Monday, May 14, 2007

  • Chinese officials here to talk tobacco
  • UW's branch of the urban forest
  • How to read the Daily Bulletin
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Team shows off race car today

The UW Formula Motorsports team will introduce this year's Formula SAE race car at 4:00 this afternoon in parking lot C.

The new car will hit the track later this week, as regional competition starts Wednesday at the Ford Michigan Proving Ground in Romeo, Michigan. About 130 teams from Canada, the United States, Brazil and other nations are entered.

The Formula SAE competition — sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, with support from DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors — challenges student teams "to conceive, design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style racing cars".

Link of the day


When and where

Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Richard Bartrem, WestJet, "Why WestJet Cares: The People and Culture", 12:00 noon, Arts Lecture Hall room 113, RSVP ext. 3-7167.

'Networking 101' first of three weekly sessions organized by UW Career Services, 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, details and registration online.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents William Maley, Australian National University, and Ramesh Thakur, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, "Afghanistan and After", 7 p.m., Maureen Forrester Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University.

Staff association barbecue Tuesday 11:30 to 1:30, outside Federation Hall; registration has officially closed.

Book launch for Hard Passage: A Mennonite Family's Long Journey from Russia to Canada by Arthur Kroeger, Tuesday 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College great hall.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, day-long workshop, "Powerful Presentations", Wednesday in St. Jacobs, details online.

'Evenings with the Stars' public lecture presented by department of physics and astronomy: Brian McNamara, "Powerful Explosions from Supermassive Black Holes", observatory tour follows, Wednesday 8 p.m., Physics room 145.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group "wildlife awareness" group, Thursday 12 noon, Student Life Centre multi-purpose room.

Education Credit Union presents Stewart Duckworth, "Estate Planning 101", Thursday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

Orchestra@UWaterloo first rehearsal for spring season, Thursday 7 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College great hall, information online.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 21, classes cancelled, UW offices closed.

Safety Awareness Day with sessions on gas cylinder safety, inspecting the workplace, lab safety and other topics, plus exhibits and vendors, Thursday, May 24, details and registration online.

Toronto 50th anniversary alumni celebration with chancellor Mike Lazaridis, president David Johnston, co-op director Peggy Jarvie, Thursday, May 24, 6 to 8 p.m., Liberty Grand, Exhibition Place, details online.

Waterloo Math@40 anniversary celebration, dinner at Federation Hall, remarks by founding chair Ralph Stanton, Friday, May 25, 6:00 p.m., Federation Hall, tickets $67, registration online.

Procurement and Contract Services annual trade show for faculty and staff: VWR scientific supplies May 28, computer suppliers May 29, Basics Office Supplies May 30, all in Davis Centre room 1301.

Groundbreaking for Optometry building addition Friday, June 8, 11:15 a.m. on west side of existing building.

[Garlands of lights around the room]

Award-winning teachers and supporters of teaching at UW (including the president, left centre) listen to remarks from chemistry professor Carey Bissonnette at a reception held May 2 in the Laurel Room. Bissonnette chairs the Learning About Teaching Symposium group, part of the Teaching Excellence Council, which organized a series of events as the spring term got under way, including the reception, said to be the first event of its kind at UW to put the spotlight on teaching. The party also served to launch the new Centre for Teaching Excellence, and associate vice-president Gail Cuthbert Brandt spoke about the year's work involving people from three former administrative groups that are coming together in the new centre. Posters around the room described the work of CTE and showed off the achievements of Teaching Excellence Academy members and graduate students in the Certificate in University Teaching program. During the celebrations Ranjana Bird, dean of graduate studies, presented the CUT prize for this year to Trent Tucker, a grad student in management sciences.

Back to top

Chinese officials here to talk tobacco

based on a release from the UW media relations office

A high-level delegation of health experts from China will be at UW Wednesday to take part in a public forum on chronic diseases confronting the world's largest country. Geoffrey Fong, a UW psychology professor, will host a visit by prominent Chinese health officials involved in the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (dubbed the "ITC project"). They are working on a survey of 1,000 smokers and non-smokers in seven Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, Changsha, Yinchuan and Shenyang.

The Chinese experts will take part in the forum, entitled Meeting the Challenge of Chronic Diseases in China: Perspectives from Officials of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It will be held (largely in Mandarin, with some English translation) from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Clarica Auditorium in the Lyle Hallman Institute.

"We believe that this visit will be an opportunity to showcase UW research in global health," says Fong, who is the founder and chief principal investigator of the ITC Project, the first international cohort study of tobacco use. The collaboration now involves more than 60 researchers in 14 countries inhabited by over half of the world's smokers. A leading world expert on the impact of tobacco control policies, Fong focuses on such areas as smoke-free laws, warning labels, advertising and promotion restrictions, and taxation. Last year, he received $3.9 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to further his efforts over the next five years.

"In the ITC China survey, we are evaluating tobacco control policies and working directly with the Chinese government to evaluate policies of the worldwide Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which China ratified two years ago," Fong says. "They have a lot of work to do, as there are 350 million smokers in China and close to two-thirds of adult men in China smoke."

More generally, chronic diseases pose an enormous challenge to China's aspirations for economic development and well-being. A recent WHO report estimates that the loss of income to the Chinese economy owing to heart disease, stroke and diabetes will be $550 billion US over the next 10 years.

The ITC project team includes leading Chinese health officials on chronic disease prevention in the seven ITC-surveyed cities, which altogether, total a population of more than 68 million people. Last January, Fong's Waterloo team travelled to Beijing to work with their Chinese colleagues on recently collected data. "And now, the China team is coming to Waterloo to continue to work with the baseline data and to plan our upcoming second survey wave," Fong says.

Tobacco use is considered the leading preventable cause of premature death and disability throughout the world. "In the last century, 100 million people died of tobacco use, and in this century, that number will grow to one billion people and 70 per cent of the deaths will occur in developing countries," Fong says.

Back to top

UW's branch of the urban forest

by Barbara Elve, from the 50th Anniversary web site

A canopy of trees shelters walkways and shades university buildings, with 88 species growing on UW’s main campus. Among the most interesting specimens in this urban forest are those along Alumni Lane, which stretches from the Math and Computer building to Matthews Hall. Each year a tree dedicated to the graduating class is planted along Alumni Lane. The tree is sponsored by the Office of Alumni Affairs and funded by donations from graduating students.

The first tree, planted for the class of 1962, is a Schwedler maple; the most recent, for the class of 2006, a paperbark maple. Between those years, visitors can view such unusual trees as sourgum (class of 1967); common hackberry (class of 1979); pin oak (class of 1982); blue ash (class of 1999); and Kentucky coffee tree (class of 2002).

[Fallen tree bridges Laurel Creek]Other arboreal highlights on campus, and their locations: dawn redwood and gingko, both “living fossils” (Biology 2); tulip tree (Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology); catalpa (Dana Porter Library); Ohio buckeye (Biology greenhouses); sweetgum, cork tree (Physics); Katsura tree, Japanese flowering dogwood, Douglas fir (Minota Hagey); weeping Nootka cyprus (across the road from the University Club).

Trees also play an important role in the collective memory of the university. In addition to commemorating a graduating class, tree dedications honour the memory of students, faculty, and staff whose lives have touched others in a unique way.

Plaques across campus mark trees dedicated to retired and deceased members of the university community, as well as celebratory events such as the 10th anniversary of engineering exchange programs and the 40th anniversary of co-operative education at Waterloo.

Pictured: a loss to the urban forest caused by a major storm in June 1992.

Back to top

How to read the Daily Bulletin

Almost every day lately, I hear from at least one person who’s having trouble seeing the Daily Bulletin. Usually what I’m told is that they clicked in the right place on the UW home page, but instead of today’s Daily Bulletin, they’re seeing yesterday’s. The problem isn’t at [Refresh button circled]my end, I explain, it’s at yours — click the “reload” or “refresh” button on your browser and you’ll see the latest. (The Daily Bulletin is updated at 9:00 each morning.) I asked a technical expert why this kind of thing is happening more often than it used to. The answer seems to be the arrival of Internet Explorer 7, which was released last fall and now accounts for about half of all web traffic, depending on whose statistics you believe. IE 7 has “very aggressive caching behaviour”, I was told, which means that IE 7 users who read yesterday’s Daily Bulletin are more likely to have it stored in their machines, where the browser will find it, than users of other software such as Firefox. So, I repeat, if such a thing happens to you, try hitting the refresh button. In IE 7 it’s near the top right of the screen (typical screenshot pictured).

The other day, writing about the new Office of Organizational and Human Development, I noted that "it has taken over" the staff training program from the human resources office. That leaves out part of the story, I'm reminded in a note from Sue Fraser, the president of the staff association. "The staff training program," she writes, "was set up a number of years ago as a subcommittee of the Staff Relations Committee. It has always been, and continues to be, funded by the staff compensation program." In other words it's only the administrative work, not ownership of the training program itself, that will now reside in the new OHD.

And here's another clarification of at least historical interest. I wrote the other day about Kitchener industrialist Carl Dare, "the last living member of UW's original board of governors", and that's true as far as it goes. Dare was at that initial meeting in 1955 at which steps were taken to organize the Waterloo College Associate Faculties, later to become UW. However, if you look at the plaque that lists UW's "founders" as they were defined decades later — the early board members — one of the other names you'll see is that of J. S. Bauer, who is very much alive today. James Bauer was mayor of Waterloo, 1960 through 1965, and in that capacity was brought onto the UW board ex officio — early enough to figure in the plaque, but not at the very beginning with the likes of Carl Dare and A. R. Kaufman. This detail, need I add, was explained to me by university historian Ken McLaughlin, author of the recently published Out of the Shadow of Orthodoxy ($20 at the bookstore).

One other necessary correction involves my reference on Thursday to the "Laurelwood" foundation, whereas the local agency that supports young people is actually the Lutherwood Child and Family Foundation. •  Here's a final reminder that faculty members and departments have until May 15, tomorrow, to apply for funds from the Learning Initiatives Fund and Program Initiatives Fund, aimed at improved instructional methods and learning resources.•  Events are scheduled to start today in the Code Compete competition to solve computing challenges and win Microsoft-sponsored hardware.

St. Jerome's University is getting a new student coffee shop, part of a project that the college is calling the Atrium. The news blog '@UW' had a good piece about the construction project a few days ago. "Atrium construction was slated to begin one year ago," Dana Woito of the St. Jerome's administration tells me. "It was hoped to be completed for the Norm Choate reunion event last September at which we dedicated the courtyard Choate Common. Since the architecture of the atrium will spill directly into the courtyard, we hoped the whole picture would be complete for Norm's event. However, due to the fact that we exist on the floodplain, we were held up by the lengthy process of assessment by the Grand River Conservation Authority. By the time they gave us the stamp of approval to go forward, it was late summer. Since a number of faculty members expressed concern at teaching in the classrooms directly above the construction site, the decision was made to postpone the construction to this summer, after classes and exams were completed. Hence, we're a year behind our original schedule."

The duo of electrical engineering students who are bicycling across Canada are clearly making good time, as they're expected to pull into Regina this morning to meet with students at Martin LeBoldus High School. •  Matt Erickson of UW's conflict management and human rights office will teach a pair of courses for the continuing education office this week, "Effective Communication" on Wednesday and "Coaching Staff on Responding to Their Own Conflict" on Thursday. • About 100 people, mostly recent graduates, will be in Ron Eydt Village today and tomorrow to write Canadian Board of Optometry licensing exams before starting practice as optometrists.


Back to top

Friday's Daily Bulletin