Tuesday, May 22, 2007

  • World's most 'intelligent' community
  • Universities welcome science strategy
  • Workload, wine, and other wisdom
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

Laurence Olivier at 100

When and where

MBET (Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology) information session 4 p.m., Accelerator Centre room 240, reservations ext. 3-7167.

UW senate monthly meeting 4:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Centre Stage Dance performances Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 6:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Arriscraft Lecture by Otto Kapfinger, scheduled for tonight at the school of architecture, has been cancelled.

Monthly book sale of UW bookstore merchandise, Wednesday-Friday, South Campus Hall concourse.

Smarter Health seminar: Geoffrey Fong, department of psychology, "Why Not Evidence-Based Health Policies? The Case of Global Tobacco Control", Wednesday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

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

Research and innovation announcement by John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Thursday 11 a.m., Microwave Integrated System Lab, Engineering III.

Faculty of Mathematics presents founder Ralph Stanton, wearer of the original Pink Tie, talking about the history of the faculty, Thursday 3:30, Davis Centre room 1350, reception follows.

Department of English language and literature presents Caroline Bassett, University of Sussex, "Not Fade Away: Narrative and Digital Culture", Thursday 4:15, Humanities room 373.

Toronto 50th anniversary alumni celebration with chancellor Mike Lazaridis, president David Johnston, co-op director Peggy Jarvie, Thursday 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 6:00 p.m., Federation Hall, tickets $67, registration online.

Conrad Grebel University College sleepover for alumni from the first decade, May 25-26, evening reception, then single or shared rooms available, information ext. 2–4381.

Warrior Weekend with free activities in the Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday evenings, including movies (Friday " Catch and Release", "Perfume", Saturday "Wild Hogs"), crafts, pizza, cotton candy, face painting, details online.

You @ Waterloo Day open house for future students Saturday, details online.

City of Waterloo 150th anniversary parade Sunday, May 27, 1:00 p.m., King Street from William to Central, followed by afternoon picnic in Waterloo Park, details online.

CanHEIT 2007: Canadian Higher Education and Information Technology conference, May 27-30, organized by UW and held on the Wilfrid Laurier University campus, details 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.

Charlottetown alumni event sponsored by UW and University of Guelph: family skate with Olympic medalist Cassie Campbell, followed by reception, Saturday, June 2, 4:00 to 6:30 p.m., details online.

5-km run and family walk raising funds for a new facility for Hildegard Marsden Cooperative Day Nursery, Sunday, June 3, 10:30 a.m., details and registration online, donations welcome.

'Vision' conference, "Tomorrow's Health Leaders Together Today", Saturday, June 16, Davis Centre, details online.

[He's got his furry head off]

Unmasked: The latest issue of the Keystone Campaign newsletter includes a profile of Teddy Dong, environment and resource studies student whose volunteer activities have included posing as both King Warrior (pictured), the athletics department mascot, and Pounce de Lion, the alumni mascot. "I enjoy being able to represent UW while having fun," says Dong, who received one of the President's Circle Awards for Volunteerism last fall.

World's most 'intelligent' community

[VIPs at the moment of glory]Waterloo was named the world's top "intelligent community" for 2007 on Friday, beating out six other finalists as the award was presented in New York by the Intelligent Community Forum.

Mayor Brenda Halloran was at the centre of a Waterloo delegation that accepted the honour and gave credit to UW along with local high-tech business, other organizations, city staff and citizens at large. The photo, from a live webcast, shows Halloran, centre, with UW's Shirley Fenton and other members of the delegation moments after ICF officials announced the results at a luncheon.

Waterloo was a finalist for the award last year as well, but lost out to Taipei, capital of Taiwan.

In announcing Waterloo as the Top Intelligent Community, Lou Zacharilla of ICF referred to Waterloo as a North American community like no other. “What makes Waterloo special is that in the heart of the technology triangle, the tradition of community barn raising, looking after one another from the very young to the very old, is kept alive today. It’s a place where people wake up and give thanks for the fruits of their works and for their good fortune.”

Said the mayor: "This recognition belongs to our community — to the businesses, to the schools, to the universities and colleges, to our libraries, to our not-for-profits — all of whom look for innovative ways to use technology to make Waterloo a better place. There are great things happening in Waterloo. The Intelligent Community Forum has helped us more clearly recognize the collective strength of what we have. In fact, it’s created a reason for bringing people together who have been able to look at those strengths and through collaboration, leverage them even further.”

In November, the ICF announced that Waterloo was among the "Smart 21"’ communities, placing Waterloo in the list of semi-finalists being considered for the Top Seven list, which was announced in January. ICF is a special interest group within the World Teleport Association that focuses on the uses of broadband technology for economic development by communities large and small in both the developed and developing world. Each year, it selects communities from around the world to appear on its top-seven list. These communities are selected based on indicators that include the significant deployment of broadband communications, the extent to which the community enables a knowledge workforce, the promotion of digital democracy, the ability to foster innovation, and effective economic development marketing that leverages the community’s broadband, labour and other assets to attract new employees.

Waterloo's effort to earn the award was headed by a trio of leaders: Halloran, Jim Balsillie of Research in Motion, and UW president David Johnston. UW provided several members to the Intelligent Waterloo Committee, including Don Cowan of computer science, Ken McLaughlin of St. Jerome's University, Doug Mulholland of the computer systems group, Shirley Fenton of the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, and Catherine Rosenberg of electrical and computer engineering.

"This is a real tribute to the leaders of the City of Waterloo who championed our community's nomination," said a comment from Johnston on Friday evening. He cited Halloran and Balsillie as well as Councillor Mark Whaley, who played a major role in the project, and the city's chief administrative officer, Simon Farbrother. "It's a great example of 'barn building' in our community, of how people collaborate to create something special. It's important too that this honour brands the City of Waterloo to the world as a smart community, and of that we are very proud."

Back to top

Universities welcome science 'strategy'

a release from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Canada’s universities say the federal government’s new science and technology strategy charts an important and ambitious course for the country.

“The S&T strategy inspires all Canadians to build new knowledge, talent and entrepreneurial advantages,” says Claire M. Morris, president of the 92-member Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Canada needs to secure its position as a world leader in research — including university research — and this strategy will help our country meet that mark. Universities are committed to helping Canada build the best-educated, most-skilled and most flexible workforce in the world, as called for in the strategy.”

AUCC welcomed Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s strong commitment to building Canada’s science and technology assets and expertise. The S&T strategy also pledges to sustain the country’s commitment to basic research in all disciplines. The association also welcomed the strategy’s focus on partnerships, as well as the announcement of a new Science, Technology and Innovation Council to guide government policy and benchmark Canada’s performance.

“We must collaborate nationally if we want to compete internationally,” says Morris, who was in Waterloo, Ontario, for the launch of the strategy. “Universities are dedicated to working with our partners in government, the private sector, not-for-profits, the provinces and internationally — as well as with each other — to ensure that Canada has the research excellence it needs in areas of strategic importance, as well as broad strength in a range of disciplines.”

AUCC says the federal government’s focus on sustaining world-class research, setting priorities, building networks and ensuring accountability should help strengthen research efforts across the country, and will provide real benefits to Canada and Canadians. Universities are the foundation for Canada’s research excellence and strength, and are key to ensuring highly-qualified and globally-connected graduates.

Productive and imaginative business-university partnerships already play an important part in fueling Canada’s economy. “Universities are ready to build on the more than $6 billion invested by the private sector in collaborative research over the last 10 years,” Morris added. “Universities are working with businesses in their communities, across the country and around the world, and they are eager to do more.”

Earlier this year, AUCC submitted a brief to the federal government, as its contribution to the development of the national S&T strategy. The brief called for government to expand and enhance Canada’s knowledge advantage in three key areas: identifying fields of research excellence where Canada can be a world leader, while continuing to nurture the country’s broad base of research strength; developing new research talent; and maximizing the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of Canada’s research efforts.

AUCC looks forward to working with the new Science, Technology and Innovation Council to strengthen research in Canada. AUCC will be a willing partner in the federal government’s engagement strategy, aimed at implementing the priorities set by the new S&T framework, and will continue to clearly demonstrate the value and impact of university research in enhancing Canada’s economic competitiveness and the quality of life for all Canadians.

Back to top

Workload, wine, and other wisdom

A large group of department heads and chairs will be meeting in the Tatham Centre today, invited by the provost to discuss the "working environment" for UW staff. "The workload for many academic support staff has grown over the past few years," provost Amit Chakma wrote as he invited senior managers to today's conference. "Clearly, there is a need for some collective wisdom as to how we can improve this situation . . . decrease the workload and ease the burden on our staff . . . increase staff engagement, recognize their contributions in a meaningful manner and increase their feelings of value to UW. . . . UW is blessed with committed people who expect excellence from themselves and who want to do their bet for students, faculty and their staff colleagues. They are responsible for much of UW's recent success. We owe them our best efforts."

The UW senate — Waterloo's top academic governing body — usually meets on Mondays, but once in a while the third Monday of the month falls on a holiday. That's why the senate will do its thing today, at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. Safest bet: president David Johnston will use some of his "environmental scan" time to rhapsodize about Waterloo's "intelligent community" honour and what it means to the university. The agenda also includes an update on current construction projects, a report on graduate enrolment (which the faculties are urgently trying to boost in time for this September), creation of a Centre for Global Governance Research, a new Master of Biology program aimed especially at high school teachers, an overhaul of the faculty of arts "A and B" course requirements, and a word about the list of students who will be graduating at next month's convocation.

Tickets are on sale now for the third of the year's four draws in the UW 50th Anniversary raffle. "The third draw prize," organizer Tami Everding reminds all who are thirsty, "is 50 bottles of wine worth $50 each that will all go to one winner." She's predicting that the opportunity will be "very popular", at $5 a ticket or three for $10 (with proceeds going to UW scholarship funds). The draw will be held sometime during Homecoming weekend in late September, but tickets could be sold out long before that; they're available from members of 50th Anniversary committees, or from various fixed points on campus — I noticed some at Brubakers cafeteria in the Student Life Centre the other day.

"Have you ever wondered what happens in your colleagues’ classrooms, particularly those who are reported to be excellent or distinguished teachers?" asks Verna Keller of UW's Centre for Teaching Excellence. "Now you can find out! Wei-Chau Xie will open his classroom to share his approach to teaching and learning. This event will consist of some pre-observation material (some context about the lecture provided by Wei-Chau), observation of his lecture, and a post-observation discussion with Wei-Chau. Please plan to attend to observe a teacher in action and discuss teaching strategies!" It's the latest in a series of what CTE calls "Open Classroom" sessions aimed at faculty who have an interest in effective teaching. The course is Civil Engineering 222 (Differential Equations) and the session is May 30, a Wednesday, starting at 12:30. "Space is limited," Keller notes; registration is through the CTE web site.

There's room for a goodly number of additional golfers, or would-be golfers, in this year's Matthews Classic event. It's an annual fixture for faculty, staff, retirees and friends, with the name honouring the late Burt Matthews, UW president 1970-1981 and something of a golfer himself. "A cost of $47," writes one of the organizers, Bill Futher of information systems and technology, "will get you 18 holes of golf, a buffet style dinner, a good chance for a nice prize, and lastly a day of fun and fellowship with fellow employees." The classic is being held June 18, a Monday, at Grand Valley Golf Course. More information: ext. 3-3111.

Grades for winter term undergraduate courses, appearing unofficially on Quest for the past month, become official as of today. • The continuing education office is offering a course on "Writing for Public Relations and Marketing" to be held on four Friday mornings starting this week. • The plant operations department has invited some key people to lunch tomorrow with a representative of one of UW's furniture suppliers, Calstone Inc., who will report on their new furniture recycling program.

And . . . Thursday's Daily Bulletin listed a PhD thesis by Dong Yan of the electrical and computer engineering department and alleged that it's going to be defended on June 125. We could find a worse month than June to stretch out for 125 days — some eighteen weeks — but in fact the oral defence is scheduled for June 15.


Back to top

Friday's Daily Bulletin