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Monday, December 13, 2010

  • New look on some web pages today
  • Notes on optometry, shrimp and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Men in, mostly, suits]

The faculty of science held an alumni awards celebration on Thursday to honour the 2010 recipients: Calvin Harley (BSc1975), Stephen Horne (BSc 1987, PhD 1991), Cameron Koch (BSc 1968, MSc 1969, PhD 1972), and Robert Pockar (MSc 2000). “It was wonderful to be able to have all four recipients together, since they had travelled from California, Pennsylvania, Calgary and Brantford to join us,” says Joanna Magee of the dean’s office. “The remarkable achievements of this diverse group of alumni demonstrate that a science degree from Waterloo builds a solid foundation for great accomplishments,” said Terry McMahon, dean of science, who was out of town but sent greetings. The group photo shows the award winners, science department chairs and other VIPs including Waterloo provost Geoff McBoyle and Brandon Wong, president of the student Science Society.

New look on some web pages today

Notice something different? (Besides all that snow, I mean.) The Daily Bulletin today becomes one of the first University of Waterloo web sites to adopt what’s been dubbed the “Web Phasing Protocol”, which involves a new wordmark (in the official Gotham typeface) and a black header showing the university’s name and a search box. Look for a similar design change on the university home page today as well. “The Phasing Protocol is intended to enable website maintainers across the university to refresh their sites and adopt new branding within the current Common Look and Feel template,” says Sarah Forgrave, project manager for the Web Redesign Project. “By adopting a required common University of Waterloo header, this will assist in orienting website visitors during a time where there will not be a consistent design across campus.” Web maintainers across the university are getting word from the vice-president (external relations), Meg Beckel, that their sites “are expected to include” the Waterloo header and a unit wordmark by this coming March. Some sites will go further, displaying the recently adopted colours for their faculties and some or all of the “information architecture” that’s being introduced as part of the web redesign.

[Frank]Former faculty member and administrator Jim Frank (left) will return to Waterloo July 1 as vice-president and academic dean of St. Jerome’s University. Frank was a professor of kinesiology from 1991 to 2005 and served as associate dean of graduate studies, before leaving for the University of Windsor, where he is now dean of graduate studies. “Dr. Frank is a graduate of St. Jerome’s High School, was a member of the St. Jerome’s University Catholic Community for 36 years, and was member of the University’s Board of Governors from 2001-2005,” says a news release announcing his appointment. “He has a strong appreciation for the mission of St. Jerome’s University, including the importance of a liberal arts undergraduate education, the University’s Catholic identity, and the challenges and opportunities for a small liberal arts university within the context of a large research-intensive university. A substantial scholar of national and international repute, Dr. Frank’s research investigates the control of balance in normal and aging populations and populations with neurological and orthopaedic disorders. St. Jerome’s University is excited about the possibilities for collaboration among SJU researchers, particularly those in Psychology, and with collaboration among researchers at UW.” Frank, who is still listed as an adjunct professor in kinesiology, will succeed Myroslaw Tataryn, vice-president at St. Jerome’s since 2005.

The north campus Accelerator Centre last week celebrated the “graduation” of another company that’s become big enough to fly on its own. Top Hat Monocle, a company specializing in interactive classroom learning response systems, becomes the eighth company to graduate from the AC’s Accelerator Program for entrepreneurs and early-stage start-ups. Founded in 2009 by Mike Silagadze and Mohsen Shahini, Top Hat Monocle “harnesses the power of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to improve the student learning experience,” a news release explains. “The company`s inaugural product, called MonocleCAT, allows professors to directly engage and interact with students during lectures using quizzes, polls and live demonstrations. The product is currently in use in several Canadian universities, and will launch with American universities in January.” The company joined the Accelerator Centre as a client in 2009. “We`re capitalizing on the exploding adoption of smartphone technology among the student population, coupled with a professor`s desire to more directly engage with students,” says Shahini, adding: “Our tour of duty through the Accelerator Centre has been an invaluable learning experience for us as a technology start-up. The turnkey facility and access to mentorship and business advice has allowed us to focus on the task of getting product to market without having to sweat the day-to-day issues that come with running a business.”

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[Presentation in lecture hall]

Fourth-year accounting and finance students “pushed their knowledge to the limit”, says Patty Mah of the accounting school, “during the inaugural Investment Poster Competition.” A total of 34 groups involving 170 students took part in the competition, organized by faculty member Alan Huang for a course in investment, AFM 472, with support from the Accounting and Finance Student Association. Each group presented work on either a stock valuation project or an active portfolio management project. Experts from half a dozen major investment firms volunteered to serve as judges.

Notes on optometry, shrimp and more

Thomas Freddo, director of the optometry school, goes to his alumni in the school’s latest newsletter with what he describes as a serious problem: regulations and funding that prevent optometry students from getting their “clinical rotation” experience at clinics in this country. Instead, they generally have to go to the United States, with all the border hassles that implies, he says. “If Canada can train its physicians and dentists wholly within Canada, the same should be true for its optometrists. Access to concentrations of patients with ocular disease is an imperative part of this training, and in Ontario there are only two types of facilities that can offer these opportunities — hospital outpatient clinics and (to a lesser extent) certain Family Health Team clinics. Currently the profession of optometry and its educational training programs do not have access to these facilities and, in Ontario, they are not funded to provide care in these settings. Hospitals and world renowned academic departments of ophthalmology in the US routinely accept placements of students in their outpatient hospital clinics to provide medical eye care under appropriate supervision. And yet, in their home country, Canadian Optometry students are denied similar access, leaving the entire viability of accredited optometric education in Canada resting precariously on the ability of students to cross an increasingly stringent international border.” An advisory council for the Ontario health ministry has recommended new steps, he says: “We were very heartened that our urgent message was heard, and remain hopeful that changes will follow.”

There was talk of problems for Bell cellphone users on campus earlier this fall — too many users, increased demand for data service, and not enough bandwidth — and late last week Bell sent out a brief memo telling what it’s been doing about the situation: “In Kitchener-Waterloo we have added capacity to all cell sites with software licenses and where possible additional hardware capacity (September), a temporary Cell on Wheels near the University of Waterloo (October), a third channel to six cell sites serving the University and RIM Campus areas (October 19) and we plan to add the third carrier to additional cell sites early in January 2011, and are in the process of building a full new site near the University of Waterloo that will be in service in early 2011.”

Even if you don’t leave your laptop lying around where somebody can steal it (and there have been more than a few such thefts on campus in recent weeks), it’s possible [Warning message]that people are stealing your data. That’s the word from the network services unit in Information Systems and Technology, which is warning users that “uw-wireless is an insecure network. All communications on uw-wireless are vulnerable to eavesdropping. Unencrypted connections, particularly those to social networking sites, are easily hijacked by a third party. To ensure privacy and integrity of your information, please use the Eduroam network! UW may be discontinuing the ‘uw-wireless’ wireless network as early as March 1, 2011. All users of ‘uw-wireless’ should switch to using ‘eduroam’, as soon as possible, to avoid disruption in service. ‘eduroam’ offers a higher level of security, and can be used at other participating universities in Canada. If you are having difficulty using ‘eduroam’, please visit a computing help desk for assistance.” Instructions for using the newer, more secure network are online.

Australians don’t really "slip a shrimp on the barbie" and they don't drink Foster's beer, exchange student Adele Howard tells the engineering faculty’s electronic Eng-e-News. The word is “prawn”, says the visitor from Queensland University of Technology, and she hadn't seen Foster's for sale or even advertised until she arrived in Canada in September. A brief interview with Howard, who’s studying civil engineering, is featured in the online newsletter this month. When Howard applied to study at Waterloo, one requirement was a 1,500-word essay on why she wanted to spend a term at another university, she says. "I wanted to come to Canada, and Waterloo is one of the four universities my school has an exchange program with in North America," says the third-year student. Inside the classroom, Howard says, the biggest difference between Waterloo and Queensland is that her class sizes here have been much smaller. Outside the classroom, the main difference is the weather. Howard says she complained when it dipped below 20 degrees Celsius in September and she's found recent weeks downright frigid. Recently she skated for the first time on an outdoor rink, and she's looking forward to taking to the slopes for some downhill skiing after she finishes exams. While she's sorry to leave the many friends she's made at Waterloo, there's something else she may miss just a little bit more: "Tim Hortons," she says, “both the coffee and the doughnuts."


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Quick notes today

Several food services outlets are closed until January: as of today, Liquid Assets (Accountancy wing), the Eye Opener in Optometry, and the PAS building lounge join Festival Fare (South Campus Hall) and Pastry Plus in Matthews Hall, which closed earlier.

Nominations are open until January 14 for the 2011-12 executive of the Federation of Students, which will be elected in a campus-wide vote by undergraduates just before February reading week.

Registration for the “i3 Challenge” (student-generated ideas for improving the University Avenue entrance to campus) has been extended to January 21.

Link of the day

Santa Lucia

When and where

Fall term examinations December 9-22. Fall term grades begin to appear on Quest December 23; grades become official January 24.

Library exam time extended hours: Dana Porter open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, Davis Centre library open 24 hours (except Sunday 2-8 a.m.), November 28 through December 22. Details.

Christmas lunch buffet at University Club through December 22, 11:30 to 2:00, reservations ext. 33801.

Kinesiology Lab Days for high school visitors continue Monday-Thursday 10:00 to 2:30, Matthews Hall.

International spouses tour of Woodside National Historic Site, 10 a.m., $3.90. Details.

Be Engaged roundtable discussion for staff Tuesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1568. Details.

[Fonn]Desmond Fonn, school of optometry, retirement reception Tuesday 5:00 to 7:00, Student Commons, Optometry building, RSVP ext. 33178.

Canadian Federation of University Women K-W chapter meets Tuesday 7:30, First United Church; speaker is Cheryl-Ann Webster of the Beautiful Women Project.

Social work post-BA program application deadline December 15, 2010. Details.

UWRC Book Club: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer and Barrows, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Christmas dinner buffet at University Club, Wednesday 5:00 to 8:00, reservations ext. 33801.

‘Practical Ways to Pre-plan Retiring’ speaker Tim Westhead, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee and faculty of arts, Thursday 12:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Details.

School of Optometry dedication event and reception: Barbara and Jacob Sivak Lecture Theatre (Optometry building room 347) Thursday 4:30 to 6:30, RSVP ext. 36319.

Winter term fees due December 17 by certified cheque, money order or promissory note; December 29 by bank transfer. Details.

‘Getting Things Done’ course offered by organizational and human development, Friday 8:30 a.m. Details.

Engineering Science Quest holiday day camp for children in grades 2 to 5, December 20, 21, 22. Details.

University senate monthly meeting Monday, December 20, cancelled.

Christmas and New Year’s holiday: last day of work Thursday, December 23; UW closed December 24 through January 3; first day of work in 2011 is Tuesday, January 4.

Application deadline for Ontario secondary school students to apply for September admission, January 12 (other deadlines pertain to some programs). Details.

Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Registered Student (Amit and Meena Chakma Award) nominations due February 11. Details.

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