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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

  • Former turnkey fills in as ombudsperson
  • Campus Day visitors are here
  • Solar car goes to Windsor museum
  • Free showing of Concordia film
  • Grants to help improve learning
Chris Redmond

Brain Awareness Week


Former turnkey fills in as ombudsperson -- by Barbara Elve

Long familiarity with Waterloo -- she earned a degree in environmental studies and has worked at the turnkey desk -- made Justine Saccomanno (right) an ideal candidate to replace Marianne Miller as UW's ombudsperson. Miller is on maternity leave for a year after having a son on March 4.

Ensconced in one of the bright, new offices in the third-floor addition to the Student Life Centre, Saccomanno has wasted no time in covering the bare walls with dramatic pieces of art she's found in the building's storage space.

Although she's only been on the job since March 1, she's been busy, with what has become a seasonal concern in the office. "In March," she says, "everyone wants to get out of their lease."

Saccomanno's not a lawyer, but she explains the significance of a contract to students, and provides information on the responsibilities of both the landlord and students who sign the document.

"I expected more academic questions," she says, but had been forewarned by Miller that landlord-tenant issues are the "meat and potatoes" of the job. Academic enquiries rank second, with many students looking for clarification of policies and procedures. Other concerns frequently involve personal or legal issues, she adds.

Her "independent, impartial and confidential" services are extended to students, staff and faculty, and if Saccomanno can't help, she'll know someone who can.

"I have a wealth of people I can turn to," she says, from the people in student awards who answer OSAP questions, to counselling services staff who'll squeeze in an emergency appointment, to police, the conflict management and human rights folks, and the office for persons with disabilities. "We work as a big team."

As well as her day-to-day consultations with clients, Saccomanno is working with off-campus housing on developing a "survival guide" for Waterloo tenants. She'll be continuing to run the popular brown bag lunch "renting to students" seminars, which attract both students and landlords -- often UW staff and faculty. And she's planning to update the ombudsperson web site.

Campus Day visitors are here

The campus today welcomes thousands of prospective students and their parents at the annual Campus Day open house.

  • Text of memo to UW faculty about replacement of UWone
  • City of Waterloo student housing study
  • Pro and con: police presence during Iron Ring celebrations
  • Funding available for international study (deadline March 31)
  • Council of Ontario Universities advertising campaign
  • Student loan changes expected in federal budget (Globe)
  • Pros and cons of mandatory retirement
  • 'What rights do student journalists have?' (CNN)
  • 'As Prime Minister' awards
  • New test of English developed at Carleton
  • Recruiting students for the public service
  • A BC college assesses itself
  • Ontario student leaders meet at UW (Imprint)
  • Database will track citations of on-line scholarship
  • Top prospects get home visits from York U
  • Honesty and integrity task force at Simon Fraser gives final report
  • U of T's proposed Varsity Stadium development falls through
  • Government news release on northern Ontario medical school
  • Latest 'employment profile' of college graduates
  • "This action-packed event is planned to provide an opportunity to learn more about academic programs, campus life and student services," Mirjana Radulovic of the marketing and undergraduate recruitment office reminds everyone.

    Headquarters is in the Student Life Centre, and campus tours (30 minutes or an hour long) will leave from there between 9:00 and 3:00. In the SLC's multipurpose room, there will be information sessions on finances (11:00 and 1:00), a briefing for students applying in future years (9:00 and 12:00), and a presentation on "student life with the UW bloggers" (10:00 and 2:00).

    An information session about co-op will be given four times during the day in the Tatham Centre lobby. Elsewhere on campus, faculty buildings and colleges are open or visits, as are the residences. Printed outlines of the day's events are available at the SLC and at the Visitors Centre in South Campus Hall.

    Solar car goes to Windsor museum

    The Midnight Sun Solar Race Team says it's donating one of its past race cars, Midnight Sun V, for display at the Canada South Science City museum in Windsor.

    The team designs, builds and races solar-powered cars every two years for international competition and is open to students in all faculties at UW. "The team has always been committed to innovation and education for a greener tomorrow," a news release says, "and the donation of Midnight Sun V is another successful initiative. As well, the Midnight Sun team provides an active educational campaign for both elementary and secondary school students that teaches the benefit of renewable energy sources in an original and hands-on setting."

    Says Calli Citron, media relations officer for Midnight Sun: "The team is pleased that Midnight Sun V will have a permanent home in Windsor and will inspire others to pursue alternative energy sources."

    Midnight Sun V was an entry in Sunrayce 1999, capturing 10th place in that run across the United States and then 25th place at the 1999 World Solar Challenge in Australia. The Midnight Sun V team also won an award for teamwork in Sunrayce 1999, and the Battler's Award for overcoming many obstacles to complete the World Solar Challenge.

    The current solar car team is designing Midnight Sun VIII in preparation to race in 2005.

    Free showing of Concordia film

    A National Film Board documentary about the 2002 "riot" at Montréal's Concordia University will be shown tonight in the Theatre of the Arts.

    The showing, sponsored by the Federation of Students, starts at 8 p.m., says Rick Theis, clubs director for the Federation. The film is called "Discordia".

    Says an NFB news release: "'Discordia' documents the fallout from the Netanyahu riot at Concordia University of September 2002, charting the turbulent progress of three young campus activists as they navigate the choppy waters of student politics.

    "Co-directed and co-written by Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal, both recent graduates of Concordia, the full-length feature production follows three student activists as they go through the most formative year of their lives. Samer Elatrash, the articulate and impulsive son of Palestinian refugees, locks horns with Noah Sarna, the co-president of Hillel, a Jewish students' association with strong ties to Israel. At the eye of the storm, Aaron Mate, a VP on the student council, is both an outspoken critic of Israeli policies and the grandson of a Holocaust survivor.

    Federation general meeting

    A general meeting of the Federation of Students -- all undergraduate students -- begins at 5 p.m. in the great hall of the Student Life Centre. Agenda items include ratification of the 2004-05 members of the board of directors, and bylaw changes including the creation of a Co-op Council within the Federation.
    "Addelman and Mallal -- whose combined cultural heritage encompasses Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and a healthy dose of youth culture -- jump into the fray with street-smart bravado and a handheld camera. Buoyed along by original music from Hip Hop artist Buck 65, they provide an incisive portrait of their peers and a tonic reminder of the value of an open mind."

    After the showing Addelman and Mallal will be on hand to answer questions. The event is free for students, with admission "only on a first come, first served basis", says Theis. He adds that guaranteed seating passes will be distributed to those students who attend the Federation of Students general meeting at 5:00 this afternoon in the Student Life Centre.

    Grants to help improve learning

    Applications are due by April 5 for the next round of UW grants "to enhance current learning outcomes in UW courses through changes in instructional methods, learning resources, and curricula".

    The grants come from the Learning Initiatives Fund, says a memo from Tom Carey, associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation):

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

    Conflict management for instructors, repeat of last week's workshop, 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158; information from teaching resources office, ext. 3132.

    Job search strategies career workshop, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

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

    Super Cities Walk for MS organization meeting for UW engineering team, 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.

    St. Patrick's Day luncheon, University Club, Wednesday 11:30 to 2:00, $12.50, reservations ext. 3801.

    Without Words Jazz Trio, Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel, free.

    Persian cultural exhibition marking New Year's, Wednesday 1:00 to 5:00, Davis Centre room 1301.

    Newfoundland novelist Donna Morrissey reads, Wednesday 4:00, St. Jerome's University room 2009.

    Orion/CA*net 4 Advanced Networking Day Thursday, with information for researchers about high-bandwidth facilities now available -- details online.

    Voice of Islam colloquium, "The Life and Death of Jesus Christ", Thursday 6:30, great hall, Student Life Centre.

    March Madness 3-on-3 basketball tournament sponsored by campus recreation, Friday and Saturday, captains' meeting today 4:45, Math and Computer room 2038.

    Two for Blue Day fund-raiser for juvenile arthritis research -- wear blue clothes March 26 and contribute $2 to the cause. Information from Michelle Banic, ext. 3533.

    "The University of Waterloo is committed to enhancing the quality of the learning experience for our students and to continuing our history of innovative approaches to learning and teaching. The Learning Initiatives Fund will assist departments, schools and Faculties in projects that enhance student learning and support the strategic plans of the academic units. . . .

    "Proposals are requested from faculty, departments and schools. . . . Proposals are due by April 5, and results will be announced by April 15. Funding for approved projects will be available beginning May 1, 2004. . . .

    "Priority will be given to proposals that include assessment of learning outcomes before and after the proposed project, and in which the enhancements will have the potential for application in other departments and schools. For example, a department may request funds to develop a new instructional resource -- a course manual or exercise, an interactive online tutorial, a repository of case studies -- to address a specific course topic or a skill common to several courses.

    "Projects must be completed within two years, and applicants can request support of $5,000 to $20,000 from the Learning Initiatives Fund. Requests to purchase equipment will only be considered in the context of an enhancement to teaching methods.

    "Proposals will be assessed by the Associate Vice President Academic and the Associate Vice President, Learning Resources and Innovation. They will make recommendations to the Vice President Academic and Provost, who will make final decisions." Another round of grants will be coming in the spring term, the memo says.

    In the last round, during the fall term, four projects were approved:


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