Banish the lunchbag blues at McLaughlin

Suffering the lunchtime blues? York’s McLaughlin College has the perfect remedy for sandwich boredom with the return of its popular series – the McLaughlin Lunch Talks. Starting this Friday and continuing until Wednesday, Oct. 17, the popular series returns with a series of discussions on thought-provoking subjects, all conducted in a casual, open environment.

All talks, unless otherwise specified, take place in the McLaughlin Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College, at noon.

The first presentation features a talk by Professor Raymond Cox of the Department of Public Administration & Urban Studies at the University of Akron in Ohio. Cox is currently on sabbatical at McGill University where he serves at the Research Chair in Public Policy at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada under the auspices of the US-Canada Fulbright program. In his talk titled, "Discretionary Judgment and Organizational Practice: Making Decisions in the Spaces between the Rules", Cox will discuss the importance of tacit knowledge on organizational decision-making. Tacit knowledge, the work-based practical knowledge learned informally on the job, is the result of judgment that reflects understanding "how" as contrasted with knowing "what". Cox will illustrate how the failure to apply tacit knowledge is at the core of most organizational failures.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the McLaughlin Lunch Talks will tackle the thorny issue of "Conflict Resolution: Is It Really Possible?" with staff from the Office of the Ombudsperson & Centre for Human Rights. Selwyn McSween is York’s acting ombudsperson and Linda Grobovsky is the office’s senior adviser. They will discuss how conflict arises in most human relationships and that unresolved conflict can prevent an organization from achieving its goals due to wastage of time, energy and money. The Office of the Ombudsperson & Centre for Human Rights at York helps students, staff and faculty resolve conflict of various kinds. McSween, former director in the Ontario Public Service, has also worked with the Ontario Pay Equity Commission and the Ontario Human Rights Commission investigating and mediating disputes and finding innovative ways to settle pay equity cases. An adult educator, Grobovsky has provided human rights training in the education health care and private sectors for 20 years. McSween and Grobovsky plan to demonstrate some effective ways of resolving conflict. Those attending this talk should be prepared to participate and share their opinions and ideas.

On Tuesday, Oct. 9, York Professor Dennis Raphael (right), undergraduate program director in York’s School of Health Policy & Management and a renowned expert on the relationship between poverty and health in society, will deliver a talk titled, "Maintaining population health in a period of welfare state decline: Political economy as the missing dimension in health promotion theory and practice". Raphael will examine the recognition that the primary determinants of health lie outside the health care and behavioural risk arenas. Many of these factors involve public policy decisions made by governments that influence the distribution of income, degree of social security, and the quality and availability of education, food, and housing, otherwise known as the social determinants of health. Raphael will explain why health promoters and population health researchers need to "get political" and recognize the importance of political and social action in support of health.

On Friday Oct. 12, Ian Greene (left), master of McLaughlin College and a professor of political science, will address the Ontario provincial election. Together with his colleagues in the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts, Greene will scrutinize the results of the Ontario provincial election. As well, he will discuss the impact of the results of the referendum on proportional representation in what’s expected to be a lively session.

"Lawyers Gone Bad" is the intriguing title of the Wednesday, Oct. 17 lunch talk. Philip Slayton (right) authored a controversial bestseller, Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada’s Legal Profession. It was published by Viking this past August. His critique of the legal profession led to a flurry of controversy in the media and to intense debate at legal conferences during the past two months. After studying law at Oxford University in the UK, as a Manitoba Rhodes Scholar, Slayton clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada. Then, for 13 years, he pursued an academic career, teaching at McGill University and becoming dean of law at the University of Western Ontario. Slayton then went into legal practice with a major Canadian law firm in Toronto, and worked on many of the biggest corporate and commercial transactions of the time. He will talk about the culture of the legal profession, how it should be regulated and disciplined, and the problem of access to justice for the ordinary Canadian.

For the lunchtime talks, a light lunch is served at noon and the talks usually begin at about 12:15pm, followed by a question-and-answer session. Each talk usually finishes shortly after 1pm. All are very informal. Students who attend four lunch talks during the fall-winter term will receive a Certificate of Participation.

For information on subsequent lunch talk schedules, visit the McLaughlin College Web site.