Tuesday, April 10, 2007

  • 'Celebrating 50 years of teaching'
  • Agency offering free hydro audits
  • Countdown: 41 days to Victoria Day
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Orientation plans coming along

Nineteen UW students attended the National Orientation Directors Association regional conference earlier this month at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says Becky Wroe of the Federation of Students. "The students, all members of the Federation Orientation Committee, shared and heard ideas and best practices from large and small institutions, including those as far away as Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Bloomington, Indiana. Each regional conference is held annually, and in 2008 UW will host this conference."

Meanwhile, Wroe says, planning for orientation this fall is coming along well: "While Orientation Week 2007 (September 3-8) will include much of the same programming we have seen in past years (including Engineering's Junkyard Wars, Environmental Studies' Big Banana events, Monte Carlo Night, Black & Gold Day, and the Saturday Night event, including a live act in Fed Hall and a Toga Party), there will be some changes to the activities planned for students living off campus and in some of the residences on Friday.

"Plans for specific programming are still in the works, but a series of interactive and educational sessions will be offered to prepare our new students for their academic careers. Sessions could vary as widely as an open invitation to a listen to a 'great UW lecturer' to a discussion on 'What Not to Wear to a Co-op Interview' to 'Study Skills for Success'."

Link of the day

Siblings Day

When and where

UW Shop sidewalk sale today and Wednesday, South Campus Hall concourse.

Senate undergraduate council 12 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Hagey Hall of the Humanities electrical power shutdown Thursday 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.

Surplus sale of UW furniture and property, Thursday 12:30 to 2 p.m., central stores, East Campus Hall.

'Online Peer Mentoring Programs for Distance Faculty' web conference, sponsored by PDEng program, Thursday 1:00 p.m., details and registration online.

Roger Watt, information systems and technology, retirement party Thursday 3:30 to 5:00, University Club, RSVP ext. 3–8018.

School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture: Barbara Liskov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "From Viewstamped Replication to BFT", Thursday 4:30, Davis Centre room 1350.

David Johnston, president of UW, speaks at annual Leadership Breakfast organized by Leadership Waterloo Region, Friday 7:30 a.m., Bingemans Ballroom.

Auditions for June production of "Don Juan in Chicago" by K–W Little Theatre, April 16-18, 7 to 10 p.m., Humanities room 373, information afrey69@yahoo.ca.

Architecture student projects end-of-year review, April 17 through June 16, Design at Riverside gallery, Architecture building; opening reception Tuesday, April 16, 6:30 p.m.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 23-26, details online. Keynote speaker Roberta Jamieson, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, April 23, 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $3 at Humanities box office.

Friends of the Library authors' event: lecture by history professor Ken McLaughlin, launch of his book Out of the Shadow of Orthodoxy, and display of work by UW authors, Wednesday, April 25, 3:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

'Celebrating 50 years of teaching'

[Learning about Teaching logo]The Teaching Excellence Council, a board made up of some of UW's top teachers, has announced a three day symposium at the end of this month, focused on enhancing teaching and learning at UW.

Events focused on teaching have been scheduled on the cusp of the winter and spring terms in past years too, but this one has some special aspects: it helps to celebrate UW's 50th anniversary, and it marks the launch of the new Centre for Teaching Excellence, which is being created out of the existing Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, Teaching Resource office, and Learning Resources and Innovation office. The new centre officially comes into existence on May 1.

The symposium, called "Learning about Teaching: Celebrating Fifty Years of Teaching at UW", begins on Monday, April 30, at 2 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre with the Presidents’ Colloquium, hosted by the president of the university and the president of the Faculty Association. All are welcome to attend this event, which is followed by a wine-and-cheese reception in the theatre foyer. The speaker will be Ken Bain, an award-winning teacher, author and scholar, whose interactive talk asks and answers the question: “What Makes Great Teachers Great?”

On Tuesday, May 1, the symposium continues with two workshops facilitated by Bain. The first focuses on "Teaching Large Classes" (9 to 11 a.m. in the Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library). The second assists in "Developing the Promising Syllabus" (1 to 3 p.m., same location). Enrolment is limited and restricted to faculty members.

The symposium continues on Wednesday, May 2, with a series of informal lunch discussions facilitated by TEC members. Participants can choose discussions related to "Using Technology for Teaching Large Classes" or "Aligning Your Syllabus or Classroom Management". St. Jerome’s University is hosting these events. Again enrolment is limited and restricted to faculty members.

A sub-committee of the TEC, co-chaired by Carey Bissonnette of chemistry and Ron McCarville of recreation and leisure studies, is heading up this new venture, says CTE director Catherine Schryer. Other members of the committee include Donna Ellis, Tracy Penny Light and Marta Bailey of the TRACE staff, as well as Schryer herself. "The Council plans on the Learning about Teaching symposium becoming an annual event," says Schryer.

More information about the symposium is available on the TEC web site, and registration for individual events is online as well.

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Agency offering free hydro audits

Students and their landlords both stand to benefit from a conservation initiative being brought to Waterloo Region by the Residential Energy Efficiency Project, formerly a UW program and now an independent agency based in Kitchener.

The Energy Efficiency Assistance Program for Houses "is fully funded by the Ontario Power Authority and offers free energy audits followed by free energy-saving home improvements to low-income households living in electrically-heated homes," says Jessica Fisher, outreach coordinator for REEP. "Since most students would qualify as low-income based on total annual household income, this program may be very much applicable to students in terms of helping to reduce their utility bills."

She notes that REEP, which was created in the faculty of environmental studies, " became incorporated as our own independent not-for-profit environmental organization in 2006, and while this means we have moved on from our founders (including UW), we certainly don't feel the relationship has been severed! We retain strong ties to the university through research, hiring co-op students, having UW professors on our board, partnerships, etc." Paul Parker of UW's geography department and Jennifer Lynes of the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology are listed on the agency's "management team".

To be eligible for the new free program, residents must either receive support from an income-based assistance program or qualify based on total household annual income, "which most students do", Fisher says. "Both owners and tenants qualify, provided they pay their own electricity bill. Priority is given to houses that use electricity for heating. The program operates at no cost to the occupant or owner. "

Participating homes receive a free energy audit along with compact fluorescent light bulbs and other energy saving measures. Participants can expect to learn about ways to conserve energy and thus enjoy lower hydro bills. Up to 70 electrically-heated households will receive more substantive retrofits including insulation, draft-proofing, a new refrigerator or hot water tank."

Under various programs, REEP has evaluated more than 7,000 homes for energy efficiency since it started in 1999. It now offers additional services including a solar assessment to determine a home’s potential for solar energy, and a program to recommend energy improvements in places of worship.

In addition to the Ontario Power Authority's funding for the Energy Efficiency Assistance Program for Houses, REEP's services are financially supported by a number of local partners: the Region of Waterloo, the cities of Kitchener and Cambridge, all three area hydro companies, Kitchener Utilities, the KW Community Foundation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. More information is online, or call (519) 744-9799.

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Countdown: 41 days to Victoria Day

Today is not only the beginning of the rest of our lives, but the beginning of a whole new way of living, at least for those who use the Dana Porter Library. The new electronic security gates are to be installed today at Porter's front entrance — "and they might even be activated," says Rachel Caldwell of the library's communications office. RFIDs (that's Radio Frequency Identification Devices) have been installed in hundreds of thousands of books and other library items, and as soon as the gates are working, there will be an end to the visual inspection of books and knapsacks that has been a feature of library life since February 1966. The landmark desk where library attendants have sat for all these years was ripped out a week ago today. "It took the crew of workers just under 30 minutes," says Caldwell, who notes that photos and even a video are available online.

The Kids & Company day care centre will have its grand opening today at TechTown, the shiny new community centre in the middle of the Research and Technology Park. Guest for the occasion will be Monte Solberg, federal minister of human resources and social development (wrongly called an Ontario minister in yesterday's Daily Bulletin). The day care has actually been in operation since the middle of February. Toby Jenkins, proprietor of TechTown, observes that "Kids and Company is not a standard day care. They have 20 locations across Canada and offer services that are not typically available. They support organizations that want to be able to provide their staff with guaranteed access to daycare spots," in this case UW itself. "That means that they don't just take waiting lists on a public basis. Their priority is to secure child placements for the 'corporate' clients. So for example, if a professor has been recruited to start in the fall and he needs child care, Kids & Company will hold a child care spot for him effective September. No other child care centre can or chooses to do this." Today's opening event starts at 2:00 at 340 Hagey Boulevard.

The human resources department sent out a memo yesterday: "With the first Paid Holiday of the year come and gone, it is a good time to remind managers and employees to review Policy 38, Paid Holidays. The Ontario Ministry of Labour Employment Standards Fact Sheet states, 'Most employees are eligible for these public Holiday entitlements.' For most UW employees paid Public Holidays are handled as a matter of course through the regular pay processes. Where an employee works variable hours, or does not work every day of the week it may be necessary to provide a substitute paid day off, or public holiday pay. If you are unsure if you or your staff member is entitled to a substitute day off or public holiday pay please contact your Staff Relations Coordinator in Human Resources."

News from Columbia Lake Village, as announced in the monthly newsletter for residents there: "Due to Housing budget cutbacks, the disinfection cleaning services provided to the units in the South Community will be discontinued. This will be in effect for May 1, 2007 and will continue into the upcoming terms. Residents that plan to reside in CLV South Community during the Spring 2007 term should take note of these changes and make extra efforts (along with their roommates) to keep their unit clean. The Dons will be available to assist roommates developing fair cleaning schedules. End of term inspections will continue and units that are not kept clean may be at risk of finable damages."

The engineering faculty's e-newsletter reports that Wei Song, a PhD candidate in electrical and computer engineering, has been awarded a best student paper award from the IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference. Her paper, entitled "Multi-Class Resource Management in a Cellular/WLAN Integrated Network", was singled out from 1,721 submitted at a conference held in Hong Kong last month. Song’s supervisor, Weihua Zhuang of the broadband communications research group, co-authored the paper.


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