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Friday, March 9, 2001

  • UW agrees to Cambridge deal
  • Partnership promotes gene study
  • Theologian urges new view of family
  • For today and the weekend

UW agrees to Cambridge deal -- by Barbara Elve

A move to Cambridge for UW's school of architecture is a little closer, with a memorandum of agreement due to be signed next week.

Endorsement by the UW board of governors, which came on Wednesday, was the final hurdle in the approval process at UW. The municipality and a group of individuals known as the Cambridge Consortium have already inked the deal.

The memorandum specifies the conditions which must be met before the school will relocate:

Approval for the agreement came after "a long discussion" by the board, focusing on provision of services, availability of elective courses, and the general issue of the relationship between the university and "a piece of the university located on a remote campus," said school of architecture director Rick Haldenby. "These are the issues."

In the balance, he added, both the board and senate concluded that "the pluses outweigh the minuses. They saw it as a fantastic opportunity, one that comes along very rarely."

The total cost of the move is expected to exceed $30 million. "The entire proposition is not to cost the university anything," Haldenby added.

In response to the school of architecture's space crunch on campus, the Cambridge Consortium -- a group of four business and community leaders which has now grown to more than 20 members -- initiated the proposal, promising to raise $10 for the project. The City of Cambridge has committed a further $7.5 million, and is applying for $12.5 million in provincial grants for infrastructure costs.

A target date of September 2003 has been set for completion of the project and occupation of the school -- a time line Haldenby admits is "very, very ambitious". Among the unknowns are the amount of time and money needed for the environmental clean-up of the site.

Where's Cambridge?

[With surrounding counties] Map adapted from www.ontarioguide.com
"The enthusiasm of the external partners is remarkable," says Haldenby, who sees the benefits for Cambridge including the enhancement of the culture of the city and the health of the core, an influx of students and international visitors to the downtown, plus public lectures, exhibitions and events.

For UW, he anticipates the move will enhance and diversify its national and international profile, expand the university's reach to a regional scale, free up much needed space on campus, as well as drawing substantial external support from a new source. "It's a kind of reaching out for the university that will attract tremendous resources we would not otherwise have."

While a survey of architecture students identified one of the main concerns as transportation links between Cambridge and the Waterloo campus, as a solution to space woes, the initiative has support. Alumni, as well, "are very enthusiastic about it," said Haldenby, based on the response at a meeting held in Toronto for students and alumni last month.

Partnership promotes gene study

The Waterloo Biotelemetry Institute, a world leader in environmental monitoring, has announced "a collaborative effort is pleased to announce a collaborative effort with Virtek Vision Corp. to further the study of gene expression profiles using the Virtek ChipReader DNA scanner and Virtek ChipWriter microarrayer".

"Current genomics research mainly focuses on medical and human applications," said UW president David Johnston. "Combining the unique scientific expertise of the Biotelemetry Institute with Virtek's microarray instrumentation excellence will help us expand genomic research into environmental areas, and provide Virtek with valuable technical feedback for future microarray product development."

DNA microarray experimentation is described in a news release as "a new and rapidly growing technology used to advance scientific research by providing a greater understanding of physiological responses through genomics and proteomics. This powerful tool can be applied to large-scale gene discovery and to simultaneously monitor the expression of many thousands of genes."

As a research arm of UW's department of biology, WBI develops technologies to study the physiological responses of aquatic species exposed to physical and chemical stressors. Biology professor Scott McKinley is the director of the WBI. Among the problems the institute has explored are swimming performance relative to fish bypass design and environmental factors; migratory behaviour of fish as a result of hydroelectric development, mining and forestry practices; and the effects of hydroelectric peaking on nutritional condition in fish.

The institute is researching effective ways of monitoring animals in their actual surroundings. Biotelemetry allows scientists to validate laboratory-based predictions using the latest technical system designs and engineering solutions to address problems in terrestrial and aquatic ecology.

Virtek's ChipReader and ChipWriter equipment will help WBI scientists understand the gene expression profiles that underlie fishes' responses. Says the news release: "The instruments will also substantially increase the speed of molecular biology research in the emerging area of comparative genomics that utilize aquatic species as models."

"This exciting partnership, that allows both parties access to a working lab with the latest in microarray equipment and technical support, will place both WBI and Virtek in a leadership position in the study of gene expression profiles," explains Jim Crocker, president of Virtek. "It's through professional affiliations with world renowned institutions such as the University of Waterloo that we are able to develop leading edge genomics tools, that includes or moves beyond human gene expression, to best suit our customers' needs."

Theologian urges new view of family -- a news release from St. Jerome's University

Many people, especially many conservative Christians, believe that the traditional nuclear family -- father out earning a salary, mother at home caring for the children -- is the norm. But Catholic theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether argues that this form of the family is relatively new and that it falls short of reality for most people today.

[Ruether] Ruether (left) will discuss alternative views of the family as she delivers the 2000-2001 Devlin Lecture at St. Jerome's University tonight. Her talk, "Christianity and the Family: Ancient Challenge, Modern Crisis," takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Siegfried Hall, free of charge. All are welcome.

"Contrary to the rhetoric of Christian social conservatives," Ruether wrote in a recent National Catholic Reporter column, "this form of the family is not to be found in the Bible and was only a minority expression of the family for the white middle class in the late 19th to mid-20th centuries."

The typical family reflected in the Old Testament was polygamous and included slaves and their children, Ruether points out. In the Christian era, for 1,500 years spiritual leaders saw marriage as inferior to celibacy. And through most of history, wives and husbands worked together to support the family. The split between workplace and home as male and female spheres, came with the Industrial Revolution.

Today, Ruether argues, the concept of the nuclear family falls far short of the diverse reality. "What has been called 'family values' by the Christian right is basically an ideological insistence on one form of family that no longer works for most Americans," she says.

Ruether teaches at Garrett Theological Seminary and is a member of the graduate faculty of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She holds 12 honorary doctorates, lectures around the world, and is the author or editor of 35 books, including Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, published in 2000.

The Devlin Lecture is part of the 2000-2001 season of the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience.

For today and the weekend

A group of students is off on a bus trip this morning -- a visit to Kitchener's Joseph Schneider Haus museum, sponsored by the international student office. Next outing: to major Toronto tourist attractions on Saturday, Mach 17. (Tickets are available at the Grad House and through the International Student Association.)

The finals of the Sandford Fleming Foundation debates will be held this morning, the last weekday of Engineering Week. Debating starts at 10:30 in Doug Wright Engineering room 2534; everybody is welcome, and there will be refreshments. Engineering Week continues with "A Night of Tradition" this evening and the famous bus push tomorrow, in support of the Big Sisters organization. ("A whole bunch of engineers and gals from Big Sisters pull a bus from the school to Kitchener City Hall. All money raised goes to help the Big Sisters. There will also be free food.")

[from tn.alltheweb.com] The Federation of Students presents gonzo fiddler Ashley MacIsaac (right) at noon today in the Humanities Theatre. The concert is free -- bring contributions for the Feds' Food Bank.

Or, more sedately, the noon hour also brings a brown-bag lunch with Linda McQuaig, last night's lecturer in the Kerr-Saltsman Canadian Studies series, who told her audience that the skyrocketing price of higher education is one of the big social justice issues of our time. She'll be available for conversation from 12 to 2 today at St. Paul's United College.

The music department at Conrad Grebel College presents a flute masterclass with Fiona Wilkinson of the University of Western Ontario this afternoon -- 1 to 3 p.m. in Grebel's chapel. Admission is free.

A philosophy department colloquium this afternoon deals with an unusual topic: "Awdal, Somalia: A Real-World Functioning Anarchy". Jim Davidson ("an entrepreneur, propertarian philosopher, and rugged individualist" and proprietor of the Awdal Roads Company) reports on an area with a population of some 600,000 people and no government. The talk starts at 3:30 in Humanities room 373.

Students from Germany who are at UW this term have been invited to a banquet tonight at the Transylvania Club, organized by civil engineering Reinhold Schuster, organizer of the exchange program between UW and the University of Braunschweig.

"The Phun Police Proudly Presents Ante Up!" says a colourful ad from the Federation of Students, describing tonight's entertainment at the Bombshelter pub. "Dress to sweat . . . reggae, soca, booty, old skool, rnb, hip hop, classic house." Doors open at 9:00.

The St. Jerome's Students' Union will host its 34th annual awards night, dinner and dance tomorrow evening at Federation Hall. Tickets have been on sale this week from the SJSU (884-8111 ext. 249).

A couple of alumni events are scheduled on the weekend. Saturday night, Miami-area graduates of all Canadian universities will have a get-together at the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables (call UW ext. 5310 for details). Sunday, the Waterloo Engineers in Toronto will hold their annual "curling funspiel" at the High Park Curling Club (call ext. 6838 for details).

Sports this weekend: the only Warriors in action are the track and field team, taking part in the CIAU national championships at the Université de Sherbrooke.


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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