Monday, April 20, 2009

  • Donors noted at pharmacy celebration
  • Senate hears update on online courses
  • Earth Day will bring 'energy showcase'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Donors noted at pharmacy celebration

Government leaders were thanked, and several private and corporate donors were acknowledged for the first time, as UW’s school of pharmacy opened its new building in downtown Kitchener with a ceremony Friday morning.

As a UW news release noted, the UW unit is the first new pharmacy school in Canada in more than two decades — and the only one that lets students gather significant work experience under the co-op system of education.

Ontario health minister David Caplan, universities minister John Milloy, and Kitchener mayor Carl Zehr were among the dignitaries who joined UW officials and supporters for the opening.

"The school of pharmacy, as the anchor to the Downtown Kitchener Health Sciences Campus, demonstrates how effective collaboration among key partners can result in success for our entire community," said Zehr, whose city council contributed $30 million to the project as well as providing the eight-acre site at the corner of Victoria and King Streets.

"I believe that many years from now we will look back on this day and see how pivotal this development has been for our community,” the mayor added. He was speaking to an invited audience in the building’s lobby, a rather different crowd from the families and friends who showed up 24 hours later for the Pharmacy building open house on Saturday.

Jake Thiessen, director of the pharmacy school, says his program “is already proving of interest to the industry. Experts in a range of fields not only guest lecture, but also provided input at the earliest stages of curriculum development and continue to offer insights on new trends.” He adds that the inaugural class of BScPhm students starts its second work term in May “and there were 173 positions available for a class of 90 students!”

The school's new home is a 120,000-square-foot building in downtown Kitchener, with a seven-storey tower rising above a four-storey main section. Designed by Toronto firms Hariri Pontarini Architects and Robbie/Young + Wright Architects, the $53-million building is already a landmark. The exterior is covered in glass panels depicting medicinal plants.

"The herbal theme reflects the fact that some 60 per cent of medicines originated in the natural world," said Thiessen. "The plants tell the story of the building — a story about bringing health and healing to campus and the surrounding community."

A second building now under construction just west of Pharmacy will house a family medicine centre, an eye-care clinic run by UW's school of optometry, and the Waterloo Region campus of McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

In addition to the contribution from the City of Kitchener, the Region of Waterloo has invested $15 million in the new buildings, and $8 million came from Ontario's ministry of training, colleges and universities.

In addition, these donors were acknowledged during Friday’s opening event:

• “The first private donor to step forward, the Hallman Foundation invested $3 million to endow the Director’s position for the School of Pharmacy. This gift ensures that the School will always be able to recruit a top-quality leader, and was instrumental in securing government endorsement for the program.”

• “The family, friends and colleagues of Klaus Woerner, including his widow Anna and Automation Tooling Systems, contributed more than $250,000 to his memorial. These gifts were matched by the Ontario government, and used to create an endowed scholarship.”

• “Frank and Juliana Wong are a local couple with a passion for health care. They have donated $100,000 to create an endowed bursary for Pharmacy students with financial need.”

• “Janet McDougall is a UW alumna and entrepreneur. She contributed $125,000 toward a graduate scholarship and capital needs in honour of her parents.”

• “Pharmasave is a network of independent pharmacies that believes in students. They have committed $140,000 to create an endowed award that will go to the top student team in the third-year business case competition.”

• “AstraZeneca has invested $300,000 toward initiatives in patient adherence. This gift supports both research and capital needs. In recognition, we have named the AstraZeneca Patient Counselling & Assessment Area in the Professional Practice Laboratory.”

• “Rexall was the first pharmacy chain to invest in UW. Their gift of $350,000 supports capital needs. In recognition, we have named the Rexall Patient Care Resource Area in the Professional Practice Laboratory.”

• “Shoppers Drug Mart has supported UW in multiple ways. Their gift of $600,000 has created a limited-term professorship. The Shoppers Drug Mart Professorship in Entrepreneurial Business is held by the faculty member who leads the business skills aspects of the curriculum.”

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Senate hears update on online courses

An annual report on UW’s distance and continuing education activities is among the agenda items for today’s monthly meeting of the UW senate. The meeting will start at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001.

Other agenda items include a proposed Master of Environment and Business professional degree; the expected proposal for a Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts degree; and a progress report on long-range planning in the Faculty of Science.

The distance and continuing education office tells senate, in its written report, that it’s responsible for delivering more than 250 degree credit courses in 45 subject areas, leading to undergraduate degrees in arts (liberal studies, English, philosophy or social development studies) or science, the Master of Public Health degree, and certificates and diplomas in French, social work, child abuse studies, and management studies.

“All courses are delivered online via UW-ACE,” the report says, “with varying levels and types of interaction.

“After dramatic enrolment increases beginning in 2002, enrolments have levelled to a fairly constant 15,000 annually (15,814 in 2007 and 14,554 in 2008). Most of the increase has come from ‘on-campus’ students choosing a combination of online and in-class offerings. Pre-2000, this group represented less than 20% of total enrolments, and now they are reaching 75% of the total. DE enrolments represent about 7% of total undergrad enrolments at UW.

“Approximately 8% of the student body took only DE courses in 2008, while 23% enrolled in a combination of on-campus and DE courses. Approximately 12% of the undergraduate student body are ‘adult’ learners (over 25 years of age).

“In addition to undergrad enrolments, DE supports the development and delivery of the WatPD (co-op) courses. As more programs adopt these courses, enrolments have risen dramatically (2,138 in 2007 and 4,233 in 2008).

“Graduate programs are a new area for DE online development. The Master’s of Public Health has also experienced increased enrolments as new cohorts enter the program (369 in 2007 and 573 in 2008).

“Courses generally fill quickly, often during the pre-enrolment period (not much capacity at the moment to take new adult learners).” The department is “awaiting decisions regarding strategic directions”, the report says.

The distance ed office has a $2.4 million budget to operate these online courses, with 77 per cent of it going to staff salaries and the rest to other costs at its facility on Gage Avenue in Kitchener. That doesn’t include costs for faculty and instructors, which are covered by the budgets of academic departments, not the DE department.

Meanwhile, it takes in about $800,000 a year for non-credit “continuing education” activities — enough to support four staff positions at Gage Avenue, as well as other costs, and turn over some money to UW’s central budget.

Face-to-face continuing ed courses are offered in such areas as business communications, leadership and management, career development, financial management, product management and productivity. There is also a program of online courses in several areas, including project leadership (in partnership with UW’s management sciences department), anticoagulation therapy (UW school of pharmacy), photonics (UW physics and astronomy), optometric bridging (UW school of optometry), and public accounting.

“Classroom/online clients,” says the report, “tend to be employed and looking to increase workplace performance and career opportunities. They are typically 25-45 years old, a slim majority of whom are women. The large majority are sponsored by their organization.”

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Earth Day will bring 'energy showcase'

a release from the UW media relations office

Local area residents will be able to learn about rebates and resources to make their homes more energy efficient at a special community event on Earth Day, this Wednesday.

The Earth Day Energy Showcase, hosted by the UW Faculty of Environment and the Residential Energy Efficiency Project, will highlight energy savings information and services available in Waterloo Region. It presents exhibits and displays by contractors, vendors, funding partners and eco-services at the Rotunda Gallery in Kitchener city hall, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. At noon, a formal program features Deep Saini, the dean of environment, and an expert panel at a question-and-answer session.

"Waterloo Region has one of the highest rates, across Canada, of homeowners taking action to save energy," said Don Eaton, REEP founder and former director of the Elora Centre for Environmental Excellence. An energy consultant and trainer of certified energy advisers, he will outline the principles behind creating a home-energy action plan.

"Waterloo Region demonstrates action through community-based partnerships," said Paul Parker, a UW professor of geography and environmental management and one of the REEP founders. "The economy is being stimulated by homeowner spending. Homeowners save money on their energy bills. The environment benefits from reduced carbon emissions."

When REEP started as a project nearly 10 years ago, only 1,200 home energy evaluations had been completed across Canada. Today, more than 10,000 have been carried out in Waterloo Region alone.

At the event, energy professionals will explain how local residents can apply for local, provincial and federal programs and incentives. These include the new tax credit for home renovations, ecoEnergy grants, Ontario Power Authority incentives accessed through local utilities, Region of Waterloo toilet rebates and the Well Aware program for rural residents. As well, an announcement will be made about renewed funding for Greening Sacred Spaces, an organization which provides support for environmental initiatives in faith communities.

REEP staff will also be available to outline the innovative project's programs and workshops. REEP was started in 1999 by the UW environment faculty and the Elora Centre with a goal of combining academic research and practical action in the community. It has grown from a two-year project providing home energy evaluations into an independent environmental non-profit organization providing tools and services for sustainable resource use. Incorporated as Waterloo Region Green Solutions, but still known to the community as REEP, the organization has now evaluated 10,000 homes in Waterloo Region for energy efficiency and branched out to offer energy audits for faith buildings, solar assessments, and rural well check-ups. As a member of Green Communities Canada, REEP works with environmental organizations across Canada to share resources and develop programs.


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[Gold embossing: Land, Labor & Liquor]

Rare books from the UW library's Seagram Museum Collection, "the world's finest collection on the beverage alcohol industry", are on display this month on the first floor of the Dana Porter Library. Some items date back as far as the 16th century.

Link of the day

Boston Marathon

When and where

Winter term examinations continue through April 24. Unofficial winter term grades appear in Quest beginning April 27. Grades become official May 25.

Staff Appreciation Week lunches at University Club, Monday-Friday 11:30 to 2:00, $18.95 per person, reservations ext. 33801. Monday menu: Vietnamese style sticky pork loin, baked catfish with Creole sauce, vegetable jambalaya.

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

Social work seminar: Sandra Loucks Campbell, Renison University College, “Parallels of Power: Organizations and Their Clients” 4:30, Renison chapel lounge.

Walking yoga free trial session sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Tuesday 12:00 noon, start at CEIT building foyer.

Alumni in London, Ontario: networking event Tuesday 6:00, Aroma Mediterranean Restaurant. Details.

Live and Learn lecture: Marcel O’Gorman, English, “Necromedia”, Tuesday 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Public Library main branch.

UW Retirees Association spring luncheon Wednesday 11:30 a.m., Luther Village, speaker (new) Ron Schlegel, retirement community executive and gerontology researcher, tickets $25, information 519-885-4758.

‘Your American Income Taxes’ new faculty lunch-and-learn session with Ken Klasen and Stan Laiken, school of accounting and finance, for US citizens on the UW faculty, Wednesday 11:45 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004. Details.

Smarter health seminar: Neil Gardner, Saskatchewan Health, “Advancing Health Informatics as a Profession” Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Hallman Lecture: Tess Kay, Loughborough University, England, “Pressure Zone or Pleasure Zone? How Family Life Impacts Work-Life Balance” Wednesday 4:30, Hallman Institute room 1621.

St. Jerome’s University presents “Beyond the Barriers: A Community Forum on Healthcare in a Multicultural City”, Wednesday 7:00 p.m., St. Mary’s Hospital.

Public forum on the Middle East Wednesday 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC great hall.

Used book sale sponsored by local chapter of Canadian Federation of University Women, April 24 (9:00 to 9:00) and 25 (9:00 to 1:00), First United Church, King and William Streets; drop off books at the church April 22 or 23, or call 519-740-5249.

Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry, annual general meeting, Friday 1:00 p.m., University of Guelph Thornbrough building room 1200; seminar, Tong Leung of UW, “Surface Science of Some Nano Stuff”, 3:00; graduate student poster session and awards presentation follow, Peter Clark Hall, U of G.

Bike for AIDS fund-raiser sponsored by World University Services of Canada, Sunday 12:00 to 4:00, Columbia Icefield. Details.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 27-30, Davis Centre. Details. Keynote address: Howard Burton, former executive director of Perimeter Institute, “First Principles: The Crazy Business of Doing Serious Science”, April 28, 1:30 p.m., Davis room 1350, all welcome.

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

UW-ACE system will be down April 28, 6:30 a.m., to April 29, 12:00 noon.

Renison University College book launch for Bold and Courageous Dreams: A History of Renison University College 1959-2009 by Gail Cuthbert Brandt, hosted by UW bookstore, April 28, 4:00, Dana Porter Library first floor, RSVP k4king@

Howard Burton, former executive director of Perimeter Institute, speaks about his forthcoming book, April 28, 7:00 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall, free, sponsored by retail services.

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Friday's Daily Bulletin