[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

  • Provost invites 'sixth decade' input
  • Health institute partners with law firm
  • Flakes in the flurry of life
Chris Redmond

The immortal memory


Economist Derek Holt of RBC Capital Markets will speak today on "The Recent and Future Performance of the Canadian Economy". Sponsored by the student Economics Society in its Distinguished Speaker Series, he'll be heard at 5:00 in Math and Computer room 2065.

Provost invites 'sixth decade' input

The senate long-range planning committee "is just busy at work" on the university's Sixth Decade plan, provost Amit Chakma told UW's senate last week, urging senate members (and others) to let their comments be heard.

"We finished reading up to page three," he told the senate, drawing a few chuckles. The document is seven pages long in its current version, but it's dense with big ideas for the university's future, from internationalization to "learning opportunities beyond the classroom".

"Global competition is informing how UW needs to direct its energies," says the draft document. "To compete successfully in the global arena, excellence is a sine qua non. And our sixth decade will be the decade where a new kind of boldness and daring will ensure UW achieves the excellence to make it a premier global competitor.

"The Sixth Decade Plan Framework, approved by UW's Senate and Board of Governors, sets the framework to cultivate, nurture and promote excellence in all reaches of the enterprise by achieving academic distinction, becoming academically and socially relevant, and having its initiatives supported by the necessary resources."

Speaking at senate, Chakma acknowledged that not everything that's currently in the draft report has unanimous support. For example, "we are hearing lots of negative vibes," he said, about the proposal to double the university's enrolment of graduate students -- a policy that he and president David Johnston have been strongly advocating.

It's important to hear all the views on such "fundamental choice issues", the provost said. He mentioned some other key points:

  • The determination to be "in the top three in Canada in attracting first-year students with 90%-plus grades".
  • Integration of teaching and research such that "all undergraduate students will participate in a 'research' or equivalent 'inquiry-based learning' project.
  • Research activity involving "at least six research centres/institutes supported by institutional funding of $1 million per centre" and "a UW Research Fund worth 1% of UW's research revenue to support new large research initiatives".
  • A tripling in the international student population, bringing it up to 20 per cent of undergraduate enrolment.
  • Resource reallocation: "2% of the budget will be reallocated on an ongoing basis" and "a pool of FTE faculty positions will be allocated selectively to programs/areas achieving their academic excellence goals."

    The LRP committee will be meeting monthly, on Monday afternoons just before the regular meetings of senate, to continue its work on the report. The provost has invited heads of "academic support" departments to a Sixth Decade presentation and discussion on Friday morning from 9:00 to 11:00 in Needles Hall.

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

  • Systems integration specialist, information systems and technology, USG 11/12
  • Network support specialist, information systems and technology, USG 11/12
  • Coordinator, cooperative education and career services, USG 11
  • Patrol officer, police services, USG 6
  • Special projects manager, Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, USG 9/10

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Health institute partners with law firm

    The Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research and the law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP "are pleased to announce that BLG has joined WIHIR as a corporate sponsor", a news release from UW's media relations office says. "The partnership will make productive collaborations possible and better position WIHIR to enter new domains and take on innovative types of research programs."

    Seminar today

    WIHIR presents a seminar today by Ian McKillop, who holds the J. W. Graham Chair in Health Information Systems in the school of computer science and the department of health studies and gerontology.

    He'll speak (3:00, Davis Centre room 1302) as part of the Smarter Health seminar series. Title of the talk is "Drowning in Data: What's a Healthcare Provider to Do?"

    The event will be webcast live.

    "The relationship between BLG and WIHIR is just one aspect of the University of Waterloo's collaboration with BLG," says David Johnston, UW's president. "We see significant opportunities arising from bringing together the talents of both our organizations and jointly undertaking new ventures in research and education."

    The partnership is wide-ranging, says the release. "BLG and WIHIR will look for research opportunities where the law and its application play a significant role. Privacy, for example, has a considerable influence on information systems that cannot be addressed without understanding privacy law." BLG is a full-service law firm with more than 670 lawyers at its six offices across Canada.

    "Gradually, the realization is sinking in that the 'human aspects' of systems are the pre-eminent issues that determine system success," says Dominic Covvey, founding director of WIHIR. "If you do not address matters like privacy, impacts on jobs, best practices of procuring systems, IP (intellectual property) and the potential negative effects of systems on patient safety, no amount of technology will deliver the outcomes we want. Recent work shows that systems can reduce patient safety and the quality of records. We need to look at systems in relation to the legal issues they create."

    The release says BLG has a reputation for excellence in areas specifically related to Health Informatics, including privacy, systems procurement, intellectual property protection and the commercialization of inventions. "Health Informatics is a critical area for the future of Canadian health care but the legal issues and consequences related to its research and implementation are significant. Addressing these issues requires understanding of the Health Informatics field along with extensive legal knowledge," said Mark Fecenko, national coordinator of BLG's Information Technology industry group. "I am pleased BLG's expertise in this area puts us in a position to partner with a cutting edge organization like WIHIR."

    BLG is also providing support and speakers for WIHIR's "Bootcamp" program, an educational initiative designed to address the Health Informatics human resources shortage. Canada graduates fewer than 100 "health informaticians" each year, but thousands are needed. The Bootcamp, next offered this spring in Toronto, aims to introduce the nature, key concepts and applications of the discipline to physicians, nurses, representatives of e-health agencies, and IT professionals in health organizations and industry.

    In 2003, BLG opened a Waterloo Region office to provide a full range of business, IP and litigation services to local businesses. "BLG's partnership with WIHIR is another way for BLG to demonstrate its commitment to Waterloo Region," said Craig Armstrong, a partner at BLG's Waterloo Region office. "I believe this partnership will reap considerable rewards for the community."

    Waterloo-Germany exchange program information session 11:00, Modern Languages room 245, details online.

    Free noon concert: Classical Trio (clarinet, cello, piano), 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

    Campus Crusade for Christ presents Michael Horner, Trinity Western University, in two events: "The Secret Ingredient to Total Performance", 2:30, Clarica Auditorium, Lyle Hallman Institute, aimed primarily at AHS students (all are welcome); "Faith and the Intellect", 4:30, Math and Computer room 2066, aimed primarily at math students.

    Career development workshops: "Work Search Strategies" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208; "Starting Your Own Business: Next Steps" 4:30, Tatham room 2218.

    Poet George Elliott Clarke reads from his work, 4 p.m., St. Jerome's University room 2009.

    Engineering exchange program information sessions: Europe and the Netherlands, today 4 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 302; United Kingdom, Thursday 4 p.m., RCH 302.

    Ethiopian journalist Martha Kuwee Kumsa speaks on human rights and refugee issues, her own experiences and PEN International, 6:00, Davis Centre room 1304, sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

    Warrior basketball vs. Western, women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m., PAC main gym. Warrior volleyball teams play at Windsor tonight.

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

    FASS 2006, "A Midwinter Night's FASS", Thursday and Saturday 8:00, Friday 7:00 and 10:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets at Humanities box office, 888-4908.

    Flakes in the flurry of life

    The faculty association will hold a special general meeting today to discuss a thorny issue: the mandate for its newsletter, Forum. At times over the past few years the newsletter has been thin and matter-of-fact (the current issue is four pages, filled mostly with recognition of prominent faculty members who are retiring). But at other times it's been thick with opinion and controversy. Two editors have resigned following disputes over the limits of "open debate on issues" and "a wide and balanced spectrum of views". "Simply put," writes association president Roydon Fraser, "there is debate over the type of articles that should or should not appear in the Forum." Discussion of the publication's mandate is the one agenda item for today's meeting, at 2:30 in Math and Computer room 5158.

    Work is starting this week to overhaul and improve the fire alarm system in the Math and Computer building. Changes will include more signal horns in some parts of the vast building, to bring things up to current code requirements, as MC comes up to its 40th birthday next year. "There may be drilling sounds periodically," Byron Murdock of plant operations warned in a memo to building occupants, "but noise will not be continuous. We apologize for any inconvenience." The project is expected to take about two months.

    St. Paul's College is moving to "liquidate" its informal library, and the result is "a huge book sale" this week, says Jodie Fitzgerald, the college's services and facilities coordinator. She promises "hundreds of books, articles, magazines in religious studies and spirituality, Canadian history and French literature, psychology plus many more." All items are 25 cents apiece, with the proceeds going to two local social agencies, St. John's Kitchen and ROOF (Reaching Our Outdoor Friends, the shelter for street kids that was burned out of its Frederick Street headquarters last month). Sales are happening at the St. Paul's business office during business hours.

    Many employers and other companies make campus visits and hold demonstrations that don't get listed in this Daily Bulletin. (The co-op education and career services web site is the place to find listings of event specifically aimed at recruiting students.) Then sometimes there are events of broader interest, such as the one being held today by Handshake VR Inc. "We would like to invite you to a drop-in session," the company says, "that will describe and demonstrate equipment and software that will assist with research and labs in the areas of controls, robotics, haptics (sense-of-touch or force-feedback), and Matlab instruction. You will also have the opportunity to chat with the developers as well as to see and play with the demos." Today's session runs from 2:00 to 3:00 in the Davis Centre lounge.

    "Every Wednesday is pizza night," says a flyer promoting Mudie's cafeteria in Village I. . . Chocolate chip "treat-a-grams" are still on sale as a Keystone Campaign fund-raiser, with delivery scheduled for February 8. . . . The University Club will hold a special Chinese New Year luncheon on Friday ($17 per person, reservations ext.3801). . . .

    There could be some disruption on the second floor of Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall, as plant operations continues repair work on the floors. . . . The engineering machine shop proudly announces that its new web site is ready, including a striking photo gallery of projects that the shop has completed. . . . The back-page feature on Friday's issue of Imprint reported that the women's hockey Warriors have produced a calendar as a fund-raiser, and will be selling it at home games (there's one Friday night). . . .


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