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Tuesday, May 9, 2006

  • Executives sift year's priorities
  • Grebel award for 'visionary' grad
  • Hot news? You're getting warm
Chris Redmond

Move for Health Day

Staff 'recognition' survey delayed

Staff members are being asked: "Do you believe that there should be a recognition program for staff that includes a monetary component?" They're just not being asked quite yet.

Online balloting on that question -- announced in yesterday's Daily Bulletin -- has been postponed because there's about to be an upgrade to the UWdir database, the university secretariat says. It's now scheduled for May 26 through June 12.

Executives sift year's priorities

Deans' offices across campus will be deanless for the latter part of this week, as two dozen of the university's top officials go away on their annual planning retreat at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre near Barrie.

The gathering at "K-Bay", Wednesday through Friday this week, is a longstanding UW tradition: each May deans, vice-presidents, and associate provosts get away from campus -- far enough away that nobody's tempted to dash back to the office for a few minutes -- and immerse themselves in major issues and priorities for the year ahead.

The event is also an opportunity for some bonding with newer or soon-to-be members of the top administration. This year there will be fond farewells to Bob Kerton, who ends his term as dean of arts on June 30. Ken Coates, who's been named to take over the dean's office on July 1, will be attending the retreat, president David Johnston says.

This year's Kempenfelt discussions, like last year's, will feed into the Sixth Decade plan that's been circulated in successive drafts as the senate long-range planning committee continues to work on it. Johnston said he expects the major issues for discussion will be topics that have already surfaced in the Sixth Decade work, in the president's and provost's town hall meeting last fall, and in other venues. In particular:

Participants in the retreat are the members of executive council, which meets monthly, chaired by the president. It includes the senior officers responsible for all UW's departments, both academic and non-academic -- a total of 21 people.

Grebel award for 'visionary' grad -- from a Conrad Grebel University College news release

Deemed a "visionary leader" by the Alumni Committee, Nolan Andres has received Conrad Grebel University College's 2006 Distinguished Alumni Service Award. The award was established in 2002 to recognize former Grebel students who have, in some notable way, demonstrated the ideals and purposes of the College by making a unique contribution to the church, community, nation, or world.

Andres established PeaceWorks, a computer consulting firm, in 1995 when he was still a student. By the time he graduated with his MMath in Computer Science and a Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies in 1998, he already had several people working at his company. PeaceWorks currently employs a number of Grebel alumni.

"There are many people dedicated to making a positive difference in this world," states PeaceWorks' vision statement. "Our company is dedicated to supporting and empowering their efforts by providing affordable computer solutions to the non-profit sector and to small business." Working from offices in both Waterloo and Winnipeg, PeaceWorks uses a sliding fee scale, where more financially strong clients effectively subsidize those with less monetary resources but are still able to achieve considerable savings over other computer consulting alternatives. Current not-for profit clients include Grebel itself.

"The values of PeaceWorks, and Andres in particular, reflect core faith and social values that Grebel stands for," wrote the Alumni Committee in their recommendation. "Andres, along with the other members of PeaceWorks, have found a way to embody the spirit and values of Grebel in a technical world. PeaceWorks is a young company, but they have already distinguished themselves in their work and their vision to empower organizations to make the world a more just place."

Says Grebel president Henry Paetkau: "Nolan Andres has found an innovative way of integrating his personal values of justice and equality with his computer science training. Through PeaceWorks, he and his colleagues are applying these values and their skills successfully in the highly competitive business world of computer technology. Nolan is an inspiration for Grebel students who are making similar choices about how to express their faith in the workplace."

"It's a truly humbling honour," said Andres when he learned about the award. "I'm honoured to be in the company of those who have already received this award, and I'm humbled by the list of people who have not yet received it. What it means to me is that Grebel stands with me, with my family, with PeaceWorks. In the end, we're on the same path, and I'm reassured by the fact that this award exists to emphasize these connections."

Andres was a Grebel resident for five terms between 1993 and 1995, as well as an associate the next year. After he married Margaret Massey, they served as Senior Residents at the College from 1996 to 1998. A few of his Grebel memories include "arriving at Grebel the first time and being absolutely blown away by the standard friendly way in which new residents are welcomed to the College, the comfy futon in the Quad, ultimate frisbee on the village green, and late night chats with other residents, from the sacred to the inane." He sang in the Chapel Choir for many years, and recalls "the tears in Len Enns' eyes that one time as the Chapel Choir finished a truly inspired rendition of Bruckner's 'Locus Iste'." He also remembers the Chapel Choir tour when he and Margaret were senior residents. "Zoe was only a few months old and came along on the tour. She was right there on stage with us as we sang -- one of us would hold her in a carrier."

'Advancing Energy Sustainability in Ontario and Beyond' workshop hosted by faculty of environmental studies, all day, ES I room 221, registration full.

Career interest assessment 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112, preregistration at Career Services office, $10 fee; to be repeated May 16.

Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Winter term work reports due 4 p.m. (co-op students in most faculties).

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group volunteer meeting 5 p.m., multipurpose room, Student Life Centre.

Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing Gauss Contest for grade 7 and 8 students will be written tomorrow.

WHMIS training for employees available Wednesday 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302 (repeated May 18, 2 p.m., Davis 1304); general safety orientation Thursday 2 p.m., Davis 1302, repeated May 18, 10 a.m., Davis 1304.

Health informatics research seminar: John Yeow, systems design engineering, "Micro/Nano Devices for Biomedical Applications," Wednesday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

'Tales of an Urban Indian' one-man touring performance by Brandon Oakes, presented by Aboriginal Student Centre, Wednesday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $11 (students $6) 888-4908.

UW Blooms annual exchange of perennials and other garden items, organized by UW Recreation Committee, Thursday 12 to 5, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Communitech 2006 Tech Leadership Conference: "Brat Politics and Guerrilla Logic: Winning the War for Talent, Markets and Money," Terry Matthews (March Networks) and other speakers, Thursday all day, Bingeman Conference Centre, details online.

Hot news? You're getting warm

Summer seems to be here, in just the second week of the so-called "spring" term. (It has that name to avoid confusion with the "summer" session that used to run in a concentrated six-week block starting at the beginning of July.) The UW weather station says last month was "the warmest April in the 8-year history of the station", with an average daily high of 13.4 Celsius. "In the past year," adds coordinator Frank Seglenieks, "9 of the 12 months have seen above average temperatures." The weather station web site says the thermometer there -- on the north campus -- hit 21.7 yesterday afternoon, although it was considerably higher than that according to the insurance company time-and-temperature sign at the corner of Westmount and Erb.

[Blue-green cover] The new issue of Alternatives, an environmental journal based at UW, displays a garbage can on its cover, disgorging a tattered array of corporate logos. It introduces a theme issue on "Zero Waste", with articles on such issues as lost energy embedded in the trash, "practical tools for zero waste", and a comparison of Canadian and Cambodian waste issues. And UW faculty member Jennifer Lynes writes on "holistic waste audits". A one-year subscription to Alternatives costs $35, plus GST.

Leaders of the Federation of Students are not happy, and they say the hundreds of students who use the Fed Bus service every weekend won't be happy either. The Ontario Highway Transport Board has decided, says a Feds news release, "not to recognize" the Fed Bus operation, which had been challenged by the scheduled carrier along its routes, Greyhound Canada. "The Highway Transport Board," the Feds say, "chose not to recognize a group of students traveling home for the weekend to qualify as a 'group' for the purposes of a charter. The Federation of Students is currently examining avenues of appeal." Buses will continue to run at least until July 31, in accordance with the board's ruling. The student-operated "low cost student-friendly transportation alternative" makes trips from campus to locations in London, Hamilton and Toronto, and back again in time for the school week.

Four years ago Lorenzo Pignatti, the faculty member who heads the Rome program for UW's school of architecture, was named the winner of a national competition to redesign a piazza in the centre of the Eternal City. The triangular Piazza San Cosimato, surrounded by historic buildings, features large trees, an open-air market and various other givens; Pignatti's design for its open spaces was budgeted at $1.9 million in Canadian funds. The work is now complete, and a dedication celebration for the new piazza was held on Sunday.

This announcement arrives from Jennifer Mealiea in UW's psychology department: "The University of Waterloo's Centre for Child Studies is looking for parents with children who are 3-1/2 years old, or will be by July 2006, to participate in a study of language. We are especially in need of boys to participate. Children must be attending preschool or daycare. The one-hour study is designed to be like a game for children. Participants will receive a certificate and small gift." For more information, she can be reached at ext. 5416 or jrmealie@watarts.

Some three dozen participants in the 6th Canadian Powder Diffraction Workshop, hosted by UW's department of physics, are on campus for three days. . . . Marilyn Sommerville, pension advisor in the human resources department, who has been on UW's staff since 1970, will herself retire as of June 1. . . . Friday's Imprint had a fine front-page photo of "police and geese" checking out the damage after a minor grass fire on April 20 outside the Student Life Centre. . . .

Finally, the library sends a reminder that tomorrow is the due date for books that were borrowed on term loan before the beginning of April. They should be returned or renewed.


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