Nothing to celebrate at Fort York During War of 1812

Booze was rotgut but plentiful. Food was basic at best with nothing green or fresh. Dinner companions literally stunk. Such was the Christmas season at Fort York, 2.5 km from the heart of what is now Toronto, in the first winter of the War of 1812. “In December of 1812, the conditions would have been pretty horrible,” said York University history Professor James Laxer, author of Tecumseh & Brock: The War of 1812, in the Toronto Star Dec. 21. Read full story.

Today’s graduate students are not the elites of yesterday
“As a doctoral candidate currently working on my dissertation, I’ve seen many cases where students ‘fell behind’ or left their programs for various reasons. I also have an interest in this issue because the topic of my research is the university itself, and how it’s governed. The PhD model, in Canada and elsewhere, has traditionally been an ‘elite’ one. It’s based on the idea that very few people will go to graduate school, and that those who do will have plenty of preparation and support for it,” writes Melonie Fullick, PhD candidate in York University’s Faculty of Education, in The Globe and Mail Jan. 2. “Throughout my time in graduate school, I’ve found that this model is built on outdated assumptions about the context of graduate education and the kind of person who pursues a PhD.” Read full story.

Bilingualism helps ward off dementia, study shows
Brian Gold grew up confident in the value of a bilingual education when his parents placed him in a French immersion school. Now, years after leaving Montreal and becoming a neuroscientist, Dr. Gold has helped illuminate bilingualism’s role in buttressing the human brain against the ravages of old age…. According to Ellen Bialystok, an expert in language and cognition at York University in Toronto who was not involved in the study, the slight edge that bilingual people exhibit may add up to years of difference when it comes to maintaining brain function, reported The Globe and Mail Jan. 8. Read full story.

Sarah Polley’s family doc wins $100,000 prize
Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley’s acclaimed family memoir, was awarded Canada’s richest film prize on Tuesday evening at the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) 16th annual awards gala….Also honoured Tuesday was York University film graduate Nicolás Pereda, who was named the recipient of the TFCA Jay Scott Prize for talented emerging artist, reported the Globe and Mail Jan. 8. The prize, named after the late Globe and Mail film critic (1949-1993), consists of a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 in post-production services. Read full story.

Hawks welcome new coach into the Faulds
With his budding football acumen, 29-year-old Michael Faulds was a tantalizing choice for Peter Baxter and his selection committee, even with three years of Ontario University Athletics (OUA) coaching experience. Tuesday, the former York University offensive coordinator was named the sixth head coach in Hawks football history, taking over for the departed Gary Jeffries, who retired in November after 43 years at the school, reported the Waterloo Chronicle Jan. 8. Read full story.

Head injuries provide for an unsettling year in sports
Researchers say that while there is much work to be done in the area of head injuries, parents should not despair….Parents should not be left with the conclusion that the best thing to do is rip their kids out of sport, said Lauren Sergio, a researcher at York University, in The Globe and Mail Dec. 23. “When I give a talk to parents, my final message is, please don’t take this as a message to pull your kid from sport, because the benefit of sport is so much greater than the small chance [of getting a serious head injury]. The most important thing is: we’ve got awareness now.” Read full story.