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Thursday, June 1, 2000

  • Four win research excellence awards
  • Staff association meets today
  • Support for international education
  • Notes under a lowering sky

Four win research excellence awards

The vice-president (university research) has announced the first winners of the Awards for Excellence in Research, who will be honoured at convocation later this month.

The new awards, approved by the senate late in 1999 based on a recommendation in the "Building on Accomplishment" planning report, are much like the existing Distinguished Teacher Awards, with recognition of the winners coming at convocation each year and including a cheque for $1,500. They "are established to recognize distinguished research achievements of UW faculty members", the guidelines say.

Each year two recipients are to come from engineering, mathematics and science, and two from arts, environmental studies, applied health sciences and the church colleges.

From the guidelines: "The nominators, normally unit heads such as Department Chairs, will be expected to provide all relevant information needed for adjudication. . . . Documentation should be written so that someone outside the nominee's area of expertise can evaluate the submission. . . .

"In assessing excellence, the term 'research' must be interpreted in its broadest sense, referring to any original, productive scholarship in any of the disciplines of investigation and learning in the university. The committee will give cognizance to differences among disciplines in terms of funding levels, time to publish, and nature of the publications or other scholarly works as examples.

"In general, the nominees will have achieved a high level of widely recognized research production in their disciplines. This will commonly be a major part of the evidence supporting a nominee's case."

The committee that chooses the award winners is chaired by the vice-president (university research), with the other members named by the senate research council -- "senior, internationally renowned University of Waterloo researchers", says the vice-president, Carolyn Hansson. "Eventually it is anticipated that some Committee members will be previous award recipients," the guidelines say.

This year's winners:

In her announcement this week, Hanson said there will be a "public forum" in the fall term at which each of the award winners "will make a brief public presentation about his/her research".

Staff association meets today

The UW staff association holds its annual general meeting at noontime today, and it's time for the changing of the guard, as the 2000-01 executive takes over from the 1999-2000 team.

[McCutchan and coffee cup] Paul McKone of engineering computing, the association's president for the past year, will turn the leadership over to Walter McCutchan (right) of information systems and technology, who was acclaimed to the role a year ago. Ed Chrzanowski of math faculty computing becomes president-elect after winning a vote by the membership last month.

McKone and other members of the past year's executive will report on their work at today's meeting, which starts at 11:45 (refreshments at 11:30) in Davis Centre room 1302.

"It's been an eventful year for all of us," McKone wrote in the April issue of the association's newsletter -- and that was before the presidential election, which pitted Chrzanowski against a candidate (Joe Szalai of the library) whose platform was unionization of UW's staff through the Canadian Auto Workers.

"I would like to thank all the staff that had voted for me," Chrzanowski says in a statement he provided by e-mail earlier this week. "Over 60% of the eligible voters cast a ballot. That is a high percentage in any election. Two thirds of the ballots were in favour of me becoming President of the Staff Association. But one third voted for Joe. Because of Joe's views on unionizing the staff, can one draw a conclusion that those people would want to join a union (in particular the CAW)? Are staff aware of the benefits or consequences of joining a union. I hope that information on both sides of the argument can be presented to the staff so that an informed decision can be made.

"So the results show the interest and concern of some of the staff on campus. But what of the people who did not vote? Those members that did not cast a ballot or those staff who do not belong to the Staff Association. I hope that all staff members would see me as a person they can communicate with and I would welcome any suggestions, opinions, comments and kudos."

Among notes from the staff association's committees in reports that will come to today's meeting:

Support for international education
-- a news release from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

A total of 94 percent of senior university leaders say that making university education more international should be a priority, according to a survey. "Our campuses are becoming more international in outlook, " says Robert J. Giroux, president of AUCC. "Canadian universities are integrating international and intercultural perspectives into their teaching, research and community service."

Beyond Borders: UW plans for internationalization
The AUCC report, entitled Progress and Promise: The 2000 AUCC Report on Internationalization at Canadian Universities, was authored by Jane Knight, adviser, policy, research and development at Ryerson Polytechnic University. It is a follow-up to a previous AUCC survey done in 1993. The new survey found that 84 percent of the institutions polled are incorporating internationalization activities into their strategic plan.

Ninety percent of university leaders said that the main reason they’re interested in internationalization is to ensure graduates will be better prepared for today’s increasingly international and intercultural world. Other benefits cited for students were enhanced job opportunities, better employability skills, and increased sensitivity to cultural differences and diversity.

Despite the heightened interest in internationalization, Canada still lacks international study and research opportunities for students and researchers. Fewer than one percent of full-time Canadian university students typically participate in international student exchange programs.

"Canada is falling behind other countries in terms of scholarships to assist Canadians to study abroad and to attract foreign students here," notes Mr. Giroux. "Canada invests 80 cents a year on a per capita basis in international scholarships and exchange programs, while Australia spends more than $9 per capita and the United States spends close to $5 per capita."

Other challenges to internationalizing Canadian universities cited by survey respondents included finding ways to recognize the international achievements of professors and to increase efforts to internationalize the curriculum.

Notes under a lowering sky

"Worship Together", which begins today in the Physical Activities Complex and elsewhere on campus, is a three-day conference sponsored by Cook Communications Ministries. About 1,000 participants are expected altogether, including some 300 who are staying in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre.

The career development seminar series continues. Today at 10:30, it's a 90-minute session on "Successfully Negotiating Job Offers", in Needles Hall room 1020.

Graduate student Quang Ngoc Tran of the department of computer science will give a presentation this morning based on research for the MMath essay: "An Electronic Commerce Model for Small Businesses in the Waterloo Information Network". Tran will speak at 11:00 in Davis Centre room 1331.

At 3:30 p.m., in Math and Computer room 5158, the statistics and actuarial science department presents a talk by Shane Henderson of the University of Michigan: "Yacht Match Race Simulation and the Americas' Cup". Working with two researchers from Auckland, Henderson was involved in developing a computer model that was used by the New Zealand team in the recent Americas Cup race to help design its yacht. "The boat module models the dynamic performance of a boat under given wind conditions. The tactics module governs the path that each boat makes, ensuring that the boat adheres to the rules of yacht match racing. The weather module determines the (stochastic) wind process that the boats see. By simulating many races, we obtain an estimate of the probability that one boat design beats another under a given average wind speed."

The Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute will hold its annual symposium tomorrow, under the title "New Physics for a New Age". Speakers based everywhere from Laval to Los Alamos will address topics from astrophysics to optics; there will also be a poster session and a banquet. The event is taking place at the OMAFRA building on Stone Road near the University of Guelph campus (with the banquet at the nearby Cutten Club). Last-minute information should be available from Margaret Mayne in the GWP office at UW, phone ext. 6874.

And by the way, I hear there was a lot of unauthorized water in the Physics building yesterday, but I don't have details yet.

Finally . . . the two web sites that had been offering an unauthorized access to Access, the co-op department's job database, have both cancelled that service. "Sorry!" says a note at the site for the Open CECS Online volunteer group. "We have removed this page at the request of UW administration." The other site, developed by a student who calls himself Shandy, is blunter: "I've had to take the site down due to a certain email I've received from university staff regarding how close my ass is to being sued. This is the thanks I get."

CAR


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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