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Wednesday, June 1, 2005

  • Busy June brings special events
  • International students 'waiting to work'
  • Forum to address 'more profound' issues
  • More happening on a Wednesday
Chris Redmond

Accordion Awareness Month

[Peering up onto steps]

'If the groundhog is going to be with us for a while, shouldn't he/she get a name?" writes Benjamin Ries, a political science student currently on a co-op job in UW's office of institutional analysis and planning. "Has anybody on campus suggested one?" Ries spotted the critter on the Needles Hall steps again last week.

Busy June brings special events

Waterloo is bustin' out all over, with a number of major events on the June schedule as well as the general bustle and work and innovation that come with an academic term in full swing. People are scuba diving in the PAC pool (lessons are Wednesday nights), meeting employers in the Tatham Centre, and filling out the library's online web survey -- not to mention working away in labs, hunching over keyboards and delivering bravura lectures.

And here are some of the special events that are coming at us this month:

  • The grand opening of the new wing on the Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion, Matthews Hall -- ceremonies next Tuesday, June 7, at 11 a.m. That afternoon, the Health Behaviour Research Group, a major occupant in the building, celebrates its 25th anniversary with a talk by Allan Best, its founding director, on "The Next 25 Years for Population Health Research".

  • The quarterly meeting of UW's board of governors, at 2:30 that same day, June 7. The agenda isn't out yet, but is sure to include an update on how improved government financing for universities will affect Waterloo, and also a progress report on planning a building for the downtown school of pharmacy. (Kitchener city council got a glimpse of the plans from pharmacy director Jake Thiessen at its meeting Monday night.)

  • The "Happy U Year Masquerade", an outdoor celebration of the Keystone Campaign (the staff, faculty and retiree division of Campaign Waterloo), Thursday June 9, from 11:30 to 1:30 on the Matthews Hall green -- with a sequel for evening staff at 10:00 in South Campus Hall.

  • A celebration of progress on Campaign Waterloo, Tuesday, June 14, at 3:30 p.m. in the Davis Centre great hall.

  • Spring convocation, to be held in five sessions: June 15 (applied health sciences, environmental studies, independent studies); June 16 (arts); June 17 (science); June 18, morning (mathematics); June 18, afternoon (engineering).

  • The annual reception for the 25-Year Club -- including new members, the faculty and staff who came to UW in 1980 -- Tuesday, June 21, in the Physical Activities Complex.

    And June ends with a long weekend: Friday, July 1, is Canada Day and brings the customary celebrations, crafts fair, children's activities, music and fireworks on the north campus.

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

  • Associate director, systems, offices of development and alumni affairs, USG 12
  • Science manager, geography, USG 9
  • Financial officer, dean of science office, USG 9
  • Technician, earth sciences, USG 6
  • Coordinator, special events and promotions, athletics and recreational services, USG 6
  • Administrative assistant, school of pharmacy/Kitchener health sciences campus, USG 6
  • Staff language instructor, French studies, USG 10
  • Information system developer, dean of mathematics/CEMC, USG 7

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • International students 'waiting to work' -- a news release from the Federation of Students

    The Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo calls on citizenship and immigration minister Joe Volpe to implement the policy change announced last month that would allow international students to work off-campus and be granted a two-year work permit upon graduation.

    "This policy change will be a step forward in making post-secondary education more accessible and affordable for our international students," says Howie Bender, vice-president (education) for the Federation. "We are thankful for the added value international students provide our campus and it is time that the opportunities we provide them with reflect that.

    "The Federation has welcomed Minister Volpe's announcement and we will continue to push for its implementation in order to provide our international students with new opportunities," continued Bender.

    International students pay just under three times the price that Canadian students pay for their education. Average undergraduate tuition fees for international students are $11,903. By comparison, undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian students average $4,172 a year. Under the existing regulations, international students can only seek employment in limited on-campus job pools. Working off-campus will allow more international students to earn more money to pay for their education.

    Forum to address 'more profound' issues

    A student group with an ambitious mandate will be meeting each Thursday evening, says its founder, chemical engineering student Rajat Suri. He describes the UW Forum for Independent Thought as "a student think tank whose mandate is to to tackle the world's most pressing problems by applying students' creative problem solving skills and critical thought processes".

    [FIT logo] Goals, says Suri, include "encouraging the free exchange of ideas" and "motivating students to grow as humanitarians". He says: "We have always found the talent at this university to be nothing less than astounding. Intelligence, leadership and determination abound in the halls of this tech-oriented campus and there is little doubt that our reputation for innovation is merited, at least in terms of the students. And yet, where does all this energy go?

    "Where do we channel all the talent that we've worked all our lives to develop and hone? Is it to assignments, quizzes, labs, exams? To pick-up lines, drinking games, hotornot.com? Or is it to wonder which corporate tycoon to make richer in your next co-op term?

    "In any case, it is doubtful that we are spending much time considering issues that are far bigger in scope and magnitude, and far more important than our own. And so we have started the Forum for Independent Thought, a student think tank that will as serve as a means for us to come together and tackle economic, social and political problems that are more profound and more involved than any Pure Math question out there.

    "By harnessing the innovative energy and resolve of UW students and directing it towards real life issues, UW FIT will hopefully develop those who choose to participate by enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of current issues and helping them actively consider what action is required both from us as students and those closer to the issues at hand to change matters for the better.

    "On another level, another major goal of this think tank is to raise awareness of the poignant concerns of many of the unfortunate people around the world and provoke independent thought from the broader student population on these issues."

    Vice-president of UW FIT is Kirsten Robinson, a third-year systems design engineering student. The group will meet Thursday at 5:00 in Student Life Centre room 2134. "At these meetings we will discuss the topic that is currently being investigated and review research by the working groups, with the eventual goal of creating a feasible plan of action for initiation. Professors will often attend to share their thoughts and ideas on current problems around the world. Lined up for this term are Larry Smith and Jan Narveson. All disciplines and experience levels are welcome!"

    More happening on a Wednesday

    The UW staff association is holding its annual general meeting this morning (9:00, Davis Centre room 1302). It's the first time the meeting has been held at the beginning of the day, rather than at noon hour or in late afternoon, but some of the features are the usual ones: door prizes, light refreshments, reports from some people who have spent many hours over the past year representing staff on UW committees and in working with individual staff members in job difficulties. This morning's agenda includes a discussion of whether membership in the association should be mandatory for non-union staff -- some 72 per cent of them are currently members on a voluntary basis.

    Jim Frank of UW's kinesiology department -- who drew some publicity recently for his research on balance and gait, and who has held a series of administrative positions -- also finds time to be a good teacher, judging from the latest issue of the Teaching Matters newsletter. "The key to him is student success," writes Donna Ellis of the teaching resource office, "and students may be successful through a variety of means. Jim shared a number of ideas with me in relation to his second-year neuroanatomy course. He synthesized the ideas into three main themes: relationships, rules, and relevance. . . . He tells his students that he expects an investment of 8 hours per week in his course, recognizing that most students are taking five courses in a term."

    Career development workshop: "Interview Skills: Selling Your Skills", 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Perimeter Institute "audience night" with a panel of researchers, 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information online.

    Technical speaker competition sponsored by Sandford Fleming Foundation for engineering students, faculty finals Thursday 10:30, Engineering II room 3324.

    John Brady, author of the Matt Minogue series, signing his books in the UW bookstore, Thursday 11:30 to 12 noon.

    Employee safety orientation session Thursday 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304, information ext. 5613.

    UW Day welcome for future students and their families, Saturday 12:30 to 4:00, Student Life Centre.

    Engineering reunions for classes of 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, Saturday, details and registration online. All faculty members who taught engineering students are especially invited.

    Friendly game of baseball sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Saturday 1:30, Columbia Lake (preregistration due today).

    President's Golf Tournament in support of Warrior athletics, Monday, June 6, Deer Ridge Golf and Country Club, details online.

    'Barbecues and Summer Entertaining' noon-hour talk by local chef Dana Shortt, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, June 8, 12 noon, Arts Lecture Hall room 208. Barbecues made easy

    Printmakers Fair with about 20 printmakers and papermakers demonstrating and selling, June 11, 10:00 to 4:30, Renison College.

    [Chacour in clerical collar] Visiting campus today is Elias Chacour (right), author, educator and priest from a Palestinian village in Israel, and three-time nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize. Chacour is in Canada as a guest of the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, and will speak at 7:30 tonight in the great hall of Conrad Grebel University College. His topic: "Educating for Peace". Says an announcement from the organizers: "Never one to hide his passion for helping Arabs and Israelis, Muslims, Jews, and Christians to live and work together peacefully, Abuna Elias Chacour is outspoken and unapologetic for his views on peace and justice. . . . He brings to life, through personal example and ministry commitment, the peace teachings of Jesus."

    An achievement is reported in the latest issue of the engineering faculty's electronic newsletter: "Professor Giovanni Cascante, Department of Civil Engineering, is the recipient of the 2005 Hogentogler Award for his paper "Resonant Column Testing: The inherent Counter EMF Effect" published in the ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal in 2003. The Hogentogler Award is an annual award given to the author or authors of a paper of outstanding merit on soil and/or rock for engineering purposes that is published by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). The purposes of the award are to stimulate research, to encourage the extension of knowledge of soil and rock, and to recognize meritorious effort."

    And . . . the first stage of road work on University Avenue is scheduled to start Monday and run about a week, the City of Waterloo says. The eastbound lanes will be closed to traffic -- first from Westmount Road to Seagram Drive (the UW main entrance), later from Seagram to Phillip Street. The project means drivers approaching UW from the west side will likely have to make a detour to use the Columbia Street entrance to campus. Traffic coming up Seagram will be able to cross University Avenue to get into campus, and the westbound lanes of University are not affected. Later, after the city's work is finished, Waterloo Region also has designs on University Avenue, but plans are to keep one lane in each direction open all summer while that work goes on.


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