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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

  • UW-based study of US Patriot Act
  • Geography TA showed 'enthusiasm'
  • Counsellors visit, and other notes
Chris Redmond

Watching the Cannes Festival

[Ring road and St. Jerome's behind volleyballers]

The beach volleyball court beside the Student Life Centre is maintained by athletics and recreational services, but it's pretty much an extension of the patio on the Bombshelter pub. "The patio welcomes staff, faculty and all students, regardless of age," says Dave McDougall, marketing manager for the Federation of Students. "A new feature on the patio this summer are the daily lunch specials, different every day and ranging from $4.99 to $5.99." Photo (taken Monday, during the heat wave) by Arif Islam.

UW-based study of US Patriot Act -- from the UW media relations office

A UW-based research team is examining the impact of the United States Patriot Act on American libraries. The project, funded by the American Library Association, is being led by Abby Goodrum, a visiting researcher from Syracuse University in New York. A faculty member in SU's school of information studies, she is based in the drama and speech communication department at UW this term.

[Goodrum] The Patriot Act, passed after the attacks of September 11, 2001, provides expanded and sweeping powers for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to obtain personal records and information. The ALA is concerned about sections of the act that allow the FBI to obtain library records, such as library circulation files and Internet use records. These searches are conducted without the knowledge of the individual being investigated. Librarians are subject to a gag order, which prevents them from revealing that patron records have been searched.

"Whether or not libraries have actually had Patriot Act requests from the FBI, the law has had a chilling effect on library policies and the public's access to materials since 9/11," says Goodrum (right). "This law has the potential to impact Canadians as well -- particularly students whose academic libraries routinely borrow materials from libraries in the U.S."

The study being conducted by Goodrum is designed to quantify and examine contacts by federal law enforcement agencies in public and academic libraries, targeting a diverse sample from across the U.S. Goodrum is working with four Waterloo graduate students, as well as the Survey Research Centre, a co-operative venture between the sociology department and the statistics and actuarial science department.

  • Engineering alumni are revving up the raceways
  • Students ask: what next for federal funding?
  • Is your data tagged yet?
  • McMaster boasts that it's 'Research University of the Year'
  • 'Student Employability Profiles' tell what skills grads have
  • Calgary profs seek to start Iraqi university
  • 'When a professor loses it'
  • Charge of anti-Semitism at McMaster
  • 'Why nobody understands quantum theory' (University Affairs)
  • Laurier searching for an IT director
  • President of college and university to get double replacement
  • 'Critical Legal Issues Facing Emerging Technology Companies' Boot Camp
  • Sociology professor John Goyder said the centre was approached by Goodrum for assistance in conducting extensive telephone interviews, along with a web survey of librarians in the U.S. The goal of the study is to gather data about law enforcement activity in libraries and its impact on library policy and patrons' access to materials. Results of the study will be used to assist policy-makers and inform the debate surrounding the Patriot Act.

    Geography TA showed 'enthusiasm'

    One of the winners of this year's Distinguished Teaching by a Registered Student Awards is Patricia Fitzpatrick, a graduate student in the geography department. This citation is provided by the teaching resource office, which helps to administer the awards.

    Patricia Fitzpatrick has been an instructor and teaching assistant since 2001. Her students described her as "an animated teacher who commanded attention" and "extremely well organized, highly motivated and with strong attention to detail."

    Geography requires students to connect ideas to current issues and other relevant information. Patricia uses class discussions on important issues such as the national elections to highlight current issues. She also integrates other relevant subjects such as history into Geography to allow her students to have a greater context. A student mentioned that she "excelled at integrating Canadian history and politics, industry and manufacturing, and arts and literature into our geography class." She adds visual aids such as videos and PowerPoint slides to enhance the learning environment.

    Patricia does a great deal in order to enhance the learning experience, even if it means using her own personal time. She completed the Certificate in University Teaching in addition to her degree study work. Also, when she wasn't satisfied with outdated statistics in a textbook or in a course, she would find the latest statistics for her students.

    Her teaching efforts to step beyond the boundary of lecturing and use innovative teaching elements are admirable. Patricia's teaching, as described by a student, "demonstrates Ms. Fitzpatrick's enthusiasm to integrate the study of geography beyond the four walls of the classroom."

    Gauss Contest for grade 7 and 8 students, sponsored by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, today.

    UW Blooms plant exchange, 11:30 to 5:30, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre.

    Waterloo Software Community seminar: Fakhri Karray, electrical and computer engineering, "Novel Approaches for Development of Semantic Speech Engines", 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

    Health informatics seminar: Eric Jervis, chemical engineering, "Stem Cell Lineage Analysis and Control", 3:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

    Graduate student welcome party for Society of International Students, 6 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 308.

    Arriscraft Lecture: Will Alsop, London, "Architectural Behaviour," Thursday 7 p.m., Architecture building lecture hall.

    Colloque Margot: "Dix ans de recherche sur les femmes écrivains de l'Ancien Régime", conference hosted by department of French studies, Thursday-Saturday, program online.

    Arthur Hills, computer science computing facility, retirement reception Thursday 3:45, Davis Centre room 1301.

    Centre for International Governance Innovation presents William Maley, Australian National University, "Democratising Afghanistan: Perils, Promise and Prospects," Thursday 7 p.m., 57 Erb Street West.

    Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi, first woman to be ordained in the Anglican communion, memorial service sponsored by Renison College, Sunday 4 p.m., St. Paul's L'Amoreaux Church, Scarborough.

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

  • Network administrator, Federation of Students, USG 8
  • Information technology specialist, applied health sciences, USG 8-11
  • Mechanical repairperson, plant operations
  • Customer service assistant, food services, USG 3/4
  • Special projects manager (2 positions), Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, USG 9/10
  • Instrument software specialist, physics, USG 10
  • Undergraduate operations coordinator, computer science, USG 10
  • Records and systems assistant, registrar's office, USG 5/6
  • Coordinator, technology solutions and research, office of the registrar, USG 8

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Counsellors visit, and other notes

    About 180 high school guidance counsellors from around southern Ontario are spending today at UW for one of a group of "regional dialogues" with university admissions officers. It's "a chance to get time-sensitive admission information", says Jody Reid of the UW registrar's office, who said UW people are excited to be hosting one of the "dialogues" for the first time in a number of years. Registrar Ken Lavigne will speak this morning about the Rae review of post-secondary education and other big issues, after which the counsellors will hear various panels and have a chance for campus tours. The one-day event takes place mostly in the Arts Lecture Hall, with lunch in the Festival Room in South Campus Hall.

    "The Friends of the Library Event is fast approaching," writes Mary Stanley from the library office, referring to a talk by Howard Burton of the Perimeter Institute that's scheduled for noontime next Tuesday. As always, the Friends lecture will be accompanied by a display of what's been written or created on campus: "Any UW authors who would like to have their books (or other creative works) included in the display of campus works must contact Cheryl Kieswetter in the Library Office by this Thursday (May 12). The Friends of the Library event, now in its 13th year, has honoured the work of over 350 UW authors, musician, and artists. The lecture and displays are open to the campus community and so you can expect to receive an invitation via campus mail over the next few days."

    Also from the library comes a reminder that books out on term loan are due today if they were borrowed before the beginning of April. Faculty, graduate students and staff members with such books should return them pronto, or renew them online (look for "your library account"). "Patrons should not try to renew more than 50 books at a time," a memo advises.

    "Bunching" of exams -- scheduling so that a student might have several exams very close together -- "was greatly reduced but not eliminated entirely" in the winter term, says a report from the registrar's office on how the schedule was worked out. It notes that the Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall "has become the main alternate venue" apart from the Physical Activities Complex, and this term the Math and Computer building wasn't used at all for exams. A likely result: "There were no false fire alarms in our exam locations," a big improvement from the fall term. The registrar's office is now working on arrangements for the spring term, which will be the first to use the new system approved by UW's senate, with four exam slots a day rather than just three.

    Career workshops offered by UW's career services office (in the Tatham Centre) are about to begin for this term. Topics cover the usual range -- interview skills, "negotiating job offers", starting your own business. The schedule starts with "Letter Writing" and "Resumé Writing" tomorrow afternoon (repeated three times later in the term) and then "Are You Thinking about Graduate Studies?" and "Mastering the Personal Statement" next Tuesday. Details are on the career services web site, or in a bright yellow brochure that's available around campus.

    Clubs Days in the Student Life Centre, at which officially sanctioned student clubs introduce themselves for this term, are scheduled for tomorrow and Friday. . . . The "Ladies' Car Care Clinic", organized by the UW Recreation Committee, is happening this Saturday morning. . . . Undergraduate course enrolment for the fall term will start in mid-June, with online appointment times to be posted on Quest tomorrow. . . .


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