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Friday, January 20, 2006

  • Waterloo a top 'intelligent community'
  • Ten letters could bring teaching award
  • 'Ideas' (and actions) at Waterloo
Chris Redmond

It's cold up there

[White UW T-shirt, black sweatpants]

Her UW affiliation will be obvious when Melissa Marchese, a fourth-year French student, appears on CBC television's "The Big Switcheroo" this spring. She's on the west coast this week filming the episode -- standing in for the CEO of Boston Pizza, while he's in Kitchener doing her part-time job serving up the pepperoni. The UW Shop donated a workout outfit for Marchese to wear in a segment with the top executive's personal trainer.

Waterloo a top 'intelligent community' -- from the UW media relations office

UW played a key role in the City of Waterloo being named by the Intelligent Community Forum as one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2006 in the world.

A news release issued Wednesday by the City of Waterloo says: "The announcement of these seven finalists puts Waterloo in the list of communities being considered as the Intelligent Community of the Year, an honour that recognizes the community that best exemplifies the development of a prosperous economy based on broadband and information technology." Waterloo is the only Canadian city on the list and one of only two in North America, the other being Cleveland. Rounding out the Top Seven are Seoul; Ichikawa, Japan; Manchester; Taipei; and Tianjin, China.

In announcing the seven finalists, ICF's executive director described Waterloo as "the almost perfect intelligent community," saying the city's vibrant digital age economy is a model community that offers lessons to the rest of the world.

ICF is a group within the World Teleport Association that focuses on the uses of broadband technology for economic development by communities large and small in the developed and developing worlds. The finalists will learn who is named the Top Intelligent Community at the ICF Conference in New York in June. Last year's Top Intelligent Community was Mitaka, Japan.

Reporting on Waterloo, ICF refers to UW and "the largest post-secondary co-operative education program in the world", as well as the city's "commitment to fostering institutions that drive technology innovation and share its benefits" with the community. "To this challenge, Waterloo brings the same effective partnership among educators, executives and officials that underlies its current success."

The report notes: "In the 1970s, the University of Waterloo established an intellectual property policy, unheard of in its day, which allowed students and faculty members to own rights in intellectual property they developed at the university. It produced a wave of entrepreneurship that pushed technology innovation out of the academic environment and into the community. Today, the university spins off 22 per cent of all new technology start-ups in Canada."

"Being on the list of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities is truly an honour," says Waterloo mayor Herb Epp. "When you consider the work that is being done not only across Canada but around the world to advance the use of broadband, and to build communities that leverage technology, it is quite an accomplishment to be named to the Top Seven."

UW "is very pleased with this excellent development which is a great acknowledgement for the community," said president David Johnston. "This is testimony to our people -- our students, faculty, staff and alumni around the world."

In November, the ICF announced that the City of Waterloo was among the "Smart 21" communities, placing Waterloo in the list of semi-finalists being considered for the Top Seven list. Each year, the top seven are selected based on indicators that include the significant deployment of broadband communications, extent to which the community enables a knowledge workforce, promotion of digital democracy and ability to foster innovation, as well as economic development marketing that leverages the community's broadband, labour and other assets.

Waterloo's nomination credits its universities, hospitals, libraries and schools as well as companies such as RIM, Open Text, Sybase, iAnywhere and Manulife that export their products, technology and services around the world. It also notes the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, UW's Institute for Quantum Computing and Research and Technology Park, and the presence of Communitech and Canada's Technology Triangle as being further reflections of leadership as an intelligent community.

Ten letters could bring teaching award

There are some new rules this year as the annual deadline approaches for nominations for the Distinguished Teacher Award and then the Distinguished Teaching by a Registered Student Award. DTA nominations are always due on the first Friday in February, and DTRSA nominations a week later.

As in the past, it takes ten nominators to bring up a professor or other instructor for consideration by the DTA selection committee. However, as of this year, "rather than a nomination being sufficient with '10 signatures' on it, we must received 10 separate letters of nomination in order to consider the person for the award," says Barbara Bulman-Fleming, director of the teaching resource office, which administers the program. The office stresses that it's not the number of signatures on some petition that matters, it's the quality of information provided about why an individual's teaching is worthy of an award.

The ten nominators have to include at least five present or past students of the instructor. Nominations should come, says the teaching resource web site, in "a typed or legible handwritten letter". Background information can range from letters written by colleagues, to "descriptions of teaching innovations".

Distinguished Teacher Awards have now been given at UW for more than three decades. The honour includes a certificate, presented at Convocation, and a grant to be used for future teaching activities. Four awards are generally given each year, "in recognition of continued record of excellence in teaching at the University of Waterloo".

The award, the official criteria say, "is open to all those who teach students at the University of Waterloo and is not limited just to those holding faculty appointments." In the past, there has been a separate DTA for "non-regular" instructors -- those who aren't faculty members -- but the rules were changed this year by UW's senate, and now professors and others are eligible together.

Blood donor clinic last day, 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre.

Centre for International Governance Innovation noon lecture by Andrew F. Cooper, "Rethinking Canada's Humanitarian Intervention Strategy", has been cancelled.

Employee Assistance Program noon workshop: Marilyn Perdue, counselling services, "Eating Mindfully", 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Elaine Carpenter, parking services, retirement reception 4:00 to 5:30, University Club.

International student orientation to Canada, 5 p.m., and reception, 8 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre.

Exhibition of Arpilleras: Latin American wall hangings by immigrant women, on show Sunday 2 to 4 p.m., Renison College chapel lounge.

'Benefits of RRSPs' Workshop sponsored by Education Credit Union, Monday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

Volunteer fair Tuesday, 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre.

Staff safety training: WHMIS training with safety orientation, Tuesday 10 a.m. or Thursday 2 p.m.; general safety orientation, Tuesday 2 p.m. or Thursday 10 a.m.; all sessions in Davis Centre room 1304. Information ext. 5613.

Public Anthropology Lecture: Miroslava Prazak, Bennington College, "A Kenyan Community Confronts the Tradition of Female Circumcision", Tuesday 7 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Perimeter Institute presents John A. Grant, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, "Mission to Mars: Still Roving on the Red Planet", Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 883-4480.

"The Selection Committee," the rules say, "will look for intellectual vigour and communication skills in the interpretation and presentation of subject matter. The teacher's human quality and concern for and sensitivity to the needs of students is an obvious criterion. the Selection Committee will look for a clear indication that the nominee has favourable and lasting influence on students. Evidence of successful innovation in teaching would support a nomination, but it is also clear that excellence in teaching does not necessarily require innovation. . . .

"The most important criterion for a DTA is a continued record of exemplary impact on student learning at UW. A nomination can make this case by documenting impact on past and present students, including alumni.

"The Selection Committee may choose to retain some nominations for consideration in future years, and to inform nominators of this decision. Additional information could also be submitted in future DTA competitions."

In several of the faculties and colleges, there are DTA faculty liaisons who can help with nominations or answer questions about the awards.

As for the "registered student" awards -- aimed at honouring teaching assistants and students in similar roles -- the process is much like the one for the DTA. Says the teaching resource web site: "Nominations should consist of detailed statements making the case for the award. A complete nomination consists of at least five signatures from present or past students of the nominees and from past and present faculty supervisors of the nominee. A minimum of three of the signatures must be present or past students."

'Ideas' (and actions) at Waterloo

Noted theologian Gregory Baum will speak at St. Jerome's University tonight, in a lecture that launches a new partnership with the CBC. Each year one lecture in the series sponsored by the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience will be taped for the CBC radio series "Ideas", says Centre director David Seljak, and this year's choice is Baum. "Ideas" host Robert Kennedy will introduce the speaker tonight, at 7:30 in Siegfried Hall. Baum will be speaking on Christian-Muslim relations in the wake of the "9/11" attacks and subsequent "war on terror". He argues that the "clash of civilizations" thesis ignores the fact that what these religious traditions share in common far outweighs what divides them. Long known for his work in ecumenism and Jewish-Christian dialogue, Baum now argues that Muslim-Christian dialogue has taken on a new urgency. He is "Canada's preeminent Roman Catholic theologian", says Seljak, and the author of dozens of books on theology, society, and culture. For 28 years he taught theology at St. Michael's College in Toronto before moving to McGill University in 1986. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Baum's latest book, Amazing Church: A Catholic Theologian Remembers a Half-Century of Change, will be available for sale at tonight's event.

With the federal election taking place Monday, employees are entitled to time off work for voting if they need it. Neil Murray of the human resources department notes that polls will be open 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday. "If an employee's hours of work do not allow him or her three consecutive hours to vote, the employer must allow him or her sufficient time off to allow three consecutive hours for that purpose." Few, if any, UW people should be affected -- but if there's anybody who starts work before 12:30 p.m. and works past 6:30, time off might be required.

[Red hat, yellow-and-black ski pants]

Nordic competitor Andrea Dupont was the leader of last year's Warrior ski team -- winning both skate and classic races at the Ontario championships -- and will be back in contention this year, as will Bryon Hughson and Andrew Rees of the men's team. Other experienced skiers are also returning, says Warrior coach Brent Curry. Competition for 2005-06 starts tomorrow with a "qualifier" meet at Haliburton.

Sports this weekend: Besides Nordic skiing (right), the weekend brings the season's first competition for the Warrior curling team, tomorrow and Sunday in the West Sectional event at Windsor. The volleyball teams host Royal Military College tonight and Queen's tomorrow (women at 6:00 and men at 8:00 both nights, PAC main gym). The swimmers host York and Trent tonight at 4:45 (PAC pool), then travel to Western tomorrow. The women's hockey team hosts Toronto tomorrow at 2:00 at the Icefield (webcast on CKMS). The basketball Warriors are at Laurier tomorrow (women at 2:00, men at 4:00). The men's hockey squad is at Lakehead tonight and tomorrow. And the track and field Warriors are at an invitational meet at Western tomorrow.

The winter issue of the UW Recruiter newsletter, published for employers of co-op students, includes a piece by one of those employers, Stefan Molyneux of Physical Planning Technologies, under the title "Seven Things Your Co-ops Always Wanted to Tell You". Here's one of them: "When it comes to job performance, no one likes to be surprised. One of the first things you need to do with your co-ops is review with them how their performance will be measured -- and then stick to it. Clear, objective metrics are the order of the day here -- no 'proactively synergize with corporate culture' guff. Co-ops need clear measures that can be counted, updated and reviewed. Nothing is more frustrating than thinking you're doing a great job, and then finding otherwise right at the end of the work term. Oh, and be sure to put their job requirements in writing -- it will help keep you both on the straight and narrow."

Monday's the deadline for graduate students to submit their abstracts for participation in the beginning-of-April Graduate Student Research Conference. "Either a short seminar or poster" is welcome, organizers say. "A limited number of presentations will be formally judged and eligible for prizes." Keynote speaker for the event, on Monday evening, April 3, is Romé Dallaire, Canadian military officer who saw the Rwandan genocide firsthand and wrote Shake Hands with the Devil to tell the story. Conference presenters will get tickets for his lecture at no charge, while others can buy them at $2 apiece. Carrie Nickerson of the graduate studies office says the tickets will go on sale March 6 at the Humanities Theatre box office,

Tomorrow will be "UW Ski Day" at Kitchener's Chicopee Ski Club, under the sponsorship of the UW Recreation Committee. . . . ski day at Chicopee . . . The UW Shop in South Campus Hall winds up its pre-renovation sale tomorrow, then will close for six weeks for a facelift. . . . M. I. (Abe) Elmasry of UW's electrical and computer engineering department officially retired December 31, and a retirement reception will be held January 27 at 3 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1301. . . .


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