Wednesday, March 19, 2008

  • Academic relationship survives distance
  • Students win tri-university challenge
  • Notes for the last day of winter
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Patron saint of Canada

When and where

Blood donor clinic March 17-19 (10 to 4) and March 20 (9 to 3), Student Life Centre.

Warrior Women’s Awards Breakfast to support the Women’s Sport Initiative Fund, today 7:15 a.m., University Club, tickets $40, details online.

Career workshop: "Success on the Job," 10:30 a.m., Tatham Centre room 1208, details online.

Easter luncheon buffet at the University Club March 19 and 20, 11:30 to 2, $18 per person, reservations ext. 33801.

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.

Global climate change public lecture by Edward Parson, University of Michigan, 12:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 2065, all welcome, reception follows.

Turnkey coffeehouse to benefit Amnesty International, organized by Student Life Centre turnkeys, today 2 to 8 p.m., free admission, snacks for sale. Talent wanted (sign up at turnkey desk).

Career workshop: "Work Search Strategies," 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, details online.

Conference on Genocide Prevention hosted by Armenian Students Association and other groups, three speakers, 5:30 to 9 p.m., Davis Centre room 1350.

‘Flexibility and injury prevention’ lunch-and-learn session, 5:30 p.m., TechTown board room, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Graduate Student Association annual general meeting 6 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 302, agenda and background material online.

‘Are You Thinking of an MBA?’ information session with a current student and a representative from the Wilfrid Laurier University MBA program, 5:30 to 7:00, Tatham Centre room 2218, registration online.

‘A Forensic Analysis of September 11, 2001,” speakers A. K. Dewdney and Graeme MacQueen, organized by UW Debating Society, 6:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

FIRST Robotics tournament for high school students March 20-22, Physical Activities Complex, information online.

Lunch-and-learn panel for pre-tenure faculty: “Documenting Your Teaching for Tenure and Promotion,” Thursday, 11:45 - 1:15 p.m., CEIT room 3142. Details online.

CHIP office (MC 1052) will be closed for a staff meeting Thursday, noon to 1 p.m.

Chemical engineering seminar: Richard Braatz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “Modeling and Design of Multiscale Chemical Systems,” Thursday, 3:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Render (UW art gallery) closing concert for “Deaderer” exhibition, featuring FightWithBears, five-piece hardcore band, Thursday, 7 p.m., East Campus Hall.

Alumni theatre evening in Toronto: “Stuff Happens”, Berkeley Street Theatre, Thursday, 8 p.m., details and registration online.

Anglican service for Maundy Thursday, 7 p.m., St. Bede's Chapel, Renison College.

University Catholic Community service: Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s University.

Good Friday holiday Friday, classes cancelled, UW offices and most services closed (libraries open noon – 6 p.m.).

Wireless, email, Unix outages Friday, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Details at IST.

Anglican services: Good Friday, 11 a.m., St. Bede's Chapel, Renison College. Easter Vigil, Saturday 8 p.m., Holy Saviour Church, 33 Allen Street East, Waterloo. Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m., St. Bede's Chapel.

University Catholic Community services: Good Friday noon and 3; Easter Vigil Saturday, 8 to 11:30 p.m.; Easter Sunday 8:30, 10 a.m. and noon (no Mass at 7 p.m.), Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s University.

Joint health and safety committee meets Monday, 2:00, Commissary room 112D.

Senate finance committee meets Monday, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Senate meets Monday, 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001. Agenda is online.

Single and Sexy auditions, Humanities Theatre, Monday, 6 to 10 p.m. All welcome.

K-W Little Theatre auditions for “The Three Musketeers” (performance is in July), March 24-26, 7 to 10 p.m. (come any night), Math and Computer room 2034.

Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Library associate, Musagetes Architecture Library, USG 7
• 3rd class stationary engineer, Plant Operations
• Mechanical repairperson, Plant Operations
• Cataloguing and metadata librarian, Library, USG 8-13

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

Academic relationship survives distance

one of half a dozen features in UW's new graduate student recruitment brochure

Norbert Galicia with math prof Mary ThompsonAsk Norberto Pantoja Galicia, a University of Waterloo statistics PhD candidate, to describe what makes Mary Thompson a superb advisor and mentor, and he’s quick with a response. “That would take a lot of room on the page,” he says, smiling broadly.

It should. Just consider her accomplishments. The professor of statistics and actuarial science, who has been with the university since 1969, is a leader in her field, specializing in survey methodologies, with a current focus on health. She is the author of Theory of Sample Surveys, co-director of the University of Waterloo Survey Research Centre, and past president of the Statistical Society of Canada. In 2003 the Statistical Society of Canada presented her with their Gold Medal.

Yet beyond academic success, Pantoja Galicia says it’s Thompson’s personal touch that makes her truly golden.

“She’s the ideal supervisor, but she’s also a very kind human being,” he says. “When you work with her, you don’t feel like you’re talking to a boss.”

Their relationship (photo, above), which began when he was still a University of Waterloo master’s student from Mexico, has evolved over the years. Pantoja Galicia has come to depend on Thompson’s thoughtful suggestions on his work by developing methods for modelling linked events like smoking cessation and pregnancy, while Thompson says she gets just as much back from Pantoja Galicia, whom she calls a “natural statistician.”

In fact, when Pantoja Galicia discovered that he was accepted for a Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems Internship with the National Program on Complex Data Structures and Statistics Canada in Ottawa, he had concerns about leaving Waterloo — and Thompson. Would he lose her guidance for the six months he was away?

The pair came up with a plan. Pantoja Galicia emailed Thompson on Fridays; she would take the weekend to think and then get back to him with suggestions. In the meantime, Pantoja Galicia could interact with the people who design and analyze complex surveys, offering him real-world experience. “I didn’t lose anything,” says Pantoja Galicia. “On the contrary, I gained a lot.”

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Students go green in tri-university challenge

The University of Waterloo has won a two-month-long Residence [Water and Electricity] Reduction Challenge, coming out ahead of the University of Guelph and Queen’s University and winning a solar panel to be installed on campus.

The University of Waterloo Sustainability Project (UWSP) worked with Sierra Youth Coalition (the project was under SYC’s Sustainable Campuses Project) and groups at Queen’s and Guelph to organize the challenge, which received funding through the Ontario Ministry of Energy. UWSP took the challenge to St. Jerome’s University, Conrad Grebel University College, St. Paul’s United College, and Renison College. Residence staff, dons, and residents took over from there. The event wound up on March 14, with St. Paul’s showing the greatest reduction by far — 62 per cent in the water use category.

“The goals of the Residence Reduction Challenge were to engage students in residences and give them the knowledge they need to reduce their energy, water and waste consumption in a space in which they live, work and learn,” says a press release from Rob Blom, UWSP co-ordinator. "‘It was nice to see the residence colleges pull together and organize this initiative so successfully within a short period of time,' Blom says. ‘This really shows the sustainable community culture that exists in our college residences.’”

The final stats: Grebel reduced water use by 14 per cent, Renison by -8 per cent, St. Jerome’s by 18 per cent, and St. Paul’s by 62 per cent. Grebel reduced electricity use by 4.1 per cent, Renison by -6.4 per cent, St. Jerome’s by 3.1 per cent, and St. Paul’s by 4.3 per cent. Blom notes, however, that the figures from the second month are not yet in, so the final picture may change. The data — from utility bills — compares the months of November 2007 and January 2008. “December was not included for obvious reasons. … I'm awaiting the February results within one to two weeks.”

Blom adds, “The solar panel will likely be incorporated into an initiative by STEP (Sustainable Technology Educational Project — a working group within UWSP) to retrofit Village I with solar heating technology. The panel will likely power an information board that showcases the energy and costs saved with this retrofitting.”

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Notes on the last day of winter

The International Spouses meeting this week will explore “Canadian Easter Traditions — Secular and Sacred,” with Ed Janzen, Conrad Grebel chaplain, as guest speaker. Meet on Thursday at 12:45 at the entrance to St. Paul’s graduate apartments off Westmount. Children are welcome; pre-register with Nancy Matthews,, if you need babysitting for toddlers or preschoolers.

This weekend, a long one for most UW people thanks to Good Friday (more on that in tomorrow's Bulletin), Information Systems and Technology staff will be hard at work performing the second part of a server room reorganization. That means a widespread wireless and email outage is set for Friday morning from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. "The devices that perform wireless authentication for most places on campus will be down during this move," says a note from IST. The only places not affected will be architecure in Cambridge, and the arts and engineering buildings on the main campus. "Email for the academic support areas (admmail and mailservices) will also be down." Finally, Unix services will be down, affecting a number of services, including mailman, news, and bookit.

Coming up on Monday: Senate meets in Needles Hall room 3001 at 4:30 p.m. The agenda includes, among other things, a report on the university’s 2008/2009 operating budget, and announcements of the University Professor designations for 2008 as well as the winners of the Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student and the Distinguished Teacher Awards.

Also on Monday, Single and Sexy, UW's acclaimed health-and-lifestyle information play for incoming students, is holding auditions in the Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall, 6 to 10 p.m. Three females, four males, and "one male improvisational keyboard player with a penchant for drama" will be cast. Everyone's welcome: "wear comfortable clothing and a sense of humour." Rehearsals start August 11; the show — "a paying gig!" will run in early September.

Design Camp Waterloo takes place Thursday, March 27, 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. in Tatham Centre room 2218. Free and open to all, it’s described as a “gathering and showcase for students, professors, and professional digital designers from Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, and beyond, [that] gives designers an opportunity to showcase their print, online, and interactive creations, receive feedback from their peers and knowledgeable professionals, and connect with other designers in an informal and interactive setting." Ken Coates, dean of arts, will make a “special appearance.” Details and registration, online. Or register on the public wiki.

Heads up, book bargain-hunters: the 44th Annual Canadian Federation of University Women Used Book Sale will be taking place April 18 and 19 at First United Church, Corner of King and William streets, Waterloo. Proceeds support local scholarships. Information about what donated materials are welcome and when to drop them off is online, or call 519-740-5249.

UW in the news: A review in last Saturday’s Waterloo Region Record describes Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament, a book published recently by Conrad Grebel professor Thomas Yoder Neufeld, as “one of the very best studies of Jesus published in the last 50 years... he takes us through the critical problems, not around them.” . . . From an article by Liz Monteiro in Monday’s Waterloo Region Record: “Ontario's Environment Ministry has given Waterloo the go-ahead to build three sports fields on an environmental reserve on the city's west side.… The project could come before council for approval next month. The lands, owned by the University of Waterloo, are part of a $30-million recreational project with the school and the YMCA.” . . . An article by Magda Konieczna in the March 13 issue of the Guelph Mercury, “City’s new wastewater plan creates clean energy,” mentions an “innovation out of the University of Waterloo” that’s central to the City of Guelph’s plan for turning biosolids (what gets flushed out of homes and buildings) into a clean, green, compact, and even money-making product. The innovation is a process developed by UW biology professor Owen Ward, and commercialized through Lystek International, of which he is the technical director.

CPA Staff

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