Why are you so bored?

Scientists are taking on boredom. No, they aren’t working on a cure just yet, but they have written a new definition of boredom and outlined the mental processes behind ennui. The researchers, led by psychological scientist John Eastwood of York University in Ontario, Canada, define boredom as “an aversive state of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity,” which springs from failures in one of the brain’s attention networks. The findings, detailed in the September issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, may speak to many Americans: In a large survey of high-school students across 26 U.S. states reported in 2007, researchers found two out of three students said they were bored in class every day. A 2003 national survey found 91 percent of young Americans polled said they experienced boredom, according to Eastwood and his colleagues. To get a better handle on boredom and its causes, Eastwood’s team looked at past research on attention and boredom, reported PsychCentral and others Sept. 27. Read full story.

Real estate gets well-rounded
The real estate business is in the middle of a transformation, and demand for skilled managers with real estate training has never been higher. Canadian business schools are working to meet this need, for an industry coping with a generation of change. “In 1989, almost every real estate company in Canada and the US came close to bankruptcy,” says James McKellar, associate dean of York University’s Schulich School of Business, and academic director of Schulich’s program in Real Estate & Infrastructure. ..”As a result, the industry rebounded and began to look for the skills that were essential to let this industry survive.” As a result, the real estate industry of today is dominated by companies that are well-managed and maintain a broad skill base… Sammy Ayoub, who graduated from Schulich’s MBA program in 2005 with a specialization in both real estate and finance, agrees that a broad skill base combining business training with a knowledge of the industry is crucial, reported the National Post Sept. 25. Read full story.

Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony
David Johnston, governor general of Canada, will preside over an Order of Canada investiture ceremony at Rideau Hall, on Friday, Sept. 28, at 10:30am. The Governor General, who is chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order, will bestow the honour on 27 Members, 16 Officers and 1 Companion. Included in that list are York music Professor Catherine Robbin, who will become an Officer of the Order of Canada, Seymour Schulich, a respected entrepreneur, who will receive a promotion within the Order from member to Officer of the Order of Canada, and Calvin Stiller, a York Honorary Doctor of Science degree holder, who will also receive a promotion within the order from member to Officer of the Order of Canada, reported the Governor General of Canada website Sept. 26. Read full story.

Toronto Star Teacher Award goes to tough teacher who piles on the homework
The tall, husky-voiced woman with the earrings that spell LOVE was the only black student in her class when she was growing up in Brantford. Now she is a role model in a school where students come from around the world. She chose to get her teacher training from the Urban Diversity program at York University’s Faculty of Education, to hone her skills at connecting with inner city students. Darlene Jones said her goal is to instill the self-confidence that can help children handle hard knocks. “Yes, I push them – because I know they have potential. It drives me crazy when people say, ‘Oh, those poor kids (in Jane-Finch)’ – they’re not poor kids. They can be whatever they want, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 27. Read full story.

Speakers discuss risk culture at the ORIMS professional development day
York University’s risk culture was born out of the Y2K scare of the late 1990s, said Steve Pottle, director of risk management services at the university. Before Y2K, Pottle’s team would never meet with the university’s board of governors, but as the board realized the threat Y2K posed, Pottle began to meet with the board every quarter to discuss risk, reported Canadian Insurance Top Broker Sept. 26. Read full story.