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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

  • Midnight Sun VIII comes out today
  • Architecture students build a Habitat home
  • Eight convocation ceremonies next June
  • News under a blanket of heat
Chris Redmond

Jazz: Montréal | Ottawa | Toronto

  • Profs leaving US jobs to come to Waterloo
  • Feedback and changes after first round of PDEng courses
  • 'Warrior Nation' preparing its next compilation CD
  • CS computing facility will start greylisting
  • Waterloo area companies recruit in Silicon Valley (Globe)
  • Private secondary schools lose Ontario accreditation
  • US universities issue statement on 'Academic Rights and Responsibilities'
  • 'Historic' $10 million donation for McMaster stadium
  • CAUT establishes health and dental plan for retired faculty
  • Orillia enthusiastic about proposed Lakehead campus
  • City of Waterloo visitor centre open for the summer
  • 'U of Ottawa faces inquiry over research seizure'
  • 5,000 more computers for Sharcnet
  • York U cleared of conflicts in land deal (National Post)
  • Convocation's focus 'needs to shift'
  • PBS documentary an unflattering look at US higher education
  • US proposals for changes to engineering education
  • Midnight Sun VIII comes out today -- from the UW media relations office

    After two years of intensive work and planning in preparation for a North American competition this summer, the University of Waterloo Midnight Sun Solar Race Car Team will officially unveil its newest generation of solar car, Midnight Sun VIII, this afternoon. The celebration takes place at 5:30 p.m. on the green space near the Graduate House. Everybody is welcome.

    Every two years, the Midnight Sun Solar Race Car Team designs and competes with solar-powered cars in order to educate the public and promote sustainable and alternative energy. The team has competed in every major North American solar vehicle race since 1990 and is the largest student-run project at UW.

    Midnight Sun VII broke the world record for the longest distance travelled by a solar car, in August 2004. At the 2003 American Solar Challenge, Midnight Sun VII placed third overall -- the top Canadian team -- and won the technical innovation award.

    The 2005 North American Solar Challenge, which will enter Canada for the first time in its history, starts July 17, and the UW team will be there with Midnight Sun VIII. The race begins in Austin, Texas, and ends in Calgary.

    Midnight Sun VIII has incorporated many new technical improvements, making it the team's most advanced car to date, its builders boast. Midnight Sun VIII has been designed and constructed with a higher efficiency solar array, higher energy density batteries, improved aerodynamics and a more reliable mechanical system than its predecessor.

    "The team is very eager to get out on the road," said project manager Daniel Yum. "We've been working very hard these past two years and we know we have a winning car on our hands."

    The Midnight Sun team is made up of UW undergraduate and graduate students as well as alumni from all six faculties. The team also offers a full-scale educational program for elementary and secondary school students. As well, the team is active throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo area, appearing at many community and corporate events each year.

    Eight convocation ceremonies next June

    UW's Ninety-second Convocation, scheduled for June 2006, will be the longest ever, says registrar Ken Lavigne, announcing that there will be eight convocation ceremonies spread over four days. The change is a response to rising enrolment, which has produced longer and longer convocation ceremonies as more and more graduates cross the stage to receive their degrees.

    "Spring" convocation has been run in five sessions in recent years. Convocation was held in May until 1998 and now takes place in the third week of June. There's no change to plans for fall convocation, held in two sessions in October (this year October 22).

    Lavigne said next summer's ceremonies will be scheduled as follows: Wednesday, June 14, at 10 a.m. for Applied Health Sciences, Environmental Studies and Independent Studies; Wednesday, June 14, at 2 p.m. for Science; Thursday, June 15, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for Arts; Friday, June 16, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for Mathematics; Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for Engineering.

    That schedule splits the faculties of arts, math and engineering into two ceremonies each, and moves two faculties away from their traditional convocation day: math from Saturday to Friday, science from Friday to Wednesday.

    It also poses some problems about details of the ceremonies, the registrar said. "Over the next few weeks, we will address the issues of the actual a.m and p.m. departmental split for Arts, Math and Engineering."

    Other questions under consideration: will there be separate morning and afternoon valedictorians for Arts, Math and Engineering, or a return engagement by one in the afternoon? Will the alumni pledge for those faculties be presented at one ceremony (which one?) or both of them? And which convocation will a student with a joint or double major attend when the majors are at different times? Says Lavigne: "Stay tuned!"

    [Two kneeling, in yellow T-shirts]

    Architecture students build a Habitat home

    It's not just Architecture 384, it's a Habitat for Humanity project that will give a Cambridge family a new home. UW architecture professor Terri Boake reports that 31 undergraduate and 6 master's students are involved in the hands-on project on Schlueter Street.

    [Two standing, in hard hats] Says Boake: "This is the 5th year that I have run an elective where the students are given the opportunity to spend two weeks of their time blitz building for Habitat, and the first time that we have a master's student, Carolyn Bilson, making this her thesis. Carolyn participated in the Inge House build in Bridgeport two years ago. She assumed a lead role in the foundation build, and went on to participate in numerous builds all over southern Ontario. Her thesis centers around trying to improve some of the quality and construction coordination issues that arise when doing a build that involves a high percentage of volunteer labour as well as donated items.

    "The students are prefabricating all of the exterior and interior wall panels. These were constructed in our shop and have been trucked to the site." The foundation is complete, Boake reported over the weekend. "The high heat is taking its toll on the students, many of whom have been experiencing the reality of summertime construction with three days of 30-degree heat. We are awaiting windows and backfilling and are hoping that the walls will go up later this week.

    "The students will then hand the balance of the work over to the regular Habitat volunteers as we attempt to keep the workload within the confines of a half credit elective. Carolyn Bilson will continue on with the build, along with a handful of the masters students, to see the roof trusses and roofing in place."

    At right, students are seen at work on the build; at left, Carolyn Bilson chats with another master's student in architecture, Keith Button.

    Nanotechnology lecture: Jeff Sun, University of Western Ontario, "One-Dimensional Semiconductor Nanostructures", 10:00, Chemistry II room 361.

    Group Response Systems ("clickers") presentation sponsored by Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, 11:00, Davis Centre room 1304, details online.

    Career development workshops: "Letter Writing" 2:30, "Resumé Writing 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    'Teaching Dossiers' workshop, chiefly for teaching assistants, Wednesday 1:00, details and registration online.

    Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory speaks in Student Life Centre, Wednesday 2 p.m.


    News under a blanket of heat

    Today brings the retirement reception for Bruce Lumsden (right), 41-year veteran of UW's staff in the registrar's office, in distance and continuing education, and for the past decade as director of co-operative education and career services. The celebration will dominate activity in the Tatham Centre from 3:30 to 5:30 this afternoon. presumably including glimpses of the memory scrapbook that colleagues have been compiling for him. As Lumsden officially retires June 30, a successor for him hasn't been named. "We're working our way through the search process," says associate provost Bruce Mitchell. For the immediate future, the associate directors of CECS will serve in turn as acting director, just as they're used to doing during Lumsden's vacation time.

    And life goes on in the Tatham Centre, and so do interviews. Weekly co-op interview cycles have begun for those students who weren't matched with fall term jobs in last week's ranking process. The co-op department says rankings will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. (closing the following morning) from now through August 5. Match results will be available every Wednesday and Friday morning at 11:00. Meanwhile, architecture students, who are handled separately by the co-op department, are still in their first round of employer interviews, which are being held at the Architecture building in Cambridge.

    The Record reveals this morning that one of UW's two Ridesafe vans was carjacked late at night two weeks ago (Friday, June 10) on Bluevale Avenue in Waterloo. The volunteer driver was alone in the van when two men stopped him, punched him and took off with the vehicle -- which was totalled on a rural road in Perth a few hours later. Two teenagers were arrested, and one has been charged with robbery and mischief. The van driver suffered minor injuries; a rental van has replaced the lost one for the time being.

    Looking ahead to the fall term, "Many students are inquiring about fall textbooks," reports Susy Kustra of the bookstore, "wanting to look up the course requirements for their fall classes and the availability of that material. This information is not yet available as the Bookstore is still receiving textbook orders from faculty. The majority of the fall material will be available by mid-August. Students are encouraged to check our website for updates."

    Renison College social work students will present a $2,000 cheque to the Canadian Red Cross at a ceremony today (5:00 at the University Club). The money is the proceeds from the student-run conference that was held in March under the title "Canada's Response to International Crisis". "As Canadians," a news release says, "the Bachelor of Social Work students understand the need to respond appropriately to international crises and to address issues that affect the global community." The Red Cross was among agencies that provided speakers for the March event, giving direct insight into Canada's involvement in African AIDS relief and assistance following the December tsunami in south Asia.

    Retired staff and faculty members whose pensions come from the UW pension plan will get a 1.88 per cent cost-of-living increase as of July 1. . . . A morning-long troubleshooting meeting for co-op students working on UW web sites is being held today in the seminar room on the second floor of Math and Computer. . . . Electrical power went off in some campus buildings for about ten minutes yesterday afternoon, the day Ontario set a record for the highest power consumption ever. . . .

    And . . . on a morning when a little rabbit greeted me outside the Humanities building, let's return one more time to the topic of the campus groundhog. I recently passed on a student's suggestion that the little guy needs a name. "It's not he, it's they," one reader commented, adding that she saw (presumably) a mother groundhog with three babies one day in late May: "Two of the kids ran into a very obvious and exposed hole in the slope right beside the path, while the adult and one baby took cover in a clump of lilacs." Other readers have suggested that at least one of the critters might be named Chuck, as in woodchuck, or Spackler, from the movie "Caddyshack" (which actually involved a gopher, not a groundhog, but whatever).


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