use
Madison Potter has a routine before bedtime. After she brushes her teeth and puts on her pyjamas, she’ll plug in her iPhone and put it right next to her pillow. Then she’ll turn off the lights and fall asleep with the phone six inches from her head. “It’s just habit now,” says the 20-year-old fine arts student at the Alberta College of Art and Design. “I’ve been doing it for four years.”
The vibration from incoming texts will occasionally wake her up, but her cellphone is there as an alarm clock. Also “in case there’s an important message in the middle of the night,” she says, “which is completely silly because there never has been.”
She’s not the only one snuggling up to her screen. Curt Wetmore, a 25-year-old grad student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, keeps his cell under his pillow because his small bedroom doesn’t allow for a bedside table and the outlet to recharge the battery is right by the head of the bed. “It’s more convenient, and maybe a little comforting to know that I have my phone by me,” he says. “I don’t why, but I definitely feel comfort for sure—which is sad.”
Concern grows about English proficiency on campus
At 23, Dalhousie University student Ishika Sharma speaks with such self-assurance and optimism, it’s hard to imagine how lost she felt in September 2012, when she arrived in Halifax from New Delhi. She recalls those early weeks in the YMCA’s international-student residence as a bleak period of culture shock and loneliness. “Oh my god, the international student housing was a weepfest for the first two months,” she says. Gradually, the closed doors of her neighbours would open, if only to share late-night hot chocolate and a bit of sympathy.
Sharma was more fortunate than most. While she grew up speaking Hindi and Punjabi, she arrived with a solid command of English, the language she used in most of the undergraduate courses in physiotherapy she studied in India. “Many of the students who joined the university with me were not well-versed in English,” she says. “They had trouble getting along with people in English. They had trouble asking for help, and that was a big reason why they did not socialize enough.”
Suicide prevention stepped up from Nova Scotia to BC
VICTORIA – When Tad Milmine walks into a classroom, students don’t know anything about him.
They don’t know he’s an RCMP officer. They don’t know he’s gay. They don’t know he’s been bullied and abused.
But within minutes, students know he’s there for them, especially in their darkest, most vulnerable moments, Milmine said.
He speaks to them through the spirits of Ontario’s Jamie Hubley, Nova Scotia’s Rehtaeh Parsons and British Columbia’s Amanda Todd — all teen suicide victims mercilessly bullied by their peers before killing themselves. Todd died one year ago Thursday.
“I’m up there, just a guy named Tad,” said the Surrey, B.C., RCMP officer during an off-duty interview. “That’s how I get introduced. While I’m speaking they don’t even know I’m a police officer until about halfway through.”
Milmine said he started talking to students across Canada last October, at about the same time the country was emotionally shaken by Todd’s suicide.
The 15-year-old, Grade 10 student from Port Coquitlam, B.C., posted a video detailing her anguish over the sustained harassment she endured at school and on the Internet about images of her body posted on the Internet.
At one point in Todd’s video, which now has received over 28 million views, she holds up a handwritten note that says, “I have nobody. I need someone.”
Prof. Pettigrew on digital scapegoats
When you teach at Cape Breton University, as I do, you get used to a certain amount of (mostly undeserved) sneering from those at other larger or richer or older Nova Scotia universities—which is more or less all of them. So it is always a bit of a guilty pleasure for me to see those same universities embarrassed by their students.
I must confess to feeling a little bit of Freude at the Schaden suffered by Dalhousie University this week when a report emerged that not only were many of Dalhousie’s engineering students failing their courses, but that they had determined the nefarious cause behind the failures.
Yes, according to the CBC, “dozens” of such students are in danger of failing out of the program because, say the students, they have been unable to resist the siren song of social media. At least one student quoted in the story is trying to solve the problem by cancelling his Facebook account.
LeadSift is evidence of hot Atlantic tech sector
The student founders of LeadSift, a company whose software combs through Twitter and Facebook data to generate sales leads, set out last fall in search of $500,000 of investor cash.
It was an easier than expected hunt.
The Halifax startup pulled in $1.13 million, including $500,000 from OMERS Ventures (the venture capital arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension funds), as well as a contribution from Dan Martell—Canada’s 2012 angel investor of the year, according to KPMG and Techvibes.
The LeadSift foursome, international students from Dalhousie University and Acadia University, could have raised more money, but decided to cap their fundraising round and ultimately turned away some interested investors.
What students are talking about today (March 11th)
1. Groups of students from more than two dozen universities in Canada are participating in 5 Days for the Homeless, a fundraiser for which students started five nights of outdoor sleeping on Sunday. The initiative has raised nearly $1 million since starting in 2008 at the University of Alberta, according to its website. Different student groups are supporting different charities. Queen’s University students are raising money for the Kingston Youth Shelter, which provides food, shelter and other aid for those aged 16 to 24.
2. Here’s another indication of how gloomy the job market is for new teachers. A task force set up to explore ways to restructure the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has recommended eliminating undergraduate teacher training altogether. The one-year program will need to change regardless as all teacher training in Ontario must be two-years long by 2014. The Varsity stresses this is only one of several proposals.
3. Students at Dalhousie University who want advice picking a career have to wait up to two months for appointments. There aren’t enough counsellors to meet the demand and it’s unlikely any will be hired. The Dalhousie Career Counselling Centre, “asks for more money every year, as does every university department that’s ever existed, and they never get it,” reports the Dalhousie Gazette. Access to career counselling is a problem that certainly isn’t limited to Dal.
4. There was a “high-risk takedown” at the University of Waterloo on Saturday, reports The Record, “and although a semi-automatic rifle, a box of ammunition and a Frankenstein mask were all found in the suspect’s car, officers said a 25-year-old Waterloo man facing several charges didn’t intend any harm.” The man was pulled over in his truck at the university two hours after reports of shots in a rural area. He told police it was target practice and the mask was a coincidence. Police apparently believed him, since he was released after being charged, reports The Record.
5. The Gazette at Western University has investigated the use of the ADD/ADHD drug Adderall by students looking for an edge while studying. This story is nothing new. Vivien Chang investigated this in February. Still, reporter Julian Uzielli does a good job summarizing the issues and points out that, surprisingly, it’s not considered cheating to illegally use concentration-boosting pills.
Meanwhile, Shire Canada, the pharmaceutical company that makes Adderall, is being lauded for a new scholarship for students with Adult ADD/ADHD. Scholarship recipients will get $1,500 for tuition and a year’s worth of ADHD coaching. Call me cynical, but this is a transparent marketing ploy. Included in their press release is the claim that approximately 1.5 million adult Canadians are living with ADHD. Imagine that: 1.5 million potential customers!
Joan Conrod earns 3M National Teaching Fellowship
Joan Conrod, a professor of accounting at Dalhousie University, is a 3M National Teaching Fellowship recipient for 2013. Maclean’s On Campus is profiling all 10 in the coming weeks.
Who knew that “consolidation” could actually be a student’s favourite course? But that’s the Joan Conrod effect. Students of Conrod, a professor of accounting, have admitted to loving the technical nitty-gritty that is accounting. Leanne McCarvill, now a chartered accountant, once wrote in a note to Conrod: “Two years ago when I took my first course I was scared of you, and now I can’t imagine not seeing you every week.”
Conrod calls that one of her most memorable compliments. “I think one of the things I am most proud of is I teach really hard courses, really technical, and my students go on to harder things,” she says. “My job is to make sure that not only do they understand the content, but they enjoy it.”
Today entrepreneurial grads like him find plenty of help
Jordan Smith was desperate. It was July 2009 and he was unemployed and struggling. A recent graduate, his business degree from Memorial University was proving to be poor bait for potential employers. To top it off, it was mid-recession.
“I couldn’t find a job,” he recalled. “Nobody was hiring. If anything they were laying people off.”
So the 23-year-old devised a plan. He printed off a stack of resumes and constructed a large sign from a piece of a refrigerator box. It read: “NEW GRAD. NEED JOB.”
What students are talking about today (January 21st)
1. Student newspapers across Canada are still focused on Idle No More, having covered Aboriginal protests from coast to coast again this past week. A teach-in at Dalhousie University in solidarity with the movement drew more than 400 people, reports The Dalhousie Gazette. Guest speakers included Tayla Paul, an Aboriginal woman who told the audience about her experience being homeless. Halifax New Democrat MP Megan Leslie was there. So were many students. Some didn’t have a choice. Professor Marguerite Holland told the Gazette attendance was mandatory for her Canadian Studies class.
2. Holland may support the movement, but a new poll by Forum Research for the National Post reports that 49 per cent of Canadians do not support Idle No More while 39 per cent do and 12 per cent are unsure. Surprisingly, 52 per cent of those with First Nations ancestry did not support the movement. The big divide is along party lines with 60 per cent of NDP voters offering support compared to only 13 per cent of Conservative voters.
What students are talking about today (January 17th)
1. Gloria Dickie, editor in chief of Western University’s The Gazette has written an editorial suggesting democracy on campus is under threat after the paper was told their office, which they have occupied since 1973, is being considered as the new site of a multi-faith space—a bigger priority according to the University Students’ Council. They’ve been offered a smaller space instead. She writes that the move comes after USC proposed cutting the paper’s budget, asked to sit in on editorial meetings and considered a ban on in-person interviews. Adam Fearnall, USC president, told National Post that, “on occasion, perhaps [The Gazette] is overdramatic.” But many journalists on Twitter have sided with the editor. “Got to hand it to this year’s USC. Previous editions almost never managed to become national laughing stocks. Aim high! Purple pride!” wrote UWO alumnus and Maclean’s columnist Paul Wells. It now looks like Dickie may get her way. After committing to further discussions, Fearnall told the Gazette on Wednesday: “I was pleased that we were able to make progress on these important issues. Students rely upon the Gazette and the USC to sustain a strong student voice.”
What students are talking about today (January 14th)
1. Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls won the Golden Globe for best TV comedy series last night right before the highly-anticipated premiere of the second season. I’d argue the opener was a bit of a letdown. Lead character Hannah (played by Dunham) has smartened up a bit by rejecting her mean sort-of-boyfriend in favour of new guy who presumably treats her better. If she gets too mature, that’s a problem as her Gen-Y cluelessness provided so much of the comic relief and provoked so many of the broader societal questions. Some of the other characters, including straight-laced Marnie, seem to also be changing in ways that make them less believeable. Interestingly, Dunham seems to have acknowledged those who accused Girls of being too white; her new fling is a black man.
University stands by suspensions
Dalhousie University is standing by its decision to suspend the women’s hockey team over an alleged hazing incident, saying the squad’s most recent version of what happened that September night is only half the story.
The team issued a statement Thursday saying it held a party to welcome new players that involved dressing up rookies in “odd clothing,” and asking them to eat sardines, hot peppers and whipped cream.
It also said the get-together at a private house included drinking games, but no one was forced to drink alcohol and no activities were mandatory.
“Throughout the evening, senior members of the team looked out for the first years to ensure that they would come to no harm,” read the two-page statement.
What students are talking about today (January 7th)
1. The new TV season is promising for university students, according to Alexander Quon of The Sheaf student newspaper. His list of shows to watch includes Buckwild, which he calls “essentially the country version” of Jersey Shore. “Redneck culture is blowing up right now,” he writes. It certainly is, thanks mostly to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which returned to TLC on Sunday. Returning this Saturday on HBO Canada is Lena Dunham’s smash hit Girls, a fictional-take on 20-somethings in New York centred around Hannah, an aspiring writer and generally clueless human being. Pick up this week’s issue of Maclean’s for a behind-the-scenes on set in Brooklyn. Oh, and hockey will soon be back too.
2. What a difference a weekend makes. The talk around Idle No More shifted from Friday’s big win to Monday’s big question. On Friday, Stephen Harper agreed to meet hunger striking chief Theresa Spence and other Aboriginal Canadian leaders a week later, which will mark a month after the high-profile protest began. But this morning an external audit into Attawapiskat’s finances by Deloitte surfaced and it doesn’t look good. There hasn’t been due diligence for most of the millions given to Spence’s band by the federal government. It’s a reminder of just how complicated these relationships can be. With questions over the chief’s spending on the front page again, Paul Wells points out that NDP leader Tom Mulcair neither met Spence nor called on Stephen Harper to meet her in his open letter. That’s starting to look like a smart move. Spence, meanwhile, did gain one new ally. Paul Martin, former Liberal prime minister, met her and called an inspiration to all.
Dalhousie takes kinder approach if students are arrested
University offers most students their first real taste of freedom from home and family, including the freedom to do stupid and illegal things. Even good students can become drunken criminals.
This year, Dalhousie University unveiled a restorative justice program for students charged with relatively minor criminal offences. The university hopes to address crime without large fines or the prospect of a criminal record. It is Canada’s most ambitious effort by a university to get involved in criminal justice for its students. Other schools seem less keen to follow. Should universities act when students commit crimes off campus?
University dean suspended, Christmas cards for criminals and more Ikea monkey
1. Your obligatory Darwin the monkey news roundup: In a little over two days since his spontaneous romp through a Toronto Ikea parking lot, the rhesus macaque monkey has achieved international celebrity, even getting the Daily Mail treatment usually reserved for footballers’ wives. Darwin is headed for a sanctuary northeast of Toronto, but the Canadian Press reports that his owner wants him back. Enough monkey business – get back to studying.
2. The University of Windsor announced Monday that education dean Clinton Beckford has been suspended “in recognition of an academic integrity breach involving plagiarism.” University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman told the Windsor Star Beckford will return as “a contributing member of the faculty,” though not as dean, but wouldn’t say how the incident came to the university’s attention. Beckford’s unpaid suspension will last until June 30, 2014.
A Nicki Minaj t-shirt at Harvard, football & bike-sharing
1. As the deadly Israel-Gaza conflict continues, CNN has footage of Anderson Cooper ducking from rocket strikes on repeat while Maclean’s Michael Petrou explains what to watch for next and Nick Taylor-Vaisey analyzes the headlines.
2. Proving that Harvard is still a refuge for the world’s foremost intellectuals, the student-run clothing store Harvard State is selling t-shirts with singer Nicki Minaj’s likeness and the words “Yale You a Stupid Ho.” The photos have offended some (at Yale I assume), but they need not worry. Unlike the shirts that proclaim “Veri Drunk Since 1636,” these ones aren’t yet sold out online.
3. McMaster University’s Marauders football team beat the Calgary Dinos on Saturday at the Mitchell Bowl held at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton in front of nearly 6,000 fans. That means the 48th Vanier Cup on Nov. 23 in Toronto will be a rematch of the 2011 final when McMaster barely beat Laval’s Rouge et Or. Read more in The Silhouette.
Jimmy Carter at Queen’s, Twinkies at risk & a hip-hop club
1. Queen’s University is facing a backlash after deciding to award former U.S. president Jimmy Carter an honourary degree. Why? Because Carter criticizes Israel. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs told National Post that at least 50 upset Queen’s alumni have contacted them.
2. Twinkies and Wonder Bread are on life-support. Hostess Brands Inc. says it will go out of business after failing to get wage and benefit cuts from thousands of striking bakery workers.
3. A third-year journalism student at Ryerson University has started the first Canadian chapter of the Student Hip-Hop Organization. The self-funded group celebrates hip-hop culture and discusses what’s hot on the hip-hop scene, reports The Eyeopener. U.S. branches have brought acts like Wiz Khalifa and Kid Cudi to campus.