Thursday, December 18, 2008

  • Four days to go, but who's counting?
  • Blue box innovator's spirit lives on
  • More sabbaticals that begin January 1
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Four days to go, but who's counting?

‘Tis the week before Christmas, and the campus is getting quieter and quieter, although there are still two days of fall term exams to get through. The very last exams, for courses such as German 101 and Philosophy 240, will start at 7:30 Friday evening. On account of exam season, the UW libraries are continuing their extended hours: the Davis Centre library is open continuously, finally closing at midnight Friday, while the Dana Porter Library is open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. today, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. Residences will close as the last students finish their exams and depart; the Ron Eydt Village cafeteria served its last meals last night, and Mudie’s in Village I will shut the doors Friday at 7 p.m.

Such things should run smoothly as long as the weather doesn’t get just a little too Christmasy. The current forecast is for a dumping of snow to start early tomorrow morning and continue all day — not, we can hope, enough to close the university. Charlene Schumm, director of examinations in the registrar's office, notes that if a storm closing does take place, Friday exams will be rescheduled for Saturday at the same time and location. Watch the UW home page for any announcements along those lines. (Some agencies are taking the storm warning very seriously: Air Canada, for instance, has a "travel advisory" in place, with an offer to rebook flights out of Toronto at no charge.)

Monday and Tuesday are business days for UW, with some of the business at hand being the processing of exams and final marks. The first, “unofficial” fall term marks are scheduled to appear on Quest on Monday, with more turning up from day to day as instructors submit them. Tuesday, the 23rd, is the monthly payday for December.

Then Wednesday, December 24, is the first day of a long break, during which UW buildings will be generally closed, and most staff and faculty are on holiday. The campus will be largely asleep for 12 days this year, reviving on Monday, January 5, when the winter term begins.

During the Christmas break, the Student Life Centre will be open 24 hours a day as it always is. The university police will be on duty, as will a shift at the central plant, tending boilers and control systems and seeing that any maintenance emergencies are responded to. Work will also be in progress on some of those days at the major construction projects at Engineering V and the Quantum-Nano Centre.

Details about all this sort of thing will be provided exhaustively in the last Daily Bulletin of the year, appearing in this space on Tuesday morning. To make sure that everything is there (and correct), I'd like to ask appropriate people in UW departments and organizations to take a look at the last Daily Bulletin of 2007, and see what similar information needs to be published for this year. Details about closings, openings, emergency contacts, special events and anything else connected with UW during the holiday closing would be welcome.

Parking manager Sharon Rumpel has an urgent message for students living in residence who want to leave their cars on campus over the holidays. “They need to contact Parking Services,” she says, “to register that their vehicle is staying, and we will direct them to the area where we are parking all vehicles that will be left. This allows for more efficient snow removal on campus.”

The bookstore (and UW Shop and TechWorx) won’t be open this Saturday, but will have extra hours at the beginning of the winter term: noon to 4:00 on Saturday, January 3, and 10:30 to 4:30 on Sunday, January 4. The Campus TechShop in the Student Life Centre will also be open on that Sunday, but not the Saturday.

The student life office, the Federation of Students and the Graduate Student Association will be offering campus tours for new students on Monday, January 5, and a “Services Fair” on Wednesday, January 7. Details of the “Winter Welcome” are on the orientation web site.

Earl Oliver, a graduate student in computer science, is seeking BlackBerry users for “a smartphone usage study” and has details online. • A group of international co-op students is taking part in a focus group on “their unique challenges and opportunities” today as part of a project sponsored by the Centre for Teaching Excellence. • The engineering jazz band, otherwise known as With Respect to Time, is urging potential members to sign up early for the winter term, because this fall interest was “so high that we didn’t have space for everyone”.

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Blue box innovator's spirit lives on

a feature article from UW’s 2007-08 “Report on Giving”

Big ideas are the first step towards changing the world. Building on UW's innovative spirit, a new award encourages students to come up with ideas that address environmental challenges.

"Through the Jack Rosen Memorial Award for Environmental Innovation," says Deep Saini, dean of the Faculty of Environment, "students are encouraged to come up with ideas that will make the world a better place."

[Matthew Lee in bike helmet]Jack Rosen was a long-time business leader and waste management professional in Kitchener-Waterloo whose ideas were often ahead of their time. He developed and helped introduce the world's first “blue box” recycling program in KW in the 1970s. The boxes were blue simply because that was the only colour he could find in a large enough quantity. The pilot project grew to become one of the most successful community-based environmental conservation projects of the 20th century.

Through the generosity of the Rosen family, this memorial award recognizes Jack Rosen's vision and commitment to environmental issues by encouraging students to develop creative ideas that address environmental problems. "I want to see students come up with ideas that may seem crazy," says Honey Rosen, Jack's wife. "The plan might not work the first time, but the important thing is to keep trying."

The Jack Rosen Memorial Award for Environmental Innovation was recently awarded to a team of graduate students for proposing a creative bike-sharing program to implement in Waterloo Region.

For inaugural recipients Ben Clare, Jeremy Finkleman, and Matthew Lee — graduate students in the School of Planning — the goal for the bicycle program is to promote an environmentally sustainable and healthy future for the community. "Projects like this have been tremendously successful in Europe," says Lee (pictured). "Cycling is simple, efficient, and a cost-effective addition to the region's transportation network." Ultimately, the students hope this project will inspire other cities across Canada to change the way they think about personal transportation.

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More sabbaticals that begin January 1

Here’s another list of some of the UW faculty members who will be on sabbatical leave starting January 1. For each of them, sabbatical plans are summarized as they were reported to UW’s board of governors at the time the sabbatical was approved. All the faculty included in this list will be taking six-month leaves that wind up June 30.

Jonathan Li, geography and environmental management: “I will devote the majority of time to writing papers/book chapters and proposals concerning the utilization of remote sensing for mapping and disaster management. Much of this work will focus on China. Occasional visits will be made to China in connection with ongoing research activities. A new project will be initiated on earth observations for monitoring marine pollutions.”

Robert Mann, physics and astronomy: “I received a Fulbright Fellowship to carry out research in gravitational physics at Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I will be a general visitor at the KITP during my sabbatical leave.”

Mary Louise McAllister, environment and resource studies: “Projects include two SSHRC grant applications: (a) The mineral sector and organizational learning: communications, rhetoric and practice: organizational learning within the Canadian mineral policy. (b) Sense of Place and Governance in a Post-staples Economy: Rivers, Dams and Settlements in 21st Century Northern Canada. One book project on Cyprus and sustainable communities as well as research articles and course development.”

Aaron Kay, psychology: “The purpose of my sabbatical will be to collaborate with various researchers and write up research findings. In January-February I will collaborate with researchers in France and the Netherlands on work related to social justice. In March-June I will collaborate with one of the world’s leading intergroup psychology researchers, Dr. Brenda Major, at University of California Santa Barbara.”

Ramesh Kumar, economics: “To continue to make progress on the book project begun during the last sabbatical on multilateral institutions of international trade and finance.”

Nathalie Lanson, applied mathematics: “My research focuses on meshfree methods for partial differential equations, both theoretical and computational aspects. During my sabbatical, I plan on focusing on improvements of meshfree methods, particularly on the elaboration of a better quadrature formula, the stabilization of derivatives in the presence of shocks and the development of a good approximation of second order derivatives for the numerical viscosity. I also plan on working on two different fields of applications: nanotechnology, and mathematical medicine. For the latter, my aim is to study the flow of blood through the heart, and especially the effect of bypasses. Meshfree methods show great potential in this area because of its ability to handle complex distorted systems. This sabbatical will help me in being more competitive for my NSERC grant renewal in August 2009.”

Thorsten Hesjedal, electrical and computer engineering: “I plan to spend my sabbatical leave primarily at Stanford University (Palo Alto, California) and IBM Almaden Research Center (San Jose, California). My plans for scholarly activities focus on spintronics materials and device research. In the joint IBM-Stanford Spintronic Science and Applications Center the conditions are ideal for exploring new magnetic materials, the magnetization dynamics, exotic spintronics designs, and advanced instrumentation for materials synthesis.”


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Link of the day

Stone turns 65

When and where

Feds used book store, Student Life Centre, open Monday-Friday 9 to 5 this week; closed Saturday and next week. Open January 3-4, 9 to 5, and starting January 5, 8:30 to 5:30.

Computer Help and Information Place (CHIP) will close at 3:15 today, and from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday. Regular hours Monday (8:00 to 4:30); Tuesday, open 8:00 to 3:30.

St. Jerome’s University president’s Christmas reception and dinner 6:00, by invitation.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Unsilent Night outdoor ambient music holiday event, with support from UW architecture students, all welcome, Monday, December 22, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., City Hall, 50 Dickson Street, Cambridge.

Math and Computer building 5th floor, electrical power shut off Monday, December 29, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Engineering II and III buildings, electrical power shut off Monday, December 29, 10 a.m. to midnight.

Fee payment deadline for the winter term is December 30 (bank transfer).

Optometry continuing education “CE on the SEA” Caribbean cruise and professional upgrading, January 3-10. Details.

Paul Snyder, information systems and technology, retirement party Wednesday, January 7, 3:30 to 5:30, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP

‘Language as a Complex Dynamic System’ at Renison University College, Thursday, January 8, 7:00 p.m.; guest speaker Diane Larsen-Freeman, University of Michigan; details e-mail jpwillia@

White Coat Ceremony for new pharmacy students, Thursday, January 8, 5:00, Humanities Theatre.

Social Innovation Generation project presents “Studio Earth”, with remarks by environmentalist Severn Suzuki, sessions on social finance, social technology, political advocacy, Sunday, January 11, 12:30 to 5:00, Kitchener City Hall, registration $10, call ext. 38680.

Application deadline for September 2009 undergraduate admission is January 14 for Ontario secondary school students. General deadline, March 31. Exceptions include pharmacy (for January 2010) January 30; accounting and architecture, February 13; engineering and software March 2. Details.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar, “Working in a Family Business”, Friday, January 16, 7 a.m., Waterloo Inn.

Faculty of Science presents the 3rd annual Arthur Carty Lecture: Nina Federoff, Penn State University, “Seeds of a Perfect Storm: The Global Food Security Crisis”, Thursday, January 22, details to be announced.

Faculty of Arts presents Anne-Marie Zajdliki, Masai Centre for Local, Regional and Global Health, “A Canadian Physician’s Dream for Africa” Thursday, January 22, 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

PhD oral defences

Chemistry. Wei Liu, “Synthesis and Chemistry of Isoprekinamycin and Analogues.” Supervisor, Gary I. Dmitrienko. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, January 6, 1:00 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Systems design engineering. Majid Sheikhmohammady, “Modelling and Analysis of Multilateral Negotiations.” Supervisors, Keith Hipel and Mark Kilgour. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, January 8, 9:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1316.

Computer science. Eric Yu Chen, “Solving Geometric Problems in Space-Conscious Models.” Supervisor, Timothy Chan. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, January 9, 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 2314.

Recreation and leisure studies. Margo Hilbrecht, “Parents, Employment, Gender and Well-Being: A Time Use Study.” SUpervisor, Susan Shaw. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, January 9, 2:00 p.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

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