[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Monday, January 17, 2005

  • Artist gives negatives to Grebel
  • Student's work in land development
  • Tenure statistics and other notes
Chris Redmond

Martin Luther King, Jr.

[Elbows resting on the railing]

The Tatham ten: As it does each term, the co-op and career services department called together its student employees for a group photo. Holding down co-op jobs in the Tatham Centre for the fall term were Vincent Weber, Colin Lancaster, John Co, Katy Lau, Kaushik Sarkar, Stephanie Cherevaty, Julie Jeffray, Tim Kuo, Suha Bajaber, and Esther Chen.

Artist gives negatives to Grebel -- by Jennifer Konkle, Conrad Grebel University College

"Peter Etril Snyder is a son of Waterloo County," says Sam Steiner, librarian and archivist at Conrad Grebel University College, commenting on the arrival of some 52,000 photographic negatives given to Grebel by the Waterloo-based artist.

"His ancestry goes back to the earliest Pennsylvania German settlers," says Snyder, "and he has become a well-known artist in the local area particularly for his work that illustrates the life of the Old Order Mennonite community."

Senate meets at 4:30

The UW senate holds its monthly meeting today at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. Agenda items include a report from the provost about the proposed move of the school of architecture from the faculty of environmental studies to the faculty of engineering.

Senate will also see the annual report of the University Committee on Student Appeals, and see a proposal to create a Centre for Computational Mathematics in Industry and Commerce, among many other pieces of business.

In closed session at the end of the meeting, senate will get a report from the nominating committee that's been seeking UW's next dean of applied health sciences, to take office July 1.

For thirty-five years after studying at the Ontario College of Art, Snyder has been depicting Mennonite country life as well as scenes from across North America and Europe in paintings, murals, limited edition reproductions, collector plates, books and posters. Snyder was artist-in residence at Grebel in 1977 and 1978, when he painted the four "Seasons" paintings that hang in the college's board room.

[With cart loaded with boxes]

Archivist Steiner, left, with artist Snyder

Snyder recently donated the colour negatives that he has taken over the years as a basis for most of the paintings he has done. These photos of buildings, people, scenery, and other subjects reflect his interest in setting or context.

Snyder says his method of working "is based on drawing visual information from many photos and extracting bits that I feel add to the impact of the idea that I am trying to create." With the dawn of the digital camera, Snyder has moved to digital pictures, so the negatives span from the late 1960s to 2002.

According to Hildi Froese Tiessen, English professor at Grebel and a friend of Snyder, "his visual documentation of the changes in lifestyle among the Old Order Mennonites is unprecedented. Snyder's work reveals details of material culture that reflect the Old Order Mennonites' evolving relationship to the world around them -- details that only the exacting eye of the experienced visual artist would be likely to pursue and capture."

Steiner also emphasizes the importance of Snyder's donation as a record of the community life of conservative Mennonites over 35 years as portrayed in dress, architecture and farming practice.

Because the bulk of my work has focused on Mennonite life," says Snyder, "I thought it appropriate that these negatives should reside in a place where researchers could have easy access to them. These negatives also include personal photos that some day may play to a researcher's interest." Steiner hopes that in the future Grebel can get a grant for a student to work through the negatives, writing descriptions of them and scanning especially the ones that have potential for wider use.

"His gift to the archives is a terrific example of Snyder's many long-standing gestures of generosity and good will in Waterloo Region," says Froese Tiessen. "Snyder's paintings and photographs give testimony to the very positive relationships he has nurtured with members of the Old Order Mennonite community in the area around Waterloo."

Student's work in land development -- by Esther Chen, for the employer newsletter UW Recruiter

As Ontario grows, new communities continue to appear throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Land development and housing is an exciting field for those who work in it, among them Francesco (Frank) Cairo, a fourth-year planning student who has a background in civil engineering.

[Working on architectural drawings] Cairo (left) spent a total of three co-op work terms at Mattamy Homes, the largest residential builder in Canada. He was initially assigned to mainly subdivision optimization and design, but his role at the company continues to evolve, exposing him to a range of disciplines in the realm of land development -- including project management, land acquisition, and the financial side of the business. He has also had the opportunity to work with different levels of government, top consulting firms, and a wide range of professionals.

Now in his final year, Cairo has been hired full-time as a member of the East GTA Division's land development team, where he will be co-ordinating projects at all stages in the development process.

Working in the field of land development engineering can be very demanding, but it's not a problem for Cairo, who enjoys "working with the best in the industry" and in what he describes as an energetic, supportive environment at Mattamy that allows employees to run with their ideas.

Of his many accomplishments at Mattamy, his work on the company's land development Proforma, an exhaustive financial tool used for land value assessment, budgeting, and project evaluation, has significantly benefited the company. He assisted in the transformation of the company's technical model into a more accurate, user-friendly, and sophisticated tool. This has greatly improved Mattamy's land evaluation methodology and internal systems. The new Proforma is being implemented for all new projects.

In addition to the Proforma, Cairo was a key component in the creation of an improved method of lot-value determination, which is expected to greatly help the company's ability to comprehensively evaluate land plan options in the future.

Mattamy has been a strong supporter of the UW co-op program for many years. "Based on their educational background and strong performance, many of these co-op students have been hired for full time positions after graduation and have proven to be an excellent match for our company" says Tim Warner, of Mattamy's East GTA Division. Cairo, who has taken part in the hiring of students for the last two terms, says it's a position that requires a high level of responsibility and "out of the box" thinking. Mattamy is looking for students with "interpersonal skills, computer proficiency, problem solving ability, intellect, drive, and a willingness to learn".

Tenure statistics and other notes

I gave some pretty misleading numbers in Friday's summary of the annual report from the University Tenure and Promotion Advisory Committee. While it's true that 7 faculty members were "appointed with tenure" in 2003-04 and 7 more "awarded tenure", that doesn't take account of another 16 who were "awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor" -- I just lumped those in with others who were promoted, thus greatly understating how many faculty members received tenure last year. The correct total would be 7 plus 7 plus 16, or a total of 30 (six of them women, 24 men).

Senate graduate and research council 10 a.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

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

Debian Interest Group 6 p.m., Davis Centre room 2305.

'Indigenous Prophecies and Our Responsibilities to Mother Earth', open forum with Jean Becker, UW Aboriginal counsellor, and her counterpart at Wilfrid Laurier University, 7 p.m., Kitchener Public Library main branch.

Computer science colloquium: Dennis Shasha, New York University, "Upstart Puzzles", Tuesday 10:30 a.m., Physics room 313.

'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.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session Wednesday 4 p.m., Needles Hall room 1101.

The New Quarterly literary magazine launches new issue, Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Public Library.

Organizers have confirmed the rumours that geneticist and media star David Suzuki will be visiting campus on January 26, a week from this Wednesday. He'll speak at 4:30 in the Student Life Centre (no admission charge) and at 8 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts (tickets $6 for students, $11 others) -- all as part of the launch of the government-sponsored One-Tonne Challenge to cut fuel use, and thus greenhouse gas emissions. Involved in the Suzuki visit are not just the government but the Federation of Students, UW's retail services, and the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, and I imagine I'll be passing along some details of his visit over the next few days.

The second annual "Let's Make a Deal" contest gets under way today, after last week's registration. "This contest," say organizers from UW's health services department, "aims to challenge students to quit smoking, reduce their smoking rates, or remain smoke-free for four whole weeks. Enter one of our 4 deals for a chance to win great prizes including restaurant gift certificates, UW gear, and even cold hard cash." Part of the "deal" is support from students who are working for the program, also dubbed "Leave the Pack Behind", as well as quit-smoking aids. At the end of the four weeks, "eligibility will be determined by witness testimonials, carbon monoxide (smokalyzer) tests and cotinine tests."

Nominations close tomorrow for three categories of student leader who will be elected by undergraduates February 15-17. It's the annual Federation of Students election, seeking a 2005-06 president and three vice-presidents (education, internal, and administration and finance), as well as students' council representatives from eleven faculties, schools and colleges. Also to be chosen are five student members of the UW senate. Last-minute information should be available from the Federation office (ext. 6781) or, in the case of the senate seats, the university secretariat (ext. 6125).

The winter term blood donor clinic resumes today in the Student Life Centre and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. . . . Keystone Campaign "treat-a-grams" can be ordered online until February 3, for delivery anywhere on campus February 9 and 10. . . . The Embassy Church, which was in the news last term for a conflict with the Federation of Students over its bookings of Federation Hall, has a new venue, and is meeting Monday nights (7:00 and 8:30) at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, just south of campus. . . .


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