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  Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, January 14, 1999

  • SSHRC funding hinges on communication
  • Honours for faculty members
  • Staying on top of the drifts
  • And if we're not snowed in today...
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SSHRC funding hinges on communication --by Bob Whitton

A perception within the humanities and social sciences communities that at the moment, Canadian federal government officials are scarcely aware of their significance, was discussed by Marc Renaud, president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) yesterday in an address to the university community. He admitted there have been substantial cuts in the funding of the humanities, social sciences, business schools and other areas funded by SSHRCC since 1947, though he remains hopeful some of the cuts will be restored in the future.

Renaud said that as a result of the SSHRCC budget cuts Canada's federal government is today investing $5 billion a year in the science and technology areas, but only $1 billion in the humanities, social sciences, and similar areas.

"Thus 45 per cent of university faculty in Canada are getting only 11.6 per cent of public research funding," he noted. He urged SSHRCC-funded researchers to tell their story in ways that will enable non-scholars (including members of parliament and cabinet ministers) to grasp the significance of their activities. "Researchers," he said, "have to learn to talk to human beings who don't happen to be academics."

Engineering and science researchers have an easier time furthering their cause when they approach the Science and Engineering Research Council. They talk about new discoveries that have led to the formation of new business and manufacturing enterprises that employ thousands of Canadians. Similarly, medical and health researchers tell the Medical Research Council about new treatments and technologies that are saving countless lives.

Renaud said the culture of the humanities and social sciences has also recorded many admirable and beneficial achievements but regrettably, Canadians have not been made sufficiently aware of them. "We need to help make people more aware of what is going on," he said. "The more aware they are, the better your chances of getting budget increases for SSHRCC so the Council can fund more research."

One way to do this, he suggested, might involve the creation of a "national journal" on humanities/social sciences research. Above all, Renaud feels, scholars in the humanities and social sciences need "new kind of solidarity. It is not a question of researchers in the social sciences defending their narrower interests, or of the business schools doing the same thing. It is important that all those looking to SSHRCC for research support work together."

He noted that in some countries, such as France, research support of the humanities has held up rather well, in comparison with Canada. "The problem is: How can we explain why Canada needs philosophers and people in literature and so on?" he asked. He noted that one difficulty is that SSHRCC funding is spread over literally dozens of disciplines. But he reassured his audience that "we have more in common than we may realize."

Honours for faculty members

UW distinguished professor emeritus Ralph Haas has been named to the Order of Canada. The Norman W. McLeod Engineering Professor in the department of civil engineering, Haas officially retired in September, 1996, and holds adjunct status. He received BASc and MASc degrees from the University of Alberta, and completed his PhD at UW in 1968. Prior to joining the faculty at UW, he was an engineering faculty member at Carleton University. In announcing the honour, the office of Governor General Romeo LeBlanc noted Haas "pioneered the systems concept and development of engineering technology for managing networks of paved roads. His concept is now used by municipal, provincial, state and federal government transportation agencies in North America and abroad."

Chemical engineering professor, Murray Moo-Young, who holds the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Biochemical Engineering, has been selected as the 1999 recipient of the Marvin J. Johnson Award of the Biochemical Technology Division of the American Chemical Society. The award, which will be presented at the spring ACS national meeting in Anaheim, California, "recognizes innovative research contributions in the area of microbial and biochemical technology".

Staying on top of the drifts

With another major winter storm expected to dump 15 to 30 cm of snow on the region starting this afternoon, UW grounds supervisor Les Van Dongen has renewed his call for shovellers to help keep building entrances open. He'll not only provide the shovels, but pay $8.50 per hour to intrepid souls who appear at the General Services Complex maintenance yard by 7:30 a.m. on the day of a storm. As for grounds staff, they've been working overtime to keep up with snow accumulations. The biggest problem, says Van Dongen, is hauling snow to the dump site on the North Campus. Although the university has a fine new dump truck, it can't begin to meet the demand, and a contractor has been called in to help with the job.

If keeping roads and pathways open were not enough, plant operations crews are also scrambling to keep the sky from falling. The main entrance of the BF Goodrich building was closed Wednesday to allow a buildup of ice to be removed, reports Peter Fulcher, plant operations foreperson. Two south entrances of the building were kept open during the work. Other trouble spots include South Campus Hall and Burt Matthews Hall, he adds, but clearing snow from roofs over entrance ways and roof-top ventilations systems is occupying roofers and masons across campus. "We're trying to keep ahead of it. Fortunately, it's fluffy snow, and not too heavy."

And if we're not snowed in today...

The Institute for Computer Research (ICR) will host a Bell Emergis/UW workshop today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the ICR board room, Davis Centre room 1331. Three parallel sessions will be held to discuss voice authentication/recognition, security, and general IP applications. All faculty members are invited, and a working lunch will be provided. To learn more, contact Jean Webster at ext. 5076.

A job information and feedback session for 1998/99 graduating students will be held today from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre in Hagey Hall. Topics will include employment interviews for the winter term, results from the job application survey, employer information sessions, and job fair 1999. In other co-op news, Career Development Seminars (Co-op 101) will be held today from 9:30 to 11:30 and from 11:30 to 1:30 in Hagey Hall room 159. A Career Research Package workshop including information on self-assessment, occupational research, information interviews, and career decision making will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 1020. And Buck Consultants will be guests at an employer information session today from 5 to 7 p.m. at the University Club. The event is of special interest to graduating students in math and actuarial science.

A results report for the Kitchener-Waterloo Metropolitan Area Survey (KWMAS) will be held today at 3:30 p.m. in PAS room 2030. A joint project of the sociology department and UW's survey research network, the 1998 survey provides information based on a random sample of some 350 area residents. Under the leadership of UW sociology professor John Goyder, the multi-purpose instrument is designed to serve the needs of researchers at UW, as well as at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph. Plans for the next survey will also be discussed at today's meeting, and space in the survey is available for purchase. For more information, contact Goyder at ext. 2643.

Starting today, anyone wishing to donate blood at the upcoming UW clinics on January 25 to 28, can make an appointment at the turnkey desk in the Student Life Centre. Hours for the clinics are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

BUDS, "an on-campus educational advocacy group," is holding an information and recruiting meeting today at 4 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1304. "We are in need of faculty, staff and student volunteers for the mentoring and tutoring programs that we offer for local high school students," reports BUDS rep Jeremy Steffler. "These students are usually in danger of dropping out or are experiencing other academic difficulties." Steffler can be reached for information at jr2steff@engmail.uwaterloo.ca.

Two art exhibitions are scheduled to open on campus this afternoon. At 4 p.m., work by the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour opens at the UW Art Gallery in the Modern Languages Building. " "Nameless Waters", a collection of paintings by Bobbie Oliver from 1993 to 1998 opens at 5:30 p.m. at Artspace Gallery in East Campus Hall. Both continue until February 21.

Waterloo Quiz Bowl's organizational meeting is being held at 6 p.m. today in Math and Computer room 4020. Trivia addicts are especially welcome to help prepare for UW to host the "first ever Canadian Quiz Championships" on February 6. Also scheduled this term is WatBowl III, an intramural tournament on March 6. Zhan Huan Zhou has more information at zhzhou@engmail.uwaterloo.ca.

The new version of MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) accounting package will be presented at the meeting of Waterloo Region Macintosh Users Group tonight at 7:30 at New Dawn School on Fairfield Avenue in Kitchener. "This is reported to be the easiest to use accounting package for home and small business," reports Richard Crispin.

Barbara Elve

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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