Tuesday, June 26, 2007

  • Donation creates Balsillie School
  • Aviation programs take off tomorrow
  • The Internet outage, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca


A new associate dean for graduate studies is in place in the faculty of science. Roland Hall, of the department of biology, took over that office as of May 1.

Link of the day

'We the peoples of the United Nations'

When and where

Bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx closed today for retail services staff general meeting. Canada Day Book Sale Wednesday-Friday, South Campus Hall concourse.

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

Career workshop: “Work Search Strategies” 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. “Career Exploration and Decision Making” Wednesday 10:30, TC 1208. Registration online.

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

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 slwagner@uwaterloo.ca.

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).

Donation creates Balsillie School

A $50-million donation from high-tech business leader Jim Balsillie to UW, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Centre for International Governance and Innovation was announced yesterday, launching a $100 million initiative to create the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo. The gift is described as the largest ever to the social sciences in Canada.

An announcement said the school will improve world affairs through better understanding of other nations in joint UW-WLU graduate programs in global governance and international public policy, plus the creation of 12 new Balsillie Research Chairs and 24 new Balsillie Fellowships for graduate students. That's in addition to the three existing Chairs and 15 Fellowships at each university established through a $3.5 million gift from Balsillie and CIGI in 2005.

Says Balsillie: “The issues of today are borderless. It’s a different world, an accelerated world, one that is adopting change across the globe collectively, aggressively, and irrevocably. Understanding the forces of the climactic times we live in, and anticipating what is to come, means answers must reach beyond borders. The Waterloo area and Canada will have a lot to offer to a deeper understanding of the many areas that impact global governance and international affairs. Ideas and creative thinking, the products that arrive naturally in a teaching and research environment, can go a long way in shaping our nation’s contribution.”

The partnership promises "enhanced intellectual collaborations between UW and WLU, as well as government, private sector, and international institutions. With the research capacity gained through the relationship with CIGI, the school will have extraordinary academic and think tank capabilities." Says John English, executive director of CIGI and UW professor of history: “We are building a cluster of world-class researchers whose work will have an impact that reaches across other universities, throughout Canada, and beyond.”

Yesterday's announcement said the investment "will have a positive effect on the region by allowing the universities to generate a further $25 million each in investment in the next decade, including faculty and staff salaries, research revenues, government operating grants, graduate student grants, and student fees. CIGI will invest up to $17 million over the same time period."

The City of Waterloo is leasing a parcel of land right beside CIGI in Uptown Waterloo at a reduced rate for the location of the new School. "This will be a place where extraordinary things will happen," said mayor Brenda Halloran. "What a tremendous example of collaboration, leadership and philanthropy." The school is scheduled to open in 2008 and is expected to move into its new building by 2009. Construction costs of the new building will be shared, and CIGI will operate the facility.

The Balsillie School will cultivate an interdisciplinary learning environment that develops knowledge of international issues from the core disciplines of political science, economics, and history, and the related disciplines of geography, global studies, environmental studies, and business. Students will be prepared for careers in teaching and research in international affairs, as well as for careers in national governments, international organizations, the non-government sector, and the private sector.

Says David Johnston, president of UW: "This is such a wonderful investment, both in terms of developing this area as the knowledge capital of Canada and for the future of international relations. It's becoming difficult to properly express the debt of gratitude that Waterloo Region owes to Jim Balsillie for his many contributions to our community.”

Balsillie is founder and Chair of CIGI and co-CEO of Research In Motion. He is a founding donor of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and a patron of the Grand River Hospital, where his leadership gift helped establish a new cancer-care centre.

Back to top

Aviation programs take off tomorrow

from the UW media relations office

Aviation enthusiasts will be able to learn to fly while earning a university degree through two new programs to be offered starting this fall. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will speak at the official launch of the two programs to be held tomorrow at 1:30 at the Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre, Waterloo International Airport. As well, WestJet Airlines will present a scholarship donation.

The new Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree in geography and aviation along with a new Bachelor of Science program in science and aviation will take flight starting in September. Both programs were developed in partnership with the WWFC.

"The field of aviation has evolved significantly over the past 20 years," says Ian McKenzie, director of the aviation program. "Aviation and aerospace industries demand a new breed of specialists who have a comprehensive academic background to help them understand complex aircraft systems and well-developed analytical, critical thinking and decision-making skills." Today, flight training is a requirement for many aviation and aerospace careers. A university degree, meanwhile, is seen by the airline industry as a valuable asset for a pilot and is rapidly becoming a requirement for the profession.

To meet that need, UW's new programs promise a solid foundation for careers in a diverse range of aviation and aerospace industries. Both degrees are designed to provide candidates with a comprehensive grounding in aviation-relevant subjects such as physics, earth sciences, geomatics (science and technology of gathering, analyzing, interpreting, distributing and using geographic information), climatology and remote sensing.

"Waterloo has a very strong science, environmental science, geomatics and technology base that will provide many of the essential underpinnings of aviation and aerospace," says McKenzie, also a professor of geography. In UW's faculties of environmental studies and science, aviation-related areas include solid-state physics, wireless communication, astrophysics, energy cells, fuels, remote sensing, climatology and meteorology, environmental sciences, computer cartography, geomorphology, global positioning systems and geographic information systems, among others.

The aviation component of both programs will cover professional pilot program requirements, delivered by WWFC. A non-profit organization, WWFC has been offering flight training for more than 70 years. Morton Globus, a professor emeritus in the biology department and himself a pilot, was instrumental in developing the new programs and served as UW's liaison with WWFC.

Back to top

The Internet outage, and more

Technology staff say they now know what caused Friday's failure of Internet service on campus, and the attention turns to what should be done about it. "Orion informs us," writes Doug Payne of information systems and technology, "that the outage was caused by construction crews cutting a Bell fiber-optic cable while digging on Glasgow Street near the intersection of University Avenue. Apparently they didn't 'call before digging'. Waterloo is one of the four remaining Orion POP sites that do not have local cable diversity and redundancy, and Orion says they have made it a top priority to find solutions to this issue. One of the other four such sites is in Kingston, where a traffic accident on Saturday caused a similar problem by destroying a utility pole, resulting in a 12-hour outage there for Loyalist College in Belleville and for Queen's University." UW was cut off from the world, and vice versa, from about 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday — an inconvenience for some, and a real problem for others, including distance education students trying to write online midterm tests.

The big issue in student politics this term, the Federation of Students attitude to "Greek" organizations (fraternities and sororities), was on the agenda for a showdown debate at Sunday's meeting of students' council, but in the end the topic was postponed to a future meeting. • Christina Brown, who worked in UW's food services department from 1964 to her retirement August 1, 1975, died on June 9. • There will be fewer choices of coffee break destination on campus after this week, as both the Tim Hortons outlet in Modern Languages and the CEIT building Café will be closed in July and August.

In a just-published double issue on “Measuring Progress, Building Heritage”, Alternatives Journal, published in the UW faculty of environmental studies, showcases some of the best of Waterloo’s green minds. Guest-edited by environment and resource studies professor Bob Gibson, the theme section on Measuring Progress explores ways to measure our environmental progress. Nathan Cardinal points out the inadequacy of the Gross Domestic Product, while the Pembina Institute’s Amy Taylor applies the Genuine Progress Index to Alberta’s heated-up economy. Joachim Spangenberg explains the tradeoff between the clarity of measures like the GDP and the ambiguous but realistic results of system analyses. The issue’s second theme section, Building Heritage, is a joint effort between the UW Heritage Resources Centre and Alternatives. Guest edited by school of planning professor Robert Shipley and doctoral candidate Jason Kovaks, the section emphasizes the link between healthy cities and a healthy environment. Mark Denhez argues that if there are recycling programs for tin cans and glass bottles, why not for whole houses and complete communities? Picking up on this theme, Edmund Fowler suggests ways to rehabilitate the energy-gluttonous suburbs, and Alison Aloisio uses the Life Cycle assessment to explore whether the greenest building is the one left standing. Meanwhile, in the second helping of the magazine’s debate column, Point-CounterPoint, Richard Gilbert and Mark Winfield trade ideas on incinerating waste. Also, Stephen Bocking considers the legacy of Thomas Berger's Mackenzie Valley pipeline report, Bill Rees questions whether civilization is really any closer to living sustainably, and Ursula Franklin eloquently describes the beauty, functionality and frugality of nature to a graduating class of science students. There’s also the final product of an earlier collaboration among Alternatives, The New Quarterly, and the Waterloo Unlimited program, in which grade 10 students weigh in on technology fixes for the planet.

This month’s newsletter for Columbia Lake Village residents puts the “international family spotlight” on Julie Sumerta, a student in the arts liberal studies program, and her husband Nyoman, an artist from the island of Bali, Indonesia, as well as baby Anjeli. • The Graduate Student Association has confirmed that services provided by the student health and dental plans will be improved for graduate students this fall as well as for undergrads whose coverage is through the Federation of Students. • The staff association’s shopping trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, a few months ago was so popular that it’s going to be repeated this fall, November 9-11.

A note arrived the other day from Elliott Avedon, retired from UW’s department of recreation and leisure studies but still deeply involved with the Museum and Archive of Games which he created. “As you know,” he writes, “the Museum has strived to maintain a global collection; however, we never gave much thought to global viewers on the website. We’ve never kept statistics about the website, just kept adding more collection graphics and information on-line. Last month we started to make use of Google Analytics. I’m amazed — for the past 30 days, 13,395 people from around the world have visited the Museum website and have looked at 24,469 pages. Approximately 40% of these visitors are from Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, Central and South America. Since every one of the Museum webpages includes the standard UW logo and UW name, I guess from these statistics it seems the Museum website has been one of UW’s global ambassadors for some time without knowing it! The Museum has had a website for over a dozen years, and my intent has always been to provide information about the on-campus object collection and from the print reference collection. Once a professor, always a professor — even though retired.”


Back to top

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin