Friday, May 16, 2008

  • Glaciologist will talk about the big melt
  • SJU profs are international fellows
  • GSA speaks out on Grad House
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Glaciologist will talk about the big melt

from UW Media Relations

Tavi Murray

What will happen when the glaciers melt? And how should we prepare? These are among the questions to be discussed by leading glaciologist Tavi Murray (above) in a public talk at UW next Wednesday.

Murray, who heads the glaciology research group at Swansea University in South Wales, will speak on “Warming Climate, Melting Ice: What is our Future?” on Wednesday, May 21, starting at 3:30 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall. The event is free and open to all.

As glaciers and ice sheets retreat far more rapidly than scientists had previously predicted, top global experts such as Murray question what awaits the world in the future. She believes that attention must now turn to understanding the real impact of melting ice on sea levels, glacier hazards and water supplies and the effectiveness of proposed solutions. There are currently far more questions than answers.

"What should we really be doing in order to address the changes that are occurring?" asks Murray. "The biofuels-versus-food debate shows that a well-intentioned solution can create other problems. Scientists, policy makers and others need to begin a real dialogue before we start making changes that could impact the world."

Murray, who holds UW's 2008 TD/Walter Bean Professorship in the Environment, will talk about glacier dynamics and the impact of climate change on glacier stability, sharing her startling findings and experiences in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Internationally recognized as an expert on climate change and the stability of glaciers, Murray will examine whether it is already too late to reverse glacial melting in one of the fastest-changing parts of the Earth.

"One of the key issues that Professor Murray and her research group at Swansea are trying to measure is the past and future rise in sea level as a result of the melting of glaciers and ice sheets," says Tony Endres, a UW professor of earth and environmental sciences. "They are also seeking to understand the processes driving the present rapid and dramatic changes observed in glaciers and the instabilities inherent in glacial systems."

Murray, based in the geography department at Swansea's School of the Environment and Society, has conducted extensive research and fieldwork on glacial responses to climate change in the Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine regions. Her research focuses on fast-flowing glaciers and ice streams, together with glacier instabilities.

In 2007, she was awarded the Queen's Polar Medal for outstanding achievement and service to the United Kingdom in the field of polar research.

The full press release is online.

Back to top

St. Jerome's profs are international fellows

Two history professors at St. Jerome’s University are among the initial eight recipients of fellowships offered by the Canadian International Council, a Waterloo-based agency with branches across Canada created “to promote a deeper understanding of international affairs and of Canada's role in a changing world.”

Whitney Lackenbauer and Ryan Touhey of St. Jerome’s have been named fellows, a role in which they’ll be expected “to research and produce new foreign policy insights for national debate and discussion”.

Whitney LackenbauerLackenbauer (right), who is associate professor and chair of the department of history at the UW-federated college, will critically assess past and present policies related to Arctic security and sovereignty. His research suggests that Canada’s sovereignty in the arctic is well established, challenging dominant notions that the federal government has traditionally failed to protect Canadian interests. He also emphasizes the need to integrate Northern voices into the dialogue on circumpolar affairs, which complements his research on the Canadian Rangers – the Canadian Forces’ “eyes and ears” in remote communities.

“We need to focus on process as much as outcomes,” Lackenbauer explains. “Multiple policy trajectories blending diplomacy, defence, and self-directed development will produce a more sustainable plan for sovereignty assertion that satisfies Canada’s evolving security needs without alienating our allies – and reflects Northern Canadian interests and priorities.”

Touhey, recently hired as an assistant professor of history, will study Canada’s contemporary bilateral relationship with India. Canada’s relations with India have been shaped by a tumultuous history dominated by the dispute on nuclear non-proliferation that continues to overshadow the present. Since 2001, successive Canadian governments have attempted to foster closer ties with New Delhi, andOttawa currently calls India a foreign policy priority.

But the policies and practices of the Canadian government have not kept pace with India’s geopolitical and economic transformation, Touhey says, and this is reflected in a relationship that presently lacks a clearly articulated vision and strategic foundation. He suggests that there is a glaring need to identify how the Canadian government can develop closer ties with India to transcend past grievances. In doing so, he suggests Ottawa will have to cultivate niche sectors with Delhi such as higher education, science and technology, trade, and international security linkages.

Back to top

GSA president speaks out on Grad House

A recent press release from Craig Sloss, president of UW's Graduate Student Association, continues the ongoing debate about the fate of the Grad House. "On behalf of the University of Waterloo Graduate Student Association (GSA), I would like to address the article 'Grad House receives reprieve,' which appeared in the May 6 edition of the [Waterloo Region] Record.

"The GSA is the not-for-profit corporation responsible for running the Grad House, a grad student lounge and bar which currently operates in the Schweitzer Farm House. Currently, the graduate student body is facing the question of whether it is in the best interest of graduate students to continue operating the Grad House within a renovated and expanded Schweitzer Farm house, or to construct an entirely new facility for the Grad House. Contrary to what the article implied, the graduate student body has not yet decided which of these options to pursue.

"In particular, the article made mention of a group known as “Friends of the Graduate House,” which is raising money for expansion and renovation of the current facility. The GSA and Graduate House have no connection to this organization, and as such, we cannot provide any guarantee that money given to this group will be spent on its intended purpose.

"The GSA intends to enter into discussions with UW's Office of Development and Alumni Affairs over the next few months, and through these discussions we hope to establish a method by which people can donate to capital projects pertaining to Grad House facilities. We advise those who wish to donate to this project to contact us directly at to be kept up-to-date on the status of these discussions."

Back to top

Looking ahead to the long weekend

Union JackCanada may be the only remaining Commonwealth country to have a statutory holiday named for Queen Victoria (but also honouring the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II). Victoria Day — this year it's Monday, May 19 — has always been a special day for most Canadians. It's our gateway to the short, sweet Canadian summer, the date you can safely plant your annuals and set up the barbecue. Canadian Heritage website notes that "the Royal Union Flag, commonly known as the Union Jack, where physical arrangements allow, is flown along with the National Flag at federal buildings, airports, military bases and other federal buildings and establishments within Canada, from sunrise to sunset, to mark this day."

At UW, on Monday there are no classes, and UW offices and most services are closed. That includes the Bookstore and other retail services outlets, also closed Saturday. Mudies, in Village I, will be open as usual, but all other food outlets, including Tim Hortons in the Student Life Centre, will be closed Saturday through Monday. The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Monday. On Saturday and Sunday, the libraries are open as usual.

Key services continue: UW police, 519-888-4911 (ext. 22222 on campus); Student Life Centre, turnkey desk 519-888–4434 (ext. 84434 on campus); maintenance emergencies ext. 33793; to report computer network outages, ext. 34357.

In the spirit of summer, here's a heads-up on the annual Matthews Golf Classic tournament, June 16, at the Grand Valley Golf Course. Registration deadline is May 29. The event is open to all students, staff, faculty, retirees and invited guests. Registration and more details are online.

CPA Staff

Back to top

Challenge X logo
Link of the day

Follow UW's student entry in Challenge X as competition winds up this weekend

When and where

Physical Activities Complex main gym closed for repair work during the daytime May 14-16 (available in the evenings).

Retirement party for Steve Breen, IST, after 37.5 years at UW. RSVP to Pavlina Penk,, ext. 38018, by today. Event is Wednesday, May 28, 3 – 5 p.m., University Club.

Bicycle auction outside the Student Life Centre, 12:30 p.m., cash or cheque only.

Waterloo Unlimited open house, 7:15 – 8:15 p.m., South Campus Hall, Laurel Room.

First job posting for fall term co-op jobs opens Saturday, 7:00 a.m., on Jobmine.

IPgentsia workshop on Tuesday has been cancelled.

Elections for Senate and Board of Governors May 20 – 22. Information is online.

Career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type”, first of two sessions, Tuesday, 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1112, registration online.

CTE workshop: Collaborating between faculties – helping students make connections using concept maps and e-portfolios. Tuesday, 2 – 3 p.m., FLEX Lab, Dana Porter room 329. Details and registration online.

UW Retirees Association annual general meeting Wednesday, May 21, 1:30 p.m., Ron Eydt Village room 102.

Communitech workshop: “Delivering Successful Agile Projects: A Team Approach” Wednesday, May 21, 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., Accelerator building, 295 Hagey Boulevard, free registration online.

Columbia Lake Health Club lunch-and-learn session: “Elder-Care” Wednesday, May 21, 5:30, boardroom at TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Pension and benefits committee Thursday, May 22, 8:30 to 12:00, Needles Hall room 3004.

Surplus sale of UW equipment at central stores, East Campus Hall, May 22, 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

John Bullen, university secretariat, retirement open house Thursday, May 22, 4:00 to 6:00, University Club, RSVP ext. 32749.

Book launch and discussion: Robert Pahhlke, founding editor of Alternatives journal, published at UW, Some Like It Cold, moderated by present editor Nicola Ross, Thursday, May 22, 5:30 to 7:00, 215 Spadina Avenue, Toronto.

Dropping courses: no-penalty period ends (last day to withdraw with 100 per cent fee refund) May 23.

Retirement party for Bill Futher, IST, after 38 years at UW, RSVP to by May 23. Event is June 5, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., South Campus Hall, Laurel Room.

Bike Maintenance 101 workshop (bring your own bike) Friday, May 23, 1:00 to 6:00, Student Life Centre room 101A, $15 deposit, information ext. 84882.

Centre Stage Dance May 23-24, Humanities Theatre.

You @ Waterloo Day open house for students considering offers of admission from UW, Saturday, May 24, displays and booths in Student Life Centre 10:00 to 2:00.

Spring into Song fundraiser for UW Well-Fit, with the Twin City Harmonizers and Grand Harmony, Sunday, May 25, 2 p.m., Humanities Theatre, details online.

UW Safety Awareness Day, sessions on safety at work, details online. May 29, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Davis Centre Room 1302.

‘The Basics of Starting a Business’ organized by co-op and career services, Monday, May 26, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology outreach room, Accelerator Centre building.

Symposium on GPU and CELL computing hosted by Sharcnet, Tuesday, May 27, information online.

Mathematics alumni reception at Statistical Society of Canada annual meeting, Tuesday, May 27, Ottawa, details online.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session Tuesday, May 27, 4:00, Tatham Centre room 2218.

UW Safety Awareness Day, sessions on safety at work, details online. May 29, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Davis Centre Room 1302.

Reception for Wayne Shortt, UW Police, on his retirement after 21 years, Thursday, May 29, 4 – 6 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Cathy Mitchell,, ext. 33630, by May 26.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, gala awards night Thursday, May 29, details online.

Early Childhood Education Centre family picnic at Waterloo Park Tuesday, June 3, 5:30 to 7:00.

Conrad Grebel University College Lebold fund-raising banquet, speaker April Yamisaki, Tuesday, June 3, 6:30 p.m., Grebel dining room, information e-mail

Annual Child Care Festival linking four child care centres on campus, guest performer Erick Traplin, Friday, June 6, 9:45 to 10:30 a.m., Village green.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin