[University of Waterloo]


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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

  • Students begin first PDEng course
  • Marking 35 years and loving it
  • Red and green on a field of white
Chris Redmond

NORAD's tracking Santa Claus


Optometry professor Anthony (Tony) Cullen officially retired December 1, ending a career on UW's faculty that began in 1978. A specialist in such areas as ocular disease and environmental hazards, he worked particularly on the effects of ultraviolet radiation on the eye. Cullen served as director of the optometry school (and associate dean of science) 1990-93.

Students begin first PDEng course

The first students have taken the first modules in the new Professional Development for Engineering Students program of non-credit, online training, the director of the PDEng program will be able to tell the engineering faculty council this afternoon.

The director, Carolyn MacGregor of the systems design engineering department, is on the agenda for the meeting (3:00, CEIT room 3142) along with topics ranging from financial aid to the prerequisites for a microprocessor course.

"Students have completed two of the eight modules of PDEng 15 this term," writes the assistant director of the program, Jeremy Steffler. "The remaining six modules will be completed next term," when many of the first-year students will be out on work term jobs.

PDEng is being introduced gradually, with the class of 2009, who started at UW this fall, being the first students to participate. They're starting with PDEng 15, "Professional Engineering and You -- Being an Effective Employee". Later courses, for subsequent work terms, are titled "Critical Analysis in the Workplace"; "Professionalism and Ethical Decision-Making"; "Becoming a Leader and Project Manager"; and "Integrating Professional Skills for a Global Workplace".

Although the idea is for students to do the courses while they're on work term (the estimated time commitment is three hours a week), officials decided to offer the first two modules while students were still on campus, Steffler said. "This approach was taken to ensure all first-year students were familiar with the UW-ACE environment (the delivery system for the online courses) and general expectations of the PDEng courses before heading out to work term."

The initial modules are an introduction to the program and material on "Making Good Impressions". Says Steffler: "These two modules had the benefit of providing students with useful information to assist them with understanding what is expected in the workplace from an engineering and business perspective. . . . The students were required to complete assigned course readings, interactive assignments and on-line quizzes."

Says Steffler: "The PDEng program is an exciting new initiative of the faculty of engineering that is designed to assist undergraduate engineering students with developing the professional skills that will allow them to advance their careers; balance personal and professional commitments; and communicate what is needed and deliver what is expected in the workplace. These skills have been identified by professional licensing organizations and employers as being desirable skills in new engineering graduates."

[Van Allen]

Marking 35 years and loving it

Pam Van Allen (left) "has been with the Faculty of Science for 30 years and she still loves her job," says a profile posted this month by UW's Keystone Campaign.

Academic advisor for undergraduates in science, Van Allen is the latest in the monthly series of Keystone supporters to be spotlighted on the Keystone web site and noted in the Daily Bulletin.

The profile says she especially enjoys helping first-year students get settled, showing them the ropes, and helping them adapt to university life. "It's an enormous transition and I like the fact that I'm doing my part to make it easier for them," she comments. "Students are why we are here."

Next year will mark a milestone in her career at UW -- one that she shares with her sister, Lorraine Albrecht of the earth sciences department. Van Allen will celebrate her 35th year and Albrecht will celebrate her 25th year of employment at UW. (Pam's mother, Gaye Nadon, also worked on campus, in Graphic Services, before retiring in 1989.) Before settling in science -- as a secretary, office coordinator, and now the advisor -- Van Allen worked in the department of electrical engineering.

What is one thing you like best about your job? "Every fall, a few retired professors and I travel to the STAO conference in Toronto. At this event, I get the chance to promote our innovative programs and let people know about our admission requirements so that the teachers can go back to their elementary and secondary schools and pass on this information. Going to STAO is more like an alumni event for me since many of the teachers that attend have graduated from Waterloo, and I'm happy to see their familiar faces each year."

To what project, do you designate your gift? "WATSEF -- the Waterloo Science Endowment Fund -- which helps the Faculty purchase undergraduate teaching equipment. There is a great need for support both internally and externally, in order for us to keep current in our undergraduate teaching labs."

What has motivated you personally to give to UW? "Reg Friesen, a retired professor of chemistry, was very passionate about giving and left a large amount of money to WATSEF. He was a champion and a dear friend, and I feel a deep need to carry on his legacy in science."

What is your favourite spot to relax on campus? "My favourite place is the Peter Russell Rock Garden -- located between the Biology and Mathematics buildings and right outside my office window!"

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  • Year-end donor video from U of Toronto
  • Former UW VP to leave Toronto for Oxford
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  • Britain abandons plans for health university
  • Red and green on a field of white

    Today is the first day of winter, astronomically speaking, and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The sound effects aren't quite right, though: instead of the jingle of sleigh-bells, what I'm hearing is the roar of heavy machinery as it clears the roads and sidewalks of snow. Also very seasonal is the salt compound that the grounds crew has been using to melt ice on critical areas: it's a bright mix of green and red crystals.

    New Year's, on the heels of Christmas, is the beginning of a new tax year, and Sandie Hurlburt of UW's human resources department sends along some notes on what staff and faculty members can expect to see happen to their paycheques. "Employees are reminded," she writes, "that if they earned more than the maximum insurable earnings in 2004 ($39,000 for Employment Insurance and $40,500 for Canada Pension), deductions for these two government benefits will begin again in January." In addition, EI premium rates are changing, falling from 1.98 per cent of income to 1.95 per cent -- and the yearly maximum contribution will fall from $772.20 this year to $760.50 in the new year. Also on that side of the equation, the "basic personal amount" not subject to income tax will go up from $8,012 (federal) and $8,044 (provincial) in 2004 to $8,148 and $8,196 respectively. Taking a slightly larger bite out of take-home pay will be the CPP, as the premium of 4.95 per cent will now be payable on income up to $41,100, rising from this year's maximum of $40,500. The bottom line: ah, you figure it out.

    The fall issue of Phys 13 News, published by UW's physics department and just arrived a few days ago, includes a tribute to long-time faculty member John Vanderkooy, who is well known for his involvement in contests for high school students and other outreach activities of the department. In particular he's been the editor of "The SIN Bin" problem corner in the newsletter -- SIN being Sir Isaac Newton, after whom UW's physics contests are named. He's now retiring, the new issue announces. "John's problems might have been difficult to solve at times," writes editor Guenter Scholz, "but they were nevertheless always entertaining and will be missed. . . . We wish him the very best in his future, more leisure filled years no doubt exploring audio related topics." Taking over the SIN Bin is physics lecturer Chris O'Donovan.

    The parking office will be closed from noon to 2 p.m. today because of seasonal celebrations. . . . Conrad Grebel University College alumni have been invited to a carol sing in the college's atrium at 7:00. . . . Users of the Computing Help and Information Place might want to note that it'll close early tomorrow, at 3 p.m., and will be open on Thursday only from 8:30 to noon and 2 to 3. . . . Dianne Hause, administrative assistant in the dean of engineering office, will officially retire January 1, ending a UW career that began in 1991. . . .


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