Monday, April 23, 2007

  • New VP (external relations) is named
  • Fire drills tomorrow; other notes
  • Speaker proposes 'ideal health system'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

For England and St. George

When and where

Graduate Student Research Conference today through Thursday: presentations in Davis Centre room 1302 and 1304; seminar on NSERC postgraduate scholarships today 11:15, Davis room 1351; seminar on SSHRC fellowships Thursday 11:15, Davis 1351; keynote address by Roberta Jamieson, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, tonight 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $3 at Humanities box office; awards reception Thursday 4:30, Graduate House; details online.

Faculty of arts lecture series, panel of three researchers funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research on their work in "the grey zone": Alan Blum (faculty of arts) on city life and well-being; Kieran Bonner (St. Jerome's) on the grey zone between the art of healing and medical science; Tristanne Connolly (St. Jerome's) on gender and authority in British romantic poetry and medical writing, 3:00 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218.

Waterloo City Council 6:30, City Hall, 100 Regina Street South; agenda includes addendum to Environmental Reserve on UW north campus, and Uptown public square concept plan; agenda online.

Spring term fee payments due Tuesday by cheque or Friday by bank payment, details online.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, workshop: "Conflict, It's Always There", Wednesday in St. Jacobs, details online.

Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network workshop, "Implementing the IHPS, Managing the Change", hot breakfast, keynote speaker and discussion, Wednesday 8 a.m. to noon, Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener, information and registration e-mail

Distinguished Nanotechnology Seminar: Meyya Meyyappan, NASA Ames Research Centre, "Novel One Dimensional Nonstructural, Wednesday 10 a.m., CEIT room 1015.

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 3:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Rienzi Crusz, retired UW librarian, reads from his poetry Wednesday 7 p.m., Kitchener Public Library main branch.

'Passport to Health' Fair for staff and faculty, Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Student Life Centre; stations include blood pressure reading, ergonomics, "reading your stress level".

Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry: annual meeting, seminar, poster session and awards presentations, Friday from 1 p.m., University of Guelph New Science Complex.

Fiscal year 2006-07 ends April 30; requests for payment and accounting transactions should be submitted to finance office as soon as possible, last transactions must be received by May 11.

President David Johnston Run for Health Monday, April 30, 12:00, around the ring road starting at Needles Hall, register with Johan Reis, ext. 3-5418, pledge forms available, T-shirts $20.

'Learning about Teaching' symposium, including Presidents' Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, speaker Ken Bain, April 30, 2 p.m., Humanities Theatre; workshops and discussions May 1-2, details online.

One click away

Telling an Australian about UW
Through the eyes of UW's athletics director (Imprint)
Wind experts taking part in conference today
How Virginia Tech's home page changed over the hours
'Being a UW student in the Canadian Forces' (Imprint)
Business dean is latest Carleton U leader to resign
'Linking art and academics' at Laurier
'Barriers to Post-Secondary Education' (research by Millennium foundation)
The future of English-language business programs at U de Québec
Updating the plans for Waterloo Park

New VP (external relations) is named

[Beckel]The current Chief Operating Officer of the Royal Ontario Museum will come to UW October 1 as vice-president (external relations), president David Johnston announced Friday.

Meg Beckel (left) held a similar job at the University of Victoria before moving to Toronto to join the ROM. Says Johnston in a memo naming the new VP: "Meg's appointment will help our institution achieve even greater national and international prominence; I am very much looking forward to working with her. Meg's wisdom, experience and energy will be invaluable assets to UW's senior administrative team and I know she can count on the support of the entire UW community, as she takes up her new challenge."

Approval was given Friday by the board of governors executive committee, on behalf of the board. Beckel will serve a five-year term.

She joined the Royal Ontario Museum as president and executive director of the ROM Foundation in 1998 and was appointed COO the following year. In that role she serves as spokesperson for the ROM on all operational and board governance matters, overseeing the operation of the museum including management of the capital and operating budgets, currently about $250 million and $41 million respectively. Her commitment to the ROM will begin to wind down with the opening of the Crystal, scheduled for June, and board of directors meetings in August.

Previously, she was director of development for the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre and later the Vancouver Symphony Society and Foundation. A two-year stint as manager, individual giving, at the University of Calgary led to her appointment as Executive Director, External Relations, and president of the University of Victoria Foundation from 1995 to 1998.

Beckel completed her BA at Queen’s University in 1981 and earned an MBA at the University of Western Ontario, beginning her professional career at the Bank of Nova Scotia before moving to the National Ballet of Canada in 1986.

Johnston's memo explains how UW chose her: "The Search Committee I chaired (Rob Caldwell, Bob Harding, Linda Kieswetter, Terry McMahon, Catharine Scott, Adel Sedra, Douglas Stebila) held its first meeting in October and, having interviewed three potential consultants, decided to engage the services of Egon Zehnder International. By the end of the year, the Committee had developed a role specification for the position and finalized the advertisement that appeared in January in University Affairs and The Globe and Mail.

"From the list of potential candidates generated, the Committee identified a small number to invite for an interview and, on the basis of the interviews and references available to the Committee, members decided to invite Meg back to campus for more in depth meetings with the Deans, staff in ODAA and the Provost. Following these meetings, the Committee reconvened and unanimously decided to recommend her appointment."

Says a statement from Beckel: "I am very excited by the great opportunity presented to me in leading the University of Waterloo’s advancement efforts.” The vice-president (university relations) is responsible for about 100 staff members in the offices of development and alumni affairs, communications and public affairs, and government relations. The position has been vacant since last summer.

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Fire drills tomorrow; other notes

The annual fire drills will be held tomorrow morning in a number of main campus buildings. Kevin Stewart, the director of safety, says these buildings are scheduled for drills between 8:30 and 10 a.m.: Health Services, Optometry, the PAC, "BFG" on Columbia Street, Environmental Studies I and II, Carl Pollock Hall, PAS and Humanities. Then between 10:00 and 11:30: the Dana Porter Library, Needles Hall, CEIT, Physics, Chemistry II, GSC and Commissary, and East Campus Hall. A number of buildings "do not require drills" this year, says Stewart, mentioning Doug Wright, Engineering II and III, Modern Languages, Matthews Hall, the Tatham Centre, the SLC, South Campus Hall, Math and Computer, the Davis Centre, ESC and Biology I and II.

Invigorated after the fire drills, staff and faculty members can head up to Village I at midday tomorrow, ready for the "appreciation" lunch hosted by members of UW's executive council. The event, announced last week, will run from 12:00 to 1:30 in the "central complex" of V1. The official word is that "offices are expected to be closed over this period; departments providing essential services and thus obligated to remain open are urged to make arrangements so as many staff as possible can attend." I'm asked to let people know that they should enter Village I from the ring road side ("there will be direction signs"), where they'll be greeted and invited to head upstairs to the great hall and other areas for the meal. Tickets for the 50th anniversary lottery will be on sale at the event, with a draw scheduled for about 1:15. Also as part of the day's program, president David Johnston and provost Amit Chakma will be saying a few words at about 12:45, and there will be a lively Reach for the Top competition at 1:00. For staff who work off campus, parking for the lunch will be available in lots J, S and V.

Here's a reminder that night shift staff are not forgotten in the planning of the appreciation lunch: there's a evening event aimed at them, to be held at 10:00 tomorrow evening in the Davis Centre great hall.

The two fourth-year electrical engineering students who founded the Next-Generation project — biking from sea to sea to promote science and engineering in high schools across Canada — will be starting their journey today from Victoria, British Columbia. One of the pair, Eric Vieth, described their purpose and plans in the engineering newspaper Iron Warrior late in the winter term, noting that he and colleague Benjamin Sanders "will visit approximately 10,000 students across Canada. . . Carrying with them a hydrogen fuel cell and a flexible solar panel as power sources, they will use the energy to recharge their Blackberry devices, as well as a GPS unit. These 4 technologies will be interfaced with one another in order to provide 68 days of live Internet tracking on their fully interactive website." The two were profiled last week in the Record.

A news conference was held Friday at which John Milloy, Liberal MPP for Kitchener Centre, officially announced some $17 million in lump sum funding for UW from the provincial government. There was also more than $6 million for Wilfrid Laurier University. "Students at UW and WLU will benefit from even higher quality education,” said Milloy. “Ontario’s new economic strength depends upon access to quality postsecondary education and training — which is why we’re helping students gain skills that will last a lifetime.” The grants were actually known a few weeks ago, and provost Amit Chakma spoke about them at the April 3 board of governors meeting, noting that most of the money is designated for one-time projects, including some energy conservation work. A little more than $1 million of the government money is aimed at optometry clinical education, and the director of the optometry school, Thomas Freddo, spoke at Friday's event, acknowledging this "tremendous expression of support" for a program that's very expensive to offer. The UW school currently has a 10-to-1 ratio of students to faculty, he said, and needs to move down towards the 7-to-1 ratio that's typical of optometry schools in the United States.

Marilyn Perdue of UW's Counselling Services writes that "The Canadian University and College Counselling Association and the University of Waterloo would like to invite the UW community to a stimulating and thought provoking talk to be held at the Davis Centre on Friday, May 4. Dr. Jon Robison from Michigan State University will present 'Towards a New Science of Health and Wellness' and will explore the emotional, social and spiritual factors that play a role in our ability to heal ourselves and live well. Everyone is welcome. The workshop fee is $85 for the general public and $50 for students." More information about the day-long event ("beyond broccoli, jogging and bottled water . . . more than yoga, herbs and meditation") is available from Perdue, e-mail

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Speaker proposes 'ideal health system'

from the UW media relations office

The provincial investigator who probed the emergency room crisis in Waterloo Region's hospitals will speak Wednesday about how health informatics can create an ideal health-care system in Canada. Tom Closson, a health-care management consultant, says he will first discuss the health-care issues facing the country, as well as "the forces that are at work which help or hinder us in addressing the issues." Then he will explore various visions of an ideal system and offer some ideas on future directions in Ontario and throughout Canada.

"Finally, I will examine how health informatics plays a significant and necessary role in enabling these directions as we strive to achieve an ideal system," says Closson, former president and CEO of University Health Network in Toronto.

His talk, entitled "Why Not Create the Ideal Health System Through Health Informatics?", will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1302. It's part of the annual smarter-health seminar series, sponsored by the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research. The UW-based institute dedicates the fifth year of its series to the theme Why Not — the question that's the catchphrase for UW's 50th anniversary.

Health informatics is an interdisciplinary area that develops, extends and applies concepts from computer science, information science, telecommunications and other disciplines with the goal of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of health care. The series explores such questions as Why not use the promise of information and communications technologies to improve health and the health-care system in Canada? Why not rethink how we provide health care? Why not do more to make it possible to receive health care at home or in the community?

The seminars are open to the public and admission is free. However, people are asked to register before each seminar. For those who cannot travel, the seminars are available via a live webcast and to the Ontario Telehealth Network sites via videoconference.

Seminar sponsors for Closson's talk are the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and the two hospitals that he advised a few months ago, Grand River Hospital and St. Mary's General Hospital. Series sponsors are Borden Ladner Gervais, McKesson Canada, Smart Systems for Health Agency and Healthcare Information Management and Communications Canada.


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