Monday, February 11, 2008

  • Fee increases, other board actions
  • $19.5 million for 'competitive' research
  • Staff member's chance at a Juno
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Associate dean (undergradate studies) in the faculty of mathematics these days is David McKinnon of the pure mathematics department. He took on the associate dean's role as of January 1, succeeding David Taylor of computer science.

Link of the day

Saying no (or yes) to PowerPoint

When and where

Class enrolment appointments for spring term undergraduate courses February 11-16; open enrolment begins February 19.

Ontario Centres of Excellence announcement regarding clean energy research, 10:00, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard.

QPR suicide prevention training available February 11 (11:30), March 7 (12:00), April 11 (11:30), call ext. 33528 to register.

Arriscraft Lecture: Iñaki Ábalos, Madrid architect, “Caverns, Labyrinths, Helixes and Doodles”, 12:00, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

Peace and conflict studies professor Nathan Funk speaks on “Religion and Peacebuilding”, 12:00 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

[WIM logo]Women in Mathematics “Integrated Monday” tea and cookies for women students and faculty (bring your lunch), 12:00, Math and Computer room 5136.

Computer science information session on third-year and fourth-year courses, advice on preparation, 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Career workshop: "Networking 101" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

'Snapshot of Graduate Admissions' workshop with information about admissions to business, law, medical and graduate schools, 7:00, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Federation of Students executive election and referenda: online voting Tuesday 8 a.m. to Thursday 8 p.m.

Ontario minister of citizenship and immigration makes an announcement about an immigration for international students, Tuesday 10:00, Waterloo International, Needles Hall room 1116.

Lunarfest 2008 sponsored by UW Alliance of Asian Clubs: Food fair Tuesday 10:30 to 3:30, Student Life Centre lower level. Fashion show Wednesday 7:00, Humanities Theatre, followed by after-party, tickets $15 advance, $18 at the door.

Employee Assistance Program brown-bag lunch: “Quitting Smoking, Useful Guidance for the Serious, Curious and Furious”, with Paul McDonald, health studies and gerontology, Tuesday 12:00 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Arts Faculty Council Tuesday 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Centre for Teaching Excellence presents “Epistemological Cartography: How Concept Maps Can Help Your Students Learn”, Tuesday 3:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library, details online.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group presents the film “Anonymously Yours” on the sex trade in southwest Asia, with presentation by Action to End Exploitation, Tuesday 5:30, Physics room 145.

Arriscraft Lecture: Reinhold Martin, Columbia University, “Utopia’s Ghost: Postmodernism Revisited”, Tuesday 7:00, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, half-day workshops on “Understanding Clients and Co-workers”, Wednesday in St. Jacobs, details online.

Blood donor clinic Wednesday-Thursday (10:00 to 4:00) and Friday (9:00 to 3:00), Student Life Centre, book appointments at Student Life Centre.

Fair trade rose sale for Valentine’s Day: “show your sweetheart how fair you really are” with organic roses and fair-trade chocolate, offered by Engineers Without Borders. Pre-order by e-mail ( or first-come, first-served on Thursday, Carl Pollock Hall foyer.

Valentine’s Day luncheon ($18) and dinner ($45, Cornish hen or vanilla-cured lobster) Thursday at University Club, reservations ext. 33801.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings, computers, appliances and other items, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall.

'Differ/End: The Caledonia Project' researched and relived by UW drama department students, continues February Thursday-Saturday at 7:00, Studio 180, Humanities building, tickets $12 (students $10) at Humanities box office.

K-W Symphony Intersections series concert: “21st Century Violin with Gilles Apap” Thursday 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets 519-578-1570.

School of Pharmacy applications for 2009 admission due February 15 (deadline moved from January 31).

Loving to Learn Day, "an opportunity for everyone and anyone to share their reflections about their love of learning", February 15, details online.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day at Warrior men’s basketball game vs. Windsor Lancers, Saturday 3:00, Physical Activities Complex, prizes, admission free with preregistration.

Family Day holiday February 18 (Monday of reading week). UW offices and services closed (libraries open 12:00 to 6:00).

Alumni career planning workshop offered by Career Services, Saturday, March 1, 9:30 to 4:00, cost $75, registration online.

Alumni networking workshop offered by Career Services, Tuesday, March 4, 6:00 to 9:00, cost $20, registration online.

International Women’s Day dinner: “Celebrate women mentoring women,” Thursday, March 6, 5:00, University Club. Speakers are Emerance Baker (aboriginal services coordinator) and Susan Tighe (civil and environmental engineering); tickets $30 at Humanities box office.

UW alumni night at Toronto Raptors game Friday, March 7, 7:00 p.m.. Tickets $35 (including bus transportation from UW to Air Canada Centre and back) from alumni affairs office, details online.

Environment and business conference sponsored by fourth-year environment and business students, Wednesday, March 26, Humanities Theatre, information e-mail

Fee increases, other board actions

UW’s board of governors gave its approval last week to tuition fee increases that will be effective in September. Fees for current students, who will be in the upper years of undergraduate programs next fall, will rise by 4 per cent, while fees for first-year students will be increased by 4.5 per cent in “regulated” programs, including arts and science, and 8 per cent in “deregulated” programs, including engineering. All graduate students will face a 3.9 per cent fee increase and all international students will pay 4 per cent more.

There are “literally hundreds of tuition rates”, said vice-president (administration and finance) Dennis Huber, under the recently introduced system by which students in every year of a program can be paying at different rates. The board was shown only some examples of next fall’s one-term fees, such as $2,394 for first-year students in applied health sciences, and $4,379 for first-year engineers. Those numbers don’t include the co-op fee or ancillary fees.

A full chart of 2008-09 fees will be available online, Huber said. One group of students who will find good news there is those in nanotechnology engineering, who have been paying some of UW’s highest fees. The Ontario government has now ruled that they must be charged the same as other engineering students, the vice-president reported.

He also told the board that the government is no longer requiring universities to set aside 30 per cent of the revenue from each tuition fee increase to add to the pool of “local aid” money for student assistance. Instead, the local aid budget — about $12.5 million at UW this year — is to be adjusted as enrolment changes.

Other notes from the February 5 meeting of the board of governors:

• Approval was given to changes in residence fees, effective September 1. In the Villages, Minota Hagey, UW Place and Columbia Lake Village South, fees will go up 5 per cent (making the two-term rate $4,349 for a double room and $5,785 for a “suite-style” room in the Villages). In CLV North, a two-bedroom townhouse will rent for $1,074 a month next fall, a 1.4 per cent increase from this year’s rate.

• Associate provost Catharine Scott reported briefly on last month’s vote by about 1,000 staff members on whether to be represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation. UW and the union are getting ready to appear before the Ontario Labour Relations Board to debate the status of some of the votes cast on that issue. In addition, Scott said, the university will argue that the whole vote was invalid because OSSTF didn’t have signatures from the required 40 per cent of the group it was seeking to represent. The union said in its application that it had 398 signatures, out of the 924 employees it said were in the relevant group. The university will argue that the group is larger, or that the number of valid signatures was smaller.

• The board approved a new $50 fee to be paid by applicants to the accounting and financial management program, to cover the cost of the “admissions assignment” that applicants are now asked to write.

• Provost Amit Chakma gave an update on the state of the budget for 2007-08, the fiscal year that will end in 11 weeks. He said the plant operations department has succeeded in cutting the cost of utilities by $1 million this year — taking the bill down to $12.0 million — and that’s helping to turn the bottom line from a deficit that might have reached $2 million into a surplus now estimated at $240,000.

• Chakma also briefed the board on preparations for the 2008-09 budget, noting that another annual across-the-board cut is inevitable. “We try to keep layoffs to a minimum,” he said, but noted that such cuts are, at least, “a crude way of delivering efficiency”. For the university’s financial health this year, it will be essential to bring in a larger number of international students, who more than pay their own way, he said.

• The board approved the proposed new “conflict resolution” policy for staff (to take effect March 1) and the proposed new policy on how academic department chairs are selected.

• Vice-president (external relations) Meg Beckel said with a grin that Campaign Waterloo has now brought the university $440 million, and counting. She said an “identity and branding exercise” for UW is under way (“we want to have some kind of cohesive marketing look”) and she’s also making plans for “a reputation survey” for the university.

• The building and properties committee of the board reported that the Centre for Advanced Photovoltaic Devices building, at the northeast corner of the campus, is just about finished. “At its January meeting,” said the report, “the Committee approved a $4.5 million increase to the previously approved $6.8 million project budget to permit the fit-out of the shelled two floors for the Faculty of Engineering and additional costs to complete Phases 1 and 2.”

• The pension and benefits committee got approval for some changes to the fine print in the benefits program, making clear that dental and other benefits for employees stop at the end of the year in which the individual reaches age 69, even though the government has changed the age when an individual has to start accepting a pension (from 69 to 71).

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$19.5 million for 'competitive' research

Provincial officials came to campus Friday morning to announce more than $19 million in funding for “four cutting-edge research projects”, being funded in partnership with industry “to support the province’s top researchers in areas where Ontario can compete and win in the global marketplace”.

The MPP for Kitchener Centre, John Milloy, and the MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, Leeanna Pendergast, made the announcement in a lab in Engineering III on behalf of the minister of research and innovation, John Wilkinson.

Ontario is providing $8.7 million to support the development of the next generation of green vehicles; $2.9 million to develop more secure solutions for distributing massive amounts of information over wired and wireless communications networks; $3.1 million to help businesses to respond rapidly to emerging needs in the lucrative software services sector; and $4.8 million to support the development of new technologies for measuring, monitoring, controlling and removing water contaminants.

The $19.5 million for these projects is part of nearly $115 million invested by the government “to support 19 cutting-edge research projects across Ontario,” a news release said. “The research at universities, institutes and hospitals will receive matching funding from 107 major industry and other partners. These projects are part of the province’s plan to help Ontario’s top researchers develop new ideas and turn these ideas into products and services that can be marketed to the world.”

Said Wilkinson: “The strong partnerships between our top researchers, global business leaders and government will help provide Ontarians with a cleaner environment, a higher quality of life and more opportunities for success.” The four projects, as described in government releases:

• Green Auto Power Train — Developing the vehicles of the future. Total project cost: $26,056,680; provincial funding: $8,685,560. Lead researcher: Xianguo Li, mechanical engineering. “Researchers are creating cutting-edge technologies that will ultimately improve the environment, reduce dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels and give Ontario’s $100 billion-a-year auto industry a competitive edge in hybrid and clean diesel technologies. With today’s cars and trucks being dependent on fossil fuels, there is a need to develop more environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient and cost-effective vehicles. Researchers are taking the most promising forms of green vehicle technology currently available to the next level. Researchers will look at improving hybrid vehicles (ones that use two or more fuel sources), including the use of clean diesel engines. The result will be greater environmental and health protection from vehicle-released air contaminants and made-in-Ontario new technologies that can be marketed around the world — boosting the province’s auto sector and economy.” Key private sector partners: Chrysler Canada, Ford Motor Company, Siemens Canada Ltd. University partners: McMaster, Toronto, Windsor.

• Security and Mobility over the Global Information Transport Platform — Developing security systems for multiple communications networks.

Total project cost: $8,731,500; provincial funding: $2,910,500. Lead researcher: Xuemin (Sherman) Shen, electrical and computer engineering. “Waterloo researchers will develop new solutions for distributing massive amounts of information over networks in a way that guarantees security without compromising flexibility and usability. Researchers at UW will join partner researchers at the University of Ottawa, Queen’s University and McMaster University to investigate and develop new technologies and work with industry partners to commercialize their technologies in the marketplace. The result of this project will be made-in-Ontario high-tech security features that can be marketed around the world — boosting the province’s economy while tackling network privacy concerns.” Key private sector partners: Bell Canada, RIM. University partners: McMaster, Queen’s, Ottawa.

• Model-integrated Software Service Engineering — Helping business stay at the leading-edge. Total project cost: $9,289,438; provincial funding: $3,096,479. Lead researcher: Krzysztof Czarnecki, electrical and computer engineering. “Building on Ontario’s software expertise, researchers will develop a research program in software services to create innovative, marketable technologies and products that allow business to respond rapidly to emerging needs. They will also develop an education initiative in software services to train a new generation of software experts. Ontario, with its booming Information and Communications Technology industry, is in a strong position to compete in the knowledge-intensive services sector. However, until now the province did not have a cohesive research and educational initiative in software services. This research project will link together a core of internationally renowned researchers and innovative Ontario companies to tackle key challenges in the area of software services. The research will develop innovative, marketable technologies and provide direct economic benefits to Ontario.In addition, this project will also spearhead a timely educational initiative in software services, training 60 to 80 highly qualified personnel at the graduate level, and 50 to 80 highly qualified personnel at the undergraduate level. These students will be in high demand as professionals, teachers, researchers, and entrepreneurs in Ontario, and fuel growth in the knowledge-intensive services sector. This initiative will provide international visibility and position Ontario as a leader in the industry. The result will be made-in-Ontario improvements to software services that can be marketed around the world.” Key private sector partners: IBM, Google Inc., LogicBlox, MKS Inc., Open Text, Scotiabank. University partners: Carleton, Toronto, IT University (Denmark), Vanderbilt, Carnegie Mellon.

• Centre for the Control of Emerging Contaminants — Developing technologies for next-generation wastewater treatment. Total project cost: $14,709,372; provincial funding: $4,813,425. Lead researcher: Wayne Parker, civil engineering. “This project will see the creation of a Centre for the Control of Emerging Contaminants, which will bring together an interdisciplinary group of many of the most respected water scientists in Canada, as well as industry and government partners. The centre will focus on the control of emerging contaminants (ECs) in water, wastewater, and residuals (i.e. biosolids). Researchers at the new CCEC will develop and test new technologies for measuring, monitoring, controlling and removing ECs in current and next-generation wastewater treatment systems. Specifically, researchers will investigate how to improve management of ECs that pass virtually unchanged through wastewater treatments, which were never designed to remove them.” Key private sector partners: Trojan Technologies, Pathogen Detection Systems, GE-Zenon. University partners: Trent, Guelph, Toronto, Laurier.

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[Kelp] Staff member's chance at a Juno

Thomas Kelp (right), information technology manager in the UW graphics department and a Waterloo graduate (BMath 1999), is thrilled to have been co-nominated with local musician Danny Michel for a Juno award in his role as “video producer and director” of the indie concert music DVD “Danny Michel & the Black Tornados”.

Michel, who originates from Kitchener-Waterloo, has been described by the Toronto Star as “one of this country’s undiscovered musical treasures.” He recently toured Canada with CBC “Vinyl Café” radio host Stuart McLean and is working on a new CD which will be released in the spring.

For the DVD project, two live concerts were videotaped and multi-tracked at Toronto’s Modclub Theatre. A crew of 10 camera operators participated in capturing the shows — including Al Kirker of UW’s ITMS team and Larry Guzik, who has worked in UW Graphics . Still photographers included Matthew Reynolds, Barry Roden, and UW engineering grad Doug Doe “Pete Nema”. At the concerts, Michel was joined on stage by a wide assortment of artists and musicians including Emm Gryner, Luke Doucet and Kurt Swinghammer.

The DVD premiered on the big screen at the Princess Cinema in Waterloo in late April 2007. Thomas describes the project as "a labour of love. Music and film have always been a passion for me. Danny and I put this thing together on our Mac and PC. It was great to see it come together so nicely — and the Juno nomination is such a surprise! I hope it brings Danny further music success."

The Junos are being held in Calgary this year, on April 6. Other nominees in the same category include Billy Talent, The Cowboy Junkies, Jesse Cook and Loreena McKennitt.


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