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The Globe's weekly Business School news roundup

Some familiar Canadian names dot the top-70 list of international business schools in the Financial Times ranking of executive education programs released this week.

In the open-enrolment category – non-degree programs offered to corporate employees on a particular topic – the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business came in 18th, one spot ahead of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. Queen's School of Business and York University's Schulich School of Business were in 27th and 36th spot, respectively, while list newcomer Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia debuted in 61st place.

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For customized programs tailored for a particular organization, four Canadian schools made the top-70 list: Ivey (30th place); Schulich (40th); Queen's (44th); and Rotman (58th).

Business schools from the United States and Europe dominate the top of the charts in both categories. Participation in the ranking is limited to schools with international accreditation, revenue of at least $2-million a year from their executive education programs and a minimum of 20 responses in the Financial Times survey.

Energy chair named

Long-time energy policy researcher Guy Holburn, a tenured professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, has been named Suncor Chair in Energy Policy.

The new chair, worth $1.125-million over five years, will enable Prof. Holburn to expand his research (and lighten his teaching load) and also provides funds for student scholarships, conferences and case-writing.

"I would like to further public discourse on energy policy issues by conducting some new evidence-based research on central policy questions," says Prof. Holburn, director of the energy centre at Ivey. "If I can help contribute to a more informed debate, then I feel I am having some impact."

His past research has analyzed the performance of several provinces in promoting investment in clean energy, such as wind power. He found that, of 15 or so factors, policy stability was of prime importance to investors and ranked ahead of the actual energy price received from government.

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He says the chair funding will help pay for conferences that, as is already the practice of his centre, bring together industry, government, environmental groups, organized labour and international experts to encourage discussion and debate.

The Ivey chair is funded through the Suncor Energy Foundation, which earmarks about 25 per cent of its $18-million annual budget to post-secondary education, according to Cathy Glover, director of stakeholder relations and community investment for the foundation.

With Suncor funding for the Ivey chair, Ms. Glover hopes "there is an academic voice that is being added to the dialogue on energy policy … and allows us to look at approaches that might be different."

Kevin Goldthorp, vice-president of external relations for the University of Western Ontario, says that, as with other externally-funded honours, the establishment of the Ivey chair was vetted through a university Senate committee.

"Absolutely 100 per cent of the time, the funding is given without any conditions or strings attached whatsoever to the appointment," he said, noting Prof. Holburn was nominated for the chair through a faculty appointment committee later ratified by the Senate. "The appointment is absolutely separate from the funding," said Mr. Goldthorp.

He added that the new chair fits with Western's focus on geo-science programs that relate to mineral exploration as well as specialties in mining law, finance and business.

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Student winners

For the sixth time in seven years, students at Memorial University's Faculty of Business Administration have claimed first place at the national championship of Students in Free Enterprise.

The Memorial students, who defeated 50 teams from universities across Canada, will represent Canada in September at the international version of the business competition that seeks out entrepreneurial projects delivering community benefits.

At the Calgary event this month, the Memorial team presented several of their projects, including help for military personnel and those with disabilities, that generated more than 22,000 volunteer hours, economic impact of $2-million and the creation of 47 jobs.

Honours and awards

Alan Middleton, assistant professor of marketing at York University's Schulich School of Business, will receive the Gold Medal Award from the Association of Canadian Advertisers on June 8. In a press release, association president Ron Lund said Prof. Middleton "has served the marketing communications industry with passion, commitment and distinction."

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Sarah Nichols, a third-year bachelor of commerce student at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business, has been named a 2012 3M National Student Fellow by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The award recognizes 10 undergraduate university and college students with "outstanding leadership qualities." Among her volunteer activities, Ms. Nichols is a mentor for First in Family, which helps students who are the first in their family to attend university.

Follow Jennifer Lewington and Business School news by subscribing to an RSS feed here.

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