Monday, June 9, 2008

  • Extra Ontario funds for optometry
  • Library renovations, other notes
  • Faculty summarize sabbatical plans
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Two towers with very different facades]

UW will will break ground today for the $160 million Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre — a building "designed to propel the university and the country to the forefront of the science of the small". Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty will be among VIP guests at today's ceremony, which starts at 2:30 at the building site. In this architects' drawing, the QNC is seen from the southwest (from the ring road), with Biology II at right and the Student Life Centre out of the picture at left. The QNC will be linked to the Math and Computer building — the view is blocked by the six-storey Nano wing of the building in this image.

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Extra Ontario funds for optometry

from the UW media relations office

Extra provincial funding will allow the UW school of optometry to train more optometric professionals and boost clinical education, eventually resulting in enhanced patient care in Ontario and Canada. John Milloy, minister of training, colleges and universities, visited participants at the school's annual continuing education conference on Friday and announced an additional $1 million a year in ongoing funding to enhance the training of students in the clinical program — the basis of optometric education.

"Our school is a research and education leader and with this increased provincial funding we will be better able to prepare optometrists to practice in an evolving profession and embrace their expanding role in family health care," says Thomas Freddo, director of the school.

Funding was initiated in 2007, with a one-time award of $1 million from the province, which has just confirmed an additional $1 million annually to support clinical training at the optometry school. Optometric education, like medical education, relies on the clinical, hands-on, component of patient care to train future optometric practitioners for their important role in delivering eye care to Canadians. Waterloo's is one of just two optometry schools in Canada.

"The renowned optometry program at the University of Waterloo is truly first-class," says Milloy. "I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes the importance of clinical education and has provided additional support to these types of programs."

The money will be used initially to hire two clinical faculty members and sponsor junior faculty members to complete additional training in the management of eye disease and in hospital-based optometry. As well, the funding will increase the daily allowances for adjunct clinical specialists, who share their private practice experience, overseeing students and providing care to patients in the clinic.

The school is the midst of constructing a new 40,000-square-foot (3,716-square-metre) addition to its main academic and clinical facility on Columbia Street in Waterloo. The addition, scheduled to be finished in early 2009, will expand the optometry's teaching facilities and provide extra space for the TLC Laser Centre. Once that’s complete, extensive renovations will begin in the current facility, along with a major reconstruction of the public clinic.

The ambitious project will help accommodate the school's 50 per cent increase in the student body, undertaken to meet the demands of an aging population and a changing profession. To cope with the rise in enrolment, the school has embarked on a $12.4-million fundraising campaign to support the expansion and renovation project. A total of $7 million has been raised to date through the support of alumni, friends and corporate partners.

Students at the school, which last year marked its 40th anniversary on the UW campus, are enrolled in a post-undergraduate, four-year degree clinical program leading to a Doctor of Optometry degree. Besides extensive academic training in optics, vision science, public health and basic medical sciences, the program offers supervised patient-care experiences for students through its public clinics in Kitchener-Waterloo.

The school's faculty members engage in innovative research in vision science and optometry, including improved methods for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the eye. Its public clinics provide a wide range of eye care services, including a low vision clinic offering vision rehabilitation services. As well, a Centre for Contact Lens Research conducts clinical trials of new contact lenses, contact solutions, new medications for the treatment of eye disease and new spectacle designs for vision correction.

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Library renovations, other notes

It’s been delayed and delayed, but it’s finally going to happen this morning, or so I’m told: the front door of the Dana Porter Library will be locked. For the rest of the summer, a temporary main entrance to Porter will be in operation on the ground floor level, facing Needles Hall, while the second (main) floor is closed for massive renovation work. The change will come “sometime in the morning”, says Alex McCulloch of the user services department in Porter. “Information and circulation services should be operational on the first floor by the time the side entrance is opened,” he adds. The second-floor closing was originally scheduled for late April, right after exams, and second-floor work has been under way, behind protective sheeting, for several weeks. The job is scheduled to be finished by Labour Day.

Look for pictures on the Keystone web site today from Thursday's big event in the Student Life Centre, including some from the Las Vegas "wedding chapel" that was a giggle-inducing feature of the party. • Friday's Record newspaper had a brief article about David Johnston's reappointment as president of UW, including this insight: "Johnston said his wife, Sharon, credits his success at the university to his complete lack of a sense of humour." • Workshops on the schedule in UW's libraries this week include "Smart Searching" on Wednesday morning, "Using GIS to Keep Track of Your Records" on Wednesday afternoon, and "RefWorks" on Thursday afternoon.

A note from the “blogs” website of UW’s environmental studies faculty: “Several Environment and Business students are organizing a conference to promote environmental sustainability, economic development and innovation for achieving sustainable development in the Caribbean region. Taking place in July, the International Conference on Green Entrepreneurship is endorsed by the Government of Grenada and the Faculty of Environmental Studies at UW. The event is highly anticipated and will present innovative, practical tools for positive change.”

[Rahman][Teather]Retirement celebrations were held at UW’s library last week to commemorate the retirement of two long-serving staff members, Shabiran Rahman (right), head of Information Services and Resources in the Dana Porter Library, and Linda Teather (left), manager of library systems. May 30 was the last day of work for them both, ending a combined total of nearly 60 years’ service with the Library. Says a note from the library office: “Shabiran's career at the Library began in 1976 in the Circulation department. After leaving the Library for a few brief years, she returned in 1981 as the liaison librarian for Sociology and Psychology, a position she held until 2004 when she assumed her most recent position as Head of Porter ISR. In the words of associate university librarian Susan Routliffe, Shabiran will be remembered, among other things, for ‘her ability to graciously welcome, support and encourage others’. In Linda's consecutive 27 years of service, she worked with or in every department in the Library. As described by associate university librarian Allan Bell, "Linda has assumed the roles of accidental serials librarian, accidental statistics and reports person, and accidental systems librarian — in all cases, setting the bar for any successor extraordinarily high’.”

Susan Wismer of UW’s department of environment and resource studies has been awarded an $80,000 “Millennium Development Goals“ project grant from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute and the Canadian International Development Agency — one of just three this year. Says a memo from the offices of Waterloo International: “Dr. Wismer will be working with Dr. Ramani Sankaranarayanan of Gram Vikas-CTxGreen Biodiesel Project. Geeta Vaidyanathan, a graduate student of Dr. Wismer’s, UW’s Paul Parker, and Stephanie Scott are also involved in the project. Community partners in Waterloo Region include the Working Centre and Waterloo Region Green Solutions (Residential Energy Efficiency Project). The project builds on a local biomass-based biodiesel energy system developed by Gram Vikas and CTxGreEn which has been operating on a pilot basis in three villages in Orissa, India, since 2004. Local forest-tree oilseeds are used to produce biodiesel to insure there is no threat to food security. This project studies livelihood activities that enhance food-security while providing improved energy services. The project will examine the feasibility of women-based energy enterprises and the possibility of conservation of regional forests and land-resources while promoting development with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

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Faculty summarize sabbatical plans

Here’s a list of some UW faculty members who are currently on six-month sabbatical leaves that began January 1, 2008. Each professor’s plans are quoted as they were reported to the university’s board of governors, which has to give its approval for each sabbatical leave.

Anne Zeller, anthropology: “I was invited by the head of Operation Wallacea to investigate the possibility of videotaping the little known species of monkey, Macaca ochreata, in Sulawasi, Indonesia, with a focus on the need for conservation of the regions in which it lives. Since my specialty is macaques and I have made a number of teaching films, I would like to make this the focus of my sabbatical in the spring of 2008.”

John Holmes, psychology: “On my sabbatical leave Sandra Murray and I plan to write an important summary of our work on risk regulation in relationships for the Personality and Social Psychology Review. I also want to write a highly theoretical paper to submit to Psychological Review on the work on Interdependence Theory that I did with Harold Kelley before his death. Both papers need the focus and concentration afforded by a sabbatical leave.”

Laura Johnson, planning: “Regent Park in Toronto, Canada’s oldest and largest public housing project, is being redeveloped into mixed income, higher density housing. That redevelopment is displacing and relocating tenants. Through qualitative social research I am documenting social impacts of dislocation on a sample of households. Stories of relocation will be recorded in a multimedia archive as well as through publication in academic journals.”

Paul Thagard, philosophy: “I plan to complete a book on the philosophical significance of recent rapid progress in neuroscience. The book will discuss the relevance of increasing understanding of the brain for epistemology (the nature of knowledge), metaphysics (the nature of reality, including the mind-body problem), and ethics.”

Francis Poulin, applied mathematics: “I plan to continue my research and visit colleagues at MIT, San Diego and France.”

Patricia Marino, philosophy: “I plan to use my leave to complete a project on evaluative coherence — coherence in one’s desires, attitudes and beliefs about the good and its relation to moral epistemology and objectivity. When completed, this will comprise six articles forming a book.”

There’s also one sabbatical leave that began on March 1 — Giovanni Cascante, civil and environmental engineering: “Collaboration with researchers from the European Center for Training and Research in Seismic Engineering in two main areas: spectral analysis of surface waves and the evaluation of mechanical properties of materials using mechanical waves. These two areas are critical for the development of non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques for the assessment of civil infrastructure.”


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Link of the day


When and where

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses: continuing students, June 9-14; new students, July 14-27; open enrolment begins July 28.

Career workshop: “Networking 101”, first of three sessions, 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, information and registration online.

Lectures in quantum information: Anthony Leggett, Institute for Quantum Computing, “Prospects for Topological Quantum Computing” June 10, 17, 19, 24, 26, July 3, 8, 10, all at 2:00 p.m., Research Advancement Centre, 475 Wes Graham Way, room 2009.

UW Debate Society meets Tuesdays 5:15, Rod Coutts Hall room 301.

Alumni in Kelowna networking reception Tuesday 5:30 to 8:30, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, information online.

Spring Convocation: applied health sciences and environmental studies, Wednesday 10:00; science, Wednesday 2:30; arts (some programs), Thursday 10:00; arts (some programs), Thursday 2:30; mathematics, Friday 10:00; computer science, Friday 2:30; engineering (some programs), Saturday 10:00; engineering (some programs), Saturday 2:30, details online.

School of Planning graduation reception and Ring Ceremony Wednesday, lunch 12:00, ceremony 1:00 p.m., South Campus Hall, information

‘Magic: Frontiers and Boundaries’ international conference hosted by department of classical studies, June 11-15, details online.

Wilfrid Laurier University convocation ceremonies in Brantford June 11, details online.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment Thursday 12:30 to 2:00 p.m., Central Stores, East Campus Hall.

J. W. Graham Medal Seminar by this year’s winner: Eric Veach, Google Inc., “Searching the World with Google Maps”, Thursday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302, reception follows, details online.

Distinguished lecture: Alan Kay, Viewpoints Research Institute, inventor Smalltalk, “Steps Toward the Reinvention of Programming”, Thursday 4:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Canadian Mathematical Society awards banquet, honours to high school students placing highest in the 40th Canadian Mathematical Olympiad, Thursday 5:30, South Campus Hall.

Internet Gambling: Current situation and future trends, talk by Robert Williams presented by UW, Waterloo Region Action Group on Gambling Issues and Waterloo Public Library, Friday 10 a.m., Albert McCormick Community Centre, 500 Parkside Drive, details online.

Matthews Golf Classic for students, staff, faculty, retirees and friends, Monday, June 16, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

Canadian Mental Health Association, Grand River Branch, “Leading a National Mental Health Strategy” presentation, discussion and annual meeting, Monday, June 16, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, information 519-766-4450 ext. 371.

25-Year Club annual reception Tuesday, June 17, 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, by invitation, information ext. 32078.

Zonta Club June dinner meeting, guest speaker Louise Fréchette, former deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, now at Centre for International Governance Innovation, Wednesday, June 18, 6:00, South Campus Hall, tickets $20, e-mail

R&T Park charity barbecue in support of the K-W Community Foundation, Thursday, June 19, 11:30 to 1:30, TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, burger and salad $6, rain date June 24.

Montréal Jazz Festival bus trip organized by Federation of Students July 4-6, $119 to $179 including space at McGill residence hall, tickets at Feds office, Student Life Centre.

Student Life 101 open house for September’s new students, Saturday, July 19, information online.

Last day of classes for spring term: July 30. Exams August 5-16 (schedule now online).

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Understanding the Learner” Thursday, July 31, 9:30 to 12:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, details online.

PhD oral defences

Psychology. Kathleen Hourihan, “The Power of Optimal Encoding: Distinctiveness and Differentiation Defeat Directed Forgetting.” Supervisor, Colin MacLeod. On display in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Wednesday, June 18, 10:00 a.m., PAS (Psychology) room 3026.

Health studies and gerontology. Peter Brink, “The Impact of Informal Care and Caregiver Burden on Place of Death in Palliative Home Care.” Supervisors, John Hirdes and Trevor Smith. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, June 20, 2:00 p.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

Geography. Candace Marie Newman, “Communicating the Pixel: A Strategy for Guiding the Use of Remotely-Sensed Habitat Data in Coral Reef Management.” Supervisor, E. LeDrew. On display in the faculty of environmental studies, ES1 335. Oral defence Monday, June 23, 10:00 a.m., Environmental Studies II room 1001.

Physics and astronomy. Ryan J. Kerner, “Black Hole Thermodynamics and the Tunnelling Method for Particle Emission.” Supervisor, Robert B. Mann. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, June 23, 10:00 a.m., Physics room 352.

Civil and environmental engineering. Xiaohong Wang, “Storey-Based Stability Analysis for Multi-Storey Unbraced Frames Subject to Variable Loading.” Supervisor, Lei Xu. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, June 27, 10:00 a.m., Engineering II room 3324.

Friday's Daily Bulletin