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Monday, March 10, 2003

  • Grad students to elect leader
  • Readers get the Third Degree
  • Events for today and shortly
  • The talk of the campus
Chris Redmond

McGill U installs a new principal


Chris Eliasmith, faculty member in philosophy and systems design engineering, last week received $84,348 in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The CFI announced the funding to "assist UW's Parallel Matlab in work on a Beowulf cluster for large-scale neurobiological simulations and the development of neural engineering techniques." The money is part of $17.7 million handed out from the foundation's "New Opportunities" fund, designed to help launch the careers of younger faculty members. Eliasmith's interdisciplinary work was the subject of a release from UW's media relations office a few weeks ago.

Grad students to elect leader

It doesn't happen often, but graduate students are facing an election this month, as two candidates are seeking to head the Graduate Student Association for the coming year.

Chief returning officer Jason Grove sent out this news on Friday afternoon: "Two nominations for the position of GSA President have been received, from Mr Simon Guthrie, of Optometry, and Mr Igor Ivkovic, of ECE; therefore an election will be held. This will be conducted by mail-out ballot. The candidates' campaign period will close this Tuesday, 11th March, following the GSA council meeting. Ballots must be received, sealed in the envelope provided, at the graduate house no later than 6 p.m. on Tuesday 25th March."

He added: "Candidates' hustings will take place at the council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday in NH3004 and possibly during a number of graduate classes (times and places tba). All members of the GSA are invited to attend the hustings, where candidates will have an opportunity to present their platforms followed by a question period."

The presidency is the only position for which grads will have to vote: "Nominations for the other positions were in each case fewer or equal to the number of positions available, and therefore elections are not necessary." The following nominees are acclaimed:

To the GSA Council, Grove writes sadly, "no nominations received. GSA members interested in applying for the positions of At-Large Director of the Board or At-Large Councillor should attend the Annual General Meeting."


Jason Grove as editor of The Third Degree -- hey, wait a minute: wasn't he being chief returning officer, just a few paragraphs back? That's what you call multi-tasking.

Readers get the Third Degree -- by Barbara Elve, shortened from last week's Gazette

"Half silly jokes, the rest serious issues," is how Jason Grove describes the new graduate student newspaper at UW.

As editor-in-chief of The Third Degree, Grove is guiding the evolution of the fledgling tabloid, which first appeared on campus in November. While the focus of Imprint is undergraduate issues, and the Gazette is "very factual," says Grove, The Third Degree offers "an intellectual forum" for comment and opinion by graduate students. As well, he adds, "We thought it would be a fun and interesting thing to do."

Grove, a PhD student in chemical engineering, has no experience in journalism or creative writing. But thanks to a grammar nazi in high school, "my grasp of English is fairly strong," he says. Besides, he laughs, finding an editor is "just a question of getting someone who can get other people to do things." The idea of a paper was hatched at a meeting of the Graduate Student Association council. "We told people to tell their friends; that's how it started."

The paper is run entirely by volunteers. Work is underway to draft a policy statement and develop a decision-making structure for the publication. "We have editorial independence from the GSA. That being said, we have most of the members of the GSA executive on staff." And the paper is funded by the GSA -- "at the moment", he adds. "We're trying to get more advertising. With more advertising revenue, we'll become more self-sufficient. I don't think the media is very good at being objective. We should be independent from the people we're reporting on."

Grove, who has committed to shepherding the paper through its first year -- publishing three times a term -- sees it as a forum for news "only of direct relevance to grad students. . . . I feel people are interested in opinion. Grad studies is an intellectual pursuit; it should be an intellectual paper. I think that that's what people are interested in reading and writing."

In addition to news about GSA support of a universal bus pass for students, and an update of events at the Grad House, the February edition also offers a film review, an advice column and a recipe for banana bread. "We want to develop regular columns," says Grove. As for the editorial direction of the paper: "As we get more people involved, it will evolve."

  • Federation of Students 'lawsuit explanation'
  • Student societies hit by continued thefts (Imprint)
  • Last-minute agreement with TAs at U of Guelph
  • Black universities in the US facing difficulties
  • Western reaches its 125th birthday
  • Graduates rarely find the ideal job (Spectator)
  • Universities are turning on the charm (Post)
  • Blogging goes mainstream (CNN)
  • Events for today and shortly

    This week's Monday noon-hour speaker at the Kitchener Public Library will be Lorne Dawson of UW's sociology department, speaking on "Religion in Cyberspace".

    UW math students who have been on international exchanges and visiting exchange students from other universities will talk about their experiences at 3 p.m. today (Math and Computer room 5158).

    There may still be room for interested audience members to join a taping of CTV's W-FIVE this afternoon. Trevor Bayliss, British inventor of the wind-up radio, will be filmed speaking to faculty, staff, students at UW about his invention, entrepreneurship and innovation. The taping starts at 4:30 in Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 305. The Entrepreneurs Association of UW is co-sponsoring the event. Anyone wanting to attend should send an RSVP to Linda Howe in the communications and public affairs office at ext. 3580, e-mail ljhowe@uwaterloo.ca.

    Coming tomorrow: The senate graduate council and research council will hold a joint meeting at 8:30 a.m. in Needles Hall room 3001. . . . The senate undergraduate council meets at 12 noon in Needles Hall room 3004. . . . Graphics will hold a brown-bag seminar about digital archiving at 12:00 at the main graphics facility in the Commissary (General Services Complex). . . . Stratford native Andrew Pyper, author of the thrillers Lost Girls and The Trade Mission, will read at 1 p.m. at St. Jerome's University. . . . The student-run "health mentorship program" in the department of health studies sponsors a "Healthy Futures" event in which alumni will talk about their work (6 p.m. in the Clarica Auditorium). . . .

    And of course the major event of the day tomorrow will be the first of two Campus Days, bringing future students and their parents to campus by the thousands. Watch for crowds in parking lots, in cafeterias and just about everywhere else.

    Wednesday, the LT3 technology centre sponsors what's described as a major event: a noontime seminar under the modest title "A Change of Focus: From Building Learning Objects to Collaborative Learning Development Through Understanding Needs of Students and Faculty". Details are on the web site.

    The talk of the campus

    Hammers and dumpsters have been at work in Needles Hall in the past few days, following the move of the co-op and career services department to its new building. There's plenty of talk about who will be getting its vacated space on the first floor, and what other moves might follow. Gary Waller, associate provost (academic and student affairs) and UW's space czar, says not everything is decided yet: "The immediate plan is that the south side of first floor will be renovated to accommodate CBET, the new Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, at least on a temporary basis, and the Office for Disabled Student Services. Disabled Student Services, now on second floor of Needles Hall has seen enormous growth of its activity in the last few years. In addition to the above moves, the Office of Research, now located partly on third floor and partly on second floor, will move to the north side of the first floor. The two parts will be together for the first time ever. Final decisions on the space vacated by research are still under consideration."

    Mark the calendar: the annual Friends of the Library event "will be a month earlier than usual", writes Mary Stanley from the library office. "This year's event is scheduled for April 2. Our speaker will be Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield." She's putting out the usual call for authors and creators to be recognized at the annual noontime event: "The Library is interested in hearing from anyone on campus who, in 2002, wrote a book, composed a musical score, were recognized for their photography or design work, or mounted an art show. If you would like your work included in the upcoming display, contact Mary Stanley at ext. 6019 or mstanley@library."

    A few weeks back, I reported on a number of winners of Queen's Golden Jubilee Medals, and said that I was sure there were more. Indeed there are:

    And I suspect there are more to come.

    Last week, "Initial Interview Phase" computer matches results were announced for co-op students looking for spring term jobs. Not including the architecture program, which works in a world of its own, 2,096 co-op students were matched with jobs -- that's a 54.9 per cent employment rate. Last year at the same time the percentage employed was 60.4. Says a note from the co-op department: "Finding enough co-op work terms for our students is still proving to be difficult, but it appears that the job situation is no longer deteriorating. What has become apparent is that more students are finding employment much later in the term than in the past. It is now common for the interview process to begin with a lower number of job offerings. Over the past year the percentage of students who eventually have official work terms has averaged 97%, which is quite a difference from the 54.9% at the end of the first interview phase. We are guardedly optimistic that things have levelled off and that we will begin to see an increase in the number of students employers choose to hire. . . . For the 1,723 students who are still without employment, Continuous Interview Phase postings began on February 21 and will conclude on March 17."

    I reported on Friday the plans to build Westmount Road across the north campus (and up to connect with Northfield Drive). A question quickly came up: is it true that part of Waterloo Region's plan is to close Bearinger Road, so that all northbound traffic will have to go on Westmount? Dennis Huber, UW's vice-president (administration and finance) and the person at UW most involved in plans for the road, says no: "To the best of my knowledge, there are no plans to close any part of the existing Fischer-Hallman/Bearinger Roads."


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