Tuesday, May 15, 2007

  • Awards for grad student supervision
  • French Studies starts PhD program
  • A donor, a donor, a donor, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

International Day of Families

When and where

Engineering student exchange programs information session 11:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 305.

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

Career workshop: "Career Interest Assessment" 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1208, advance registration online.

Engineering faculty council 3:00, CEIT room 3142.

[Book cover]
Book launch
for Hard Passage: A Mennonite Family's Long Journey from Russia to Canada by Arthur Kroeger, 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.

'Chronic Diseases in China' forum with officials from China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, hosted by UW-based International Tobacco Control project, Wednesday 9:00 a.m. to noon, Clarica Auditorium, Lyle Hallman Institute; some spaces still available, RSVP ext. 3-3580.

UW Retirees Association annual general meeting Wednesday 1:30 p.m., Ron Eydt Village room West 102.

'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.

International spouses group meet at Columbia Lake Village community centre, walk to historic Brubacher House for tour, children welcome, Thursday 12:45 p.m., information e-mail lighthousenm@gmail.com.

'Design camp' aimed at local and student digital designers, Thursday 2 to 5 p.m., Student Life Centre, information online.

Aging, Health and Well-being lecture: Lewis Lipsitz, Harvard Medical School, "Fainting, Falls and Blood Pressure Regulation in the Elderly", Thursday 3:30 p.m., Clarica Auditorium, Lyle Hallman Institute.

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.

Winter term grades for undergraduate courses become official on Quest May 22.

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.

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Discussion paper: Reviewing Ontario's Pension System
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Coach-of-the-year awards for Ontario University Athletics
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Awards for grad student supervision

For the third year, nominations are being invited for an award honouring a kind of achievement by faculty members that often doesn't get recognized: "excellence in graduate student supervision".

Nominations are due by June 15 for the annual awards. Last year’s four winners were named in the fall: Donald Cowan (computer science), Rhona Hanning (health studies and gerontology), Xuemin (Sherman) Shen (electrical and computer engineering), and Jacob Sivak (optometry). Candidates who were nominated last year but did not receive the award will be carried forward into the nominees' pool for this year, the graduate studies office says.

The awards are sponsored by the grad studies office and the Graduate Student Association "to recognize exemplary faculty members", a maximum of three each year. "Recipients will be honored with $1,000 and a plaque. This honor will be conferred once."

Says the document setting out the purpose: "Graduate student supervision requires complex interaction between graduate students and the graduate supervisor. An outstanding graduate supervisor is a mentor, an advisor, a role model, a humanist and a strategist. A caring and effective supervisor possesses a high level of energy and ingenuity."

Nominations have to come from current or former graduate students, "supported by one or more senior academic colleagues who are familiar with the nominee's supervisory record", such as a department chair or associate dean. "A nomination . . . may also be supported by other graduate students who have had the opportunity to receive guidance or informal mentoring from the nominee."

Factors to be considered include such things as "effective guidance and planning of graduate research for his/her students . . . established mechanism for ongoing interaction with graduate students . . . timely reading and provision of feedback on students' work . . . maintaining his/her role as an advisor while instilling independence in students . . . fostering and facilitating students' skills for problem solving, critical thinking, self-directed learning and effective communicating . . . promoting dissemination and presentation of students' research results".

In addition, there are the skills a supervisor shows "as a humanist/mentor", such as "provision of caring atmosphere to the students . . . willingness to provide guidance which may not be related to academic matters or to a student's career goals".

The dean of graduate studies chairs the award committee, and winners "will be recognized at an annual Graduate Studies Award Reception". A nomination form is available online.

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French Studies starts PhD program

French Studies, one of the few UW departments that have not offered doctoral degrees, will start admitting PhD students this fall after the university senate’s approval of a “new and innovative” program different from anything offered at other Canadian or American universities.

The program offers a “unique blend of core academic content, international experience, and practical field work”, according to the proposal that the senate approved in February, “including hands-on and professional editing and archiving training, an international component, and a unique cultural approach to the study of literature.”

Four or five students a year are expected to enter the program, meaning that it will eventually involve about 20 students at any one time. Like doctoral students in most departments, they’ll take courses (including a core course in “Graduate Methodology and Theory”) and write a thesis.

French Studies has offered a Master of Arts degree for decades, but the PhD is something new — and is a step towards the goal, repeated in UW’s recent Sixth Decade report, of having all departments and faculty members involved in doctoral-level education directly or indirectly.

Three “comprehensive fields of study” will be offered:

• “Electronic archiving, editing and publishing in a Francophone context”, including manuscript work, “hypertext studies”, the impact of electronic media on Francophone literature and culture, archival work and search engines. “For the past 20 years,” the proposal notes, “the SSHRC-funded MARGOT Project has received international recognition for the retrieval and dissemination through electronic archiving of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and unpublished texts.”

“For the Department of French Studies,” its chair, François Paré, explains, “the current expansion of the graduate programs is not only part of the University’s goal to increase dramatically graduate enrolment over the next decade, it is also part of a wider initiative to further develop the national and international research presence of UW’s French Studies, making MARGOT the historical hub for a diversity of timely projects branching out in exciting new directions.”

• Early modern French literature studies and theory, “from the early Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century”, including medieval women’s writings, media during the French revolution, “and the examination of the importance of print culture in the creation of a national literary institution in France”. Waterloo provides “one of the best academic and research environments in this field in Canada”, the proposal says. “Colleagues working in this field use a variety of approaches (cultural materialism, women’s studies, arts du spectacle, gender studies, histoire culturelle, genre studies) and often examine non-traditional texts.”

• “Cultural studies in a Francophone context”, with attention to such areas as contemporary North African literature, Franco-Ontarian writing, and women’s writing in contemporary France. “The Cultural Studies field also corresponds to a recent restructuring of the undergraduate and MA curriculum to ground the study of literature in the examination of specific socio-historic and cultural contexts which shape the production and reception of texts.”

The proposal says the program “aims to prepare students for post-secondary teaching and research in an academic environment. A second objective is to provide students with professional training in research methods and new technologies that are now increasingly required in order to be competitive in pursuit of non-academic careers in publishing, writing, editing, electronic archiving, as well as administrative positions in both the civil service and international nongovernmental organizations. This degree will be an asset in areas in which a very high level of education and training in French language and culture is required. . . .

“PhD candidates will acquire the academic and professional training necessary to conduct independent research, produce scholarly publications, and teach French Studies at the postsecondary level. The innovative features of the proposed program will provide students with valuable skills relating to the use of technology in electronic archiving and publishing, as well as teaching and curriculum development in the humanities. Furthermore, the proposed program's emphasis on cultural studies will provide students with an extremely valuable background for entering these and a wide variety of other professions — such as journalism, media relations, marketing and communications, government service, educational policy development, international development, and arts administration.”

The program will involve cooperation with the school of computer science (for work on online texts and database design) as well as the department of Italian and French at St. Jerome’s University. The proposal also notes that the French studies department “has approved in principle the creation of a Research Institute in French Studies, to serve as an umbrella organization.”

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A donor, a donor, a donor, and more

"Meet the guy they named the building after," says the poster. And from a more formal announcement of a recruitment event scheduled for today: "Bill Tatham, founder & CEO of NexJ Systems, is hosting his company's information session for grads and co-op students on May 15 at 5 p.m. in room 2218A of the Tatham Centre. Mr. Tatham (Systems Design '83) is an active supporter of the University of Waterloo. The William M. Tatham Centre for Co-operative Education & Career Services was officially opened on May 5, 2003 and was named in his honour. Mr. Tatham will be speaking about the challenging and exciting co-op and full time opportunities currently available at NexJ Systems. Members of the NexJ Systems software development and product management teams will also be at the information session. The session is open to senior students from Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Systems Design Engineering, and Computer Science. Free food and beverages will be available to attendees. Interested students who are unable to attend should look for the NexJ Systems postings on UW JobMine."

A new issue of It's Our Waterloo, the newsletter of the Keystone Campaign for faculty, staff and retirees, has just hit desks across campus, with some interesting reading and an announcement of the annual Keystone party. (It'll be held at noontime on June 6; watch for details in the next few days.) The front-page story in the newsletter is a profile of Doreen Brisbin, long-time chemistry professor and associate dean of science who retired in 1991. "Doreen was made an Honorary Member of the University in 1998," volunteer writer Andrew Smith points out, "in recognition of her passionate dedication to improving the status of women. . . . As one of the Keystone Campaign's longest-standing supporters, Doreen has been donating to UW for more than 20 years." In fact she now supports a project that bears her name: the Doreen Brisbin Award, set up by friends to mark her retirement. It provides financial encouragement to fourth-year female students in academic areas where women are under-represented.

As long as we're talking about financial supporters of the university . . . there are a few articles in UW's 2005-06 donor recognition report that haven't yet been mentioned in this Daily Bulletin, although the document has been out so long now that I'm watching for the 2006-07 version to appear. One such article draws attention to Robert J. (Bob) Forwell, long-time proprietor of Kitchener's Forwell Sand and Gravel, who died in 2005, leaving a bequest of some $400,000 to St. Jerome's University. "In considering the kinds of ideals he wished to support," the donor report explains, "Bob chose to make bequests to a number of institutions that had shaped his life and expressed his own deeply-held values. His commitment to his faith and the importance of educational opportunities for young people led him to include St. Jerome's." The money now supports the Robert and Margaret Forwell Scholarship/Bursary, "to assist students demonstrating both academic excellence and financial need".

A dozen faculty and staff members in the school of computer science have entered a "corporate challenge" biking team in this year's Bike and Hike for Heart, to be held June 3 in support of the St. Mary's Regional Cardiac Care Centre. "Riders can be sponsored using a credit card," says one of the organizers, Ken Salem of CS — the online system for sponsorship doesn't actually work, at least from my desktop, but undoubtedly one of the participants (Peter Buhr, Vic DiCiccio, Srinivasan Keshav, Adrian Pepper and the rest) would be happy to assist.

Finally . . . the spring brochure for Wilfrid Laurier University's non-credit continuing education courses is now at hand, although many of the courses have been running for several weeks. It's apparent that, as in the past, WLU makes good use of UW expertise for this program. Eight courses are being offered; among the instructors are Ted McGee of St. Jerome's University ("Shakespeare at the Stratford Festival 2007"), Brian Orend of the UW philosophy department ("The Morality of War"), Gary Draper of St. Jerome's ("A Whirlwind Tour of English Canadian Writing"), Peter Russell of the UW earth sciences museum ("A Touch of Geology"), and Jan Narveson of the philosophy department and the K-W Chamber Music Society ("Quartets Plus").


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