York University, Balsillie think tank near $60-million deal on partnership

York University is closing in on a $60-million deal with a think tank launched by BlackBerry co-founder Jim Balsillie to create 10 research chairs and 20 graduate scholarships probing modern challenges of international law, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 22. The partnership with the Centre for International Governance Innovation would invest a $30-million gift from Balsillie and another $30 million in provincial funds. In financial terms, it would be a major win for York, comparable in scale to landing 10 of the prestigious federally financed Canada Research Chairs in one year. But the agreement, which is expected to be sealed within weeks, has not come together without controversy, said the Globe. Read full story.

Course for refugees
“CBC Metro Morning” host Matt Galloway spoke with Robin Roth, professor of geography in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and with Ei Phyu Han, a PhD student and teaching assistant at York. They were speaking about a geography course taught at the University that is also offered to refugees living on the Thai-Burma border. Listen to audio.

Professor discusses the role of African Americans in history
A leading scholar on blacks in Appalachia reminded West Virginians Sunday that despite a history of “omission and exclusion”, blacks are very much a part of the state’s story, wrote the Register-Herald Reporter of Beckley, West Virginia Feb. 23. Wilburn Hayden, a professor at the School of Social Work at York University, gave the keynote address at a Black History Month program. Racial prejudice and the desire for dominance often drive historical omissions, said Hayden. Read full story.

Would you buy shares in Canada?
US housing market guru Robert Shiller and York University Professor Mark Kamstra have an unusual alternative for tackling the global debt crisis, wrote the Financial Post Feb. 22: Nations should issue shares. Shiller, who mapped out the idea with Kamstra of Toronto’s Schulich School of Business, said the shares, or “Trills” as they call them, would act much like corporate shares. Read full story.

High marks for city nurses
One of the province’s top nurses – York Professor Doris Grinspun – says she’s impressed that the kind of work practices she’s been advocating for are already taking place in Thunder Bay, reported that city’s Chronicle Journal Feb. 23. “You don’t see this kind of work everywhere,” said Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario and a member of York’s Faculty of Health. Read full story.

Osgoode tweets to victory
York’s Osgoode Hall Law School has won the world’s first ever Twitter moot, reported the blog of Canadian Lawyer & Law Times. So many followers tuned in to the virtual moot that the Twitter feed became overwhelmed at one point, causing a brief technical delay. Read full story.

Target dangles designer Jason Wu to lure Canadians
A “pop-up” soft launch by US retailer Target at a location on King Street West is likely to be greeted with fanfare, predicted Detlev Zwick, professor of marketing in the Schulich School of Business at York University. Zwick moved to Canada 10 years ago from the US, where the Minneapolis-based Target has 1,763 stores. The lack of Target stores in Canada has been a constant lament among fellow expats, he told CBC News. Read full story.

What brand dragons can learn from Beckham and Giggs
Writing in the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, Canadian researchers demonstrate how elite athletes can extend their brand and how this might be applied beyond sport, reported alphagalileo.org Feb. 22. Eileen Fischer of the Schulich School of Business at York University is working with Marie-Agnès Parmentier, an expert in consumer culture at HEC Montréal, to understand how personal brands can be developed by top sportspeople on and off the field. Read full story.

McAdams films close to home
Actor and York grad Rachel McAdams (BFA Spec. Hons. ’01) has been happy to call Toronto home since 1997, when she arrived from St. Thomas to study theatre arts at York University, wrote the Beach Metro Community News Feb. 22. No diva, McAdams has never “gone Hollywood” and lives with her brother in the Annex house she bought after the success of Mean Girls (2004), which filmed on Balsam Road and at Malvern Collegiate Institute. Read full story.

Art & influence; Iain Baxter& honoured with exhibition
Adam Lauder, a York University expert in digital research and Chair in e-Librarianship at Scott Library, said a retrospective of artist Iain Baxter&’s career is long overdue, in a Feb. 23 story in the Windsor Star about an upcoming Art Gallery of Ontario exhibit. “It’s great to see Iain Baxter& recognized for the tremendous contribution he has made to Canadian culture,” said Lauder, who has prepared a 200-page online monograph (archives. library.yorku.ca/iain_baxterand_raisonne) in conjunction with the exhibit. Read full story.

Pageant hopeful needs sponsors
York student Kalena Migotto, 22, has been invited to compete in the Miss World Canada pageant in May, reported the Mississauga News Feb. 22 – but only if she can raise $2,000 via sponsors for Variety, The Children’s Charity, including the first $1,000 by Saturday. The pageant requires contestants to set an example of volunteering, and helping women and children with special needs around the globe. Read full story.