All Posts Tagged With: "Wilfrid Laurier University"
Aboriginals report racism and discomfort but also support
New journalism school graduate Frank Molley, of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation in Quebec, recalls a humiliating experience while studying at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B.
“There were two Native journalists in the class [and] one of them did a story about a Native woman who was beaten up,” he says. When someone explained that the Native woman had been called a squaw, some students in the back of the class started laughing. He walked out.
He was also offended when a professor told him First Nation stories weren’t “newsy” enough.
Another time, he asked peers to help cover a story about the Assembly of First Nation Chiefs in New Brunswick’s plan to address poverty. No one showed up, he says, “as breaking and important as it was.” Molley says he felt ostracized, but he hasn’t given up on his chosen profession.
Despite challenges like accessibility and racism, Indigenous students are graduating and working as journalists. Exactly how many is unknown, but mediaINDIGENA.com, an online magazine, recently counted more than 60 working Indigenous journalists in Canada.
Students connect through Potter clubs and classes
Two summers ago when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 arrived at the cinema in Ancaster, Ont., Stephanie Kesler took the day off work and lined up for 12 hours to make sure she got a good seat. Afterward, Kesler, now 23, says she felt “a little bit sad.” Growing up she had eagerly anticipated each of J.K. Rowling’s books and films. “That was my whole childhood.”
But last semester, the third-year English student at Western University in London, Ont., realized that the end of the series didn’t mean saying goodbye. In her children’s literature course, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban was on the syllabus.
For her class assignment, Kesler presented to her peers on the symbolism of Rowling’s Dementors, dark creatures that suck the life out of people, and the Patronus Charm, the only thing that can fight them off. She likened the Dementors to depression and the Patronas to overcoming it through positive thinking.
Not far away at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., dozens of wizarding fans had a similar idea. Emma Morrison, a third-year Medieval Studies and Religion major, had started a chapter of The Harry Potter Alliance, a global network of campus and community clubs where Potter fans jointly work for social justice. The Laurier chapter’s first big project focused on Dementors and depression. After a social media campaign promoting awareness of mental health services on campus, the group held a Yule Ball (a Hogwarts-inspired formal) during February mid-terms. “We wanted to have something fun to allow people to let loose in their time of stress,” she says. More than 220 showed up for butter beer and dancing.
Professor Gabrielle Ceraldi, who teaches children’s literature at Western, is unsurprised by the focus on the Dementors. “Emotional states in the series are always represented through magic,” she says. Hogwarts, the school for witches and wizards, is bewildering, much like university, she points out. “The staircases never stay in the same place from one period of class to the next.”
What students are talking about today (April 2nd)
1. The star of the MTV reality show Buckwild has died. Shane Gandee and two men, also dead, were last seen leaving a local bar in the rural town of Sissonville, West Virginia. They told bar patrons they were going to drive their truck off-road, a sport known as “muddin’” among the country-loving college-aged kids followed by MTVs cameras. The gossip site TMZ reports that carbon monoxide poisoning is being explored as a possible cause of death and that Gandee’s truck’s exhaust pipe may have been blocked by mud.
2. Twenty people, including some students, were displaced by a fire that destroyed two townhouses and damaged a third near York University on Monday, reports CBC News. York administration offered those affected by the fire temporary shelter.
Ryerson supports startups with Digital Media Zone
Phil Jacobson thought getting a business degree would help open doors on Bay Street.
He didn’t expect it would also help him become a big wig on Main Street.
“I figured, out of all the undergrad possibilities that were out there, a business degree would position me as the most well-rounded coming out of school,” said the 22-year-old president and co-founder of mobile app PumpUp.
“So I could either start something or get a great job and just have those good skills.”
After graduating last summer from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., Jacobson decided that his dream wasn’t to get poached by a big financial firm. Instead, he wanted to continue working for himself.
And he’s not alone.
Five things students are talking about today (February 27th)
1. Research from the University of Guelph has shown that university arts majors and those in similar college programs are generally slower to pay off student loans than business, health and engineering students, even when starting salaries are controlled for. Sociologist David Walters, one of the researchers behind the study, said it’s unclear why, though his theories include “lack of numeracy” and less “life-planning skills” among arts types. I’d lean toward the life-planning skills—they did choose arts degrees, after all. And considering how critical of capitalism the arts tend to be, they’re probably more resentful about having to pay them back and more likely to want to stick it to the man by paying as slowly as possible. It makes sense. In Quebec it’s arts students who encouraged everyone to skip school and demand free tuition. (Disclaimer: I have an arts degree.)
2. A Ryersonian editorial gives two thumbs up to Tim Hudak’s plan to invest more in degrees that lead to jobs. The Ontario Progressive Conservative leader’s Path to Prosperity White Paper suggests financial aid be based on students’ choices of programs. “Decisions about who should receive loans,” it reads, “should involve assessments of future employability and reward good academic behaviour.” Naturally this led to a backlash from those in fields where degrees don’t (directly) lead to jobs, including from Professor Pettigrew. The Ryersonian says agriculture, fashion, family studies, theatre, philosophy, anthropology, archeology and political science should get less money while science, technology, engineering and math should get more.
There are more options than ever, but they come at a price
This story is from the 132-page Maclean’s University Rankings, on sale now.
Katie Cvitkovitch, a second-year nutrition student at Ryerson University in Toronto, knows how to spot a healthy meal. One evening in September, she assessed the options in the dining hall on the first floor of Pitman Hall residence. For $13.25, she could buy a grilled chicken-breast sandwich, a side garden salad with fat-free dressing and a bottle of diet iced tea. It cost the same as the deadlier deep-fried version, with fries and a Sprite. As a former vegan, Cvitkovitch was pleased to see vegan shepherd’s pie beside the meat- and-potatoes version. Even the Tim Hortons on campus carries a vegan wrap. Cvitkovitch gives Ryerson’s food a high rating.
Her classmate Deanna Chong, also in nutrition, gives Ryerson decent marks too. She had no trouble finding a balanced meal: a turkey wrap, milk and a melon cup for $14.28. (Those with meal cards pay five to 15 per cent less.)
Still, neither student eats much at the campus dining halls or fast-food outlets run by Ryerson Food Services, the main food provider on campus. “Lunch is like 10 bucks and dinner is like 15,” says Cvitkovitch, “so that’s $25 a day that I don’t have.” A student who managed to spend $5 less daily for one academic year would save roughly $1,000.
Universities once had a reputation for offering unhealthy food, and not enough choice. But as the heat lamps and deep fryers are replaced with vegan alternatives and halal meats, some students say they have a new problem: it’s too expensive to eat on campus. Whether food is provided in-house (via a combination of school-owned franchises and old-style dining halls) or contracted out to a single institutional provider, universities are finding it difficult to meet the multitude of demands while also keeping prices in check. Continue reading The new beef with campus food
Bacon shortage. Study-space shortage. The #1 poker school.
1. In a Yale University study, 127 scientists were given information on supposed recent graduates applying for laboratory jobs. A fake applicant named John tended to be viewed as more competent than a fake applicant named Jennifer, despite identical qualifications. The conclusion is that women will find it harder to get science jobs than men. The anti-female bias wasn’t limited to male professors; women were just as biased.
2. Feist, the only nominee to have been on Sesame Street, sung at the Grammys and been in an Apple commercial, took home the $30,000 Polaris Music Prize last night for her album Metals. Feist gave a humble speech and toasted fellow nominees Cold Specks and Grimes. Ironically, the Polaris Prize is supposed to be a counterweight to sales-focused Juno’s, where Feist tends to clean up (she has eight).
3. Bacon fans, you may want to be sitting down for this one. “A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable,” according the National Pig Association in Britain.
Flying futons, Carly Rae Jepsen & where students want to work
1. We knew futons were bad for your back, but apparently they can be even more dangerous than that. A New York City college student was walking to class when he was hit by a flying futon mattress that fell 30 floors from an apartment building. It rendered him briefly unconscious and injured his neck. Worst of all, the poor schmuck says he can’t afford both tuition and medical bills.
2. Yesterday, we learned that 42 per cent of 20- to 29-year-old Canadians live with their parents—higher than ever. Today, the Edmonton Journal points out that booming Alberta is bucking the trend. In Lloydminster, just 20 per cent live at home. In Fort McMurray, it’s 22 per cent. Compare that to economically-depressed Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and Cornerbrook, N.L., where the number of 20-somethings at home is—yikes—52 per cent.
3. Universum asked 7,234 Canadian post-secondary students where they want to work after graduation. In the top 100 list, Apple is #1 (duh), Google is #2 (obviously), the Government of Canada is #3 (not surprising if you know anything about their pensions), #4 is the Bank of Canada, #5 is Microsoft and #6 is Royal Bank. My benevolent employer, Rogers, is a respectable #40.
An angry model, Prof. Bambaataa, Quebec football politics
1. A burglar broke into Steve Jobs’ house in California and stole the late Apple co-founder’s wallet, jewelry and computers. The thief was tracked down after he turned on a stolen iPad which broadcast his location. Not too smart.
2. A recent Columbia University graduate and model in New York is suing Volvo, Hertz and the Ford Models agency for $23-million because of a photo she didn’t want used. “It looks like something you’d see in the old yellow pages directories under escort services,” said her lawyer.
3. Pop star Rich Aucoin is shooting a video on August 20 and 21 at the Halifax CBC building. It will tell the story of Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. Aucoin’s Facebook page says they’re looking for extras to play “stewardesses, California girls and a ton on background for crowd scenes.”
University students connect with their childhood entertainer
Emily Slofstra, 24, is one-fourth of the Tra La Las, a band of Wilfrid Laurier University graduates who sing about the environment, income inequality and police brutality. “One of our songs is called Harper is the Root of All Evil, if that gives you any indication,” says the Occupy supporter, who grows her own veggies on an urban farm.
The Tra La Las attend plenty of shows in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. But without exaggeration, Slofstra says 65-year-old children’s entertainer Fred Penner gave one of the best.
Like so many twentysomething Canadians, she grew up singing along to hits like Sandwiches and The Cat Came Back. Now the man who crawled through the log on CBC’s Fred Penner’s Place each weekday from 1985 to 1997 has made a comeback by playing for people who heartily embrace his messages of sharing and environmental respect.
A Waterloo start-up provides courses on smartphones
To hear Dean Pacey describe online learning is a lesson in how the Internet—despite its vastness—can actually be a very personal place. In fact, taking courses over a computer, he believes, has the potential to make education more intimate and effective than any typical class-teacher setting, which is often full of distractions.
“When I go to university and I sign up for psych 100, I’m sitting with 1,500 other students with one talking head who I can’t hear and who may or may not speak English well at the front of the room,” he says. “How is that a rich experience?”
By comparison, Pacey imagines a world in which students in any country can pick and choose the courses they’d like to take over the Internet from the best international schools, many of which are in Canada. These courses would feature video lectures, online chats and news feeds related to the content, and would be delivered in whatever language the student preferred. Even more surprising: while the course content could be viewed on a computer screen or tablet, it would be designed, first and foremost, for smartphones—making the “classroom” entirely mobile and available anytime, anywhere.
It defecates, blocks traffic and has 1,000 Twitter followers
Mascots are generally thought of as the personification of a collective identity, a symbol of a brand, or an annoying guy dressed up in a dumb-looking costume at a sporting event.
Some mascots, such as the Coca-Cola polar bear, are beloved symbols—even though real polar bears are less likely to wear scarves and drink Coke, and much more likely to rip your face off.
Other mascots, like the Six Flags guy, are annoying as hell and should be stoned to death.
But the University of Waterloo, my school, should win a prize for the Most Bizarre New Mascot of 2012. Yes, it’s even more bizarre than a large predatory animal who enjoys carbonated drinks.
One woman grabbed, another kissed by strange man
Police in two Ontario cities are looking for male suspects after separate incidents involving university-aged females that occurred on or near campuses this week.
The first happened at the University of Western Ontario at 6:40 a.m. on Wednesday. After a female left her vehicle and walked to work near the TD Waterhouse Stadium, she was grabbed from behind by an unknown male who is described as white and aged 25 to 35 with a thin build and a stud or ring in his lower lip. He was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt under a black leather jacket and black jeans, reports the London Police Service.
The second incident involved a 21-year-old woman near the Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo campuses on Thursday around 3:30 p.m. A man unknown to the woman hugged and kissed her on the cheek before letting her go. Waterloo police told the Waterloo Record that the man is described as dark-skinned and short in height with a large belly and short dark hair. He was wearing a red sweater or jacket and jeans.
Why master of journalism degrees are big news in 2011
Carmen Smith used to think she didn’t need graduate school. And why would she? Even before finishing her bachelor of journalism degree at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., Smith was the publisher of a women’s magazine called Belle, which she founded.
But she changed her mind after an academic adviser told her about a new master’s in journalism program offered at King’s College in Halifax that could help her do better with her own publication. “I really thought it was interesting to see how they were developing their program around entrepreneurial journalism,” Smith recalls. “That’s why I came.”
Smith, now 22, is one of a growing number of wannabe journalists heading to master’s programs in Canada. Before 2000, there were only two degrees available in the country, at Carleton University and the University of Western Ontario. Today, there are six, with the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University both gearing up their own programs.
CAUT says director dismissed over objections to private involvement in academic matters
Academic freedom was violated when Ramesh Thakur was dismissed from his post as director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs, according to a report compiled by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). The Balsillie School is jointly managed by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.
According to the report, Thakur, whose contract was to extend to 2013, was dismissed in the spring alledgedly because he objected to interference in academic decisions from Blackberry Entrepreneur Jim Balsillie’s private think tank, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
“Dr. Thakur was unfairly treated . . . [and] had every right to expect support from the Presidents of UW and WLU . . . when he sounded the alarm on CIGI’s proposals,” the report, written by University of Saskatchewan English professor Len Findlay, concluded. “Insofar as his academic freedom depended on the protections of institutional autonomy, it became increasingly vulnerable to threats from the outside and complicity on the inside.”
The report further called Thakur’s dismissal “a serious lapse of judgement and loss of commitment to institutional autonomy, academic integrity, due process, and natural justice.”
A donation of $33 million to help create the School was funneled through CIGI, and faculty appointed to the Balsillie School are simultaneously appointed as CIGI chairs.
CIGI maintains that Balsillie had no role in Thakur’s dismissal.
A statement released on behalf of CIGI, UWaterloo and WLU dismissed the findings of the report. “The [Balsillie School of International Affairs] partners unanimously and strenuously disagree with the CAUT report’s findings and interpretation of the events. The report is based on a flawed and incomplete interpretation of the circumstances and rationale for the decision,” the statement read. “Donor influence was absolutely not an issue in the departure of the former director.”
In an interview with the Globe and Mail Thakur, who is a former Senior Vice Rector of the United Nations University and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, said he felt vindicated by the CAUT report. “Had it been clear to me that the school was a wholly owned subsidiary of CIGI, I would never have taken the job,” he said.
Governor General David Johnston was president of the University of Waterloo at the time of the incident.
Photo: Research In Motion CEO and Blackberry entrepreneur Jim Balsillie, Canadian Press
Violations of academic freedom alleged in dismissal of school’s director
While his Research In Motion business partner is enjoying the glow of Stephen Hawking’s presence at the Perimeter Institute, Jim Balsillie’s own foray into high-level academic research has been steeped in alleged violations of academic freedom. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) announced last week that it will be investigating the removal of Ramesh Thakur as director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The school is affiliated with the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.
In a letter addressed to the presidents of both institutions, CAUT director James Turk alleged that Thakur was fired “without any stated cause, without any fair procedure and in violation of his contract.” Thakur’s tenure as director of the Balsillie School was to last until 2013. He will retain his faculty position at the University of Waterloo. The national professors union has appointed Len Findlay, a University of Saskatchewan English professor, to investigate the case and file a report by Sept 1.
Attracting the attention of the CAUT follows a report in the Globe and Mail about Thakur’s dismissal that raised questions about the relationship between the Balsillie School and the Blackberry entrepreneur’s private think tank, the Centre for Innovation in Global Governance (CIGI). A donation of $33 million to help create the school was funneled through CIGI, and faculty appointed to the Balsillie School are simultaneously appointed as CIGI chairs. Summarizing the donor agreement and emails obtained by the Globe, the newspaper reported that there was an “expectation that CIGI will be consulted on strategy and staffing at the new school.”
The CAUT suspects that Thakur’s firing was motivated by his “opposition to giving CIGI a larger role in the governance of the Balsillie School.” It is a claim that appears to be supported by Thakur himself, who told the Globe, via email, that “Academic freedom is the bedrock of the university, and autonomy from outside interests (however well-meaning) is important in protecting that academic freedom.”
No one from the University of Waterloo or Wilfrid Laurier agreed to be interviewed by Maclean’s. However, both institutions released brief statements through their communications offices. “The departure of Dr. Ramesh Thakur as director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs is a personnel matter and therefore subject to confidentiality requirements,” read the Wilfrid Laurier statement.
A statement from the University of Waterloo similarly cited confidentiality issues, but also defended the institution’s commitment to academic freedom. “The university considers academic integrity and freedom as the most fundamental element of our foundation and existence,” the statement read.
Prior to coming to Waterloo, Thakur was Senior Vice Rector of the United Nations University and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.
A look at five primarily undergraduate universities reveals the variety of post-secondary options across the country
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology is a relative newcomer to the post-secondary scene, but its mission was clear from the outset: to give its graduates a competitive edge. Putting an emphasis on the practical, UOIT’s focus includes business, information technology, engineering and science. Its faculty of energy systems and nuclear science offers Canada’s only honours degree in nuclear engineering. The university is also committed to innovative approaches to alternative energy sources, and offers courses in wind, solar, hydrogen, hydraulic, nuclear and geothermal energy. Currently under construction, the $28-million Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE-Global) will be a cutting-edge research, design and training centre for the automobile industry. In fact, strength in research contributed to UOIT making a strong debut in the Maclean’s rankings this year, placing 12th out of 22 Primarily Undergraduate universities.
Located in Oshawa, UOIT is growing rapidly: undergrad enrolment was 6,285 this September, a 15 per cent increase from last year.
Wilfrid Laurier University
Wilfrid Laurier’s compact main campus is in Waterloo, Ont., part of Canada’s so-called Technology Triangle. Housing 21 research centres and 10 research chairs, innovation is the norm. In spite of growth that has seen its student population double over the past 10 years, Laurier retains a strong sense of community. It tied for fourth place in the Primarily Undergraduate category in this year’s rankings, with a strong showing on the reputational survey and the number of faculty winning awards and research grants.
The School of Business and Economics has an enrolment of more than 4,500; one of the biggest drawing cards is its co-op component. Meanwhile, a liberal-arts-focused campus in Brantford, Ont., offers an interdisciplinary program in contemporary studies and a concurrent education program in partnership with Nipissing University. A social work program, at the nearby Kitchener campus, allows students to work closely with service agencies in the area. And through the Centre for Community Service-Learning, more than 1,300 students earn academic credit by working with local non-profit organizations.
University of Lethbridge
The focus at Lethbridge, in southern Alberta, is on giving students a well-rounded liberal arts education. Undergraduates are encouraged to participate in research, and the university’s modest size allows close contact with faculty. When it comes to research, the university strives to stay relevant to the region. The recently completed Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building collects an interdisciplinary team of geologists, physicists and economists under one roof, all researching water. (A second-place finish on the number of faculty winning medical-science grants helped propel Lethbridge to a rank of sixth this year among Primarily Undergraduate universities.) The faculty of education, meanwhile, offers an array of Aboriginal-centred program options.
Initially thought to be around $400,000, repairs will cost $1.2 million
Golf, rugby, figure skating, cheerleading and baseball will be pay-to-play
According to The Record, Wilfrid Laurier University has decided to cut funding for eight of the schol’s less-popular varsity teams.
“If they are going to chop our budget, then the team is dead,” says volunteer golf coach Mike Belanger, who says he’s put about $30,000 of his own money into the team to keep it afloat. “We’ve donated our time and money for years to keep our costs down. I just don’t think we’d be able to cover and manage the whole thing on our own.”
Earlier this year, the university’s administration asked all departments to trim spending by five per cent this year and six per cent next year as the university tries to cut its operating budget by about $25.7 million.
Although the athletic programs will still be offered in the fall, golf, men’s and women’s cross-country running, men’s and women’s rugby, figure skating, cheerleading and baseball will be pay-to-play starting in the fall.
According to the school’s athletic director Peter Baxter, those cuts will save the school about $380,000.
For more on this story, click here.
Political elites to get results hours before release to students
The Cord Weekly reports that a Scantron malfunction requires hand-counting of 3,000 ballots in the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union election.
Each race will be counted separately and candidates in those races will be told the results immediately upon completion of the count in their race.
As for regular students; they will have to wait until after results of all the races are known.
It is expected that presidential candidates will know their results around 5 a.m., followed by other races steadly throughout the day. The final counts, of referendum results, are expected to finish sometime near 5 p.m.
Results will be provided to regular students at that time.
Nevermind how absurb the idea of giving results to candidates but not students is. Does the WLUSU really believe the information is not going to leak out anyway?
Now, on top of questions about the decision; the WLUSU has created itself the headache of trying to enforce a confidentiality arrangement.
I’m expecting results will leak soon; check out The Cord Weekly website for updates.