Monday, June 25, 2007

  • Students invited to choose triples
  • Biology professor 'charmed students'
  • And the rest of what's happening
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Spring? Was there a spring?

Says Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station: “I keep getting the question: Did we really have a spring this year? After a very cold April and summer like temperatures at the end of May, it is a valid question.”

He’s posted the usual quarterly summary on the weather station web site, and observes that springlike conditions turned up only mid-April and late May. “Of course, it can also be argued that a spring is by definition the mixing of both winter and summer weather and thus what we saw was still typical.”

Warm temperatures in late May offset the cold April to make the spring 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer than average overall, he calculates. “We only had 168.4 mm of precipitation during the spring, compared to the average of 219.5 mm. The 6.8 mm we got on the second last day of the season put us just barely into the range for average precipitation. The summer is starting out with the ground very dry, as evidenced by the brown colour of most of the lawns in the area.”

Link of the day

Jazz: Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto

When and where

Pension and benefits committee 8:30 to noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx closed Tuesday for retail services staff general meeting.

Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance presents Raghuram Rajan, University of Chicago, "Has Finance Made the World Riskier?" Tuesday 4 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Fund-raising barbecue sponsored by Muslim Students Association for its Orphan Sponsorship program, Wednesday 11:00 to 3:00, Biology green.

Aviation program in science and environmental studies, launch celebration in partnership with WestJet, appearance by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, Wednesday 1:30 p.m., Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, Breslau.

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

Smarter Health seminar: Octo Barnett, Harvard Medical School, "Why Not Address Clinician Knowledge Management Needs?" Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

CanTeach International information night about volunteer work in El Salvador, Wednesday 7:00, training room, UW distance and continuing education department, 335 Gage Avenue, Kitchener, reservations 519-496-8265.

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

Patricia McDonald, office of the registrar, retirement open house and tea party Thursday 3:00 to 4:30, Needles Hall room 3004, RSVP

Canada Day celebrations on the north campus Sunday, July 1, 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. UW holiday Monday, July 2 (no classes; offices and services closed).

[Desk and bunk beds on one side of room]

Bunk beds on one side of the room will be a feature of the triples in Ron Eydt Village South, the housing web site says. The third roommate will occupy a "loft bunk" on the other side of the room.

Students invited to choose triples

Almost 4,000 first-year students will go online, beginning today, to choose their preferred residence rooms in a system that's starting off with space for only 3,355 of them.

The difference is being made up by several moves and strategies, including one that university housing officer Chris Read thinks has the potential to be attractive: triple rooms in a wing of Ron Eydt Village, at a price of $500 a term less than a student will pay in the usual REV double rooms.

The housing department is inviting students to go for the triples as a group ("guaranteed accommodation with two of your friends") and adding other incentives: "guaranteed residence placement for the duration of your undergrad, whenever you want it", in an environment where more upper-year students apply for residence space each term than can be accommodated, as well as a bonus $100 in WatCard "flex dollars".

"As stated by the first-year residence guarantee," the housing web site is telling future students, "all students who met the conditions of the guarantee and met the application deadline will get a space in residence. We stand by our residence guarantee and will ensure that all applicants receive a bed."

From today through July 2, they can rank their choices of UW residence: triples or doubles in REV, space in Village I or Mackenzie King Village, suite rooms in UW Place, and so on. July 19 is the target date for telling individual students exactly where they'll be living in September. (Students who will be living in the four colleges, rather than UW's own residences, have already been assigned there.)

"In order to provide additional residence spaces, we will be creating a community of first-year students in Columbia Lake Village," the web site says. For the most part, townhouses in CLV South, each with four single rooms, are traditionally assigned to upper-year students and some graduate students.

The result, Read said late last week, will be that at least 100 new graduate students who would have been moving into CLV next fall will have to look off campus instead. Individual grads hadn't yet been accepted for residence, he said. He added that the department's off-campus housing staff will be working with all the students involved to find alternate housing.

Residence authorities are also counting on gaining as many as 150 beds from the usual attrition over the summer, as first-year students change their minds about coming to UW or about living in residence, have their admission to the university cancelled for academic reasons, or simply don't show up when they're supposed to.

The UW residences and the four colleges have a total of 6,150 beds, of which 2,300 are promised to upper-year undergraduate students and grad students for this fall.

Read says the residences are spending about $150,000 this summer on a rush order of new furniture for the triple rooms in REV, and will spend another $100,000 to improve lounges in that section of the Village and strengthen residence life programming in the face of the enrolment tidal wave. The over-full residences are the result of an over-full first-year class in general: at last count, the number of new students admitted for September was at 114 per cent of the campus-wide target.

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Biology professor 'charmed students'

From the Centre for Teaching Excellence — first in a series profiling the 2007 winners of the Distinguished Teacher Award.

[Moffatt]Barbara Moffatt (left), an associate professor in the biology department, has been teaching various biology courses for nearly 20 years. These courses include Molecular Biology, Analytical Methods in Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics of Plant Development, Plant Molecular Biology, and Information Retrieval and Management. Her topical research in molecular biology seamlessly finds its way into her courses, where students are routinely encouraged to learn the use of the latest technology in pursuing biological problems.

A student noted that Moffatt’s “intimate grace in delivering lectures charmed the students through the dry and sometimes difficult material that she had to cover. As a prominent researcher of plant molecular biology, she conveyed her thoughts thoroughly and accurately, emphasizing the importance of scientific concepts rather than detailed memorization.”

A colleague commented that she is “committed to improving the quality of undergraduate teaching on campus and to increasing the opportunities for students to learn at the forefront of a complex and rapidly changing field such as molecular biology.” Moffatt has several years experience using UW’s ACE course management system, and has often found fruitful ways to engage her students in a positive interactive dialogue regarding how to address and solve problems via the computer.

Her students appreciate her boundless energy both inside and outside of the classroom, including her undergraduate advising. Barbara Moffatt is also recognized as an effective mentor for graduate students and new faculty who are eager to improve their teaching techniques.

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And the rest of what's happening

[Two in academic gowns]Local businessman and philanthropist Jim Balsillie is making "a multi-million-dollar, transformational gift to the social sciences in Canada", an advisory has told the media. The announcement is expected this morning at 11:30 at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, which is involved along with UW and Wilfrid Laurier University. Balsillie is pictured in the red robe of a UW Doctor of Laws, the honorary degree he received from UW last week. With him is UW chancellor Mike Lazaridis. The two men are the key executives of local high-tech firm Research In Motion. Balsillie is already known as the chief benefactor of CIGI, and would-be owner of the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League.

The 2006-07 annual report of the staff association includes a few lines about the Committee of Inquiry on Staff Grievance, which exists under UW Policy 36 to investigate grievances that reach the formal inquiry stage. It has twelve members — six named by the staff association, six by the provost — of whom six are chosen to hear any particular grievance that comes along. Or not, as the case may be. "Typically, in any given year, the Committee hears one or two cases," Emily Barnes of the university secretariat writes in the report. "In 2006, no formal written complaints were received."

A construction fence (a cheery yellow one) went up at the end of the week just north of the Psychology-Anthropology-Sociology building, in preparation for work on the planned addition to that building. The project, with a $7.4 million price tag, will add about 29,700 square feet to PAS, or about one-fifth of its current size. "This building addition," the UW board of governors was told in a report to its June meeting, "is one of UW's strategic investments, arising from UW's work to expand its graduate enrolment (6th Decade Plan) and garner provincial funds. This project is integrated with improvements to existing animal facilities in PAS in response to a recent review." The main construction contract is held by Bondfield Construction Ltd.

Thursday's Daily Bulletin said that Linda Kieswetter, now an associate vice-president, started work in UW's development office in 1974, but in fact the year was 1984. • Linda Cummings (Hastings), graphic design assistant in the UW library since 1983, retired officially as of June 1. • The Warrior football camp for high school players, which started yesterday afternoon, continues from 6 to 8 p.m. today, tomorrow and Wednesday.


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