[University of Waterloo]


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

  • Profs detect 'tightening up'
  • Architecture student work on show
  • Notes on a quiescent campus
Chris Redmond

The San Francisco earthquake

[Barbecue, sofa, sign: 'Free at last']

You can relax when your last-ever exam has been written, says Alex Perel, left, who celebrated the end of his degree program in math and business outside the Student Life Centre on Thursday. He's flaunting his freedom in good company: that's Peter Wood, director of the math-and-business program, at centre, and 2005 graduate Alim Maherali brandishing the barbecue flipper.

Profs detect 'tightening up'

"Consistent and open" procedures that follow the rules set down in UW's policies are essential but sometimes seem to be missing, says the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee of the UW faculty association in its report to the association's annual meeting.

"There have been the usual number of problems which have arisen and been dealt with since the last meeting," says the report, distributed with the agenda for the April 3 meeting.

It cites one in particular: "There is an ongoing arbitration which is being partially funded by the Association. The arbitrator has imposed a prohibition on the discussion of the testimony to date. The issues centre on what the AF&T Committee and the Board [of the faculty association] consider to be significant failures to follow Policies 76 and 77 and the Principles of Natural Justice." Policy 76 is UW's rules about faculty appointments, while Policy 77 deals with promotion and tenure.

Beyond specific cases, however, "Several concerns are ongoing," the half-page report says. It lists them: "A definite tightening up in the ratings for scholarship and teaching for people in the probationary term period. An appearance that merit increases in some cases are not being administered in a consistent and open manner or even in accordance with Policy 77. Too often reappointment and tenure processes are not being handled in a manner consistent with Policy 77.

"A number of situations in which extenuating family, medical or factual situations are not being sympathetically viewed. Comments by administrators that the merit review process could be used to force the premature retirement or resignation of professors judged by the administration to be underachievers."

The committee -- currently chaired by Frank Reynolds of the statistics and actuarial science department -- does most of its work behind the scenes, advising or assisting faculty members who think they are not being treated fairly in their relations with management or colleagues. Brief references in reports to the association's general meetings are often the most that becomes public about the work done by AF&T.

Architecture student work on show

"Exemplary" work by UW architecture students, both graduate and undergraduate, will be on display from today until June 3 in the "Design at Riverside" gallery in the Architecture building on Melville Street in Cambridge. An opening reception is scheduled for tonight at 6:30 p.m., with hors d'oeuvres by the Melville Café, also in the Architecture building.

[Yellow light box in a dark blue world]

"Dining Pavilion" by a group of students in the second-year architecture design studio.

The annual Projects Review exhibition is coordinated by professor John McMinn and features projects drawn from the undergraduate Design Studios and the Masters Thesis program between April 2005 and March 2006.

"The selection of undergraduate work," a gallery announcement explains, "includes both final design projects and preparatory design exercises in Architectural Design Studios from the first to fifth Year of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies program. The graduate thesis work is a selection of outstanding thesis projects drawn from the professional MArch program. Faculty members at the School of Architecture selected work that demonstrates the range of issues and themes currently engaged throughout the Architectural Design program.

"The exhibition provides the school community and the public the opportunity to see the architectural imagination, creative design solutions, drawing and modeling techniques explored by students throughout the architecture program, and is scheduled to coincide with the annual awards ceremony."

The "Riverside" space is a branch of Cambridge Galleries. Admission is free; the gallery is open Tuesday to Thursday from 12 to 8, Friday 12 to 5, Saturday 10 to 5 and Sunday 1:30 to 4:30 (closed Sundays starting May 21).

Notes on a quiescent campus

As we enter the last few days of winter term exams, there are fewer and fewer people on campus to get hungry and thirsty, and the food services department has responded by offering fewer and fewer places for them to eat and drink. An online chart indicates that the Festival Fare cafeteria in South Campus Hall is already closed for the season (not to reopen until September), as are the Café in the CEIT building, the Modern Languages coffee shop, the PAS Lounge, and Pastry Plus in Matthews Hall (all returning in May except Matthews Hall). By the end of this week other outlets will go dark as well, and for the final week of April, until the spring term begins, pickings will be limited indeed.

The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences will have another speaker on campus Thursday as its Hallman Visiting Professorship Lecture Series continues. This time the topic will be "Driving and Aging -- An In-Vehicle Approach", and the speaker is Michelle Porter, a specialist in physical activity, aging and exercise physiology the University of Manitoba. Says an abstract of her talk: "Driving is a complex task which requires many attributes for its successful execution. Some of these attributes decline with age, or are influenced by age-related medical conditions, and may affect driving ability as well as increase crash risk. To date most assessments of driving and aging have been epidemiological or laboratory based. Few studies examine actual in-vehicle performance, and when they do they usually rely upon an observer inside or outside the vehicle making subjective evaluations. A novel method developed by Dr. Porter utilizing global positioning system (GPS) combined with video technology provides a means to objectively quantify driving performance." The talk is scheduled for 3:00 Thursday in the Clarica Auditorium, which is room 1621 of the Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion (west wing of Matthews Hall). Since space is limited, reservations are requested: phone ext. 2010.

Retirees Association spring luncheon 11:30, great hall, Luther Village, with speaker Herb Lefcourt, department of psychology, $20, information ext. 2015 or 745-1689.

Credit union seminar: "Tips on Purchasing and Financing a Vehicle", 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302, sponsored by Education Credit Union.

Fair Vote Canada founding meeting of a K-W chapter, to promote voting system reform, 7 p.m., 43 Queen Street South, Kitchener.

High school mathematics contests sponsored by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing: Euclid (grade 12) Wednesday; Fryer (grade 9), Galois (grade 10), Hypatia (grade 11) Thursday; Gauss (grade 7 and 8) May 10.

Teaching dossiers workshop sponsored by teaching resources office, Wednesday 9 a.m., Math and Computer room 4041.

Perimeter Institute presents Seth Lloyd, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Programming the Universe", Wednesday 7 p.m., Bloor Collegiate Institute, Toronto, information 883-4480.

Centre for Child Studies evening community lecture: Daniela O'Neill, department of psychology, "Children Learning to Talk: A Meeting of Minds", Thursday 7 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218. Of interest to parents of young children as well as students of language; free tickets ext. 2812.

Germanic and Slavic studies departmental conference Friday, Humanities room 373, sessions on linguistics, Slavics, Germanics, program online.

Arts alumni film showing: "Show Me" and "Interviews with My Next Girlfriend", followed by question session with filmmaker Cassandra Nicolaou, April 27, 7 p.m., Galaxy Cinemas, Cambridge, tickets $10.50, details online.

As I noted yesterday, details are across campus now for the Employee Wellness Fair to be held April 24-26. A feature of the fair is the "President's Mile" walk and run scheduled for noontime next Monday. Yesterday I heard from Johan Reis of counselling services, a member of the Employee Assistance Program committee that's organizing all these activities, and he advises that marshals are needed for the run -- a number of volunteers to stand along the route and help avoid collisions with cross-traffic. Anyone interested in getting involved in that way should give Reis a call at ext. 5418.

Amy Aldous of the school of accountancy reports "great news" following the recent conference on Practical Actuarial Applications of Stochastic Models, held in Toronto. Details of the conference are online, she writes, "and there was a terrific showing by UW researchers from the Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance. Papers by IQFI members took half of the top awards, as seven researchers shared three first place awards. The winners were Jun Cai and Ken Seng Tan for their paper "Optimal retention for a stop loss reinsurance under the VAR and CTE risk measures"; Mary Hardy, Keith Freeland and Matthew Till, for their paper "Validation of long term equity returns models s for equity linked guarantees"; and Joonghee Huh and Adam Kolkiewicz for their paper "Efficient computation of multivariate barrier crossing probability and its applications in credit risk models". Huh and Till are doctoral students, she notes, and the others are faculty members.

The engineering faculty council is meeting today (3:00, CEIT room 3142), and among the agenda items is a proposal to change the name of the Department of Civil Engineering to "civil and environmental engineering", reflecting the two divergent academic areas now represented there. The faculty council is also still working on curriculum matters for the proposed undergraduate program in management engineering that's on its way to the UW senate for approval.

The faculty of science has chosen Arnold Jacob, graduating in biomedical sciences with a biology minor, as the valedictorian to speak at the June 14 (afternoon) convocation ceremony on behalf of the graduating class. . . . A number of staff and faculty from applied health sciences will be attending a workshop this afternoon on interactive "learning objects" and how teachers in AHS fields can use them. . . . Ross Goodwin, a member of UW's custodial staff since April 2001, officially retired on March 1. . . .


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