Highlights of UBC media coverage in September 2011

campus news

UBC Faculty of Law opens Allard Hall

The Vancouver Sun and others reported on the official opening of Allard Hall, a new $56-million building for UBC’s Faculty of Law. Allard Hall is named after its major private benefactor Peter A. Allard who attended the school 40 years ago.

A couple of hundred guests, including Canada’s Chief Justice, the Right Hon. Beverley McLachlin, a former
UBC Law faculty member, and the Hon. Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of B.C., an alumnus and former faculty member, were in attendance.


With schools and universities heading back to school at the beginning of September, many news outlets did stories about new trends in education and preparing for the school year. Maclean’s, CBC, the Canadian Press, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Daily Courier and others covered stories about the size of this year’s university class, student loans, copyright issues and licensing, orientation programs and new buildings. UBC faculty, staff, students and alumni provided insight on these topics and more.

“This year almost every direct-entry program at UBC Vancouver offered applicants the opportunity to submit a personal profile, and in total over 2,500 students were admitted on the strength of their personal profile, not on high school marks alone,” said UBC’s associate vice-president and registrar James Ridge in the Vancouver Sun.

UBC research

Aging not culprit in health cost:
UBC studies

The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Montreal Gazette and Global BC reported on two UBC studies that indicate that rising acute-care costs and more reliance on specialists and diagnostic tests are a far greater threat to Canada’s health care system than the aging population.

“Population aging is not going to cause an inevitable crisis in health care,” said health economist Steve Morgan and
lead author of one study. “The fact that populations are aging exerts only a small pressure on the system,” wrote Kimberlyn McGrail, the lead author of the second study and an assistant professor and associate director of the UBC Centre for Health
Services and Policy Research, in an op/ed in the Toronto Star.

In a Vancouver Sun series on aging, Bob Evans, Larry Frank and Kevin Milligan provided commentary about health care costs, city design and the aging workforce respectively.

Deep-sea destruction

Two Washington Post articles and the Globe and Mail reported on a recent study that suggests that deep-sea commercial fishing should be banned.

Rashid Sumaila, a co-author of the study and the director of UBC’s Fisheries Centre, said high-seas trawlers around the world receive roughly $162 million each year in government subsidies.

Daniel Pauly, a marine biologist at UBC,said the costs of deep-sea fishing far outweigh the benefits. “It’s a waste of resources, it’s a waste of biodiversity, it’s a waste of everything.”


Biologist named MacArthur

UBC researcher Sarah Otto has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation — a prestigious award popularly known as a “genius grant,” reported the New York Times, CBC, Toronto Star and many others.

Otto, a zoology professor and director of the Biodiversity Research Centre, is a theoretical biologist. Her research has focused on fundamental questions of population genetics and evolution, such as why some species reproduce sexually while others reproduce asexually.

“The MacArthur Fellowship gives people the freedom to be creative, giving them room to focus on what they do well,” Otto said. “I am going to take that to heart and carve out more time for the math and science that I love doing.”