Monday, February 22, 2010

  • Hockey fans lament; classes resume
  • Excellent teachers, caught on camera
  • Presidential search will involve consultant
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Hockey fans lament; classes resume

The country was disappointed by Team Canada's loss to the United States last night, but at Waterloo it was the second hockey defeat in a single day. Competing at the Icefield yesterday afternoon in the deciding game of the OUA quarter-final playoffs, the Warriors fell to the University of Windsor Lancers, 3-2 in double overtime. "After cobbling together one of their most impressive regular seasons in recent memory, complete with 20 wins in their 28-game schedule, the to-be-emulated Warriors nonetheless stumbled badly of late," writes Christine Rivet of the Waterloo Region Record. They were ahead 2-0 in the second period, lost the lead, and finally gave up a goal at 13:37 in the second overtime. That ends the season for the Warriors — while Team Canada still has another chance as the Olympic tournament continues.

Meanwhile, classes are back in session after reading week, and much is happening on campus. The Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation takes on Web 2.0 in a panel discussion to be held today at 2:00 in Tatham Centre room 2218. Reservations are suggested (phone ext. 84490) to join Mark Tovey, Hassan Massum and Michael Nielsen, three of Canada's leading experts on Web 2.0 and Open Governance, as they look at “the ways that new web technologies are being used to tap into the wisdom of crowds, open dialogues between citizens and government, and change the very fabric of our societies . . . can these same powers be harnessed to tackle the toughest problems facing mankind today?” WICI is in business “to facilitate transdisciplinary, collaborative research focused on promoting innovation and resilience within the complex adaptive systems at the core of human well being in the 21st century. By creating a forum and providing a common language to facilitate rigorous multidisciplinary discussion, WICI is intended to attract leading researchers in applied complexity and put UW at the forefront of efforts to understand and address multi-scale, systems level problems.”

The university senate will hold its monthly meeting today, starting at 4:00 in Needles Hall room 3001. The agenda includes the usual reports from the president and vice-presidents, including a briefing from provost Feridun Hamdullahpur on the state of the university's budget with almost ten months of the 2009-10 fiscal year complete. Presentations are scheduled by the Federation of Students, the Graduate Student Association, and the Centre for Extended Learning (formerly the office of distance and continuing education). In other business, senate will be asked to approve a document on "graduate degree expectations" circulated by the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents and a plan for a new Centre for Internet Information Acquisition, to be operated jointly by Waterloo and China's Tsinghua University. Finally, senate will look at plans to convert the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program into a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree before the first students graduate in 2011.

Tonight brings the first session of four, as the office of organizational and human development offers “Retirement 101” led by financial consultant Lee Piruchta. “What will you do when you retire?” Piruchta asks, promising that participants in the program on four consecutive Monday nights will “gain the knowledge you need to face retirement with confidence. This is an interactive, hands-on and relevant program that provides participants with in-depth information about the retirement planning process and addresses the financial and non-financial issues that everyone thinks about or faces during the retirement stage of life.” Each week will focus on one of four pillars of successful retirement planning: retirement, financial, investment and estate planning. A 30 minute presentation about the UW pension plan is also included. Upon completion, each participant is “entitled, however not obligated”, to a Customized Retirement Income Model — and the speaker promises that “There will be no discussion of products, markets or attempts to sell you any service.” There’s a $100 fee for the series; information, phone ext. 38259.

Alain Francq of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology sent e-mail at the end of the week — literally from inside the Tokyo subway, he told me — with word that a WIN delegation is in the Japanese capital “to build on the success of last year's NanoMission to Japan”. He said the group, headed by WIN executive director Arthur Carty, will sign an agreement and hold a workshop with Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science. “Collaboration was initiated between WIN and NIMS during a tour last year,” Carty explains. “This year, we want to build on that success and hold a workshop specifically in nanotechnology for Energy and Nano-bio systems.” The delegation will also visit a couple of universities and call on Mitsui, Mitsubishi and other potential industry collaborators. A few days earlier, a smaller group from WIN was in India taking part in a workshop held under Waterloo’s nanotechnology agreement with IIT-Bombay, signed in 2007. “Since that signing,” says Francq, “two major Indian delegations have visited Waterloo, and several faculty members, including a WIN delegation last year, have visited India. The delegation will hold a nano workshop at IIT-Bombay, then travel to IISc Bangalore and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research to develop collaborations and offer scholarships to top students to study at Waterloo. A visit is also planned to Bigtec Inc., an Indian microfluidics/lab-on-a-chip company looking to set up an office in Waterloo to be closer to WIN researchers.”

Raymond Bradley, a sergeant in UW's police service, officially retired as of February 1, ending a UW career that began in 1977. • The university secretariat announces that an election in the faculty of environment has chosen Don Duff-McCracken as staff representative on the nominating committee that will choose the next ENV dean. • Here's a reminder that nominations are due by March 3 in the election of 16 faculty members and two graduate students to the university senate.

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Excellent teachers, caught on camera

by Kelley Teahen, Communications and Public Affairs

A new collection of videos featuring winners of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teaching Awards proves that there is no cookie-cutter way to be an effective teacher.

The videos, linked through the university’s “teaching and research” page, highlight the work of seven professors at Waterloo recognized for their exceptional teaching skills. They talk about their techniques, their philosophies, and their attitudes. If they have one thing in common, it’s a passion for their field of study, and a commitment to share their knowledge with their students.

The seven DTA winners featured are Dan Andreae, School of Social Work, Renison University College, 2005; Jean Andrey, Geography and Environmental Management, 1995; Andrew Hunt, History, 2005; [YouTube screen capture]Ron McCarville, Recreation and Leisure Studies, 2003; Marlee Spafford, School of Optometry, 1988; Ian Vanderburgh, Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, 2008; Wei-Chau Xie (left), Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2007.

The videos, produced by Communications and Public Affairs with Kitchener videographer Philip Bast, also show how the professors’ personal interests and history have influenced their teaching style and academic interests. Andrey recollects getting hooked on geography study because of her experiences being raised on a farm. Hunt confesses he’s a “frustrated actor” who loves to play characters in his classes to make history come alive. Vandenburgh, a talented pianist, talks about how musical performance helps him be a better presenter in front of students.

Some – like Xie, who in his video draws an absolutely perfect circle freehand on a blackboard – bring abstract ideas to life by finding concrete applications. For example, he shows how to use differential equations to model the effect of a strong wind on the CN Tower. Others, like McCarville, like to structure their classes around asking “a compelling question.” And Andreae says he likes to create a human connection and instill confidence in his students so they feel they can fully take part in classes.

Finally, the learning flows both way, says Spafford “There’s not a term that doesn’t go by where I go, I just learned something from that student, whether it’s knowledge, or how I teach that the next time.”

The videos are gathered in a You Tube playlist that’s part of the university’s YouTube channel. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to contribute videos to the channel by going through a submission form, which was explained in detail in the January 14 Daily Bulletin.

Areas of the university can also request that playlists – which are a collection of videos that can then be imbedded, as a unit, into websites or blogs – be set up for them as was done for for the Distinguished Teaching Award videos. Says Sarah Forgrave, manager of web communications for CPA: “The real benefit of playlists is that faculties and other units across campus can harness the powerful features of the Waterloo-branded channel and embed their group's longer videos into their own websites.”

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Presidential search will involve consultant

The nominating committee that is looking for UW's next president will do its work with the help of a professional consultant, says an announcement issued last week.

The committee is looking for a successor to David Johnston, president of the university since 1999, whose last term in office will end June 30, 2011. Last month it issued a campus-wide memo inviting "views on the issues and challenges the president will face, what the next president should accomplish in her/his first term and the qualities a president should possess to achieve this".

Says the committee's latest communique to the university community: "The Presidential Nominating Committee is charged with the task of finding and recommending an outstanding candidate for appointment as the sixth president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo. To assist members in fulfilling this undertaking which will have a profound effect on the institution for many years to come, and after careful deliberation and consideration, the committee has decided to engage a consulting firm with global reach to aid in the task. SpencerStuart, with offices in 27 countries, was chosen from among a number consulting firms. Sharon Rudy heads the Canadian practice and the Toronto office is headed by J. Carter Powis. Kristine M. Johnson from the Los Angeles office will also be part of the team. SpencerStuart has extensive experience in higher education and academic searches. The firm’s consulting fee will not exceed $110,000.

"SpencerStuart will serve as an advisor to the committee and will be used in all phases of planning and carrying out the global search process. The committee feels that the use of a consulting firm will be especially beneficial in ensuring a rich pool of highly qualified and experienced candidates and in carrying out comprehensive reference investigations.

"While the committee and the process will gain tremendously from SpencerStuart’s assistance, the Presidential Nominating Committee will retain full control of the process. Applications, nominations and expressions of interest, both internal and external, are greatly encouraged by the committee which will review all of the material pertaining to the candidates and make the final recommendation to Senate and the Board of Governors."


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Link of the day


When and where

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn session: Ronald Bean, Conestoga College, “Adaptive Reuse” 12:00, Environment I room 221.

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

‘So You Think You Can Dance Waterloo’ auditions today and Wednesday-Friday, Physical Activities Complex; competition March 27. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation panel discussion: “Open Source Democracy”, 2:00, Tatham Centre room 2218, RSVP info@ Details.

Imprint Publications annual general meeting 3 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Cultural Encounters, Encountering Cultures series: Andy McMurry, English language and literature, “Sustainable Versus Unsustainable Culture” 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Career workshop: “Understanding the Multiple-Mini Interview” 6:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Teaching-Based Research Group drop-in session for faculty and staff interested in research about teaching and learning, Tuesday 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Graduating students’ information session and lunch sponsored by student life office and alumni affairs office, Tuesday 11:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room. Details.

Canadian Computing Competition for high school students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, Tuesday. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Grading” Tuesday 12:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Personal Tax Planning: Brown Bag Lunch by staff association and Education Credit Union, speaker Alan Wintrip, Tuesday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

Library workshop: “Patent Searching” Tuesday 2:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshop: “Business Etiquette and Professionalism,” Tuesday 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

WatRISQ seminar: “Multi-Factor Affine Extension of the Heston Model with Stochastic Interest Rates” Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Computer Science Club presents Nicholas Harvey, “The Best Algorithms Are Randomized Algorithms” Tuesday 4:30, Math and Computer room 5136B.

Blood donor clinics Wednesday-Thursday 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre multi-purpose room.

Staff workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type” Wednesday 2 to 4 p.m., Tatham Centre, register lkoblyk@

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment, Thursday, February 25, has been cancelled.

International Spouses monthly gathering: Elisabeth Adrian, career services, “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” Thursday 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre.

TEDx Waterloo “journey into the future” of “Technology, Entertainment, Design”; speakers include Raymond Laflamme, Institute for Quantum Computing, and Philip Beesley, architecture, Thursday 1 to 8 p.m., the Gig Music Hall, downtown Kitchener. Details.

Lecture and book signing: Bob Pozen, chairman of MFS Investment Management: Too Big to Save? How to Fix the U.S. Financial System, Thursday, lecture at 4:30; signing at 5:30, South Campus Hall, Festival Room. Register.

Co-op job ranking (main group) opens Friday 1:00 p.m.

CASA Charity Fashion Show Friday 7:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Grebel alumni in Ottawa, family day, starts at noon, Saturday. Details.

Application deadline for UW admission: spring term, March 1; fall term, March 31, with some exceptions; Ontario secondary school students January 13 (or later if spaces still available). Details.

Fifth Annual International Women’s Day Dinner, March 4, 4:30 p.m. cocktail hour, 5:30 p.m. dinner, University Club. Tickets at Humanities box office, 519-888-4908. Details.

38th annual Hagey Bonspiel for staff, faculty and friends, March 6, 10:00 to 6:00, Ayr Curling Club. Details.

‘Arcadia’ by Tom Stoppard, drama department spring production, preview by invitation March 10, 7:00; public performances March 11-13 and 18-20, 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $12 general, students $10. Details.

PhD oral defences

Psychology. Agnieszka Fecica, “A Step at a Time: An Investigation of Preschoolers’ Simulations of Narrative Events  During Story Comprehension.” Supervisor, Daniela O’Neill. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2434. Oral defence Friday, March 5, 10:00 a.m., PAS building room 2438.

Earth and environmental sciences. Dennis Colautti, “Modelling the Effects of Climate Change on the Surface and Subsurface Hydrology of the Grand River Watershed.” Supervisor, Edward Sudicky. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, March 9, 1:30 p.m., Environment II room 2002.

Biology. Andrew C. Doxey, “Tracing the Molecular and Evolutionary Determinants of Novel Functions in Protein Families.” Supervisor, Brendan J. McConkey. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, March 9, 2:00 p.m., Physics room 352.

Friday's Daily Bulletin