Wednesday, June 24, 2009

  • Ready to welcome the Canada Day crowds
  • Faculty association leaders talk of 'trust'
  • Ontario funding for two research projects
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Kids in flag hats]Ready to welcome the Canada Day crowds

UW’s biggest public event of the year will be happening a week from today, as tens of thousands of people converge on the north campus for music, kids’ games, crafts and fireworks in honour of Canada Day.

It’s the 25th year for the UW celebration of Canada’s birthday, largely student-organized — this year under the leadership of two recreation and leisure studies students, Caitlyn Smith (event manager) and Lisa Willan (administrative coordinator). There’s support from the university itself through Nancy Heide of the community relations office.

Willan reports that more than 225 students have signed up already for volunteer roles ranging from security to food service during the big outdoor event, “but we could always use more!” Details about how to sign up are on the Canada Day website.

Organizers expect that more than 60,000 people will help the university celebrate Canada's 142nd birthday on the July 1 holiday, which this year falls on a Wednesday, at the Columbia Lake fields, beside Columbia Street West.

"Waterloo's students will give back to the local community by celebrating Canada's birthday with residents in the region," said Smith. "We really have something for everyone this year. It's wonderful to see the dedication from our student volunteers, who have been working extremely hard to provide a fun-filled day for the community."

The public is invited to attend any or all of the Canada Day events, which begin at 2 p.m. and continue throughout the day, wrapping up at 10 p.m. with the grand finale of fireworks. The celebration features live music throughout the day and evening.

An announcement yesterday highlighted an appearance on the main stage by “the Tyler Schwende Band, whose debut EP Beautiful Catastrophe received critical acclaim for its melodic rock, and eclectic dance-rockers The Guys, who return for a second time”.

R&B singer Rufus will be on stage at 7:15 p.m., The Guys at 8:15 and the Tyler Schwende Band at 9:15. Other evening entertainment highlights include Natalie Edward, pop-rock singer, at 6:15 p.m. and alt-rock band Breaching Vista, with a post-fireworks performance.

Earlier in the day, pop band Hello Bella opens the day's live music entertainment at 2 p.m., followed by The John Doe Project, a soft-rock band, at 3 p.m., acoustic guitarist Mike Clancy at 4 p.m., and Spanish-style guitarist Johannes Linstead at 5 p.m.

A brief ceremony takes place at 6 p.m., complete with a birthday party and free cupcakes for the community.

Canada Day offers a long list of free activities and events planned for the family. Jugglers and an obstacle course are just two of the many activities. An arts and crafts fair will feature a wide selection of hand-made goods and kid-friendly products.

While most of the children's activities wrap up at 8 p.m., the main stage performances and the arts and crafts fair continue until 11 p.m.

Parking is free in all UW lots for the day. Accessible parking is available at the Open Text building, located at the end of Frank Tompa Drive, a north campus road. To enter the north campus, exit Columbia Street West at Hagey Boulevard.

The event is made possible by the support of many local businesses and organizations, including key sponsors BDO Dunwoody, City of Waterloo, Waterloo Region Record and CHYM FM.

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Faculty association leaders talk of 'trust'

Philosophy professor David DeVidi, president of the UW faculty association for the past two years, will finish his term next week, as George Freeman of electrical and computer engineering takes over that post July 1.

DeVidi’s last public outing as FAUW president came at the June 15 meeting of the university senate, when he spoke about faculty workloads (in the context of the debate about Saturday test slots) and also warned of an issue that will be brought up at a senate meeting this fall.

That topic is the prohibition on small undergraduate classes, or at least the prohibition on counting such classes as part of a faculty member’s teaching load, as announced in a memo from provost Amit Chakma this spring. “It seems to me that that’s a senate matter,” said DeVidi, noting the academic implications of the new rule, such as the effect on academic programs that deliberately have large first-year classes so that upper-year students can meet in small seminars.

Senate is the university’s academic governing body, while the board of governors has ultimate responsibility for finances and administrative matters.

DeVidi said faculty association representatives had raised the class size issue at meetings of the Faculty Relations Committee, which consists of five members from the association and five from UW’s senior administration, but hadn’t made progress with it in that forum.

In his final message to the association membership, published in the FAUW Forum newsletter for May, DeVidi talks about the FRC and UW’s success in collegial governance. “It takes people who recognize the difference between arguing and fighting,” he observes, and cites Chakma as an example of that virtue, “unlike many who find themselves in positions of power”.

Noting that Chakma is leaving UW as of June 30, he speaks of the nominating committee that’s searching for his successor: “Let’s hope that the VPAP search committee is able to find someone who sees the importance of keeping those mechanisms in good repair to preserve the much-prized flexibility and nimbleness of UW. But however well intentioned administrators happen to be, it seems to me that it is rank-and-file faculty members who must be the main defenders of the academic quality of UW.”

In the same issue of the Forum, Freeman introduces himself briefly as the former associate chair for undergraduate studies in the E&CE department and current treasurer of FAUW as well as a member of its board of directors and of the FRC. “When the call for nominations for FAUW President came along,” he jokes, “I was not far enough away.”

About the Faculty Relations Committee he observes that “we don’t always see eye-to-eye with the members from the administration side, but there is a certain atmosphere of trust and respect and we have accomplished quite a lot over the past couple of years, without having to resort to association grievances which are costly to both sides.

He adds some praise for his predecessor: “In my opinion, David has been an outstanding FAUW President, being persistent, calm, articulate, and reasonable in pushing faculty interests.”

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Ontario funding for two research projects

The Ontario government last week announced $4.4 million in grants from the Ontario Research Fund to support work on two research projects at UW — one for the development of new health-care monitoring and drug delivery systems and one aimed at creating the next generation of flat-screen displays.

The funding in Waterloo was part of $94 million in grants for “world-class research” that were announced across the province. In Waterloo’s case the announcement came from a pair of local Liberal MPPs, John Milloy (Kitchener Centre) and Leeanna Pendergast (Kitchener-Conestoga).

One of the grants, $2.4 million, goes to a group headed by Amir K. Khandani of the electrical and computer engineering department. His group aims to develop new technologies for health-care applications by combining computers with sensors and other mechanical systems that can monitor, compute and help treat patients.

Khandani holds an NSERC Industrial Research Chair (funded by Nortel and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) in “Advanced Telecommunications Technologies”, and a Canada Research Chair in Wireless Systems.

He was last in the publicity spotlight a year ago with the announcement of another ORF grant, $4.3 million for work on the creation of new multiple antenna systems to improve the power and bandwidth efficiency of wireless systems.

The other grant this week goes to a group headed by Thorsten Hesjedal, also of the E&CE department. He is receiving more than $2 million to create a new type of electronic transistor capable of powering high-quality flat-screen displays in automobile navigation systems and solar energy generation systems, among other applications.

Although Hesjedal has done extensive work in the miniature world of nanoengineering, this project is at the other end of the scale, a summary issued by his lab explains: “By producing large-area, cheap, flexible and millimetre rather than nanometre-size electronics, ‘macro’electronics is beginning to show tremendous promise. It is both pervasive and potentially disruptive, enabling both radically new approaches to issues or making conventional approaches much more effective.

“It will lead to many important outcomes, for example, the way we interact with electronic systems through wearable interfaces, the way we drive our cars or navigate through the city with non-distracting head-up displays, or robust and lightweight energy-harvesting solar mats for outdoor uses. The program links Ontario’s established leaders in the commercialization of technology with some of its most outstanding junior researchers and brings Canada’s unique research infrastructure of the multiuser Giga-to-Nanoelectronics Centre cleanroom facilities at the University of Waterloo to the next level.

“Leading experts at the University of Waterloo in flexible electronics, Hany Aziz (NSERC-DALSA Industrial Research Chair), Andrei Sazonov (director of the Giga-to-Nanoelectronics Centre), Dayan Ban and Linda Nazar (Canada Research Chair in Solid State Materials), will undertake an integrated program of research to transform the technology for fabrication of transparent and flexible large-area electronic devices. By combining state-of-the-art facilities at UW’s Giga-to-Nano laboratory with our strong track record in engineering innovation for commercial applications, this proposal is well-positioned to reach an ambitious goal of establishing transparent thin film transistors (TTFTs) in a broad market.

“The team will synthesize and optimize materials for the low-temperature deposition of TTFTs; develop transparent OLEDs with enhanced stability; develop TTFT-OLED active matrix displays for harsh environments; develop cheap and reliable fabrication techniques for the large-scale and low-cost fabrication of TTFT devices.

“New technology developments will lead to a significant number of patentable inventions and invention disclosures and the fabrication of demonstration devices. The research results will be disseminated through interactions and collaborations with and technology transfer to our industry partners DALSA and IGNIS.”

George Dixon, UW’s vice-president (university research), said about the latest ORF grants: “Drs. Hesjedal and Khandani exemplify the quality of researchers working here at the University of Waterloo. Both have secured well-earned recognition and financial support for impressive research programs underway in two key technological areas — health care and digital media.”


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Extra notes for today

Timothy Paci of the speech communication department has something unusual happening this morning in his “crisis communication” class, SpCom 431: Robert Shipley, of the school of planning, “will be speaking to my class via video link from Europe”.

Engineering students can nominate their teaching assistants for the annual Sandford Fleming Foundation TA Award today through June 29.

Some 50 participants in the Perimeter Institute’s Summer School on Partial Physics, Cosmology and Strings are staying in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre this week.

Link of the day

Fête nationale

When and where

Class enrolment appointments for fall term courses; appointments June 22-27 for continuing students, July 13-26 for new students; open enrolment begins July 27.

Waterloo Engineering Competition, sponsored by Engineering Society and Sandford Fleming Foundation, continues through Saturday. Details.

Department of English presents Peter Crisp, Chinese University of Hong Kong, speaking on the cognitive dimensions of allegory, 9:00 a.m., Dana Porter Library room 329.

‘Getting the Most out of ACE’ workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Health informatics seminar: Jim Shave, Cerner Canada, “Hospital Information Systems: The Promise and Reality”, 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Paul Henderson, information systems and technology, retirement reception 3:30, University Club, RSVP elmartin@

K-W Little Theatre auditions for fall production of “The Beggar’s Opera” last day, 7 to 10 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Details.

Farm market operated by UW food services and volunteers, Thursday 9:00 to 1:00, Environment I courtyard.

Cognitive Science presents Raymond W. Gibbs Jr., University of California at Santa Cruz, “Embodiment in Metaphorical Imagination” Thursday 1:00, PAS building room 1229.

International Spouses visit to Earth Sciences Museum Thursday 1:00, CEIT building, free guided tour, children welcome. Details.

‘Using the Action Editor and Beyond’ workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Thursday 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Lectures in Quantum Information series by Anthony Leggett, “The physics of topological quantum computing: selected topics”, continues June 25 and 30, and July 2, 2 p.m., Research Advancement Centre room 2009. All welcome.

John Starr Hamel, department of electrical and computer engineering, memorial service Thursday 3:00, St. Jerome’s University chapel.

Liz Vinnicombe, office of research, retirement reception Thursday 3:00, University Club, information ext. 33432.

School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture: Paul Van Oorschot, Carleton University, “Learning about Human-Computer Interaction Through Graphical Passwords” Thursday 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Infusion Angels innovation event: “From Concept to Production: Prototyping with Expression Blend 3” Thursday 5:00, Accelerator Centre, 195 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Canada’s Technology Triangle annual meeting Thursday 5:30 (reception), 6:30 (featured speakers and launch of strategic plan), Sportsworld Crossing East Building, Kitchener. Details.

Menlo Park, California: Canadian consulate Canada Day reception, UW alumni participation, Thursday 6:30, Quadrus Conference Centre. Details.

Department of English presents Mary Thomas Crane, Boston College, “Analogy, Metaphor, and the New Science” Thursday 7:00 p.m., St. Jerome’s University room 3014.

Students for Palestinian Rights present Abdel-Rahman Lawendy, medical volunteer during the recent Gaza war, Thursday 7:00, CEIT room 1015.

Drop, penalty 1 period ends (last day to receive a WD grade), June 26.

Work reports from winter term co-op jobs, marked by coordinators, available for pickup at Tatham Centre, June 26.

Workshop on Cognitive Allegory sponsored by department of English, cognitive science, faculty of arts and St. Jerome’s, Friday, Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s University. Details.

‘Motivation and Enthusiasm’ workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Friday 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

QPR for suicide prevention. Open session for all staff and faculty, Friday 11:30 a.m., Math and Computer room 4068, registration phone ext. 33528.

Microteaching session offering practice and feedback for international teaching assistants, Friday 2:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Positions available

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

• Administrative assistant, Spanish and Latin American studies, USG 5
• Administrative coordinator/ assistant to the chair, economics, USG 6
• Supervisor, undergraduate studies records and communications, electrical and computer engineering, USG 6
• Financial aid assistant, office of the registrar, student awards and financial aid, USG 5/6
• Head, circulation services, library, USG 12
• Administrative/ secretarial assistant, university secretariat, USG 5/6, 6-month secondment or contract
• Manager, web communications, communications and public affairs, USG 10, one-year secondment or contract

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