Thursday, May 29, 2008

  • Safety presentations today in DC
  • Talk of parking and of teaching
  • Of videoconferencing and rugby
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Blue-green invitation]

Groundbreaking for the long-awaited “quantum-nano” building is scheduled for June 9, according to invitations sent to special guests this week: “UW is becoming known as the leading centre for research in Quantum Information and Nanotechnology in the world. Please join us for the official groundbreaking ceremony of the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, Monday, June 9, 2008, at 2:30 p.m.” The building’s site, where a tent will be erected on celebration day, is between the Biology complex and the Math and Computer building.

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Safety presentations today in DC

Four sessions on safety issues for staff, faculty and graduate students are being held as part of a “Safety Awareness Day” today in the Davis Centre. Here’s the schedule, as distributed by the university’s safety office. All the sessions are taking place in Davis room 1302, and three of the four will be led by Doug Dye of the safety office.

• Employee orientation at 10:00: “The purpose of this session is to inform UW employees about their rights and responsibilities as defined by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Additionally employees will learn about: Organization of Health & Safety and Environment at UW; Emergency procedures at UW (fire/police/medical); Injury-incident reporting; Reporting health and safety concerns; Introduction to WHMIS.”

• Conducting Work Specific WHMIS Training, starting at 11:00: “Sending workers to attend UW's General WHMIS education is only the first step. Workers must also receive specific instruction in the safe handling and use of each controlled product they use. Learn how to train using MSDS information.”

• Laboratory Hazards, at 1:00: “There are many potential hazards in the laboratory. This session is intended to give you skills you need to recognize these hazards and to minimize or eliminate the risks associated with them. Breaking down the hazards into various classes such as; Fire, Chemical and Physical, makes it much easier to focus on the high priority items and determine what actions are needed.”

• Gas Cylinder Safety at 2:00: “Learn the proper handling and storage of compressed gas cylinders, including regulator care and selection.” That session will be led by Rob Luneberg of Praxair Inc., a major supplier of gas cylinders.

Among the notes in the latest issue of the safety office’s online newsletter:

Inspections: “Campus inspections help prevent injuries. Under UW’s Health, Safety and Environment Management System, supervisors and department committees or co-ordinators are required to regularly conduct inspections. Worker members of Joint Health and Safety Committees conduct workplace physical condition inspections according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“During these inspections they listen to the concerns of workers and supervisors; gain further understanding of jobs and tasks; identify existing and potential hazards; determine underlying causes of hazards; monitor hazard controls (personal protective equipment, engineering controls, policies, procedures); and recommend corrective action.

“The Safety Office and regulatory agencies such as fire departments also conduct periodic inspections.”

Reporting health and safety concerns: “Correction of hazardous conditions should not wait for inspections. UW’s Health, Safety and Environment Policy #34 states: ‘All members of the University community must report to their supervisor any hazardous conditions which are contrary to good health, safety or environmental practices or which contravene any legislative requirements. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that corrective action is taken at once. Unsafe buildings and grounds conditions shall be reported to the Plant Operations Department.’”

Building air quality: “Plant Operations designs and maintains building ventilation systems according to applicable standards. Contact Plant Operations at ext. 33793 (24-hour service and maintenance) for the following: Broken thermostats; Misadjusted diffusers; Heating, cooling or ventilation breakdown malfunctioning during the operating hours of the building; Leaking fan coils; Odours due to maintenance and construction (Roofing Projects) in or around a building; and Chemical type smells; such as drain/sewer gas, natural gas and vehicle exhaust.”

First aid courses: “Safety Office is offering First Aid with CPR courses at no cost for up to 10% of a department’s Faculty/Staff on May 21, 22, 23, 26, June 3, 4, 9, 10, 18, 19, 20, 21.”

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Talk of parking and of teaching

Today will be the last day that people can park in the southwest section of parking lot B, off Phillip Street. That area, known to aficionados as “B3”, is set to become a construction site for the Engineering V building, which will be linked to Engineering III over the railway tracks and the ring road. (A groundbreaking ceremony is about to be announced.) “Service locates will begin in B lot on Friday,” says Sharon Rumpel, manager of parking services. So her staff will be blocking off the entrances to the B3 area from other parts of the big parking lot, and construction fences will go up shortly. Still in operation are the northwest part of the lot, B2, and the southeast part, B4. “Access to B4 will be via the entrance on the south of the Art Gallery,” Rumpel says. “Access to B2 will be via the entrance to the west of the gravel lot. We have rented a large sign to try and direct folks, and we will have enforcement staff on duty to give directions.” And if anybody is wondering what ever happened to B1 — well, they built the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology on it five years ago.

Gord Stubley of the mechanical and mechatronics engineering department will give what’s described as “an enlightening talk” this morning, sponsored by the Centre for Teaching Excellence. The title: “Do Students Learn from Laboratory Work?” Says Stubley: “In the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department the issue of the effectiveness of laboratory exercises in core courses recently arose. To address this question, I began a meandering journey through the literature on university science education. In my meanderings I came across an extensive literature on freshman physics education in which student learning is measured and studied. Much of this literature led to the development of the Force Concept Inventory. In this talk I will review the studies on laboratory effectiveness made prior to 1990 (before the development of the Force Concept Inventory), summarize the findings of studies of student learning based on the Force Concept Inventory, and close with a review of more recent studies on the effectiveness of laboratory exercises.” The session starts at 10:00 in the Flex Lab in the Dana Porter Library; registration is online.

Also about CTE: It’s been “almost a year now” since the Centre for Teaching Excellence was created out of three previous units, says its director, Catherine Schryer, in the May issue of the Teaching Matters newsletter. “Many services have been maintained, but much has also changed. . . . The most important change involves the emphasis in our mandate to provide research-based resources and actual research on issues related to teaching and learning. . . . we have not only continued our support for the Teaching-Based Research Group, but we have expanded into research projects supporting program renewals and evaluation. This new emphasis informs our online resources as well. For example, we have prepared a well-researched site to support the Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations. Like all new units, we face important challenges. Our most serious challenge is that we are located in two areas: the fourth floor of the Math and Computer Building and the third floor of the Porter library. Consequently, it has sometimes proved challenging for faculty and graduate students to find us and the resources that they need. . . . Another challenge is that we know that the technology in the FLEX Lab is becoming dated, and we are working on renovation plans. We see several areas of emerging opportunities. One is in the area of cross-campus collaborations. We have already begun working with units such as DCE and ITMS, and we will continue to look for other opportunities to share and develop resources.”

A memo is going out to staff and faculty on behalf of the Pension and Benefits Committee, announcing “a few changes” to the long-term disability plan, effective May 1. “After consultation with the Faculty Association,” says the memo, “the maximum salary protected by LTD was increased from $120,000 to $150,000. The maximum salary protected under the LTD plan will be indexed on each subsequent May 1, based on changes to the Consumer Price Index. These changes will affect your LTD premium only if your current salary exceeds $120,000. ... The Committee reminds members that current LTD premiums are reduced because of past surpluses. As this surplus is used up, premiums will gradually rise.” Details of the LTD plan —designed to provide a tax-free benefit of 85% of after-tax pay for employees who become disabled — are available online, and questions can be directed to ext. 36120.

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Of videoconferencing and rugby

Tomorrow morning’s professional development seminar in the information systems and technology department will deal with a new facility on the second floor of the Math and Computer building. IST’s Koorus Bookan is the speaker for the event, which starts at 9:00. “A couple of months ago,” an announcement says, “we held a Friday morning seminar on the topic of videoconferencing at UW. Since then we've set up IST's videoconferencing room, in MC 2009. The videoconferencing equipment is from Tandberg. The room is set up with three screens: the existing data projector screen, augmented by two large screen panels mounted on the front and side walls. This set up allows for a number of scenarios, depending upon where the presenter is located (locally or remotely) and the capabilities and compatibilities of the other end's system. While the room has not been advertised as available yet, it already has had a few customers. Koorus Bookan will put it through its paces during this Friday's seminar. He will also talk about the videoconferencing management component, and a streaming and capturing add-on that we are evaluating.”

Warrior rugby captain Jeff Robinson has been selected to the Ontario Men’s XV Rugby squad, the athletics department announced this week. Robinson is a two-time OUA all-star and his first time suiting up for the provincial team. He will be competing against players who are currently provincial and national level athletes. “This is my first time playing at the provincial level,” he says, “and it is one of the most important provincial games. I am proud to play for my province, and this is an experience that I will never forget. I am surrounded by an amazing group of athletes so the best part of this will be the experience that I get from playing with these elite rugby players.” The team will play against Leicestershire County, a competitive club from Great Britain, on Saturday at Fletcher’s Field in Markham. The game will be carried on Rogers Television’s community channel on Sunday.

“Did you know,” says a blast e-mail to 19,000 UW students from the registrar’s office, “your academic standing determines if you can proceed to the next term of study? Your official academic standing and final grades for the winter 2008 term are available after May 26, 2008. To review your complete academic record (including academic standings, transcript notes, and grades in Quest), you must look at your unofficial transcript. . . . You should also refer to the Student Awards and Financial Aid web site to ensure your eligibility for financial aid is not impacted by either your academic standing or your record of courses completed successfully.”

Tuesday’s Daily Bulletin said Faye Abrams was a “former” UW librarian, but officially she’s still on the roster of the UW library staff, though seconded to the Ontario Council of University Libraries to work on electronic resources for libraries across the province. • About 30 young participants in the Canadian Computing Competition, stage 2, are on campus this week, and staying in Ron Eydt Village. • Samantha Brown, graduating with a BSc in psychology and biology, has been named valedictorian for the science faculty and will speak on behalf of the class of 2008 at the June 11 afternoon Convocation ceremony.


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Link of the day

Ascension of Baha'u'llah

When and where

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. 12:45 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre. Children welcome. Questions:

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

Wayne Shortt, UW Police, retirement reception 4 to 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 tonight, details online.

‘Late Night Picture Show’ of “films with a social conscience” sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group: “Manufactured Landscapes” 9:00 p.m., Matthews Hall green behind Student Life Centre (rain location CEIT room 1015).

Dance Dance Canada May 30-31, Humanities Theatre.

Certificate in University Teaching student presentations Friday 9:30 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library: Ashoo Anand, “Teaching Online Courses”; Rehan Waheed, “Assessing the Effectiveness of Contemporary Electronic Media”; David Hadaller, “Learning to Do Without Doing in Experiential Learning”; registration online.

Distance and Continuing Education office closes Friday at 3 p.m. for a staff function.

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.

Doug Wright Engineering building electrical power shut off Saturday 7:00 to 10:00 a.m.

UW Family Day at African Lion Safari, organized by alumni affairs, Saturday, adults $30, details online.

Co-op employer interviews for fall term jobs begin Monday, continuing through June 20.

President’s Golf Tournament in support of Warrior athletics, Monday, June 2, Westmount Golf Club, details online.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Using the Web to Enhance Face-to-Face Learning” Tuesday 11:00 to 12:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, details online.

Procurement and contract services trade show of UW suppliers: Fisher Scientific on June 3, computers and audio-visual June 4, Corporate Express (office supplies) June 5, each day 10:00 to 2:00, Davis Centre lounge.

UW Board of Governors quarterly meeting Tuesday 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

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

Anne Harris, faculty of arts, retirement celebration Wednesday, June 4, 3:30 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP; donations invited for a bursary in her honour.

Penny Pudifin, graduate studies office, retirement celebration Wednesday, June 4, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., University Club, information

UW Retirees Association tour of “stately homes and gardens” in the Hamilton area, Thursday, June 5, $67 for members and guests, information 519-744-3246.

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.

Canada’s Wonderland bus trip organized by Federation of Students, Friday, June 6, tickets $40 (non-students $48) at Fed office, Student Life Centre.

5-km run and 1-km walk in support of Hildegard Marsden Nursery, Sunday, June 8, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., details and registration online.

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

Spring Convocation: applied health sciences and environmental studies, Wednesday, June 11, 10:00; science, June 11, 2:30; arts (some programs), Thursday, June 12, 10:00; arts (some programs), June 12, 2:30; mathematics, Friday, June 13, 10:00; computer science, June 13, 2:30; engineering (some programs), Saturday, June 14, 10:00; engineering (some programs), June 14, 2:30, details online.

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

Matthews Golf Classic open to 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.

Mathematics alumni reception at annual meeting of Society of Actuaries, Québec City, June 18-20, details to be announced.

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.

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.

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