All Posts Tagged With: "University of Victoria"
What students are talking about today (April 5th)
1. A new database from the Vancouver Sun shows the salaries of all public sector employees in British Columbia who earned more than $75,000 in 2011-12. The University of British Columbia dominates the first few pages of the post-secondary salaries section. Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia, was the highest paid at $531,088. The University of Victoria’s David Turpin was the second-highest-paid president on the list (and fifth overall) at $430,760. Simon Fraser University’s Andrew Petter took home $396,837. The University of Northern British Columbia’s George Iwama made $273,488. Ontario’s public salary disclosure recently revealed that the highest paid president in that province is Amit Chakma of Western University, who earned $479,600 plus benefits in 2012.
2. Montreal police are defending the decision to charge a 20-year-old student protester with criminal harassment after she posted an image of graffiti on Instagram. The image Jennifer Pawluck shared showed police spokesperson Ian Lafreniere with bullet hole in his head. The arrest drew outrage along the lines of, “arrested for taking a photo!?” Police say there’s more to the story.
Government accused of not sharing environmental research
Federal policies that restrict what government scientists can say publicly about their work are about to be put under the microscope.
Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault has agreed to investigate how government communications rules on taxpayer-funded science impact public access to information.
Legault is responding to a detailed complaint lodged by the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and the ethics advocacy group Democracy Watch.
Their lengthy report — “Muzzling Civil Servants: A Threat to Democracy?” — laid out repeated examples of taxpayer-funded science being suppressed or limited to pre-packaged media lines across six different government departments and agencies.
How can this campus group claim to fight oppression?
A friend and I went to a movie night one Friday evening in January hosted by the Students of Colour Collective (SOCC), a campus group at the University of Victoria, where I am on a transfer from the University of Manitoba completing a double major in Criminology and Psychology.
It was a spur of the moment decision to go, but we were excited to get out and have a fun night. The movie being presented was Precious Knowledge, a film about the struggle of the Mexican American Studies Program to continue after it was banned by a school board in Arizona.
We arrived, sat down and waited for the movie to begin. My friend asked if he could help himself to a glass of the juice that was set out on the table. The host replied that the beverages were for movie night attendees. She then informed us that the event was for community building and not open to the public. We were specifically addressed in front of the room of people. There was no announcement that it was a closed event.
What students are talking about today (February 8th)
1. The Gazette student newspaper at Western University published an editorial this week on a new Harry Potter course that will be offered this fall. They came to the conclusion that it will not be a bird course. “Some may say authors such as Shakespeare, Hemingway and Joyce provide the reader with a much deeper, denser text…. while Harry Potter’s journey through Hogwarts is just too simplistic.” But they added, “Who’s to say there is not deeper meaning in Harry Potter? With adult themes such as challenging authority, self-sacrifice, tolerance and genocide, these books following the Boy who Lived should not be pushed aside as ‘just for children.’” However, proving that many students still need to improve their basic reading skills, the paper faced a backlash from those who took the headline “Harry Potter and the Bird Course?” to mean “Harry Potter is a bird course.” Editor Gloria Dickie responded with a second editorial reiterating that the editorial board does not see it as a bird course.
Astronauts, McGill’s budget cuts and UBC’s animal research
1. McGill University’s board of governors spoke out for the first time Thursday on the Parti Québécois government’s mandate to cut $20-million in spending by April, and the CBC reports their response is pretty clear: They’re not gonna take it. McGill principal Heather Munroe-Blum told the CBC the cuts are “draconian, unpredictable, [and] ineffective.” Quebec’s universities are under order to cut $120-million in the next four months, but McGill is in a particular pickle: the university’s budget was set last spring, before the student protests against tuition hikes that consumed Montreal and led PQ leader Pauline Marois to announce a tuition freeze in September. McGill contends the cuts are impossible, and is board is asking the provincial government to revoke the cuts and honour its original commitment to the school’s budget.
2. The University of British Columbia released 2011 data on animals involved in its research today, reporting a total of 225,043 animal used in research in 2011, up from 211,604 in 2010. The university’s animal research wing has received negative attention in the past (particularly from a 2010 report from the Canadian Council on Animal Care), but The Province reports that university scientists defended their work at a media briefing before the data was released, pointing to medical advancements made as a result of animal testing. The 2011 report says the majority of the animals used in 2011 were rodents, reptiles, fish and amphibians. UBC’s vice-president of research told The Province sometimes there are no other alternatives: “Animal research is not going away at this time.”
Every day she’s hustling
Briony Smith, 30, is a fashion writer, editor and stylist. She grew up dreaming of working in magazines and The Martlet student newspaper at the University of Victoria got her that first byline. After finishing a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing, she did plenty of less-than-thrilling work. These days she covers emerging style in Toronto, contributing to The Grid, ELLE Canada, Chatelaine.com, MuchMusic and others. The money isn’t great, but she’s loves the hustle.
Tell us who you are and what you do.
My name is Briony Smith and I am a writer and editor. I am the in-house fashion person for The Grid newspaper, writing and styling their fashion page. I also write for places like ELLE Canada, LOULOU, Toronto Life as well as Chatelaine.com, FashionMagazine.com, ELLECanada.com and I also do freelance styling for MuchMusic. For my day job, I work as a senior editor at Totem Brand Stories.
A photographic tour of the campus in B.C.’s capital city
This fall, Maclean’s photographed 24 of the 49 institutions featured in the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings. Below, photographer Deddeda shows you around the University of Victoria. Click on each photo to make it larger. Then check out the other 23 galleries by clicking here.
Students are doing extraordinary things with video cameras
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
Andrew Cohen sat near the window of a south Vancouver coffee house, scribbling notes on flashcards to study for an urban geography mid-term. The fourth-year University of British Columbia student grew restive, so, naturally, he took to watching YouTube videos.
Before long, he came upon a video made by students at the University of Victoria. It was a so-called lip dub, a style of video in which students dance and mouth the words to a popular song in an enthusiastic show of school pride. Cohen put his books away within seconds.
“I stopped studying,” recalls Cohen more than a year later. Now 22 and done school, what he saw that day inspired him to become a filmmaker in Vancouver. “That totally changed my life.” He immediately started planning his own lip dub for UBC.
Hundreds of students. Millions of views.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of students at Canadian universities have been singing and dancing their way through elaborate lip dub videos. Here are our favourite Top 10, from the most to least viewed.
1. I Gotta Feeling, Université du Québec à Montréal, 10,353,000 views.
This lip dub of the Black Eyed Peas dance hit made these communications students famous when it was picked up around the world.
2.The Worst Test, University of Toronto, 3,019,000 views.
In a first-year engineering test, the sounds of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise start blasting through the lecture hall and a couple of students stand on desks, rapping a song called I’m an Engineering Failure. Skule Nite, an engineering musical revue, takes credit.
3. Raise Your Glass etc., University of British Columbia, 1,865,000 views.
It starts out with a nod to Old Spice Man and then hundreds of students mouth Pink’s party anthem and other songs. There’s a galloping horse, a cameo from Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench, martial arts, ballet and an underwater scene in the school pool.
4. Carol of the Bells, Algonquin College, 543,000 views.
It’s December exam week and students are cramming when Darth Vader shows up and conducts a choir belting out Carol of the Bells. This best-ever study break was courtesy of broadcasting students.
5. Dynamite, McGill University, 466,000 views.
Students and researchers at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre show off their labs with this slick remake of Taio Cruz’s tune, with its fitting refrain, “I wanna celebrate and live my life.”
6. Gangnam Style, York University, 368,000 views.
David Kim dances his way through lecture halls, over a Tim Hortons counter and around a police cruiser in homage to Korean rapper Psy. Copycat videos emerged from McMaster to Carleton to the Royal Military College.
7. Haven’t Met You Yet, University of Victoria, 320,000 views.*
Almost 1,000 students at the University of Victoria got together and impersonated British Columbia warbler Michael Bublé. Spider-Man, Rick Astley and Billy Mays make appearances.
8. Save a Life, Be a Man Nurse, Laurentian University, 184,000 views.
First-year male nursing students in cowboy hats and scrubs remade Big & Rich’s Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy), replacing the “ride a cowboy” line with “be a man nurse.” They kept the references to “girls who are so pretty.”
9.Rebellion (Lies), University of Guelph, 78,000 views.
Students took over the engineering building for a rather literal interpretation of this Arcade Fire song, with its “every time I close my eyes” refrain. The video includes plenty of pyjamas and one big pillow fight.
10. California Gurls, Dalhousie University, 70,000 views.
The Halifax school got a makeover as the Golden Coast. The lipdub includes multiple Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg impersonators, a merman and fire juggling.
*This post has been updated because the original version incorrectly included a video from U.Vic. in Spain instead of U.Vic. in British Columbia, Canada. The author regrets this error.
Struggling is what teaches you the habits of success
As you cram for midterm exams and freak out about November’s essays, consider this story from the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. You’re not the only one who is struggling.
In the late summer of 1999, I drove with a friend from Calgary over the Rocky Mountains to Victoria, where I was to start university that fall. I was 18 years old. My hair was tipped blond and I had the collected works of James Joyce in my suitcase. I hadn’t read any Joyce at the time. But I wanted to be a writer. And I thought his collected works were the kind of thing a writer should have when he goes off to school.
Writing novels—being a novelist with a capital “N”—was what I had always wanted to do. Reading defined me as a kid. It was what I did better than anyone else. What I didn’t do back then, at least not outside essays, was write. No short stories. No plays. Nothing to indicate a budding creative talent. And once in university, my dream of becoming a writer lasted all of four weeks. After nurturing the vision through a decade’s suburban childhood, I gave it up after less than 30 days of actual work. What happened was this.
I was enrolled in the University of Victoria’s creative writing program. In first semester, that meant one creative writing class. One night, not long after starting, I sat on a landing in my residence building grinding through an assignment. What I had written was a mess. It was supposed to be an excerpt from a short play, but it had no characters and no plot. It was just awful dialogue about nothing. So I dropped it. Not just the assignment: the whole class—and program. My first piece was terrible and so, I figured, was I.
London shooting, Regina theft and Toronto mega-project
1. Students at Western University in London, Ont. had their homecoming weekend marred by the shooting death of 21-year-old Terrell Johnson off-campus early Sunday. A 28-year-old man was also taken to hospital. Joshua Carter, 22, is charged with second-degree murder.
2. Hannim Nur, the student who resigned from her post as president of the University of Regina’s Students’ Union (URSU), did so because she stole $700 of student money from the Canadian Federation of Students Saskatchewan by forging signatures on cheques when she was Chair. A statement from CFS-S says that the money was repaid and that they’ve updated procedures to reduce the chance of it happening again. Questions remain as to why Nur continued to work at URSU after she admitted the forgery to CFS.
3. A proposed mega-development on King Street in Toronto will house a whole lot of people in three 80-story condo towers. It will also include two museums and facilities for nearby OCAD University. The design is by Frank Gehry and the funding is from theatre king David Mirvish. Tweeters have compared the design to a tipped-over recycling bin, but Edward Keenan of The Grid points out that Gehry’s early sketch of the now-loved Art Gallery of Ontario once raised eyebrows too.
University of Victoria researchers’ warning
Today’s Cool Canuck Research is actually about warming and it’s really not very cool at all.
University of Victoria students Andrew MacDougall and Chris Avis, along with climate scientist Andrew Weaver, say their model shows that thawing permafrost in the Arctic will accelerate the rate of global warming. Their study is in Nature Geoscience Letters. The University of Victoria explains:
Permafrost is permanently frozen soil, sediment or rock. It’s estimated that about 18.8 million sq km of northern soils hold about 1,700 billion tonnes of organic carbon, or frozen compost—the remains of plants and animals that have accumulated over thousands of years. That’s about four times more than all the carbon emitted by human activity in modern times, and twice as much than is currently in the atmosphere.
Uncomfortable washrooms, tuition, & angry naked folks
1. Some students at the University of Victoria are uncomfortable with the new “multi-stall gender inclusive washrooms” in the Student Union Building. The student union got rid of the old man-woman divide by renovating urinals and changing the gendered signs to show just a toilet. The goal is to make life more comfortable for transgender students. I guess one person’s comfort is another person’s discomfort sometimes.
2. The new Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) is sponsored by Molson Coors. There are multiple beer ads and beer is for sale in the concession. While hockey fans are saying “thank God,” other people apparently have a problem with it. Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy, true to form, has a pragmatic response: “you can sneeze and be within 40 paces of the Gardens and have alcohol, so how am I supposed to police things?,” he told The Eyeopener, adding, “I consider the students adults and I trust them to make judgments.”
3. Two University of Regina students are seeking sanctuary in a church after the Canada Border Services Agency decided to deport them to Nigeria because they illegally worked for two weeks at Walmart. U of R President Vianne Timmons is lobbying the government to allow them to stay.
Michelle Obama, Quebec election, Adderall & Harry Potter
1. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama gave a heartwarming speech at last night’s Democratic National Convention. She mentioned that she and her husband Barack struggled with college debt, contrasting them with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. She said her husband believes “success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
2. The Gateway student newspaper obtained documents that “revealed serious health and safety concerns” in Lister Residence at the University of Alberta, where alcohol was recently banned in common areas. Problems included “a Floor Coordinator and a student vomiting on each other, collecting it in a pitcher, and having a third student drink it.” Serious concerns indeed.
3. Another student paper, The Harvard Crimson, has done something less impressive: run online advertisements for ADDTabz, the “Adderall Alternative.” Adderall is a prescription-only stimulant used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. It is sold illegally as a study aid. This advertising partnership seems rather unbecoming of an Ivy League school, much like last week’s cheating scandal.
Bandits make off with barbecue chips
Is it just me, or is there something extra dumb about students in Victoria, B.C.?
Two of them are facing break and enter charges after they stole a bag of Zellers-brand barbecue potato chips from a houses’ garage around 3:15 a.m. on Tuesday, reports the Times Colonist.
The home-owner’s Chihuahua alerted her to the crime in progress. Officers from three different detachments then converged to hunt down the thieves. Police dogs found a trail of munchies leading to some bushes. Hiding there were a pair of drunken and apologetic female students.
Australia has 14, Hong Kong has five
Earlier this week, QS released their first-ever Top 50 under 50 university rankings. They used the same criteria as they used for the Top 300, but only included universities founded in 1962 or later.
The point is to level the playing field for younger institutions that may lack big endowments, extensive alumni networks or prestige.
Now, Times Higher Education out of London, U.K. has released a similar list: the Top 100 under 50.
Just like in the QS Top 50, the University of Calgary (#28) and Simon Fraser University (#30) appear high on the Times list. Unlike the QS ranking, the University of Victoria isn’t there at all.
Asian Tigers and Australia dominate new ranking
University rankings often favour older institutions, because, in many cases, older schools have bigger endowments, more alumni and prestige.
The new QS Top 50 under 50 ranking takes the age-bias into account by removing all the universities founded before 1962.
Young schools are ranked on the same six criteria used in the QS World Top 300 ranking: academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, student/faculty ratio, international student ratio and international faculty ratio.
But the results are very different. In the World Top 300 rankings, the U.S. and U.K. dominate. Canada has 14 entries, but none are in the Top 50.
A.R. Elangovan shares his secrets to successful teaching
Many teachers say that education is their calling. Professor A.R. Elangovan, of the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, has literally written the book (well, journal articles at least) on callings.
Naturally, his research caused a re-evaluation of the way he teaches Organizational Beahviour and leads as the International Programming Director of the school. Students have noticed, and so have colleagues. Elangovan is one of 10 new 3M National Teaching Fellows who have agreed to share their secrets to success.
Elangovan’s style might not seem radical, but if every business leader was taught the way his students are taught, it could have a profound impact on the world.
The Indian-born professor’s style was perfected a few years ago when he working on a paper with a religion professor about that elusive type of employee who doesn’t differentiate between “living life and earning a livelihood”—the type of employee who has found their calling.
Naturally, Elangovan turned the mirror on himself.
He realized that one’s calling does not have to line up with a job title—doctor, firefighter, singer or priest. A calling can be a core value adhered to in whatever you do—9 a.m. to 5 p.m. included.
“It took me a few years thinking about and doing research on this topic to finally realize that the essence of me, what’s driving me, is a very firm belief that everybody deserves a life of dignity,” says Elangovan. “The moment I started thinking like that, I changed what I do in the classroom.”
Most of Elangovan’s MBA students will one day be bosses. By helping their employees adhere to their core values—their callings—organizations are more likely to succeed. The job of a business teacher is to give students the confidence to build “enlightened workplaces,” he says.
To do so, he needed to move beyond simply imparting knowledge and encouraging students to apply that knowledge. ”I’m no longer just a teacher,” says Elangovan. “I’m a vehicle with morals, ideas and answers. I’m willing to step into [students’] worlds, which are full of doubt and messiness, and answer when they say ‘what would you do in this situation?’”
Other professors feel they must steer clear of articulating the path they would take in a particular situation, lest they impose their values on students. Elangovan doesn’t maintain that distance.
“I have to have the courage to say, yes, this is what I would do,” he explains. “I give them the ideas and concepts, but I don’t hide behind the ideas and concepts.”
Another way that Elangovan is pursuing his calling is through his role as the International Programs Director. He’s an evangelist for seeing world through different eyes “and having all your assumptions shaken.”
Canada is dependent on trade. It’s also a country where the most talented often grew up in another cultural context. Those are the types of ideas business leaders can see with international study.
They’re also the types of ideas that can lead business leaders to choose the path of greatest dignity for their employees—whether in Canada or in factories on the other side of the Pacific.
Elangovan’s goal is for 100 per cent of his students to spend a semester in a foreign culture. Only a small proportion of students ever study abroad, but at his school, 73 per cent now do.
Elangovan is living up to his calling, so that his students—and their employees—might live up to their callings too.
Victoria student gets lesson in internet celebrity
Soon after Austin Knill told his friends that he’d started dating a girl named Sara Hartly, a photo showed up on his wall which showed an extraordinary Valentine’s gift from her—his face inked on her bicep.
The post lit up with comments. Within two days, Knill had received hundreds of Facebook messages. Someone—not Knill, he says—had posted the transcript on sites like Reddit and it had quickly spread as far as Singapore and the U.K.
Victoria student Sol Kauffman says profs talk too much
From the Maclean’s Student Issue, on sale now.
It’s 3 p.m. on a Monday and I’m sitting in my afternoon writing lecture. The professor has been reviewing PowerPoint slides for half an hour now. In one window of my laptop, I’m brewing ideas for the paper due at the end of this week; in another, I’m editing a photo shoot I did on the weekend. In my busy life, this is the perfect opportunity to get some work done. I half listen to the lecture, perking up when a question is asked. Lots of chairs in front of me are empty. Obviously the usual number of people are skipping class today. Maybe they’re sick, maybe they’re working a part-time job; hell, maybe they just slept in. In front of me, I see a student on Facebook, another writing in her journal, another texting on a phone. I know these students and they’re strong writers; I’m confident they’ll all pass with at least a B+. It’s not that the assignments are easy. On the contrary, we’ll all spend some sleepless nights grinding away at them. So why are so many of us absent, physically or mentally, from lectures?