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Tuesday, December 7, 2004

  • Academic freedom committee reports
  • High school simulation this week
  • Oral defences of PhD theses
  • Computers, books, food, more
Chris Redmond

Chanukah begins tonight

[Words in icing honour MEF]

Two million dollars: Winston Cherry, faculty member in statistics, and Eric Logan, director of the Mathematics Endowment Fund, hand out cake to students on Friday at a celebration as the student-supported MEF reached $2,000,000 in investments, in its tenth year of operation.

Academic freedom committee reports

"A case has arisen where a small, vocal group has attempted to curtail a faculty member's academic freedom," says a report that's coming to the fall general meeting of the faculty association today. That's all it says, as report from the association's Academic Freedom and Tenure committee are generally brief to keep sensitive topics confidential.

In fact the only item that's specifically identified in the AF&T report is the recent controversy over political remarks by electrical and computer engineering faculty member Mohamed Elmasry -- which, the report says, "was settled by an apology".

The period since the committee last reported, in April, "has been a busy one", writes AF&T chair Frank Reynolds, of the statistics and actuarial science department.

The issues encountered by the committee cover the whole range of things that can happen involving faculty members' employment at UW: "failure to promote from associate to full professor . . . non-renewal of probationary term after the initial three years . . . non-renewal of definite term contracts . . . reduced load due to illness . . . differences in teaching standards . . . pregnancy leave."

Says one paragraph: "Two cases involving faculty members who failed to give prompt written notice to their Department Chairs of illnesses exceeding five days or of return from sick leave have caused considerable difficulty for those involved."

Reynolds writes: "I would urge anyone who is having difficulties with a Department Chair or other administrator to contact the Committee as early in the process as possible. Particularly where illness is involved, I would suggest seeking information on alternatives before accepting a reduced load contract."

Also on the agenda for today's faculty association meeting are reports from its other committees -- from compensation to status of women and equity. The meeting starts at 3 p.m. in CEIT room 1015.

High school simulation this week -- from the UW media relations office

About 375 Waterloo Region high school students -- a substantial increase over last year-- will participate in the annual Federal-Provincial Conference Simulation at UW today and Wednesday. Sponsored by UW's department of political science and the local History Heads Association, the simulation has been an annual event at UW for more than 30 years. This year, 18 delegations from 15 regional schools will participate in the event.

The role of Canada's prime minister will be handled by Whitney Philippi of Southwood Secondary School. Other students from Southwood will serve as federal ministers. Different schools in the region have responsibilities to chair meetings of provincial and territorial ministers.

Besides First Ministers' meetings, ministerial delegations will participate in committees dwelling on Finance, Justice, Environment, Aboriginal Affairs, Health, Immigration, Education and Human Resources Development. Two schools -- Waterloo Collegiate Institute (Western media) and Glenview Park Secondary School (Eastern media) -- will produce newspapers during the conference to provide information and promote debate over the two days.

Working sessions will be held in several rooms in the Arts Lecture Hall, the Humanities building and the Modern Languages building. The concluding plenary session will be held in the Theatre of the Arts on Wednesday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. John English of UW's history department, himself a former Member of Parliament, will speak to conference participants at a banquet on Wednesday, from noon to 1:30 in South Campus Hall.

Oral defences of PhD theses

Here's the latest list of graduate students who are coming to the end of their labour and preparing to defend their doctoral theses -- one of the oldest of all academic ceremonies.

Chemical engineering. Yingping Zhang, "Mixing Studies in Twin Screw Extruders Using Functionalized Polypropylenes as Reactive Tracers." Supervisor, C. Tzoganakis. Thesis on deposit in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Tuesday, December 14, 9;30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Combinatorics and optimization. Antoine Vella, "A Fundamentally Topological Perspective on Graph Theory." Supervisor, R.B. Richter. Thesis on display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, January 11, 9:45 a.m., Math and Computer room 5136B.

Kinesiology. Christopher Shields, "The Dilemma of Proxy-Agency in Exercise: A Social-Cognitive Examination of the Balance Between Reliance and Self-Regulatory Development." Supervisor, Larry Brawley. Thesis on display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3120. Oral defence Tuesday, January 11, 10:30 a.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

Electrical and computer engineering. Andrew Morton, "Hardware/Software Partitioning and Scheduling of Embedded Systems." Supervisor, W.M. Loucks. On deposit in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Thursday, January 13, 2:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Electrical and computer engineering. Walid El-Khattam, "Power Delivery System Planning Implementing Distributed Generation." Supervisors, M. Salama and Y. Hegazy. On deposit in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence to be announced.

Electrical and computer engineering. Yaxun Liu, "Efficient Simulation of EM Response of Dielectric Objections in Multilayered Medium." Supervisor, S. Safavi-Naeini. Thesis on deposit in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence to be announced.

Ontario Ballet Theatre "The Nutcracker" today 10 and 12:30, Wednesday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre, information 888-4908.

Senate undergraduate council 12 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

'Working Effectively in Another Culture' workshop in co-op education and career services, 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance presents Jaeson Lew, Exelon Co., "Market Price of Risks and Return Distributions", 4:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

CKMS Christmas art show and sale opens at 9 p.m., Jane Bond Cafe, Princess Street; artwork on show through December, for sale to benefit CKMS radio.

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

Davis Centre great hall noon-hour concert, Wednesday, 12:15.

Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Peter Kelly, Helsinki University of Technology, "The Financing Food Chain", Wednesday 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 105.

'Bioinformatics in the Health Sciences', talk by Brendan McConkey, biology, Wednesday 3:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

English Language Proficiency Exam Wednesday 7 p.m., Physical Activities Complex.

Holocaust presentation: the story behind "Hana's Suitcase", Thursday 7:30, Humanities Theatre, free.

Computers, books, food, more

It may be harder than usual to get computing support services today, as some 175 staff members who do that kind of work -- from IST and other departments -- are spending the day attending WatITis, the Waterloo Information Technology and Information Systems Conference. The second annual WatITis is being held in Rod Coutts Hall, where people who understand what's being said can attend workshops on such topics as "Building Network Firewalls" and "Overview of Collaborative Software Technologies". Other sessions will touch on ACE (the online teaching environment), tablet PCs, XHTML (a language for creating web pages), Bookit (the software for scheduling meetings), computer security and so on. UW provost Amit Chakma will speak briefly this morning, and Alan George, associate provost (information systems and technology), will give a keynote talk.

A pair of fine arts students -- Tristan Doherty and Dawn Stafrace -- are featured on the front page of the Record this morning, thanks to a protest-cum-artwork that they've created. They checked out carloads of books (almost 3,000 in total, they say) from the Dana Porter Library and have arranged them in a room in East Campus Hall, forming what the newspaper calls "two C-shaped walls that don't quite interlock, inviting the viewer to walk in and be encircled by what feels like an igloo of books". From one point of view the project is an assignment for an advanced sculpture course; from another, it's a gesture to draw attention to what the students say is less than adequate attention to fine arts on the part of UW's library.

With fall term classes over, food services outlets are starting to reduce their operating hours. Festival Fare in South Campus Hall is closed for the season already, as is the Tim Horton's outlet in Optometry, and the CEIT Cafe will be closing at 1:30 daily for the next few weeks rather than its usual 4:00 time. On the other hand, Mudie's cafeteria in Village I will be open 24 hours a day starting tomorrow, for the sake of students who get the munchies while they're hitting the books. Most other outlets continue with regular hours until about December 20.

[Jarman in Warrior uniform] The basketball Warriors (men's edition) ended the 2004 half of their season over the weekend by defeating Carleton 58-52 and Ottawa 84-79. That leaves them with a 7-1 league record. In the Sunday game against Ottawa, guard Graham Jarman (left) was perfect from the free-throw line, hitting 18 shots in 18 attempts. That sets a new UW record, eclipsing the 17 shots in a game scored by Jerry Raphael in 1963 and tied by Mike Duarte in 1991.

A memo from procurement services went out to departments a few days ago, reminding them about UW's contract with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and the option of reserving a rental car online. . . . The staff association says discounted lift tickets for Chicopee Ski Club are available to its members this winter through the association office (ext. 3566). . . . An end-of-term lunch for mature students is scheduled for December 15, and the mature student services office (phone ext. 2429) has details. . . .


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