Tuesday, March 27, 2007

  • Teaching awards announced at senate
  • Big doings as spring breaks out
  • Petro-Can gives $1 million for 'leaders'
  • Here's hot news: mercury is rising
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

['This can't be right' all over the wall]

Fine arts students (and soon to be BA graduates) Jen Yeates and Whitney Strouth posed at the Thursday reception for the opening of the Fourth Year Graduation Exhibition in the UW gallery, East Campus Hall. Works by 19 graduating students continue on display there until this Thursday.

Link of the day

Aircraft travels 33 feet

When and where

UW bookstore's spring book sale, today through Thursday, South Campus Hall concourse.

International Celebrations Week things to eat: South American cuisine today at REVelation cafeteria in Ron Eydt Village; coffee break at Renison College, 2 to 3 p.m.

Music student recitals 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Germanic and Slavic studies 2007 book awards reception, 3:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218, list of recipients online.

Hallman Lectures in aging, health and well-being: Clinton Rubin, State University of New York at Stony Brook, "Osteoporosis: Can It Be Prevented Without the Use of Drugs?" 3:30 p.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 1621.

Classical studies department presents Laura Gawlinski, Wilfrid Laurier University, "Inscriptions, Travellers' Accounts, and Muddy Walks through the Countryside", 4 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 208.

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

Arriscraft Lecture: David Adjaye, British architect ("The Idea Store"), on his recent work, 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall.

Smarter Health seminar: Brian Haynes, McMaster University, "Why Not Improve Health Care Through Effective Knowledge Translation?" Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Senator Larry Campbell, former coroner and Vancouver mayor, speaks on safe-injection drug centre, Wednesday 4:30, Clarica Auditorium, Lyle Hallman Institute.

'Footsteps of Death' walk for Darfur relief, Wednesday 2 p.m. until evening, around ring road from Student Life Centre, information uwgag@hotmail.com.

EMK-Waterloo Nanotechnology workshop: "Why Small Will Be Bigger Than Ever", Thursday, Davis Centre, free registration e-mail liam.gore@oce-ontario.org.

Aftab Patla Memorial Hockey Game featuring kinesiology undergraduates vs. grad students and faculty, March 29, 5 p.m., Columbia Icefield. Admission $2, proceeds to UW Well-Fit. Outing to Bombshelter pub follows. Sponsored by Kinesiology Grad Students Association.

Application deadline for September admission is March 30 (deadlines for some programs and groups already past).

Environmental studies presents Mark Jaccard, Simon Fraser University, "Fossil Fuels: Friends or Foes?" Friday 12:30, Davis Centre room 1351.

English language and literature department presents Terry Eagleton, University of Manchester, "The Death of Criticism?" Friday 4:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 211, all welcome.

Varsity Athletic Banquet Friday, Columbia Icefield, tickets on sale in athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

St. Jerome's University John Sweeney Lecture: Katherine Rouleau, University of Toronto, "HIV/AIDS from a Canadian Catholic Perspective", Friday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, free.

Campus rec road hockey tournament Saturday, parking lot X, details online.

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

Faculty association council of representatives 2:00, annual general meeting 2:30, Wednesday, April 4, Math and Computer room 4020.

'Single and Sexy' 2007 auditions Wednesday, April 4, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, all welcome. Paid roles for 3 women, 4 men, "and 1 male improvisational keyboard player". Rehearsal and show run August 13 to September 7.

PhD oral defences

Applied mathematics. Qing Wang, previously announced, oral defence today (10:00 a.m.) moved to Math and Computer room 5136.

Electrical and computer engineering. Humphrey Rutagemwa, previously announced, oral defence moved to Monday, April 16, 2:00 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

History. Renée Bondy, “Roman Catholic Women Religious and Organizational Reform in English Canada: The Ursuline and Holy Names Sisters in the Diocese of London, Ontario, 1950-1970.” Supervisor, Wendy Mitchinson. On display in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Thursday, April 19, 1:30 p.m., Humanities room 334.

Computer science. Linli Xu, “Convex Large Margin Training Techniques Unsupervised, Semi-supervised, and Robust Support Vector Machines.” Supervisors, Dale Schuurmans and Shai Ben-David. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, April 23, 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 2314.

Computer science. Jiayuan Huang, “Learning from Partially Labelled Data: Unsupervised and Semi-supervised Learning on Graphs and Learning with Distribution Shifting.” Supervisors, Dale Schuurmans and Shai Ben-David. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, April 24, 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 2314.

Systems design engineering. Shahryar Rahnamayan, “Opposition-Based Differential Evolution.” Supervisors, Hamid Tizhoosh and Magdy Salama. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Wednesday, April 25, 10:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 2584.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Sina Valadkhan, “Nano Positioning Control Using Magnetostrictive Actuators.” Supervisors, A. Khajepour and K. Morris. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Friday, April 27, 9:00 a.m., Engineering III room 4117.

Teaching awards announced at senate

Some of UW's top teachers got a round of applause from the university senate last night, starting with the four 2007 winners of the Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student. Bill Power, associate dean of graduate studies, said a word about each of the nominating committee's choices, as the winners stood to be recognized:

• Mubarak Al-Mutairi, systems design engineering ("he never told anyone that their answer was wrong, but merely steered them in the right direction").
• Adam Arnold, civil and environmental engineering ("an innate sense of giving students what they need").
• Stefan Buettcher, computer science ("one of the best lecturers in CS, he makes learning enjoyable").
• Muhammed Ali Ulku, management sciences ("leadership . . . he learned everyone's name at the first lecture").

Then Gail Cuthbert Brandt, associate vice-president (academic), announced this year's four winners of the Distinguished Teacher Award, given since 1975 for faculty members and other full-time teachers at UW and its colleges. Chosen by this year's nominating committee:

Gary Bruce, department of history
Steve Furino, mathematics, St. Jerome's University
Barbara Moffatt, biology
Wei-Chau Xie, civil and environmental engineering

Citations for the DTA winners will be published by the time they are honoured at June convocation. The criteria for the award call for "intellectual vigour and communication skills in the interpretation and presentation of subject matter. The teacher's human quality and concern for and sensitivity to the needs of students is an obvious criterion. the Selection Committee will look for a clear indication that the nominee has favourable and lasting influence on students. Evidence of successful innovation in teaching would support a nomination, but it is also clear that excellence in teaching does not necessarily require innovation."

Also at last night's meeting, the senate approved the proposed Bachelor of Knowledge Integration program, after turning down a suggestion by student senators to send it back in search of a less exotic degree title. A number of senators said positive things about the plan, and philosophy professor Tim Kenyon said he'd like to see its approach taken up in other parts of the university as well. "Generalism is good," he said, adding that the BKI program ironically looks like"a specific department for generalism".

Senate also heard provost Amit Chakma describe the background to the 2007-08 budget — including a university-wide 2.0 per cent spending cut — that's on its way to the board of governors for approval in April. The cut should really have been higher, and "we're taking a certain amount of risk" by not making it 3 per cent, the provost warned, adding that a tougher cut is a possibility in 2008-09 if something doesn't change in the meantime. The draft budget is based on $33 million of new expenses, about $20 million of new income, and cuts and temporary measures to cover the gap in between.

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Big doings as spring breaks out

Years from now, if you have anything to do with UW's school of accountancy, you'll be telling the story of where you were on March 27, 2007, the day they broke ground for the long-awaited new building. Ceremonies are scheduled for 11 a.m. just north of Hagey Hall for the Humanities, where the accountancy school currently squeezes into part of one wing, and where it's now getting its own space. The 52,000 square feet of new construction will increase the building's total size by almost half. UW officials will be joined for the ceremonies by some key figures from the private sector, led by Mike Garvey, a retired partner in the big accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers who has headed the fund-raising campaign for the building. "Ceremonial shovels and hard hats" are on call, I'm told, and invited guests will be staying for lunch after the half-hour event.

Elsewhere on campus, the one-day student-organized Environment and Business Conference gets under way at 8:30. In general, the conference deals with "environmental issues regarding sustainability and corporate social responsibility", organizers say, citing their slogan: "Making the Environment Your Business — It Just Makes Cents!" Most events take place in the Environmental Studies I courtyard and nearby rooms, including panels on renewable energy and the relationship between politics and the environment. Keynote speaker, at 1:30, is Bob Willard, author of The Sustainability Advantage. Details are, of course, on a web site.

This evening, the focus moves to the Waterloo Inn, where a diverse crowd will be celebrating "new opportunities in interprofessional health education being developed at University of Waterloo's Downtown Kitchener Health Sciences Campus". Local physician Joe [Pumping their fists]Lee, current president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Academy of Medicine and a key figure in establishing the planned "Centre for Family Medicine", will be a key speaker. (That's Lee along with UW president David Johnston in the photo at left, taken the day government funding for the downtown campus was announced.) Also expected are government officials — provincial, regional and city — as well as McMaster University's vice-president (health sciences), the directors of the UW schools of pharmacy and optometry, and Johnston himself. The by-invitation event today is aimed mostly at local health care professionals, and starts with a 4:30 reception followed by dinner.

And as a glance at the "When and where" column will make clear, there's lots more to happen in the remaining few days of the winter term. In particular, polls open tomorrow for both undergraduate and graduate students to vote on a proposed Grand River Transit bus pass (and a compulsory fee to match). At the same time, undergraduate mathematics students are voting on a proposed increase in the Math Society fee, from $10.50 per term to $12.50. Votes can be cast online from 8 a.m. Wednesday to 8 p.m. Thursday, or at two physical locations — on the third floor of the Math and Computer building, or in the Student Life Centre great hall, between 9:00 and 4:00 both days.

Tuesday, April 3, is the last day of winter term classes; exams begin Monday, April 9. A note from the retail services department says people have been asking about operating hours at the bookstore and other outlets once classes end. "Retail Services stores will be open regular hours during exams," says marketing coordinator Kathryn King, with the exception of Good Friday (April 6) and Easter Saturday (April 7). It doesn't, however, include ArtWorx in East Campus Hall, which will close April 4 and not reopen until September.

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[Shirts to spell out $1,000,000]
Petro-Can gives $1 million for 'leaders'

Students in T-shirts with great big zeroes helped make the point yesterday as Petro-Canada officials visited UW to announce a $1 million dollar donation. It'll make UW the fourth post-secondary institution in its Petro-Canada Emerging Leaders Awards Program, after the University of Alberta, Northern Alberta Institute of technology, and McGill University.

“We’re investing in students, because as a company, we rely on innovation, talent and technical expertise to support our business,” explains Petro-Canada president Ron Brenneman. “Finding talented, skilled and energetic people is becoming increasingly difficult given the shortage of skilled workers in Canada. Our hope is that these scholarships will drive more students to university and college to help alleviate this shortage in specific areas critical to our industry.”

Under the Petro-Canada Emerging Leaders Awards Program, top performing students, in the faculties of engineering, science and business will be eligible to apply for scholarships. Recipients will be selected by UW and, conditional on meeting annual requirements, will continue to receive the scholarship each year until they graduate, receiving a total of approximately $10,000 per student. In the first five years, more than 30 Waterloo students are expected to participate in the program.

"In addition to the scholarships," a news release says, "Petro-Canada will develop ongoing relationships with awardees to give them insight into the energy industry and its career opportunities. With the support of a Petro-Canada executive sponsor and team, this could involve co-op assignments, networking opportunities, presentations and mentorship programs."

Says a comment from UW president David Johnston: “Petro-Canada is to be commended for making such an important investment, through its emerging leaders program, in the future of Canada. This donation will help us help students overcome the significant financial barriers that all too often discourage the best and brightest from pursuing a quality education, promising careers and rewarding lives.”

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Here's hot news: mercury is rising

"We have a winner!" writes Frank Seglenieks, coordinator of the UW weather station, who was taken a bit by surprise — like many of us — when the temperature rose into the 20s yesterday afternoon. Not so surprised was Tom Duffney, who won the station's annual contest by predicting the time when the temperature would reach 20 Celsius for the first time in 2007. He got the time bang on — 3:15 yesterday — and edged out "Shawn M", who had predicted 3:00. "Thanks to everybody who entered the contest," says Seglenieks. "We hope you had fun with the contest, and will enter again next year. We gratefully thank the Ontario Seed Home Hardware located at 16 King Street South in Waterloo who supplied us with the prizes that will be awarded to the two people whose entries are closest to the winning time. As well, the winners will become members of the Waterloo Weather Station Contest Hall of Fame."

The University of Waterloo Magazine, with more than 100,000 copies printed each issue, is produced primarily for alumni but also distributed to faculty, staff, and retirees. Says a note from Kelley Teahen here in Communications and Public Affairs: "The upcoming issue is 72 pages (compared with the usual 40) and celebrates the university's 50th anniversary. Anyone who currently gets the magazine, but no longer wishes to do so, should e-mail records@uwaterloo.ca and ask to be removed from the mailing list. This includes faculty and staff who receive their copies through interoffice mail. C&PA, which produces the magazine, also maintains a separate circulation list for government officials, community partners, media and other educational institutions. Printing numbers for the upcoming spring issue, calculated from a current snapshot of the mail list, will be determined shortly after April 2, so anyone not wishing to receive this spring issue should make the request by Monday, April 2."

"Any faculty or administrator who uses the online environment for teaching" might be interested in a web conference on "Online Peer Mentoring Programs for Distance Faculty" being held April 12, says Cathy Seitz of the Professional Development for Engineering Students program. The event runs from 1:00 to 2:30 that day, and the UW node is in the Flex Lab in the Dana Porter Library, which means a seating capacity of 26 — "so register soon." PDEng, Seitz notes, "consists of five online courses designed to develop and enhance a student's professional skills, and each course is to be completed while the student is on an official work term. The courses focus on the progression and growth of 'soft skills'. A unique aspect of this innovative program is that students have the benefit of peer mentoring while completing their on line course. Coop students are hired, from all faculties, every term for each of our course offerings. Student mentors add a human component — they provide guidance and insight regarding the importance of workplace professionalism and assist in many ways. While this conference is directed at the on line mentoring of faculty members, we are excited to learn as much as we can about online mentoring so that we can provide the best support that we can to our students."

Science becomes the first faculty to name its 2007 valedictorian, announcing that Jeff Yoo, graduating in biology, will play that role at June's convocation ceremony. • Derek McCubbin of the Warrior men's rugby team reports that more than $3,600 was raised by the recent event in support of injured Hamilton rugby player Sean Corner. • The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, which represents students at UW and a number of other institutions, is holding its third annual "Partners in Higher Education Dinner" tonight at Toronto's Sutton Place Hotel.

Finally . . . the campaign to organize UW staff for unionization through the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation "will end by May 15", and an application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board won't go forward unless 50 per cent of staff have signed union cards, the OSSTF web site reported over the weekend.


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