Thursday, June 26, 2008

  • Farewell party for associate VP
  • Students can get global certificate
  • Profs describe their sabbatical plans
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Brandt at Waterloo International office]
Farewell party for associate VP

UW says thank-you to Gail Cuthbert Brandt (pictured) today as she winds up five years in Needles Hall and heads back to Renison College to be a professor of history.

She’ll be the guest of honour at a “stepping down reception” from 3:00 to 5:00 on the first floor of NH, at the offices of Waterloo International, a department she helped to create as a way of making UW’s global connections more effective and more visible. RSVPs for the event were due by last week, but last-minute inquiries could go to ext. 38350.

Her term as associate vice-president (international) — a post that didn’t exist until she accepted it a year ago — will end on June 30. “Gail agreed to take on this role to get Waterloo International established,” said a recent memo from UW’s provost. “She has now accomplished this goal and as per her original intention will be taking a sabbatical leave to focus on a number of history projects, including a history of Renison College.”

Gail Cuthbert Brandt was a student at Renison in the 1960s, left for Toronto and then York University, and returned in 1992 as professor of history and the college’s principal. (The text of her installation address is available online.) She served ten years in that office, got back to research and teaching (her specialties include Canadian history and feminist history), and then was tapped to serve the university as a whole in the post of associate vice-president (academic).

"She has a keen interest in interdisciplinary programs and international affairs,” said UW’s provost at that time. The leaning toward international links had grown during her years at Renison, where she had arrived just in time to fill in as acting director of the college’s flagship East Asian Studies program — and, she said in 1992, to sign up for a crash course in Japanese.

She was associate VP (academic) from 2003 until last summer: “She provided a strong leadership to UW’s academic program review process,” says a tribute from the provost. “She also served as UW’s Associate Vice-President Learning and Innovation and led the reorganization exercise resulting in the creation of the Centre for Teaching Excellence.”

UW began rapidly expanding its international connections during those years, including the creation of programs at Nanjing, China. Cuthbert Brandt put much of her attention into those projects, and was part of a major trip to south Asia last fall to help develop Waterloo links.

"I don't have any pet project to impose,” she had said at the time she came to Renison. “I'd just like to build on our strengths.” This week, a colleague’s list of Cuthbert Brandt’s “accomplishments” over the past five years runs to three pages, including her leadership in preparing the 2005 report “Strengthening Our Global Connections” that led to the creation of Waterloo International.

The new organization drew on existing activities in the international student office, the office of research and other parts of the university. Staff were quickly added, some in Waterloo International and some in other departments, working in such areas as overseas student recruitment, liaison with international alumni, and study-abroad programs.

She also “created new financial support programs for undergraduate visa students . . . helped strengthen partnerships with key universities . . . worked with the Feds to transform the International Students Association into the International Student Connection . . . set into place International Education Week . . . headed up a UW post-tsunami rehabilitation committee,” and so on. Some of the innovations were at Renison, including creation of an intensive six-week program at the college’s English Language Institute that will run for the first time this summer.

With her departure, Bruce Mitchell, associate provost (academic and student affairs), will fill in as interim associate VP (international) until a new official is named.

For the past year, Cuthbert Brandt has been the most senior woman in UW’s academic administration. She was asked in 1992, as she came to Renison, whether she would be, or be seen to be, a token woman: "I think we're beyond that, to tell the truth," she said. "People are used to women playing an active role in the university community."

Today’s event reflects her more than active role over the past few years. “I would like to thank Gail for her superb leadership in the various portfolios she has served,” says provost Amit Chakma.

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Students can get global certificate

by Patricia Bow

UW students are accumulating plenty of international and cross-cultural experience through co-op jobs, academic exchanges and volunteer work, going abroad for those purposes at the rate of more than 1,600 a year.

Now they also have an opportunity to have that experience officially recognized. A new Global Experience Certificate will bolster the academic credentials of domestic undergraduates in all faculties who accumulate an approved palette of internationally related coursework and activities.

Starting this September, students (ideally, though not necessarily, in first year) may initiate the program by informing the registrar's office that they intend to obtain the certificate. The mechanism for starting the process is still being worked out, but will probably be online. The registrar's office will track their progress as they complete the various components and will note milestones on the academic record.

The requirements include completing two courses in a modern language that is not the student's native tongue; a credit course chosen from an approved list of roughly 100 (students already fluent in a second language will take three courses from the list); an international exchange, study abroad, co-op work term, or volunteer experience; and an on- or off-campus cross-cultural volunteer experience of at least 20 hours.

"The certificate is part of our international strategy," says Gail Cuthbert Brandt, UW's first associate vice-president (international). The Sixth Decade Plan states that among other objectives, Waterloo intends to prepare students "to be global citizens by inculcating broad diversified awareness and creating learning opportunities for them in international settings." Students are also encouraged to take part in volunteer opportunities locally and abroad, and to master a second language.

"This program is an opportunity to respond to some of the key ideas of the strategy and to create globally engaged graduates," says Cuthbert Brandt, who was responsible for shaping the plan and shepherding it though a year of discussions by the Advisory Committee for International Connections. The associate V-P international will co-ordinate the certificate program.

"The certificate will attract students with a passion for global issues," she says. "There are always those who naturally gravitate to opportunities to study other languages, visit other countries, and explore other cultures." Beyond personal enrichment and growth, many will also be thinking of working overseas after graduation, or joining multinational companies or organizations.

"We decided to create an official credential, an indication that this future employee has a recognized program of formal preparation," says Cuthbert Brandt. "Multinationals are looking for people with precisely this type of academic preparation," she adds: people who can be sent abroad without losing a lot of on-the-job time to language training or acculturation.

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Profs describe their sabbatical plans

Here’s another list of faculty members who are sabbatical leave from UW as of July 1. The plans listed for each individual are the information submitted to the university’s board of governors, which has to give approval for all faculty leaves.

Geoffrey Wall, geography (twelve months): “I will devote the majority of time writing papers and books concerning the impacts, planning and management of tourism. Much of this work will focus on China. Occasional visits will be made to China in connection with ongoing research activities. A new project will be initiated on global-local relationships in Chinese heritage sites.”

Zina Gimpelevich, Germanic and Slavic studies (six months): “The sabbatical will be used to submit for publication a bilingual manuscript of Valentin Keivich compilation, The Album. This work is a tribute to Russia’s richest cultural period, its Silver Age (1890-1929); to write to articles for refereed press, “Salon Literature, 20th Century” and “Kupala and His Eight Aspen-trees”; to prepare an application for a SSHRC grant, “From Albums to Face-books”.

Rick Helmes-Hayes, sociology (six months): “To do research on Coral W. Topping, a neglected important pioneer of sociology (1929-1954) at UBC. Among other things, he was a key figure in the spread of the New Penology. This study is part of a long-time project on the history of early Canadian sociology.”

Ruxandra Moraru, pure mathematics (six months): “I plan on visiting the following institutes/universities while on sabbatical leave: July 2008, CMI, Université de Provence, Marseille, to visit Andrei Teleman; August 2008, Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, to collaborate with Vasile Brînzanescu; September 2008, IMPA, Rio de Janeiro, to collaborate with Henrique Bursztyn and Marcos Jardim; mid-October to mid-December 2008, Duke University, to collaborate with Benoit Charbonneau.”

Susan Shaw, recreation and leisure studies (six months): “My primary focus will be a new research project related to children’s health and changing ideologies and expectations of parenthood. This study will involve interviews as well as media discourse analysis. In addition, in collaboration with a colleague in the U.S., I will be working on a book on gender and the intersection of work, leisure, and family.”

Robert Park, anthropology (twelve months): “I will complete the identification and analysis of the finds from three archaeological sites that I excavated in Nunavut during the summers of 2001-2003, and prepare those data for publication. I will also begin work on a new SSHRC-funded project, write an invited chapter, and prepare to begin new archaeological fieldwork in Nunavut.”

Peter Forsyth, computer science (twelve months): “The research work that I plan to undertake during my proposed leave will be focused on Computational Finance. Standard methods used to price and hedge financial derivatives usually ignore transaction costs and liquidity effects. These effects can be included in pricing algorithms if they are posed as optimal stochastic control problems. I will be developing numerical algorithms for solving these optimal control problems, based on a partial differential equation formulation.”


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Link of the day

In support of victims of torture

When and where

Farm market 9:00 to 1:00, lower level, Student Life Centre.

Orphan Relief Barbecue sponsored by Muslim Students Association to support orphan sponsorship program, last day, 10:30 to 4:00, Biology green, menu includes burgers, corn, mango milkshakes, free watermelon.

Esther Michael, retired from UW library, funeral service 11 a.m., Redeemer Lutheran Church, 78 John Street, Waterloo.

ResiDance pizza party to celebrate the new online promotion for UW residences, 11:00 to 1:00, Student Life Centre.

International spouses group: Cristina de Castro speaks about Brazil and Sarah Gambetta about Australia, 12:45 p.m., different location: fifth-floor lounge of St. Paul’s College graduate apartment building, information e-mail

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

UW Alternative Fuels Team recruitment and information meeting to recruit for technical position 5:00, Doug Wright Engineering room 2536; information e-mail

MBA information session at Wilfrid Laurier University 5:30, WLU business and economics building room 1220.

California alumni: Networking reception for alumni at Stanford University Faculty Club, Thursday 6:30 p.m. UW Day at Padres baseball game, Friday. UW Day at Dodgers baseball game, Saturday. Digital Moose Lounge Canada Day Picnic, Sunday, Huddard Park East, Woodside, details online.

Dropping courses: last day to receive a WD grade for spring term courses dropped, June 27.

Long weekend: UW holidays Monday, June 30, and Tuesday, July 1, for Canada Day; classes cancelled, offices and most services (including bookstore) closed. Davis Centre and Dana Porter libraries open regular hours Saturday-Sunday, 12:00 to 6:00 Monday-Tuesday.

Canoeing the Grand River: outing organized by International Student Office and Federation of Students, Monday, $32 for UW students, tickets at Fed office, Student Life Centre.

[Waving flag]
Canada Day celebrations Tuesday, July 1, on the north campus: children’s fun-fest, arts and crafts fair, food, stage performances and other activities, 2 p.m. until evening; fireworks 10 p.m.; details and volunteer information online.

Conrad Grebel University College summer alumni reunion July 4-6.

Teaching and Learning ePortfolio conference, July 7-8, St. Jerome’s University, details online.

Charity golf tournament: Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Swing2Cure in support of Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, Wednesday, July 9, Rebel Creek Golf Club, registration ext. 37106 before April 1, details online.

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

Judy McCrae, director of athletics since 1994, retirement reception Tuesday, July 15, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP ext. 33156 by July 8.

Research and Technology Park second annual charity golf tournament organized by Park Tenants Fund, July 17, Conestoga Golf and Country Club, sold out.

Free public lecture: “Breaking High-Grade German Cyphers in World War II”, by Peter Hilton, cryptanalyst at Bletchley Park during the war, sponsored by Faculty of Mathematics, Thursday, July 17, 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Student Life 101 open house for September’s new students, Saturday, July 19, information online. Bookstore, UW Shop, TechWorx and Campus TechShop open 8:30 to 4:30.

Blood donor clinic July 21-24 (10:00 to 3:00) and 25 (9:00 to 2:00), Student Life Centre multipurpose room, appointments now at turnkey desk, information phone 1-866-236-6283.

Engineering Jazz Band Tuesday, July 22, 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

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