Faculty of Education students serve as March Break camp instructors

Students from Beausoleil Island First Nation as well as the Midland and Penetanguishene area have been taking part in a three day IBM IGNITE Camp at St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland this week, wrote Simcoe.com March 18.

IGNITE – which stands for Igniting Interest in Technology and Engineering – is a unique opportunity that’s part of IBM Canada’s national Aboriginal strategy to encourage First Nation, Métis and Inuit youth to stay in school, build self-confidence in their technical abilities and explore possibilities for their future.

Guest speakers include local First Nation and Métis role models who will emphasize the importance of technology, education and students working toward their potential.

The unique partnership also includes York University teacher candidates [Faculty of Education] as camp instructors.

Glances with wolves: the Popcorn Panel

The National Post’s Popcorn Panel March 18 on the film Red Riding Hood included Alison Halsall, adjunct professor of English literature at York University [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies]. She has published articles on “South Park” and Harry Potter, and is working on a study of the Victorian legacy in graphic novels.

Red Riding Hood has all the marks of [Catherine] Hardwicke as a director [said Halsall]: sprawling soft-focus tree sequences, slow-motion dream sequences, the fetishization of extreme angst among teens (those exchanges between Peter and Henry are just too funny), and her man-candy shots…. I agree that it had no irony, and therein lies the missed opportunity of the film…. I enjoyed Julie Christie – the linking of the grandmother with the wolf for much of the film was one of the more intriguing details…. Unfortunately, Red Riding Hood neither rethinks nor revises the fairy tale. It was gory, but if it wanted to produce a gory version of the tale, it could have been even more gory!"

Sackville’s poet laureate was a member of York’s Founders Society

Douglas Lochhead, the poet laureate of Sackville, New Brunswick, died Tuesday in a Westmorland-area nursing home, wrote Quill & Quire magazine’s online “Quillblog” March 18. He was 88.

Lochhead was named the first-ever lifetime poet laureate for the town in 2002. From Lochhead’s obituary at Sackville’s official website:

Long before his first published book of poetry, Lochhead served in the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War. He also led a long and varied career in libraries, working his way through Victoria College (now University of Victoria), Cornell University, Dalhousie University, York University [where he was a founding member of faculty] and the University of Toronto, and as a professor at York, U of T and Mount Allison University, where he was the director of Canadian Studies. At the time of his retirement in 1990, Lochhead was writer-in-residence at Mount Allison.

A visitation [was] held March 18 in Sackville and the funeral service [was] March 19 at the Mount Allison University Chapel.

Markham councillor calls for ban on Apartheid Week

A Markham councillor is calling on York University to ban all [Israeli Apartheid Week] activities on its campus, wrote the National Post March 18.

In a motion set to come before town council on Monday, Councillor Howard Shore says the annual event serves to promote the “vilification of Israel” and to damage Jewish communities both in Markham and internationally…. His motion targets York specifically because the town has a “direct relationship” with the school, he said, particularly through their partnership at a new business and technology research hub.

York University spokesperson Wallace Pidgeon indicated the school has no intention of banning Israeli Apartheid Week any time soon, noting this year’s activities were “peaceful and respectful.” “York is a place that values freedom of expression, open dialogue, peaceful discussion, being mindful and understanding that this is a university setting,” Pidgeon said. “From that, based on our guiding principles, we open that dialogue on an ongoing basis.”

Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, is among a number of people who plan to speak to the motion on Monday. He suggests Shore’s wording goes too far, noting an outright ban may get into “dangerous territory” with respect to free speech. “Banning is not our position, condemning is our position, and I’m hoping the motion can be somewhat modified,” Farber said. “Sometimes revulsion itself is enough.”

Cancer patient’s story mirrors that of late York prof

The love of Marv Siegel’s life was his wife, Judith Anne Rosner-Siegel, a marvellously accomplished woman – professor in York University’s humanities department; lecturer; academic adviser at York’s Vanier College, wrote The Globe and Mail March 18, in a story about another cancer survivor whose story paralleled Rosner-Siegel’s. As the Toronto Star’s Ellie Tesher once described Rosner-Siegel: “She was a pioneer in involving patients in decisions about their care.”

When Rosner-Siegel last spoke to Tesher, in January of 1995, she knew she was in the final stage of her illness. “I’m the mother of two kids who had me for an extra year,” she told Tesher. “You can’t place a price tag on that.”

Rosner-Siegel died May 7 that year, marking papers until the last, often falling asleep…. There are no fewer than three prizes and a library named in her honour at York, but she lives best in her husband’s heart.

BlackCreek Festival gets the full Maazel

It really has been a lifetime since an 11-year-old Lorin Maazel stood up to conduct the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1941, but he hasn’t forgotten those who guided him from being a child prodigy to becoming one of the world’s most prolific and respected conductors, wrote the Toronto Star March 17.

The now 80-year-old Maazel is bringing his Castleton stars to Toronto for one concert each month in June and July and three in late August, part of the inaugural BlackCreek Music Festival at the Rexall Centre at York University’s [Keele] campus.

Maazel is coming to town with much more than his own singers and orchestra. He is the official artistic adviser for classical programming at the BlackCreek Festival, for which he will also lead three concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra and some high-powered international opera stars.

York partners with trade mission to Israel

Members of Markham council will go on a trade mission to Israel to participate in the Israel Life Science Industry Biomed conference in Tel Aviv, May 20 to 29, wrote YorkRegion.com March 17.

The May business mission is a partnership between the Town of Markham, the Regional Municipality of York, York University and Miller Thomson LLP. It will focus on positioning the Markham Convergence Centre as the launching pad for graduates of Israel’s technological incubators seeking to enter the North American market.

York investigates TA for Facebook comments

York University is investigating a tutorial assistant who made disparaging comments about her students’ intelligence on Facebook, wrote Macleans.ca March 17. According to the [student] newspaper Excalibur, the status update from sociology TA Bianca Baggiarini, read in part: “My students’ papers are making me dumber, so very stupid; by the minute. Please, make them, stop.” Posted on Feb. 22, the comments have since been taken down.

Sociology chair Nancy Mandell [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], whose department is investigating the matter, said that she was “disappointed”. The Canadian Union of Public Employees [Local 3903], which represents TAs at York, does not have a policy on social media, and would not comment on the specifics of the case, wrote Maclean’s.

On air

  • Markus Biehl, director of the International MBA program at the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about how the ongoing crisis in Japan will affect the global supply chain, on CBC Radio March 17.
  • Professor Ashwin Joshi, executive director of the India MBA program at the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the program on Radio Canada International’s “The Link” March 17.