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Friday, January 14, 2005

  • Year's report on tenure and promotion
  • $50,000 gift for robotics competition
  • Renison anniversary and other notes
Chris Redmond

US government advice: emergency preparations

[Sky full of hands]

Arms and the women: That would be Kathleen Freeman and Sarah Watters of the volleyball Warriors, blocking opposition shots. The team played a high-stakes match against Windsor on Wednesday night in the PAC, finally losing 3 games to 1 (25-19, 10-25, 25-16, 25-22).

Year's report on tenure and promotion

Seven UW faculty members were awarded tenure in 2003-04 and seven more came to Waterloo with tenured appointments, says the annual report of the University Tenure and Promotion Advisory Committee, which will be presented to the UW senate on Monday.

In each group, there were six men and one women. The total number of faculty as of September 2004, by UTPAC's count, was 912, including 203 women and 709 men.

During the year there were a total of 34 promotions from assistant professor to associate professor (usually done at the same time as a tenure decision) or from associate professor to professor. The committee also looks at reappointments of probationary faculty -- those who are on their way to applying for tenure -- and says there were 38 of those this year.

The committee -- chaired by Jake Sivak of the school of optometry, a former dean of graduate studies -- devotes most of its report to "observations and recommendations" about the process by which a faculty member applies for tenure and the university reaches a decision through a series of administrators and committees.

"Some of the dossiers were poorly assembled," says the committee, saying that faculty applying for tenure or promotion provided sloppy information about their work. "While onus is on the applicant to make his/her case, department chairs/school directors should examine dossiers and, in consultation with candidates, ensure that they provide a complete account of the scholarly record before briefs are forwarded to the various T&P committees."

It also reminds committee members that anyone with a conflict of interest should stay out of discussions about someone who's applying for tenure or promotion -- and a conflict of interest can be something as simple as being co-author of a research paper with the applicant.

UTPAC received three appeals by faculty members during the year, the report says. One came after the president of the university ruled against an individual's promotion to professor. "The tribunal reviewed the T&P dossier," the report says, "and weighed the additional submissions (oral and written) made available to it. The unanimous decision of the tribunal was that the Appellant be promoted to Professor."

A second appeal had to do with reappointment of a probationary faculty member, and the committee ruled that he or she should get a second appointment. "The main deciding factors," says the report, included "inadequate documenting by the Department". A third appeal, also over a probationary reappointment, has not yet been heard, the committee says.

[Craig Cardiff tonight at the Bombshelter]

$50,000 gift for robotics competition -- from the UW media relations office

ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. has donated $50,000 in support of the FIRST Waterloo Regional student robotics competition which will be held on campus March 24-26. In preparation for the international competition, students from Waterloo Collegiate Institute, along with UW mentor Ed Spike, will be displaying their robot entry today at 3:30 in Engineering II building room 3340.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition challenges teams of students and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week time frame using a standard kit of parts and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in a series of competitions designed by FIRST founders Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers.

"Canada needs to position itself as a technology leader. In order to meet this goal we must generate excitement in the minds of our young people about careers in science and technology," said Mike Cybulski, a vice-president of ATS. "FIRST Robotics provides a unique opportunity for young people to gain exposure to a career in engineering. Also, in order to be successful each team must collaborate at a very high level, this aspect of the competition is as important as the technical side."

The competition has grown to more than 900 teams competing in 30 regional events and culminates in the championship event which is held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with over 7,000 student participants.

"FIRST redefines winning as scoring the most points is a secondary goal," said electrical and computer engineering professor Rob Gorbet, who chairs the FIRST Waterloo Regional Planning Committee. "Winning means building partnerships that last." Gorbet explained that teams are rewarded for excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit and gracious professionalism and maturity, along with the ability to overcome obstacles.

"ATS has always been a strong community supporter," he said. "Their contribution to growing FIRST Robotics locally shows they feel this kind of program is strategic in building the capabilities of the workforce of the future. We have seen the positive impact of FIRST in other jurisdictions on high-school completion rates and university enrolment and success." The sponsorship will help UW provide the second Canadian venue for the international FIRST Robotics competition for high school students.

ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. is described as the industry's leading designer and producer of turn-key automated manufacturing and test systems, which are used by corporations in a variety of industries including automotive, computer/electronics, healthcare, and consumer products.

Let's Make a Deal contest (quit smoking or "continue to be completely smoke-free"), registration winds up today, 10:30 to 2:30, Student Life Centre.

Career workshops: "Letter Writing" 2:30, "Resumé Writing" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Chemical physics seminar: Iain McNab, University of Toronto, "Reaction Dynamics and Self-Assembly: Organic Molecules on Silicon", 4:00, Chemistry II room 361.

Alumni job search workshop Saturday, Tatham Centre, details online.

Niagara Festival of Lights trip organized by Society of International Students, Saturday, details online.

Banff Festival of Mountain Films Saturday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

'Winter Dance with Siskins' outing by UW Recreation Committee, details online.

Computational mathematics seminar: Thomas Coleman, Cornell University, future UW dean of mathematics, "Automatic Differentiation and Structure", Monday 3 p.m., Math and Computer room 5158.

'Facilitating Effective Discussions' workshop sponsored by teaching resource office, Tuesday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158, details online.

Design project symposium showing off the work of fourth-year electrical and computer engineering students, Wednesday all day, Davis Centre, details online.

Renison anniversary and other notes

Renison College marks its 46th anniversary with a Founders Day celebration on Sunday. [Hutchison] The celebrations will begin with an Evensong and Convocation at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, 23 Water Street, Kitchener, at 3 p.m. During the Convocation, Renison College will bestow its highest honour, Honorary Senior Fellow, to Most Rev. Andrew S. Hutchison (right), Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and a prominent layman, Lincoln Wong, managing director of Triplewell Enterprises Ltd., Scarborough. Renison will also recognize fourth-year student Pamela Clarke as its "Li Tim-Oi Scholar" and Conrad So of Hong Kong as "Distinguished Alumnus". The keynote address at the service will be given by Archbishop Hutchison. A tea reception will follow the service in the Upper Parish Hall. Founders Day will conclude with a 6:30 p.m. dinner with honoured guests at the Great Hall at Renison. The Anglican institution was established as an affiliated college of the University of Waterloo on January 14, 1959.

It's the first Warrior Weekend of the new year, which means special activities tonight and tomorrow night -- mostly in the Student Life Centre -- aimed at students whose plans for the evening don't include drinking. Tonight there are movies ("Ladder 49" at 9:30 and "Shark Tale" at midnight) as well as open play in the Campus Cove ($5 for the full evening) and "open gym" next door in the Physical Activities Complex. Saturday is highlighted by Theatre on the Edge, salsa and meringue dance lessons, "magic carpet sledding" on the nearby hill, and "The Ultimate UW Survivor Competition". Details are on the Warrior Weekend web site.

"We still have space in the staff and faculty yoga and fitness classes this term," writes Michelle Robinson of the campus recreation program. Fitness classes run Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noontime, and yoga sessions are Tuesdays. Meanwhile, she promises "an extra kick in your workout" if you sign up for any of four one-day workshops (open to students too) that are a special attraction this term: "Pilates on the Ball" January 22, "Strength Training for Women" and "Strength Training for Men" on the same day, and "Pilates on the Mat" January 29. "To make it easier for staff and faculty to participate in the workshops," she writes, "staff and faculty do not need to be CR members to take any of these four workshops." For the regular classes, CR membership is required -- it comes as part of the package for students, but there's a fee for staff and faculty. Details are available on the campus rec web site.

It's been a long while, but a snazzy new illuminated sign is finally in place along the ring road marking (with its full name) the J. G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities. . . . The "egg" sculpture, officially titled "Break", is missing from its site southeast of the Math and Computer building, not poached but sent off for much-needed repairs. . . . Repairs inside the "Blue North" entrance of the Physical Activities Complex will start Monday, so that area will be partly obstructed and plant operations urges people to walk with care. . . .

After I published a note the other day about the "CNC Mill" that's a new piece of equipment in the engineering machine shop, a technician in engineering who knows about such things has kindly provided a better link to information about just what the device is and looks like. . . . Here's a reminder that you have to register by today for the February 26 Hagey Bonspiel to get the "early bird" prize opportunity. . . .

Sports this weekend: Basketball tonight vs. Toronto and tomorrow vs. Ryerson, with the women's teams playing at 6:00 and the men's teams at 8:00 both nights. Women's hockey vs. York, 7:30 tonight at the Icefield, then tomorrow at Guelph. Men's hockey at Laurier tomorrow night (game played at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex); track and field at Windsor for the Can-Am Meet; curling on Sunday at the Ilderton Curling Club in London.


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