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Thursday, June 14, 2001

  • Today, convocation for arts
  • Renison holds ceremony this morning
  • Software should reduce back injuries
  • Pollution, swine and lacrosse

[And he's playing the triangle] Alfred Kunz, who receives an honorary degree from UW at this afternoon's convocation ceremony, was the university's director of music from 1969 to 1979. In this shot from September 1977, he leads his ensembles around the campus to blow their own horn and drum up support.

Today, convocation for arts

Three "distinguished teachers" will receive their awards today, as the second session of UW's 82nd Convocation focuses on the faculty of arts. The ceremony starts at 2 p.m. in the Physical Activities Complex.

One of the winners is Pierre Dubé of the department of French studies. "Since his appointment as head of the French Teaching Specialization program," says a memo from UW's teaching resource office about his teaching award, "he has extended himself on innumerable occasions for students of the program. FTS involves co-op, a year abroad, a term in the College of Education at Brock University and, therefore, a lot of advising. The chair of French studies notes that Dubé undertakes this all with his usual verve and enthusiasm to the delight of the students in the program. Students note that Dubé takes his job very seriously. His interactive teaching style encourages students to contribute their ideas and to participate in the days lecture. He makes learning fun and interesting."

A second winner is Will Gorlitz, a sessional lecturer in the department of fine arts. "Last fall he taught an art theory graduate course," says the memo about his distinguished teaching award. "The graduate seminar course is designed as a critical theory discussion group of contemporary issues relating to the visual arts. Will takes an interest in each graduate student's individual development as an artist. One student notes that he has genuinely made an effort to understand each of his graduate students creative processes our backgrounds, motivations and artistic struggles. He is currently teaching the fourth-year graduating class, a first-year studio class and a second-year drawing class. Gorlitz is a unique instructor because of the way he handles the course material, the way he engages students in the course material and the clarity with which he explains the course material. . . . He is also very humble, and won't point out to you such things as one of his paintings graced the entire front cover of Canadian Art last October which is about as big as it gets in the Canadian art world."

The third of today's winners is Geoff Hayes, an associate professor of history. Students comment that "his dynamic lecturing abilities and his pure enthusiasm and enjoyment of history was equally great and inspiring. The structure of his classes and discussions is obviously chosen with care to provide the students with the best opportunity, and most effective means to learn. . . . He selects readings which challenge his students and helps expand their knowledge of the subject, using sources from academic as well as from popular magazines of the period, which offer different perspectives on the historical implications of an event or idea."

At today's convocation, likely to be the longest session of the five that make up spring convocation, 892 degrees and diplomas will be presented.

There will be two honorary degree recipients. One is Sheila Fischman, prominent translator of French Canadian literature, who is also being honoured by a reception this morning hosted by the dean of arts and the French studies department (9:30 a.m., Humanities room 334).

The other is Alfred Kunz, choral director and composer, who -- instead of giving a speech at convocation -- will present one of his musical compositions, a seven-minute motet to be performed by a choral ensemble.

Other features of today's convocation:

Convocation ceremonies continue Friday afternoon (science), Saturday morning (mathematics), and Saturday afternoon (engineering).

Renison holds ceremony this morning

For the first time, Renison College will hold its convocation ceremonies on the main campus rather than in its own chapel, thanks to a record number of graduates. This spring Renison claims 120 graduates, up by some 50 per cent from last year's figure.

Most of them come from the social development studies program, says Caroline Woerns at Renison. SDS is now the second-largest major in the faculty of arts, she notes. Other Renison graduates come from a variety of fields in arts.

"With graduates and parents returning to Renison from as far away as British Columbia, Fort Simpson (Northwest Territories) and Prince Edward Island, we are looking forward to an interesting and exciting convocation," she said.

A piper will lead the convocation procession from Renison over the bridge and into UW's Theatre of the Arts at 10:15 this morning. The ceremony starts at 10:30 and will be followed by a reception back at Renison.

Among the graduates today is Gail Frisa, described as "a mother of five", who is receiving the "departmental award for distinguished academic achievement" in social development studies.

Software should reduce back injuries -- from the UW news bureau

Ergowatch, a software program developed at UW, aims to cut the risk of back injuries in the workplace. Intended for use by employers and employee representatives as well as students and researchers, Ergowatch can quantify the physical demands associated with work processes.

The software is based on years of research by faculty members in UW's department of kinesiology, working with various industrial partners. Professors Robert Norman, Stuart McGill, Richard Wells and Mardon Frazer have each contributed to the theoretical and empirical research base for the spinal models and risk analysis contained in the software.

"Ergowatch can lead to safer work places and fewer injuries, and improved productivity through proactive design capabilities," said Andrew Laing, project coordinator of UW's Ergonomics Initiative in Injury Prevention. "It can be used to assess the physical demands of a job in comparison to legislative guidelines, or to prioritize ergonomics projects by comparing the evaluation results from a number of different jobs and ergonomics improvement projects."

Laing said the tool will be mostly used by members of management, union representatives, engineers or health and safety committees. "It is appropriate for a wide variety of work environments ranging from hospitals to automotive assembly plants."

Specifically, the software provides users with the ability to: minimize risk of injury and thereby reduce injury-related costs; engage in proactive, not just reactive, ergonomics, thereby safely improving productivity; calculate peak physical loads and total loading accumulated over time; determine relative risk of injury (reporting of low back pain) from a validated model; make informed decisions for modified duties and return-to-work programs based on quantitative data; prioritize ergonomics projects based on physical loading data; aid in educational programs regarding physical loading; and perform evaluations of physical loading for research purposes.

Already, Ergonomics and Safety Consulting Services has received inquiries about the software from places all around the world.

To use the tool, various factors must be taken into account such as worker posture, forces applied to the worker (for example, the weight of a bucket of sand that must be carried as part of the job), the time spent in each of the postures and the physical characteristics of the worker (age, size, sex and so on).

"What differentiates this program from others on the market is its ability to calculate forces that accumulate over time and to determine the relative risk of low back injury from an epidemiological database collected from previous studies," Laing said. "The program focuses on forces that act on the low back, but also outputs loading data for each of the major joints of the body."

The software can be used as an evaluation tool by researchers to perform physical loading evaluations in their studies. It is also useful as a teaching aid in the area of biomechanics and in enhancing knowledge in the area of occupational safety.

Pollution, swine and lacrosse

A smog advisory from the Ontario government continues in western Ontario today. People are being encouraged to -- well, I was going to say "to avoid breathing", but that doesn't seem too practical. To avoid putting engine emissions into the air if they don't have to, anyway. And speaking of reducing emissions, it'll be a few more days before there are results from the Green Commuter Challenge, in which Hamilton challenged Kitchener-Waterloo over which city could get more people to walk or bike to work last week instead of driving. "Anyone who forgot to register," says Patti Cook, UW's waste management coordinator, "can do so until this Friday."

Parts of the Student Information System are not available today. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the APPSTAT (graduate and undergraduate) and Applicant Inquiry modules are shut down, says Dorothy Chapman, assistant registrar and one of the SISP team leaders. "IST will be performing system maintenance on the server which houses these pieces," she explains.

Training in WHMIS, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, is being offered again by UW's safety office. It's the usual one-hour session, including a video and a brief quiz. Says a memo: "All university employees, volunteers, part-time employees and graduate students who have not previously attended a University of Waterloo WHMIS session are required to attend." There's a session today at 2 p.m. (Davis Centre room 1304) and another on Friday, June 22, at 10 a.m., same room.

A "free trade information session", sponsored by the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, is scheduled for 7:00 tonight at the Adult Recreation Centre on King Street at Allen in Waterloo. "A panel of speakers," says a memo from the WPIRG office, "will be discussing various international trade deals, including the FTAA, a sweeping trade agreement currently being negotiated by the Canadian government. Speakers have been drawn from a variety of local organizations, including labour, social justice organizations, and the two universities."

The Canadian Research Network on Bacterial Pathogens of Swine is holding its annual meeting at UW today and tomorrow; some 80 delegates are expected.

Terry Stepien of iAnywhere Solutions, who will be receiving UW's J. W. Graham Medal at the Saturday morning convocation, will give a seminar tomorrow afternoon. His topic is "Go Mobile, Get Wireless: The m-Business Revolution" (and the "m" stands for Mobile). Stepien's talk will start at 2:30 Friday in Davis Centre room 1302; a reception follows the talk.

Tomorrow also brings the annual general meeting -- and potluck dinner -- of the Women's Association of UW. The meal starts at 6 p.m. Gloria Pageau in the finance office (phone ext. 2135, e-mail gapageau@uwaterloo.ca) can provide more information.

Advance note: there will be a reception next Thursday, June 21, "to thank Ron Scoins on the occasion of the completion of his term as associate dean, external relations, in the faculty of mathematics, and his upcoming retirement". The event will start at 3:30 at the University Club. Wendy Zehr at ext.6508 (e-mail wazehr@math) is taking RSVPs.

And . . . here's a note from chemical engineering graduate student Marc Aucoin:

It has been ten years since UW has put a lacrosse team on the field competitively, but that could all change. There has been interest shown from many UW students to re-start a field lacrosse team. Field lacrosse, which differs from its cousin box lacrosse in many ways, is the style that the international lacrosse championships are played. You may know lacrosse from the Toronto Rock of the NLL. They play the box style of lacrosse. The UW team, which is looking to get Varsity status, would like play some exhibition games this fall against teams in the OUFLA. We are looking to recruit students interested in playing. If you have experience in lacrosse and would like to play, contact either Mike at mashmore7@hotmail.com or Marc at maucoin@engmail.


[UW logo] 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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