Athletics worthwhile There will always be someone with a contrary view to worthwhile and laudable initiatives ("Priorities Questioned," Letters, Spring'97). While at McGill, I complained to Professor Bill Pugsley, then professor of management, about the vast sums of money spent on promoting athletics in U.S. colleges and universities. His view was that it was part of the "mosaic" of university life. I tend to now accept that comment.
When I played intercollegiate football at both McGill and Macdonald College, the teams were not well endowed. Equipment was old. I distinctly remember training in a drafty room with a bare light bulb and old free weights--long before the days of chrome and Spandex. In spite of everything, people like George Jay and Pat Fitzgerald tried their best to keep us dressed in uniforms that showed their pride and ours for McGill. One year, Quebec cut funding that eliminated the budget for intercollegiate sports, such that the Alumni pitched in to help field teams in football, hockey, basketball and soccer or face not participating at all.
Although I have not visited the sports complex, I am very envious and thankful that McGill would choose to invest in its athletes. Some will become Academic All-Canadians. Some will be recreational. Some will be staff in the University and the Royal Victoria Hospital. All can enjoy a well-equipped and designed facility that can serve to clear those cobwebs that tend to grow after hours of studying in the library.
Ian M. MacDonald, BSc'72, MSc'74, MD'79
I was delighted to read your article on the comings and goings among the McGill faculty ("Academic Moves," Winter'96), although I am particularly sorry that Jim Tully has left the Philosophy Department. It is evident, however, that McGill remains a desirable place to be even as the pressures and tensions generated by financial constraints and Quebec government actions increase. What is a matter of regret is that the increasingly hostile political environment in and outside the University is taking its toll on a number of fine teachers and distinguished researchers. I thought that your article handled these complex issues with great sensitivity.
I was also pleased to see your report on the Russian Department ("In From the Cold," Fall'96). At a time when both large and small language and literature departments in North American and European universities are being decimated in the interest of the irrational principle of "rationalization," it is good to see that the McGill department not only continues to contribute to the excellence of the McGill Faculty of Arts, it also has standing as one of the best Russian departments in North America.
Harry McFarland Bracken
Editor's note: Students in the Russian department continue to shine. Last March, students produced plays--A Nervous Breakdown by Anton Chekhov, for example--both very imaginatively and with great enthusiasm. One of their own, Russian student and rising actress Mia Kirshner (of Exotica fame) just finished playing the part of Kitty in the film version of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which opened in New York and Toronto in March of this year. While her acting has drawn her away frequently since she first entered McGill in September 1994, she managed two courses last term, both in Russian literature.
Good work, Bernard
Congratulations to Principal Bernard Shapiro for taking a stand against increasing tuition of "Out-of-Provincers" to a level above that paid by Quebec students (Tuition on Trial, Spring'97). It's bad enough that "Out-of-Provincers" are usually required to take an additional year of study in comparison to Quebec students.
Darlene McLean, BCom'94
In reading the "Cool on Campus" (Spring'97), I was pleased to find out the Architecture Café has progressed to a vegetarian food program.
When we were at McGill between '47 and '53, the architecture building was at the corner of University and Milton, just to the south of the gates, in an old mansion. The basement was the student lounge and had a very small area for a snack bar. The concession was given to any students crazy enough to want to operate the place and was only open during lunch period.
The menu in those days consisted of baloney or egg sandwiches for those students with some money and mustard sandwiches for those without.
The memories are very fond, as I ran this gourmet café with two classmates for two years, and we retained any profits for ourselves.
Morris Kula, BArch'53
La pleine valeur
L'article de Richard Latendresse intitulé «Transfert d'expertises» qui a paru dans le dernier numéro de McGill News met en relief «l'association de deux unités» d'enseignement pour offrir un nouveau programme qui privilégie l'acquisition de connaissances à la fois en sciences économiques et en gestion. Plus loin dans le même article, l'auteur reconnaît un volet «inédit» du programme, c'est-à-dire la contrainte imposée à tous les étudiants inscrits d'acquérir en même temps une compétence professionnelle en français managérial. L'apprentissage du français constitue en effet l'un des avantages incontestables du programme d'autant que cette nouvelle compétence linguistique permettra aux diplômés d'étendre leur rayon d'action de façon doublement plus efficace après avoir regagné leurs pays d'origine.
Chaque étudiant a donc la possibilité de quitter l'Université McGill muni non seulement de la maîtrise mais aussi du Certificat de compétence en français. Et cette année en fait, le premier diplômé du programme de Certificat faisait partie de la promotion de 1996 en gestion des politiques économiques, un exploit extraordinaire compte tenu des exigences des programmes de gestion et de français managérial.
Cette double qualité du programme est directement attribuable à la collaboration soutenue entre le département de langues et de traduction dont le directeur des programmes de français langue seconde a conçu des cours intensifs de français managérial et la faculté de gestion. C'était pour notre département l'occasion de mettre à contribution l'expertise qu'il a acquise après nombre d'années dans l'enseignement du français langue seconde, et plus particulièrement l'enseignement du français de spécialité.
Nos autres étudiants bénéficient également de cette association avec nos collègues de gestion, car nous sommes dans la première année du tout nouveau programme de diplôme en français des professions. Celui-ci vise le marché des diplômés universitaires qui s'apprêtent à exercer une profession exigeant une connaissance approfondie du français.
L'expérience acquise auprès des étudiants en français managérial nous a permis également de faire avancer deux autres projets clefs dans un domaine où nous collaborons avec des collègues de l'Université Laval et de l'Université du Québec. Il s'agit de la création d'un Centre d'examen pour le Canada pour la passation du diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF) délivré par le ministère français de l'Éducation et de la nouvelle version nord-américaine du diplôme de français de spécialité délivré par la Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris (CCIP).
Non seulement le programme de maîtrise en gestion des politiques économiques est un bel exemple de collaboration dans le développement des programmes d'enseignement de pointe, mais c'est aussi un tremplin qui permettra à l'Université McGill d'étendre son expertise dans ce domaine à un public encore plus vaste.
Nous aurions souhaité que McGill News reconnaisse la pleine valeur de cette collaboration interdépartementale, car c'est là la voie de l'avenir.
James Archibald, BA'67
Mental efforts undervalued
I was intrigued by McGill's negotiation for costs due to lost research time during the power failure last fall (Power Failures, "Cool on Campus," (Spring'97). Far too often, our time and mental efforts are undervalued relative to physical damages.
Recently, wet snow caused a wall to collapse and it landed on my biomechanics lab. Although we were able to retrieve most of the sensitive electronic instruments, the loss of the lab space has put the pinch on our research. Many students are being delayed and I will pursue the idea of compensation.
I always look forward to the brown envelope containing the McGill News. This most recent issue has provided more than enjoyable reading and catching up on the institution. I miss the atmosphere of McGill, the anatomy museum, and the mountain.
Steven T. McCaw, MA'85
Editor's Note: The writer refers to the three day power failure from September 27 to 29, 1996. McGill has received a damages claim from Hydro Quebec but is still pursuing lost research time costs.
I enjoyed the article "A Strawberry Speaks" (Spring'97) but I was disappointed to see that the article gives the impression that Dean Buszard was the creator of the three strawberry cultivars. I was also disappointed to see there was no credit for the photos that I provided for the article. Although I realize that the article was about Deborah Buszard and not me, I feel that credit for work was misdirected in the opening paragraphs. I hope McGill News gives proper credit to researchers in future.
Shahrokh Khanizadeh, MSc'84, PhD'89
Editor's Note: Mr. Khanizadeh is mentioned in the story as Deborah Buszard's research partner. A belated thank you for the photographs.
You can e-mail: Janicep@martlet1.lan.mcgill.ca