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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

  • Optometry's master of PowerPoint
  • Grants offered for learning innovation
  • Insurance company funds awards
  • Sabbaticals that began January 1
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

50 years of polio vaccine


[Jones]

'Distinguished' teacher Lyndon Jones of the optometry school -- photo by Barbara Elve

Optometry's master of PowerPoint

One of the winners of this year's Distinguished Teacher Awards is Lyndon Jones of the UW school of optometry. This citation -- the first in a series -- is provided by the teaching resource office, which helps to administer the awards.

Lyndon Jones, an Associate Professor, has been teaching undergraduates and graduates in the School of Optometry since October 1998. For four consecutive years since his arrival, he won the Optometry Student Society's Distinguished Professor Award. Students comment that he "is able to make the most complicated of subjects both interesting and simple" and that his lectures are "interesting, relevant and well-presented."

Professor Jones connects the background theory with clinical practices through his mastery of PowerPoint. He includes relevant diagrams, videos, and up-to-date information so the students can see real world applications of theory. Additionally, Lyndon integrates his own research and past experiences into his lectures. He is also known as a person who encourages discussions in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, students find Lyndon Jones to be approachable and always willing to help.

Lyndon, a superb ambassador to this institution, strives to help improve education in Optometry in general. He was involved in the establishment of Optometric Educators Ltd. in the United Kingdom, a company devoted to motivating continuing education in Optometry. He also gives lectures to Optometrists internationally about the improvements in Optometric education. Lyndon uses the same teaching strategies in these lectures as he does in the university classroom setting.

Showing great involvement with the teaching community and having lasting appeal with students, this DTA recipient is described by one student as follows: "Dr. Jones has realized that he has a flame, and a responsibility to pass that flame on to the future generations of optometrists."

Grants offered for learning innovation

Faculty members are being invited to apply for this year's grants from the Learning Initiatives Fund, says a memo from the associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation), Tom Carey.

UW, he writes, "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 undergraduate student learning and support the strategic plans of the academic units.

"Proposals are requested from faculty, departments and schools to enhance current learning outcomes in UW undergraduate courses through changes in instructional methods, learning resources, and curricula."

Proposals are due by May 6 (three copies of the application, sent to Verna Keller in the teaching resource office) Results will be announced by May 20, and funding for projects will be available as of June 1.

Says the memo: "Priority will be given to proposals with a research-based approach to enhancing learning outcomes in the proposed project, and/or with 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 undergraduate 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. Requests for new course development are not eligible."

Proposals will be assessed by Carey and the associate vice-president (academic), Gail Cuthbert Brandt. The provost will make the final decisions, the memo says.

"Assistance on educational objectives, innovations in learning, and evaluation of learning outcomes" is available from the teaching resource office or faculty liaisons in the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology.

A list of last year's successful projects is available online.

Insurance company funds awards

The company known in the financial world as "Munich Re" -- more formally Munich Reinsurance Company, Canadian Life and Health Operations -- has announced the establishment of four Leadership Awards for actuarial science students at UW.

"We are proud to continue to support the actuarial science programs offered at the University of Waterloo," says Jim Brierley, the company's president. "Waterloo has provided Munich Re with outstanding graduates over the years and we are happy to contribute to the continuing growth of actuarial science education in Canada."

Beginning in September, the Munich Re Leadership Award will be awarded based on academic excellence, leadership and community involvement. Munich Re's initial commitment is to offer the award for a three-year period. Award recipients will be in second year, and the scholarship will help pay for third and fourth year studies.

A statement from UW president David Johnston thanks the company for "continued generous support . . . this support of student awards is instrumental in attracting top-ranked students to our leading actuarial science program." He adds that "Actuarial science is a fundamental pillar of the knowledge-based society. The Waterloo program is at the forefront in research, teaching, service to industry and enhancement of the actuarial profession."

Munich Re previously made a substantial financial commitment to UW to establish the Munich Re Chair in Insurance. Munich Re is the world's largest reinsurance company and is the leading life and health reinsurer in Canada.

WHEN AND WHERE
Senate undergraduate council 12 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Interdisciplinary Coffee Talk Society presents Jennifer Quinn, University of Toronto, "Stem Cells: Where do they come from, what do they do?" 5 p.m., Graduate House.

Mathematics alumni tour of the Perimeter Institute and presentation by Ashwin Nayak, combinatorics and optimization, 6:45 p.m., information online.

Technology and learning: presentation on results of students' experiences as measured in a UW-ACE survey, Wednesday 11 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Stress relaxation series winds up with "Imagery for Deep Relaxation", Wednesday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program.

Health informatics seminar: Lara Varpio, graduate student, department of English, "How the Visual Design of Electronic Patient Records Impacts Medical Practices", Thursday 3:30, Davis Centre room 1304. Correction: Wednesday, not Thursday

Sabbaticals that began January 1

Here's another list of UW faculty members who are away from their usual haunts for sabbatical leaves that began January 1, 2005.

Norman Zhou of mechanical engineering is on a six-month sabbatical "to gain experience in research areas, such as in microelectronics soldering, three-dimensional numerical modeling and process monitoring and control, and foster collaborations in materials jointing research among the University of Seoul, Tsinghua University and University of Waterloo".

Catherine Schryer of the English department has a twelve-month sabbatical. "My sabbatical plan has three components: completing a book-length manuscript on the results of a completed SSHRC study on healthcare communication; setting up a case study (also supported by SSHRC) investigating the role of electronic record keeping in facilitating (or not) team communication among healthcare providers; and preparing a grant to extend my research group's investigation of health care communication in online environments."

Douglas Stinson of computer science is on sabbatical for six months: "I will be working on completion of the third edition of Cryptography: Theory and Practice, a popular textbook on cryptography, and continuation of collaborative research projects on the interplay of cryptography, combinatorics and coding theory."

John Vanderkooy of physics is also on sabbatical for six months, "to investigate what happens to the breakup modes of a loudspeaker when the magnetic circuit is substantially strengthened, (and) to attempt to characterize the non-Newtonian behaviour of loudspeaker spiders and surrounds, which often causes discrepancies when a simple linear model is used".

M. M. Vijanyan of biology is on sabbatical through December. "I will be conducting collaborative research overseas. The objectives are to learn new techniques, and study animal models in their native environment. For instance, understanding the molecular mechanisms that allow fish species to tolerate environmental extremes, such as hypoxia, anoxia, hyperthermia and ammonia."

Michael MacDonald of English has a six-month leave "to further my study of Agon: Between Philosophy and Rhetoric and to develop research into an understanding of Marshall McLuhan and Gilles Deleuze".

Robert Prus of sociology is also on leave for six months. "As part of a broader, ongoing sociological venture that focuses on pragmatist scholarship pertaining to 'the study of human knowing and acting', I will be examining the texts of specific classical Greek and Latin, as well as various interim and contemporary, scholars in order to achieve more comprehensive, analytically comparative, enduring, and precise conceptual understandings of human lived experience."

CAR


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