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Thursday, January 25, 2001

  • Student technology conference opens
  • The search for a provost
  • Review of health studies and gerontology
  • What's happening around here

[Open water between snowbanks]
Snowbirds they're not: the ducks don't head south, but are wintering on and around Laurel Creek as it runs through the campus near Conrad Grebel College. Barb Elve took the photo from the bridge opposite Needles Hall.

Student technology conference opens

Some 350 students from universities across Canada are on campus today, and through Saturday, for the second annual Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference -- a chance to show off their work, get some new ideas, and press the flesh with fast-track people from high-tech companies.

Conference chair (and fourth-year computer science student) Jonathan Kwan says many of the CUTC events, though not the individual workshops, are open to anyone interested -- starting with a keynote address by UW president David Johnston at 8:30 this morning in the Humanities Theatre.

That's also where Mike Lazaridis, president of RIM, will speak at 1:00 this afternoon. Other keynote speakers: Steve Sinofsky of Microsoft (Friday at 9:00), and Nick Bontis of McMaster University and Knexa, Saturday at 2:00. The keynote speeches will also be webcast.

Workshop speakers in the course of the next three days include Michael Furdyk of MyDesktop.com and BuyBuddy.com; Brian Feeney and Mark De Jordy of the Da Vinci Project; Chris Hogue of MDS Proteomics; Larry Smith of Kickstarts; Alfred Menezes of Certicom; Ian Goldberg of Zero-Knowledge Systems; Elizabeth Ann McGregor of Harvard; Kim Vicente of the University of Toronto; and Mark Skapinker of Brightspark.

Friday brings a TechExpo from 11:00 to 4:00, with company displays and demonstrations in the Student Life Centre. Then from 4:30 to 6:00 there will be a panel discussion on "Global eBusiness Consulting" in the Theatre of the Arts, with George Stalk of BCG, Ron Farmer of McKinsey & Co., Office, Microsoft (Humanities Theatre), Hans Casteels of AT Kearney, Ian Tait of Deloitte Consulting, Jerry Garcia of Accenture and Dean Hopkins of Cyberplex.

Saturday brings a hands-on Linux workshop, and the conference also includes some networking time and social events, winding up with a banquet Saturday night.

Registrations for the CUTC are still being accepted this morning in the Davis Centre foyer.

The search for a provost

Here's a reminder that the nominating committee looking for UW's next vice-president (academic) and provost issued a communiqué earlier this month asking for comment from across campus, by the end of this month.

It said the committee is "committed to undertaking broad consultation to identify the external and internal issues, challenges and opportunities facing the institution and the critical qualities of the individual who might provide best leadership" in the vice-presidential job.

"The Committee would encourage Academic Department Chairs and Directors of Schools and of Academic Support Departments, as well as interested regular and non-regular faculty, staff and students to make written submissions expressing views on these matters."

It says comments, "along with suggestions of individuals who might be considered for the position", can be sent in confidence to the secretary of the university, Lois Claxton, at her office in Needles Hall, or to any member of the nominating committee. "Any group wishing to make a brief presentation to a member/members of the Committee may contact Lois Claxton. Consultation will be completed by and submissions received up to January 31."

Review of health studies and gerontology

The department of health studies and gerontology is a place of "high quality" and good cooperation in spite of a series of "potentially disruptive events", a program review has found.

The department -- one of three in UW's smallest faculty, applied health sciences -- is among the first to complete the internal program review process that UW introduced in 1997. A report on the findings was brought to the university senate this month.

Health studies and gerontology is the result of a merger that took place in 1993, so the review done in 2000 reflects seven years' experience. The plans resulting from this review are supposed to cover the next seven-year period. Here's some of the report that was presented to senate:

HSG has been a pioneer in developing an interdisciplinary and non-medical approach to health care. Its faculty have active, productive and high quality research programs, and the undergraduate and graduate students are of excellent quality. The opportunities for research funding in the health field, while extremely competitive, are growing rapidly.

Given the growing competition for research funding, HSG is concerned whether researchers will be able to continue to be competitive in grant applications and fulfill normal teaching and service responsibilities -- particularly since researchers from competing programs often have lower teaching loads and better infrastructure support. This issue is significant for recruitment and retention of faculty. . . .

The review team suggested several opportunities, including: reduce the number of streams at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, avoid/reduce repetition of content in courses, reassess the pre-Health professions option, assess the process of buyouts, . . . create a research support unit, and conduct a review of the graduate program.

The Chair and Dean report that the program intends to amalgamate offerings at the graduate level into a single stream, either Population Health or Public Health. The undergraduate program will continue to expose students to the breadth necessary to understand the field. The undergraduate curriculum will be reviewed with attention to required courses, especially those related to gerontology. The undergraduate program is not intended to prepare students only for traditional health professions, but more systematic monitoring of students will be considered, as well as new marketing strategies to ensure the breadth and flexibility in the program are highlighted. . . .

In terms of advice to students regarding career development, the Department is considering a seminar series through which to expose first year undergraduates to faculty interests in a setting outside regular lectures. Creation of a research support unit will be considered, especially with regard to changes that might be made in the graduate program. The review of the graduate program will be a priority. . . .

Health Studies and Gerontology is a relatively small department, and recently has experienced the merger of two departments, loss of faculty, and reduced funding due to budget cutbacks. Despite such potentially disruptive events, the review team remarked that it was impressed with "the genuine spirit of cooperation that exists in the Department", and noted the high quality of undergraduate and graduate students. The opportunities for tertiary education related to health are viewed to be excellent, and the review team believes that the Department has "the potential to become an internationally recognized centre for health research."

What's happening around here

Michael Ignatieff, who gave last night's Hagey Lecture, will follow it up today with a colloquium, aimed at students, under the title "Putting Cruelty First". The event happens in Math and Computer room 5158, from 10:30 a.m. to noon; admission is free.

The career development workshop series is running at full strength this week. Scheduled today: "Letter Writing", 10:30 a.m.; "Résumé Writing", 11:30; "Business Etiquette", 2:30. Tomorrow: "Interview Skills, Basics", 1:30 p.m.; "Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions", 2:30. The career resource centre in Needles Hall has more information about the workshops.

There's something rather special in the fine arts department today, says department chair Art Green:

James Elkins, a very prolific, interesting, eclectic, well-known, influential and successful writer and art historian, author of books with interesting and compelling titles such as The Object Stares Back, On Pictures and The Words That Fail Them, What Painting Is, and Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?, will be speaking on the subject of his just-published book History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings. His visit, from Chicago, where he is professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is sponsored by the Canada Council. We consider this visit a real coup -- he is in great demand as a speaker, and the Globe and Mail is sending a reporter out to interview him while he is here.
Elkins's talk will start at 1:30 in East Campus Hall room 1219.

The joint health and safety committee will meet at 1:30 today in Needles Hall room 3004 (a change from the usual room).

Ted Schrecker of McGill University will speak this afternoon, brought to UW by the department of environment and resource studies. His topic: "Environment, Health and Income: A Realist's View". The talk starts at 2:30 in Arts Lecture Hall room 105.

Also speaking this afternoon, and introduced by planning student Kelly Foisy:

Larry Bourne, professor of geography and director of the program in planning at the University of Toronto, will lend his charismatic and entertaining voice to the topic of "Municipal Restructuring -- Alternative Models of Governance" as the first speaker in "Four Fridays and a Thursday -- a little planning for the weekend". Refreshments will be served. The University of Waterloo recently paid tribute to Dr. Bourne with an honorary doctorate in environmental studies for his influential contribution and sizeable commitment to geography and urban studies. A leading figure among North American geographers, his plentiful and varied research interests include: new urban forms and Canadian metropolitan development, urban social structure and new social spaces, urban revitalization and reurbanization, housing markets and neighbourhood change, planning and new cultures of regulation, comparative urban development and policy analysis, and urban governance. In his talk, Dr. Bourne will discuss his recent research on the question of municipal restructuring, a source of considerable ongoing debate in the province and a subject that remains particularly topical to the Kitchener-Waterloo community. This series is organized by the executive of the Association of Graduate Planners and graciously sponsored by the school of planning and the faculty of environmental studies.
Bourne's talk will start at 3:00 in Environmental Studies I room 221.

A blood donor clinic continues today and tomorrow, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Student Life centre. "If you knew you could save a life," organizers ask, "would you?"

A new "Group for Libertarian Activism and Discussion" is launching a seminar series today under the title "Libertarianism in One Lesson". Math student Graham Hearn, one of the organizers, says the series is intended to provide "a comprehensive understanding of the political philosophy of Libertarianism with minimal reading". A $5 fee covers book loan and "five weeks of meetings with an unconditional money-back guarantee". He can be reached for details at 725-7810 or gtjhearn@uwaterloo.ca. Tonight's first session starts at 6:00 in Student Life Centre room 2133.

Big event coming tomorrow: Don McKay, two-time winner of the Governor General's Award for Poetry, will read from his work at St. Jerome's University (4 p.m.). At a reception after the reading, Trout Lily Press, based partly at St. Jerome's, will launch a new chapbook by McKay, Aria: A Suite for Voice, and the author will be available to sign copies.


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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