Wednesday, February 21, 2007

  • Grad students' conference begins
  • 'Excellence' award to optometry prof
  • Smoke signals on a sunny morning
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday

When and where

Ash Wednesday service 12 noon, St. Bede's Chapel, Renison College (Anglican).

[Goalie in action]
Warrior men's hockey
playoffs vs. Western, first game tonight 7:30, Columbia Icefield; tickets $9 (students $7, children free) at athletics office or at the door; WatCard not valid for admission; broadcast live on CKMS.

Spiritual Heritage Education Network presents Marjorie Paleshi, "Living Well, Dying Well: Two Sides of the Same Coin", 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015.

Student Life Centre: no hot water Thursday 7:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Safety orientation for new employees Thursday 10:00 a.m., registration online.

International spouses group: "Traditional Costumes and Games from Around the World" (bring costumes, pictures, games). Children welcome. Thursday 12:45 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre, information

Arts alumni "Appreciation Night" at Brick Brewing Company, Thursday 7 to 9 p.m., $10, registration online.

Centre for Family Business, Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar: "Employee Conflict, How to Resolve It", Friday 7 a.m., Westmount Golf and Country Club, details online.

Weather station contest (predict date and time when temperature hits 20 Celsius) entry deadline Friday 3 p.m.

School of Accountancy hospitality suite at annual CA Convocation, Westin Harbour Castle Toronto, Saturday 4 to 6 p.m.

Pick Your Plan Week for undergraduate students begins February 26.

Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian speaks on "Privacy by Design", sponsored by Engineering Society and other societies and faculties, February 27, 12 noon, Theatre of the Arts, registration online.

'Your Future UW Pension' information session sponsored by faculty association, staff association and CUPE local 793, Tuesday 12 noon, Humanities Theatre.

National Engineering Week event: Erin Bourke-Dunphy, 1998 graduate in electrical and computer engineering, "A Woman's Perspective", Tuesday 4:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 103; then "Dynamic Systems: The Move to Knowledge-Driven Management", 6 p.m., RCH room 101.

Seattle alumni celebration, February 27, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Bellevue Arts Museum, details online.

Canada Council representatives explain Killam Research Fellowship program, presentation February 28, 9:00 a.m., Needles Hall room 3001; individual appointments available (e-mail

Waterloo engineering 50th anniversary celebration, March 1, 6:00, Royal York Hotel, Toronto, $125 per person, details online.

International Student Development Conference March 2-3, Rod Coutts Hall, agenda now online.

'Working through conflict' presentation sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, March 5, 12:00 noon, Davis Centre room 1302 (note change from previously announced date).

Campus Day open house for future students and family members, Tuesday, March 13, programming 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., details online.

'The Caucasian Chalk Circle', drama department major production, March 15-17 and 22-24, Theatre of the Arts, tickets from Humanities box office (519-888-4908).

Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Student life co-ordinator, first year experience, student life office, USG 6
• Administrative coordinator for undergraduate studies, recreation and leisure studies, USG 5
• Parking kiosk attendant, parking services, USG 2
• Records assistant II, development and alumni affairs, USG 4/5

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

Grad students' conference begins

Graduate students from across Canada are gathering at Waterloo today as their periodic Leadership Conference gets under way, hosted this year by the Graduate Student Association at UW.

A wine-and-cheese reception tonight will be followed by working sessions tomorrow and Friday at which the delegates will hear from big names both inside UW and outside. Topics of the conference are to include "leadership skills, teaching and research, education, future prospects and value of a graduate degree, national development, university policies, challenges faced by graduate students, ways to collaborate and unify, etc.," says a summary from the organizers.

UW president David Johnston will be the guest speaker tomorrow in a session on "Leadership within Academia", and on Friday Paul Davenport, president of the University of Western Ontario, will speak on "Growth of Graduate Studies", a hot issue in Ontario's universities this year. Other speakers will include Jeff Henry, vice-president (education) of the UW Federation of Students; Elaine Garner, manager of financial aid programs in UW's graduate studies office; and experts from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

"The purpose of the conference," says the GSA, "is to organize a forum of executives from major Canadian universities to discuss graduate education in Canada." Working sessions will take place in the Davis Centre, with social activity centred at the Grad House: tonight's reception (sponsored by the UW dean of graduate studies), a buffet dinner on Friday and a closing brunch on Saturday. Thursday night gives a nod to the tradition of student conferences, with a trip to the Wellington County Brewery in Guelph.

Delegations are expected from universities as close as Laurier and as far away as New Brunswick and Northern British Columbia, as well as Toronto, Calgary, McGill and at least a dozen others. Most visitors will be staying at the Walper House in Kitchener.

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'Excellence' award to optometry prof

from the UW media relations office

[Jones]A leading researcher at the UW school of optometry has been recognized as a top educator by a United States organization which advances optometric practice by fostering research and disseminating knowledge in vision science. Lyndon Jones (left), an associate professor of optometry, has received the 2006 Michael G. Harris Family Award for Excellence in Optometric Education. It was presented in December by the American Optometric Foundation, affiliated with the American Academy of Optometry.

"This is an important award as it recognizes high standards in teaching and scholarship that enhances optometric education," says Thomas Freddo, director of the optometry school. "The award is given to an optometric educator who has shown excellence in the education of optometry students and the advancement of optometric education."

A winner of a UW distinguished teacher award in 2005, Jones has been teaching optometry undergraduates and graduate students since arriving on campus in October 1998. Students have said he "is able to make the most complicated of subjects both interesting and simple" and that his lectures are "interesting, relevant and well-presented."

Jones connects the background theory with clinical practices through his mastery of PowerPoint. He uses relevant diagrams, videos and up-to-date information so students can see real-world applications of theory. As well, he integrates his own research and past experiences into his lectures. He is known as a teacher who encourages classroom discussion. Outside of the classroom, students find him to be approachable and always willing to help.

Jones also strives to help improve optometry education in general. He was involved in the establishment of Optometric Educators Ltd. in Britain, a company devoted to motivating continuing education in optometry. He gives international lectures to optometrists about improvements in optometric education and the latest developments in optometry, particularly contact lenses and eye disease.

He is in demand around the world and has given more than 300 invited lectures in some 25 countries. This year, while on sabbatical leave, he has invitations to lecture in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.S. and several countries in Europe.

Jones is also the associate director of UW's Centre for Contact Lens Research, which performs clinical research on the ocular response to contact lenses and other forms of vision correction. He is an expert on bio-compatibility — the interaction between contact lens materials and eye tissue. His research interests includes the assessment of contact lens deposits, wettability (the degree to which liquids will spread evenly across a surface), friction and the interaction of contact lens materials with the ocular environment.

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Smoke signals on a sunny morning

The "new" dean of engineering at UW isn't so new, as a notice from the university secretariat makes clear: " Adel Sedra's term as Dean of Engineering expires on June 30, 2008 and, as required by Policy 45, the process for constituting the Nominating Committee is under way. Nominations are requested for 'one staff member elected by and from the regular staff of the Faculty' (at least three nominators are required in each case). Completed nomination forms should be submitted to the Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Friday, March 9, 2007. An election will follow if necessary."

[Bibby]Noted sociologist Reginald Bibby (right) will be at Conrad Grebel University College today to speak on "The Elusiveness of Paradise: The Legacy of Canada’s Baby Boomers". The talk is Grebel's annual Rodney and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar Lecture, and starts at 7 p.m. in the college's great hall. Bibby, says Grebel dean Jim Pankratz, "is probably Canada’s best known sociologist. “His Canada-wide research projects and books have documented Canada’s youth culture and charted the changing face of Canada’s culture and religious scene over the past twenty-five years. His research about religious attitudes and participation is widely used by pastors, religious leaders, scholars and the public media. We are very fortunate to have him.” The lecture is expected to focus on Bibby's new book The Boomer Factor, which examines just what kind of country boomers will be leaving behind. "Drawing on his well-known and unparalleled series of national surveys of adults and teenagers spanning the years 1975 to 2005," a news release says, "he identifies ten important trends, including significant changes pertaining to: the pervasiveness of diversity, the decline of community, the rise in the desire for input, the new basis for decision-making, the new sense of time, and the information explosion." Bibby is staying in Waterloo long enough to address Grebel’s Faculty Fellows Forum tomorrow.

Daylight saving time will be starting on March 11 this year, some three weeks earlier than the traditional date, and while it's not exactly the Y2K crisis all over again, it does present complications for computers. The central issue, as I understand it (please note that qualifier), is that computers and BlackBerries typically take their time signals in "universal" or UTC time, convert UTC to local time, and might get things wrong if they don't realize that daylight saving has begun. "A minor inconvenience," says a summary from UW's IST experts, "might be finding that you need to adjust the clock on your computer on March 11. A more serious problem might be a missed meeting because of shifts in your computer calendar entries in the extended DST period. Computer companies have been busy releasing patches to the various systems that they support. Microsoft, Apple and RIM released their patches last week. The patches will correct your computer's DST settings but may also result in 1 hour shifts in scheduled meetings." Details are on the IST web site.

Proud news forwarded by Cathy Voigt of the communications office at Renison College: "Renison's English Language Institute (ELI) has received the prestigious Lyn Howes award for excellence in Curriculum Review. Presented at the Canadian Language Council Conference in Victoria, the award is given annually in recognition of best practices, commitment, and/or innovation in the delivery of language programs. ELI courses offer training in communication skills for students whose first language is not English. English For Academic Success (EFAS) is an intensive, 12-week program open to any prospective or current university student seeking increased proficiency in the speaking and writing of English."

I've been writing rather casually that the Columbia Icefield is closed during reading week, but the reality is that the Icefield itself (the arena) is open for business and only the CIF gymnasium complex is closed. • Canadian Blood Services happily reports that even with "weather challenges" during last week's blood donor clinic in the Student Life Centre, 46 units of blood were collected. • If everything goes well, the full Quest system should be back in operation this morning after a three-day partial shutdown for software upgrading.


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