Thursday, February 21, 2008

  • Microsoft founder speaks this morning
  • $8 million for the Kitchener campus
  • Faculty take year-long sabbaticals
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

International Mother Language Day

When and where

Institute for Computer Research industry seminar: Kelly Kanellakis, Nortel, “How Nortel Views the Challenge of Hyperconnectivity” 2:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Social Innovation Generation presents C. S. Holling, “one of the most influential ecologists of the last century”, speaking on “Inventing Organizations”, 5:30, Festival Room, South Campus Hall, all welcome.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar: “Handling Difficult Conversations”, Friday, details online.

37th annual Hagey Bonspiel for faculty, staff, retirees and friends, Saturday, Ayr Curling Club, information online.

Bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx, usually open on Saturdays, will be closed February 23.

Going Green workshop on radiant flooring, sponsored by architecture students’ Grand House, Saturday morning, details online.

UW senate Monday 4:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Canadian Computing Contest for high school students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, Tuesday, February 26, details online.

St. Jerome’s University presents the 2007-08 Devlin Lecture: Frederick Bird, UW department of political science, “Rethinking the Bottom Line: International Business and Poverty”, Friday, February 29, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Chilly Dog Run: run or walk two loops around the ring road, then chili in the Student Life Centre, with guest speaker, hosted by Moods Assistance Through Educational Support, Saturday, March 1, 10:30 a.m., registration $10

Staff association special general meeting Tuesday, March 4, 8:40 to 9:30 a.m., Math and Computer room 1085, agenda online.

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

Cognos Cubes training for users of statistical data from Institutional Analysis and Planning office: beginner sessions March 19, May 21, September 24; advanced sessions April 23, June 11, October 15, details online.

E-health information security workshop sponsored by Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, March 26-28, details online.

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[UW logo on screen looms over Gates]Microsoft founder speaks this morning

by Michael Strickland, UW media relations

Bill Gates is back. The founder and current chairman of Microsoft is today making his second visit to the University of Waterloo — one of only five campuses on his current tour and the only one in Canada. (Left: Gates speaking during his first UW visit, in 2005.)

Gates will be greeted by UW senior administrators, join a group of academics for a roundtable discussion and talk to the media. But the main event will be a talk to a group largely made up of students. Close to 200 high schoolers, many of them participants in math competitions run by UW’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, will join 475 students from across the UW campus and a few dozen guests for his talk in the Humanities Theatre.

The talk begins at 9:45 and will cover topics ranging from software and innovation to entrepreneurship and philanthropy. He will speak for a half hour, then take questions from the audience.

Natalie Owen, a computer science student who is also president of the student Math Society, is among the lucky ticket holders and is looking forward to the event. “It is exciting,” she said. “Bill Gates is a celebrity, especially for nerdy people like me.”

Dave Goodwin, drama and speech communication professor, will be among the faculty at the early morning roundtable, and hopes to discuss how the arts can use technology to transform the world.

“As technologies mature, they become more about benefits, less about features; more about design, less about development; more about development, less about technology itself,” he says. “Microsoft’s Expression software is an important first step in signaling this maturity, since it allows designers and developers to work off the same platform.”

Tom Coleman, dean of the faculty of mathematics, believes that this visit, like the first Gates visit in October 2005, is a testament to what UW offers: innovation, co-op education, research and other hallmarks. “Technological innovation is changing the world,” he said, “and mathematics and computer science underlie these exciting discoveries. Like Mr. Gates, we are confident in technology’s enormous potential to solve society’s pressing problems and make the world a better place for everyone.”

The 720 tickets for the event were quickly snapped up, so there will be an alternate site in the great hall of the Davis Centre where the talk will be projected on a giant screen. People can also watch it on the Internet, and a web site with photos and reports on today's event will be online before the day is over.

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$8 million for the Kitchener campus

The Ontario government announced yesterday that it’s providing $8 million towards the cost of UW’s health sciences campus in downtown Kitchener.

“The campus will attract skilled health care professionals to the region, provide more opportunities for students and increase access to multi-discipline health sciences for this rapidly growing area,” said a news release on behalf of the minister of training, colleges and universities, Kitchener’s John Milloy. The campus will house the new UW School of Pharmacy and a satellite campus of McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, “and will establish Waterloo Region as a key centre for health sciences”, the release said.

The “investment” in the health sciences campus is expected to create roughly 80 jobs, it said.

Total committed costs for two buildings on the health sciences campus, at the corner of King and Victoria Streets, are $78 million, of which $45 million is coming from Waterloo Region and the City of Kitchener. The province’s $8 million will help make up the difference.

Officials at the school of pharmacy are expecting to start moving into Building A in May, when student labs and at least one lecture hall should be ready for the students who began classes on UW’s main campus last month. A full move-in of the pharmacy school is expected by the end of 2008.

Construction has now started on Building B, which will house McMaster’s medical school outpost as well as facilities for a UW-operated Integrated Primary Care Clinic and a satellite clinic for the UW optometry school.

The first 15 students in the McMaster program began their studies at Mac’s home campus in Hamilton last fall, and moved to temporary facilities in an office building on Queen Street in Kitchener just before the new year. The Mac program will remain at that temporary site until Building B is finished in the fall of 2009.

The funding announced yesterday is part of $1.4 billion in spending on strategic infrastructure that was announced in the government’s Fall Economic Statement. Also announced yesterday was $3 million to improve facilities for Wilfrid Laurier University's Aird Building, home of the Faculty of Music.

Yesterday’s release also repeated an announcement of funding for campus renewal projects, including $9 million for UW, that was made available three weeks ago.

"Our government knows that it is today's students who will build Ontario's future economy, and that economy will be increasingly knowledge-based," said Milloy. "Our investments in the Waterloo Region will help ensure students are prepared for success in the future while we create new jobs today."

The news release also quoted the other Liberal MPP for a nearby riding, Leeanna Pendergast of Kitchener-Conestoga: "By expanding access to learning opportunities at these institutions, we are taking a major step to improving the long-term quality of postsecondary education in Waterloo Region, while providing jobs in the short term."

And it had a comment from UW president David Johnston: "We thank the province for this outstanding leadership gift towards our Health Sciences Campus. Training health professionals and carrying out research that will improve health care are high priorities for the people of Ontario, and we are thrilled to have support from the government of Ontario to help us do our part."

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Faculty take year-long sabbaticals

More than a few UW faculty members are on sabbatical leave this season, doing research on everything from petroleum to prime ministers. Here’s a list of some of them, with summaries of their sabbatical plans as submitted to the university’s board of governors. All the sabbaticals in this list are for twelve months that began January 1, 2008.

Ioannis Chatzis, chemical engineering: “I will spend my sabbatical at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi and work with researchers of ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) on the pore structure characterization of Carbonate type reservoirs. In the meantime I will work on preparing a textbook on ‘Fundamentals of Petroleum Engineering’. I regularly teach this ChE 514 course at University of Waterloo.”

Holger Kleinke, chemistry: “Aside from short trips to colleagues and conferences (3-8 days), I will stay at the University of Waterloo to concentrate on my research group.”

Susan Leat, optometry: “The sabbatical will be used for writing and publishing papers for academic journals and undertaking research on the University of Waterloo campus and at the École d’Optométrie, University of Montréal. I have data for up to 10 papers which requires analysis and to be written up and submitted for publication. The research at UW and University of Montréal involves data acquisition on a project entitled ‘Correction of reduced accommodation in pre-presbyopia with low vision’, which is a constitution of a current research program.”

Bernard Glick, biology: “I plan to pursue research directed toward understanding, at the biochemical and molecular level, the mechanisms used by plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria to facilitate plant growth and development, including the ability to cope with a range of environmental stresses, which is important both to develop a fundamental understanding of these processes and utilize the information gained to promote sustainable agricultural practices worldwide.”

John English, history: “During this leave, I will complete the second volume of my biography of Pierre Trudeau. The book is due at the publisher in September 2008 with publication in September 2009 in French and English.”

Gary Dmitrienko, chemistry: “Sabbatical time will be devoted to the design of curriculum for a new Medicinal Chemistry program. This leave will allow visits to collaborating research labs in Europe and Australia. Two major grant applications (NSERC I2I and CIHR) involving several collaborators will be prepared. Two new industrial collaborations will be explored with the possibility of establishing a Waterloo-based pharmaceutical discovery company.”

Gordon Agnew, electrical and computer engineering: “I intend to split my time between working on advanced research projects with CISCO Systems San Jose and developing a collaborative project with the Privacy and Security Laboratory at Dalhousie University.”


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