‘City’ or ‘town’? Richmond Hill debates what’s in a name

For Markham, Richmond Hill’s neighbour to the east that officially became a city last July, the change was mostly about marketing, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 8. Research teams at York University and Frankfurt’s Goethe University are in the midst of a project that examines how a municipality (in one specific case, Markham) whose growth is dependent on its big-city node (Toronto) asserts itself as its own city. In a paper presented at a conference in Paris last fall, the researchers say Markham’s evolution into a city has been happening for more than two decades, regardless of its official name. Read full story.

Canadian B-schools join forces
On Feb. 7, a date that U.S. institutions may come to believe “will live in infamy,” Canada’s top business schools announced that they were banding together to market the country as the place to take an MBA, reported Businessweek Feb. 11. The new “Canadian MBA Alliance” will embrace all of the nation’s leading providers: York University’s Schulich School of Business, McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business, University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business and Queen’s School of Business…. What makes the move interesting is the fact that Canada is already very successful at attracting foreign students. Read full story.

The university has everything to gain from Twitter
Graduate students, who will make up the next generation of scholars, should be encouraged to learn how to communicate with wider audiences, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 8. This can include other spaces where public debates happen and it could involve hybrid forms of scholarship that both feed into and are enriched by such communication. An example of such forms is Active History, based at York University, which aims to “[connect] the work of historians with the wider public and the importance of the past to current events.” The site contains blog posts, book reviews, academic papers, and podcasts, created by a diverse group of scholars including graduate students, freelance researchers and writers, postdoctoral fellows, and librarians, as well as faculty. Read full story.

Igniting creative sparks
Kelly Parke, instructor of the innovation through technology and design course at the York’s Schulich School of Business, has his dragons poised and ready to pounce. It’s the last day of class, and the game is on….The winning presentation will get a chunk of (fake) investment money, bragging rights and a half-point bump to their final mark….You can tell from the ripples of laughter and the enthusiasm on the faces of the presenters that this is not a typical MBA class. And you can tell from Parke’s sheer joy when he talks about the students’ ingenuity that he gets a lot out of teaching this course, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 11. Read full story.

Warrior training for case challenges
Around a year ago, Joe Fayt, a marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business and the coach of the university’s MBA case competition team, was online from 11:30pm on a Friday night until 11:30am Saturday morning helping his students prepare for the prestigious Hult Global Case Challenge, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 11. The competition was taking place in Shanghai, London, Boston and San Francisco. Because of the time differences, he was able to coach all of his teams – Fayt sent four groups of five students to each location – before they had to present. Read full story.

Why we are so fond of felines online
With a whole kingdom of creatures out there, why has the hive-mind fixated on the humble house cat?… York University Professor Jody Berland dives deeper in her paper on the Internet’s obsession with cats, published in a 2008 issue of the journal Cultural Studies, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 8. “The cat totem unites people under its sign and invites them to admire and imitate the cat’s outstanding characteristics, as depicted therein: sensuality, softness, cuteness, a strong sense of personal space and a wily capacity to pretend indifference,” she wrote. Read full story.

Ontario’s Samsung green energy deal ripens slowly
Ontario’s controversial $7-billion deal with Samsung Renewable Energy is running late. And delays in the initial stages of the deal are likely to cascade into further deferrals, the company says…. York University Professor Mark Winfield says there was a rationale for the province to ask a company like Samsung to jump-start its renewable energy sector and use it as a springboard to renew the flagging manufacturing sector. But there was also a risk that inviting a new player into the province would simply undercut existing manufacturers who might otherwise have moved into the sector, he said in the Toronto Star Feb. 8. Read full story.

The missing link
York University’s Career Centre is a bustling office dedicated to helping students find their ideal careers. The centre offers at least 18 workshops, individual appointments, career fairs, job listings and networking events. But only to those who find it….The good news, according to York’s Career Centre Director Julie Rahmer, is that more students are asking for help with this stuff, and earlier than before, reported Maclean’s Feb. 9. Read full story.

Environment expert agrees with oil spill critique
Gail Fraser, a professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, said government, regulators and oil companies would have great difficulty dealing with an oil spill similar to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. “That spill [the Deepwater Horizon] was only 80 km offshore,” said Fraser in CBC News Feb. 8. “So if we’re looking at a Newfoundland scenario where it’s hundreds of kilometres offshore in a very rough environment, it’s going to take a lot of resources to try and do anything.” Read full story.

The place where art sleeps
Art institutions are a bit like icebergs; the public sees less than a tenth of their holdings. But that may finally be changing. While security and conservation remain top priorities, galleries are beginning to experiment with new ways for the public to engage with their broader collections….Working with York University’s Chair in E-Librarianship Adam Lauder, artist Iain Baxter& has begun to gather his own works online, reported Maisonneuve Feb. 7. The IAINBAXTER&raisonnE is an “electronic collection, virtual exhibition platform and research environment” that brings the traditional catalogue raisonné – a comprehensive record of an artist’s output – into cyberspace. Read full story.