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Monday, March 15, 2004

  • UW shares in literacy funding
  • Student seeks input in land study
  • Folk art show honours Renison prof
  • Future students are on the way
Chris Redmond

Killed on the Ides of March

Vote results aren't binding

The Federation of Students says more students voted against the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations than in favour of it during last week's referendum -- but the turnout wasn't high enough to be binding.

Voting "in favour of the Federation of Students, University of Waterloo continuing membership in the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations" were 329 students. Opposed were 385 students, while 53 voters declined their ballots.

Says a Federation statement: "The total number of voters in this referendum was 767 out of 20,817 voting members, and overall voter turnout was 3.68%. . . . According to Federation of Students bylaws governing referenda, the results of the referendum shall be binding on the Corporation, provided that the minimum number of voters in the simple majority of a binding referendum be 7% of voting members. As such, the results of this referendum are not considered binding."

UW shares in literacy funding -- from the UW media relations office

A funding award exceeding $1 million has been given to Research Works! for child literacy.

The program represents three community organizations that deliver child literacy initiatives: Investing in Children, London, Ontario; Read to Me! Nova Scotia Family Literacy Program; and Frontier College in Toronto. It also represents research, training and knowledge mobilization resources through UW, says psychology professor Kathleen Bloom, director for the program. She is also a member of the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network, a federally funded Network of Centres of Excellence.

The Community-University Research Alliance Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada provided an award of $958,000 while UW contributed an additional $75,000.

Literacy skills are the foundation for academic, occupational, economic and social success. The goal of Research Works! is to lay the foundation for literacy, from birth to school entry and beyond, by bringing research to bear on the development, implementation, evaluation and improvement of child literacy programs.

RW is an innovative collaboration dedicated to closing the gap between high quality research in child literacy and application in Canadian communities. The community co-investigators represent three different "hands-on" models of literacy development. Jan Lubell, Investing in Children, London, represents a community development-collaboration model and has significant involvement in early years initiatives in Ontario. Carol McDougall, Read to Me! Nova Scotia Family Literacy Program, highlights innovations in hospital-based early literacy programming. Ellen Richardson,

[Two geese on rooftop]

A threat looms high overhead, photographer Barb Elve reported on her return from Engineering II on Friday. Her recommendation: carry an umbrella.

Frontier College, is involved in national non-formal literacy initiatives with volunteer tutors.

"We will create research tools that can both meet the standards of good science and be used in community settings," Bloom said. "We will use community technology to mobilize child literacy knowledge along the routes of private and public sectors -- families, communities, governments, universities and research resources. Student training through Research Works! will increase our nation's future research capital. . . .

"The four partners have joined forces to create not simply a research project alone but a research enterprise that can help shape child literacy across Canada."

Mark Zanna of UW's psychology department and Tom Carey, associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation), are collaborators in the project. Tracy Penny-Light of the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology is also collaborating by bringing learning technology to the development of a Research Works! Open Classroom course, How and Why to Read with Young Children.

Student seeks input in land study -- from the current Gazette

Land development issues typically arouse a great deal of debate among groups of people with opposing interests. The potential for this controversy is present in all communities, and one of the major challenges faced by planners is the need to provide everyone a fair opportunity to participate in land development debates and then to incorporate all perspectives in a final decision process.

Philip Lam, a graduate student in the department of geography, is currently conducting a study to assess public participation in evaluating land development options using the Internet and 3D visualisation of a set of potential development scenarios prior to development approval. The development in question is currently under review by the City of Waterloo and involves three sites adjacent to one another on the northwest side of the city (adjacent to the Wilmot Line off Erb Street West).

The two-phase study will be conducted using an on-line tool named visionPlan, designed by Lam and his advisor Brent Hall. In phase one, visionPlan seeks to elicit from participants, after they have viewed the sites on-line and read documentation concerning the developments, criteria that they feel are important in assessing land development at the edges of cities. Phase two of the project, to be implemented after phase one is completed, will use a subset of these criteria to allow participants to assess the various 3D scenarios (generated with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology) using techniques developed in the field of multi-criteria analysis. Together the visionPlan tool comprises a planning decision support system.

Goals of the project: To provide members of the community with a means of visualising potential land developments and other physical changes before they happen; to provide greater accessibility to planning decision processes by supplementing (but not replacing) community planning workshops; to provide decision makers with a means of balancing the needs of all participants in planning processes through the use of multi-criteria analysis.

Students, staff, and faculty at UW are welcome to participate in the first phase of the visionPlan project by visiting the visionPlan web site, registering on-line, reading background documentation on the proposed developments in question, viewing the sites as they currently are, and providing criteria relevant to assessing such development proposals.

Folk art show honours Renison prof -- a release from Kitchener's Joseph Schneider Haus museum

Professor Michael Bird, a long-time supporter of the Joseph Schneider Haus, died suddenly in October 2003. To acknowledge the outstanding contribution Michael has made to the life of the Museum and to showcase the rich folk art legacy he has left behind, staff and friends are mounting an exhibition of the finest of the Bird collections, which will run in the gallery until April 18.

[Mensch lebt]

Waterloo County fraktur from the Joseph Schneider Haus collection

In the world of collecting and curating, Michael Bird was larger than life and will be remembered not only for his unerring eye as a collector, but also for his scholarship and his generosity. His collecting began in the early 1970's so he would have been considered a novice when he proposed to the curator of the Joseph Schneider Haus that an exhibit of Fraktur calligraphy and embroidered towels be presented in the modest gallery space before the Museum was even open to the public. That was the beginning of a long and close relationship.

As Michael's collections grew, so did his enthusiasm for documenting each treasured object and preserving the wonderful stories they embodied. Michael's pursuit of these stories took him down countless farm lanes in Waterloo County, and saw him enjoying hours of conversation at kitchen tables. In recording and remembering minutiae about each piece, he kept alive the work of many fine artists from this region that would otherwise have remained totally anonymous in the greater collecting world.

By 1984, Michael and his then wife, Terry Kobayashi, had assembled an outstanding collection of folk art primarily from Waterloo County but also from areas of German settlement in Canada's western and Maritime provinces. But their research on it was complete and unlike most collectors, they were able to give up their treasures and move on. Over the next three years, Joseph Schneider Haus was entrusted with some 650 artifacts. Dubbed the "Canadian Harvest Collection", the folk art acquired from Michael and Terry was subsequently certified as nationally significant under the Cultural Property Import/Export Act.

Many generous gifts have followed, strengthening the collections and allowing staff to expand and enrich museum programming. Michael himself continued to make tremendous contributions to the life of the community by sharing his knowledge and expertise through publications, lectures and exhibitions. "Bird's Favourites: A Folk Art Tribute" showcases a stunning selection of furniture, textiles, pottery, Fraktur and decorated utensils from across Canada that represent some of Michael's favourite artifacts and finest collecting moments.

A reception in Michael's honour was held Saturday, March 6. Meanwhile "Michael Memories" are being collected at the Museum, and donations are being accepted for a Memorial Fund in support of the Folk Art Collections which Michael's family has established at the Joseph Schneider Haus.

The museum is located at 466 Queen Street South in Kitchener. It is open Wednesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Climate change seminar of the week, discussion led by Patti Edwards, 10:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 124.

'Forest Fire Issues', Roger Suffling, school of planning, 12 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

Palestine Culture Night, music and dance, 7 p.m., Humanitaies Theatre, admission $15 (students $10).

Pharmaceutical industry career opportunities information session, Tuesday 11:30, Tatham Centre room 1112.

University of Western Ontario MD/PhD information night, Tuesday 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1112.

Federation of Students general meeting, Tuesday 5 p.m., great hall, Student Life Centre.

Super Cities Walk for MS organization meeting for UW engineering team, Tuesday 5:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 307, more information cdmccull@engmail.

National NDP leader Jack Layton, question period, Wednesday 10:30 a.m., Student Life Centre.

'Discordia', film about Concordia University conflict, Tuesday 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Future students are on the way

Tomorrow brings the big annual open house for future students and their parents, Campus Day. Says Mirjana Radulovic of the student recruitment office: "This action-packed event is planned to provide an opportunity to learn more about academic programs, campus life, and student services. Special presentations include Financing, Co-op, Life of a UW student, and a session or students who plan to apply in 2005 or later. Printed Campus Day Guides that detail the events will be available at the Visitors Centre in South Campus Hall, the Student Life Centre, and other locations on campus. Campus Day activities take place from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m." There's more information about the day, and a chance to preregister, on the web.

And let me just add a reminder that if previous years are any indication, parking will be in short supply tomorrow because of all the visitors.

The day before Campus Day -- today, that is -- brings, as usual, the student-organized "Engineering Explorations" event in the faculty of engineering. This event is targeted at families with children in the grade 6 to 8 age group, and generally brings almost 1,500 people to campus for an evening event of displays and presentations meant to educate the community about engineering, and engineering education. Approximately 80 student volunteers will be leading tours that will take visitors to displays and presentations, including student projects. Preregistration is vital; tours start at 5:00 and 6:30 at the Davis Centre.

News from the development office: "As of February 2004," writes bonnie Oberle, "the Keystone Campaign has raised $3.75 million, 83% of its $4.5 million goal. This tremendous progress supporting a variety of campaign priorities is the direct result of nearly 1,500 generous campus community donors and the valued efforts of 200 talented and dedicted Keystone Campaign volunteers." She also notes that there were eight winners in the latest monthly prize draw for Keystone donors; winners' names are posted on the Keystone web site.

And from the alumni affairs office: "The easiest way to support UW alumni programs and publications," writes alumni officer Jude Doble, "is to use the UW Alumni MasterCard sponsored by MBNA Canada. Royal Bank, the previous alumni credit card provider, recently sold its affinity business to MBNA, and as of February 23, 2004, MBNA is the official UW alumni credit card provider. Faculty, staff, students and of course alumni can apply, and every time you use it, MBNA financially supports UW alumni programs and publications such as the UW Alumni E-Community and the UW Magazine."

The staff association nominating committee is looking for staff representatives on a number of UW committees. Currently open: a seat on the staff training and development committee; a seat on the president's advisory committee on traffic and parking; two positions on the UW staff grievance committee; and two on the staff association's finance review committee. More information is available on the association's web site.

The engineering faculty newsletter notes that a committee has been set up to review the Engineering Machine Shop. "Their mandate is to examine all aspects of the operation of the Engineering Machine Shop and make rcommendations to the Dean for any modifications to the management and operation that would lead to an improvement in the effectiveness of the EMS in supporting the research and educational goals of the Faculty while minimizing the epxenses to the Faculty. . . . The Review Committee will be asking for input from the departments and faculty members to help them assess the actual use and the requirements of the machine shop."

And . . . repair work at the entrance to the Dana Porter Library didn't get finished by the end of last week as originally expected. It looks as though people will be using the temporary ground-floor entrance on the west side of the building, facing Needles Hall, until March 22.


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