Wednesday, June 20, 2007

  • Student's wooden dress on exhibit
  • 'Optimistic' on grad student growth
  • Staff association meeting, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

News from the year UW began

When and where

[Carrot]Farm market organized by Food Services, first session for 2007, WatCard accepted, 9:00 to 1:00, Student Life Centre. Future markets: July 5 and 19, August 2.

Institute for Quantum Computing open house 5:00 to 7:00, 195 Columbia Street West; panel discussion 7 p.m., four major scholars from the current "Taming the Quantum World" conference explaining the major advances in quantum information processing, details online.

PhotoShop workshop 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Imprint office, Student Life Centre.

Star Performance Academy recital 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Spiritual Heritage Education Network presents Sandy Milne, St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church, "Compassion: the Golden Rule", 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015.

UW observatory presents Michael Balogh, "Observatories of the 21st Century", followed by tour of the Bakos Observatory, 8 p.m., Physics room 145.

Education Credit Union grand opening of new branch in TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, Thursday 12:00 noon.

[Aboriginal Day logo]
National Aboriginal Day
barbecue and celebration Thursday 12:00 to 3:00, St. Paul's College, featuring Blue Stone Cloud Drum Group, information

Surplus sale of UW furniture and property, Thursday 12:30 to 2 p.m., central stores, East Campus Hall.

International spouses group meets for nature slideshow, "Gaia's Gifts", Thursday 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre, children and others welcome, information e-mail

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, Google Inc., "Tracking the Internet into the 21st Century", Thursday 1:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Waterloo Centre for German Studies Liederabend (songs in German, commentary in English), works by Bach, Liszt, Mozart, Schumann and others, Thursday 7:30 p.m., St. Paul's College, $10 (students $5) from WCGS, Modern Languages room 219.

Living Wall unveiling and plaque presentation to donors, Friday 10:30 a.m., Environmental Studies I foyer.

Columbia Lake Health Club grand opening Friday 11 a.m., TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard; guest speaker, Helena Guergis, federal secretary of state for sport; bring workout wear to try out a fitness class; RSVP 519-746-7416.

'Minds of Modern Mathematics' wall mural unveiled by department of pure mathematics, Friday 12:00 noon, Math and Computer room 5046; informal lunch follows, information ext. 3-3484.

Women in Engineering Committee presents Cat Coode, electrical engineering 2001, Research In Motion, "Soft Skills: How They Can Get You Ahead in a Competitive World", Friday 12:00 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 306, register online.

ACM-style programming contest Saturday: practice 10:45, contest 1:00 p.m., details online.

UW athletics 50th Anniversary gala Saturday 5:30 (cash bar), 7:30 (dinner), Physical Activities Complex, highlight of a weekend of team reunions, tickets $50, details online.

Open house on north campus planning, with staff from Urban Strategies and UW, June 27, 2:30 to 7:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301.

Southern California alumni event in La Jolla Wednesday, June 27, 7:30 p.m., guest speaker John Szeder, BMath 1996, co-founder of Mofactor Inc., details online.

Positions available

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

• Administrative assistant, systems design engineering, USG 8
• Joint program and development assistant, dean's office, environmental studies, USG 6
• Institutional programs coordinator, office of research, USG 8
• Financial aid assistant, office of the registrar, student awards and financial aid, USG 5/6
• Undergraduate advisor/ coordinator, electrical and computer engineering, USG 6
• Custodian I, plant operations
• Manager, Bombshelter, campus bar operations, USG 7
• Library associate, library, USG 6
• Graduate studies awards programs assistant, graduate studies office, USG 5
• CNC machinist, engineering machine shop, USG 8
• Instructional support coordinator, computer science, USG 9/10

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

[Wooden strips tangle like lace]Student's wooden dress on exhibit

It’s a most unusual master’s thesis: “The Girl in the Wood Frock”, recently completed by Andrea Ling for her degree in UW’s school of architecture. “The work produced by Ms. Ling is of exceptional beauty,” says Rick Haldenby, director of the architecture school.

One of the installation items in the thesis is pictured at left — constructed, in the inventory style used for gallery catalogues, of “1/16” black cherry veneer, stainless steel hardware, copper cable, acrylic plastic”.

A reception tonight will open a three-day showing for Ling’s work at the Riverside Gallery in UW’s Architecture building in Cambridge. Then it goes to Toronto for a three-week showing at the IndexG Gallery, where it’s curated by Gary Michael Dault, adjunct faculty member in the architecture school and Globe and Mail columnist.

The story behind the exhibition is explained this way in a release from the Toronto gallery: “ A girl, forced to marry her father after he sees her playing in his dead wife’s wedding gown, runs away wearing five dresses. Four dresses are of silk and they are beautiful. The last dress is of wood. It is in this dress that the girl escapes, throwing herself into the river to float away.

“A prince saves the girl, but treats her badly, for she wears an ugly wood frock. Her suffering is eased at night when the girl takes off the wood dress and dances in the silk ones. The prince discovers the girl in the silk dress and they live happily ever after.”

The exhibition, says the release, “is based on a fairytale in which a girl’s life is changed by what she wears. The heroine experiences the outside world through her clothes, in particular, her dress made of wood. It becomes her first architecture, protecting and sheltering the girl in the most intimate fashion while at the same time highlighting her physicality and extending its influence. In this in-between place, elusively defined by the shifting dialogue between her moving body and the surface of the wood shell surrounding her, is a most potent, and poetic, form of space. ”

Ling came to her UW architecture studies with a background in physiology at the University of Alberta. This exhibit exhibits “her fascination with clothes and how they affect bodily experience, both in the making and wearing of them”. Ling currently splits her time between Cambridge and Toronto.

Tonight’s reception at Riverside runs from 6:30 to 8:30. The exhibition will be open tomorrow and Friday. Then it moves to the Toronto gallery, located in the Gladstone Hotel at 50 Gladstone Avenue, where it will run June 26 through July 15. An opening reception in Toronto is scheduled for June 28 at 7 p.m.

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'Optimistic' on grad student growth

Bill Power, the associate dean of graduate studies, told the UW senate on Monday that he's still "cautiously optimistic" about the growth of graduate enrolment for this fall — but added that the "cautious" is getting softer and the "optimistic" is getting louder.

He brought the latest report on the number of students who are being offered admission to master's and PhD programs, as UW seeks to grow in a hurry and take advantage of a limited-time offer of extra funding from the Ontario government.

The goal is to have 1,515 "domestic" (Canadian) students at the master's level and 715 at the PhD level when counts are taken this November. (The figures represent full-time equivalents, where a part-time student counts as one third of a full-time student.) "Last fall we grew about half way to that target from the base," Power reminded the senate: November 2006 enrolment was 1,191 in master's programs and 668 in doctoral programs.

With grad students finishing their programs this spring or summer and leaving, officials calculate that UW needs to admit about 675 master's students and 115 doctoral students this fall. "Offers keep going out," Power said, with 786 students offered admission to master's programs (as of June 15) and 157 to doctoral program. Both figures are well ahead of last year's total at the same time (454 and 101 respectively).

"Every faculty has increased, so this is really a cross-campus effort," Power said, and noted that admissions at the beginning of the spring term were up by 63 per cent from the spring 2006 figure.

He added that a few students have already turned down their September offers — presumably because an offer also arrived from some other university — and the challenge now is to keep in touch with the ones who are still making up their minds where to come in September. "I suspect there will be a fair bit of buying of students over the summer," he added, referring to scholarship offers that various universities will dangle in front of promising students.

While the immediate emphasis is on Canadian students, UW is not abandoning its interest in boosting the number of international graduate students, Power told the senate, saying that the number of offers sent to potential grads from outside Canada this season is also up from last year's figure.

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[Sitting at table with display board]

Today is World Refugee Day, but refugees are a concern every day for Estelle Sun and Sheryl-Ann Schrik, members of the UW local committee for World University Service of Canada. They're seen explaining the group to passers-by in the Student Life Centre on Clubs Day earlier this term. WUSC's first sponsored refugee arrived on campus a year ago from Kenya, a second is expected in August from Ethiopia, and "we anticipate sponsoring a new student each year from now on," says Lisa ter Woort of the co-op and career services department, advisor to the group. The university is providing tuition fee waivers, Conrad Grebel University College has offered accommodation, and other agencies and individuals are making support available, she said.

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Staff association meeting, and more

There was a good turnout yesterday morning for the annual meeting of the UW staff association— standing room only in the Math and Computer lecture room where it was held, about 100 people in total on hand to see acting president Sue Fraser turn the top job over to 2007-08 president Jesse Rodgers. "It was disappointing to see this year that all positions were filled by acclamation," said Fraser, and Rodgers repeated that point, saying he hopes to see more people competing for leadership positions in what he thinks will be "an interesting year". His executive met informally even before taking office, he said, and "we're going to be busy this summer" (the first official meeting is today) with an eye to "some good plans" to put before staff members by fall. "I'd love to hear from you all," Rodgers said, "but not all at once. I want to hear from those people who have never spoken up before!"

At the staff association meeting, retired UW executive Bruce Lumsden talked about the Staff Enhancement Fund, which was created in honour of his retirement two years ago. Some people are remembered with scholarships, he said, but "I was an awful student in university, so I didn't want to go there." Instead he looked back to a four-month leave he took in the 1980s to study distance education and how it was administered at universities across Canada and Australia — an experience that turned out to be valuable for both him and the university. ("The hardest thing was to write a report," said Lumsden. "It took me about six months.") The fund provides financial support for staff who want to learn or do something that's a bit out of the routine, and the first grant was made recently to support an educational opportunity for an unidentified staff member. Thank you, said Lumsden, to those who have contributed to the fund: "I would encourage you to support this fund — it will be good for you and it will be good for your colleagues."

Also at the meeting, former association president Stephen Markan reported on the Confederation of Ontario University Staff Associations, which UW's association rejoined last year after some time away. It's been a "successful" experience so far, he said — for example, "we've learned from other universities" how they handled the issue of staff who think they were given bad advice about when and whether to join pension funds at a time when they were young and membership was optional. • There was applause for Stephen Sempson, 2006-07 treasurer of the association and a staff member in science computing, who received a master's degree in management sciences at last week's Convocation. • Steve Breen of information systems and technology won the door prize.

[Westlake]In other matters . . . there's an event today to honour John Westlake (right) for his "wonderful contribution to Co-operative Education and Career Services". Westlake began as a coordinator in CECS in 1976, and has been the key person in its services to engineering pretty much ever since then, with the title of program administrator coming in 1982 and "assistant director" after that. An engineering himself, he's also served as one of the Wardens of the engineering "camp" in Kitchener-Waterloo that's responsible for the Iron Ring Ceremony. Today's reception will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 at the University Club, and last-minute information (including word about contributions to a gift) should be available from Sandra Shantz in CECS, ext. 3-3926.

[IQC logo]Also later today, four of the world's leading scholars will explore and explain the world of quantum information processing science at a public panel to be held as part of the month-long Taming the Quantum World conference. Chaired by UW chancellor Mike Lazaridis, the panel will include Nobel Prize winner Anthony Leggett, a faculty member at UW and the University of Illinois, and will tackle such questions as what have been the most important advances in quantum information processing in the last decade and what are the potential implications of this research for the society and economy of the future. The event, open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the Institute for Quantum Computing quarters in the “BFG” building, 195 Columbia Street West. It will be preceded by an open house, the first one ever held by IQC, from 5:00 to 7:00.

As the NanoForum Canada conference on nanotechnology winds down, and the 40th anniversary conference sponsored by the combinatorics and optimization department continues, another gathering of scientists starts today. It's the Northern Lights Summer Conference organized by the Canadian Federation of Biological Sciences and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, with sessions on nanomedicine, human metabolomics, diagnostic imaging and other highly technical fields. Delegates, some 400 of them, are expected from disciplines as diverse as chemical engineering, physics, pharmacy and computer science. Activities are concentrated in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre.

The next phase of construction (and destruction) on the east side of the ring road, past the engineering buildings, will start tomorrow, Gary Kosar of the plant operations department says: "Work will begin Thursday on the eastern portion of the ring road starting at Carl Pollock Hall going north, for approximately nine working days for watermain replacement in 8 locations plus installation of one electrical duct bank. We are replacing existing cast iron watermains with new blue brute water lines to hopefully avoid cutting up the new pavement in the future. The ring road will be closed to vehicular traffic but open to emergency and service vehicles. The work will inconvenience both car and pedestrian traffic."

And . . . I wrote yesterday that there were 38 first-year students confirmed for UW's accounting and financial management program this fall, and that's wrong. The figure is actually for the new program in "computing and financial management". AFM, a program in the accountancy school (and therefore part of the faculty of arts figures that I mentioned), is expecting 219 first-year students, or 133 per cent of its target.


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