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Friday, May 28, 1999

  • 'We need a business presence'
  • Faculty members rate classrooms
  • Chemist looks at ozone depletion
  • Much is happening this weekend

'We need a business presence'

UW's leaders are agreed that more should be done to develop this university's role in teaching business, president James Downey said this week after the annual executive council retreat.

Library system is down

Things aren't going smoothly in the electronic world of the library. Mark Haslett, associate university librarian, sends this urgent word this morning:

"The TRELLIS Library system upgrade was scheduled for two days of downtime after careful consultation with the system vendor, Endeavor Inc., and other large library sites who had undergone the upgrade recently. Regrettably our upgrade has run into unanticipated problems which have caused a significant extension of the downtime. The libraries, IST, and Endeavor are working closely together to identify and rectify the problems. I have been in touch with the president of Endeavor several times and have been assured that the resolution of the problems and getting TRELLIS back up is currently Endeavor's highest priority.

"We recognize and regret the major inconvenience and disruption this has caused our user community. Once TRELLIS is back up, the libraries and IST will be reviewing with Endeavor why this has occurred and will take every step to identify means to ensure this does not happen in the future."

"I don't know just what shape it will take," Downey said, adding that "it's not enough just to have a conventional school of business." UW will teach business differently as it does just about everything differently from other institutions, he suggested. "We would want to give it a particular Waterloo character, building on technology in particular."

The president said that "There's certainly a consensus among the deans" to move ahead with business education. He chaired part of the senior management retreat at Kempenfelt Bay resort last week, and part was chaired by David Johnston, who will succeed Downey as president on June 1.

"The senior administration is solidly in favour of our taking the matter in hand," said Downey. "We need a strong and visible presence in business, as we do in health."

He noted that UW already has many of the "parts" of a business school or whatever the eventual structure would be. Most obviously, there's a good-sized school of accountancy, and there is the department of management sciences, which includes the recently created graduate program in management of technology. And there are business options on the books in most faculties.

But UW students who want training in traditional business administration generally get it by cross-registering for courses in the school of business at Wilfrid Laurier University. "I have no doubt," said Downey, "that the university will decide that business is too important a part of the university in the 21st century to be indefinitely outsourced."

Faculty members rate classrooms

"Even the most distant students seem not too far away" in the 357-seat classroom that is Arts Lecture Hall room 116, says a survey done by UW's teaching resource office (TRACE). Some other classrooms, including several in the Davis Centre, attracted praise, but "other rooms received only negative comments", TRACE reports.

From the latest issue of TRACE's Instructional Development at Waterloo newsletter:

A large amount of information on specific rooms was collected and has been distributed to the Audio Visual (AV) Centre and Plant Operations. . . . Concerns about rooms that are difficult if not impossible to teach in were sent to Plant Operations for possible renovation.

There were rooms that faculty members liked. These included AL 116, a large lecture theatre where "even the most distant students seem not too far away." DC 1350, 1351 and MC 4020 were praised for their multimedia equipment and layout although the requirements to set up equipment in DC 1350 and 1351 were described as "antiquated." Other rooms received only negative comments. For example, Biology 271 was criticized for the layout of the area in which the instructor works and also for the lack of intimacy -- "students feel too far away." MC 2065 and 2066 were criticized for a number of problems such as pathetic lighting and horrid acoustics.

Other comments indicated that faculty members like rooms with: lots of blackboard space, screens that do not completely cover the blackboards, bench seating for students, good and easy to use AV equipment, and space for the instructor to move around. They also like rooms where students do not seem too far away (long, narrow rooms frequently received negative comment). There was a mixed reaction to windows and lighting conditions in rooms. Some instructors indicated they wanted natural light while others found natural light interfered with some instructional technique. Some preferred U-shaped seating arrangements and some disliked those arrangements. Bolted seats received negative comment because they inhibit the rearrangement of the room for group work. There were also mixed reactions to raised platforms for instructors.

A lack of dimmers was a concern for many classrooms, and some rooms with natural light could not be darkened sufficiently to use AV equipment. Concerns were also raised about: poor air quality; temperature; general condition of the facilities (e.g. "curtains hung in tatters," "extra chairs" that get in the way); noise conditions in halls outside of classrooms; poor seats for students; and ability of students to see edges of the blackboard, the bottom of the board, or a projection screen.

TRACE will encourage action on some of these concerns and also encourage faculty involvement in new classroom design and renovation.

Chemist looks at ozone depletion

A second UW scientist is working on a major project to study the loss of ozone in the upper atmosphere, a UW news release reports.

Earlier this year, Peter Bernath of the chemistry department received publicity for his work on a study that will be done with the help of a satellite to be launched in 2001.

Now, attention turns to Jim Sloan, also of the chemistry department, who is working with a Japanese research team to analyse satellite data that could identify polar stratospheric clouds, or PSCs, which play a key role in depleting the ozone. Says the news release: "His lab was the first in the world to carry out direct measurements on the sub-micron sized particles of which PSCs are made. For the past decade, Sloan has been studying environmental problems including the ozone holes in the stratosphere. The ozone layer helps protect all life forms from harmful ultraviolet radiation."

He notes that chemical reactions take place on the solid surface of cloud particles, reactions that deplete the ozone layer. In his lab, Sloan makes clouds artificially in a flow tube apparatus, designed so that the temperature and composition of the gas flowing through it can be changed while he and his research team do various measurements using infrared spectroscopy.

He says: "It turns out that for reasons that are very complicated we still can't predict at what temperature these crystals are going to form, or what their chemical compositions (the proportions of water, nitric acid and sulphuric acid) are going to be. Moreover, we've never been able to observe or measure the phenomenon in nature -- in the stratosphere -- at least not until quite recently. Until now, the only way we could begin to understand the phenomenon was by our work in the lab."

He said the Japanese scientists are finishing the analysis of their data. "The Japanese first contacted me three or four months ago. One of their scientists visited us in April and brought a sample of their data, and we worked together for a couple of days. I showed him our lab data that could identify the PSCs. Following this, they invited me to Japan, where I spent four days in early April looking at their data."

A new Japanese satellite, ILAS 2, will go up next year to make more observations, and the Canadian Space Agency's ACE satellite will be launched in December 2001. Sloan will be responsible for the PSC measurements done by this satellite. His colleague in the chemistry department, Peter Bernath, is responsible for the gas phase measurements and the scientific coordination of the ACE project.

Much is happening this weekend

The senate graduate council meets at 9:30 this morning in Humanities room 334.

The information systems and technology Computer Help and Information Place will be closed today from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Normal hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Flags at the University Avenue entrance to campus are at half-staff this morning in memory of John Roorda, recently retired professor of civil engineering. His funeral service will be held at 2:00 this afternoon at Waterloo Christian Reformed Church.

The Institute of Insurance and Pension Research presents a talk today by Jean Lemaire of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Topic: "Estimating Adverse Selection Costs from Genetic Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer: The Case of Life Insurance". Time: 3 p.m. Place: Math and Computer room 5158.

Participants in a coaches' clinic hosted by the athletics department will be arriving at the Ron Eydt Village conference centre today for a weekend stay.

Staff representative on board

The election of a staff member to the UW board of governors, for a term that runs from May 1, 1999 to April 30, 2002, closed on Thursday, May 20, at 3 p.m. The university secretariat reports that the results were as follows:
Judi Carter 123
Edward Chrzanowski 41
Cathy Hale 81
Sue Kramer 42
Stephen Markan 190
Wendy Rose 57
Ann Simpson 137
The candidate declared elected is Stephen Markan, of the information systems and technology department. Of the 1705 ballots sent out, 675 were returned (a 39.59% return rate). Four ballots were spoiled.
Be alert for computer shutdowns. Martin Timmerman writes from information systems and technology: "In a continuing effort to remove equipment from MC1061, IST will be moving more computers this weekend. The highlights for this weekend are NT server machine moves that provide service for the academic support areas plus the movement of data on the VM system. Full details about servers affected, including dates and times are available on a new web page that IST will maintain throughout the next six weeks of moves. Please remember to consult this web page as each weekend approaches."

If you had plans to be in the audience at Eastwood Collegiate tonight or tomorrow night, change them. "Dreamspell: The Dream Continues", a performance by illusionist (and UW student) David J. McDonnell that was scheduled for both evenings at Eastwood, "has been postponed until further notice", an announcement says.

Two UW-related plays continue tonight and tomorrow night: "The Secret Garden" in the Theatre of the Arts (tickets 578-1570) and "Godspell" at Waterloo Stage Theatre downtown (tickets 888-0000; there's also a Sunday matinee).

Participants in Elderhostel are arriving for a week at Conrad Grebel College. Courses scheduled this week include "Human Rights, Civil Society and Peace in Our World", "The Church's Response to Violence", and "Music Around the World: How to Listen".

Today's the deadline for registrations for the tenth annual Matthews Golf Classic, scheduled for June 21 at Grand Valley Golf Course. Bill Futher in information systems and technology, phone ext. 3111, will be delighted to hear from staff, faculty and hangers-on who would like to take part.

Electrical power, heating, cooling and ventilation will be turned off in the Physics building, the Doug Wright Engineering Building, the Engineering Lecture, Hall, and the Davis Centre (CIM wing only) Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. The shutoff is to allow maintenance on a 15,000-volt electrical substation, the plant operations department notes. This shutoff was previously scheduled for May 15, but didn't take place on that date. Computer users in those buildings are advised to shut down their machines "in an orderly fashion" before leaving this evening.

Engineering alumni from 1994, 1989, 1984, 1979 and 1974 are holding reunions tomorrow. Tours and get-togethers will be the order of the day, and the major social event for those marking 5th, 10th and 15th anniversaries will be a "barbecue and beer garden" at Federation Hall. The 20th and 25th anniversary engineers will attend lunch at the University Club, a reception hosted by the university president at the Student Life Centre, and a "gala dinner" at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel downtown.

Revellers from the staff association leave tomorrow ("8:30 a.m. sharp!") for the first of two wine tours to the Niagara Region. They'll hit Kittling Ridge, Lakeview, Strewn Estate, and Walters before returning to Waterloo about 9 p.m. A second, similar tour is scheduled for the following Saturday, June 5.

Earnest -- or worried -- students will be investing a day tomorrow in "The Whole Kit 'n' Kaboodle", a day-long workshop on career planning and searching. Sessions touch on self-assessment, letter-writing, networking, interview skills and a number of other topics, and for students who stay all day, there is such a thing as a free lunch, compliments of Mortice Kern Systems. Participants in the career day should preregister with the career resource centre in Needles Hall, phone ext. 4047.

Dimensions in Dance will offer its spring performances in UW's Humanities Theatre, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


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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