How to get the best words from your references

Mary Jo Ducharme, associate professor and graduate program director at York University’s School of Human Resource Management, advises approaching those who have complimented your work openly, and who are familiar with your job. “A lot of job applicants go for a senior person mistakenly, because they believe the title will mean a more prestigious reference, but the letter ends up being empty,” said Ducharme in The Globe and Mail Feb. 25. “It’s better to get a rave review from someone who works with you closely.” Read full story.

United Way, York Region launch communityBUILD Mash Up
York University and ventureLAB, a business innovation centre in York Region, along with United Way have launched the communityBUILD Mash Up, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 25. It’s a competition aimed at social-minded entrepreneurs with bright ideas for double bottom line ventures that both generate revenue and develop skills for workers including youth at risk, the homeless and the hungry. Read full story.

Thoughtful ways to honour your elders on your wedding day
“It’s payback – due gratitude – for their investment, for raising a family and struggling economically to keep a roof overhead,” said York University sociology Professor Leo Davids in Weddingbells Feb. 25. “Honouring grandparents with some kind of thank you is like reciprocity.” Davids says it’s important to include older relatives in a celebration because you never know if there will be a chance to repeat this acknowledgement. “It’s a happy day with everyone in a good mood and it’s a great time for photo ops, reciting a blessing or including vintage paraphernalia.” Read full story.

Feminist ‘consent underwear’ spark debate
Amulya Sangavarapu’s company Feminist Style creates underwear with messages promoting sexual consent. “I think it’s brilliant,” said Kate McPherson, a professor of Gender, Feminist & Women’s Studies at York University, to Sun News Network Feb. 21. “What’s important about it is consent happens right up to the moment when you are going to be physically intimate, and the fact that you are talking about consent right down to your underwear is really important.” Others don’t agree that consent underwear will have a positive impact on reducing rapes. “I have some serious doubts about this product,” said Louise Ripley, also a women’s studies professor at York. “With the flimsy material and seemingly jokey comments, the pants seem to make light of what is a deadly serious problem – rape and date rape. The best way to address the issue is through education.” Read full story.

New peace group aims to grieve war while promoting peace
The federal government spent $30 million in 2012 and 2013 to convince Canadians the War of 1812 was a glorious, defining moment that forged Canada’s identity in war. . . . York University Professor Boyd Cothran finds the notion that Canada made itself into a nation by going to war bizarre. “The idea of a nation forged in war is sort of a weird position for Canada to take. And yet it seems that Canada is determined to find a war to peg its nationalism to,” said Cothran in the Catholic Register Feb. 22. “We’re going to be dodging books over the next couple of years talking about how Canada was born in World War I. I’m not sure why that is the case. I suspect it’s because they’re drawing on the American model, frankly.” Read full story.

Judge Donald McLeod to receive Lincoln Alexander award
The Honourable Justice Donald McLeod will receive the Honourable Lincoln Alexander ’53 Award Tuesday, Feb. 25 from York University’s Black Law Students’ Association at Osgoode Hall Law School, reported the North York Mirror Feb. 25. Read full story.

Rewiring childhood
Is there a way to turn back the dial on our technology addiction? Edward Jones-Imhotep is a history prof at York University. He spoke to Gill Deacon about how we can reap the benefits of the wired world without suffering from the consequences on CBC’s “Here and Now Toronto” Feb. 25. Watch full video.

Youth Big Band performs at York University
The York University Jazz Orchestra directed by Mike Cadó and the JAZZFM.91 Youth Big Band led by Jules Estrin share the stage March 6 in a concert featuring classic and contemporary jazz repertoire, reported JAZZ.FM91 Feb. 25. The concert will feature York University faculty members Sundar Wiswanathan on alto saxophone and Ron Westray on trombone. Read full story.

Jews today are divided, complicated, professor says
Today’s Jewish population is divided, complicated and different, York University Professor Kalman Weiser told a Lodzer Centre Holocaust Congregation audience Sunday. In society, Jews are separated by the different foods they eat, language they speak, the way they pray and even what holidays they celebrate, reported the Jewish Tribune Feb. 25. “People migrate, intermarry and take on new identities,” said Weiser, the Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at York. “They feel strongly about who and what they think they are, which is always changing.” Read full story.

The top 15 architects in Toronto
Bortolotto does it all, including educational design (OCAD’s digital media research centre and U of T’s OISE building), residences (overhauls of homes on Borden Street and in Summerhill) and revitalization of existing sites (including Fort York and the Merchandise Building condos). Currently, they’re designing York University‘s new Welcome Centre for Student Services, reported BlogTO Feb. 22. Read full story.

Festering wounds of Sri Lanka’s war
“This year marks the fifth anniversary of the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka between government forces and the Tamil Tigers, who had engaged in an unwavering fight for an independent state since the 1980s,” wrote Amarnath Amarasingam, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, in Al Jazeera Feb. 24. “It was a bloody conflict with a catastrophically bloody conclusion on the beautiful northeastern shores of Mullivaikkal, where waves from the Bay of Bengal continue to crash hauntingly.” Read full story.