Thursday, September 11, 2008

  • Environment I and II (and more)
  • Arabic language course (and more)
  • Ontario's best lecturer (and more)
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Environment I and II (and more)

New names are now official for the buildings formerly known as Environmental Studies. A memo announces that the president has given approval to a change in keeping with the renaming of the ES faculty as the Faculty of Environment. The conjoined buildings, near the southwest corner of the campus, are now Environment I and Environment II. Their official abbreviations will be EV1 and EV2. Perhaps only the old-timers remember that EV1, built in 1966, was originally labelled Arts II, and then dedicated as the Isaiah Bowman Building for the Social Sciences, honouring an early 20th century geographer and academic administrator who was born in Waterloo but spent most of his career in the United States. When environmental departments took over the building in the 1970s, that name was changed to the Isaiah Bowman Building for Environmental Studies. The EV2 wing, former home of UW’s school of architecture, was added in 1981.

Students can take advantage of a number of workshops this term, touching on career, skill and personal issues. The Writing Centre's series of Monday afternoon workshops is due to start September 22. “Students (both undergraduate and graduate) who want to enhance their writing skills are encouraged to register,” a web site says. Topics include “self-assessment”, “essay components”, punctuation, “verbs and voice”, and “writing a critique”. A new "Three Step Program" has been added this year to help those students who have not yet passed the English Language Proficiency Exam. Students can find more information (plus workshop notes and exercises) on the Writing Centre’s website. The writing workshops are offered in cooperation with Counselling Services, which also has a workshop series of its own: assertive communication, study skills, stress management, procrastination, exam preparation, “re-claiming your self” and others. Most of those workshops take place in multiple sessions starting late in September or early in October. Again, details are available online. Workshops sponsored by Co-operative Education and Career Services are on the way too, on topics such as interview skills and job preparation, and the UW library has a series of workshops on research tools and skills.

The Toronto Region Research Alliance will be turning the Davis Centre “fishbowl” lounge into a bit of a studio this morning, recording an interview with UW president David Johnston. Michael Strickland, UW's manager of media relations, says TRRA is creating a series of video innovation profiles and wanted to include comments from the president for a couple of items. One is a profile of SideFX, a visual effects company in Toronto that credits much of its success to the talent they recruit from math, information technology and co-op programs. TRRA wants the president to explain UW’s strengths in IT and new developments relating to digital media. TRRA is also asking Johnston for his opinion on Toronto’s research strengths. The agency, of which UW is a member, is hoping the half-hour interview will produce several minutes of material for the two pieces and for a short video that introduces the Toronto Region and the individual profiles. The material will eventually be available on TRRA’s website.

The month of August was “average” in both temperature and precipitation, says Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station, who notes that a dry spell late in the month didn’t keep 2008 from being, so far, one of the wettest years on record. • The staff association has invited applications for two seats on its Finance Review Committee (information, e-mail • The next local “ACM-style” programming contests will be held on the afternoons of September 28 and October 4, says Ondrej Lhotak of the school of computer science, noting that there’s more information online.

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Arabic language course (and more)

For the first time, as far as anybody can remember, the Arabic language is being taught at UW this fall, in the form of a non-credit course at Renison University College. “Arabic for Beginners,” a flyer says, “is a new non-credit course designed to help you start to read and write at a basic level in the Arabic alphabet.” It’ll run for three hours a week, starting next week, at a “day and time to be scheduled to suit students and instructor, probably late afternoon or early evening”. The fee: $310. Instructor for the course will be Kanan Al-Ali, “a Palestinian who recently immigrated to Canada”, says Ron Champion, special projects manager at Renison’s English Language Institute. Anyone interested in registering can reach Champion at ext. 28616.

[Brown in performance mode]Elaine Brown of the Village I office has not just one other life but two. She’s well known as a pressed-flower artist, and even more widely acclaimed as “Lainey” (right), a jazz singer who has performed at various UW events including last year’s International Women’s Day dinner and this summer’s Keystone Campaign summer picnic. Brown, or rather Lainey, reports that she has finally achieved a goal of putting out her first jazz CD. It’s titled “Cry Me A River”, and was created, she says, with the help of her brother, who has a home studio. She says she’s very excited about the result and is now looking forward to putting together a live trio. There are samples of her songs online, and copies of the CD are for sale: e-mail

Several major companies will hold an event next Wednesday, co-sponsored by UW’s co-op and career services department and the office of persons with disabilities, aimed at recruiting students with disabilities for 2009 summer internships and full-time positions. Hosted by New York-based not-for-profit Lime Connect for a group of corporate partners — Merrill Lynch, PepsiCo, BMO Financial Group, IBM Canada, Scotiabank and TD Bank Financial Group — the event will be held on September 17 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Federation Hall. “More than one in ten students on campus has a disability,” says a memo from Lime, “and the majority of disabilities are ‘invisible’. With the understanding that students with disabilities represent an untapped source of intellectual capital, Lime’s partners fully value the talent that they bring to the corporate work force, and are seeking to hire. For them, partnering with Lime is all about ‘being smart’, not about ‘being nice’. Lime is not your typical disability group. We’re here to introduce students with disabilities to opportunities for great careers at best-in-class companies.” Lime was founded in 2006 by Rich Donovan, a former trader for Merrill Lynch in New York who happens to have cerebral palsy, to connect talented people with disabilities and global corporations for employment opportunities.

Carla Munch, coach of Warrior women’s golf, has been with student athletes from across Canada over the past few days as coach of the Canadian team in the World University Golf Championships, being held at Sun City, South Africa. • Today’s the last day for extended beginning-of-term hours at the UW bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx in South Campus Hall. • The eclectic menu for today at UW’s food services outlets includes an eggplant wrap sandwich for lunch at Brubakers, seafood newburg for dinner at REVelation, and “mini-pizza day” at the Festival Room.

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Ontario's best lecturer (and more)

Each year, TVOntario asks students and alumni from the province’s colleges and universities to have their say when the series Big Ideas kicks off its Best Lecturer Competition. Wanted are professors “whose love of learning has helped to stimulate imaginations, open eyes and push boundaries in institutions of higher learning across the province. As part of this year’s program,” says a release from TVO, “we are calling upon school pride to stir up some friendly rivalry as the students nominate and support their favourite lecturers. Currently, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology owns bragging rights for having Ontario’s best lecturer. Will it be your institution this year? Not only does the winning institution gain much deserved recognition and the honour of having the province’s best lecturer, but it also receives a $10,000 TD Insurance Meloche Monnex scholarship. The nomination period began September 8 and runs until Sunday, October 12. Nominating a lecturer can be done by emailing with the subject line ‘BL 2009 Nomination’ and including in the body the full name of the professor, the University/College and department where they teach, a short description (between 50 and 100 words) detailing the reason(s) a professor should be nominated as Best Lecturer, and the full name, email, address and telephone number of the person submitting the nomination. Each nominator will be entered into a contest to win one of two iPod Touch devices.”

The Master of Accounting program in the School of Accounting and Finance has received special status from the Chartered Accountancy School of Business, providing UW students with exemptions and increased opportunities in western Canada. A news release from SAFM explains that CASB is an organization that oversees the education of chartered accountants in Canada’s western provinces and territories. Students emerging from the MAcc graduate program will now receive special exemption from Modules 1 to 5 of CASB’s six-module process. The MAcc program is one of only two universities in Canada to receive this “Specified Program” designation. “This special accreditation will provide our students with greater geographic opportunities for co-op experiences and career paths across the country, and will allow them to count time spent working in accredited CA firms towards their CA designation requirements. The SAF has already received similar professional accreditation from both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario.” The school’s director, Jim Barnett, says he’s “very excited to be receiving this special recognition. This will allow our students to take advantage of the many opportunities for future CAs throughout Canada, and bolsters the MAcc advantage of being the fastest path towards gaining a CA designation.”

A memo sent to international students by e-mail this week: “With the recent changes to the post-graduate work permit from a employer specific work permit (required job offer) to an open work permit, graduated students with post-graduate work permits are no longer eligible for OHIP coverage. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care standard for OHIP eligibility states you are eligible if you are a foreign worker who holds a valid work permit or employment authorization which names a Canadian employer situated in Ontario and your prospective occupation, and is valid for at least six months. Thus, Open Post-Graduation Work Permits do not qualify, nor will proof of employment meet the requirements. UW graduates are eligible to extend UHIP coverage for up to 2 months following their last registered term through the Student Accounts Office in Needles Hall, room 1110. You cannot extend coverage under the Feds/GSA Health and Dental Plan. If you wish to purchase private health insurance, consult with an ISO advisor.”

The Boar is putting on another participatory art project in the Arts Quad,” says a notice that appeared on Facebook this week. “We won't tell you what it is just yet, but we do want your help in collecting materials. It's easy! All we want from you is your garbage! We want you to collect labels off of all the stuff you buy in the next little while (clothes, food, CDs, books, etc), or ads out of newspapers and magazines — anything with a brand logo on it! Once you do that, you can drop them off in The Boar box with the friendly Turnkeys in the Student Life Centre. Details about what we (and students from all over campus!) will be doing with these labels will be TBA in coming days. And, as always, if you're interested in getting involved with The Boar this term, email us at”


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The department of physics and astronomy has a new chair as of September 1: Jeff Chen, a member of the biophysics group, takes over that position from current chair Robert Mann.

Link of the day

US voter registration: from Republicans, from Democrats

When and where

Campus recreation intramurals registration continues through Friday, instructional registration September 15-18. Details.

Imaginus poster sale today 9:00 to 8:00, Friday 9:00 to 5:00, Student Life Centre.

Farm market organized by Food Services and volunteers, 9:00 to 1:00, Student Life Centre lower level.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council information session on scholarships and fellowships 9:30 to 11:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment, 12:30 to 2:00 p.m., East Campus Hall.

Scholarship information session open to students, faculty and staff in applied health sciences, 3:00, Lyle Hallman Institute room 1621.

Bruce Uttley, information systems and technology, retirement party scheduled for this afternoon has been postponed, new date to be announced.

Science Society general meeting for science undergraduate students 5:30, Math and Computer room 2066.

Warriors Band (student-run pep band) practises Thursdays 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Physical Activities Complex room 2012. All welcome, no auditions, instruments provided.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group “introduction to WPIRG: what WPIRG is and how you can get involved,” 5:30 p.m., lower atrium, Student Life Centre.

Warrior track and field (men and women) team meeting and tryouts 5:30 p.m., Physical Activities Complex room 2021.

Free barbecue sponsored by Waterloo Christian Fellowship 6:00, fountain by Math and Computer building.

Global Queer Cinema film series in conjunction with Fine Arts 290: “The Celluloid Closet”, 1996, 6:30 p.m., East Campus Hall room 1220.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo open rehearsal 7:00, Ron Eydt Village great hall. Details.

UW 9/11 Research Group presents before a screening of “The Reflecting Pool” about the 2001 attacks, 7 p.m., Princess Cinema, 7 Princess Street West.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: project update (Desktop Rollover/Vista, Exchange, and Student E-mail) Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.

VeloCity (new high-tech residence) open house Friday 12:00 to 5:00, Minota Hagey Residence building across ring road from Environment buildings; launch dinner (by invitation) follows.

International student orientation session for graduate students, Friday 12:30 p.m., DC 1350. Details.

Trash 2 Treasure goods recycling sale sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Saturday-Sunday, Student Life Centre. Details.

K-W Car-Free Day sustainable transportation festival, endorsed by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m., Victoria Park, Kitchener.

Renison College installs Rt. Rev. Ralph Spence as its chancellor, Sunday 3:00 p.m., St. George’s Forest Hill Anglican Church; reception follows at Renison.

Work reports marked by co-op and career services department are due Monday (others, confirm deadline with your undergraduate office).

PhD oral defences

Geography and environmental management. Jia Liu, “Resort Morphology in Canada: Applications and Modifications.” Supervisors, P. Deadman and G. Wall. On display in the Faculty of Environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Wednesday, September 17, 2:30 p.m.., Environment II room 2006.

Statistics and actuarial science. Catherine Donnelly, "Convex Duality in Constrained Mean-Variance Portfolio Optimization Under a Regime-Switching Model." Supervisor, Andrew Heunis. On display in the Faculty of Mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, September 18, 2:00 p.m., MC room 6027.

Statistics and actuarial science. Lilia Leticia Ramírez Ramírez, "On the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases in Non-homogeneous Populations." Supervisor, Mary Thompson. On display in the Faculty of Mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, September 22, 9:30 a.m., MC room 6027.

Electrical and computer engineering. Javad Ahmadi Shokouh, “Soft Antenna Selection for Noise-Limited / Interference MIMO Channels.” Supervisor, Safieddin Safavi-Naeini. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, September 26, 2 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

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