Wednesday, March 21, 2007

  • The amazing race: nearly at term's end
  • Quotes about Monday’s federal budget
  • Other things that are springing up
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

For some, it's new year

When and where

Blood donor clinic continues through Friday, Student Life Centre, make appointments at turnkey desk.

Volunteer tax clinic to assist students with income tax returns, sponsored by Accounting Students' Education Contribution, today 10 to 4, Student Life Centre great hall.

UW Food Bank drive for non-perishable food, money, and Zehrs or Sobeys receipts, Wednesday-Friday, Student Life Centre (booth with cookies today 2:00 to 3:30) and bins across campus.

Communitech lunch: "Doing Business with Post-Secondary Institutions", 11:30, Waterloo Inn, details and registration online.

'Be a Ring Road Runner' spring workshop and release of Running Mates' Guide to Physical and Mental Health, 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 112, registration ext. 3-5418.

Music student recitals in the chapel, Conrad Grebel University College, 12:30 today, Thursday, Monday, Tuesday.

UW-Haifa exchange program for undergraduates in computer science and all of math, 3 p.m., information session Math and Computer room 5158.

Co-op Student of the Year presentations, 3 p.m., Tatham Centre lobby.

Federation of Students general meeting 3:30 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

Grand River Transit public meetings about possible rapid transit routes and station locations: tonight, First United Church, Waterloo; Thursday, United Kingdom Club, Cambridge, both with displays at 6 p.m., presentation at 6:30, discussions 7:00 to 8:30; preregister by e-mail, rtinfoline

Gwynne Dyer, journalist and military analyst, speaks on "Climate Wars", 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre, sponsored by Faculty of Arts, free tickets from Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

Accelerator Centre celebration event marking year's achievements, Thursday from 10 a.m., details online.

Travel slideshow series: Brent Hall, "Patagonia and New Zealand", Thursday 12:10, Environmental Studies room 221.

Surplus sale of UW furniture and equipment, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall.

International spouses group celebrates Iranian new year, Thursday 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre, information e-mail

Career presentations Thursday: "Teaching English Abroad" 1:00, "Law School Bound" 2:00, "Preparing for the LSAT" 3:00, "Getting a US Work Permit" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, details online.

First Robotics Waterloo Regional Competition for teams of high school students, Thursday-Saturday, Physical Activities Centre, details online.

Norooz (Persian new year) celebration Thursday 7 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre, everyone welcome.

Orchestra@UWaterloo end-of-term concert Thursday 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets free from Humanities box office. Program: Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D (Wallace Wu, violin); Mendelssohn, Hebrides Overture; Brahms, Symphony No. 2 in D.

'The Caucasian Chalk Circle' major production by UW department of drama, public performances continue Thursday-Saturday 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $12 (students $10) at Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

Financial Econometrics Conference (ninth annual), "Hedge Funds and Associated Risks", Friday, Davis Centre room 1302, sponsored by Centre for Advanced Studies in Finance, details and registration online.

Blue Mountain ski and snowboard trip organized by Columbia Lake Village, Friday, leaving CLV 1:30 p.m., tickets $40 at community centre, everyone welcome.

Philosophy department "Justice Through the Generations" lecture series by Janna Thompson: "Gratitude and Justice in a Multi-Generational Society", postponed from March 2, now scheduled for Friday 3:30, Humanities room 373; "Sustainability and Duties" March 30, same time and place.

Brecht-Fest organized by Waterloo Centre for German Studies: lecture 4 p.m. by faculty member Sid Hoefert, deutsches Büffet, then evening performance of "Caucasian Chalk Circle", tickets $20 (students $10), ext. 3-2260.

Arts Grad Ball Friday from 7 p.m., Waterloo Inn, tickets from Arts Student Union.

Alumni career planning workshop Saturday 10:00 to 6:00, details online.

Environment and Business Conference organized by EB students, Tuesday, March 27, 8:30 to 4:00; keynote speaker Bob Willard (author of The Sustainability Advantage); panels, exhibitors, workshops; details online.

K-W Academy of Medicine, McMaster University school of medicine, UW school of pharmacy and school of optometry, reception and dinner "to celebrate new opportunities in interprofessional health education", March 27, Waterloo Inn, by invitation.

Author Guy Gavriel Kay reads from his work Tuesday, March 27, 7 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall, free, sponsored by UW bookstore.

UW board of governors spring meeting Tuesday, April 3, 2:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Positions available

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

• Support services assistant, BFG location, accountancy, USG 4
• Support services assistant, HH location, accountancy, USG 4
• Financial reporting analyst, finance, USG 10
• Mechanic I, millwright, plant operations
• Mechanical repairperson, plant operations
• Assistant banquet chef, food services, USG 6
• Development officer, development and alumni affairs, environmental studies, USG 9-11

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

[Fitting black mask over face]

Who was that masked man? Doug Dye, safety compliance training officer, helps Ralston Kwan, a former co-op student in the Safety Office, try on this emergency breathing apparatus during Monday's open house. Photo by Barbara Elve.

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The amazing race: nearly at term's end

Suddenly we're within two weeks of the end of term. The last day of winter classes is Tuesday, April 3; exams begin April 9 (Easter Monday) and run through April 21. With that prospect looming, end-of-term hours are scheduled to begin in UW's libraries this weekend, making the Davis Centre library open 24 hours a day (except Sunday mornings 2 to 8 a.m.) and the Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

[SDE logo]Meanwhile, there's a flurry of events in which students are showing off the term's or year's work, including the Davis Centre fair today to display systems design engineering fourth-year projects. The students "will showcase innovative products that will spark ideas and use tomorrow’s technology to solve today’s problems," organizers promise. "This exhibit represents the outcomes of a design-intensive curriculum. Over forty groups have chosen a unique problem and focused on creating an innovative solution, which will be prototyped for this exhibit. Does your golf swing need improvement? Always have trouble finding a parking spot at the mall? Would you like to make your car more fuel efficient? Innovations addressing these concerns, and many more, will be on display. Visitors are welcome to explore the projects and interact with the student designers, learning about the role of systems design in engineering. Systems Design Engineering provides students with a foundation of breadth, and the ability to acquire knowledge from many disciplines of engineering and technology. Students are able to integrate that knowledge into a greater understanding and forge a synthesis that makes a difference."

In the same spirit, fourth-year fine arts students will display their work in the UW art gallery ("Render") in East Campus Hall; their show opens with a reception tomorrow starting at 5:30 p.m., and runs through March 29. And music students are offering end-of-term recitals during four noon-hours, starting today, at the Conrad Grebel University College chapel. Other big events are also on the university's agenda over the next two weeks, including tonight's lecture by prominent journalist Gwynne Dyer, tomorrow night's performance by Orchestra @ UWaterloo, and the First Robotics competition for high schoolers, Thursday through Saturday in the Physical Activities Complex.

In addition, the fifth annual International Celebrations Week is about to begin — "an opportunity to celebrate the diverse cultures that can be found across campus", according to Heather FitzGerald of the student life office. Exotic choices will be on the menu at food services outlets for several days, the annual student-run Cultural Caravan will light up the Student Life Centre on March 29, and other activities are on the program, including (I am not making this up) a "Hug-a-thon" at the Columbia Icefield on Sunday afternoon. Watch for details.

Spotted yesterday outside the Humanities building: a construction trailer, which complements the wire fencing, not yet complete, as an indication that work really is going to start soon on the new Accountancy wing. (A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for next Tuesday.) Spotted inside the Humanities building, and in many other places on campus: "yes" and "no" posters about the proposed student bus pass and the fee, approximating $50 a term, that would pay for it. Voting, for both undergraduate and graduate students, is scheduled for March 28 and 29 (Wednesday and Thursday of next week).

Here's a reminder that anybody who hopes to win an iPod needs to answer the "travel demand survey" posed by Waterloo Region no later than this Friday. • It's a busy week for the Skills for the Electronic Workplace program, with a course yesterday on "Windows Vista and Office 2007", one today on "Email Lists Using Mailman" and one tomorrow on "SharePoint Services for Collaboration Needs". • The ArtWorx outlet in East Campus Hall, where retail services sells artists' supplies, is giving away "one limited edition folding chair" with a UW 50th anniversary motif each month during 2007.

Voting starts today in the Arts Lecture Hall as the Arts Student Union elects its 2007-08 leadership. • Elections are also under way for the leadership of Engineering Society B, with voting set for Thursday. • Warrior Weekends usually involve Friday and Saturday night activities in the Student Life Centre, but this weekend things will start a day early, with an all-ages end-of-term party Thursday in the Bombshelter pub.

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Quotes about Monday’s federal budget

Budget text, chapter 5: “An additional $800 million per year, beginning in 2008–09, for provinces and territories to strengthen the quality and competitiveness of Canada’s post-secondary education system. Federal support will grow by 3 per cent every year thereafter.

“$35 million over two years and $27 million per year thereafter to support an additional 1,000 students through the Canada Graduate Scholarships.

“Eliminating the $4,000 limit on annual [RESP] contributions.

“Providing $510 million to the Canada Foundation for Innovation to undertake another major competition before 2010. Investing $85 million per year through the federal granting councils for research targeted on key priorities: health sciences, energy, the environment, information and communications technologies and management, business and finance. An additional $15 million per year to cover the indirect costs of research, including the operating and maintenance of research facilities. Supporting leading Centres of Excellence in Commercialization and Research with an investment of $350 million over 2006–07 and the next two years.

“$34 million over the next two years to help Canadian-educated foreign students and skilled foreign workers stay in Canada as permanent residents. Providing $2 million over the next two years to launch a new international education marketing campaign to attract talented students to Canada.”

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada: “Welcome the federal government’s move to earmark more long-term and stable funding for postsecondary education through the Canada Social Transfer in today’s federal budget, as well as a series of key investments in university research and graduate students.”

Canadian Association of University Teachers: “The Canada Social Transfer remains an unconditional block transfer, so we still have no way of knowing how, where or even if the funds will be spent as they should be. Today’s failure to adequately invest in post-secondary education means families and students will continue to bear the burden and face even higher costs and student debt levels.”

Perimeter Institute: “Clear reference was made to Perimeter as a leading centre of excellence . . . $50 million to PI for ongoing scientific research and educational outreach operations. The Institute warmly receives this strong endorsement.”

UW president David Johnston: “I think it’s balanced. There is some good news for local institutions, and the transfers are enough to make a difference, but it does little to boost our competitive ranking in the world. We had hoped we’d see more increases in the area of research infrastructure.”

Canadian Alliance of Student Associations: “Students have been pushing for a dedicated transfer payment for years now, and this is a step in the right direction . . . but failed to address the impending expiration of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, which delivers $350 million in needs-based grants annually.”

Jeff Henry, vice-president, UW Federation of Students: “The student financial aid system is overly complex and far too much money is currently spent on tax credits instead of on grants that would actually provide access to post-secondary education. Unfortunately, the current government has continued to emphasize more tax breaks, such as the textbook tax credit last year and uncapping contributions to RESPs this year.”

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations: “Over the next few years hundreds of millions of dollars will flow to the Ontario government. This provides the Ontario government with the opportunity to invest substantially in Ontario universities.”

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Other things that are springing up

Beginning Friday, all UW graduate students will be receiving an e-mail invitation to participate in a survey about their grad student experience. The Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey is also going to grads at a number of other universities across Canada, says Jennifer Kieffer of UW's office of institutional analysis and planning. It asks grads about their activities as a student and what they feel they are gaining from their university experience. Questions include “If you were to start your graduate/professional career again, would you select this same University?”, as well as questions about their graduate advisor and campus services such as financial aid, food services and the library. "All survey answers will be kept confidential," says Kieffer, "and no identifying information will be included in any survey reports. The survey will allow UW to assess the quality of graduate studies at UW and in comparison to other Canadian universities and will result in improvements for current and future graduate students." The survey will run until April 27, after which responses will be collected and analyzed. Aggregate results will be made available on the IAP website. Questions can be directed to Bob Truman, director of IAP, e-mail

Just arrived is the 2006-07 annual report of the Sandford Fleming Foundation, which is based at UW and concentrates its efforts here, but also takes an interest in improving engineering education across Canada. Much of the report is taken up with recognizing the many winners of scholarships and prizes given out by the SFF last year, including student exchanges, “leadership” awards, debate and technical speaking trophies, and work report honours. It also announces the 2006 winners of the Teaching Excellence Award for instructors in UW’s faculty of engineering, who are named as Catherine Burns of systems design engineering, George Davidson of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, and Don Grierson of civil and environmental engineering. “Recipients are publicly recognized,” the report notes, “and funds are provided to enable each professor to appoint two Undergraduate Research Assistantships.”

The 35th Southern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference was held last weekend at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa. “SOUSCC gives students an opportunity to present the results of their undergraduate research to their peers and representatives from academia and the chemical industry,” Mike Chong of the UW chemistry department notes. “This year’s conference was the largest ever with 125 presentations given by students from universities across southern Ontario from Windsor to Kingston and everywhere in-between.” Waterloo was represented by fourth-year chemistry and biochemistry students Chad Atkins, Bryan Kuropatwa, Kristine Liao, James Nattress, Grace Ng, Nathan Oldridge, Timothy Ramadhar, Adam Seed, Tamsyn Sitler, and Alex Zorzitto. Prizes were awarded for the best presentations in different areas. Atkins was awarded 1st prize in the physical and analytical chemistry division, Oldridge placed 3rd in the analytical, environmental and forensic chemistry section, and Ramadhar was 2nd in the biochemistry and bio-organic chemistry division.

Finally, a correction: I wrote on Monday that Carrie Howells, who has resigned as president-elect of the UW staff association, works in the Computer Science Computing Facility; in fact she's in the Math Faculty Computing Facility, which isn't the same thing.


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