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Friday, December 3, 2004

  • Magazine describes innovation 'spark'
  • Winter advice on staying upright
  • Grads vote yes, and other notes
Chris Redmond

International Day of Disabled Persons

[Blue cover; lead story is Health Informatics]

Magazine describes innovation 'spark'

"The spirit of entrepreneurship" is something special at UW, says a feature article in the fall issue (right) of the UW Magazine, on its way to 100,000 alumni worldwide.

The article, by freelance writer Gary Nyp, puts its emphasis on the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program, now in its second year as a graduate-level alternative to the conventional MBA that's offered at some three dozen Canadian universities, but not at Waterloo.

Nyp also touches on the north campus Research and Technology Park, with its planned "accelerator centre", and the availability of services such as Innovate Inc. And he gives some background about the atmosphere at UW -- what the title of his article calls "the spark" of innovation.

"UW's entrepreneurial reputation has long been known worldwide," he writes. "According to Statistics Canada, Waterloo boasts 22 per cent of all technology companies spun from Canadian universities in the last decade, making the university a runaway leader in that category. Such success is emblematic of a deeply embedded culture of entrepreneurship whose roots reach back to the late 1950s. . . .

"Paul Guild, vice-president university research, acknowledges it can sometimes be difficult to explain why, exactly, Waterloo leads the field in entrepreneurship, why it has enjoyed what he calls 'disproportionately high' success in that regard. But he credits two key characteristics.

"First, Waterloo's intellectual property policy has had what he calls a 'catalytic effect.' Simply put, Waterloo students and faculty who invent new ideas and technologies own them outright and are free to commercialize them as they see fit. This is quite different from the policy in effect at many other institutions, where the university retains ownership rights of intellectual property developed in its laboratories and using its equipment.

"The second factor is the university's co-operative education program. That, Guild explains, has spawned close ties with industry while helping the university gain greater understanding of what industry needs and the kinds of ideas it will embrace."

He quotes Guild: "The effect of all this on applied research is that it creates a self-selective bias. In other words, because of our policy, our connections to industry, and our well-recognized areas of strength, the university has attracted a particular kind of student. We also continue to see faculty members who come here because of the freedom associated with our policy. There continues to be a building of the factors that create the environment that can lead to spin-off companies."

  • Men's basketball Warriors suddenly among Canada's top teams
  • 'Universities ought to be transparent institutions' -- uwatch.ca
  • Thousands show diploma mill degrees on their resumés
  • Report on 'Postgraduate Education in the United Kingdom'
  • Toronto team wins $250,000 prize from NSERC
  • Online 'community' for co-op students at Simon Fraser
  • 'Worldwide videoconference' set for December 9
  • Universities develop Québec panorama web site
  • Snafu University
  • Winter advice on staying upright

    When somebody's injured in a fall on campus -- on a slippery sidewalk or a tricky staircase -- it often turns out that there have been previous accidents there that nobody bothered to report, the safety office says.

    [Slipping on ice] That point is made in a memo on "Slips and Falls Prevention" circulated by safety director Kevin Stewart at the request of the Joint Health and Safety Committee, which talked about slips and falls at its November meeting, just in time for the ice-and-snow season.

    "Although UW has an extensive program for the winter maintenance of walkways and parking lots," his memo says, "winter conditions related injuries are a concern. Generally during storms UW's first priority is main road routes to ensure emergency access and then primary walkways and city sidewalks. Attention to some walkways and parking lots may not be possible until at least 24 hours after a storm has subsided.

    "The Committee has found that in many cases a condition causing an injury had previously caused non-injuring slips and falls but these incidents/conditions were never reported."

    The memo lists these Reporting Procedures: "Report unsafe conditions such as ice and snow to Plant Operations at ext. 3793 (24-hour service). Try to give the exact location of the area or some landmarks. Report slips and falls to your supervisor for completion of UW Injury/Incident Report. Send report to the Safety Office in Health Services Building."

    It also gives some advice on precautions to take:

    "Winter related slips and falls are generally related to icy conditions. Watch out for and avoid black ice. This occurs especially when temperatures rise above freezing during the day and drop below freezing at night.

    "Wear winter footwear, even for short walks. Use extra care when getting in and out of vehicles -- parking lots are particularly difficult to maintain between parked vehicles. Delay use of recently plowed areas as they can be slippery until salt/sand has taken effect.

    "Use handrails on steps/ramps and indoor links/tunnels between buildings. Avoid shortcuts. Walk on salted/sanded and well-lit walkways. Keep clear of snow removal equipment for your safety and to expedite their response to storm conditions.

    "During and following winter storms review any access concerns with your supervisor."

    [Charity art auction tonight at the Vault Lounge]

    Grads vote yes, and other notes

    Graduate students have voted in favour of introducing a dental plan, the chief returning officer said almost as soon as the polls closed last night. "Out of 2,609 voters," an announcement says, "a total of 888 votes were cast for a turnout of 34%. Quorum (15%) has therefore been met. There were 707 votes in favour with 172 against and 9 declined ballots. . . . This exceeds the required two-thirds majority and, with quorum established, the result is binding."

    The agenda is out for the fall general meeting of the faculty association, which will be held next Tuesday (3 p.m. in CEIT room 1015). Among more routine issues, the membership will be asked to make a decision on whether the association will "support non-FAUW new initiatives involving faculty" that may "enhance the University of Waterloo community experience". The immediate example: the new Orchestra@UWaterloo, which has asked the association for financial support. Also on the agenda is a financial report in which the treasurer says membership fees in UW's association are "the lowest in Canada" thanks to a temporary reduction. "We continue to have reserves in excess of $300,000," writes treasurer Metin Renksizbulut.

    Prayer service in memory of Rod Sawatsky, 12 noon, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

    Volleyball camp for grade 12 boys, Saturday 9-12, Columbia Icefield.

    'The Hope of Christmas' concert, Saturday 7:30, Humanities Theatre.

    Varsity figure skating 2nd annual Christmas show, Sunday 5 p.m., Columbia Icefield, admission free.

    Candle-lighting to mark the national day of remembrance, anniversary of the 1989 "Montréal Massacre", Monday 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. outside Modern Languages building. Donations accepted for Mary's Place shelter. Organized by Engineering Society, Women in Mathematics, and women's studies program.

    Regional Teaching and Learning Event involving 3M Teaching Fellows, Wednesday, December 8, information online.

    Davis Centre great hall noon-hour concert, Wednesday, December 8.

    The UW weather station issued its monthly report yesterday, looking back on a November that was, it turns out, markedly milder than Novembers usually are. The average daily high was 7.8 Celsius, says coordinator Frank Seglenieks, compared to an average over past years of 6.1 C. "This is actually quite a large deviation," he writes. "The temperature in July was 1.6 degrees below average and everybody was talking about how cold the month was, but I don't hear a lot of people talking about the warm November." Precipitation for the month was just slightly below average -- and "a quarter of the monthly precipitation occurred on a 12-hour period on November 4."

    "A beautiful memorial space has been created," says the fall issue of the Keystone Fund newsletter, "to remember and honour Larry Winn, a former senior project leader with Information Systems and Technology. Friends and colleagues of Larry's wanted to establish this special place to provide the campus community the opportunity to remember their cherished friend, who passed away in January 2004. . . . The memorial is located in the corner green space between the Davis Centre and the Mathematics and Computer building, next to the door that Larry entered and exited every working day. The quiet space includes a bur oak tree, a rock, and a plant bed. A special plaque is mounted to the rock with the inscription: 'Planted in memory of Larry Winn, a cherished friend and dedicated co-worker.His courageous spirit will live with us forever. Life is a gift, pass it on to others. (DP and IST) 1976-2004." . . . This memorial is the result of the work of a group of volunteers and generous contributions, and is one of many tributes established by members of the campus community."

    Lunch was something a bit out of the ordinary in the dean of engineering office yesterday, as a staff member won a radio station contest and meals were sent in for everybody. . . . Here's a reminder that the Davis Centre library is open 24 hours a day through exam season, with a break from 2 to 8 a.m. on Sunday to allow for computer system maintenance. . . . "We have updated the paid holidays listing," writes Alfrieda Swainston from the human resources department, "and now show UW holidays to 2009." . . .

    Sports this weekend: women's hockey vs. Neumann College tonight at 7:30 (that's an exhibition game) and vs. Laurier on Saturday at 7:30 (both games at the Icefield). Volleyball vs. Western, women at 1 p.m. on Saturday, men at 3 p.m., in the PAC. Men's basketball, Saturday vs. Carleton at 8 p.m., Sunday vs. Ottawa at 7 p.m., in the PAC. Women's basketball at Laurier tomorrow; men's hockey at Brock tomorrow; track and field at Western tomorrow; swimming at Eastern Michigan.


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