Wednesday, May 28, 2008

  • 'The tradition of the Grad House'
  • Why a magpie sits on the magazine
  • Teaching technologies; other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Summer view of Graduate House]
'The tradition of the Grad House'

A group that calls itself “The Friends of the Grad House” is describing the present role of the century-old Schweitzer farmhouse, which has been the home of UW’s Graduate Student Association since the 1970s, as a UW tradition that needs to be preserved.

“The group represents that constituency of the UW community who value the tradition of the Grad House in its current location,” writes Robert Shipley, director of the Heritage Resources Centre in UW’s faculty of environmental studies and spokesman for the Friends. It is, he writes, “an informal group including members from all faculties and University colleges and open to anyone in the University of Waterloo community.”

Campus history doesn’t seem to record exactly when the house was built, but it was home to the Schweitzer family when they operated one of the seven farms that have become UW’s campus over the past half-century. A number of UW departments used the house as office space in the university’s early years; the GSA became its tenant in 1972, and the house was renovated and expanded in 1981.

Says Shipley: “The Friends feel that the building and site, together with the 36 years of use as a club, make it a campus institution where building and function cannot really be separated. The Grad House is not just a space but a ‘place’ with memories and a unique atmosphere. The group feels it is the only real meeting place for grads and faculty and the only place to take visitors on the campus.”

The future of the house has become an issue partly because of growth plans for UW’s faculty of engineering. The Grad House site, directly across from the Doug Wright Engineering building, would be among obvious possible locations for a new building. At the same time, the GSA is considering what facilities it will need to provide services, both administrative and social, for the greatly increased number of graduate students UW is expecting within the next few years.

“The Friends understand and respect the Grad Student Association’s position as lessee of the site and managers of the business,” says a Friends news release. “We admire and respect the current management for their efforts to run a viable business and to offer hospitality and a welcoming ambiance. We understand the needs of the GSA to have more space in the future and especially to have facilities accessible separately from the pub operation. . . .

“We are not suggesting that the present Grad House can meet all the needs of an expanding graduate student population and endorse the need to upgrade facilities for graduate students. Nevertheless, The Friends of the Grad House feel that the current location is the best place for the Club and that all the needs and goals of the various stakeholders can be met without losing the irreplaceable value of the Grad House.

“We also suggest that as grad enrolment increases, the special tradition of the Grad House has a role play in attracting and enriching the experience of new students at Waterloo.”

Shipley says the group “will be asking to make a presentation to the GSA Planning Committee as well as seeking further discussions with the Campus Master Plan consultants and the administration. The Friends of the Grad House understand that renovation and expansion of the Grad House will require money and are willing to work with the GSA and the Office of Development to enhance and lend support to future fund raising efforts at a time and way that is appropriate.”

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[Bird on magazine cover]Why a magpie sits on the magazine

The new, "spring" issue of the University of Waterloo Magazine is out, and readers are noticing a whole new look to the cover, both illustration and text (left).

About the magazine title first: “It was inconsistent that, while we work hard to establish the use of the word 'Waterloo' in a particular typeface in our publications, the magazine, which has the largest circulation of any of our publications, had its ‘Waterloo’ in a very different font,” says editor Kelley Teahen, who works next door to me here in Communications and Public Affairs. “So we recast the title in the Eidetic font used elsewhere.”

The magazine still has an illustrated cover, but the illustrator has changed for this issue. Scott McKowen, now based in Stratford, Ontario, is a graduate of the Michigan School of Art and has created illustrations for newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post Book World, and for magazines such as Architectural Digest and House Beautiful. In 1993, one of his illustrations appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine. His work has been exhibited at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and in other cities. McKowen has a previous connection to the campus as one of many Stratford community leaders consulted as part of the UW-Stratford campus initiative, and said he was delighted to be chosen to illustrate Patricia Bow’s story, “To Advance an Honest Mind: Academic Integrity at the University of Waterloo”.

Here’s some insight from McKowen into how and why he came up with the illustration for the integrity story: “Magpies have a reputation for stealing anything that they can carry away, especially shiny objects. They also steal other birds' eggs and young. So I'm suggesting an academic thieving magpie with a stash of prizes that refer to student life generally, and the academic disciplines of the six UW faculties in particular. There's a class ring, a silver pen, coins, a pair of reading glasses, a computer mouse, a data stick. There are some snippets of torn paper ‘crib sheets,’ with philosophy notes or mathematical equations. There are a couple of textbooks. The bird is holding a UW crest keychain in his bill. The magpie's distinctive black and white plumage almost starts to look like academic robes in this context!”

McKowen said he ruled out showing anything about human students cheating, as it could suggest “suspicion about a certain age, gender, race or type of individual.” As well, he adds, “for readers such as yours, I don't mind a cover that might make them have to think for a moment to figure out the reference.”

Besides the cover story on integrity, the spring magazine includes a report on plans for the Stratford campus, a profile of award-winning teachers in UW's department of history, a profile of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, and a gasp-inducing letter to the editor about the value of arts education. Much of the magazine's content is now available on the alumni affairs web site, and excerpts will appear in this Daily Bulletin over the days ahead.

Anyone on campus who would like additional copies of the magazine to share with contacts outside the university should contact Karen Mason in CPA at ext. 35580, e-mail

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Teaching technologies; other notes

"For some time," says a memo from the Centre for Teaching Excellence, "UW instructors have been asking for one place to seek advice about new educational technologies. To respond to this need, CTE announces the arrival of a new resource designed to help instructors with ever emerging learning technologies. NET Savvy, an online resource, is a dynamic, interactive forum where instructors can ask questions about learning technologies, or share their experiences in using them. It’s also a clearing house where learning technologies are explained, with the primary focus being on best practices derived from hands-on testing and thorough reviews of evidence-based research. The product of a collaboration between the CTE, DCE, ITMS, OPD, and the Library, NET Savvy brings together experts from these areas to explore dozens of new technologies such as Twitter, Facebook, SnagIt, Flickr, SlideShare, YouTube, Cmaps or whatever else UW instructors would like to investigate. NET Savvy, developed by senior instructional developer Mark Morton, is hosted by the CTE and invites participation from all UW instructors."

Again this year the Procurement and Contract Services department will host a three-day trade show "to help the university community discover the resources available to them through our suppliers", Donna Foreman writes from East Campus Hall. The date: June 3-5, with displays in the Davis Centre "fishbowl" lounge from 11:00 to 3:00 each of those days. Foreman says June 3 will be Scientific Day with Fisher Scientific on hand to showcase some of their scientific suppliers. Next day: "Due to the overwhelming success of the computer show in previous years, we've invited a number of our computer suppliers; Dell Computers, Group 4 Technology, JKL Microsystems, Onward Computers, 5D Computers, Edcom, Metafore, Nextec SMS, The Sony Store & Dynamix as well as our own Campus Tech Shop. We believe with the fast changing technology available with computers, this show will offer something new every time we hold it. And on June 5, "Corporate Express (formerly Basics Office Supplies) will be back by popular demand, bringing with them a number of their suppliers. UW Staff love this show and this year should be no different. Enterprise Rent-A-Car will also be in attendance on June 3 and 4."

There are just a few more of UW's non-credit continuing education courses to take place before the summer break. "We don’t run courses in July and August," says the associate director in charge of CE, Michael Hunt. He lists these courses happening in the coming month: June 11, The Power of One; June 12, The Art of Influencing Difficult People; June 16-17, MS Project (offered at Kitchener location); June 18, Enhancing Your Business Writing Skills; and June 19, Listening with Understanding. Says Hunt: "There is the usual 50% discount for UW staff. Courses run from 9 to 4 at the training room on Gage Avenue — where there is always plenty of free parking!"

And . . . apparently the so-called "phishing message" that was afflicting campus computer users is back again. "Dear Email Account Owner," says one variant, "We are deleting all unused email accounts to create more space for new accounts. To prevent your account from being closed, you will have to update it below so that we will know that it's a present used account." Then, of course, you'll type in your name and password. "It's bogus, of course," says Paul McKone of the engineering computing office, explaining it as "an attempt to gain access to people's email accounts, perhaps as a means of sending spam." He reminds users: "Administrators don't ask for passwords." And this advice: don't ever put a password into an e-mail message.


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Link of the day

Ian Fleming 100 years

When and where

Education Credit Union presents “Estate Planning 102”, 12:15 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Steve Breen, IST, retirement party honouring 37 years at UW, 3 to 5 p.m., University Club. RSVP to or ext. 38018.

Smarter Health seminar: Tom Vair, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, “The Many Facets and Faces of Health Informatics”, 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions”, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Columbia Lake Health Club lunch-and-learn session: “Serving Sizes: How Much Should You Eat” 5:30, boardroom at TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Optometry building hot and cold water shut off 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Velocity information session about the new residence for 'talented, entrepreneurial, creative and tech-savvy' students, 6:00, Davis Centre lounge.

“It’s the World, Stupid!” free lecture by Paul Heinbecker of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, 7:30 p.m., Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, Wilfrid Laurier. Refreshments follow lecture; details online.

UW Safety Awareness Day, sessions on safety at work, details online. Thursday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Do Students Learn from Laboratory Work?” Thursday 10:00 to 11:20 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, details online.

UW International Spouses: Multicultural resources at Kitchener Public Library. KPL's Natalie Gibbons speaks about books, audio-video materials, newspapers, and magazines in numerous languages available at the library. Thursday 12:45 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre. Children welcome. Questions:

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Sell Your Skills”, Thursday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Wayne Shortt, UW Police, retirement reception Thursday 4 to 6 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Cathy Mitchell, ext. 33630.

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

Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery presents Wilhelm Nassau, formerly of Wilfrid Laurier University, “The History of Glass”, Friday 4:30, 25 Caroline Street North, admission $5.

Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support presents Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy, guitarist, in concert Friday 7:00 p.m., 137 Ontario Street, Kitchener, tickets $20 (students $15) in advance, $25 at door.

UW Board of Governors quarterly meeting Tuesday, June 3, 2:30 p.m., Architecture building, Cambridge.

Startup Camp Waterloo for recent and future founders of high-tech companies, Tuesday 6:00 to 9:00, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard, information e-mail

‘De-cluttering Your Garage’ brown-bag session with Brian Bast of Garage Revolution, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Wednesday, June 4, 12:00 noon, Math and Computer room 5158.

Keystone Campaign annual event, “Viva Las Vegas”, Thursday, June 5, 11:30 to 1:30, Matthews Hall green; evening event 10:00 to 11:00 p.m., South Campus Hall, details online.

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

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

Positions available

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

• Faculty financial officer, dean of engineering office, USG 10/11
• Online learning coordinator, distance and continuing education, USG 10
• Systems integration specialist, information systems and technology (network services), USG 10-12

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

PhD oral defences

Chemistry. Wennan Zhao, “Solid Phase Microextraction in Aqueous Sample Analysis.” Supervisor, J. Pawliszyn. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, May 29, 9:00 a.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Computer science. Zhuliang Chen, “Numerical Methods for Optimal Stochastic Control in Finance.” Supervisor, Peter Forsyth. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, May 30, 10:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Kinesiology. Robert Parkinson, “Refining the Relationship Between the Mechanical Demands on the Spine and Injury Mechanisms Through Improved Estimates of Load Exposure and Tissue Tolerance.” Supervisor, Jack Callaghan. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, June 6, 1:00 p.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

Electrical and computer engineering. Hyun Jung Lee, “Top-Gate Nanocrystalline Silicon Thin Film Transistors.” Supervisors, Arokia Nathan and Andrei Sazonov. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, June 12, 10:00 a.m., CEIT room 2053.

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