Organizers hope to double scholarships between Indian and Canadian schools

The number of scholarships being offered under the student exchange program between the University of Pune (UoP) and a consortium of 17 universities from Ontario in Canada are set to be doubled from the existing 25 to 50, reported The Times of India Dec. 8 in a story about organizers’ hopes for the program. It also included comments about the possibility of faculty exchanges in the near future.

“An announcement to this effect was made by Sheila Embleton, president of the…Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute [and professor in York’s Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], during the formal inauguration of the Ontario Maharashtra Goa (OMG) Student Exchange Office on the premises of the UoP’s International Students’ Centre on Monday,” said Vasudha Garde, the centre’s director. Embleton earlier headed the team of the Canadian consortium based at York University that worked out the bilateral academic collaboration.

The OMG office will play facilitator to students from Maharashtra and Goa in identifying the universities in Ontario for pursuing their higher studies; securing tuition waiver for them; and, to an extent, securing travel costs as well as job opportunities for sustenance during their study period, said Garde. “Simultaneously, it will also play facilitator to the Canadian students seeking studies at UoP” [and other universities in the two west-coast states]. 

Embleton told members at the inaugural function that the consortium started focusing on its collaborative efforts with universities in four key countries: China, India, South Africa and [Brazil].

Space elevator entrepreneurs shoot for the stars

In September, a team of physics professors from York University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering showed how they could build a tether made of Kevlar and inflate it with helium, wrote Dec. 8 in a story about space elevators.

Dufferin man’s philanthropic efforts recognized

Mono’s John Hunkin (MBA ’69, Hon. LLD ’04)) is a “generous” man who brings out the generosity of others, wrote The Orangeville Banner Dec. 7. That’s why the Association of Fundraising Professionals’, Greater Toronto Chapter presented him with an Outstanding Volunteer Award last week.

“The recognition is really reflective of the quality of the institutions and the people that you work with on these causes,” says Hunkin, who is an honorary governor of York University and a longtime member of the board of St. Michael’s Hospital and the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health. “It’s nice to get the recognition…because there are so many terrific people who I know and respect who are doing similar things.”

Hunkin was one of eight people recognized by the association on Dec. 2. The awards are intended to acknowledge recipients’ contributions of time, leadership and financial support, as well as those who demonstrate excellence in fundraising.

Saved by the bell

While firefighters may be known more for their courage than caregiving, the reality, says Susan Braedley (PhD ’09), a postdoctoral fellow at York University’s Institute for Health Research, is “they’re doing more emergency medical care than anything else,” wrote Maclean’s online Dec. 7.

In 2006, 52 per cent of calls to the Toronto Fire Services were medical in nature – a statistic that prompted Braedley to spend 10 months observing the city’s firefighters. Her research is slated for publication by McGill-Queen’s University Press next spring in a book titled Neoliberalism and Everyday Life. According to Braedley, the “accidental assignment of some health-care provision” to firefighters has been brought on by several factors: better fire prevention, which has freed up firefighters for other tasks; aging baby boomers; and a dearth of family doctors, which has forced marginalized populations to use 911 as a way into the system. It’s a shift that has been subtle and the source of conflict. The result, however, is clear: in municipalities across Canada, what it means to be a firefighter is changing significantly.

But even informally, the cultural divide between fighting fires and tending to the sick runs deep. Of the 37 firefighters Braedley interviewed, “all but four expressed sentiments ranging from discomfort to outright rejection of their work in the health care provision,” which, she says, has “shaken the hyper-masculine core of fire services and firefighting culture.” As a firefighter in her study explains: “The things they’re asking us to do are so far outside the realm of what we anticipated, that you almost feel like ‘I’m losing some of what I was really meant to be.’”

On air

  • Peter Victor, economics professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, spoke about Canada’s reputation as a high emitter of greenhouse gases, on CTV News Dec. 7. Victor also spoke about the climate change conference in Copenhagen, on CP24-TV Dec. 7.
  • York student Amanpreet Dhanjoon, a member of the York Punjabi Association, spoke about shopping for toys, on CTV News Dec. 7.
  • A York University task force looking into why half of all first-year students taking math fail or drop out was mentioned on AM640 Radio’s “The John Oakley Show” Dec. 7.