Thursday, February 22, 2007

  • Confirmed again: polluted air kills
  • Keystone features campus couple
  • Profs on leave: what they're doing
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Snow-covered trees beside MC]

Snow is glistening: file photo by Jim Marshall.

Link of the day

Founder of the Scouts

When and where

Graduate Student Leadership Conference sessions in Davis Centre, lunch at Graduate House, outing to Wellington County Brewery, details online.

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

Arts alumni "Appreciation Night" at Brick Brewing Company, 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.

UWaterloosaurus project: artist Peter Etril Snyder continues work on mural, and computer science professor Jeff Shallit speaks on "Asteroids and Meteorites" for kids and adults, Saturday 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (same talk and slide presentation, with meteorites to hold), Waterloo Town Square.

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

Warrior men's hockey playoffs vs. Western, second game Saturday 7:30 p.m. at UWO, broadcast online by CHRW. (Warriors won first game of three-game series last night, 3-2.)

Pick Your Plan Week for undergraduate students begins Monday.

Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian speaks on "Privacy by Design", sponsored by Engineering Society and other societies and faculties, Tuesday 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.

TD Canada Trust/Walter Bean Lecture by Mike Harcourt, former premier of British Columbia: "Canada's Cities, Competitive and Sustainable?" Tuesday 3:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre, free reservations ext. 8-4973.

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.

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

Application deadline for admission to UW for spring term, March 1; fall term, March 30, earlier cutoffs in some cases, details online.

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).

International Women's Day dinner March 8, 5:00 p.m., South Campus Hall, tickets $30 from Humanities box office, details online.

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).

One click away

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Architecture student succeeding despite disability
City council puts off decision on north campus fields
'Why are men falling behind in universities?' (UW dean is co-author)
Official results of student senate elections
UW-created cell videos 'just too awesome'
Artists report on time spent at UW gallery
Embassy Magazine reports on UW's overseas plans
Nova Scotia takes education message to Ottawa
• Ottawa may boost fiscal transfer to Ontario (Globe)
Tuition fees a major issue in Québec election
Latest appointments to the Order of Canada
Tuffy Knight, formerly of UW, in Hall of Fame
Ontario colleges mark 40th anniversary
BA not enough? New master's degrees offered
• Global Citizenship Conferences: at McMaster, at Laurier
'New sources of educated workers' for Canada
Plans for McMaster campus in Burlington are public
Windsor adopts UW structure (provost, deans' council)
McMaster recruits engineering students on Second Life

Confirmed again: polluted air kills

from the UW media relations office

A Waterloo-based research network says scientific evidence of the effects of air pollution on human health and the environment is clear enough to support global efforts to continue reducing outdoor levels.

The Network for Risk Assessment and Management (NERAM) has developed with international experts a 12-point plan — parts of which have been adopted in Europe — to fight air pollution and improve public health. The plan, a policy guidance document on air quality management for local, regional and national policy-makers, is the result of a five-year NERAM colloquium series.

"It is now universally recognized that poor air quality has adverse impacts on human health and research confirms that residents in Southern Ontario and other parts of Canada are exposed to levels of air pollutants associated with morbidity and mortality," says UW professor emeritus John Shortreed, executive director of both NERAM and UW's Institute for Risk Research.

"Waterloo has done five years of work in translating research from around the world for use in policies to improve health. We are ready to battle the No. 1 environmental killer — air pollution." The plan reflects the latest thinking of policy-makers and health researchers from around the world. The fifth and final colloquium was held in October in Vancouver.

Research shows that both short-term and long-term exposures to particulate matter and other air pollutants are statistically associated with serious human health effects, including premature death, heart- and breathing-related hospital admissions and emergency room visits, together with a worsening of asthma conditions.

"Scientific evidence of the effects of air pollutant exposure on human health and on the environment is strong enough to justify global efforts to continue to reduce outdoor concentrations, even in locations that meet air pollutant standards," Shortreed says.

He adds that Europe and Britain are already implementing the interim policies proposed by the NERAM colloquium series held in Rome in 2003 and in Mexico in 2005 to deal with hot spots, such as high traffic areas in cities like Toronto. "They are using an innovative approach to regulations that actually allow some locations to exceed air quality standards, while imposing area-wide reductions that have many more health benefits — the result is more health outcomes for existing regulatory resources."

Shortreed says that air pollution typically causes a white, yellow or brown haze that reduces visual range, affecting people's ability to enjoy their surroundings. In places like Hong Kong, the impaired visibility caused by haze or smog is used as a means to show the public the link between high air pollution concentrations and increased health costs.

Topics covered in the NERAM document include air quality and human health, emission inventories, air quality management approaches and evidence of effectiveness, as well as challenges and opportunities in air quality management. The document can be viewed at online.

The plan includes the following strategic policy directions for air quality management:
♦ Communication of health effects is key to increasing public awareness and demand for air quality management policies.
♦ Increase awareness of linkages between air quality and climate change.
♦ Cross-sectoral policies in energy, environment, climate, transport, agriculture and health.
♦ Exposure reduction and continuous improvement policies are important extensions to ambient air quality standards.
♦ Reducing exposure to combustion-generated particles should be a priority, such fossil fuels and biomass.
♦ Evidence is sufficient to justify policies to reduce traffic exposures.
♦ Prioritize pollutants and sources based on the potential for exposure.
♦ Policies focused on improving visibility may gain greater support than those focused solely on health.
♦ International harmonization of measurements and metrics, emission inventories, modelling tools, assessment of health effects literature and health-related guidelines.
♦ More research on toxicity-determining characteristics of particulate matter and more evaluation of local, regional and global policies.

NERAM has already started a regional initiative in the Greater Toronto Area along with Pollution Probe to apply some of the research results in order to tackle the thousands of premature deaths every year in Ontario.

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Keystone features campus couple

[Woman and man, in greener weather]Familiar faces on campus, Angelo and Mary Graham (left) are long-time supporters and employees of UW, and they're featured in this month's donor profile published by the Keystone Campaign.

Up to his retirement in December 2005, Angelo Graham’s career spanned 17 years in the Library as a cataloguer and facilities co-ordinator, the profile says, and then 17 years in the safety office. Mary Graham has been with UW for 16 years, working in distance education, the office of research, and now in the office of development as a research officer. Angelo graduated from UW in 1968 with a degree in history, and the couple’s daughter Bridget is also an alumna, who graduated in 1995 in psychology.

What have you enjoyed most about working at UW? Says Angelo: "My student years, being in the late ’60s, were particularly memorable. Later as an employee, my experiences were much different, but equally memorable and rewarding. As facilities co-ordinator, I was involved in many projects such as the move into the Davis Centre library. As safety officer, I enjoyed my contacts on campus assisting UW staff and faculty with ergonomic concerns, investigating work-related injuries, and helping UW employees return to work after they suffered illness or injury." And Mary: "Working in each area has been an education for me — – learning about the unique programs that DE provides, the scope of research activity across campus, and how our alumni have used their education to create successful careers, start companies, make discoveries, and then give back to UW."

To what project(s), do you designate your gift? Angelo: "I designate my gift to the Library — despite the growth of many online services, the Library continues to be the hub and soul of UW." And Mary: "I support scholarships to help students who have the ability to attend but have greater financial needs."

What motivated you personally to give? Mary: "The high cost of tuition, and hearing about students struggling to work and attend university prompted me to consider giving to UW. Although I attended another Ontario university, I donate to UW since it is located in my home community, my daughter is a graduate, and I am employed here. Working in Development has also made me more aware of the need to give back." Angelo: As a young high school student in Waterloo, I was excited about the emergence of the new university, and a visit to campus and touring the first permanent building solidified that feeling. Being both an alumnus and an employee, I saw donating as a natural step, a continuation of my UW experience. I am continually impressed by the stature UW has with members of the larger community which I became aware of when working with people off campus, both locally and provincially. Simply being a part of this institution has made me proud and motivated me to want to continue to enhance UW’s reputation."

What are your favourite spots on campus? Mary: "I enjoy walking across campus when meeting friends, particularly the stream and trees near the university colleges, and the shady benches in the Peter Russell Rock Garden. And of course, the Bookstore, and Scoops ice cream!"

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Profs on leave: what they're doing

Here’s another list of UW faculty members who are currently on sabbatical leave, with their plans for the sabbatical as reported to the UW board of governors.

Derek Revington, school of architecture (six months that began November 1): “I will install a major public sculpture at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, and I will conduct theoretical and applied research on the performative relationships between architecture, music and light, resulting in a refereed conference presentation and a major cross-disciplinary collaborative work to be installed and premiered at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics in 2007.”

Yu-Ru Liu, pure mathematics (six months that began January 1): “I plan to visit the Mathematics Department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor from January to May in 2007. I will be working with Professor Trevor Wooley on a project about the warning problem in function fields. I plan to go back to the University of Waterloo in the middle of May to continue working on my research and supervise my students.”

Shesha Jayaram, electrical and computer engineering (twelve months that began January 1): “My research interests are in the areas of High Voltage & Electrical Insulation Engineering, Pulse Power Technology, and Applied Electrostatics. With the completion of the HV Lab construction, I am planning to enhance the research activities at UW. In this connection I prefer to stay in Waterloo for part of my sabbatical year, and visit other international HV labs to establish collaboration.”

Bruce Taylor, fine arts (six months that began January 1): “My plan is to simply spend productive time in my studio developing a new body of work.”

Wayne Brodland, civil and environmental engineering (twelve months that began January 1): “Since joining the University of Waterloo, my primary research area has been the mechanics of embryo development. Modern biology has been an increasingly important component of this work, and the purpose of my sabbatical is to allow me to focus on learning about the latest biological techniques relevant to my research program. As part of the learning process, I hope to spend some time in laboratories in Germany. I also hope to initiate a new project on the mechanics of cancer metastases.”

Garry L. Rempel, chemical engineering (twelve months that began January 1): “During my sabbatical leave, I will pursue the following: further development and exploitation of research carried out under NSERC Industrial Research Chair during the period of January 2000 to December 2006, collaborative research with universities in South East Asia resulting from established research undertaken including the co-supervision of graduate students, invited to lectures at a number of universities, research institutions and industrial research operations, and sustain intense research being carried out at the University of Waterloo.”

Jennifer La Guardia, psychology (six months that began January 1): “The sabbatical will be used to write up several accumulated data sets for publication, prepare a SSHRC grant for Fall 2007 competition, and undergo training in Event related potential (ERP) technology. These efforts are aimed at understanding emotion regulation within couples and developing strategies for problem prevention and intervention.”


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