Traditional teaching model is ‘obsolete’ in crowded colleges

The standard model of undergraduate education in Canada is no longer sustainable, wrote Ian D. Clark, former president of the Council of Ontario Universities, in the Toronto Star Dec. 2.

Indeed, the model has not been affordable for some time. It has not been able to accommodate the dramatic increases in enrolment of the past two decades. The problem is compounded by the expectation that university researchers will be the primary drivers of the innovation necessary to ensure Canada’s future competitiveness in the global knowledge economy.

Universities in all provinces face similar pressures, but the sustainability problem is most acute in Ontario for two reasons. Unlike many other jurisdictions, almost all undergraduate instruction in Ontario is conducted in institutions that allocate faculty time on the 40-40-20 research university model. And Ontario faces a dramatic increase in university enrolment, especially (but not exclusively) in the Greater Toronto Area. The increased demand for undergraduate education by 2021 could require creating the equivalent of another University of Toronto plus another York University.

The Star noted that Clark, with Greg Moran, Michael Skolnik and Glendon grad David Trick (BA ’77), is co-author of Academic Transformation: The Forces Reshaping Higher Education in Ontario.

York subway station design on view at open house

The Toronto Transit Commission is hosting an open house for the preliminary design of the York University subway station on Thursday, Dec. 3, wrote the North York Mirror Dec. 1.

The open house will take place at York University, 4700 Keele St., in Vari Hall from 3 to 6pm.

This is the first of two public open houses for York University station. The second, which will show architectural concepts, is scheduled for next spring.

York University station will be part of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project, which will extend the subway system from Downsview station to the City of Vaughan.

Small companies are springing to action to help charities

Giving a portion of your profits to charities can also boost employee morale, says Eileen Fischer, a marketing professor who holds the Anne & Max Tabebbaum Chair in Entrepreneurship & the Family Enterprise in the Schulich School of Business at York University, wrote the Toronto Star Dec. 2. “There’s a sense that employees want to feel they are part of something that matters to the world,” Fischer says. Developing a close relationship with a charity can “make the workplace a much more meaningful place for employees. So it may be easier to attract employees and…keep employees.”

Mothers’ milk maidens are nothing new

Nursing another woman’s baby has not always been considered rare, wrote the National Post Dec. 2. Throughout history, women who have been unable to nurse – or, at times, because of higher economic status – relied on wet nurses to feed their infants. The practice declined at the end of the 19th century, as bottle-feeding became more popular, said Molly Ladd-Taylor, a professor of history at in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

The Star noted that Ladd-Taylor edited “Bad” Mothers: The Politics of Blame in Twentieth-Century America, a collection of essays.

Recent grad wins CMHC award for her thesis

The Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) today announced the six winners of its Housing Studies Achievement Award. Six prizes of $10,000 – three at a master’s level and three at a doctoral level – were presented by Douglas Stewart, CMHC’s vice-president, policy & planning, at an awards event held in Ottawa, wrote the Midland Free Press Dec. 2.

The winners include York women’s studies grad Leslie Kern (PhD ’08) for her thesis Gendering Urban Revitalization: Women, Condominium Development, and the Neoliberalization of Urban Citizenship.

“The housing industry and the media have portrayed the past two decades’ boom in Toronto condominium construction as liberating for women, but have glossed over some of the complexities and unexpected challenges that women face in condominium tenure. By exploring the experiences of women condominium-owners and key stakeholders such as development firms and city planners, this research sheds light on the effect of gentrification on condominium developments as communities, and on equitable housing for disadvantaged groups in Toronto.

York grad student to perform in Chatham

Chatham native Jesse Feyen (MA ’07) will perform Saturday at Gospel Text Book Store in Chatham, wrote The Chatham Daily News Dec. 2.

Feyen, who now resides in Milton, will perform instrumental piano arrangements of contemporary worship songs, hymns and Christmas favourites from 11am to 2pm. He will also share selections from his debut album, Keys to Worship, which was released in September.

Feyen is balancing the pursuit of a PhD in ethnomusicology in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, with his adjunct faculty position at Redeemer University College in Ancaster and his responsibilities as music director at Harvest Bible Chapel in Cambridge.

West Humber Collegiate student honoured for commitment to peace

West Humber Collegiate Institute’s student council president was one of 10 Greater Toronto Area residents recognized by the YMCA for her “commitment to peace” at the organization’s 25th anniversary celebration of Peace Week this past weekend, wrote the Etobicoke Guardian Dec. 1.

Bavleen Saini, 17, won a YMCA Peace Medallion for her inspirational peace-building work both among her peers and in the wider community – an honour West Humber’s principal Naeem Siddiq said was a worthy one.

Sani’s volunteer work with Smithfield Middle School has parlayed into a paying job at the school. The proceeds from that gig, she said, will help pay her tuition at Schulich School of Business at York University, where she hopes to attend next year.

On air

  • A new study on obesity by York researchers was featured on several radio and television stations Dec. 1. York Professor Jennifer Kuk, of the School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, is lead author of the study and spoke on Global TV.
  • Paul Delaney, professor of physics & astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about the return to earth of Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk, on CTV’s “Canada AM” Dec. 1.
  • Perry Sadorsky, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the stock market and the Canadian dollar, on AM640 Radio’s “The Stafford Show” Dec. 1.