Thursday, November 27, 2008

  • The CUPE contract, the Mumbai drama
  • Grebel's Mennonite archivist retires
  • Sabbaticals set to begin January 1
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Two with signs: Free High Fives, Free Hugs; student giving them the eye]

Eye-catching signs helped volunteers spread the love yesterday. The Arts Student Union organized the end-of-term stress-busting "free hugs" event, and participants included this duo making their offer on the recently renovated main floor of the Dana Porter Library. Photo by Simon Wilson.

Back to top

The CUPE contract, the Mumbai drama

Negotiators for UW's administration and the the union representing about 300 hourly-paid employees reached a tentative agreement Tuesday with the help of a conciliator from the Ontario labour ministry. Neil Murray of UW's human resources department says the leadership of Canadian Union of Public Employees local 793 "will be recommending the agreement to the membership", which includes staff in UW's plant operations and food services departments. Ratification will be sought at a membership meeting to be held Friday between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre. CUPE 793 has been without a contract for almost seven months now, as the previous two-year contract expired on April 30.

Several people from UW, in a delegation headed by president David Johnston, were in Mumbai, India, or on their way there yesterday when terrorists attacked two major hotels and other prominent sites in a drama that's still in progress today. Johnston himself, halfway what was suposed to be a week-long visit to India, got no farther than the city's airport before realizing the situation and cutting his trip short; he's expected to be back in Canada in a few hours. (If he had carried on to his planned hotel, he should still have been safe, he told his office by e-mail overnight; in the giant city formerly called Bombay, he was scheduled to be a good ten miles away from the apparent danger zone.) The other members of the UW contingent, arriving in Mumbai to talk with business and financial leaders about UW links with India, are also reported fine, though it's not clear when they will all get home.

Looking for a snowman, a candle or a quilt? You could hardly have this season of the year without them, and neither could you have it without the annual craft sale hosted by the UW staff association. The 15th annual sale runs today and tomorrow in the Davis Centre fishbowl lounge (from 10 to 5 today, from 9 to 3 on Friday). The indefatigable Sue Fraser of the association's social committee notes in a memo that 10 per cent of all proceeds will be donated to the UW Senate Scholarship Fund (University-wide) and the Staff Association Award. "UW staff employees/ retirees/ alumni will be selling their talented crafts," she writes, "so why not come out and purchase a few Christmas gifts? All items are handcrafted: Christmas sewn items and ornaments; handspun yarn/knitted items; totes; numerous wood crafts and tole painted items; homemade chocolates; candles; stained glass; custom jewelry, dry cookie mixes; cloth snowmen, santas and angels; quilted items; pet gifts; decorative ceramics; hand painted glassware, pottery, pressed floral art, handmade cards, seashells; natural homemade creams and lotions." In addition, "We have lots of great raffle prizes. All monies from the raffle will go directly to the Scholarship Funds. Buy a ticket and get a free cup of apple cider."

I wrote the other day about the new issue of The Boar magazine, published by the Arts Student Union, and the response was a letter from editor Ashley Csanady with the disquieting news that "our existence may soon be relegated to the realm of cyberspace," as The Boar is having trouble meeting the budget to print future issues. "Our start-up grant from the Arts Endowment Fund was used up with the most recent issue," and advertising sales aren't booming, Csanady says. She and her editorial colleagues are hoping to find sponsors for the magazine, who will be dubbed "Friends of the Boar" at a $25 donation level, Silver or Gold Boars at intermediate levels, or "Platinum Boars" at $1,000. If things don't work out by early January, a winter issue in hard copy will be abandoned in favour of electronic publication, she says.

Back to top

Grebel's Mennonite archivist retires

from a Conrad Grebel University College news release

Sam Steiner, archivist and librarian at Conrad Grebel University College, ends his 34-year service with the acquisition of three significant donations to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, housed at Grebel.

“It's been a privilege to be immersed in the historical life of Mennonites in Ontario,” says Steiner. “I've helped many fascinating people in their research, ranging from Old Order Mennonite historians like Isaac R. Horst to radio journalists from Switzerland. The biggest change in archives despite the unrelenting increase in paper records has been the technological one — more than half of requests from patrons today are for digitized forms of sound recordings or photographs. And many of these requests come by e-mail.”

Among the donations from J. Harold Sherk are legal and business papers of Benjamin Eby and Joseph Schneider. Eby and Schneider were early Mennonite leaders in Waterloo County, with Eby considered by many to be the founder of Berlin, now Kitchener. Their papers demonstrate relationships far beyond the Mennonite community and demonstrate many of the changes that occurred throughout the 19th century in Waterloo County.

[Steiner, right, in Grebel reading room]Other more recent papers and personal documents belonging to Mennonite lay leader Isador Snyder and farmer Ephraim Cressman were donated by Helen and Jim Reusser, along with diaries and letters from Florence Cressman Snyder which offer insight into 20th century Kitchener-Waterloo. Additional papers and correspondence of Earle Snyder (1893-1973), longtime professor at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, and Helen Reusser's father, will be added to the existing Earle S. Snyder collection. (Left: Steiner looks at documents with Helen Reusser — photo by Linda Huebert Hecht.)

Paul Burkholder donated the diaries of his father, Lewis J. Burkholder, a longtime Mennonite minister in the Markham area and the author of the landmark A Brief History of the Mennonites in Ontario, published in 1935. The diaries cover the years of his research and writing of this foundational history.

Steiner, who retires from his current position at the end of 2008, came to Canada from Chicago forty years ago as a political refugee or draft dodger. While Steiner’s Mennonite family had a history of ministers, he was inspired to take his own stance after attending Martin Luther King’s march to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. He graduated from UW in 1973, taking many courses at Grebel which helped him “find my way back to Christian faith within a Mennonite context.” He began at Grebel as the archivist in 1974 and as a librarian in 1976, finishing an MLS degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1978.

Steiner is the historian for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, secretary of the Detweiler Meetinghouse Inc., and a member of the Executive of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario. He has authored two books: a biography of the nineteenth-century Ontario Mennonite entrepreneur Jacob Y. Shantz (1988) and the history of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener (1995).

“Sam Steiner has made many lasting contributions in his long career,” says Jim Pankratz, academic dean at Grebel. “He, more than anyone else, defined the focus and the quality of the College library and built the archives into an unsurpassed collection of resources on Mennonites in Ontario. His own research and publications are remarkable scholarly and public service achievements.”

Steiner’s initial retirement plan is to write a survey history of Mennonites in Ontario, from the beginning of Mennonite immigration to Upper Canada to the year 2000, in cooperation with the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario. This ambitious project will update the 1935 Burkholder project. He also recently accepted another three-year term as managing editor of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online and will continue to serve as president of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada.

Back to top

Sabbaticals set to begin January 1

Many of the UW faculty members who are due for sabbatical leaves this year will be starting them as of January 1. Here’s a list of some, with a note of how they’ll be spending the sabbatical time, as reported to UW’s board of governors.

Diana Parry, recreation and leisure studies: “I have three main priorities for the requested six-month sabbatical including analyzing data, reviewing literature and overseeing a SSHRC research project. All of these activities will lead to publications in academic journals.”

Dayan Ban, electrical and computer engineering (six months): “I will take this special opportunity to focus on my research, establish collaboration with world-leading institutes, and enhance my professional abilities and get ready for my tenure application. My plan is to join the Department of Electrical Engineering at MIT (Boston) and work with Prof. Q. Hu on a project of ‘coherent measurements of terahertz quantum cascade lasers’.”

Jane Buyers, fine arts (six months): “During the leave, I intend to focus on drawing. I will spend part of the time in my studio exploring the medium of drawing through a variety of processes and materials. I also intend to travel to major international art centres to research contemporary drawing practice and visit collections of historical drawings.”

Jennifer Clapp, environment and resource studies (twelve months): “I would like to take a sabbatical leave for one year in order to accomplish the following: write second edition version of my book Paths to a Green World under agreement with MIT Press; completion of book on food aid policy that I have been working on for the past couple of years for Cornell University Press; launch of new research projects on the role of speculation and trade policies in the global food crisis.”

Paul Socken, French studies (six months): “I will do research on the reception of Québec dramatist Michel Tremblay’s plays in France and edit a book on the reasons for studying Talmud in the 21st century.”

Brian Cozzarin, management sciences (six months): “I will continue my research. It relates to employee training and the effect on firm growth and productivity; testing theories of why firms collaborate on R&D.”

Grainne Fitzsimons, psychology (six months): “I will spend two months at UC Santa Barbara collaborating with two leading relationships researchers, Dr. Shelly Gable and Dr. Nancy Collins, on a new research project. I will also spend two months in continental Europe writing and collaborating with social cognition researchers Ap Dijksterhuis (Netherlands) and Paula Niedenthal (France).”


Back to top

Link of the day

America celebrates Thanksgiving

When and where

Blood donor clinic today 10:00 to 4:00 and Friday 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre.

Credit union seminar: Jo-Ann Spicer, “RESP Saving for Education”, 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

One Waterloo Campaign presents “The Queer Community Is Part of My Community” 12:30 to 2:30, Student Life Centre great hall:; includes opportunity to leave messages of support on banner.

UW International Spouses craft session (quilt a small coaster) 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre, children welcome, e-mail if attending.

Homestretch Celebration for graduating students, sponsored by Arts Student Union, 3:00 to 4:30, Graduate House. Details.

Exchange programs to Baden-Württemburg (Germany) and Rhône-Alpes (France) information session 3:30, Needles Hall room 1101.

Centre for Computational Mathematics information session about master’s program in computational math, 4:30, Math and Computer room 5158A.

Librarians’ Association exclusive screening of “The Hollywood Librarian”, a look at librarians through film, 6:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, free, reception follows.

K-W Symphony “Time for Three” string trio, 7:30, Humanities Theatre.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Sean Van Koughnett, “VeloCity”, Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.

myHRinfo system unavailable because of maintenance, Friday at 12:00 noon until Monday at noon.

Philosophy colloquium: Denis Walsh, University of Toronto, “Statistical Laws, Ensemble Explanations” Friday 3:30 p.m., Humanities room 334.

Salon des Refusés sponsored by The New Quarterly: readings, panel discussion, wine, Friday 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC great hall, admission $5, RSVP ext. 28290.

Think Pink Weekend sponsored by athletics department in support of breast cancer research, Friday-Sunday, with eight Warrior games, Campus Recreation dance show and other promotions.

Warrior Weekend activities in Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday evenings. Details.

X-rated hypnotist Tony Lee performs at Bombshelter pub, Friday, doors open 9:00 p.m., tickets $10 at Federation of Students office, $12 at door.

Sabbaticals 101, “A Practical Guide for Academics and Their Families”, by Nancy Matthews, book launch Saturday 2:00, UW bookstore, South Campus Hall.

UW Chamber Choir concert, “It Can’t Be Christmas Yet”, Saturday 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts (tickets $12, students $10); Sunday, November 30, 7:30 p.m., Three Willows United Church, Guelph (tickets $15, students $12).

Engineering Jazz Band (“With Respect to Time”) charity concert Saturday 8 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC great hall, tickets $10 at the door, proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.

UW Stage Band concert, “Swing’s the Thing”, Sunday 2:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, admission $8 (students $5).

Last day of classes for fall term is Monday, December 1. Exams, December 5-19.

Staff association town hall meeting Monday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

UW Planning Alumni of Toronto 18th annual gala dinner Monday, Royal York Hotel. Details.

UW Instrumental Chamber Ensembles end-of-term concert Monday 7:30, Conrad Grebel UC chapel, free admission.

WatITis 2008 one-day conference for information technology staff, “Making the Future”, Tuesday. Details.

Faculty association fall general meeting Tuesday 2:00 p.m., Math and Computer room 4020, speakers from Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

John Ralston Saul, “Three Radical Truths About Canada”, Tuesday 7:00 p.m., Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West, sponsored by CIGI and UW bookstore. Registration.

Christmas at the Davis Centre: UW Chamber Choir and Chapel Choir annual concert, concluding with carol sing-along, Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre great hall.

‘Improving Your Financial Health’ seminar by Heather Cudmore, Catholic Family Counselling Centre, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Ontario Ballet Theatre presents “The Nutcracker”, Monday, December 15, 7:00 p.m., and school performances Tuesday, 10:00 and 12:30, Humanities Theatre.

PhD oral defences

Electrical and computer engineering. Mehri Mehrjoo, “Resource Allocation for OFDMA Wireless Networks.” Supervisor, Sherman Shen. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, December 5, 2:00 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Chemistry. Pei Chun Hang, “Investigation into Streptomyces azureus Thiostrepton-Resistance rRNA Methyltransferase and Its Cognate Antibiotic.” Supervisor, John F. Honek. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, December 8, 10:00 a.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Electrical and computer engineering. Leila Rezaee, “Biomodal Gate Oxide Breakdown.” Supervisor, Chettypalayam R. Selvakumar. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, December 8, 2:00 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Systems design engineering. Lou Joseph Pino, “Neuromuscular Decision Support Using Pattern Discovery.” Supervisor, Daniel Stashuk. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, December 9, 9:00 a.m., Engineering II room 1307C.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin