Friday, November 6, 2009

  • Another year for 'best overall' boast
  • Weekend will explore military history
  • Environmental, global, digital and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Magazine cover]Another year for 'best overall' boast

There was relief but maybe not surprise when the “university rankings” issue of Maclean’s magazine appeared yesterday and UW officials learned that Waterloo’s reputation is as good as it ever was.

Maclean's confirmed that the corporate and education leaders it surveyed find UW the “most innovative” university in Canada (now for 18 years in a row) and the “best overall” (for 16 years out of the 18 that the magazine has done this ranking). Waterloo is also listed as the best at producing future leaders (12 years out of 18) and second in the country, behind McGill, for academic quality.

"The University of Waterloo is gratified to find that we are again being recognized in the categories that measure our reputation for innovation and leadership, and how we do overall," said UW president David Johnston. "That the assessment comes from a wide sampling of academic, corporate and other leaders makes it all the more meaningful."

The reputational rankings are always UW’s pride, but the university also ranks high on objective criteria, according to Maclean’s, which placed Waterloo third in Canada — the same as last year — among the 11 “comprehensive” universities it ranked. West-coast institutions, Simon Fraser and Victoria, took the top two places as they did last year.

The 2008 winners also repeated this year in the other two categories of university: McGill among “medical-doctoral” institutions and Mount Allison among “primarily undergraduate” universities.

The rankings are based on a number of categories, and the magazine reports that UW maintained its first-place ranking in two student-related categories — student awards, which measures the national and international awards students have won over a five-year period, and scholarships and bursaries.

Waterloo finished second among comprehensive universities in awards per full-time faculty as well as social sciences and humanities grants. It finished third in medical/science grants to faculty and in total research dollars.

"Our faculty and students are to be commended for their tremendous successes," said Feridun Hamdullahpur, UW’s provost. "These top-place finishes are due to the quality of their efforts, and to the university's uncompromising commitment to excellence and student success."

But UW was closer to the bottom of the group in student-faculty ratio and dead last in operating budget per student, where Maclean’s gave a figure of $8,323 at Waterloo compared to $13,855 at first-place Memorial.

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Weekend will explore military history

a news release from the UW media relations office

Does the Battle of Stoney Creek, the Treaty of Versailles, the Battle of the Rhineland or the battle for Kandahar have much to do with the people of Niagara Region? Yes, and a symposium coming just before Remembrance Day will review Niagara's rich, if not always appreciated, military past.

The symposium, "Niagara's Military Past and Present", will explore the area's contributions today and tomorrow at the historic Lake Street Armouries in St. Catharines. Now in its third year, the symposium is attracting an impressive lineup of historians and authors to share their insights.

"Thousands of men and women from the Niagara area have served overseas in war and peacekeeping, and still do today. Some, of course, never return," said Geoff Hayes, a military historian at UW and author of a book on the Lincoln and Welland Regiment. "Canadians should find out why their governments send soldiers into danger. We should understand what challenges these people faced and were willing to die for. Only then will Remembrance Day continue to have meaning."

[Lincoln and Welland badge]The symposium begins tonight with a keynote address by Terry Copp, professor emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University and a leading scholar on the Second World War. He will speak on "The Last Great Battle: The Canadians in the Rhineland, February-March 1945".

Saturday, several speakers will explore Niagara's early military roots, including the War of 1812, and events of the early 20th century as well. Two afternoon sessions will feature Hayes on the contributions of local military regiments. The author of The Lincs: A History of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment at War (1986, 2007), Hayes will introduce the fourth generation of the Lincoln and Welland, who fought through the Rhineland in 1945.

The symposium will conclude with a look at contemporary warfare as Lee Windsor, a scholar from the University of New Brunswick and author of Kandahar Tour (2008), will discuss current Canadian deployments in southern Afghanistan. The symposium is jointly sponsored by the Lincoln and Welland Regiment; the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University; and the history departments at UW and Brock University. Members of the public are welcome at all sessions.

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[Inspecting poster on apartment building garbage chutes]

The poster that’s ‘best in innovation’ wins the $2,500 Jack Rosen Memorial Award, so competition is fierce among environment students. This year 22 posters are entered, and are on display (ending today) in the Environment I courtyard. Luna Khirfan of planning and Jonathan Li of geography and environmental management are two of the judges assessing posters for “innovativeness, simplicity of global applications and cost effectiveness”. Rosen, whose name the award bears, was a Waterloo Region entrepreneur who’s credited with inventing blue-box recycling.

Environmental, global, digital and more

Some high-powered people are spending the day at Federation Hall today, as participants in a symposium on “Business Not as Usual” that’s being held to mark the opening of the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development. More than 200 participants have signed up, and will start the day by hearing words from federal industry minister Tony Clement and UW dean of environment Deep Saini. That will be followed by two panel discussions, “Is Green Enough?” and “Local Versus Global?”, with speakers from such organizations as Noranda, RBC Royal Bank, IBM Canada and Export Development Canada, as well as UW people (Steven Young, interim director of SEED, and Thomas Homer-Dixon of the Balsillie School). The after-lunch speaker is Stuart Smith, psychiatrist and former politician, talking on “Environmental Challenges, Canada’s Economy and Opportunities for SEED”. The day ends with a reception.

Elsewhere today, two events are billed as involving a “digital media announcement”, and in both cases the key figure is John Milloy, Ontario’s minister of research and innovation and of training, colleges and universities, and incidentally the MPP for Kitchener Centre. Milloy’s first announcement is at a 1 p.m. event for Communitech, the association of local high-tech businesses, held at The Tannery in downtown Kitchener. The second comes at 3 p.m. at City Hall in Stratford. What the two have in common is the Canadian Digital Media Network, which links Communitech with UW’s soon-to-be-opening Stratford Institute.

As reported in the Daily Bulletin back in August, a share of the fund that formerly went to the now-ended Staff Recognition Fund is being budgeted for a different kind of recognition. The stars in this case are (non-union) staff members reaching their anniversaries in UW’s employ: 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 30th, 35th, even 40th in a few cases. And yes, 25th is missing from that list quite deliberately; staff (and faculty) who reach 25 years at UW become members of the 25-Year Club, which holds a posh reception and ceremony each spring. The first annual Staff Recognition Reception is to be held next Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m. in South Campus Hall. It’s an invitation-only event, and invitations have gone to, at last count, 271 staff members who are reaching those round-number anniversaries during 2009. A list of the staff to be honoured is posted on the human resources department’s web site, and Meghan Dawe of HR says that she’d like to hear from anyone who perhaps should be on the list but has been missed. She’s at ext. 38968, e-mail mdawe@

A slightly changed version of UW’s Policy 36, “Dispute Resolution for University Support Staff”, was issued last week after approval by the president of the university. The change has to do with the “support person” who can accompany someone who is filing a grievance, and also the manager who responds to the grievance, at every stage of the process that’s set out. “The role of the support person,” the policy now says, “will be dependent on the needs of the party, and may include providing emotional support, speaking on behalf of the party, and helping the party navigate the process.” Previously, while it gave that description for the support person accompanying the grievor, it set things out more narrowly for the manager’s support person, who was to serve “in an advisory capacity only” on issues such as human resources administration or finance.

Registration opened yesterday for this year’s WatITis conference, a one-day event for information technology staff from across campus that’s scheduled to take place on December 8. • As in past years, the dean of arts office is collecting Canadian Tire money “to purchase Christmas toys for underprivileged children” and welcomes contributions from anybody who stops by the office in the new wing of the PAS building. • This morning’s professional development seminar in the information systems and technology department is a presentation by consultants Glenn Anderson, Donald Duff-McCracken and Dani Roloson on “What’s New in the Macintosh World”.

Applications for rooms in UW residences during the 2010 spring term opened yesterday. “Students have a choice of suite-style residence,” says Ryan King, marketing coordinator for the housing and residences department, citing Mackenzie King Village (“air-conditioned for those hot summer days”), UW Place, or Columbia Lake Village South. “Or,” he says, “choose the convenience of a traditional-style residence in Village 1. Residence is a great way for students to stay close to class and experience residence life support. All applications are available from” King notes that the department is also still accepting applications the winter term: “Some spaces are still available and students are encouraged to apply. Students can enjoy the convenience of residence without the hassle and worries of dealing with sublets or landlords.”


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Open house tomorrow for future students

Close to 4,000 visitors are expected tomorrow at UW’s fall open house — mostly on the main campus, with some at the school of architecture in Cambridge. The event is held as students are making up their minds about which universities best suit their needs for admission in September 2010. "Visiting the campus is the best way for people to see for themselves what Waterloo has to offer," says Kim McKee, manager of the visitors centre. The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with tours starting from the Student Life Centre. Information booths there will be open all day long. More detailed academic presentations will be offered by the six faculties in buildings around campus, and parents can stop by the parents' corner in the SLC for tips on how to help with the process of applying to universities.

Link of the day

Royal Winter Fair

When and where

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

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, November 6.

Large Area Electronics: Mini-colloquium sponsored by IEEE, presentations by researchers followed by tour of the Giga-to-Nano Lab, Engineering III, all day. Details.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Carin Holroyd, political science, “Why Asia Matters” 1:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 208.

Student referendum debate on “student space” issues, 2 to 4 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall. Polling period for referendum on proposed student services building, Health Services expansion, and Radio Waterloo funding, opens Monday 4 p.m., closes Wednesday 4 p.m. Details.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Warrior sports this weekend: Volleyball vs. RMC tonight, vs. Queen’s Saturday, both days men’s game 6:00, women 8:00, PAC. • Women’s hockey vs. UOIT Saturday 2:00, vs. Toronto Sunday 2:00, Icefield. • Men’s basketball, exhibition vs. alumni, Sunday 8:00, PAC. • Basketball (men’s and women’s games) at Ryerson tonight, at Toronto Saturday. • Men’s hockey at Western tonight, at York Saturday. • Badminton at Ryerson, Saturday.

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

Symposium on Chemical Physics (25th annual regional symposium), Friday-Sunday, CEIT room 1015. Details.

Photovoltaic Research Centre heat and hot water shut down Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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.

East Asian Festival 15th anniversary gala celebration, entertainment sponsored by consulates of Japan, China, and Korea, Saturday 6:30, Renison UC great hall. Tickets $50, call ext. 28657.

Career workshop: “Academic Interview Skills” Monday 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Library information session about Scopus, the largest research and citation database and how to use it in research, Monday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 428. Pizza event with information about Scopus, Monday 5:30, Davis Centre library room 1568.

All-party forum on international development and foreign policy, sponsored by Engineers Without Borders and other groups, Monday 5:00 to 7:00, Student Life Centre great hall; speakers include Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid (Conservative), former MP Andrew Telegdi (Liberal), Cathy MacLellan (Green), Peter Thurley (NDP).

Engineering Shadow Days for grade 11 and 12 students to experience engineering first-hand, Tuesday and Wednesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Details.

‘Research in Germany’ information session for graduates and researchers, Tuesday 2:00, CEIT room 3142, followed by reception and networking at University Club 5:30. RSVP by Friday, e-mail daadca@

Information session for alumni with children approaching post-secondary education, guests and the younger generation also welcome, Tuesday 4:30 to 8:00, Mississauga Living Arts Centre. Details.

Remembrance Day service, prayers for peace from a variety of faiths, Wednesday 10:45 a.m., two minutes’ silence at 11:00, Student Life Centre great hall, organized by Chaplains’ Association.

Senate finance committee Wednesday 1:30, Needles Hall room 3004. Agenda.

Alumni reception in Barbados: Networking 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, Christchurch. Details.

Muriel Vogel-Sprott, retired from department of psychology (died September 27), memorial gathering Thursday 3:30 to 5:30, University Club.

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