Thursday, January 25, 2007

  • UWSA 'is aware' of union mailing
  • UW and NRC sign quantum memo
  • And a little of this and that
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Burns Night

When and where

Winter book sale of bookstore merchandise in the South Campus Hall concourse winds up today 8:30 to 4:00.

Computational math colloquium: Gary Brock, Ontario Centres of Excellence, "The New Program Portfolio: An Overview", 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

International spouses group marks "Italy Day" with a program about Italian culture and language, 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre, children welcome.

Career workshop: "Interview Skills — Preparing for Questions" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Mathematics Faculty Awards Banquet 5:30, South Campus Hall, details ext. 3–6757.

All ages night at Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre, doors open 9 p.m.; no alcohol, unlimited pop, $6 in advance, $10 at door.

Centre for Family Business, Conrad Grebel University College, presents breakfast talk, "It's All About Customer Service", Friday 7 a.m., Westmount Golf and Country Club, details online.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: "Supporting Student Notebooks" by staff of client services division, Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.

Weight Watchers information and registration meeting Friday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5136, information ext. 3–5072.

Nobel Prize winner Tony Leggett, professor of physics, "Does the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?" Friday 2 p.m., CEIT room 1015, reception to follow; registration is now full.

Polar Jam outdoor concert beside Federation Hall, "six bands in six hours", Friday 5 to 11 p.m., details online.

Warrior Weekend activities in the Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday evenings, including movies, pizza, crafts, details online.

Volunteer/internship fair with representatives from non-profit agencies, Tuesday 11:00 to 2:30, Student Life Centre great hall.

UW BookClub sponsored by UW Recreation Committee and bookstore, first meeting of the new year, February 1, 12:00, in the bookstore, to discuss Michael Gruber's Valley of Bones.

FASS 2007: "The Seven Silly Sins", performances February 1 at 8 p.m., February 2 at 7 and 10, February 3 at 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets at Humanities box office.

UpStart 2007, "A Festival of Innovative Theatre", fringe-style festival organized by department of drama, February 1-3 and 8-10, Studio 180, Humanities building, more information online.

FASS Theatre Company 45th anniversary dinner Saturday, February 3, Graduate House, tickets $5 from Humanities box office.

One click away

New links with Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay)
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YMCA 'now fully committed' to building project on north campus
What drove her to be a doctoral student in physics
Air service from Calgary to Waterloo Region
Argument about how Feds referenda are conducted
UW student on curling team in World University Games
Video from 'Game Camp' held at UW
Praise for a lecture on 'quantum physics as computer science'
U of Guelph president reappointed
Group sends volunteers to Latin American schools
U of Saskatchewan marking its centenary
U of Regina president resigns
Demographer says enrolment will fall within a decade
Guelph program lets faculty, staff go to developing countries
National body to investigate research fraud is suggested
From CIGI: Scorecard on Corporate Governance in East Asia

[Heads together]

Award-winning faculty members Jake Sivak (optometry) and Rhonda Hanning (health studies and gerontology) confer with Ranjana Bird, the dean of graduate studies, at a reception held last week to honour this year's winners of the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision. Sivak and Hanning were presented with the award along with Donald Cowan (computer science) and Sherman Shen (electrical and computer engineering). The awards, says Bird, honour "four outstanding graduate supervisors who act as mentors, advisors, role models, humanists and strategists to their graduate students".

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UWSA 'is aware' of union mailing

The UW staff association says it did not prompt the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation to send a mailing to many UW staff members this week inviting them to unionize through what the letter calls "the strongest education union in Canada".

Says a statement posted on the association's web site: "The UW Staff Association Executive Committee is aware that there is currently a union drive happening. . . . This is not an initiative of the Staff Association, but is being led by staff interested in an alternative to an association — a certified bargaining unit.

"This in no way affects the business of the UWSA, so please continue contacting us about your staff concerns at, or by phone at ext. 3-3566. If you have any questions about OSSTF or the drive, contact the Organizing Committee." It provides a phone number and a web site.

A number of staff on campus — including me — received the letter and brochures, with an invitation to any of three information sessions about the OSSTF next week. "Many of your colleagues have expressed an interest in joining" the OSSTF, and having it become their union, says the cover letter. It doesn't mention any of those colleagues by name.

The staff association's president, Joe Szalai of the library user services department, first ran for president of the staff association in 2000 on a platform of unionizing staff through the Canadian Auto Workers. He wasn't elected at that time, but took part in an unsuccessful CAW organizing campaign in 2001. The association said in June 2006 that "Should the situation at UW get to a point where certification become a more attractive and pressing need, OSSTF would be an appropriate organization to turn to."

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UW and NRC sign quantum memo

Officials from the National Research Council, including its president, Pierre Coulombe, visited campus yesterday to sign a “memorandum of agreement” to recognize a strategic research partnership between NRC, through its Institute for Microstructural Sciences, and UW, through its Institute for Quantum Computing.

“An informal collaboration between NRC-IMS and researchers at UW’s Institute for Quantum Computing already exists and will develop further under the umbrella of an NSERC Innovation platform known as Quantum Works,” says Brandon Sweet of UW’s government relations office, explaining the event.

“The signing of this memorandum of understanding will solidify the partnership and form a strategic research partnership in the general field of Quantum Information and thus establish a very strong position for Canada both in research on Quantum Computing/Information and in securing downstream benefits.

“The agreement’s scope identifies areas of common interest between NRC-IMS and IQC that will form the basis for collaborative programs for which agreements will be developed on a case by case basis. These include Nano-Photonics and Nano-Electronics, solid state and photonic quantum devices, NMR experiments and mathematical algorithms.”

The two-year agreement, with a provision for renewal, calls for joint research projects on topics of mutual interest, giving researchers from both organizations an opportunity to work outside their own organization; recruitment and training programs to let the organizations collaborate in the placement of post-doctoral fellows; and arrangements for the organizations to share equipment and services.

Coulombe, NRC vice-president Richard Normandin, and Marie D’Iorio, who heads the Institute for Microstructural Sciences, began their campus visit just in time for lunch with president David Johnston. Afterwards, representatives of the two agencies and UW officials signed the memorandum of agreement in Johnston’s office.

“An informal discussion” followed the ceremony, says Sweet, after which the NRC visitors headed for IQC’s offices and lab space for a 90-minute tour led by David Fransen, executive director, and Ray Laflamme, scientific director.

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And a little of this and that

Things may be edging back towards normal after last weekend's crash of the co-op employment computer system, JobMine. Here's the current announcement about what's being done in the wake of the trouble: "Both job postings from Thursday, January 18 and Friday, January 19 will remain open until 3:00 a.m., Thursday, January 25. . . . The job posting that was scheduled to open on Wednesday, January 24, will now open on Friday, January 26 and close on Sunday, January 28 at 11:59 p.m. If you applied to any jobs before JobMine was shut down, please review your applications page in JobMine and re-apply to ones that are missing. Also, click on each application and view the résumé you attached to be sure it looks ok. If not, re-upload the résumé. The JobMine shutdown also affects those employers who have booked to interview students on January 31, February 1, and February 2. . . . The two-day extension will mean that employers will have less time than usual to review and choose candidates to interview. As a result, it is possible that notification of your interviews on these dates may be last minute. Once again, we sincerely apologize to you for this unexpected system issue and we appreciate the patience you have demonstrated."

There's a new way for students to get help with their writing, says Melissa McNown, coordinator of the Living-Learning Programs in the UW residences: "The Writing Centre and Living-Learning Programs have partnered to create the Writing Clinic in Residence. Students can come to the UW Place Community Centre or Village I Multipurpose Room on Tuesdays or the Ron Eydt Village North 102 lounge on Thursdays. From 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at each location, students can drop in and have a professional tutor review their written work. From 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. students can attend a tutorial and learn about a specific writing topic. Upcoming topics include 'How to proofread' and 'Things professors hate to see in assignments (and how to avoid them)'. The Writing Clinic in Residence is available to and free for all UW students."

[Tataryn]Myroslaw Tataryn (left), who has been acting president on top of his existing job as academic dean at St. Jerome's University for the past half year, is now interim president of the UW-federated institution, "until a new President assumes office". The board of governors of St. Jerome's met earlier this week to make the position official. Ted McGee, English professor and associate dean, becomes interim vice-president and academic dean, also continuing until a new president is in place. And math professor Cyntha Struthers will be an associate dean, with a term until July 1 of this year.

UW's school of architecture hosts a colloquium today on "the contemporary city form of Toronto. The gathering will feature a series of talks and discussions with distinguished architects, poets, and critics. Presenters will consider a range of key questions affecting the fabric of the city centre: What new patterns are emerging? How will the city develop in the future? Who benefits, and what is excluded? How might opposing forces work together? This discussion will especially relate to those working in the fields of architecture, landscape and urban design. All are welcome." Sponsored primarily by the 3A design studio, the event runs from 10:30 to 4:30 in the Architecture lecture hall (the building is on Melville Street in Cambridge). Topics include "Reading day and night on the edge between garden homes and vertical gated neighbourhoods", "Fluid and fixed in Toronto's urban form", and "Individuated space and assembly".

The UW chapter of Engineers Without Borders — which is where the national organization began — is sending no fewer than 34 student delegates to EWB’s sixth national conference, being held this week in Calgary. They’ll hear the Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, as well as other speakers addressing issues of international development. The theme of this year’s conference is “Leaders for Change". “Of the 34 undergraduate students attending,” writes Nina Li of the local group, “four will be going to Zambia, Ghana, and Malawi on a junior fellowship placement to work in the areas of water and sanitation, agriculture, agro-processing, and rural energy. In addition, Sarah Lewis, UW graduate and past EWB president, has been assigned to a 14-month placement where she will be working in the northern region of Ghana. The national conference is a culmination of the work on campus, including presentations to over 600 high school students on issues of water resources, energy sustainability, and food production and security. It is also a privilege made possible by the generous funding of our supporters, including Digital Rapids, Northern Digital Inc., and the various faculties across the campus.” The UW delegation is sending an entry for the national film competition, as well as constructing a quilt square to be joined by 32 other quilt squares from EWB chapters across Canada.

Canadian Blood Services collected 233 units of blood at UW last week, despite one session of the five-day clinic being cancelled by a winter storm, and will be back for a one-day clinic February 2 in the Student Life Centre. • Food services says today is "international night" at REVelation cafeteria in Ron Eydt Village. • The Entrepreneurs Association of UW will be holding its "UW Apprentice" event February 14 through March 14, and is looking for participants, with an application deadline of January 31.

STEPS, a "healthy eating and healthy weight" group, is meeting Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. in Student Life Centre room 2134, and welcomes students at no charge. • The PhD oral defence for Duncan Mowbray of applied mathematics, announced for today at 12:30, will in fact be starting at 11:30 a.m. in the announced room. • The "A to Z dining" group organized by the UW Recreation Committee is going on beyond zebra tonight, with a final fling (5:30) at the Omega Restaurant on Fischer-Hallman Road.


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