[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Monday, May 1, 2006

  • And it starts all over again
  • Research chairs for four profs
  • More in the merry month of May
Chris Redmond

May Day

[Collage on calendar cover]

Many people on campus, and many alumni, will mark today by flipping to a spectacular photo of the Graduate House that accompanies May in this calendar, produced by the office of development and alumni affairs and distributed in December and January. "It was sent to 17,000 alumni celebrating an anniversary in 2006," says Jude Doble of ODAA, "as well as leadership donors and alumni who attended events.

"Each month highlighted a scenic spot on campus, with photography by Chris Hughes in Graphics, Steve Brooks in Athletics and FES's Andrew Smith. Each month highlighted an alumni service -- the alumni career advisor, Homecoming, life-long learning opportunities, focusing on different ways alumni can stay connected to UW. We also included a brief bio of a successful alumnus and directed alumni to visit other alumni profiles online.

"Feedback has been extremely positive and there are plans to do another calendar for 2007. ODAA has a few copies remaining, so anyone interested in picking up a copy can do so at ODAA reception, ext. 2038."

And it starts all over again

The spring term begins this morning -- lectures, bookstore lineups, assignments, a full schedule in the libraries and cafeterias, a party under the title "Fed 103" tonight at Federation Hall, the whole enchilada. Roughly 4,000 students are back in class after winter co-op work terms, and a similar number are starting new co-op jobs today (some of them right on campus).

May 1 also begins a new fiscal year for UW, a year in which the university expects to spend $1 million a day, seven days a week, from the operating budget alone. At the same time, most of the people who work here have received salary increases that are effective today. For staff, the range adjustment is 3.2 per cent, with individual increases being more or less than that amount depending on performance assessment and on position within the job classification. For faculty, a scale increase of 3.2 per cent is accompanied by individual progress-through-the-ranks increases.

Members of Canadian Union of Public Employees local 793 are due for a new contract as of May 1; until it's negotiated, they continue at their 2005-06 wages.

Teaching assistants are also seeing bigger paycheques. Bruce Mitchell, associate provost (academic and student affairs), has announced the results of work by the Graduate Student Support Committee, which worked out the new rates with representatives of the Graduate Student Association. There, too, the key figure is 3.2 per cent, although not all the new money is going directly into stipends. TA rates are being raised by 2 per cent as of the spring term, and in addition there will be a $140,000 increase to the Millennium Bursary Fund for grad students. "The total cost is approximately $384,000," says Mitchell, "which is 3.2 per cent of this year's estimated TA expenditures."

Also official as of May 1:

• At the Federation of Students, Michelle Zakrison, an environment and resource studies student, begins the year-long term as president to which she was elected in February. Joining her on the Feds executive are Renjie Butalid as vice-president (administration and finance), Sai Kit Lo as VP (internal), and Jeff Henry as VP (education).

[Hunt] • The Graduate Student Association also has a new executive: Marek Ratajczak of civil engineering as president, Fatima Kakal as vice-president (communications and organization), Maria Ziegler as VP (operations and finance), and Beatrice Orchard as VP (student affairs).

• Andrew Hunt (left), a specialist in American history and a teaching award winner, takes over as chair of the Department of History, succeeding Patrick Harrigan.

• The audio-visual centre, previously a department reporting to the associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation), becomes part of information systems and technology, reporting to the director of the Instructional Technology and Services Group. Offices remain in Engineering II building.

• The department of physics -- one of UW's oldest academic units -- officially gets a new name: the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Research chairs for four profs -- fro the UW media relations office

Four Waterloo faculty members, researching such diverse areas as multimedia communications, computer simulation, entrepreneurship and social relationships, have been named recipients of Canada Research Chairs by the federal government.

The Canada Research Chairs are positions that allow a faculty member to concentrate on research and on training the next generation of scientists. UW received a total of $2.3 million for the four research chairs, including associated infrastructure funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

"These new appointments bring the total number of Canada Research Chairs established at Waterloo to 45," said Alan George, interim vice-president (university research). "UW will continue to attract leading researchers, initiating new directions for scholarship that will benefit the entire nation."

The new Canada Research Chairs announced on Friday:

En-Hui Yang, professor of electrical and computer engineering, receives a second term as the Canada Research Chair in Information Theory and Multimedia Data Compression. Funding: $100,000 a year for five years.

Yang's renewal is a recognition of UW's research excellence in the areas of information theory, multimedia compression and multimedia communications. It will enable him to remain an international leader in the development and use of new information transmission, storage, protection theory and algorithms. "With this CRC award, my research group is looking forward to further advancing theory and practice in these research areas," he said.

[Hoses snaking from truck]

The octopus outside Carl Pollock Hall? "Part of the temporary ventilation system required for the asbestos removal project," Rick Zalagenas of plant operations explains. Photo by Barb Elve.

Grainne Fitzsimons, professor of psychology, receives a Canada Research Chair in Social Cognition. Funding: $100,000 a year for five years. Associated infrastructure project: "Social Cognition and Relationship Interaction Laboratory." CFI funding: $126,750.

"We will construct a new set of integrated laboratories that will permit us to conduct high-quality and innovative research with this award," Fitzsimons said. "By combining the rich data collection capabilities of a social interaction laboratory with the high-tech computerized and eye-tracking systems of a social cognition laboratory and the flexibility of a mobile data collection laboratory, we will have the ability to collect rich and varied experimental data."

She studies self-regulation, the pursuit of important goals and motives (such as achievement, health and romantic goals) in everyday life, and how self-regulatory processes can shape subjective experience. Most of her work examines the role of these processes in the context of interpersonal relationships.

Justin Wan, professor of computer science, receives a Canada Research Chair in Scientific Computing. Funding: $100,000 a year for five years. Associated infrastructure project: "Resources for Scientific Computing and Visualization." CFI funding: $132,274.

"The Canada Research Chair will provide me the time to develop sophisticated computational algorithms that advance computer simulation technology for the scientific and health-care sectors," Wan said. The research will improve simulation techniques in computer-aided visualization and enhance results in medical imaging diagnostics, leading to better patient care and savings for health-care systems. The CFI award will provide the computing infrastructure resources to complete intensive computations, develop scalable algorithms, produce complex simulations of physiological processes, and produce detailed and animated visualizations.

Moren Levesque, professor of management sciences, receives a Canada Research Chair in Innovation and Technical Entrepreneurship. Amount: $100,000 a year for five years. Associated infrastructure project: "Innovation and Technical Entrepreneurship Laboratory." CFI funding: $22,844.

"The field of entrepreneurship has seen numerous research developments, yet it still lacks a definition of its own domain as theories of entrepreneurship are almost non-existent," Levesque said, adding that the new chair and infrastructure award will allow her to develop and test entrepreneurship theories.

She will examine the relationship between new firm survival and growth rates, along with how country characteristics influence entrepreneurial activity and how entrepreneurial activity affects economic growth. "This research is likely to stimulate innovative cross-cutting, interdisciplinary research on societal problems and has the potential to impact public decision making and actions."

Co-op education and career services staff business meeting 1:00 to 4:30; limited services available in CECS.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

New students welcome reception 4:30, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre, all newcomers welcome, information about UW services, free food; information ext. 5632.

Graduate Student Leisure Research Symposium Tuesday and Wednesday: 19 presentations by grad students, keynote address Wednesday morning by Karla Henderson (University of North Carolina), two social events, details online. Participants should pre-register, jgillie@ahsmail.uwaterloo.ca.

Perimeter Institute lecture: George Johnson, journalist, "The Search for Miss Leavitt", astronomical research in 1904, Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 883-4480.

UW Accounting Conference with speakers and case competition, May 5-6, details online.

International student orientation Friday 10:00 to 2:00, Graduate House, sponsored by international student office; additional event Friday 5 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre, sponsored by student life office.

Winter term grades become official on Quest on May 23.

More in the merry month of May

It's not a competition year for UW's Midnight Sun solar car team, which is deep into the complex process of designing its next-generation car, Midnight Sun IX. The team's latest newsletter reports that Ansys Canada Ltd. "has generously donated their leading edge fluids simulation software Ansys CFX-10.0 for the team to use. Stephen Orlando and Cameron Bruce are using Ansys CFX 10.0 to run computer simulations on different aerobody designs to determine an optimal shape. The recent wind tunnel data and past CFX data will also be used to determine what areas of the car need to be improved. . . . Ansys has invited the Midnight Sun team to attend their international conference from May 1-4 in Pittsburgh. Midnight Sun VIII will be on display with other products that have been designed with Ansys software. This is an excellent opportunity for the team to interact with industry leading companies that use fluid dynamics software. Modelling of the aerobody will be complete by the summer of 2006."

Laptop users won't notice anything different today -- at least, not if this morning's software changes were successful. Wireless service was scheduled to be down for about an hour in the early morning to make some changes to authentication device names and certificates. Purpose of the change, says Jason Gorrie of information systems and technology: "To provide consistent wireless access across the campus, and provide a single certificate and name for accessing wireless access."

Work by two Master of Fine Arts students, Gregory Blunt and Suzy Oliveira, is on display this week in the UW gallery in East Campus Hall. One of the two, Oliveira, sends this description of what her art is about: "My work questions notions of pleasure in today's oversaturated society. I use the inebriated as a trope for the artist. The simplicity of lying in a park, the freedom of doing nothing and the total acceptance of nature and existence are some of the questions I explore in these paintings and sculptures about pleasure. Pleasure, although possibly seen as equivalent to frivolous and at times deemed as laziness, plays an important role in progressive living. Whether we find pleasure in mainstream ideals, or in more subversive manners, the need for pleasure rules many of our desires and is a large part of our natural makeup." The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 12 to 4, Thursday from 12 to 7, Saturday from 1 to 4.

[Hall with camera] Brent Hall (right) of UW's department of geography has become the third Waterloo faculty member in half a dozen years to win the Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography, presented by the Canadian Association of Geographers. The award recognizes teaching at any university, college or high school in Canada; previous UW winners were Jean Andrey in 2000 and Geoff McBoyle in 2004. "Teaching is an important aspect of my academic activities," says Hall on his web site, which describes some of the online techniques he has pioneered in teaching geographic information systems.

Teams from eight local high schools were on campus Friday for one leg of an "Amazing Race Challenge", which called on them to scurry across campus in a scavenger hunt sponsored by the UW Visitors Centre. . . . Information is available at 375-6069 about a series of workshops in "Buteyko breathing therapy for asthma and respiratory disease" to be held May 8-12 and 15-19 at Conrad Grebel University College. . . . As the term begins, the used book store in the Student Life Centre will be open from 8:30 to 6:00 today through Friday, and from 10 to 5 this Saturday. . . .

Finally, better late than never, let me note a one-day conference hosted by the political science department and held March 24 at Renison College. Its title: "The Evolution of 'One Country, Two Systems' in Hong Kong and Macao: Implications for Canada". The conference, a note from the organizers says, broadly looked at Chinese-Canadian relations, exploring in more detail some of the differences between Hong Kong's and Macao's special status within the Chinese political an economic system and Quebec's distinct political and cultural position within Canada." Participants came from Hong Kong and Macao, as well as Canada and the United States. Political science professor Sonny Lo reports that the event "helped me provide policy recommendations to the Canadian government in its handling of some 250,000 Canadians currently residing in Hong Kong."


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