Wednesday, April 1, 2009

  • Grad conference promises 200 talks
  • Work-life balance is tomorrow's topic
  • And a few other notes . . . no fooling
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Around the stage, by candles' glow]

By candlelight, they celebrated Earth Hour on Saturday night in the Student Life Centre. Says Tania Cheng of the UW Sustainability Project: "The crowd was entertained by bands and singers and inspired by an art exhibit displaying the talents of UW students. Many of UWSP's working groups took part in the event. Waste Management created a tree with discarded Tim Hortons coffee cups and ran a recycled-notebook craft. The Naturalistic Landscaping Team put a vermicomposter on display. Sustainable Foods served free local bread. Active and Community Transportation held a release party for their Waterloo area walkability map. As 8:30 approached, the lights dimmed and the crowd counted down the seconds. During the hour of darkness, a jam session supplied the beats as students played board games, danced, and engaged in good conversation. The event wrapped up with the announcement of the raffle draw winners."

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Grad conference promises 200 talks

UW’s annual Graduate Student Research Conference is less than a month away, and now would be a good time for people to register to make sure there’s a seat for them.

It’s free, and “all students (graduate and undergraduate), staff and faculty are invited and encouraged” to be there, says Carrie Nickerson of the graduate studies office, who’s organizing things and says the four-day event will include more than 200 presentations.

The April 27-30 conference, held mostly in the Davis Centre, also features seven keynote speakers, some from inside UW and some from other institutions.

“If you are a presenter at this year's conference, you are already registered,” says a memo that gives all the details. If you’re not, it’s wise to register — not just because space is limited but because of free food and other privileges.

“Registered attendees will receive a registration package filled with some great GSRC swag . . . can enjoy our complementary Grad House catered lunches and snacks each day of the conference . . . will receive a prize ballot for each session or keynote talk you attend,” the memo says. “Please visit our website for details on how to register and to view our program.”

The conference is organized into three main theme areas: Humanities and Social Sciences; Health, Life and Environment; Physical Science, Math and Technology. There are also “specialty sessions” for Biology; Vision Science; Aging, Health and Well-Being; the Certificate in University Teaching program; and Quantitative Finance & Insurance.

Graduate presentations, which in many cases are a preview of work that will soon be submitted as part of a UW thesis, can be either oral or in poster form. Some of the topics are already listed on the website, and range from “3D Tracking of Human Limbs Using Multimodal Sensor Fusion” to “Canada’s Fringe Political Parties, the Youth Vote, and the Web”.

The keynote speakers and their topics:

  • Adalsteinn Brown, assistant deputy minister (health system strategy) for the Ontario ministry of health and long-term care, “Translating Research into Practice: Strategies to Bridge the Gap between Researchers and Policy Makers”, April 27 at 1:00.
  • Howard Burton, former executive director of the Perimeter Institute, “First Principles” (book sale and signing to follow), April 28 at 1:30.
  • Joram Piatigorsky of the National Eye Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health, April 28 at 4:00.
  • Peter Forsyth of UW’s school of computer science, “A Hamilton Jacobi Bellman Approach to Optimal Trade Execution”, April 28, time to be announced.
  • John Garcia, director of population health, Cancer Care Ontario, April 29 at 1:30.
  • Josh Neufeld, UW department of biology, April 29, time to be announced.
  • Kathleen Bloom, UW department of psychology, April 30, 1:30.

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Work-life balance is tomorrow's topic

from the UW media relations office

A Canadian pioneer in organizational health will address how people can balance work and life during a public talk tomorrow. Linda Duxbury, a professor at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business, will give a lecture entitled "Work-Life Balance: Rhetoric versus Reality". The talk is part of UW's Hallman Visiting Professorship Lecture Series on Work and Health and starts at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in room 1621 of the Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion. Admission is free.

Work-life conflicts occur when the cumulative demands of many roles in a person's life are incompatible, making participation in one role more difficult because of participation in another. "Dr. Duxbury has found that we all play many roles as employee, boss, subordinate, spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend and community member," says Mark Havitz, chair of the recreation and leisure studies department. "Each of those roles imposes demands on us which require time, energy and commitment to fulfill."

Duxbury, who received a PhD in management sciences from UW, has published widely on work-family conflict, change management, supportive work environments, stress and telework. She has also examined the use and impact of office technology, managing the new workforce and supportive management.

Together with Chris Higgins of the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, she has explored the issue of work-life balance for the past 15 years. The research has resulted in an extensive set of quantitative survey and qualitative interview data on Canadian employees and managers in small, medium and large companies and organizations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

In her talk, Duxbury will synthesize that data to provide a more objective big-picture view for policy makers and researchers, as well as for people trying to balance work with the rest of their lives. She will draw on survey and interview data from two national studies to dispel a number of "myths" surrounding work-life conflict:

  • Work-life conflict is no longer an issue for many Canadian employees.
  • Work-life conflict is a women's issue.
  • Work-life conflict is an issue only for those employees with young children in the home.
  • Office technology makes it easier for employees to balance work and family.
  • Family friendly policies are the solution.
  • Work-life conflict can be addressed without dealing with the issue of workloads.
  • Dealing with work-life conflict is something 'nice' you do for your employees -- it has little to do with the bottom line.
  • Governments should not intervene — work-life is a business issue, not a social issue.
  • The solution to the problem of work-life conflict is to teach employees to cope better with the stresses they face.

Over the years, Duxbury has given more than 300 talks on work and life to Canadian and international audiences in the public and private sectors. In 2000, she was awarded the Public Service Citation from the Association of Public Service Executives for her work on supportive work environments. Two years later, she received the Canadian Workplace Wellness Pioneer Award for pioneering efforts, creativity, innovation and leadership in the field of organizational health.

Seating is limited; the number to call to reserve a seat is ext. 32010.

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And a few other notes . . . no fooling

A prominent slot on UW’s web home page is currently devoted to the episode of TVOntario’s “The Agenda” that aired on Monday night from Waterloo. The episode “was officially about ‘the innovation economy’,” says Michael Strickland, UW’s head of media relations, “but it might well have been subtitled ‘How UW built the Waterloo economy’. There was a fair bit of recognition for all the education institutions, but our prevalence was pretty clear. There was also a great deal of material that came out of the Agenda Camp we hosted.” That “camp” was a day-long event in the Davis Centre on Sunday, organized by TVO with support from UW staff. Lots of material from the camp is available on YouTube.

Crews will start work today on preparations for connecting the new Engineering V building, east of the railway, with the existing engineering complex on the west side — a project that means bridging not only the tracks but also UW's ring road. "The entrance in Engineering III Heavy Lab wing will be closed to UW traffic," says Don Haffner, major project coordinator in the plant operations department. Several halls inside the building are also affected. "This area will be under construction in preparation for a new tower and elevator providing access to the bridge connection to E5. The exterior loading dock will be fenced off to the ring road, and sidewalk will be closed for a period of time to allow the installation of a support column. Pedestrians will be directed to use the east side of the ring road."

A funeral service will be held today for Lloyd Brown, who worked in UW's human resources department (called "personnel" in those days) from 1969 to 1987 and was assistant director of the department when he retired. Brown died March 28, aged 85. The funeral is scheduled for 1:00 today at the Henry Walser Funeral Home on Frederick Street in Kitchener. Memorial donations to Lisaard House or the United Way are suggested by the family.

This term's concert by the volunteer Orchestra@UWaterloo is scheduled for tomorrow night, under the title "Nicolai, Dmitri, Pyotr and Felix", representing composers Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn (respectively, I think). The Mendelssohn is the long piece for the evening — his 3rd or "Scottish" symphony. "The orchestra will be conducted by music director Erna Van Daele, a recipient of Canada's national conducting award, the Heinz Unger Prize. Now in its fourth year, the ensemble is made up of students, alumni, staff, and faculty, with undergraduate engineering and math students in the majority. Tickets for tomorrow's 8 p.m. concert, in the Humanities Theatre, are free and can be reserved at the box office, 519-888-4908.

Today's the deadline day for staff members to register for next week's "2 More Full Days Just for You" conference. Says Mark Lisetto-Smith of the office of organizational and human development: "Spaces are still available for the unique conference session, Know Your Campus Neighbours, which will focus on the services provided to staff from Police Services, Counselling Services, and the Safety Office. It includes information about your campus safety, how we can watch out for each other, awareness programs and also some training sessions that are run by these departments for the benefit of staff. i.e. healthy eating, stress management, WHMIS. The session is being moderated by our new Director of Police Services, Dan Anderson." There's also a message from the director of OHD, Katrina Di Gravio, who knows that the surest way to get people's attention is to talk about food. "Staff must purchase conference lunch or dinner tickets by 4:30 p.m. today!" she writes. "No on-site purchases will be available."

The 37th Southern Ontario Undergraduate Chemistry Conference was held on Saturday at Brock University in St. Catharines on Saturday. This conference invites undergraduate students to present the results of their honours research projects or work term projects in any area of chemistry. About 100 students presented talks and posters on their work in many aspects of chemistry including analytical, biological and biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical and computational chemistry. From Waterloo, talks were presented by Matthew Badali, Fernando Bralha, Jon Hollinger, Koleta Kwiecien, Tiantong (Tim) Lou, Kristina Sommerville, Hsin Yao (John) Su, Thy Vu, and Blake Ziegler. Prizes were awarded for the best presentations in each section, and first prize awards were won by Jon Hollinger and Tim Lou.


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StJ faculty vote for union

Faculty members (and the one librarian) at St. Jerome’s University voted on unionization yesterday, in a ballot conducted by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

The president of the newly formed St. Jerome’s University Academic Staff Association said last night that 27 of the 30 members of the bargaining unit voted, and there were 22 yes votes and 5 no votes.

David Seljak, who also heads the previously existing St. Jerome’s faculty association, said professors “are concerned about the arbitrary changes the administration has made in employment policy and procedures as well as the collapse of morale at the institution”. The certification vote followed a vote of non-confidence in St. Jerome’s president David Perrin in January.

Procedural steps still have to be followed before the labour relations board certifies the SJU-ASA as a union.

Link of the day

Afraid of a worm?

When and where

Pancake brunch sponsored by UW Sustainability Project “naturalistic landscaping team” using local ingredients, 10:00 to 12:00, Student Life Centre.

Student loan repayment information sessions for graduating students 11:00 or 12:30 Tatham Centre room 2218.

Climate change seminar: Stephen Howell, geography and environmental management, “Changing Sea Ice of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago”, 12:00, Environment I room 221.

Biomedical discussion group: Speakers Bruce Reed (biology) and Vivian Choh (optometry), 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, all welcome. Details.

Philosophy colloquium: Michael Fuerstein, Columbia University, “Is Democratic Consensus a Morally Significant Ideal?” 3:30, Humanities room 334.

Computer science distinguished lecture: Nancy Leveson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Computers and Trust” 4:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1351.

Perimeter Institute presents Patrick Hayden, McGill University, “From Tornadoes to Black Holes: How to Survive an Information Catastrophe” 7:00, Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

Technology transfer forum: “Open or Closed? Choosing the Right Software Model” Thursday 8 a.m. to noon, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard, fee $20. Details.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group annual general meeting Thursday 5:00, Environment I courtyard. Details.

Winter term classes end Friday, April 3; exams April 8-24. Unofficial winter term grades appear in Quest beginning April 27. Grades become official May 25.

Rhythm Dance Festival April 3-5, Humanities Theatre.

Travel slide show: Joe Bevan on Killarney and area, Friday 12:15, Environment I room 221.

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival shuttle buses from Davis Centre Saturday starting 8:30 a.m., tickets $5 at Student Life Centre.

Noel Hynes, retired from UW department of biology, memorial service Saturday 10 a.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel. Guestbook and obituary online.

Engineering Jazz Band “With Respect to Time” end-of-term concert in support of Habitat for Humanity, Saturday 7:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, admission $10.

‘Celebrate Teaching’ alumni event at Conrad Grebel UC, with reception, networking, panel discussion and presentation of Distinguished Alumni Service Award, Sunday 3:00, Grebel atrium.

‘Single and Sexy’ auditions for 2009 production, Monday, April 6, 4:00 to 8:00, Humanities Theatre, information ext. 36358.

K-W Little Theatre auditions for “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (performances in July) April 6, 7 and 8, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Details.

St. Jerome’s University presents Mary Juergensmeyer, University of California at Santa Barbara, “Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State” Monday 7:30, Siegfried Hall.

UW board of governors meets Tuesday 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Techno Tuesday: Mark Morton, Centre for Teaching Excellence, “eBook Readers”, Tuesday 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Town hall meeting with the president, provost and vice-president (external relations) for faculty and staff members Wednesday 3:00, Humanities Theatre. E-mail advance questions to townhall@ Details.

Good Friday holiday April 10: UW offices and most services will be closed.

Vietnam: If Kennedy Had Lived, new book discussed by its authors, sponsored by Balsillie School and other groups, wine and cheese reception, Monday, April 13, 4:00, CIGI, 57 Erb Street West.

Pharmacy building official opening Friday, April 17, 10 a.m., by invitation. Community open house Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 10 Victoria Street South, all welcome.

Warrior rugby clinic for boys and girls grades 9 to 12, Saturday, April 18, 10:00 to 3:00, Columbia fields, cost $45. Details.

Friends of the Library Lecture by Prem Watsa, chancellor-designate of the university, Monday, April 20, 12:00 noon, Theatre of the Arts.

Fee payment deadline for the spring term: April 27 (cheque, money order or fee arrangements), April 30 (bank transfer). Details.

Spring term classes begin Monday, May 4.

Positions available

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

• Administrative assistant to the associate vice-president, principal gifts and campaigns, USG 7
• Assistant registrar, registrar's office, USG 12
• Loans and equipment storeskeeper, information systems and technology, USG 6
• Communications and alumni officer, Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, USG 8 (14-month secondment or contract)

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