It’s important to enter business-school surveys, says Horvath

Dezsö Horváth, dean of York’s Schulich School of Business, feels an obligation to stakeholders to participate in every survey he can, reported the Globe and Mail March 1 following the recent release of the influential Financial Times survey in which Schulich tied for 22nd place in the world. This is information any school should be collecting anyway, he said. Also, if a school decides not to participate in a major survey, the world might easily assume that the school is underperforming. The Globe said Canadian schools are good at building niches: Schulich promotes international and social awareness; Rotman has been strong in finance and integrative thinking; Ivey is a leader in case teaching; UBC and Alberta are good research schools; and McGill has a cachet for diversity. The Canadian schools score highly on value for money, reflecting their status as public institutions. The latest scores, said the Globe, suggest Canadian schools are clustering in tiers: Ivey, Schulich and Rotman in the top rung, Queen’s in its niche, McGill, UBC’s Sauder, and Alberta as worthy contenders, with a half-dozen others in the hunt for global recognition.

Church charity deserves tax break, says prof

Three years ago, a survey of 46 Ontario congregations of all faiths by academics Femida Handy, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, and Ram Cnaan, of the University of Pennsylvania, estimated that each contributed a minimum of about $145,000 a year toward social services in their communities, reported the Ottawa Citizen Feb. 29 in a series on the charity industry. More than 75 per cent of the congregations dispensed food and clothing and contributed to international aid, and more than half offered soup kitchens, services for the homeless, shelters for men, women and children and hospital visitation. The survey was the first ever of its kind, and by the time Handy and Cnaan finished, they said they could give a resounding “yes” to religious congregations’ right to tax breaks for service to their communities.

Osgoode projects funded by new fellowships

Patrick Monahan, dean of the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, says new  fellowships will help train a new generation of students “to do legal research at a high level with a faculty member,” reported the Globe and Mail March 1 in a story about the $1-million national research fellowship program created by law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. Osgoode Hall has already selected the research projects to be funded in the summer of 2004 by the BLG fellowships, he said. One will investigate corporate governance in Canada and the United States; the other will examine government budgets and fiscal policy and the governance and regulation of mutual funds.

Lidar technology pioneered by prof

NASA’s Scout Mission Phoenix to Mars in 2007 will feature a Canadian weather-sensing system employing the laser radar (lidar) technology developed by York University space scientist Allan Carswell of Optech Incorporated, reported the Globe and Mail Feb. 26 in an engineering supplement. “This is a science-driven mission,” noted Carswell, a professor emeritus in York’s Faculty of Pure & Applied Science. He is the principal investigator for the $325-million US Phoenix project. “Already back in 1999 we were contacted to prepare a proposal for NASA,” said Carswell, who founded Optech in 1974 to advance the development of lidar. “Our proposal was actually accepted but unfortunately in December 1999 the polar lander was lost [in the Martian atmosphere] so headquarters decided to shut everything down.” Optech is itself something of an engineering milestone. The company is recognized as the world leader in a technology that uses a form of radar that sends out pulses of light rather than the usual radio waves, said the Globe. The lidar system on the Phoenix will detect, measure and track such elements in the Martian atmosphere as vapour, winds, water, temperature, particulates such as dust, and trace elements such as ozone and carbon dioxide.

Politics and business don’t always mix

CBC and the National Post turned to Richard Leblanc, professor of policy at York University’s Schulich School of Business, for comment about calls for the resignation of Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara (Glendon BA ’78 &  LLB ’81) over the Ontario Securities Commission’s investigation of the company he was formerly involved with, Royal Group Technologies. Leblanc commented on CBC Radio’s Ontario and national news Feb. 28 about Sorbara’s refusal to resign as finance minister and spoke the same day to the National Post about the performance of politicians who sit on corporate boards.

Bank and Schulich offer joint training

The Bank of Montreal’s Institute for Learning has recently partnered with the Schulich School of Business at York University to offer a six-course certificate program in advanced risk management, reported the National Post March 1 in a story about in-house training. The institute is one of the largest in-house management training facilities among Canadian firms. The bank made a $50-million investment in the institute more than a decade ago, and it has since become the hub for most of the company’s local and long-distance learning.

Spreading the word on French

In a Toronto Star opinion piece March 1 about biculturalism and bilingualism in Canada, John Ralston Saul cited York’s Glendon College among bilingual universities and colleges in Canada.

On air

  • Medical biophysicist Gillian Wu, dean of the Faculty of Pure & Applied Science at York University, was among panelists who discussed statistics showing fewer women are choosing a career in math, science, computer sciences and engineering, on TVO’s call-in show, “More to Life,” Feb. 27.