Friday, June 29, 2007

  • Canada Day celebrates UW’s 50 years
  • Grad students surveyed on TA issues
  • History instructor: dazzle and passion
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

UW closed Monday for holiday

UW staff and faculty get their Canada Day holiday on Monday, July 2: offices and most services will be closed, and classes will not be held.

The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Monday. Saturday and Sunday hours are unchanged (11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Porter, 11 a.m. to midnight at Davis).

Tim Horton’s in the Student Life Centre will be closed all weekend.

Open 24 hours a day as always: the Student Life Centre (519-888-4434), the UW police (519-888-4911), and the central plant, where emergency maintenance calls can be directed if necessary (ext. 3-3793).

The games museum in Matthews Hall will be open from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday to show off its current exhibit, "Games of 1957", and offer visitors a chance to play crokinole.

Finishing their terms

Ending his term as acting vice-president (university research), as of June 30, is J. Alan George. He continues in his other role as associate provost (information systems and technology).

George Dixon finishes his term as dean of science June 30, to take on the position of VP (research). Terry McMahon of the chemistry department becomes dean of science July 1.

Gail Cuthbert Brandt ends her term as associate vice-president (academic) and acting associate VP (learning resources and innovation) June 30. She continues as associate VP (international). Geoff McBoyle becomes associate VP (academic) as of July 1.

Link of the day

Friendship Festival, Buffalo and Fort Erie

When and where

Canada Day Book Sale by UW bookstore continues today 8:30 to 4:00, South Campus Hall concourse.

Patio Party at the Graduate House: live music with In-Stro-Man-X from 5:00 tonight, $2 barbecue 6:00 to 8:00, free to grad students, others $5.

Barbecue lunch (including meat alternatives) to support equipment and training for track and field Warriors, Wednesday 11:00 to 2:00 at "Break" (the egg fountain) beside Math and Computer building.

'Bees and Beneficial Insects' presentation by master gardener, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, scheduled for Wednesday, now postponed to September.

Food services farm market Thursday, July 5, 9:00 to 1:00, Student Life Centre; future markets July 19, August 2.

Waterloo Region Comedy Festival: "New Faces of Comedy", recent graduates of Humber College school of comedy July 6, established Canadian stars June 7, both performances at 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets at Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

Postdoctoral applications: seminar for graduate students, July 10, 10:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Class enrolment appointments on Quest for fall term undergraduate courses: new students, July 16-29; open enrolment begins July 30.

Student Life 101 open house and seminars for new first-year students, Saturday, July 21, details online.

'2017: The Workplace' conference on "Examining the Future of Work", October 14-16, details online.

[Dozens of tables across gymnasium floor]

One of the biggest events of UW's 50th anniversary celebration was the athletics alumni "gala" last weekend. "Approximately 400 Warrior alumni and current student-athletes gathered into an energy filled PAC and were treated to a well choreographed evening of events," Dan Ackerman of athletics reports. "Led by master of ceremonies Neil Aitchison and keynote speaker President David Johnston, the gala was a great opportunity to rekindle old friendships and share new stories. The gala was the headline event to wrap up a weekend of sport reunions."

Canada Day celebrates UW’s 50 years

It’ll be fifty years exactly, as of Sunday, since UW’s founding — the day those original 74 students settled down to learn to be engineers, and got their first lecture from physics instructor Harold Ellenton.

Fifty years Sunday. Well, Monday. Or maybe Tuesday?

The accepted date is July 1, 1957, but the reality is a bit different. For one thing, the University of Waterloo didn’t come into existence until the Ontario legislature created it in 1959, while its predecessor, Waterloo College Associate Faculties, had been an entity since April 4, 1956. It’s a complicated story, told by university historian Ken McLaughlin in his 1997 book Waterloo: An Unconventional Founding, among other places.

Any of those years could be cited as the beginning, but the 1957 date was taken for granted at UW certainly by 1967, when the university’s first big fund-raising effort was titled the Tenth Anniversary Fund. And when the 25th anniversary came along in 1982, I got to write some of the story, providing these paragraphs for a souvenir brochure:

“Monday was a sunny day, and 30,000 people watched a Dominion Day parade which also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the city of Waterloo. Tuesday, 75 men who wanted to be engineers filled out registration forms, wrote admission exams and bought the term’s textbooks for $54.29. And Wednesday, July 3, 1957, classes began — the first classes given by what would one day be the University of Waterloo.

“John Diefenbaker had been prime minister less than a month. Sputnik I was three months in the future. Christopher Plummer was playing Hamlet on the new Stratford stage. And nobody much had heard of Waterloo College Associate Faculties.” Boy, have things changed.

So next Tuesday will be the exact 50th anniversary of Day One. But the big party will come Sunday, Canada Day, when the university, the Federation of Students and the city join in sponsoring celebrations on UW’s north campus. Music, games, food and crafts will get going at 2:00, and the party reaches a climax with a bigger-than-ever fireworks show at 10 p.m. over Columbia Lake.

Details of the Canada Day celebration are online, of course. Organizers — amid a flurry yesterday of T-shirts, media inquiries, plastic souvenirs, refreshment vouchers and balloons — are stressing that parking in all campus lots will be free Sunday, as kids and adults alike converge on UW in their thousands. Access is from University Avenue. Columbia Street West will be closed from Westmount Road to Hagey Boulevard, starting at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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Grad students surveyed on TA issues

a news release from the Graduate Student Association

On June 26, the Graduate Student Association launched a survey to determine the attitudes of graduate teaching assistants on issues such as lecturer-TA relationships, TA training, and general job satisfaction. The results of the survey will be used to form the GSA's lobbying position by increasing the organization's understanding of what issues teaching assistants regard as priorities. The survey will be conducted online, with every graduate student receiving an e-mail invitation.

The survey, being conducted by the GSA's Standing Committee on Graduate Student Funding, is the first step towards developing a comprehensive GSA position on TA-related issues. Since policies regarding the administration of teaching assistantships vary between departments and faculties, the survey is expected to identify not only departments in which additional attention must be paid to TA satisfaction, but also departments with high satisfaction rates whose policies can be held up as models to be emulated. The results of the survey will be shared with the Graduate Studies Office as part of the GSA's effort to represent graduate students to the university administration.

Graduate students will have four weeks to complete the survey, with the results being available soon thereafter. As an additional incentive to assist with the survey, participants will be entered in a draw to win one of three $25 Grad House gift certificates.

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History instructor: dazzle and passion

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


Gary Bruce (left), an assistant professor, has been teaching undergraduates and graduates in the history department since September 2003. The courses taught by this award winner include the Holocaust, Eastern Europe Since 1945, Nazi Germany, Modern European History II and the Western World II.

Bruce’s students note that he has the gift of rhetoric with the “ability to capture his students in a lecture, dazzle students in discussion, and his creativity generates thought outside of the classroom.” His play regarding the East European purge trials generated a lively discussion. His innovative activity called “Did I vote for Hitler?” encouraged the students to apply their knowledge. In this activity, the class must decide whether a certain person voted for the Nazis based on the character and demographic traits of random individuals presented in a series of slides.

As the faculty liaison to the History Society, Bruce has been involved in putting together numerous functions that enrich the students’ university experience.

From the first day of class, his passion for teaching is apparent, and the passion does not end until he finishes lecturing on the final day of the course. A colleague describes his courses as a bridge between the past and the present. “His courses are journeys and he invites students to accompany him on them. And from what the students tell me, each time he teaches a course it has all the magic of the first time he taught it, yet also all of the wisdom that goes into a course that has been taught many years by a great instructor. It is a fine line to walk, but somehow Dr. Bruce manages with flying colours. It is an art that comes naturally to him and one that he has mastered early in his career.”


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