Monday, February 9, 2009

  • Students vote for Fed leadership
  • Now, I am what WatIAM says I am
  • And a roundup of Monday notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Students vote for Fed leadership

Voting will open tomorrow morning as undergraduate students elect their 2009-10 leaders. Electronic polls will be open from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 7 p.m. Thursday, the Federation of Students says.

The headline positions being filled (for one-year terms that begin May 1) are the four spots on the Federation's executive. Here are the candidates, with links to their web sites:


VP (Education)

VP (Internal)

VP (Admin and Finance)


Mubarak Sadoon

Alicia Mah

Ross Ricupero (withdrawn)

Team Green

Sam Andrey

Justin Williams

Sarah Cook

Chris Neal (acclaimed)


Brandon Mulholland

Valerie Orr


Allan Babor

Kia Buchanan


In addition, voters will fill four seats on students' council, the Federation's policy-making body (a further six seats have been filled by acclamation, and several remain vacant) as well as four of the eight undergraduate seats on the university senate.

Friday's issue of Imprint had extensive coverage of the election, including interviews with most of the candidates, and a long and intense account (written by Travis Myers) of a group interview to which all the presidential candidates were invited.

John Andersen, a former Federation president and now working as professional staff for the Feds, is chief electoral officer for this year's campaign, and says the results will be announced at noon on Friday in the Student Life Centre.

Before that happens, but after the polls close, a big party is scheduled in the SLC's Bombshelter pub. Steve Krysak of "100.3 SoundFM", formerly known as CKMS, reports that "Starting from 7 p.m. we will be broadcasting live, online and on the air, from the SLC Great Hall, with our Thursday night hip-hop line up entertaining the crowds. DJs will also be playing inside the Bomber. At 10 p.m. the first band, Knock Knock Ginger is hitting the stage and you can listen to them live on air or at Around 11 we're interviewing Feds candidates to get their thoughts on how the whole campaign went. At 11:30 our headliners, Ruby Coast, hit the stage." Tickets are $6 in advance or $8 at the door.

With undergraduate elections winding up this week, attention will turn to the graduate student level of representation. This announcement comes from David Pritchard, vice-president (communications and organization) of the Graduate Student Association:

"Nominations are now open for the following Graduate Student Association (GSA) and Graduate Studies Endowment Fund (GSEF) positions: GSA President; GSA Vice President, Operations & Finance; GSA Vice President, Student Affairs; GSA Vice President, Communications & Organization; GSEF Coordinator. The term of office is May 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010. Nominees must be graduate students at the University of Waterloo. Nominations must be submitted by Wednesday, February 25, 2008, at 4:30 p.m. Descriptions of the positions, application procedures, and more information are available online."

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Now, I am what WatIAM says I am

Say farewell to UWdir, the function that’s been keeping track of people’s names on UW computer systems since 1991, and prepare to welcome WatIAM, a more elaborate “identity and access management system” that might even ask you questions about your pets.

Some UWdir functions will be out of operation February 20-22, and WatIAM should be online on February 23 as students return from reading week, says Connie van Oostveen of the information systems and technology department.

Some things will look pretty much the same to users, she says, such as the ability to look up the e-mail address or correctly spelled name of a staff member, faculty member or student. Other aspects of the public interface are changing, and computer system administrators have already been offered training about the behind-the-scenes changes that will affect them.

“Identity and access management is a critical function at the University of Waterloo,” says van Oostveen in a backgrounder about the project. “The function has grown from a basic telephone directory into management of identities, user account management, self-service, public directory, user authentication, auditing and reporting. Today, the core of these business functions is supported by the UWdir system and managed by IST.

“In late 2006, IST began the investigation of replacing UWdir. When we decided to go ahead with this implementation, we wanted to leverage what was already implemented in UWdir for the initial go-live and understand what other purchased systems had to offer. We decided mid-2007 to purchase and implement Sun Microsystem’s Identity Management Software. The WatIAM project and implementation is a manifestation of UWdir with newer technology and a broader base of support.

“IST is working with many people across campus and with Sun to configure and customize Sun’s product and deliver many services, including account (userid) generation, password management tools, and a search tool for finding people at UW. These functions are delivered through the WatIAM White Pages (or the UWaterloo campus directory), a user interface and an administrator interface.”

“For users, the most notable feature change for password management is authentication questions. Users who answer three or more authentication questions can use those answers to login into WatIAM and reset a forgotten password. Those answers do need to be guarded like passwords and not shared with anyone. Users are strongly encouraged to sign on to the new system on February 23 with their existing Quest/ ADS/ myHRinfo password and set their authentication questions.” That’s where the pets come in: typical authentication questions include “who was your first pet?” and “what street did you grow up on?” However, IST isn’t using the question that’s an old standby for electronic banking: “What was your mother’s maiden name?”

“One big difference from a user perspective,” van Oostveen emphasizes, “is that he or she can reset a forgotten password without involving IT specialists.”

(This was about the point at which I said “whoa!” and asked for some clarification about terminology. The codes with which people sign onto Quest or ACE, myHRinfo or many other systems across campus — what are they supposed to be called? The best answer seems to be that in addition to what could be many different e-mail addresses, each individual has a “WatIAM userid” and an “ADS password”. ADS is the Active Directory Service, and it’s there, not in UWdir or WatIAM itself, that people’s chosen passwords are stored. WatIAM can be used to “change and manage” the ADS password, van Oostveen notes.)

More about what’s happening: “There are many notable feature changes for administrators, including the ability to easily find a user’s account and examine source data. WatIAM userids for employees will be created or updated from the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) almost immediately after their relevant information is entered into HRMS.”

The new system will let each user set a preferred e-mail address, whether it’s on a UW computer system or somewhere else such as hotmail or gmail. But in a difference from what UWdir provides, WatIAM will show only the main “” address for an individual, and hide the forwarding address as a way of making things harder for spammers. Forwarding of e-mail that comes to the “” address will continue without interruption.

“There are many other features within the Identity Manager software and within other applications in the suite of software which we plan to take advantage of in the coming months and years,” says van Oostveen. Among them: “federation”, a way of linking accesses to multiple systems or databases so an individual wouldn’t have to keep entering the same userid and password. Conversely, there could be arrangements with other universities that would allow Waterloo users access to wireless networks on their campuses, and vice versa.

Also planned will be the expansion of WatIAM to help with management of alumni and employer databases maintained by UW departments (with safeguards to keep the information from being made public).

More detail and technical information are online, including a link to a presentation that van Oostveen gave to a standing-room-only crowd in the IST seminar room one morning in late January.

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And a roundup of Monday notes

This weekend wasn't all that frigid, but the winter so far has been, well, wintry. Last month was "the coldest January in 15 years, with lots of snow but no rain," says Frank Seglenieks, who coordinates the UW weather station and has been called on to speak to media a good many times recently as conditions make headlines. "The first part of January wasn't actually that cold," he says, "but one deep freeze between the 14th and 16th and another smaller one between the 24th and 26th put the overall temperature almost 4 degrees below average for the month. For the entire month we had a grand total of just over 3 hours where the temperature was above zero. The low of minus-28.8 Celsius on the 15th was the lowest temperature we have seen at the UW weather station since January 28, 2005 when it was minus-30.5 C. The snow total of 62.5 cm was above the average of 43.5 cm; however, the reason we were low on the total precipitation is that we didn't have any rain where we would usually expect about 28 mm. The total snowfall for the snowfall season (going back to the fall) is 202 cm. This puts us about 85 cm above where we were at this time last year and only 55.5 cm from the record total snowfall from last season."

Nominations for the Distinguished Teacher award for this year closed at the end of last week, but there's still a last-minute opportunity to nominate eligible people, such as graduate teaching assistants, for the 2009 Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student. • This Friday is the official deadline day for applications to study architecture or accounting and financial management at UW this fall term. • The weekly professional development seminar in information systems and technology on Friday morning dealt with the "CECS information system update" project, which is working towards replacing JobMine.

Murray Moo-Young is retired from UW's department of chemical engineering but still active in his research — and so prominent in the field that he's been named, by megapublisher Elsevier, to be editor-in-chief of a new edition of the multivolume work Comprehensive Biotechnology. It's going to be a "monumental two-year project", says Moo-Young, who also edited the first edition in 1985. He cites an Elsevier publicity release: "This second edition will provide unique coverage of the multidisciplinary field. It will offer ‘one-stop-shopping’ for both neophytes and veterans and ensure integration of the new and old discoveries for students, teachers, researchers, and practitioners in the field. It will be a multi-authored work, written by experts and vetted by a prestigious advisory board and group of volume editors who are biotechnology innovators and educators with international influence. As a modern electronic document, this new edition will also give ready access to additional relevant information via hyperlinks." Six volumes are expected, from "Scientific Fundamentals" to "Environmental Biotechnology and Safety".

Carol Persin, who had been working at St. Jerome's University since 1998 and was administrative assistant for the chaplaincy office, officially retired February 1. • The faculty of arts is looking for two of its its graduating students to speak as valedictorians at the June convocation ceremonies (nomination forms are available at PAS room 2439 and must be submitted by March 26). • The interuniversity curling season is at an end, and two Warriors — Rob Fry as lead on the men's team and Lindsay Collie as lead on the women's team — have been named to the Ontario University Athletics all-stars for this year.


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Link of the day

Tu b'Shvat

When and where

Employer interviews for spring co-op work term continue; rankings open February 27, 1 p.m.

Class enrolment appointments on Quest for spring 2009 courses, February 9-14; open enrolment begins February 16.

Careers in academia: “Writing CVs and Cover Letters” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Senate long-range planning committee 3:00, Needles Hall room 3004.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group workshop for activists on dealing with the media, 5:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 4041.

Amazon “mix and mingle” employer session for co-op and graduating students, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

UW Conservatives meet-and-greet with Elizabeth Witmer, MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo, 7:30 p.m., McGinnis Front Row restaurant.

CBC radio "Ideas" discussion of the Google library, including comments from UW architecture professor Robert Jan van Pelt, 9:05 p.m.

Institute for Computer Research presents Uwe Assmann, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany, “Collaboration-Based Composition of Languages”, Tuesday 11:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Applied Complexity and Innovation seminar: Frances Westley, Social Innovation Generation, on “disruptive” social innovations, Tuesday 12:00 noon, University Club.

Women of Influence Luncheon honouring female scholar-athletes from Ontario universities, Tuesday 12:00 noon, Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Details.

Senate undergraduate council Tuesday 12:00, Needles Hall room 3004.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop on Camtasia screencasting software, Tuesday 3:00, Dana Porter Library room 329. Details.

Career workshop: “Successfully Negotiating Job Offers” Tuesday 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Arts faculty council Tuesday 3:30, PAS building room 2438 (new conference room).

Censorship in children’s literature: “The ‘Bare Naked’ Talk” open discussion with author Kathy Stinson, Tuesday 5:00 p.m., Sweeney Hall, St. Jerome’s University, book signing follows.

Heart Health nutrition seminar sponsored by Healthy Active Promotion Network, with jump rope contest, carbon monoxide test, information on healthy eating, admission $6, Tuesday 5:00 to 7:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 308.

Engineering alumni reception during IEEE conference in San Francisco, Tuesday 5:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott. Details.

Live and Learn Lecture: Aimee Morrison, department of English, “Online Diaries and New Communities”, Waterloo Public Library main branch, Tuesday 7:00 p.m.

Italian movie night hosted by department of drama: Fellini’s “8 1/2”, pay what you can, Tuesday 7:00, Theatre of the Arts.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, workshop, “Project Management”, Wednesday, St. Jacobs.

UW Shop sidewalk sale with deals on UW fashions, Wednesday-Thursday, 9:30 to 4:00, South Campus Hall concourse.

Département d’études françaises présente une lecture-conférence de l’écrivaine québécoise Hélène Dorion, mercredi 10h30, Modern Languages salle 354.

Apple iNteractive: iWork 09 and iLife 09, demonstration at Campus TechShop, Student Life Centre, Wednesday, February 11, 11:00 to 2:00.

Health informatics seminar: Dominic Covvey, Waterloo Institute for HI Research, “Building the eHealth Edifice from the Second Storey Down?” Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 3333.

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn series: Jody Decker, Wilfrid Laurier University, “Introduction to Cultural Heritage Landscapes”, Wednesday 12:00 noon, Environment I room 317.

Climate change seminar: Linda Mortsch, Environment Canada, “Accessing Vulnerability to Flooding: Case Study of London, Ontario,” Wednesday 12:00 noon, Environment I room 221.

Free noon concert: Digital Prowess (piano, percussion, bass clarinet, double bass, drums) Wednesday 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology information session Wednesday 4:00 p.m., 295 Hagey Boulevard.

Graduating students session at St. Jerome’s University, discussion with college alumni about next steps, Thursday 7:00 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Loving to Learn Day sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Friday. (Deadline for “education quotation” contest, Thursday 7 p.m.) Details.

Valentine’s Day meals at the University Club: Friday, luncheon buffet 11:30 to 2:00, $19.50; dinner 5:00 to 8:00, a la carte menu; reservations ext. 33801.

Study in China summer program information meeting Friday 12:00 noon, Renison University College cafeteria (also March 13).

Winter term reading week February 16-20. Family Day holiday Monday, February 16: UW offices and most services will be closed.

K-W Symphony “Bold and Brassy” with Alain Trudel, conductor and trombone, February 26, 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Friday's Daily Bulletin