Monday, December 10, 2007

  • Ads feature biologist's land cleanup
  • Keystone Campaign previews 2008
  • Another newspaper ad; more notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Faculty promotions

Promoted to professor as of July 1, 2007, as reported by the president:

Kankar Bhattacharya, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Raouf Boutaba, Computer Science
Jennifer Clapp, Environment and Resource Studies
Steven Corbin, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
Richard Culham, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
David DeVidi, Philosophy
Jean Duhamel, Chemistry
Geoff Fong, Psychology
James Forrest, Physics and Astronomy
James Geelen, Combinatorics and Optimization
Zina Gimpelevich, Germanic and Slavic Studies
Tadeusz Gorecki, Chemistry
Eric Helleiner, Political Science
Christopher Hudson, Optometry
Derek Koehler, Psychology
Tanya Korovkin, Political Science
Shoufa Lin, Earth Sciences
Brian Orend, Philosophy
Wayne Parker, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Guy Poirier, French Studies
Siva Sivoththaman, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Peter Song, Statistics and Actuarial Science
Dan Stashuk, Systems Design Engineering
Norman Zhou, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering

Link of the day

Human Rights Day

When and where

Fall term exams continue through December 20; preliminary marks begin appearing on Quest December 21; grades become official January 28.

Tourplay children's performance, "Alligator Pie", 10:00, 11:45 and 1:30, Humanities Theatre, returning Friday 10:00 and 1:00.

QPR suicide prevention training 11:30 to 1:00, register ext. 33528.

Architecture building hot and cold water shut down Tuesday 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. for equipment testing.

Doug Wright Engineering building (A wing): fan coils shut down Tuesday 10:00 to 2:00; air circulation units remain in service.

'Knowing Your Workplace' information session about UW salary administration, Tuesday 11:00 to noon, Math and Computer room 4040.

Senate undergraduate council Tuesday 12:00, Needles Hall rom 3004.

Trellis library system will be down for upgrade December 12-18, details online.

Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research presents Claudette DeLenardo, Grand River Hospital, "Developing a Patient Portal", Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

50th anniversary closing event for faculty and staff, Wednesday 3:00 to 4:30, Columbia Icefield.

Conrad Grebel University College alumni carol singing Wednesday 7:00 p.m., Grebel atrium.

Employee Assistance Program presents a brown-bag session: "What's Your Humour Approach?" Thursday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Winter term fees due December 17 by cheque or January 2 by bank transfer, details online.

University closed Saturday, December 22, through Tuesday, January 1; university police and Student Life Centre continue without interruption. Offices reopen Wednesday, January 2, 2008; winter term classes begin Monday, January 7.

Federation of Students nomination period for 2008-09 executive January 7 through 21, information ext. 36781.

Application deadline for Ontario secondary school students entering UW in September 2008 is January 9 (exceptions and details listed online).

[Smiling face in newspaper ad]Ads feature biologist's land cleanup

Readers of the Swift Current Prairie Post, the Carlyle Observer and seven other newspapers in rural Saskatchewan are seeing the face of UW’s Bruce Greenberg these days, as the ad shown at right is being published during November and December by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Canetic Resources Trust, a major oil company.

It celebrates techniques that were developed in Greenberg’s lab in the UW biology department and are now being put to use in western Canada to clean up salt contamination — a widespread problem after oil and gas exploration, as the drilling process brings up brine (salt and water) and leaves soil that needs remediation to return it to its original state.

“My lab has been working in phytoremediation for eight years now,” says Greenberg, referring to the use of plants to clean up pollution. Originally he and his colleagues were interested in the cleanup of oil-polluted lands, and carried out a successful project for Imperial Oil on its property at Sarnia. As they demonstrated their technique to other companies, he says, they were asked whether it could also be used to deal with salt contamination.

As a result, they’ve now been working on that problem for about a year, and “the initial results, both in the lab and in the field, are positive,” Greenberg says. Or as the Saskatchewan newspaper ad puts it, “Canetic is simply giving nature a helping hand.”

Along with colleagues Xiao-Dong Huang and Bernie Glick, Greenberg has formed a company, Waterloo Environmental Biotechnology Inc., that has been performing actual remediations at several petroleum-contaminated sites in Western Canada. When the company is called in, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and technicians become involved on a consultant basis. (The company pays expenses and overhead fees to UW when university labs are used.)

Much of the research work at UW, he adds, is funded by a Collaborative Research and Development grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, in which Canetic is a partner. “Across Canada,” the ad notes, “the oil and gas industry invests millions of dollars and works with multi-stakeholder groups to develop new and innovative practices to reduce its environmental footprint.”

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Keystone Campaign previews 2008

A year-end reminder has gone out to staff, faculty and retirees, all of whom are invited to donate to UW through the Keystone Campaign and support scholarships, research and other university priorities.

"As of October," says the letter from Keystone manager Jennifer Lorette in the development office, "the Keystone Campaign had raised over $7.2 million. . . . Your continued support will benefit Waterloo's most tangible strengths: our students and our programs." Keystone is the on-campus segment of Campaign Waterloo, which at last report had raised $260 million . . . $350 million . . . $410 million and counting, far beyond the original goal. Almost half of all staff, faculty and retirees have made a gift since Keystone was launched in May 2000, including 399 people who have given to the campaign every year during that time.

The letter, timed to encourage donations before the December 31 cutoff for 2007 tax receipts, comes along with a pledge card and return envelope. It reminds readers: "Your gift will help UW students in many ways. Contributions to scholarships help the University to attract the best students; donations to equipment and teaching resources ensure that we provide our students with the best possible learning environment; support for the Library provides teaching and research materials; and a gift to any of the other priority projects helps UW to maintain its excellence in teaching, research and programs. By making your pledge through payroll deduction, your monthly gift can add up to a very significant annual donation!"

The mailing also included the traditional Keystone keepsake, a tent-style calendar for the coming year with UW holidays and paydays marked on it. It even marks the recently created Ontario "Family Day" holiday on February 18, and it shows that Canada Day falls on a Tuesday in 2008 and thus will give UW a four-day summer weekend.

It also provides the first sweet alert that Keystone will be selling "treat-a-grams" again this year just in time for Valentine's Day. Text about the campaign on the reverse side of the calendar card notes that in 2007, 1,850 chocolate brownie cupcakes were delivered, "raising an amazing $6,400."

Keystone is operated with the help of a team of volunteers from departments across campus, who are being honoured at a reception this afternoon, 3:30 to 5:00 at the University Club. "The event is called Celebrating with the Stars," says Lorette, "and it is the final recognition event for our current set of volunteers. Those invited to the event are all past and present volunteers — Campaign co-chairs, working group chairs and working group members." UW president David Johnston will be there to speak, she said, "thanking them for the important role they have played in our successes."

She adds: "I have some of my new volunteers already recruited."

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Another newspaper ad; more notes

[Balsillie's figure dominates the ad]Planning is moving ahead for the Balsillie School of International Affairs, which is to be a joint effort of UW, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The Balsillie School now has a web site, and is actively looking for some of its key people. The ad reproduced at left took up half a broadsheet page in the Globe and Mail on December 1; similar ads are planned in other Canadian and international publications. It invites applications for the position of director ("expected to have a national and international profile") and for twelve chairs ("outstanding researchers and academic leaders" in such fields as international law, poverty, governance, environment and social policy.

Two Waterloo students were among the top young entrepreneurs in the 2008 iGNITION $1K Pitch Competition, held at UW on November 30. The competition is designed to emulate real-life business pitch conditions: each participant had 90 seconds to present the critical elements and benefits of their business opportunity to a panel of judges as well as audience members. “This competition demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the students in the MBET program” says Paul Doherty, director of the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology. Timothy Li, an MBET student and founder of the company Finx, presented an emerging technology that provides a cross-platform computer language for internet content delivery, specifically designed for television. “This product will allow people to access the Internet in the comfort of their living room,” he says. “This competition forced me to articulate the product clearly and to develop a concrete product offer.” Another MBET student, Salima Gilani, presented on behalf of McMaster RFID Applications Lab (MRAL) and is currently working with selected Ontario hospitals to develop better business intelligence solutions for the healthcare industry. The Pitch Competition is considered a warm-up and stepping stone to the Nichol Launchpad $50K Venture Creation Competition, scheduled for May, which began as a partnership between UW and Wilfrid Laurier University and now involves five other institutions.

Organizers will draw a winner today in the raffle of three gift baskets "stuffed full of goodies" that have been on display for the past week on the first floor of Needles Hall (proceeds to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region). • Kinesiology Lab Days are continuing in UW's kin department, with students from Kitchener's Grand River Collegiate Institute, among other high schools, expected today, and sessions repeated each day through Friday. • The food services catering division will offer its Christmas buffet in the Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday (reservations call ext. 84700).

And here's a reminder that tomorrow morning brings a "town hall meeting" for UW staff members, organized by the staff association. The main agenda item is the planned new document, UW Policy 36, on "dispute resolution" and grievances. (Trenny Canning of the university secretariat reported Friday that the new Policy 36 "is on its way to Executive Council for consideration, then to the President for approval, and on to the Board of Governors. The revised final proposal, which has been slightly modified based on comments received from staff, will be posted to our site, replacing the earlier draft.") Tomorrow's meeting will touch on other staff concerns as well, including proposed constitutional changes for the association aimed at making it more effective. The meeting is to run from 8:30 to 10:00 in Davis Centre room 1350. A memo to department heads from associate provost Catharine Scott a few days ago asked them to "support your staff members' attendance at this meeting and provide them the time off work to attend. Our Staff Association is working hard to support and represent their membership and their employment issues."


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