For Canadian universities, India is a land of opportunity

In a rocky field dotted with mango trees, five minutes from southern India’s gleaming new Hyderabad airport, Dezsö Horváth sees a solution for Canadian universities struggling with limited public dollars, wrote The Globe and Mail July 3. The York University business dean has struck a deal with a developer to build an outpost for the Schulich School of Business, making it one of the first foreign campuses in the world’s fastest growing market for higher education.

“If you analyze the global environment, you have no choice but to move into India,” said Horváth, long a student of international commerce. “The opportunities for the Canadian education system are endless.”

His reasoning is straightforward. India is home to an increasing share of the planet’s under-25 population, and Canadian universities, some of which are chronically short of students and funds, need to tap into that market. In the tussle for government dollars, higher education must compete with rising health-care costs for scarce resources. Expanding abroad will allow schools to add faculty and programs, Horváth says, and give them the heft they need. Canadian schools, which have long recruited heavily in such countries as China and the United States, are increasingly targeting India. But what Schulich is doing is new, made possible by an Indian law, expected to pass later this year, that would allow foreign universities to open campuses on Indian soil.

The Schulich campus in Hyderabad – part of a 2,225-hectare development that includes the new airport, a hotel and convention centre, and retail and recreation facilities – is helping to raise Canada’s profile. It will take 120 students in its first year and can accommodate up to 350, drawing from outside India as well. It will offer the same courses and have the same requirements as the school in Toronto, and will use Schulich faculty, who may choose to spend two or three years in the country. Having a presence there, Horváth says, will strengthen the home campus by allowing the school to offer students more options and hire more professors. There’s a financial benefit as well: Under the proposed Indian law, foreign schools cannot take profit out of the country, but those restrictions do not apply to executive MBA programs, traditional moneymakers for business schools.

To York’s Horváth, Canadian universities need to act now and be ready to invest for the long term. Being one of the first foreign schools ready to build a campus when new legislation is passed later this year has put Schulich on the front pages of the Indian press, along with such US schools as Virginia and Georgia Tech, which also have plans for campuses.

York needs better safety measures: Report

One-third of York University students say they feel “unsafe” to “very unsafe” on campus, according to an independent safety audit launched after two women were sexually assaulted in a residence three years ago, wrote the Toronto Star July 3.

The 62-page report by the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) calls for more security officers with more power to intervene when needed, better lighting and landscaping that allows better sightlines, and more outreach by York to promote safety in its neighbouring communities.

The report polled about 300 students and 177 staff, three-quarters of them female. About 50,000 students attend York.

York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri has created a committee to draft an action plan over the summer.

They just can’t kill the beast

The world is full of tales of fantastic mythical beasts, wrote the Toronto Star July 3. “Beast Legends”, debuting Wednesday, July 7, on History Television, brings those creatures to life even though it’s almost certain none of them have ever lived before. The series combines computer-generated and traditional animation with science and travel. The series features a team drawn from science and the arts…including Kathryn Denning, a professor of anthropology and a specialist in mythology in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

We should thank Richard Fadden

Just think how unsophisticated your country would look if its top spy were outed as being clumsy and garrulous. Those are the kinds of labels that several Canadian pundits, politicians, and so-called intelligence “experts” tried to slap on the forehead of Richard Fadden when he opened his mouth in an unusual way last week, wrote the Ottawa Citizen July 3.

Fadden is the recently appointed head of the Canadian Security & Intelligence Service (CSIS). In a CBC interview…he alleged that foreign governments – he strongly suggested that China was one of them – were infiltrating Canadian politics and exerting influence over Canadian politicians, both at the provincial and municipal level.

Fadden did Canadians a service by pointing out that too many Canadian politicians are effectively on other countries’ dole.

For this, he got lambasted. Professor Wesley Wark of the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies pronounced with academic grandeur that Fadden’s feet should be held to the fire and that he should offer to resign. Reg Whitaker, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of political science at York University, said he found Fadden’s observation “extraordinary and astonishing, because there was no gain for him to say it.”

Busting into the boys’ fight club

In Thailand, the martial art of muay thai is almost exclusively a boys’ club; women aren’t allowed inside a traditional muay thai ring, and if a female dons a mong kon, the headdress worn by Thai fighters, it is said to lose its magic, wrote the Toronto Star July 3. That hasn’t stopped Jenypher Lanthier.

Thailand-trained Kru Jen (kru means teacher) opened York Muay Thai at Keele Street and Steeles Avenue this winter, becoming the first woman to own her own muay thai school in Ontario. It’s the culmination of a 14-year journey that started when the Ottawa teen found a flyer on her car’s windshield.

She was invited to teach at York University. With 50 students in a little basement studio, the program there trumped all others. “I taught at eight to nine different schools in the city, and I have never encountered a group like this,” says Lanthier. The dedicated group learned quickly and was respectful of muay thai traditions.

Osgoode grad to head Britain’s Royal Mail

Moya Greene (LLB ’78) admits she hadn’t a clue about the mail delivery business when she took over as head of Canada Post in 2005, wrote the Ottawa Citizen July 3.

A childhood in Newfoundland, law school in Toronto and decades in increasingly senior posts in the private and public sectors weren’t preparation enough to run a Crown corporation with 71,000 employees, 6,500 post offices and $281 million in net income in 2009 on $7.3 billion in revenue.

But she did bring a confidence that was instilled in her childhood, and a willingness to learn all she could.

Later this month, Greene, who just turned 56, will carry that confidence and curiosity – plus the energy and hard-headed decisiveness for which she’s well known – into her most challenging job yet.

“I never had the sense they were maybe exaggerating until I went to (York’s Osgoode Hall) Law School. That’s where I found out there were a whole lot of people who can do a lot of things I would never have dreamed of even trying.”

Calgarian breaking medical taboos in India

Jayashree Thatte Bhat (MSc ’75) realized she was fully Canadian when several men in a remote Indian village became hostile when she was attempting to teach the women about breast self-exam, using inflatable life-size dolls, wrote the Calgary Herald July 4.

“I briefly thought about dialing 911,” says Bhat of her immediate reaction, one that stems from having lived in Calgary for 41 years. But she quickly realized help was hours away via bullock cart. Although the diminutive, sari-clad grandmother wanted to stand her ground, the medical personnel she was with feared for their safety. “We deflated our beautiful dolls and basically ran,” she says.

“The men thought we were doing something immoral or bad, teaching their women and girls about breast cancer.”

Born in Hyderabad, Bhat moved to Canada in 1969, married an engineer and did her master’s degree in biochemistry at York University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering.

Durie and Argos drop debut

Mississauga running back/slotback Andre Durie got a few touches yesterday but couldn’t power the Toronto Argonauts past the Calgary Stampeders, as the team lost its opening game of the 2010 Canadian Football League (CFL) season 30-16, wrote The Mississauga News July 2.

Durie, a former York student in his fourth season of professional football with the CFL, had one carry for 12 yards. He also had three receptions for 58 yards, the longest being a 27-yard catch from quarterback Cleo Lemon early in the game.

On air

  • Paul Delaney, professor of physics & astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about troubles with an unmanned Russian supply capsule and its attempts to dock with the International Space Station, on CTV News July 2.