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Friday, March 1, 2002

  • Two first-place showings for engineers
  • Province honours 14 researchers
  • Insights into Catholic power
  • 'A monument to the short story'
  • The talk of the campus
Chris Redmond

The Welsh commemorate Dewi Sant

Two first-place showings for engineers

Waterloo students put in a strong showing at this year's Ontario Engineering Competition, held at the University of Ottawa last Saturday, says John Thistle of the systems design engineering department, the faculty advisor for the competitors.

The competition, for undergraduate engineers, consisted of six different events, of which individuals could compete in at most two:

Laura Naismith won first place in the Editorial Communications category, while Theresa Cooke placed third.  First place in Team Design went to Christopher Blake, Vincent Ling, Ian MacKenzie and Christina MacNeil, and third place to Jeff Alfonsi, David Johnson, Sabrina Mu and Kevin Wang. Arthur Law took third place in Explanatory Communications and the team of Theresa Cooke and Peter Schretlen was third in Entrepreneurial Design.

All of the above students are undergraduates in the department of systems design engineering.

First- and second-place finishers at regional competitions such as this one are eligible to compete in the Canadian Engineering Competition, to be held this year at Université Laval in Québec City, March 7-10.

Province honours 14 researchers

Forty-six of Ontario's best and brightest young researchers, including 14 from Waterloo, were honoured at a special reception and dinner last night.

Provincial energy, science and technology minister Jim Wilson paid tribute to the researchers from Brock, Guelph, Waterloo, Western and Wilfrid Laurier who have received a Premier's Research Excellence Award (PREA) this year for outstanding contributions to science, technology and innovation in Ontario. The event was held at the University of Western Ontario.

The recipients are working in disciplines ranging from computer and information technology, to the health sciences, biotechnology and genomics, to the natural sciences, engineering and the development of new materials for industry. Each receives up to $100,000 from the Ontario government and up to $50,000 from their host institution. The money is to be used to recruit top-notch graduate students and post-doctoral fellows for research teams.

UW researchers receiving the awards this year, and honoured at last night's event, are Raouf Boutaba (computer science), Pu Chen (chemical engineering), Brian Dixon (biology), Mike Dixon (psychology), James Forrest (physics), Penny Haxell (combinatorics and optimization), Fakhri Karray (systems design engineering), Holger Kleinke (chemistry), Shoufa Lin (earth sciences), Alexandru Nica (pure mathematics), Daniela O'Neill (psychology), Jennifer Stolz (psychology), Matt Vijayan (biology), and Weihua Zhuang (electrical and computer engineering).

Insights into Catholic power --a news release from St. Jerome's University

[Letson] Doug Letson (right) hasn't been quite the same since he and Michael Higgins chose the power of the Roman Catholic Church as the subject for their new book, Power and Peril: The Catholic Church at the Crossroads (just released by Harper Collins). Letson says it was both unsettling and enriching to meet and interview major figures in the Church hierarchy such as Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as some of the hierarchy's most penetrating critics, such as Ernesto Cardenal, former minister of culture in Nicaragua's Sandinista government, and high-profile Catholic authors like Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's Ark.

He will deliver the 2001-2002 Ignatian Lecture, entitled "Power and Peril: The Perils of Writing About the Power of the Church," tonight at St. Jerome's University. The event will take place free of charge at 7:30 p.m. in Siegfried Hall. All are welcome.

Letson will discuss the responsibility of Catholic scholars to explore what some might see as sensitive or controversial issues, and to deal with them frankly and critically as part of the university's role in helping to shape a better society, and as part of the Catholic university's role in providing a scholarly critique for the potential reshaping of the church.

His talk will focus on two issues: "The need to remain open to change, and the need to be sensitive to the use and abuse of power." It will draw on personal experiences in North America, Central America, and Europe, as well as from a broad range of research materials which have shaped his thinking.

Power and Peril is the latest publication by the Letson-Higgins research and writing team, who have done six previous books together. Letson is a professor of English and past president of St. Jerome's, and a winner of the UW Distinguished Teacher Award. Higgins is president of St. Jerome's and a professor of English and religious studies. "As part of our research we have interviewed hundreds of prominent people in some 25 or 30 countries," Letson says, "and in so doing we have certainly been sensitized to a variety of issues as they relate to the exercise of power within the Roman Catholic tradition."

The Ignatian Lecture is part of the 2001-2002 season of the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience.

'A monument to the short story' -- a news release from The New Quarterly

It has taken the editors of The New Quarterly a year and a half to complete it -- there were stories to be typeset, papers to be collected, panel discussions to be transcribed -- but now it is done: a special issue of the magazine, close to 400 pages long. It is monumental in size, and in content it is a monument to the short story form. Wild Writers We Have Known: A Celebration of the Canadian Short Story and Story Writers will be launched at the Bar Italia in Toronto on Sunday. The issue brings together all that was read and said at the Wild Writers symposium on the Canadian short story, held at the Stratford Festival in September of 2000.

The event was the joint project of Kim Jernigan and Peter Hinchcliffe -- both fiction editors at TNQ -- and John Metcalf, the editor at the Porcupine's Quill Press and an accomplished story writer himself. For a number of years, these editors had been struck by coincidences of taste: again and again, they were drawn to the same stories, the same writers. And these writers were good.

The century was drawing to a close. The air was abuzz with millennial hype. People were organizing millennial operas, millennial bingos, millennial seat sales, millennial jamborees. Why not have a millennial gathering to celebrate the short story? They would invite twenty writers, twenty of the best writers with whom they had worked. They would also invite Leon Rooke, a godfather of the short story form, and Alice Quinn, a former fiction editor of The New Yorker, who worked for years with Alice Munro.

Some of the writers, those closer to the beginnings of their careers, would read their work. Others, those slightly more established, would be asked to speak about the work of the "younger" writers. The organizers were not after academic papers. What they wanted was to create an environment in which writers could talk: talk to readers, talk to editors, and, perhaps most importantly, talk to each other. And talk they did: about how they write, about what they read, about who is reading them. They talked about the technical issues that preoccupy them, the themes that obsess them. They talked about the cultural climate in which they write: the influence on their work of film, of technology, of community or lack thereof.

The special issue of TNQ brings together all this writers' talk. It includes eleven fabulous stories. And it gives readers an opportunity to be in on the most extended, perhaps most important conversation ever held in this country with regards to the Canadian short story in English.

The launch of Wild Writers We Have Known will take place at the Bar Italia, 582 College Street, Toronto, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Three great "wild writers" will perform: K. D. Miller, Andrew Pyper, and Russell Smith. Admission is free. All are welcome. Copies of the issue will be on sale for $16 each. This event is sponsored by The New Quarterly and the Canada Council for the Arts.

TNQ is a journal of contemporary Canadian fiction and poetry. It was founded in 1980 by Harold Horwood, who was then writer-in-residence at UW. For more than twenty years, the magazine has been hanging on, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, taking up arms against a sea of troubles, and still managing, as John Metcalf puts it, to publish "nearly everyone of consequence in the last decade". The magazine is a two-time winner of the National Magazine Awards gold medal for fiction, and has won silver medals for fiction, poetry, and the essay.

Today and the weekend

Architecture students are off to Toronto en masse today for interviews with the major architectural firms there -- an outing that now happens every term. While students in most programs are already placed for the spring term, or earnestly checking jobs for the "continuous" interview process, architecture students won't get their matches until March 14.

The student-organized "Who Helps the Helper" workshop, dealing with social workers and their self-care, runs all day today at Renison College. Keynote speaker this afternoon is Christopher Ross of the Wilfrid Laurier University department of religion and culture.

The psychology department presents a symposium today: "Development of Executive Function in Childhood", by Phil Zelazo of the University of Toronto, at 2:30 in PAS room 2083.

Far to the west, UW alumni in Victoria, British Columbia, will gather today for a luncheon (11:30 a.m. at the Hotel Grand Pacific).

UW's Midnight Sun VI solar car will be showcased at the Children's Museum in London, Ontario, tomorrow as part of National Engineering Week. The race car will be on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the museum, located at 21 Wharncliffe Road South. "Come drop by to see this world-class solar race car," says Chris Urbaniak, business director of Midnight Sun VI. And just wait: the next car, Midnight Sun VII, not yet built, will be launched at an event in the Student Life Centre next Thursday afternoon.

"Dance Dance" has the Humanities Theatre booked for its recital tonight and Saturday.

Saturday night brings the next "Boyz & Boys & Girls & Grrls Night" -- boy, or girl, just try typing that quickly! It's described as "a mostly-LGBT-student pub and dance night", and is an all-ages event. The party runs from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. at the Graduate House. Everyone is welcome, regardless of sexual orientation; admission is $3 at the door.

The talk of the campus

Live polls close at 4:15 today, and online voting ends at 4:30, in the Federation of Students election. But we won't have results for a few days, says Brandon Sweet of the Federation staff, who's acting as chief returning officer. "We have to leave at least two business days worth of time to allow for any complaints to be submitted," says Sweet. He's predicting that results will be announced next Wednesday night.

The computer store in the Math and Computer building has a new manager, or rather an acting manager. "Marty Sokoloskie's employment at the University of Waterloo was terminated in January," says a note from May Yan, director of retail services. "Yvan Rodrigues is the interim manager until we hire a new manager."

UW president David Johnston spoke briefly about Campaign Waterloo at Monday's meeting of the UW senate. "We are currently at just under $70 million," he told senators, adding that the goal is to have gifts and pledges close to 60 per cent of the campaign's $260 million goal before there's a public launch for the multi-year project. "The current economic climate has clearly been a discouraging factor," the president said, but predicted that that'll change. A "high degree of enthusiasm" among volunteer campaigners, headed by Bob Harding of Brascan, is a huge asset for the campaign, Johnston said.

Preliminary figures came out from the Ontario Universities Application Centre, listing the number of "non-OSS" applications for universities this fall. Those are the applications that come from students not currently in Ontario high schools; they may be from other provinces or countries, or from community colleges or the workforce. "There is a 12% increase in applications to Year 1 programs here compared to a system increase of 24.5%," writes Peter Burroughs, UW's director of admissions. "All faculties except Mathematics have an increase in total applications. The application centre continues to process applications. Last year, we eventually processed 6,318 applications at Waterloo. The current number of 3,904 will certainly increase."

The Kenneth G. Murray Alzheimer and Research Education Program (MAREP), based in the faculty of applied health sciences, has been awarded a grant from the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation. The grant of $900.51 was awarded from the Emmerton Fund and will be used to help host a conference next year for persons living with Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias and their caregivers.

The faculty association has called for nominations for the position of president and for five members of the board of directors. Four of the vacancies for director are for two-year terms, and one for one year. Nominations must be signed by five members of the Association. All nominees must have been a member of the Faculty Association for a continuous period of at least one year as of April 5, 2002 and must agree in writing to stand for election. Nominations will be received up to 3 p.m., Wednesday, March 6. Completed nomination forms should be sent to the Elections Committee, Faculty Association, Math and Computer room 4002. "The Elections Committee urges Association members to consider standing for election," a memo says. "The Association needs the full support of its members to be a viable and effective organization."

And . . . I have to apologize for an announcement in the Bulletin a couple of days ago, about an income tax workshop for international students. It's scheduled for March 27, not February 27, and I'll mention it again as the correct date gets closer.



March 1, 1969: The first annual Hagey Bonspiel is held at the Glenbriar Curling Club.

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