OTTAWA – Ata Khan wants to improve
your drive home. Dr. Khan, a leading authority on transportation
at Carleton University, is engaged in several large projects
designed to incorporate intelligence into the infrastructure
of highways to make life easier and safer for commuters.
“The idea is to make roads smarter,” said Dr.
Khan, “to give people the information in various forms
whether by computer, route guidance in on-board navigation
systems available in some cars, or overhead changeable message
Currently Khan is involved in two new projects from the
Ontario Ministry of Transport to assess traffic tie-ups
and develop methods to alert drivers to long slow-moving
queues along major highways under construction and at United
States border points.
“Transportation is the lifeline of society,”
said Dr. Khan. “Carleton is the only university with
a research centre in Eastern Ontario, a graduate program
in transportation and we are recognized throughout the country
and throughout the world.
Studying public perceptions of profs
CALGARY – If asked to describe a
university professor, most Canadians would lapse into the
usual stereotypes: he, for only the male of the academic
species lives in the public imagination, is bespectacled,
dishevelled, absent-minded and aloof. When he bothers at
all to descend from the rarefied air of his ivory tower,
it’s to dispense arcane wisdom to students he doesn’t
particularly understand or care much about.
The roots of this popular caricature are one of the dimensions
of academic life explored in a new manuscript by University
of Calgary professors Paul Stortz and E. Lisa Panayotidis.
“Although a lot of these stereotypes find their origins
in student journalism of the late 19th and early 20th century,
they have become deeply ingrained,” said Dr. Panayotidis.
“Professors themselves are guilty of helping to perpetuate
some of them, but quite frankly these outmoded ideas only
serve to hurt the contemporary professoriate.”
Dr. Panayotidis points to a rise in anti-intellectualism
– nationally and internationally – and a general
lack of understanding in the public’s mind about what
it is that professors do. “We have a very strong role
to play in the community, but it would help if we were understood
better and if some of these historical stereotypes were
seen for what they are – stereotypes based in humour
and caricature and not necessarily anything rooted in reality.”
Universities reject qualified students
VANCOUVER – An increasing number
of qualified British Columbia high school graduates are
being rejected by the province’s universities because
of a shortfall in funded positions, Simon Fraser News reports.
A study prepared by SFU’s office of analytical studies,
prepared annually by analyst Joanne Heslop, says “access
to B. C. universities for B.C. Grade 12 graduates continues
While students may meet the minimum published requirements
for university entrance, the limited supply of spaces has
lead to higher actual minimums. For example, at SFU the
published minimum is 67 per cent while only those who averaged
80 per cent gain admission to the faculty of arts.
The result is that between the fall of 2001 and 2003 the
number of qualified applicants who were refused admissions
at B.C.’s four universities increased from 1,642 to
2,106. That’s a jump of 28 per cent. At the same time
the proportion of qualified applicants rejected has increased
from about 14 per cent in 2001 to 17.4 per cent in 2003.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg, says Walter Wattamaniuk,
director of the office of analytical studies.
“We know that many students who realize they do not
meet the higher actual minimum do not bother to apply,”
He says that over the past several decade the number of
high school graduates and applications has been increasing
at a higher rate that the supply of spaces funded by the
John Waterhouse, SFU’s vice-president academic, is
convinced the government is aware of the problem and would
like to do something about it.
Big dreams, small screens
MONTREAL – Newspapers and radio have
long been staples of McGill’s thriving student journalism
scene. And when a group of McGill students observed the
need for a campus television station a few years ago, they
added a third outlet to that list: Television McGill (TVM),
a twice-monthly television show featuring student contributions
on news, arts, culture, sports and entertainment.
The idea was almost 20 years in the making, according to
the McGill Reporter. A McGill television station was conceived
in 1984, and took the form of ILL-TV, station letters borrowed
from the last three letters of “McGill,” and
making reference to a popular colloquial term used during
the decade for everything current hipsters would consider
cool or de rigueur. But while ILL-TV was popularly received,
an overambitious mandate and lack of funding forced the
station to close shop. Sixteen years later, another group
of students decided to revisit the idea. They dropped the
slang and adopted more conventional call letters: TVM.
Zayna Aston, a final-year psychology major, is co-president
and co–executive producer of the television service
this year. “We have progressed so far since the days
of ILL-TV and have grown exponentially in our reach in the
past four years,” she says. “It wasn’t
until two years ago, under the direction of then-President
David Sax, that the station began to take off.”