Friday, May 1, 2009

  • Everything new again as May 1 starts year
  • Directors will work with co-op employers
  • Kin prof honoured for omega-3 research
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Everything new again as May 1 starts year

Happy new year! As the campus prepares for the beginning of the spring term, today is the first day of a new year in several ways:

• The 2009-10 fiscal year begins, with departments experiencing a 3 per cent cut from the base budget they had in 2008-09, and everybody making a new start in calculating revenue (from fees, research grants, book sales, you name it) and expenditures.

• For faculty and staff members, annual salary adjustments go into effect today, and will become a reality on the next payday, which is May 8 for those who are paid every two weeks and May 29 for those who are paid monthly. At the same time, increased payroll deductions for pension plan premiums are also going into effect as of today.

• Prem Watsa today begins a three-year term as chancellor of UW, the university's ceremonial head. Chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., he was introduced to the campus as the speaker at the annual Friends of the Library Lecture last week. Watsa takes over as chancellor from Mike Lazaridis, co-CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., who has served two terms in the exalted position.

• Also taking office today are the new executives of the Federation of Students and the Graduate Student Association. For the Feds, elections in February produced Allan Babor as president for 2009-10 along with Chris Neal as vice-president (administration and finance), Sarah Cook as VP (internal), and Justin Williams, who was president for 2008-09, as VP (education). For the GSA, the new executive includes Jonathan Aycan as president, Hassan Nasir as VP (operations and finance), Chanda Prescod-Weinstein as VP (student affairs), and Graeme Turner as VP (communications and organization).

The UW libraries will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; regular spring term hours begin Monday. • The Physical Activities Complex and Columbia Icefield are closed for the weekend. • Sixteen new "Waterloo Quality" features will be available on the UW web site starting today, popping up in rotation on the home page.

And of course the residences will be busy places over the weekend, with students moving in, mostly on Sunday, to be ready for the start of classes on Monday morning. As they arrive, students will be screened to identify any who are feeling symptoms that might be the flu ("respiratory illness with fever and cough . . .") or have recently been in Mexico or in close contact with people who have. Health services nurses will be on hand to check people's body temperature, if necessary. Anybody who's identified as a potential flu risk will be asked to move into temporary "alternative housing" in Columbia Lake Village, where they won't be in a crowded residence environment, for a few days until the state of their health is clear.

A cast of UW drama students will hold a "pay what you can" dress rehearsal tonight, just before taking their show on the road — well, the airways. They're off to Calabria, Italy, to give two performances of "Differ/End: The Caledonia Project" on Wednesday and Thursday. "As part of the Drama Exchange," writes cast member Karen so, "an Italian play will be performed at UW on May 25," with details to be announced shortly. Meanwhile, tonight's rehearsal performance starts at 7:00 in Humanities room 180. "Differ/End: The Caledonia Project" was developed by UW drama students and first performed on campus in February 2008.

Lastly . . . here’s a reminder of next week’s “learning and teaching” events, starting with the Presidents' Colloquium on Teaching and Learning on Monday afternoon and continuing with two faculty workshops Tuesday. The title of the colloquium “represents one of those common student questions that often make faculty members groan when they hear it,” says Donna Ellis of the Centre for Teaching Excellence, which is organizing the events. “It can feel frustrating when you've just shared an interesting nuance about a subject area or showed an alternate way to solve a problem and the response you get back is: ‘...but will that be on the test?’ Gary Poole will ask us to consider how our actions as teachers can contribute to this type of student attitude and how we can send different messages to our students. Dr. Poole is a provocative speaker who brings years of theoretical knowledge yet practical experience to his work. I'm really looking forward to learning from him, and I encourage all who can attend these events to do so.” Monday’s colloquium starts at 2:00 in the Humanities Theatre.

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Directors will work with co-op employers

Two high-level administrators officially start work today in the co-op education and career services department, in posts created as a key part of the department’s reorganization.

Says a memo from CECS executive director Peggy Jarvie: “I am delighted to announce the appointments of Cathy Lac-Brisley and Ross Johnston as Directors, Employment Relations, effective May 1.” Lac-Brisley will serve as director for “integrated and international accounts” while Johnston is responsible for “core accounts”.

Adding the two directors will give CECS “one additional head count”, Jarvie said earlier, since the department is losing senior staff member Keith Kenning to retirement this spring. His unit, currently titled “field services”, is being reorganized into the two “employment relations” units. Field services is responsible for finding new co-op jobs, maintaining relationships with employers, and keeping in touch with students while they’re on co-op work terms.

CECS also has a director of student and faculty relations, Rocco Fondacaro, and a director of career services, Kerry Mahoney.

Another new senior position will be hired later, Jarvie said: a director for the “operations” branch, which manages such day-to-day functions as interview scheduling and job posting. It’s currently headed by acting assistant director Fatima Mitchell.

The reorganization is part of a continuing process of “renewal” in the co-op program, says Jarvie, who oversees some 15,000 student work terms a year, involving thousands of employers and more than 100 academic programs from engineering to arts.

A key part of what’s being done now, she said, is “the concept of integrated relationship management for selected employers. This approach will target larger employers who hire from UW consistently and who have centralized recruiting functions with whom we can partner. Many of these employers will also have other relationships with UW, like research, scholarship donations, or faculty partnerships.”

Specialized staff within the “integrated accounts” unit might be able to concentrate on key sectors in industry and the economy, in much the same way that faculty relations staff members get to know UW’s academic units and programs in depth.

Meanwhile, “Our core employers, who in total hire the majority of our students, will continue to benefit from the organization we’ve established over the past years.” It’s important, she said, to emphasize that there will be “no preferential access to students” for employers in the “integrated” category.

The memo notes that Lac-Brisley “started her career in Human Resources with Ouest-France, the largest daily newspaper in France. As head of Human Resources for a start-up venture in the document management industry in Paris, she structured the department and launched a variety of HR programs to support the rapid growth of the organization. Subsequent to the merger with a competitor, she became Marketing Manager of the new firm, helping position the company as a leader in its market. At the University of Western Ontario, she developed a new communications strategy to promote employment equity and diversity in the workplace and managed marketing activities for the Executive Development program at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

“Cathy’s education includes an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Bordeaux, a Master's in Human Resources from ESSEC and an MBA from HEC Paris.”

As for Johnston, “He has extensive leadership experience during which he has successfully led large, diverse teams both nationally and internationally. His most recent roles include Senior Director, Resourcing Operations for CIBC and Director of Attraction & Retention for MTS Allstream. Ross also brings with him experience from having set up his own talent management and career consulting Company together with leadership experience gained overseas in retail banking, financial sales, real estate and training & development. Ross holds an Executive MBA from Bradford School of Management in the UK where his dissertation was completed on Organizational Cultural Change Management.”

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[Stark]Kin prof honoured for omega-3 research

A Waterloo nutritional scientist who pioneered a new technique to test omega-3 levels in the body will receive a major award from a leading international research society. Ken Stark (right), a professor in UW's kinesiology department, has been awarded this year's young scientist award from the American Oil Chemists' Society. It recognizes his research contributions to increase the intakes of omega-3 fatty acids among North Americans.

"During the past few years, Dr. Stark has become a leader in developing the tools and insights in experimental nutrition and food science research, and this award confirms his growing reputation," said Roger Mannell, dean of applied health sciences. "Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and seafood, have been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases. The methods Dr. Stark's team has developed increase the potential for routine clinical profiling of fatty acids."

Stark, a former AOCS-honoured student, will receive the award at the society's annual meeting and exposition to be held in Orlando on Wednesday. He will give an address, entitled Omega-3 Fatty Acid Profiling and Dietary Forensics.

Stark, who heads UW's laboratory for nutritional and nutraceutical research, now is developing new biomedical tools that will help quantitate and interpret diet-induced diseases. His recent research has provided practical insights on North American intakes of omega-3 fatty acids and strategies to increase these intakes.

His research team seeks to use fatty acid profiling to assess disease risk in large clinical trials. This will lead to a routine measurement of omega-3 fatty acid levels in blood to determine cardiovascular disease risk. The work will help revolutionize primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and many other diet-induced disorders.

Stark has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles since 2000, serving as primary investigator on 17 of those articles. He has been often invited to speak to scientific and general audiences, as well as give interviews on television and radio. In 2006, he received the young investigator grant from the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids Congress. The AOCS is a global scientific society for individuals and corporations interested in the fats, oils, surfactants, detergents and related materials fields.


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[Handwashing sticker]

Public health reminder . . . here’s the basic list, from the UW Pandemic Steering Committee, of things people should do to minimize the risk of H1N1 “swine flu” and other respiratory diseases:

• Wash your hands.
• Cough into your sleeve.
• Stay home if you have a fever and other symptoms such as muscle aches, headache, cough, fatigue and weakness.
• Call your doctor if you have symptoms.

There’s more information on the UW health services web site.

Link of the day

May Day

When and where

Think About Math conference for high school girls continues through Sunday, Math and Computer building. Details.

Philosophy Graduate Student Association annual conference, final day, Humanities room 373. Keynote: Sanford Goldberg, Northwestern University, “Socializing Reliability”, 4:30 p.m. Details.

Rhythm Dance Festival Friday-Saturday, Humanities Theatre.

Carol Vogt, retired from information systems and technology, funeral service 11 a.m., David MacLeod Funeral Home, 617 King Street North.

Convergences 2009: café-rencontre des étudiants de 2e et 3e cycles, département d’études françaises, 11h30 à 16h00, Humanities salle 334.

Penderecki String Quartet and Dancetheatre David Earle concert 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, as part of the Open Ears Festival, tickets $28 (students $22).

Community Garden Fest Saturday 10:00 to 3:00, Unity Centre, 2631 Kingsway Drive, Kitchener: workshops, children’s activities, speaker Jim Diers, “Building Community in the Garden”. Details.

New student orientation: campus tours Monday 10:30 and 1:30, Tuesday 3:00 and 5:00, leaving from Student Life Centre great hall. Services fair Tuesday 4:00 to 6:00, SLC lower atrium. Undergraduate and graduate students welcome. Details.

Graduate House welcome-back wine and cheese party for graduate students, Tuesday 6:00 to 8:00.

A Research Conference on Teaching and Learning, sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Wednesday. Details.

Library books due: books borrowed on term loan before the beginning of April are due May 6; renewals online.

David Johnston Run for Health (fourth annual) around the ring road, walk or run, Wednesday 4:15 p.m., starts at Needles Hall, participation free, register ext. 84830.

Recreation and Leisure Studies 40th anniversary leisure studies research forum, Thursday 8:45 to 4:30, Lyle Hallman Institute. Details.

International student orientation for new students from outside Canada, organized by Waterloo International, Thursday 12:30 to 4:00, Needles Hall room 1116. Details.

Teaching Excellence celebration: wine and cheese reception to celebrate award winners and others involved in teaching and learning improvement, by invitation, Thursday 3:30, University Club, information ex. 33857.

Architecture alumni reception at Ontario Association of Architects annual conference, Thursday 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto. Details.

Formula SAE race car unveiling and open house, Thursday 5:30 to 6:30, Student Life Centre. Details.

Canadian Forum on Theology and Education meets at St. Jerome’s University May 7-9; details. Keynote speaker: Rev. Diarmuid O’Murchu, “Evolutionary Faith”, Thursday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, all welcome.

UW Blooms annual exchange of seeds, seedlings and garden supplies, May 11, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre.

Herschel Space Observatory launch event with live video and remarks about UW’s involvement, May 14, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Humanities Theatre.

‘The Wedding Singer’ produced by K-W Musical Productions, May 14-16, 20-23 at 8 p.m., May 23 at 2 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $29 at Humanities box office.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 18: UW offices and most services closed, and classes cancelled.

One click away

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Ontario might urge universities to pool pension funds
National Graduates Survey, 2007 (Stats Canada)
The Economist reports on UW's levitating robot
'Not all research deserves public funding' (Globe)
UW's CS Club complains about 'artificial' viral content
'The longer I've been here, the more bitter I have become' (Imprint)
Steelworkers' campaign to unionize staff at Queen's
Obama seeks to get student loans out of banks' hands
'Planet Harper baffles top scientists' (Goar, Star)

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