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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

  • UW, Michener give up merger plans
  • Researchers back automotive sector
  • Exciting time for accounting students
  • And just a few other things
Chris Redmond

Schweitzer born this day in 1875


Michener Institute president Paul Gamble

UW, Michener give up merger plans

UW and the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences are announcing today that talks about a possible merger are being "discontinued".

The word comes in a statement from David Johnston, the president of UW, and a memo being circulated at Michener by the institute's president, Paul Gamble. UW and Michener have been looking each other over since the fall of 2002, and joint working groups have been looking at such issues as finances, governance, and research.

Says the statement from Johnston: "In the spring of 2003 UW and Michener entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to 'explore full integration of their academic, administrative and governance structures.' After ongoing discussions and consultations over the past eight months, TMI and UW have concluded that this is not the appropriate time to proceed with further explorations.

"The primary rationale for terminating these discussions was Michener's determination that it needed to further clarify and re-define its mission, role and model of government and that it was premature for Michener to participate in UW's emerging vision.

"Although discussions on a corporate merger have been discontinued, Michener and Waterloo will continue to work collaboratively as opportunities present and as evidenced most recently in the introduction of two joint degree/diploma programs partnering UW's Kinesiology program with Michener's Respiratory Therapy and Chiropody programs."

Michener, founded in 1958, offers specialized training in various health professions, including acupuncture, chiropody, nuclear medical technology, anaesthesia technology, diagnostic cytology, echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging. It occupies a building at 222 St. Patrick Street in downtown Toronto, close to major teaching hospitals.

Researchers back automotive sector

"Driving Force" -- that's the title on a brochure summarizing "automotive research at the University of Waterloo", which I'm told is potentially the first in a series of brochures telling the world about particular themes of Waterloo research.

[Zhou in lab]

Norman Zhou -- photo by Bryn Gladding

This one includes a listing of 27 professors in various parts of the engineering faculty (and one in statistics and actuarial science) whose research touches on the auto industry, from robotic welding to vehicle dynamics. Among them is Norman Zhou of mechanical engineering, whose specialties include resistance spot welding, particularly on aluminum for lightweight vehicle construction.

"The automotive industry is Canada's largest single business sector," says the brochure, produced by the office of the vice-president (university research). "Researchers at Waterloo are making a significant contribution to the strength of this sector." Then it gives some examples:

"As holder of the Canada Research Chair for Intelligent Mechatronics and Materials Systems, Farid Golnaraghi, Mechanical Engineering, explores the design and development of micro-electromechanical devices, including transportation systems applications. . . . Michael Worswick, Mechanical Engineering, specializes in hydroforming and sheet metal forming. . . . Xianguo Li, Mechanical Engineering, is working towards the next generation of fuel cells, a clean technology that may someday replace gasoline and diesel engines. . . .

"Sanjeev Bedi and Fathy Ismail, Mechanical Engineering, are expanding our ability to machine the large, complex surfaces found in automotive manufacturing, using some of the most advanced machining equipment on any Canadian campus. . . . Garry Rempel, Chemical Engineering, is known world-wide as the inventor of heat and oil-resistant hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber."

Says the brochure: "Many of Waterloo's forming, welding and machining researchers carry out projects within the Centre for Automotive Materials and Manufacturing. The centre is a partnership between the Ontario government, the automotive industry, and researchers at Queen's University, McMaster University, and the University of Waterloo. . . . Under CAMM, more than $11 million has been committed to develop the advanced materials, new design methods, and innovative manufacturing technologies, and to produce the highly qualified personnel needed to secure Ontario's lead in the lightweight automobile manufacturing sector."

UW is also involved a national research network dubbed "Auto21" -- Automobile of the 21st Century Network of Centres of Excellence. "Waterloo researchers in Auto21," says the brochure, "are leaders and investigators in projects on design processes, sheet and tube forming, welding and joining, foam processes, machinability, and industry restructuring and competition."

Finally, the brochure reminders readers that UW's students are also working on new kinds of cars, including the Midnight Sun solar car, the Formula SAE car ("usually the top Canadian finisher"), Alternative Fuels vehicles, and Wombat, the mini-baja off-road vehicle.

Positions available

Here are the jobs on this week's "Positions Available" list from the human resources department:

  • Project coordinator, Centre for Behavioural Research, USG 10
  • Secretary to the chair, electrical and computer engineering, USG 6
  • Senior development officer, major gifts, office of development, USG 12/13
  • Alumni officer, office of alumni affairs, USG 8
  • Senior demonstrator, kinesiology, USG 9

    More information about each job is available on the HR web site.

  • Exciting time for accounting students

    A prominent Canadian executive recently told UW accounting students that she envies them because they're entering the profession when it's undergoing great ferment, a time when accountants face "scrutiny of unprecedented intensity" but one in which "people of integrity" can make a real difference.

    The comments came from Barbara Stymiest, CEO of TSX group, at a talk in October, says the fall issue of ACCnews, published twice a year by the UW school of accountancy.

    Accountants have always had to adopt to new circumstances, but the changes that are happening now -- largely because of scandals in the United States involving such firms as Enron and WorldCom, and the resulting "Sarbanes-Oxley" disclosure law -- are more than just incremental, Stymiest said. Her talk was sponsored by the Accounting Students Contribution Fund.

    The newsletter also reports that enrolment is booming, in the first year of the accounting school's new, full-cost degree program: "The School's new Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) undergraduate co-op program is off to a good start this fall. Ninety-one students are enrolled in the program's public accounting stream, while 35 are taking the financial management stream.

    "The total of 126 registrants exceeded estimates of how many applicants would accept offers of admission. More sections of AFM 101 were added to accommodate the increase."

    And just a few other things

    Figures are now available about the number of brand-new, full-time first-year students this winter term. In the past, only a few programs admitted new students in January, says Peter Burroughs, UW's director of admissions, but opportunities were expanded this year. The math faculty had a total of 261 brand-new applications and ended up enrolling 23 of those students, while arts had 27 registrations from 256 applications. But that's in addition to a large number of math students who originally applied for September 2003 but were "deferred" to January: 103 of them finally enrolled. With a small sprinkling of special cases elsewhere in the university, Burroughs's report shows a total of 187 first-term students either "registered" (they had paid their fees as of January 8) or "enrolled" (they hadn't paid, but said they were coming).

    Word is at hand that Jackie Craig, a first-year kinesiology student, shared in winning the Ontario junior women's curling championship over the weekend. She plays second for the Kelly Cochrane rink, from the Peterborough Curling Club, that was the winning team in the weekend's seven-game round robin. They had a 6-1 record, got a bye into the final game on Sunday against a rink from the Granite Curling Club of West Ottawa, and were in the lead from the very beginning, winning 7-5. Craig and the rest of her team now will be competing at the Karcher Junior Nationals, to be held in Victoria starting February 7.

    RRSP seminar sponsored by Waterloo County Education Credit Union, 12:15 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

    Noon-hour concert, soprano Tannis Sprott and flautist Mark McDowell, 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel, free.

    Interview U workshop for employers "wanting to brush up on interviewing skills", 1:30 p.m., Tatham Centre.

    'Thinking about Graduate Studies?' career seminar, 1:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group recruitment meeting, 5:00, Davis Centre lounge.

    K-W Symphony plays "Berlin Baroque", 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

    'Pre-Bomber Show' on CKMS-FM giving away tickets to Andy Stochansky at the Bombshelter (Friday night) and Bill Talent at Fed Hall (January 24), plus live-to-air music by UW band The Smokestacks, 9 p.m.

    Planning Students Association and Association of Graduate Planners session on the planning profession. Speakers include Don May, president, Ontario Professional Planning Institute. Thursday 5:30 p.m., Environmental Studies I courtyard.

    Interdisciplinary Coffee Talk Society, "How Machines Learn to Identify Poets or to Recognize Faces", by Ali Ghodsi, Thursday 5 p.m., Graduate House.

    Deadline for submitting external financial transactions such as invoices before the January 30 financial system shutdown: Friday, January 16.

    Next week brings a blood donor clinic to the Student Life Centre, and Sharron Cairns of Canadian Blood Services says she'll be visiting today to get things set up. From now until the end of the clinic, an appointment book will be available at turnkey desk. Hours for the clinic are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., January 19 through 22 (that's Monday to Thursday next week).

    I have a note from Wilfrid Laurier University student Ashlie Horton, who says the WLU French club is planning a trip to Québec City January 30 to February 1 for the beginning of Carnaval, and there's room for some UW students to come along. "We will arrive in time for opening ceremonies," she writes, "and there will be lots of free time." The price is $200, which includes two nights at the Hotel Gouverneur. "I need to have the money by Friday," says Horton; she can be reached at ashliehorton@hotmail.com.

    Also in the e-mail last night was Jeff DeLoyde of the Solar Technology Education Project. He sounded happy: "At 2 p.m. today the last electrical hook-up and inspections were done -- the switch was turned on -- the STEP solar array is now producing clean electricity and sending it back to UW's electricity grid! For pictures of the installation, go to the freshly updated website (check out the Gallery page)." DeLoyde notes that the "grand unveiling" of the project, atop Federation Hall, is set for Thursday, January 22, at 11 a.m. Meanwhile, there's a meeting for STEP volunteers today at 11:30 a.m. in Engineering II room 2318.

    Finally . . . today is the official application deadline for Ontario high school students who are seeking to enter UW next September. Their paperwork (which is almost all electronic, not paper, these days) goes through the Ontario Universities Application Centre in Guelph. The deadline is chiefly of concern to students hoping for early admission, scholarships, or a place in a limited-enrolment program. "Applications received after this date," says UW's admissions office, "will continue to be processed by the OUAC and the University until the specific deadlines for programs or faculties."


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