Tuesday, January 15, 2008

  • Emergency duties for five officials
  • The foot and the fist; the fee, and more
  • 'Aggressive' growth of grad programs
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Five like a totem pole]

Peer leaders in the "Living-Learning Community" for accounting and finance students are (reading downwards) Amena Mohammad, Anitha Jathindira, Sarah Tyrer, Amy Chan and Andre Kwok. About 150 students are in the accounting and finance group this term, 100 in an arts-and-business "community", and 20 in health studies, says Victoria Lehmann of the housing and residences office. Programming planned for the term includes job search seminars, midterm review sessions, and opportunities to meet alumni and faculty members.

Link of the day

Edward Teller, 100 years

When and where

Blood donor clinic today and January 23-25, Student Life Centre, make appointments now at turnkey desk.

Faculty of engineering "Vision 2010" campaign reception for engineering staff, faculty and retirees, 10:00 to 11:00, Davis Centre lounge.

Food services part-time job fair 4:30 to 6:30, Mudies cafeteria, Village I; also Wednesday 11:00 to 2:00, Brubakers, Student Life Centre, and Thursday, 4:30 to 6:30, Mudies.

German film showings, public welcome, Tuesdays 6:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. Tonight: "Angst essen Seele auf" (Fassbinder 1974), information ext. 33687.

Badminton Club preregistration for winter season, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., Student Life Centre room 2143.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, morning workshop on "Changing Lanes without a Major Collision", afternoon workshop on "Enhance Your Role as a Most Trusted Advisor", both Wednesday in St. Jacobs, details online.

Free noon concert: "Berners and Böhme: Music for Trumpet and Piano", Guy Few and Stephanie Mara, Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Miss World Canada contestant Nicole Mery selling fund-raising raffle tickets (win an iPod, hairdressing gift certificates) Wednesday 12:30 to 2:30, Math and Computer building third floor.

Smarter Health seminar: David Hill, University of Western Ontario, "Health Informatics: Critical Support for Clinical Research", Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Web clinic for "people of all skill levels and experiences to work on their websites", Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:00, Chemistry II room 160, information e-mail mfagan@uwaterloo.ca.

Military history lecture: Commander Stephen Virgin, HMCS Toronto, "Recent Deployments of HMCS Toronto and Canada's Naval Activities Overseas", Wednesday 7:00, 232 King Street North, Wilfrid Laurier University.

Clubs, Services and Societies Days introducing student organizations for this term, Thursday and Friday, 10:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Surplus sale of UW furniture and equipment, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall.

Graduate studies reception honouring winners of President's Graduate Scholarships and NSERC undergraduate student research awards, plus the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision, Thursday 3:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall, by invitation.

School of Computer Science distinguished lecture: Manuela Veloso, Carnegie Mellon University, "Multi-Robot Intelligence", Thursday 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Health informatics research seminar: Anne Pidduck, school of computer science, "Electronic Social Networks and Dementia Prevention", Friday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

QPR suicide prevention training available January 21 (12:00 to 1:30), February 11 (11:30), March 7 (12:00), April 11 (11:30), call ext. 33528 to register.

Volunteer/Internship Fair with information about opportunities with local agencies, January 22, 11:00 to 2:00.

Electrical and computer engineering fourth-year design project symposium, January 23, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Davis Centre.

'Alice (Experiments) in Wonderland' drama department multi-point telematic performance for children and adults, January 25 and February 1 (10:30 a.m.), January 24-26 and 31 plus February 2 (8 p.m.), January 26-27 and February 2-3 (2:00), Theatre of the Arts, tickets $12 general, $10 students, $5 children, details online.

Ottawa alumni networking event Thursday, January 31, 6:30 to 8:30, Canada Aviation Museum, guest speaker Peter Harder (BA 1975), former federal deputy minister, details online.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 21-24; submissions welcome now for oral or poster presentations, deadline for abstracts February 8, details online.

Still going on

• Class enrolment ends January 18; deadline for dropping courses with no penalty, and a 100 per cent tuition fee refund, January 25.
• Campus recreation registration for instructional programs continues through the week.
• Open meetings to discuss possible rapid transit routes and technologies in Waterloo Region continue.
• Nominations close January 21 for Federation of Students 2008-09 executive and for six student seats on the university senate.
• Comments on proposed new staff association bylaws and fee welcome until January 18.
Student awards and financial aid office open 8:30 to 4:30 to distribute winter term OSAP student funding.

Emergency duties for five officials

A “slightly revised” policy on how UW deals with emergencies went into effect with the new year, the university secretariat has announced.

The new version of Policy 60 was worked out by a trio of senior UW officials: university secretary Lois Claxton, vice-president (administration and finance) Dennis Huber, and associate provost (information systems and technology) Alan George. They were asked by the provost “to recommend any changes to procedures, taking into account best practices and cost effectiveness”, the secretariat says.

The result, according to Claxton: “The purpose has been expanded to provide a framework for responding to major emergencies and is informed by four operating assumptions… and a section on preparedness has been added.”

The policy also defines members of an “emergency response group”, which normally consists of the three executives who were involved in the policy rewrite, plus the provost and the president. There’s also a list of “resources and resource alternates” whom the emergency group can call on, from such departments as plant operations, the university police, communications and public affairs, and health services.

Says the policy: “This document provides a framework for responding to major emergencies and is informed by the following operating assumptions: (1) the first decision in response to an emergency is often the most critical and fundamental; (2) response to emergencies will be conditioned by caution and minimization of risk; (3) each emergency will have unique features requiring case-specific decisions and reactions; (4) redundant channels of communication (e-mail, telephone, paging, text messaging, etc.) will be instituted to ensure as complete campus coverage as possible.”

Action in an emergency, it says, is triggered by something as simple as an individual calling 911 or pulling a fire alarm. “UW Police will immediately implement the normal response (e.g., fire call, police call, or as appropriate). If the situation warrants, UW Police will notify the President and/or other members of the Emergency Response Group.

“The President and/or other members of the Emergency Response Group will decide whether the situation requires a full emergency response and will convene the Emergency Response Group as appropriate/time permits.

“Any member of the Emergency Response Group may serve as Chair and the Emergency Response Group will have the power to act in all matters regarding the commitment and use of University personnel, equipment and financial resources, and in the calling for assistance from other organizations, as may be required in their judgment to cope with the emergency.”

Says the new “preparedness” section of the policy: “A primary Emergency Operations Centre and an alternate centre will be equipped and maintained.

“Coordinates of the Emergency Response Group and resource people / resource alternates are provided to each of these individuals.

“Training needs are assessed on an ongoing basis and implemented as required re, for example: evacuation, spills response, securing/control of scene exercises, identification of individuals at risk.

“This policy, along with the status of UW's training, communications and procedures, will be reviewed annually, in consultation with municipal authorities.”

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The foot and the fist; the fee, and more

[Kick and yell!] Thomas Ang (left, training in the Tatham Centre) won’t be pulling any punches when he fights at the Olympic Team Trials next month in Regina. That national game will decide who represents Canada in the Beijing world championships for the sport of Taekwondo. Alison Laidlaw (recently graduated from optometry) will be competing for a spot along with Ang, who is a fourth-year computer science student. Both fighters are regular instructors at the UW Taekwondo Club, and they can both be seen doing full-contact matches tonight at 8:00 in the Physical Activities Complex "Red" area. This spectator event will immediately be followed by a “try-it” class conducted by the duo for new and returning Taekwondo students.

Students’ council — the governing body of the Federation of Students — voted on Sunday afternoon to hold a campus-wide referendum about the fee that undergraduate students currently pay to support radio station CKMS. “Do you support the removal of the $5.50 per term fee?” students will be asked, at the same time as they vote to elect the Federation’s 2008-09 executive in mid-February. The change, if approved, would go into effect starting in the fall term. Lively debate has already been in such venues as the LiveJournal forum web site, some of it focused on the merits of CKMS (“Radio Waterloo”) itself, some of it on the politics of refundable student activity fees. CKMS is one of three agencies, the other two being the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group and the newspaper Imprint, for which students must pay a fee each term but can then, if they follow the proper procedure, have it refunded. The Feds announced yesterday that in preparation for the referendum, a meeting to form "Yes" and "No" committees will be held January 22 at 3:00 in Student Life Centre room 2134.

Registration is open all this week for the fifth annual Let's Make a Deal Contest, designed to encourage students to quit or reduce smoking, but also open to those who don't want to start the bad habit. The contest is organized by the Leave the Pack Behind program, backed by UW students and Health Services. It's pitched as a great opportunity for those with New Year’s resolutions, with incentives like $600 as a grand prize for a smoker who kicks the habit for eight full weeks. The contest has four possible “deals” or categories. The Quit for Good deal encourages smokers to quit smoking for the eight week duration of the contest and has a prize of $600 cash. There are also categories for smokers to reduce the amount they smoke by 50 per cent or to break the tobacco-alcohol pairing by “partying without the pack”. Non-smokers can also enter and win by vowing to not start smoking for the duration of the contest. All deals last eight weeks and start on January 21. Students who stick to their deal are eligible to win the prizes, and everyone who joins gets to perform a carbon monoxide “Smokalyzer” test and receives a free “survival kit” to help them stick with their deal. A registration booth will be in the Student Life Centre daily from 11:00 to 3:00, and in Village I tonight from 5:00 to 7:00.

This Thursday night, writes political science student Radmila Djekic, "Kitchener-Waterloo will Stand for the Band by creating a white band around the University of Waterloo!" She explains: "The Ask WAI Club is organizing the event. WAI (war against ignorance) is a new club on campus. Our goal is to raise awareness about political, social and environmental issues while raising money for charity. Stand for the Band is the first of three large-scale events that the club is organizing. The event is not only open to UW students but the public in general. Stand for the Band will start on January 17 at 9:00 p.m. We will all gather around ring road. There will be clips playing on some major buildings from the anti-poverty commercials, from Make Poverty History, and some PowerPoint presentations with facts and pictures on others. Candles will be sold at the event as will ‘Make Poverty History’ bracelets. At 10:00 we will light the white candles. When every candle is lit around ring road, together we will form a white Make Poverty History bracelet. There will be a moment of silence followed by a short presentation. The event should be finished by 10:30 or 10:45 — however, people are welcome to stay and hold their candle as long as they wish.”

UW president David Johnston is making a visit to India, and will speak today on "Challenges in Resource Generation for Universities" at a symposium held at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. • A single-sheet calendar picturing the Dana Porter Library seen through a split-rail fence is the 2008 successor to the larger calendars for 2006 and 2007 that were produced by UW's development and alumni affairs office to hang on the walls of alumni and friends. • The Waterloo Centre for German Studies will publish a book through Wilfrid Laurier University Press this spring based on the proceedings of its 2006 conference on "Diaspora Experiences of German-Speaking Peoples".

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'Aggressive' growth of grad programs

excerpts from an article by Pat Bow in the most recent issue of the UW Magazine

In the last five years, 20 new graduate programs at UW were approved by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. In the same five-year period, graduate enrolment rose by 75 per cent, from just over 2,000 full-time students to more than 3,500 in fall 2007.

This explosion is in line with the objectives of UW's Sixth Decade Plan, which calls for the university to "grow aggressively in its graduate enrolment." Grad students are to make up one-quarter of the total student population of 32,000 by the year 2017.

This goal ties into the university's overarching aim to "pursue global excellence" in research and teaching, says Bill Power, associate dean of graduate studies. "The university wants to be a top international school. To do that, we need to build our research intensity. To build our research intensity, to have an impact as a creator and disseminator of knowledge, we need the foot soldiers of that research enterprise — the graduate students. Any research-intensive school has a large and vibrant graduate program."

Among the new grad students in 2007 were the first two dozen to join the new interdisciplinary global governance programs in the arts and environmental studies faculties: a master's program and, jointly with Wilfrid Laurier University, a doctoral program. Students will tackle issues ranging through economics, conflict and security, human rights, the environment, and multilateral global institutions.

The Sixth Decade Plan also recommends creating more course-based, professionally oriented programs, reflecting the university's response to the needs of society and the community at large. While a bachelor's degree used to be a passport to a good job, today the same job might require a master's degree. Jobs are more complex; more knowledge has to be absorbed.

At UW, several new graduate programs have been introduced to meet specific needs. In the case of the Master of Public Health (MPH) program, launched in 2006, the need was "an acute shortage of highly qualified personnel" in public health-related professions, identified by the Naylor Report that followed the outbreak of SARS in 2002-2003. Based in health studies and gerontology, the MPH program builds on established programs in population health and also draws on expertise in psychology, statistics, and other programs.

In engineering there has been expansion across the board, says associate dean Peter Douglas. Engineering's Vision 2010 plan projects a grad enrolment of 1,482 by fall 2009, "and we're on track to reach that figure," he says. Just over 1,220 grad students were enrolled in fall 2006.

In total numbers, most of the gains have come within the thesis-based programs, which include more than 80 per cent of all engineering grad students, but there's also a fresh batch of course-based master's programs. The new Master of Engineering (MEng) programs can be taken part-time, making it easier for working engineers to update their credentials. Some offer a specialization in areas of high demand in industry. In addition to a master's degree in engineering you can, for example, earn a certificate in fire safety or green energy.

Other course-based programs are offered through the Internet. The online MEng in electric power engineering is the only such program in Canada. Created to address a shortage of specially trained power engineers, the program has attracted a high level of interest and support from the power industry, says Kankar Bhattacharya, director.

Also growing is the online Master of Management Sciences program. Two years ago students were enrolling at the rate of 20 a year; now they're coming in at 50 a year. Right now, there are 90 students enrolled, and director Peter Carr expects the escalation to continue.

"We are going to grow everywhere, because we need to increase research intensity everywhere," Power says. "If there is a special focus, it would be in areas that bring together expertise from more than one discipline to have more impact." As one example, there's a multi-disciplinary node forming around energy and its supporting infrastructure, with an emphasis on efficiency and "green" technologies. One item high on the to-do list of Jatin Nathwani, the new Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy and Sustainable Energy Management, will be to attract graduate students in engineering, environmental studies, and science to studies in renewable and clean energy.


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