Tuesday, February 9, 2010

  • SAF students beat world in sim game
  • Youth health research wins $2.4 million
  • Jernigan on building better students
  • InfoLine; H1N1; Staff conference; Songwriters alert
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

SAF students beat world in simulation game

SAF students wiining Mikes Bikes simulation gameA quartet of Accounting and Finance students are winners of the 2009 world championship in the MikesBikes business simulation game. The only group from Canada, the team “Life on Two Wheels” won against two Australian, six New Zealand, and eight American entries after a two-week competition schedule. MikesBikes is part of the curriculum of a first-year accounting and finance course: the motivator for the students to enter the world championship version.

“After playing the intro version in class, our team gained knowledge and developed the teamwork and leadership skills necessary for this type of competition,” says Andrew Leung, who competed along with Arnold Hang, Mary Ibrahim, and Laura Lau Moon Lin, all first-year AFM students (pictured). They brought home $200 in prize money. The students attribute their victory to long-range planning and making all their decisions as a team, as opposed to carving out functional area responsibility for individual team members. Says Danny Master of Smartsims International, which ran the competition: “They had us here at SmartSims on the edge of our seats.”

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Waterloo youth health project wins $2.4 million

from a Waterloo Media Relations release

A coalition of organizations convened by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact (Propel) at the University of Waterloo has received $2.4 million from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer for an initiative targeting youth health.

The Youth Excel project seeks to improve the health of Canada's youth. Its plan is to increase collaboration among researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and communities so they can assess and guide policies and programs that address physical activity, tobacco use and healthy eating.

The project team will develop methods to rapidly gather and share evidence across jurisdictions to create environments that will help make healthy choices easier choices for young people.

Propel, a partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society and the university, will act as secretariat for the Youth Excel coalition, which includes the pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health. It also includes provincial teams linking researchers, policy and program leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Steve Manske, Propel scientist"Funding is often given to conduct initial research, but there usually aren't enough resources to close the loop between generated evidence and action,” said Steve Manske (right), senior scientist at Propel. “Likewise, many actions are taken without using the opportunity to learn from them and evaluate them.

“The goal of the project is to build knowledge exchange infrastructure within provinces and territories. This includes implementing monitoring systems to track youth behaviour over time to identify and increase the use of policies and programs with the greatest impact."

As part of Youth Excel, a national forum will be held this May to bring practitioners, policy-makers and researchers from health and education together to identify priorities for action and evaluation.

Case studies in three provinces in which systems for this type of continuous improvement are in place will be getting underway later this month. Provincial coalitions to strengthen collaboration and knowledge exchange within jurisdictions and to identify what is already working well in each province are also being planned.

Youth Excel is one of seven projects funded through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer's $15.5-million Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention (CLASP).

Co-funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, CLASP is designed to improve the health of Canadians by preventing chronic disease. It responds to the fact that many aspects of healthy living - such as maintaining a healthy body weight or quitting smoking - can reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, lung disease and heart disease as well as many cancers.

"CLASP is the first of its kind to support organizations working together in this way to prevent chronic disease," said Jon Kerner, chair of the primary prevention advisory group at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. "The results will benefit Canadians in a range of ways, from tackling childhood obesity to understanding the relationship between our health and the way we have organized our physical living and working environments.”

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Jernigan on building better students

Ed Jernigan, Knowledge IntegrationIt's a complex and rapidly changing world, and young people heading out there will need to be specially equipped to cope. That's the nutshell message of a lecture to be delivered today by Ed Jernigan (left), director of the Centre for Knowledge Integration, in Davis Centre 1304, noon to 1 p.m.

The talk is titled "Educating Solution Integrators." From the abstract: "It is not enough that students understand only the humanist’s perspective, or only the scientist’s — complex issues such as climate change, health care and the global economy require the perspectives of many disciplines, together with the critical thinking and synthesis skills to see the big picture.

"Knowledge integration builds bridges across disciplines and develops the essential skills of the 21st century — it develops students who are literate, numerate, articulate, and know how to play well with others — it develops students as integrative thinkers who can collaborate across boundaries — disciplinary boundaries, geopolitical boundaries, and cultural boundaries — students who are better equipped to understand and cope with the extraordinary challenges of our times."

Jernigan, an MIT grad, and a professor and former chair of systems design engineering, is well known as an inspiring teacher and a catalyst of innovative programming. He has been recognized with both the university's Distinguished Teacher Award and the Teaching Excellence Award of the Faculty of Engineering.

Since 1984 he has served as the program director for the Shad Valley summer enrichment program, living in residence with 48 high school students during the month of July. In 2004, he created a university-wide enrichment program for high school students of exceptional potential, Waterloo Unlimited, which he continues to direct. In September 2008, he launched a new undergraduate degree program in Knowledge Integration.

Jernigan's talk is free and there's no need to register. It's part of the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research (WIHIR) Research Seminar series.

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InfoLine; H1N1; Staff conference; Songwriters alert

Why should you know this number?

InfoLine — 1-866-470-0910 — is a special university number that is a communication service allowing multiple callers access simultaneously. The number will help in avoiding switchboard overload in high-volume situations.

The university will be using InfoLine in non-emergencies, such as a campus closure due to a winter storm or other important updates for the campus community. It is a single point of access to receive up-to-date information regarding the status of the campus. InfoLine will normally be updated by 6 a.m. as it relates to a storm closure.

In addition to its usual role of updating the campus in non-emergency situations, InfoLine also plays a special purpose when UW declares a campus emergency. In such instances, InfoLine will have the initial information relating to the emergency and will be periodically updated with more current news.

Flu shots still available if wanted

Although the buzz around pandemic H1N1 has died down, you can still get the shot if you need it, says Dr. Barbara Schumacher, director of health services for the university.

“Health Services still has both seasonal and H1N1 vaccines available for any registered students or employees of the university who still wish to receive them," Schumacher says. "We will not have any special clinics because the demand for vaccine has fallen to a level which we can handle within the facility. In the community there has been no influenza activity since Christmas break, and Health Services experience is consistent.

“In order to minimize wastage of the H1N1 vaccine we will be offering it on Thursdays only, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Seasonal flu vaccine is available at the same time.”

Reports of mumps have also fallen off, Schumacher notes. “Health Services has not reported any new cases of mumps since the holiday. We are still encouraging immunization for those who have not received two doses of mumps vaccine.  The people who may be in this group are people born after 1970 and before 1992, because only one dose of mumps vaccine was offered for immunization against mumps during this interval; and people immunized outside of Canada who may have received the first dose of mumps vaccination before the age of 12 months or vaccine which was not properly refrigerated.”

Now that things are less hectic, “Health Services’ capacity to deliver care this term has returned to usual levels. We are catching up with scheduling for some routine health care which was postponed during the peak of the influenza illness on campus during October and November 2009.”

Recent information about H1N1 in Waterloo Region is posted here. This link gives an updated picture of the worldwide influenza situation.

Annual Staff Conference coming up

The Third Annual University of Waterloo Staff Conference takes place April 6 and 7. As in previous years, the conference organized by the Organizational and Human Development office will be devoted to staff enrichment.

Keynote speakers include Nora Spinks (“Energize, Strategize, Maximize”), UW alumnus Bill Benjamin (“The Science Behind Great Leaders”), Jeremy Gutsche (“Creating a Culture of Innovation and Customer Obsession”), Steve Uzzell (“Open Roads, Open Minds”), and a live theatrical performance – “I’m Still Here” – by the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) on the topic of living with dementia.

Workshop sessions are available on Career Development, Desk De-stress, Creativity: Solo or Team Sport? and much more. Sessions will be repeated over the two days to provide flexibility for departments. Staff will receive a personal invitation and an agenda outlining all the conference offerings on February 16.  Registration runs March 1 to March 29. More information here.

Songwriters called to compete

A "true songwriting competition" is being held at the Grad House, with a first prize of $1,500. Not an idol-type or performance competition, this contest will be judged based on lyrics, melody, composition, and overall excellence of the songwriting. All members of the university community are welcome. Competitors may enter one to three songs. The competition takes place at the Grad House each Tuesday, 6 - 9 p.m., from February 23 to May 18, with judging at the finale on May 18. The deadline to register is February 16; register online.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Extraterrestrial Culture Day

When and where

Federation of Students polls open today at 10 a.m., close Thursday at 8 p.m.

Class enrolment appointments for spring term courses, February 8-13 on Quest. Open enrolment begins February 15.

Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University, by Jennifer Wiseman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, continue today: "Is There Another Earth,” 10:30 a.m., Optometry bldg room 1129 (note location change); “Finding Other Worlds: A Reflection on Human Significance,” 8 p.m., Modern Languages Bldg, Theatre of the Arts. Details.

‘Freedom to read’ bookstore sale, February 9-10, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., South Campus Hall concourse.

Black History Month Expo: art, artifacts, music, etc. today, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Student Life Centre, Great Hall.

Senate undergraduate council today, noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation presents public lecture by Fiona Mackintosh, today, 12:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Library workshop: “Demystifying the Statistics Canada Website” today, 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

CS Club: Nathaniel Sherry, "An Introduction to Vector Graphics Libraries With Cairo," today, 4:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Black History Month panel discussion. today, 4:30 - 6 p.m., Student Life Centre, Great Hall.

Alumni in San Francisco: mathematics lunch today, Marriott Hotel (details); engineering reception at IEEE convention, today, Marriott (details); science breakfast with dean Terry McMahon, February 11 (details).

Career workshops today: “Successfully Negotiating Job Offers” 3:30, “Understanding the Multiple-Mini Interview” 5:30, both in Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Haiti Earthquake Relief video game tournament, all proceeds to Doctors Without Borders. Prizes. Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Student Life Centre, Great Hall.

Library workshop: “RSS Feeds” Wednesday, 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Graduating students’ information session and lunch sponsored by student life office and alumni affairs office, Wednesday, 11:30, Needles Hall room 1116. Repeated February 23. Details.

UW Recreation Committee presents “The Five F’s of Heart Healthy Eating” Wednesday, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 329.

Free noon concert: Dennis Bender, operatic bass, with Joanne Bender, piano, Wednesday, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Planning school speaker series. Scott Nevin, director of policy development, City of Waterloo, "Growth Management in Waterloo," Wednesday, 12:30 p.m.,  EV1 room 354.

Staff workshop: “Sell Your Skills” in job interviews and performance reviews, Wednesday, 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Register by e-mail: lkoblyk@ uwaterloo.ca.

‘Thinking About Pharmacy?’ workshop Wednesday, 5:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Alumni in Palo Alto: reception with dean of science and guest speaker Calvin Harley, BSc 1975, “Seeds of (Cell) Immortality”, Wednesday, 6:00. Details.

Alumni in San Francisco: join dean of science Terry McMahon for breakfast on Thursday, 8 a.m. Details.

‘Find books and more’ workshop on doing research in the UW library, Thursday at 10:00, February 22 at 1:30, March 1 at 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘Stress: The Heart of the Matter’ presented by Employee Assistance Program, Thursday, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

‘Better searching, better marks’ workshop on doing research in the UW library, Thursday at 1:30, March 15 at 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘Career Interest Assessment’ workshop Thursday, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Chemical engineering Park Reilly Distinguished Seminar: Jim McLellan, Queen’s University, “Following the Curve: Statistical Estimation When the Data Include Profiles” Thursday, 3:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Classical Studies talk. Waldemar Heckel, Alexander the Great expert from University of Calgary, public lecture on "Alexander the Great and Achilles," Thursday, 4 - 5 p.m. in Arts Lecture Hall room 105.

Reading and book signing: Yan Li, Lily in the Snow, Thursday, 4:30 to 6:30, Renison UC chapel lounge.

Engineering alumni reception at Google (Mountain View, California) Thursday, 6 p.m. Details.

Loving to Learn Day Friday; contest information online.

Valentine’s Day luncheon buffet (11:30 to 2:00) and dinner (5:00 to 8:00), Friday, University Club, reservations ext. 33801.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Understanding the Learner” Friday, 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association New Year festival event Friday, 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

Family Day holiday Monday, February 15; UW offices and most services closed.

Reading Week February 15-19; classes not held.

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