Monday, June 4, 2007

  • $6 million from Ontario for research
  • Garden honours late chancellor
  • 'Continuing lecturers' are faculty
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Back to the fUWture logo]
Keystone event all set for Wednesday

Staff, faculty and retirees are invited to gather at the rock garden in the centre of campus on Wednesday to celebrate the Keystone Campaign's annual summer event.

"Recognizing the importance of this initiative, we have designated the 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. period as paid work time for all UW staff and faculty to participate," says a memo from president David Johnston.

The president will arrive at the event in a 1957 Thunderbird, organizers say, and will speak briefly. The celebration has the theme "Back to the fUWture" and will include other participants' dreams and predictions for the decades ahead at UW.

Also promised: food, games, music, draw prizes, and the "Amazing Race" competition. There's no parade this year; the idea is for people to just gather at 11:30. "Everyone is asked," I'm told, "to dress in outfits that represent any of the university's past decades or what they imagine for UW's future."

For night staff who perhaps can't get to the midday event, there will be an evening party starting at 10:00 p.m. in South Campus Hall.

Link of the day

Tiananmen Square 1989

When and where

Employee Assistance Program presents brown-bag session on "Simple Living", 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302, no advance registration required.

Computational mathematics colloquium: Aleksandar Jemcov, Fluent Inc., "Algorithm Stabilization and Acceleration in Computational Fluid Dynamics: Exploiting Recursive Properties of Fixed-Point Algorithms", 2:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Climate change briefing marking National Environment Week, by Patti Edwards and Linda Mortsch, Environment Canada, on Canadian participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 3:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

'Life, Money and Illusion' author Mike Nickerson speaks, sponsored by Waterloo PUblic Interest Research Group, 5 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room, details online.

UW board of governors meets Tuesday 2:30 p.m., CEIT building room 3142 (not in Needles Hall board room).

'Air quality in Ontario' presentation by David Yap, Ontario ministry of the environment, Wednesday 3:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113, presentation for National Environment Week.

Perimeter Institute presents Jay Melosh, University of Arizona, "Death of the Dinos: Giant Impacts and Biological Crises", Wednesday 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information 519-883-4480.

Faculty of Science 50th anniversary picnic and group photo for faculty and staff, Thursday 11:30 to 1:30, Optometry west lawn.

'The Great Homeless Count' film showing sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Thursday 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Groundbreaking for Optometry building addition Friday 11:15 a.m. on west side of existing building.

Ninety-fourth Convocation in eight sessions June 13-16, Physical Activities Complex, details online.

Staff association annual general meeting June 19, 9:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 2017.

George Dixon, dean of science, reception as his term ends, Tuesday, June 19, 4:00 to 5:30, University Club, RSVP ext. 3-3363; contributions being accepted to Faculty of Science Scholarship Fund.

25-Year Club annual reception and recognition of 25-year and 35-year staff and faculty, June 19, 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, information ext. 3-2078.

PhD oral defences

Physics and astronomy. Tomasz J. Konopka, "Space and Particles at the Planck Scale." Supervisors, F. Markopoulou and R. B. Mann. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Wednesday, June 13, 10:30 a.m., Physics room 374.

Combinatorics and optimization. Donny Cheung, "On Algorithms, Separability, and Cellular Automata in Quantum Computing." Supervisor, Michele Mosca. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Wednesday, June 27, 9:00 a.m., St. Jerome's University room 1005.

Biology. Xianqin Yang, "Investigation of Flavoproteins Involved in the Metabolism of Anaerobic Hyperthermophilic Microorganisms." Supervisor, K. Ma. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, June 28, 10:00 a.m., Biology I room 266.

Computer science. Ehsan Chiniforooshan Esfehani, "Intersperse Coloring." Supervisor, Naomi Nishimura. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, June 29, 1:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Management sciences. Bing Ran, "Meaning Construction: A Cognitive Process of Conceptual Interaction." Supervisors, Robert Duimering and Frank Safayeni. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, July 3, 1:30 p.m., Engineering II room 3324.

$6 million from Ontario for research

The Ontario government announced funding for two UW research projects on Friday, saying that such grants help in “attracting the best and brightest minds to Ontario”.

“Through the Research Infrastructure program of the Ontario Research Fund,” a news release said, “the McGuinty government helps researchers obtain the tools they need to stay on the forefront of innovation, including lab space, equipment and computer software. This round of funding under the Research Infrastructure program will provide $6,071,743 to support two projects at the University of Waterloo. The funding will leverage investments from nine industry and other partners.”

[MPP looks intently at demonstration]The announcement was made in a lab in Engineering III building by John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre, on behalf of the provincial ministry of research and innovation. (Left: Milloy watches a demonstration by Daryoosh Saeedkia, research assistant professor in the Microwave Integrated System Lab.)

Funding for the two projects has already been received from the Canada Foundation for Innovation at the federal level. Through the Research Infrastructure program, the province matches the CFI funding commitment so that total project funding is shared among CFI (up to 40 per cent), the province (up to 40 per cent), and the research institutions and industry partners (at least 20 per cent).

“For Ontario to be prosperous and have a high quality of life, it’s essential that we invest in the skills, knowledge and creativity of our people,” said Milloy’s announcement. “By supporting new research, Ontarians will benefit from better health care services, new technologies, a cleaner environment and more opportunities for success.”

In one of the projects being launched Friday, the province is providing $5.0 million of the $12.8 million cost of new work in “intelligent” wireless technologies.

“The rapid spread of wireless technology,” a backgrounder explains, “is creating major opportunities and challenges. This project will help Ontario’s information and communications technology sector maintain its world-renowned leadership in wireless technology. Researchers at the new Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems will develop intelligent radio network systems and other cutting-edge radio sensor technologies.

“The centre’s five inter-related laboratories will, for the first time in Canada, bring together world-class research and equipment to spur the development of next-generation wireless systems. The systems will support emerging technologies such as biomedical sensors, pharmaceutical engineering and wireless ultra-broadband networks.”

Heading the project is Safeiddin Safavi-Naeini, professor of electrical and computer engineering and NSERC/RIM Industrial Research Chair. "ORF’s investment for the establishment of the Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio System is a huge boost to research in innovative radio technologies,” he says."Built-in intelligence, hardware flexibility, and environment-awareness of such systems offer capacity and performance levels unmatched by any existing wireless technologies. Frequency spectrum and the measurement precision of the CIARS lab facility will be unique in Canada and among very few world-wide. CIARS will be an invaluable innovation support for Ontario industries to remain a leaders in the fast evolving telecommunication market.”

Major industry and other partners include Research In Motion, TDK RF Solutions, Agilent, and Elektrobit.

The other project involves submillimeter instrumentation for astronomy, in a project headed by Michel Fich of the department of physics and astronomy. The province is providing $1.0 million towards a total cost of $6.8 million.

Canadian researchers, the backgrounder explained, “will develop and adapt innovative camera systems designed to peer into the farthest reaches of space, for a wider range of commercial and industrial uses, particularly in the fields of health and security.” It said Fich “will lead a consortium of scientists from universities across Canada to develop a revolutionary new instrument capable of detecting and capturing light of extremely short wavelengths. This emerging technology may eventually become an entire industry — microwave electronic imaging.”

Says Fich: “We are developing the infrastructure to create detectors that will be used in instruments for many applications in science, medicine, commerce, and security. This investment by the Ontario government in this cutting-edge technology will potentially enable an entire new industry."

Key partners in the project include the Canadian Space Agency, Agilent, UK PPARC, Cornell, and CalTech.

"The university is grateful for the Ontario government's support of our research and scholarship in these two promising areas," said a statement from UW president David Johnston. "This investment will help our researchers secure the tools they need to stay at the forefront of innovation."

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Garden honours late chancellor

from the UW media relations office

UW and the Garden Club of Kitchener-Waterloo will unveil the Valentine O'Donovan Memorial Garden at a ceremony tomorrow. The event will start at 1 p.m., with UW president David Johnston among those attending.

[O'Donovan]O'Donovan (left), who served as UW's chancellor from 1997 to 2003, died in February 2005 at age 68. Founder of Com Dev and an innovator in satellite communication, he played a key role in the relocation of UW's school of architecture to Cambridge in 2004.

The memorial garden, located near the Physical Activities Complex and facing the Student Life Centre, was built with a donation from the garden club, one of 13 member clubs of the Garden Clubs of Ontario. The club is also a member of the World Association of Flower Arrangers.

Founded in 1957, the same year as UW, the 125-member garden club has a long-standing relationship with the university. Through the support of club members and other contributors, a special fund was set up to develop the O'Donovan memorial garden. O'Donovan was a gardening enthusiast, with a keen interest in his own rose garden.

"In many ways Val O'Donovan embodied the comprehensive nature of this university," Johnston says. "He was an engineer with a love of the arts. He was as much at ease in a discussion of rare books, space age technologies or, most relevant to today's celebration, exotic and beautiful flowers.

"In dedicating this garden to the memory of Val, we are also recognizing the generosity of the Garden Club of Kitchener-Waterloo. Starting in the late 1980s, a special fund was established to develop a garden such as the one we are dedicating today. Those seeds bear fruit."

"The Garden Club of Kitchener-Waterloo is pleased to be able to establish such a garden in memory of Val O'Donovan and mark the occasion during the 50th year of the university and the club," says Ann Diebel, past president of the club. "The garden club continues to expand our relationship with UW through the recent establishment of a student scholarship in the faculty of environmental studies. This is part of the many contributions we make to our community through our involvement in initiatives such as the Festival of Trees, the restoration of Laurel Creek and the establishment of the Walter Bean Trail."

O'Donovan and his family have also been generous benefactors to UW in several ways, including the creation of an endowed research chair in the faculty of engineering and an endowed directorship in the school of architecture. He also donated a number of rare Canadian historical volumes to the UW library.

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'Continuing lecturers' are faculty

In spite of what I wrote in Friday’s Daily Bulletin, people who are appointed as “continuing lecturers”, including the clinical teachers in the UW school of optometry, are real faculty members and are represented by the faculty association.

I was writing about a conversation with David DeVidi, the president of that association, and quoted him as saying that he hoped to devote some attention to “the UW instructors, collectively known as ‘continuing lecturers’ and including clinical faculty in optometry, who aren’t really professors, aren’t part of the faculty association, and fit uneasily into the existing salary system and terms of employment”.

And that’s not correct. “Continuing lecturers are indeed regular faculty and are represented by FAUW,” DeVidi reminded me right after the item appeared. “In fact, we are taking some issues about how they are not well served by some current wording of the Memorandum of Agreement and certain policies and practices (some of them have no opportunity to do research, but still get 0.2 of their merit weighting based on research, that sort of thing) to the administration in order to improve their lot.

“The confusion probably arose from the fact that we discussed continuing lecturers as part of a discussion of other groups on campus whose status is problematic — librarians, sessional teachers, post-doctoral fellows, etc., who at other universities are often represented by the faculty association. Unlike continuing lecturers, members of these groups are not now counted as regular faculty.”

He notes that “there are continuing lecturers now in several faculties, and there are important issues that pertain to all of them. But since there are a number of continuing lecturers in Optometry, many of the issues around continuing lecturers become entangled with the issues that will arise with the arrival of many more clinical faculty at the university when the Pharmacy school opens — presumably involving clinical assistant, associate and full professors and not just clinical lecturers.

“FAUW has as a key priority for the coming year making sure that continuing lecturers in all faculties, and what with the addition of the pharmacy school, clinical faculty of any rank, are appropriately and fairly treated at UW. This will require rethinking of many things, from appointments to annual merit review procedures to tenure and promotion standards.”

Karen Trevors, executive assistant for the faculty of science, confirmed that clinical lecturers in optometry, in particular, do count as faculty members: “It is correct to state that they are not appointed at the rank of professor, but they certainly are appointed as faculty. In the Faculty of Science, which includes the School of Optometry, individuals who have the title of Continuing Lecturer are hired as regular faculty which places them under UW faculty policies and the Memorandum of Agreement. The only difference with faculty with titles that include ‘professor’ is the rank of the position. One other factor is that there is no comparable career path for lecturers such as assistant, associate, full professor.”


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