Friday, June 2, 2006

  • St. Jerome's says farewell to Higgins
  • Lecture Monday on workplace back pain
  • Open house tomorrow, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Leave the Office Earlier Day

When and where

Campus Crusade for Cheese weekly gathering, 'sample an exotic selection of cheeses for only $2', 4:30, Math and Computer room 4058.

UW alumni in Ottawa social and networking evening, with speaker Eva Kmiecic of United Way of Canada, Market's Empire Grill, details online.

'One Book, One Canoe' outing on the Grand River sponsored by The New Quarterly, from 9:30 Saturday, details online.

Alumni career workshop Saturday all day at the University of Toronto at Mississauga.

Carousel Dance Centre spring performance: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", Saturday 1:00 and 6:30, Sunday 12:30 and 5:00, Humanities Theatare, tickets $14 (children $10) at Humanities box office.

Elaine Brown, UW housing staff, speaks on her pressed floral artwork, Saturday and Sunday 1:30, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

President's Golf Tournament in support of Warrior athletics,
Monday, Cambridge Golf Club, details online.

Annual trade show sponsored by Procurement and Contract Services: computer suppliers June 6, office supplies June 7, Davis Centre lounge.

UW board of governors Tuesday 2:30, Needles Hall room 3001, preceded by campus tour.

Perimeter Institute presents Frank Wilczek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nobel winner, "The Origin of Mass and the Feebleness of Gravity", Tuesday 7 p.m., tickets $15, details online.

Camp Keystone annual event for faculty, staff and retiree Keystone Campaign, June 8, 11:30 to 1:30, Graduate House green, begins with ring road parade.

Ground-breaking for TechTown community centre, Research and Technology Park, Thursday 2 p.m., 340 Hagey Boulevard.

'Mental Health at Work' talk by Rebecca DiFilippo, Moods Magazine, presented by Employee Assistance Program, June 12, noon, Davis Centre room 1302, reservations to Johan Reis, health services.

Matthews Golf Classic for staff, faculty and retirees, Monday, June 19, Grand Valley Golf and Country Club, details online, a few spaces still open.

25-Year Club annual reception June 20, 6 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, details ext. 2078.

In case you missed them

Optometry records going electronic
The welcomer in the D lot kiosk
Prominent curator will head UW art gallery
Benefits continue for employees after age 65

One click away

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Association francophone pour le savoir, congrès à McGill
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University Avenue and other road closings
Canada said lagging in nanotechnology
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Studying post-secondary needs in Labrador
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• 'Leading Ontario technology centres unite to promote innovation and commercialization'



St. Jerome's says farewell to Higgins

by Harry Froklage

[Higgins with glasses and grin]Michael W. Higgins, the soon-to-depart president of St. Jerome's University, was well and truly feted last evening by friends, colleagues and community leaders. A dinner hosted by St. Jerome's chancellor Richard Gwyn was held in the D.R. Letson Community Centre at St. Jerome’s and attended by 182 guests. Earlier, on May 26, academic dean Myroslaw Tataryn hosted another farewell dinner for Higgins (left, photo by Mike Christie) attended by current faculty, staff and retirees of the university.

Last night's event was highlighted by a genial roasting of its honouree by several speakers drawn from various aspects of Higgins's busy life as an administrator, academic, broadcaster and journalist. Karen Redman, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, led off by reflecting on the many occasions during her travels when the revelation that she represents Kitchener Centre provokes the question, "Do you know Michael Higgins?"

UW president David Johnston, who was unable to attend in person, made a virtual presentation nonetheless, reflecting on Higgins’s ebullient humour and gift for cheeky analogy. Bernie Lucht, executive producer of the CBC-Radio series “Ideas”, regaled the assembly with outtakes from Higgins's narration of the recent program “Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint-Making”, while Harry Froklage, director of development and graduate affairs, read an "epic limerick" parodically entitled "Stalking the Higgy."

Long-time collaborator, colleague and friend Douglas R. Letson, past president of St. Jerome's, recalled Higgins's quirks as a travelling companion and technological naïf; and Deborah Pecoskie, chair of the St. Jerome's board of governors, quoted Nelson Mandela in honouring her close working relationship with Higgins.

Each speaker was roasted in turn by Higgins himself, who closed the evening by expressing special thanks to the three women who had sustained him throughout his Presidency: his executive assistant, Rebecca Thompson, Pecoskie herself, and his wife, Krystyna.

In closing the event, Gwyn announced that $18,600 had been raised to support an annual lecture to be named after Higgins, who takes up the position of president and vice-chancellor of St. Thomas University in Fredericton on July 1. Prior to his seven year tenure as president of St. Jerome's, he served as director of the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience, associate dean, and academic dean and vice-president as well as a professor of English and religious studies during a career that began with his arrival in 1982.

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Lecture Monday on workplace back pain

from the UW media relations office

A professor of medicine who directs a low-back research laboratory in the US will discuss ways on minimizing work-related risks when he delivers a Hallman Visiting Professor Lecture at UW on Monday.

Kermit Davis, a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati and director of the Low Back Biomechanics and Workplace Stress Laboratory, will deliver a lecture entitled "When the Individual and the Workplace Interact: The Story of Low Back Pain". The lecture, hosted by the faculty of applied health sciences, takes place at 3 p.m. Monday in the Clarica Auditorium -- room 1621 of the Hallman Institute wing. Admission is free, but "It is very important that people RSVP by contacting extension 2010 as seating is limited," says Catherine Archibald of the applied health sciences faculty.

In his talk, Davis will explore why simple approaches to preventing low-back pain are obviously not successful, given its high prevalence in many industries. He argues that future initiatives must not only account for physical and psychosocial workplace factors, but also include individual characteristics that can undermine the worker's ability to remain on the job.

"Attendees at Dr. Kermit Davis's talk will learn about population risk prevention strategies for workplace settings,” said Jack Callaghan, a UW professor of kinesiology and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention. “More importantly, they will hear how the impact of individual risk factors, such as obesity and aging, can modify injury potential."

Davis has completed a wide variety of studies dealing with the stressors on the lower back, including mental, physical and social factors. He has published numerous articles about the impact of high-risk workplace exposures for the lower back, including studies evaluating warehousing, patient handling and alternative modes of handling, such as team lifting, one-hand lifting, and pushing and pulling.

Many studies about low-back biomechanics investigate low-back responses to physical risk factors and, more recently and to a lesser extent, psychosocial risk factors. But factors related to the inherent differences between workers have only been superficially investigated.

In North America, the demographics of the workforce are shifting from young and lean to experienced and overweight, with more females in traditionally male-dominated industries. All of these factors pose new frontiers in understanding who suffers a low-back injury on the job.

Individuals with different capabilities will respond differently to the external demands -- adopting different movement profiles, muscle responses and perceptions -- all of which can impact the risk or reporting of an injury. Once an individual becomes injured, neuromuscular adaptations can occur and possibly lead to further deterioration of the worker until complete disability. Davis argues that it will be the understanding of the pain pathways and underlying injury mechanisms that can lead to a reduction or even elimination of low-back disorders in the workplace.

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Open house tomorrow, and more

Something like 1,500 future and potential UW students -- many of them with parents in tow -- are expected on campus tomorrow for You @ Waterloo Day, an open house that's timed just when the next generation is considering whether to accept offers of admission from UW or some other university. "Our goal," says Kim McKee of the visitors centre, "is to give applicants who have received an offer to UW, along with their parents, the opportunity to participate in activities that will increase their level of commitment. Faculty, staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer visitor questions, provide them with an opportunity to see residence, and encourage them to accept their offer to UW. It's our hope that visitors will leave with a positive impression of residence, student life and academics at UW." Activities are based in the Student Life Centre, with a welcome session in the nearby Physical Activities Complex at 10 a.m. and tours leaving from there until 2:00. The day winds up with a reception, hosted by UW's president from 2:00 to 3:00. The Architecture building in Cambridge is also involved tomorrow, welcoming young people who are considering entering the architecture school.

The UW Alternative Fuels Team left for Mesa, Arizona, earlier this week to pit its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle against vehicles built at 16 other North American universities. It’s the latest stage of Challenge X, a three-year competition funded by General Motors, the US Department of Energy, and Natural Resources Canada. This competition caps the second year of Challenge X and will involve extensive testing of the fuel cell. UWAFT’s customized Equinox is on the road to becoming the first passenger hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to be built in Canada. Last year, UWAFT took first place in eight of the ten award categories and first place overall. Hopes are high to repeat last year’s success, say team members Alain Boutros and James Goh. “During the first three days at the pits, the team must pass the technical inspection, before attempting to qualify for the main events. Qualifying events include braking and handling, stability and acceleration, and traction control. The main events are the AVL DRIVE quality event, trailer towing, on- road fuel economy and acceleration. The driving events are followed by presentations that include a vehicle development review, technical presentation, control strategy presentation, and outreach presentation.” Awards will be presented Thursday, and progress this week will be reported regularly on the competition blog.

The "Open Classroom" series organized by the teaching resource office is listing another opportunity for faculty members to see how a colleague does things. This time it's Gordon Stubley of the mechanical engineering department, whose class ME 566, Computational Fluid Dynamics for Engineering Design, will welcome visitors on June 12 (a week from Monday). "This lecture introduces basic numerical methods," Stubley explains. "Because this is a new topic to the students, the level of presentation is more suited to a general audience." Faculty members wishing to attend, and take part in a debriefing afterwards, can register online.

Keystone Campaign volunteers from across campus are attending a thank-you lunch today in the Festival Room, South Campus Hall, where they'll pick up pledge packages to be distributed to their colleagues. . . . Since the preliminary phases Campaign Waterloo began in 2000, "we've held 1,214 events to help us identify, educate, cultivate and steward prospects and donors," a summary from the office of development notes. . . . The UW Recreation Committee reports that it's working with the UW bookstore to start a staff and faculty book club this fall. . . .


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