Thursday, April 2, 2009

  • His co-op job: editing case studies
  • Fund supports students in research jobs
  • Student found; CKMS vote; other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs


This term's concert by the volunteer Orchestra@UWaterloo is scheduled for tonight, under the title "Nicolai, Dmitri, Pyotr and Felix", representing composers Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn. The ensemble is made up of students, alumni, staff, and faculty. Photo by Vic DiCiccio.

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His co-op job: editing case studies

from an article by Adrienne Raw in the Inside Scoop newsletter for co-op students

Co-op couldn’t get any closer to home for civil engineering student Chris Togeretz, who spent his most recent co-op term working on campus with Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering. One of his main roles with WCDE was the development of cases — scenarios, based off real-life situations from work term reports, that engineering students are challenged to solve in the classroom.

[Togeretz]“The goal of this group,” Togeretz (left) says, “is to improve the teaching of design to engineering students using the mechanism of cases. Engineering students don’t see cases very often, which is sort of funny because the definition of engineering is the application of math and science to solve a real-life problem.” WCDE aims to change this situation using cases developed from work reports of UW students.

That’s the first challenge of the job: getting students interested in the program and submitting work reports for conversion into case studies. Once the WCDE team has a suitable work report, the process of converting that work report into a case study takes up to two months. During his four months with WCDE, Togeretz has completed three cases, though he can’t discuss them in detail because they’re still being reviewed to ensure they maintain the confidentiality of the employer’s sensitive material. Once they are approved, these cases will be introduced into the classroom.

Cases can be a lot of fun for students, Togeretz says, because they give students the opportunity to apply their skills hands-on.

The benefits of case studies are not limited to a student’s learning experience. Employers get their names into the students’ attention through case studies. “Hundreds, maybe thousands of engineering students will see this company’s name,” says Togeretz, “see that this company is also interested in students, and also see that this company is solving problems and improving.”

WCDE has drafted cases for companies such as GM, Linamar, and RIM. These three companies are also part of the WCDE’s industrial advisory committee. “They’re helping us make our program better, helping us sell our program to other companies,” says Togeretz. In his experience, employers are generally very interested getting real-life problems into the classroom for students to solve.

This work experience has been unique, he says, even with eight previous work terms. The WCDE group is small, consisting of only four people, and all three of Togeretz’s co-workers are busy with responsibilities in addition to their work with the WCDE. That leaves him with little in the way of constant supervision and the freedom to dictate his own task list.

Togeretz is a senior student and at the phase in his co-op career when, he says, a student has worked in different industries and can choose a job based on the potential for a future career or the new opportunities and challenges that job will bring. On top of preparing cases for use in the classroom, this work term also allowed Togeretz to step into the role of teacher and present one of the cases to a large class full of students.

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Fund supports students in research jobs

Faculty members are being reminded about UW’s Undergraduate Research Internship Program, which provides money from the central budget to cover up to 25 per cent of the salaries of undergraduate students hired to work on research under the supervision of faculty members. The program is open to adjunct professors as well as regular faculty members.

The program, which applies to the hiring of co-op and regular students alike, aims to engage undergraduate students in research with a professor as early as possible in their undergraduate careers.

"The hope is that these students will become the researchers, teachers and innovators of the future," says provost Amit Chakma. An information sheet explains that “in addition to promoting on-campus student employment and creating new jobs, URI exposes students to the world of research, early in their academic careers, ensuring that Waterloo continues to produce the researchers, teachers, innovators and leaders of the future.”

The information sheet quotes one professor who has hired students under the program, Susan Tighe of civil engineering. She calls it “a great experience. The first work term students are very keen to work really hard even though they may lack some of the technical skills. Many first work term students I’ve hired often return for a later work term, and a few of them have stayed on to pursue graduate studies.”

Students hired with the help of URI funding must be in good academic standing, and should occupy positions created beyond those currently in existence. The university provides $1,500 per student hired — or $2,500 if the student is in his or her first work term — and the faculty member is expected to supplement the salary so that the student earns at least $6,000 for four months of employment.

“You can join the discerning UW faculty who have drawn from this talent pool,” says the information sheet. Faculty members interested in hiring undergraduate research interns under the Undergraduate Research Internship Program in the 2009-10 fiscal year should contact the appropriate person below. Successful applicants will be asked to prepare job descriptions, which will be posted immediately.

Contacts for the program are Heidi Mussar of the graduate studies office (ext. 36745) for biology, optometry, physics, actuarial science, statistics, and most fields in the faculty of environment; Judi Silvestri in co-op education and career services (ext. 36062) for other departments.

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Student found; CKMS vote; other notes

Police were on campus yesterday morning carrying out a search for a missing student, who had been last seen on campus Tuesday night. A public appeal said that "Waterloo Regional Police are requesting the assistance of the public in locating a male in order to check on the well-being of a UW student who is missing." News came at about midday yesterday that he had been found, along the riverside Walter Bean Trail on the east side of Kitchener, and was receiving medical care.

Here’s news from “Sound-FM”, known as CKMS in the days when it was a student-funded campus radio station: “On Wednesday, March 11, Radio Waterloo Inc. Board of Directors President Steve Krysak handed over to Federation of Students President Justin Williams a petition signed by 2,645 undergrads asking that a referendum take place to partially re-instate a fee to fund 100.3 Sound-FM, the University of Waterloo affiliated radio station.The petition asks for a $2.50 per term fee to be instated to help fund Sound-FM. This petition drive created a grassroots movement. Just before the final push for signatures, David Partridge of the UW DJ Club came to Sound-FM representing his club, and told us that he wanted to do something to help. And so, here it is: a 24 DJ spin-a-thon in support of our station. We will be broadcasting live from the Student Life Centre courtyard all day and overnight Thursday until Friday morning.” And oh yes: “You can attend this event even in your underwear! We will be broadcasting online!”

Seema Mutti, who recently graduated from UW in Psychology, submitted a research poster to the recent 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, held in Mumbai, India). Her poster, based on her undergraduate research, was one of 22 awarded a Blue Ribbon (best poster) award, among a global pool of more than 540. Her work on “Cost Benefit Analysis of Prepaid Monetary Incentives in a Telephone Based Survey: An Analysis of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey” was supervised by faculty member Geoffrey Fong and PhD student Ryan Kennedy, who reports that “it's really generated some interest in the national surveying community in Canada.” Mutti is now working at the Ontario Tobacco Control Research Unit at the University of Toronto.

News from north of Columbia Street, as reported to UW's senate the other day: "The Accelerator Centre has been named the winner of the International Good Practices Award 2008 by the Technopolicy Network. Based in the Netherlands, the Technopolicy Network is an independent research organization that studies the performance of major incubators from around the world. In addition to winning this award, the Accelerator Centre also placed 7th in the world in the Best Science Based Incubator category which considers key metrics such as return on public investment, fastest growth, and sustainability."

The School of Accounting and Finance says it’s expecting more than 3,000 students and parents this Saturday for the writing of the Accounting and Financial Management Admissions Assignment — an important step in the AFM admissions process for fall 2009 entry. The AFMAA is a two hour essay-style assignment, intended to test a student’s ability to provide and support an opinion, experience and skills as a leader and team player, and ability to organize and present thoughts in a concise, organized, and meaningful way. “The AFMAA assists the SAF,” a news release says, “in selecting strong, well-rounded students who have the potential to excel academically and hone their skills and attributes to prepare for a successful career in accounting or financial management. In addition to the writing of the test at UW, the School will be holding a variety of events and activities for parents and prospective students to provide them with information about the advantages of studying Accounting and Financial Management at UW. Parent sessions are scheduled to be presented throughout the day, along with mini campus tours and an academic/student life fair. AFM representatives, students and staff will also be on hand during the day to answer questions from applicants and parents.” Last year, the test drew approximately 1,700 student writers and resulted in approximately 500 offers of admission.

Today is the last day of operation until September for ArtWorx, the retail services outpost in the fine arts department in East Campus Hall. • Kay Singh, who has been a member of UW's plant operations custodial staff since September 1987, officially retired April 1. • The 5th Polyhedra and Combinatorial Optimization Workshop, to be held April 7-9 at Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, will also serve as a 75th birthday celebration for mathematician Jack Edmonds, retired from UW's department of combinatorics and optimization.


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Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert, in the Humanities Theatre, are free and can be reserved at the box office, 519-888-4908.

Link of the day


When and where

Hallman Lecture: Linda Duxbury, Carleton University, “Work-Life Balance, Rhetoric vs. Reality”, 4:30, Hallman Institute room 1621. Details.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group annual general meeting 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.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Alison Hitchens and Charles Woods, “Introducing Primo, the Library’s New Discovery Tool” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

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.

John Sitler, UW library staff member, died March 15, memorial service Saturday 12:00, Henry Walser Funeral Home, 507 Frederick Street, Kitchener.

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.

Second annual Staff Conference April 6-7, “2 More Full Days Just for You”, keynote speakers, workshops, “Your Passport to Health”. Details.

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

Social work seminar: Frank Wagner, University of Toronto, “Ethics, Schmethics, What’s the Buzz?” Monday 4:30 p.m., Renison UC chapel lounge.

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.

Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing competitions: Euclid Contest for grade 12 students, Tuesday, April 7; Fryer (grade 9), Galois (grade 10) and Hypatia (grade 11) contests, Wednesday, April 8. Details.

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.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel UC, full day workshop, “Transition with All Family Members”, April 8, St. Jacobs. Details.

Easter luncheon buffet at University Club April 8 and 9, 11:30 to 2:00, reservations ext. 33801.

Town hall meeting with the president, provost and vice-president (external relations) for faculty and staff members Wednesday, April 8, 3:00, Humanities Theatre. 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, April 13, 4:00, CIGI, 57 Erb Street West.

Bridging the Gap pre-retirement workshops. Six weekly sessions Tuesday, April 14 through Tuesday, May 19, 7 to 9 p.m., Rockway Centre, 1405 King Street East, Kitchener. $60 plus GST. Details.

UW-ACE instructor user group Thursday, April 16, 1:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Pharmacy building official opening Friday, April 17, 10 a.m., 10 Victoria Street South, Kitchener, by invitation.

Pharmacy building community open house 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, 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, April 20, 12:00 noon, Theatre of the Arts.

UW Retirees Association spring luncheon April 22, 11:30 a.m., Luther Village, speaker Mike Sharratt (department of kinesiology) on “Optimal Aging for Older Adults”, tickets $25, information 519-885-4758.

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