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Friday, May 14, 2004

  • Intrapreneurial spirit rides at TTC
  • Staff association meets June 1
  • Geologists honour young prof
Chris Redmond

Lewis and Clark set out, 1804

[Lined up in front of bus]

Intrapreneurial spirit rides at TTC -- by Nancy Collins, condensed from the UW Recruiter employer newsletter

Unlike entrepreneurs, who innovate for personal satisfaction and gain, intrapreneurs put their enterprising skills to use within an organization to yield positive and profitable results. This is exactly what a group of co-op students (pictured above) did this winter during their work term at the Toronto Transit Commission.

The group, consisting of 12 co-op students (10 from UW), came together on their own time to initiate, design and develop a fully operational Web site for all future TTC co-op students. Despite working in different positions and on separate teams within the organization, they all recognized the need for this kind of communication tool to help reduce the initial learning curve facing new students and to provide a sense of community for them in the office.

The idea was initially sparked by Travis Ratnam, a 3A electrical engineering student who approached the group during lunchtime with a vision of creating an online newsletter for future students. "I did not know what to expect from the other students when I initially proposed the idea," he said. What ensued was a snowball effect that transformed his concept into a full-scale Web site that included the newsletter, as well as sections for TTC tips, important contacts, an office map and a Web board.

  • Four UW alumni are serious about kids' business
  • Criticism of universities' foreign hiring (Globe)
  • WLU names new vice-president (academic)
  • UW planning prof joins Kamloops discussion
  • Simon Fraser U announces new curriculum
  • 'Philanthropists can transform a community' (Burton, Perimeter)
  • Federal government launches task force on spam
  • UW grad of '92 receives research award at New York's Clarkson U
  • This year's Top 40 Under 40
  • National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education starts work
  • Future depends upon more science professionals (Crane, Star)
  • Cambridge U plans major expansion
  • UK government cuts off funds for 'e-Universities' spinoff
  • Allergy Basics Center
  • After receiving approval to work on the project, the students took action. With project meetings scheduled by Ellen Choi, a 2B civil engineering student, the students met after hours and on weekends two to three times per week to complete a web site prototype in under a month. "I thought it was a great initiative on their behalf," said Tomas Middlebrook, chief engineer of the engineering and construction branch. John Cannon, TTC's chief information officer, was even more impressed. Upon seeing the web site, he recognized it as a useful concept, not just for co-op students, but all new employees! The idea is being forwarded to the TTC Technology Advisory Committee later this year to gain approval and funding to make it a formal project within the TTC. In the meantime, the students are being nominated for the TTC Suggestion Plan, an internal employee incentive program.

    The recognition and success of this project was just "the icing on the cake" for the students. To them, the most fulfilling part was the chance to work together to make a positive contribution to the TTC. "I can see now that taking initiative in the workplace is not restricted to your everyday duties. In fact, it can be anything that will benefit the workplace and make it a better environment," said Ivan Lee, a 2B civil engineering student.

    For employers, Cannon suggests that letting co-op students take initiative can bring added value. "Letting a fresh pair of eyes take a look at your organization sometimes can result in surprise benefits for modest investment of time and effort," he said.

    [Red on yellow]

    The Annual Fund mailed its annual "anniversary appeal" to alumni last week, using a postcard with variable data printed on it specifying the alumni's name, anniversary, year of graduation, and popular facts from their graduation year. The mailing went out to alumni from 1964, '69, '74, '79, '84, '89, '94, and '99. The card also points out the Alumni Memory Contest promoted on the anniversary web page.

    Staff association meets June 1

    The UW staff association is still without a president-elect as it prepares for its annual general meeting on June 1. That's the day when the 2004-05 executive takes office.

    Avril McVicar of distance and continuing education was chosen a year ago as president for the coming year. She'll take over from Chris Henderson of procurement services, who begins a year as past president. But the slot for president-elect (becoming president in 2005-06) remains vacant, according to the nominee list circulated to association members along with the meeting notice.

    Members are voting among four candidates -- Andy Newman (plant operations), Bev Rodgers (management sciences), Sean Warren (distance education), and Keith Peck (library) -- for two seats on the association's board of directors. Continuing as directors are two who were elected last year: Stephen Markan and Dave Kibble, both of information systems and technology.

    Other executive members for the coming year will be Steve Breen (IST) as vice-president, Dawn McCutcheon (applied health sciences) as treasurer, and Sue Fraser (kinesiology) as secretary.

    Annual reports from the association's committees, and from staff representatives on various UW bodies, were circulated last month and will be raised at the June 1 meeting, along with proposed changes to the association's by-laws.

    The meeting starts at 11:45 on June 1, a Tuesday, in Davis Centre room 1302. "Light refreshments will be available beginning at 11:30," the meeting notice adds.

    Research announcement of a project to restore wetlands in Iraq, 10 a.m., Davis Centre lounge.

    Clubs Days continue, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Student Life Centre.

    Rhythm Dance recitals, today through Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

    Teaching and learning colloquium, "The View from Down Under", Geraldine Lefoe, University of Wollongong, 11 a.m., Dana Porter Library room 329, more information online.

    The Miniatures and Flashlight Brown play tonight at the Bombshelter pub.

    Alumni job workshop in Tatham Centre Saturday (fully booked).

    Daylong Debate Tournament hosted by UW Debating Society for university debaters from across Canada -- 20 rounds over 24 hours starting Saturday morning, Rod Coutts Hall, audience welcome.

    Staff association wine tour to Niagara, leaves campus 8:45 Saturday morning.

    SLC Punks 2 -- punk bands in Student Life Centre, sponsored by CKMS, "all ages" event, starting 7 p.m. Saturday, student admission $5, others $6.

    Drought-Tolerant Perennials workshop by Lenore Ross, U of Guelph Arboretum, Tuesday, May 18, noon, Math and Computer room 2066, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, preregister with Johan Reis, health services.


    Geologists honour young prof -- from the UW media relations office

    A UW faculty member in earth sciences, Shoufa Lin (right), is the first recipient of the new W.W. Hutchison Medal awarded by the Geological Association of Canada.

    The W.W. Hutchison Medal is awarded to a young individual for recent exceptional advances in Canadian earth science research. This medal was formerly known as the GAC Past Presidents Medal and has been awarded annually for the past 30 years.

    Lin is an innovative and prolific researcher with an international reputation. His research focuses on the structural and tectonic evolution of orogenic (mountain) belts and structural control and modification of mineral deposits. After completing his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in China, Lin began doctoral work at the University of New Brunswick in 1989, studying structural geology in the Cape Breton Highlands. After working at the Geological Survey of Canada and the Manitoba Geological Survey, Lin joined UW in 1999.

    While his study of the Canadian Appalachians in Atlantic Canada continues, his interests have also led him to study deformed rocks in northern Québec, western Ontario, northern Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and, most recently, back in China.

    He is a recognized world leader in the study of ductile shear zones. Such shear zones are "fractures" in the earth's crust, produced when rocks slide past one another, resulting in intense deformation, and are favourable locations for mineralization. Such studies are critical to the understanding of the evolution of the earth's crust and to the discovery of its mineral wealth.

    Over the years, Lin has received numerous honours, including the 1992 Best Thesis Award and the 1998 Best Paper Award of the Structural Geology and Tectonics Division of the Geological Association of Canada, a Governor-General's Gold Medal and an Ontario Premier's Research Excellence Award.

    The GAC says: "Shoufa is a dedicated, creative and highly effective teacher at the University of Waterloo, mentoring excellent graduate students attracted from within Canada and abroad." GAC past president John Clague presented the award to Lin during the GAC awards luncheon at the annual GAC-MAC conference at Brock University in St. Catharines. At the same event, Peter Russell, curator in UW's earth sciences department, was presented with the GAC's E.R.W. Neale Medal to recognize his work in building public awareness of science.


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