Wednesday, November 4, 2009

  • Official opening for Emirates campus
  • Search to begin for next president
  • Watch your laptop, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Courtyard under a hot blue sky]
Official opening for Emirates campus

Ceremonies today in Dubai will mark the official opening of UW’s United Arab Emirates campus, where two dozen students began classes in chemical and civil engineering in September and mathematics programs are to be added next year.

Presiding at the ceremony are Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the UAE minister of higher education and scientific research, and UW president David Johnston, who is visiting the UAE along with other UW officials and staff members this week.

The campus is housed at the Dubai Men’s College (pictured above) and was established as a partnership between Waterloo and the UAE’s Higher Colleges of Technology. Students will spend two years in engineering (or, soon, math) programs in Dubai and then come to the home campus in Waterloo to complete their degrees.

Waterloo professors will teach the Waterloo curriculum in Dubai, and a basic principle of the UAE campus, 11,000 kilometres from Waterloo, is that it will provide the same program content and quality of instruction as is offered in Canada. Programs will be offered under the familiar co-op model that has students alternating four-month work and academic terms.

"The University of Waterloo looks forward to building a high-quality presence with high-quality partners in the important Gulf region," says Leo Rothenburg, UW’s associate vice-president (international), in a news release that’s being issued for today’s opening ceremonies. "We are pleased to be working with the Higher Colleges of Technology as well as the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training in the United Arab Emirates. I would like to also thank His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan for his role in this exciting partnership."

UW's Sixth Decade plan calls for significant internationalization to ensure that UW graduates are global citizens — a goal that implies sending more students abroad, bringing more international students to campus and expanding UW's presence around the world. The plan specifically calls for the opening of two international campuses, one in the UAE and one in Nanjing, China.

Peter Douglas of the chemical engineering department, a former associate dean of engineering, is director of the UAE campus. “Professor Douglas’s rich knowledge of the University of Waterloo and his extensive experience and connections across campus will serve him well as he leads our efforts in Dubai during this very important year,” says Rothenburg. “Stationed in Dubai, Professor Douglas will also bring a great deal of previous international experience to this position.”

Douglas says he expects the enrolment in Dubai to grow from 22 this year to about 140 next year and 500 by September 2012. In addition the faculty complement will grow from 3 this year to 9 next year and 12 by September 2012. (Currently in Dubai along with Douglas are David Brush of civil engineering, Ilham Akhundov of statistics and actuarial science, and Ioannis Chatzis of chemical engineering, each teaching two courses.)

“We will be a real going concern in the region in a couple of years,” Douglas promises.

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Search to begin for next president

The machinery is being set in motion to find UW’s next president, as David Johnston’s term in office is scheduled to expire June 30, 2011.

Waterloo presidents are chosen through committee work and largely in private, under a procedure that’s almost unchanged since it was created in 1973, based on the experience of choosing the second president, Burt Matthews, three years earlier. The procedure, set out in UW Policy 50, has since been used in the reappointment of Matthews; the appointment and later reappointment of Douglas Wright; the appointment of James Downey; and Johnston’s appointment in 1997 and reappointment in 2003 and 2008.

Central to the process is a 19-member nominating committee that includes representatives of faculty, students, staff, alumni, the colleges, and the board of governors. In the past the committee has been chaired each time by the university’s chancellor, but as a result of a change made to the rules two years ago, it will be headed by the chair of the board of governors. That position is held right now by Bob Harding, the Toronto-based chairman of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (formerly Brascan).

The committee, once it’s formed, asks for advice from the campus about the qualifications a new president should have, then advertises the position nationwide as well as inviting suggestions. Eventually, it recommends a name to the UW senate and board of governors, which make the decision to appoint a president.

UW’s leaders have come from a variety of backgrounds. Founding president Gerry Hagey was a business executive, Matthews a soil scientist, Wright a civil engineer and civil servant, Downey a professor of English and Johnston a law professor. Their styles have also varied, with observers generally classing Hagey, Wright and Johnston as innovators, Matthews and Downey more as consolidators.

Policy 50 declares that “The President should be a person of academic stature with a proven record of leadership and administrative experience. The President has responsibility for administering the affairs of the University, and shall act on behalf of the Board of Governors with respect to the operational management and control of the University. The President is responsible for overseeing and upholding policies and for maintaining the intellectual independence and integrity of the University by exercising academic leadership in both internal and external matters. In particular, the President should foster an environment which promotes excellence in teaching and research.”

Presidents are usually named for six-year terms. Johnston took office June 1, 1999, and served a term of six years and one month, then a four-year term, and finally a two-year renewal that began this past July.

As the first step in the process of finding his successor, the university secretariat is issuing this invitation today: “Nominations are requested for the following seats on the Nominating Committee:

• “A senator of professorial rank from each Faculty, elected by a vote within the Faculty. The names of faculty senators are printed on the nomination form.

• “Two regular faculty members, elected from and by the faculty-at-large of the University.

• “One staff member, elected by and from the regular ongoing staff of the University.

“Nomination forms are available from the Secretariat (ext. 36125) and from the Secretariat webpage. At least three nominators are required in each case. Nominations should be sent to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, Needles Hall 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 18, 2009. Elections will follow if necessary.”

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Watch your laptop, and other notes

“It seems laptop thefts are on the rise yet again,” says Sergeant Chris Goss of the UW police. “We have seen increased thefts over the past few weeks. We are currently at about 15, and a significant number are from unlocked residence rooms. The consistent theme is laptops left unattended in public places or in unlocked residence rooms and the thieves simply then walk off with them.” In short, it’s the same message students have heard before, especially at the end of last winter term, but this time the thieves aren’t even waiting for exam pressure to keep their victims preoccupied. Says Goss: “UW Police would like to remind students to safeguard their laptop and all the valuable information – be careful with your property and lock up. Don’t make it easy for criminals. The thefts remain under investigation.”

UW's health services clinic is still giving a few H1N1 flu shots, says supervisor Ruth Kropf: "We have a small amount of vaccine," she said yesterday afternoon, "and will continue daytime H1N1 immunization, 9:00 to 11:00 and 2:00 to 4:00, for high risk people only, until we deplete the remainder of the vaccine." Once that happens, "all clinics will be on hold," and the evening clinics that were to be held this week for invited groups from "health-related, child care and residential settings" have been cancelled for lack of vaccine. There's no word, one way or the other, about the public clinics that were scheduled to start November 18.

[Patio]The ground-level patio on the west side of the Dana Porter Library “has been transformed from an unruly garden area into a welcoming space for everyone to enjoy,” says a note in the UW library’s e-newsletter. “The new patio space includes new paving stones, tables, chairs, and benches. It seats roughly 30 people and is expected to be a popular outdoor meeting spot during the warmer months.” Some background: “The patio renovation (left) was made possible through the dedication of many library staff who devoted both time and resources to the effort. Library and Plant Operations staff members Ben Colussi and Brian Dietrich removed the overgrown garden to prepare the patio for the installation of new paving stones, tables, chairs, and benches. Staff contributions included a team donation of $5,000 from the Library’s Inventory and Security Implementation Group — an amount awarded to the group through the UW Staff Excellence Awards in the category of "Fostering Innovation, Major Efficiency Improvement or Cost Savings, and Achievement of a Major Project." The Library also received numerous gifts in memory of John Sitler, a long-time staff member. The gifts from John’s colleagues, family, and friends helped to fund this project. A bench has been placed in the patio and a tree planted in his memory.”

It’s a busy week in the department of fine arts, as a series of artist lectures under the title “Hybrid Practices” continues today and tomorrow. Speaking this morning is Janet Morton, whose “diverse body of work,” says faculty member Doug Kirton, “including cozies for buildings and sweaters for sub-Saharan animals in Canadian zoos, playfully examines our troublesome relationship with nature.” Then this afternoon comes Laura Millard, who “combines large format colour photography and paint to record intricate patterns in the natural world. Widely exhibited and collected across Canada, Millard is chair of the painting and drawing department at the Ontario College of Art and Design.” Tomorrow brings a pair of artists, Iain Baxter& (yes, that’s how he prefers to spell his name) of the University of Windsor and Derek Knight of Brock University, for morning and afternoon sessions. “Pioneering conceptual artist Iain Baxter& collaborated with partner Ingrid Baxter as the N.E. Thing Company between 1966 and 1978. Derek Knight curated an important retrospective exhibition entitled N.E. Thing Company: The Ubiquitous Concept at the Oakville Galleries in 1995.”

The Symposium on Chemical Physics will celebrate its 25th anniversary this weekend as scholars from across Canada and around the world gather at Waterloo to present and discuss hot topics in chemical physics. “The Waterloo symposium has long been the place to meet for chemical physicists in Canada,” says Robert Le Roy, chemistry professor and the event’s organizer. “This conference attracts more than 100 individuals every year.” At past symposia, five Nobel Prize winners have spoken, with two winning the prize just weeks before arriving in Waterloo and two others receiving that recognition a couple of years after speaking here. This year’s speakers include Marsha Lester, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Chemical Physics; Jeremy Hutson, professor of chemistry at Britain’s University of Durham; and Giacinto Scoles, a former professor at Waterloo and now teaching at Princeton University and at the International School for Advanced Study in Trieste, Italy. The conference begins Friday evening with paper presentations, followed by a reception. The poster session will be held Saturday afternoon followed by a conference banquet in South Campus Hall. The conference will wrap up with a half-day session on Sunday.

And . . . Waterloo, "best overall" university according to Maclean's magazine since the mind of man runneth not to the contrary, should know tomorrow whether the streak continues. The magazine's 2009 university rankings issue should be on newsstands in the morning, and selected information from its ratings of 48 institutions will be online at 10:00.


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Link of the day

New domains in new scripts

When and where

Brubakers cafeteria, Student Life Centre, grand opening of newly renovated outlet, prizes, cake, 10:30 to 2:30.

Institute for Computer Research presents Steen Brahe, Danske Bank, “Business Process Modeling” 10:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

‘Introduction to RefWorks’ workshop in UW library, today 10:30, November 25 at 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

QPR for Suicide Prevention training session 11:30, Math and Computer room 4068, register at ext. 33528.

Water Environment Association of Ontario webinar, “Membrane 101”, 1:00, Environment II room 2002.

UW Biomedical Discussion Group: speaker Bo Cui, electrical and computer engineering, 2:30, CEIT room 3142. Details.

Margaret Randall, poet, photographer and social activist, lecture, “My Years in Cuba”, 4:30 (note corrected time), MacKirdy Hall, St. Paul’s UC; poetry reading Thursday 4:30, Environment I atrium.

Chef’s Series: “Quick & Easy Meals” 5 p.m. at REVelation, Ron Eydt Village.

‘Are You Thinking about Dentistry?’ career workshop 5:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Columbia Lake Health Club “lifestyle learning” session: “Cardio Training for Weight Loss” 5:30, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Nutrition and health awareness series: “Fibre” presentation Thursday 12:00 at REVelation, Ron Eydt Village; 5:00 at Mudie’s, Village I.

‘Nutrition for the Holidays’ workshop with Ann Avery, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Thursday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions” Thursday 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

HydroCity Lecture: Alan Berger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, speaks on the Project for Reclamation Excellence, in conjunction with a symposium on “hydrology and urbanism” at the University of Toronto, Thursday 6:30, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

St. Paul’s University College presents Paul Polak, “Out of Poverty”, address, reception and book signing, Thursday 7:30 p.m., MacKirdy Hall.

UWSA shopping trip to Grove City, Erie and Buffalo, November 6-8. Details.

Drop (penalty 1) period for fall term courses ends, November 6.

Work reports marked by co-op coordinators available to pick up at Tatham Centre, Friday.

School of Environment, Enterprise and Development forum, “Business Not as Usual”, keynote by federal industry minister Tony Clement, Friday, Federation Hall. Details.

Student referendum debate on “student space” issues, Friday 2 to 4 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

Waterloo Engineering Competition Friday evening, November 6, and all day Saturday, November 7, various campus locations. Details.

Fall open house for prospective students and their families, Saturday 10:00 to 4:00; information booths at Student Life Centre, tours, academic presentations; also at Architecture building. Details.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks: “Countdown to Copenhagen: What’s at Stake? Where Is Canada?” Saturday 3:30 p.m., PAS building room 2083.

Positions available

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

• Lab instructor/ hardware specialist, electrical and computer engineering, USG 8-11
• Mechanic I (plumber), plant operations
• Stationary engineer, third class, plant operations
• Manager, scientific outreach, Institute for Quantum Computing, USG 12
• Department secretary, systems design engineering, USG 4

PhD oral defences

Geography and environmental management. Ming Ming Su, “Preservation and Development at the Great Wall World Heritage Sites, China.” Supervisor, Geoffrey Wall. On display in the faculty of environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Friday, November 13, 2:30 p.m., Environment II room 2021.

Systems design engineering. Abdu Jalil A. Mohamed, “Fault Detection and Identification in Computer Networks: A Soft Computing Approach.” Supervisor, Otman Basir. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, November 17, 10:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 1316.

Computer science. David E. DeHaan, “Equivalence of Queries with Nested Aggregation.” Supervisor, Frank Tompa. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Wednesday, November 18, 9:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 2314.

Earth and environmental sciences. Matthew B. J. Lindsay, “Passive In Situ Treatment of Acidic and Neutral Mine Drainage: Field and Laboratory Investigations.” Supervisors, David W. Blowes and Carol J. Ptacek. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Wednesday, November 18, 2:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

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