Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No. 2

September 25, 2003


In brief

Homecoming is for recent grads, too

This year’s edition of Homecoming, coming up Sept. 30-Oct. 5, has more to offer than ever before.

In response to requests from younger alumni, it will include a career networking workshop at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, there will be a pub crawl — only it’s a tour of the McAuslan Brewery and Brutopia Brewpub. Also new this year, the Homecoming Film Festival, in the DeSève cinema, all afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 4.

The big public events are as prominent as ever: a free public lecture by Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire, the CUAA Alumni Recognition Awards, the Homecoming Cup football game, and the Rector’s Reunion Dinner Dance.

Many people have signed up for tours of the new Richard J. Renaud Science Complex after a pancake breakfast on the Loyola Campus on Oct. 4. Alumni chapters are being launched by the John Molson School of Business and Journalism.

TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and Varsity Athletes, which launched chapters last year, are planning events, as are the Loyola class of ’53 and the Department of Exercise Science.

For more details about Homecoming 2003, please consult the Back Page of CTR, the centre spread of the Concordia University magazine, or go to

Byrnes’ photo project is 37 years old

Terry Byrnes, chair of the English Department, has another career that few of his colleagues know about: art photographer.

He was the subject of a feature article in the issue of Saturday Night magazine that came with the National Post on Saturday, Sept. 13.

“The Main Street Project,” by Joshua Knelman, described how Byrnes has visited the same otherwise unremarkable town of Springfield, Ohio, every year since 1966 to take photos.

Byrnes came from working-class Ontario roots, but grew up in the U.S. South. He was a shutterbug from his mid-teens, and discovered Springfield, a tough little burg, more or less by accident. After he moved to Canada to teach creative writing at Concordia, he continued his annual trips there.

Seven of his stunning black-and-white photos accompany the article. Most are of ordinary people. Some of his subjects have to be coaxed to have their pictures taken, and as Knelman describes it, Byrnes’ approach to them is a combination of sensitivity and bravery.

Tuition rises — but not in Quebec

Undergraduate students in Canada will pay an average of 7.4 per cent more for tuition in 2003. Statistics Canada says it’s the biggest tuition increase in four years.

Nova Scotia, which has a number of well-known universities, has the highest average undergraduate tuition in Canada, $5,557, and the second highest graduate tuition, $6,898. Ontario has the country’s second highest undergraduate tuition, $4,923 a year on average, and the highest average graduate fees, $8,376. Compare that with Quebec, where tuition is only $1,862 for the average full-time undergraduate.

British Columbia shows the highest increase in average undergraduate fees for the second year in a row, a rise of 30.4 per cent. Average tuition will be $4,140. Tuition for engineering in B.C. will increase 30.9 per cent.

Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province to reduce tuition fees, and for the third year in a row. Average undergraduate tuition there is $2,606. On the other hand. Dentistry students in Saskatchewan face the highest average increase in Canada (55.1 per cent) and pay the highest average tuition in Canada at a whopping $30,178 a year.

Ian Boyko, chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, was quoted in the National Post in August. He blamed the increases on provincial governments that are “ideologically opposed to the notion of equality of accessibility” to higher education.

Robert Giroux, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges, said recently that there has been increased enrolment at universities from all social sectors in Canada, but an analyst at Statistics Canada reported that the enrolment gap between rich and poor had in fact widened during the 1990s.

Based on a report in the National Post

Singer: Apply academic rules fairly

Dean of Arts and Science Martin Singer has told his department chairs that uneven application across the Faculty of the policies in the undergraduate calendar is unfair and must be stopped.

“There are two cultures side by side,” Singer told his first faculty council of the year on Sept. 12. “I’ve had it, and I have come up with a solution.”

Starting in October, the rules laid out in the calendar will be strictly enforced. There will continue to be special provisions for compassionate cases, such as a death in the family or serious illness.

Delinquent students find some professors easy to persuade, and over time, this becomes the practice of the department. Singer said that this is potentially dangerous: A student could claim that a professor has made a promise and then, in the absence of the professor, hold the university responsible.

He has looked at 450 cases since July, and while he admitted that the transitional period was difficult, he rejected a plea by student representatives on council to extend it to the end of this term. “If you’ve made a promise to a student,” he told the faculty members, “bring it to a conclusion.”

The relevant section of the undergraduate calendar is 16.3, titled “Evaluation, Grading System, Examinations, and Performance Requirements.”

Singer also announced a major reorganization in his office that will professionalize many of the tasks previously carried out by faculty members. Donald Chambers is now Director of Student Academic Services, and will head a staff of eight admissions officers. Serge Bergeron is Director of Administrative Services, and Rose Fedorak is Code Administrator, handling cases under the academic code of conduct.

Passionate engineers meet here

Engineering: A Profession, A Passion! is the compelling title of a conference jointly organized by Concordia and the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec to will take place in the D.B. Clarke Theatre of the Hall Building, Oct. 7 to 9.

The conference will be launched at 9 a.m. on Oct. 7 by Minister of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Parks Sam Hamad, who is himself an engineer. Another guest of honour will preside over the closing ceremony: Gilles Brière, an engineer who is a contract management officer for the United Nations.

Individual conferences will focus on each of the fundamental values of an engineer.

The lecture on competence will be presented Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. by Fassi Kafyeke, Manager, Advanced Aerodynamics, Bombardier Aeronautics. The one on responsibility will be presented on Oct. 7 at 2:30 by Reginald Weiser, chairman and CEO of Positron Industries.

The lecture on ethical conduct will take place Oct. 9 at 2:30 under the direction of Madiha Kotb, Boiler and Pressure Vessel Fabrication Manager of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec.

Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire, who is the president and executive director of Centraide of Greater Montreal, also happens to be an engineer. She will give the lecture on social commitment, on Oct. 8 at 2:30.

As part of the Concordia —OIQ Professional Engineering Fair, CASI (the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute) will sponsor a talk by NASA engineer Scott Higginbottham on Tuesday, October 8, from 5-7 p.m., in Room H-763.

Jean Brisebois made knight of St. John

Congratulations to Jean Brisebois, director of Security, who was elevated to the rank of knight by the Order of St. John at a ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in May. He is a past president of the Quebec Council of St. John’s Ambulance, and an active volunteer.

He is also a longtime volunteer for other causes, including the Air Cadets League and CAFAT, a group in Laval that helps people with dependencies. He started an awards program for young people who conquer their addictions. The award is linked to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in which Brisebois served before coming to Concordia in 2001.

When the commissioner of the RCMP heard about his St. John award, he invited Jean to be a special guest at this spring’s graduation ceremonies in Regina, and put an RCMP plane at his disposal for the trip. By a happy coincidence, the son of a close friend was in the graduating class.

The Order of St. John is an international charitable organization whose roots go back 900 years. It is focused on training and community service, notably through St. John’s Ambulance, which provides first aid and CPR courses to the public and patrols large-scale public events.

JMSB faculty to reclaim soccer name

Assistant Professor Kai Lamertz, with the help of alumni associations, is organizing another soccer match between MBA students and the JMSB faculty and staff.

Last year’s match was an enjoyable one, but unfortunately for professorial dignity, the students won by a score of 5-1.

“We have booked the newly renovated outdoor field at Loyola campus on Oct. 3 for the match, which will take place between 11 am and 1 p.m. We will play 11 players per side with unlimited substitutions, and we are also hiring a certified referee to arbitrate the game.”

If you are interested in playing for the faculty/staff team, contact Lamertz at, or just come out and watch the game.