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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

  • Book explains Ontario weather
  • Engineering prof in literary magazine
  • Other notes as exams continue
Chris Redmond


[Makahnouk in front of Grad House]

Graduate students have Michael Makahnouk, of the chemistry department, as their leader for the coming year. (He's seen in front of the Graduate House, the 1925 farmhouse that is the oldest building on the south campus; photo by Barbara Elve.) Appointed at the annual general meeting of the Graduate Student Association, Makahnouk will take over as GSA president on May 1, succeeding Nadir Budhwani. The meeting also picked Joseph Mikhael (philosophy) as vice-president (communications and organization), a new title replacing "corporate affairs". Chosen earlier in the GSA's regular election process were Beatrice Orchard (history) as VP (student affairs), and Jennifer Hunter (physics and vision science) continuing from 2004-05 as VP (operations).

Book explains Ontario weather

The weather mostly comes from the west, says Marie Sanderson in a volume on Weather and Climate in Southern Ontario recently published by UW's department of geography.

Today the wind is from the east
"The air that causes the various weather patterns," she writes, "may originate thousands of kilometres away -- in the frozen Arctic, the North Pacific Ocean, the North Atlantic Ocean or the tropical Gulf of Mexico." But the Pacific dominates: weather in this region is from the Pacific about 60 per cent of the time in winter and 45 per cent in summer, with the Atlantic providing only about 5 per cent.

On this week's list from the human resources department:

  • Co-ordinator, marketing interdisciplinary programs, associate vice-president (academic), USG 7
  • Development analyst, annual giving, development and alumni affairs, USG 8
  • Laboratory instructor, chemistry, USG 9
  • Manager, annual giving, development and alumni affairs, USG 9-11
  • Academic services manager, school of planning, USG 8
  • Banquet captain, food services, USG 3/4
  • Librarian, cataloguing, library, USG 8-13

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • The surrounding Great Lakes "have a moderating effect" on temperatures, she goes on, and contribute to heavy precipitation, especially snowfall to the east of the lakes.

    Much of the book consists of numbers -- for example, an early chart compares "mean global radiation (megajoules per square metre per day) in Guelph and in Honolulu, and shows that Guelph comes in second every month of the year. Then there are "maximum, minimum and mean temperatures" at four spots across southern Ontario -- Windsor, London, Toronto Airport and Ottawa -- as well as a chart of record high temperatures at 57 weather stations, including 36.1 Celsius at Waterloo-Wellington Airport one June day in 1988.

    Chapters of the book deal with "the causes of the climate", temperature, precipitation, "some pleasant and unpleasant climatic occurrences", "selected weather disasters", urban and indoor climate, climate information for farmers and gardeners, and "climate variability and the possible future climate".

    Sanderson was director of the Water Network, based in UW's faculty of environmental studies, for a decade, and in retirement is now at the University of Toronto. She's also the author of Weather and Climate in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, dating from 1996 and also published in the geography department's publication series.

    The Southern Ontario book, number 58 in the series, is priced at $20 from the geography department.


    Engineering prof in literary magazine

    A faculty member in a field that's far from literature -- Ed Jernigan of systems design engineering -- has published a reflection piece combining poetry and equations in issue 92 of The New Quarterly, a national literary magazine that's published at UW.

    As director of Waterloo Unlimited, a campus enrichment project for high school students, Jernigan (left) says his essay, "A Framework for Sky", was a result of his own enrichment experiences during the first Unlimited session last November at UW. Waterloo Unlimited is a university-wide interdisciplinary enrichment project, inviting young participants to the campus to sample university life.

    Challenged by fellow Waterloo Unlimited crew member Rae Crossman (who is also featured in the issue) to learn a poem by heart and to present something that he already knew by heart, Jernigan memorized a Wordsworth sonnet. However, it took some time before Jernigan realized that, although he couldn't readily recite a poem like Crossman, he knows many things by heart, including everything from how to build a fire with wet wood to Fibonacci's sequence.

    Managing editor Rosalynn Tyo says she believes that this is the first time in the history of the UW-based literary magazine that they have published mathematical equations.

    Issue 92, titled "Weddings and Other Disasters", might better be called the Waterloo Unlimited issue (it also features work by Rae Crossman) or the family issue, since Ed Jernigan happens to be married to TNQ editor Kim Jernigan. The latest issue also has work by their daughter (and Waterloo Unlimited guest speaker) Amanda Jernigan.

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

    Stress relaxation series winds up with "Imagery for Deep Relaxation", 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", 3:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

    Course design workshop sponsored by teaching resource office, Thursday 9:30 to 12:30, details online.

    Touring Players children's performance, Thursday 10:00, 11:45 and 1:30, Humanities Theatre.

    'Improving Learning Outcomes in Accounting Through Use of a Learning Object', accounting professor Bob Sproule, Thursday 11 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

    Technology in art exhibition based on Fine Arts 392, Thursday-Saturday, Davis Centre room 1301; opening ceremony Thursday 4:30 p.m.

    Presidents' Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, with Keith Trigwell, University of Oxford, "How Does Great Teaching Relate to Student Learning?" Wednesday, April 20, 3:45, Humanities Theatre, reception follows.

    Other notes as exams continue

    I wrote yesterday about a recent gift to UW from Munich Reinsurance Company, Canadian Life and Health Operations, and in the headline I identified Munich Re as an "insurance company". "This might be a bit confusing for our clients," says a note from the direction of Munich Re, "as we are a reinsurer, not an insurer." That's definitely a big difference, for those in the business (who include many people in, or from, UW's actuarial science program).

    Brochures for the Employee Wellness Fair that will take place on campus at the end of the month are out now -- they were delayed in printing, but should now have reached staff and faculty members. The Fair begins with a morning-long seminar on Monday, April 25 ("Go the Distance: Bring Balance to Your Life"), continues with sessions on such things as yoga and neck-and-back pain, and winds up on April 27 with "Going the Distance: The Steps to Change". A memo went out the other day from Catharine Scott, associate provost (human resources and student services): "I strongly encourage all managers to allow employees to attend events of their choosing."

    Last week's board of governors meeting gave approval, as expected, to new provisions in UW's Policy 76 -- making it possible to employ "uniquely qualified, internationally recognized scholars" without all the time-consuming procedures that are usually part of faculty hiring. Meanwhile, more changes to the policy are possible, the faculty association's Forum newsletter reports. The issue: whether a professor who's up for reappointment should be "very good", or merely "good", in teaching. Proposed new wording for the relevant section of the policy is under discussion.

    Information about something new called the Provost's International Volunteer Award is on hand from Maureen Jones of the student awards and financial aid office: "A number of awards, valued at $1,000 each, will be available each term to undergraduate students in any faculty with strong academic standing and financial need who wish to participate in an international work placement. This international work placement must be voluntary and the placement must be with a CIDA recognized partner NGO. Interested students should apply by April 28, 2005 for this spring term." Application forms are available online.

    Apparently the hottest tickets in town are for the monthly -- and free -- public lectures sponsored by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. The tickets are available a month ahead of time (online or by phone, 883-4480) and are all gone well before the day of the lecture. Perimeter tells ticket-holders to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m., for the 7 p.m. events (held at Waterloo Collegiate Institute), because a waiting list starts forming at 6:00 and those last-minute arrivals get any seats that are still available 15 minutes before showtime. The next event is set for May 4 -- a panel discussion ("Einstein, Relativity and Beyond") marking this centennial year of Albert Einstein's greatest discoveries.

    The Society of International Students says its membership has voted to become a Federation of Students service, starting in the fall term. . . . The Pragma Council, representing professionals who advise UW's school of planning, met on campus last week to discuss "Aging Infrastructure and Tightening Budgets". . . . Canadian Blood Services says an "outstanding" 270 units of blood was collected at the recent blood donor clinic on campus, and they'll be back for more in mid-July. . . .


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