Tuesday, January 29, 2008

  • Looking for ‘distinguished’ teachers
  • Hoping to take skills back to Kenya
  • Library will put aerial photos online
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

Mail order gardening

When and where

[Islam Week logo]
Islam Awareness Week sponsored by Muslim Students Association, activities in the Student Life Centre great hall include "Islam 101" workshop today 12:00 and Wednesday 11:30; DVD lecture by Sheikh Khaled Yasin, "Purpose of Life", 7:00 tonight.

‘Less Than Par book sale’ for UW bookstore (30 per cent off already reduced prices on selected titles), Tuesday-Thursday, South Campus Hall concourse.

Voting ends today in the election of a faculty-at-large representative on the UW senate.

‘Students today, alumni tomorrow’ career session for arts students (“how to market yourself”) 12 noon, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration phone ext. 32012.

Career workshop: "Business Etiquette and Professionalism" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Women’s Centre discussion night: “What Is Ecofeminism?” 5:30, Student Life Centre room 2102.

German film showings, public welcome, Tuesdays 6:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. This week: "Fitzcarraldo" (Herzog 1982), information ext. 33687.

Arriscraft Lecture: Julia Czerniak, Syracuse University, “Legibility and Resistance”, 7:00, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

Employer interviews for spring co-op term begin Wednesday, continue through February 29.

Free noon concert: "For Children of Africa", music by Carol Ann Weaver, reprising Saturday night's concert and CD launch, Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Graduate studies in mathematics information session aimed at third and fourth-year undergraduates, Wednesday 4:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Waterloo Space Society general meeting Wednesday 5:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 308.

Montréal alumni networking event Wednesday 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Ecomusée du fier monde, register online.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Mark Sedra, UW political science, "The Search for Security in Afghanistan", Wednesday 7:00 p.m., 57 Erb Street West.

Laurel Centre for Social Entrepreneurship presents Paul Born, Tamarack Institute, "Fewer Poor, Not Better Poor", Thursday 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116.

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

Conrad Grebel University College Benjamin Eby Lecture: James Reimer, Grebel faculty, on the nature and task of Christian theology in the 21st century, Friday 7:30, Grebel chapel, admission free.

Gradfest 2008 presentations and exhibitors about services offered to soon-to-be UW graduates, February 4, 10:00 to 7:00, Student Life Centre; reception from 4:30 p.m., Bombshelter pub, details online.

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

Class enrolment for spring term courses: appointments on Quest February 11-16, open enrolment begins February 19.

Family Day holiday Monday, February 18, UW offices and services closed (Monday of reading week).

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

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Looking for ‘distinguished’ teachers

It’s the season to pay tribute to teachers who are way out of the ordinary, as the annual deadline approaches for nominations for the Distinguished Teacher Award and then the Exceptional Teaching by a Student Award. DTA nominations are always due on the first Friday in February, and ETSA nominations a week later.

It takes ten nominators to bring up a professor or other instructor for consideration by the DTA selection committee, though the Centre for Teaching Excellence, which administers the program, stresses that it's not the number of signatures on some petition that matters, it's the quality of information provided about why an individual's teaching is worthy of an award.

The ten nominators have to include at least five present or past students of the instructor. Nominations should come, says the CTE web site, in "a typed or legible handwritten letter". Background information can range from letters written by colleagues, to "descriptions of teaching innovations".

Distinguished Teacher Awards have now been given at UW for more than three decades. The honour includes a certificate, presented at Convocation, and a grant to be used for future teaching activities. Four awards are generally given each year, "in recognition of continued record of excellence in teaching at the University of Waterloo".

The award, the official criteria say, "is open to all those who teach students at the University of Waterloo and is not limited just to those holding faculty appointments."

"The Selection Committee," say the rules, slightly updated by UW’s senate in time for this year’s awards, "will look for evidence of intellectual vigour and communication skills in the interpretation and presentation of subject matter, along with evidence of educational impact beyond the classroom.

“The teacher's human quality and concern for and sensitivity to the needs of students are obvious criteria. The Selection Committee will look for a clear indication that the nominee has favourable and lasting influence on students and, where relevant, on colleagues. Evidence of successful innovation in teaching or publications/presentations on teaching and learning would support a nomination, but it is also clear that excellence in teaching does not necessarily require either. . . .

"Members of the University community are urged to renominate candidates who have not won an award in previous years and who continue to show excellence in teaching performance. It only takes one nomination letter in the current year to make a whole file of accumulated past support admissible. Of course, new evidence is always desirable.”

In several of the faculties and colleges, there are DTA faculty liaisons who can help with nominations or answer questions about the awards.

As for the ETSA — aimed at honouring teaching assistants and students in similar roles — the process is much like the one for the DTA. Says the CTE web site: "Nominations should consist of detailed statements making the case for the award. A complete nomination consists of at least five signatures from present or past students of the nominees and from past and present faculty supervisors of the nominee. A minimum of three of the signatures must be present or past students."

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Hoping to take skills back to Kenya

from a Conrad Grebel University College news release

Imagine the day: You wake up in the small, rural home you share with your aunt. You vote in the election everyone has been so hopeful about, the election that will bring much-anticipated change. You hop on a bus and take the long, bumpy drive that will take you to the big city, to the plane that will take you to another country for a year. As you arrive at the airport, you sense the mood has changed to one of anxiety: there are no election results yet and the delay cannot be explained.

You climb on the plane and fly halfway around the world, far from the warm life you have known on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, to the heart of snowy Canada. When you arrive, you find out that your beloved country has shockingly erupted in post-election violence. Part of you longs to go home and part of you has never been more convinced that you are in precisely the right place.

[Ong'ech]Such was the experience of Rose Ong’ech (left). A 26-year-old community worker who coordinates one of programs of the Ugunja Community Resource Centre in western Kenya, she arrived in Canada at the end of December to study for a year in the peace and conflict studies program at Conrad Grebel University College.

Learning about peace and methods of conflict resolution has never been more urgent or important to Ong’ech. “The PACS Diploma Program,” she says, “will allow me to build on my conflict resolution skills and bring this back to the community in Ugunja and Kenya now that Peace is most needed.” She recently learned that friends of hers had been shot and killed in the violence.

Ong’ech learned about the PACS program when she visited Canada as part of an exchange program with Kitchener’s Working Centre last fall. She’s now being sponsored by that centre, which partners with Ugunja in Kenya, and believes her studies will be of value to her in her work with women’s advocacy and in the coordination of the other sixteen community resource centres working with Ugunja.

“Many women in Kenya struggle with having their land taken by relatives, or with physical abuse,” she says. “I want to learn skills in conflict resolution that will help me to help women develop the skills they need to respond to these problems.”

Ong’ech also hopes her year in Canada will deepen the partnership between Ugunja and the Working Centre and develop other links with the community of Kitchener-Waterloo.

Says Lowell Ewert, director of PACS at Grebel: “It is a delight to have Rose as a student in class. Her lived experiences add a level of depth, maturity and consequences to discussions that may otherwise remain theoretical. Her passion and commitment to peace is an inspiration to all.”

Ugunja Community Resource Centre is a community based non-governmental organization located in western Kenya. It is one of few NGOs headquartered in a rural part of Kenya and serves a widely dispersed population of 500,000 people. UCRC coordinates many innovative activities in collaboration with local communities, community based organizations and national and international NGOs. Founded in 1988 as an informal farmers' group, UCRC works towards a community where women, men, youth, children, people with disabilities, and people living positively with HIV/AIDS are all given space that can lead to them being empowered. UCRC provides access to information, knowledge and skill, encourages unity among community groups, and creates opportunities for networking and partnerships in the community.

Ong’ech is adjusting to life in Canada. “It feels different to be miles away from home, especially when things like weather, food, roads and others are different. When I say I am freezing, I am told ‘Rose, this is nothing. This is just a sneeze of cold. Wait until you see real winter!’ so I am looking forward to summer. All the same, I am optimistic that Grebel will be another home away from home since people around Grebel are and have been friendly even for the few days I have been here.”

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Library will put aerial photos online

from the UW library's e-newsletter

With the emergence of Google Earth, you may be familiar with satellite images and the “view from above.” But do you know what this view looked like 50, 60, or 70 years ago? Staff at the University Map Library have recently initiated a project to digitize historical air photos of Waterloo Region that will show just this, while also increasing the usage potential of the photos through georeferencing.

Since November 2007 staff at the Map Library have been busy scanning, archiving, and georeferencing black and white air photos taken during the years of 1930 and 1945-47. With copyright retention set at 50 years after the date of publication, the Map Library has over 900 photos in the public domain within these years and has already digitized over 650 to date.

While the Aerial Photography Digitization Project has the obvious archival benefit of ensuring that the images will be preserved and made available for future generations, the georeferencing aspect of the project amplifies the photographs’ usage potential.

As geospatial data services librarian Eva Dodsworth, notes “Aerial photography captures moments in time, offering a pictorial preservation of history. Georeferenced aerial photography accurately puts the photograph on the earth’s surface, making the information richer, more connected, and more revealing."

Georeferencing increases the usage potential of static images by adding location information (latitude and longitude coordinates) to the photos that enables them to be added to Google Earth, a geospatial information system, or any software that reads spatial information.

With the digitization aspect of the project scheduled for completion in March, georeferencing will continue until completed. Eventually the project’s focus will shift to making these photos deliverable through the web, with the goal being to provide users with access to these images in a format that will enable them to stitch images together and overlay them onto Google Earth.

Dodsworth notes, “We hope this project will be well received by both university and community users and that it will pave a path for other map libraries to share rich resources that are currently archived with lock and key.”


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