Can girls really play hockey with boys?

After hockey champion Hayley Wickenheiser bade farewell to the Finland team she joined a year ago, some may have gloated that girls cannot play sports with boys. Or just maybe the issue is a tad more complicated, wrote the Toronto Star’s Oakland Ross Nov. 23, and turned to Greg Malszecki, a professor of kinesiology at York University. “Up to now, in sport, the difference between the sexes has been the focus,” said Malszecki. “If skill level is the focus, then on any given day some women could be competitive against men.”

Malszecki cited a recent US study of school-age children that measured their ability to throw a ball. On average, boys were able to throw twice as far as girls of the same age, if they were all using their dominant arms. But the study also measured throwing ability when the children used their non-dominant arms, and here the performance of the two sexes was almost exactly equal. Malszecki concluded from this that males aren’t necessarily better equipped, physically, to fling a small round object through the air. They’ve just had more practice. He believes that women might eventually be able to compete as equals with men in practically any sport.

Business turning to schools to solve workplace problems

As companies start to demand a new kind of corporate learning, the line between executive education and management consultancy is beginning to blur, reported the National Post Nov. 24. However, Alan Middleton, director of executive programs at York’s Schulich School of Business, believes there is one area in which it can be clearly identified in how companies measure the services being provided. “When someone goes to a business school, there’s a greater acceptance that they’re looking for people to facilitate their ideas. When you go to a management consultant there’s a greater expectation that they’re going to come up with those ideas,” he said. “The danger goes back to something business schools have been telling businesses for decades: be clear about your mandate and avoid ‘mission creep.’ If business schools continue to see the primary reason for doing application-based programs as improving the learning and education capability of their customers, they’ll avoid that trap.”

Hi-tech workers need to target tech-shy small businesses

Smaller companies in Canada cannot find enough technology workers with a broad enough skill set and it’s causing many of them to avoid jumping into the world of e-business, according to a report by the Canadian e-Business Initiative (CeBI), reported the Montreal Gazette Nov. 22. But “the market right now is filled with high-tech [workers] that have maybe been laid off . . . who have a very high degree of technical capability in a very narrow area,” said Ron McClean, an information systems professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. McClean, who has been researching the topic with colleagues over the past few years, said technology workers need to be trained in a wider range of skills so they can begin targeting this untapped market of small to medium-sized businesses.

Williams wins Polanyi prize for literature

The Hamilton Spectator reported Nov. 22 that Deanne Williams, English professor with York University’s Faculty of Arts, was listed among the 2003 recipients of the John Charles Polanyi Prizes, for literature.

The power of Puccini

The North York Mirror printed a photograph Nov. 19 of York University music student Joanna Christopoulos, accompanied by Raisa Nakhmanovich, singing Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” during a midday concert by classical voice students recently at the school’s McLaughlin College Performance Hall.

Design darling Scot Laughton taught at York

Scot Laughton, the Ottawa-born industrial designer whose nautically inspired Lolah furniture line earned him the designer-of-the-year award at Toronto’s Interior Design Show this year and best furniture award at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York last year, was a studio instructor in York’s Fine Arts department from 1992 to 1996, reported The Ottawa Citizen Nov. 22.

On air

  • President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden discussed how to make Toronto a better place, including extending transit to York, on a “Liveable City” feature on City Pulse TV’s “News” Nov. 22.
  • York University cheerleader Randi Mintz was featured in an item on the national cheerleading championships in Mississauga, on CFTO-TV’s “World Beat News” Nov. 22.
  • Paul Delaney, astronomy professor with York’s Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, discussed how armchair astronomers could watch a rare total eclipse of the sun from the comfort of their own home, on CTV national news programs Nov. 23.