Thursday, February 25, 2010

  • Last Render art show opens tonight
  • Gold Medal, Top 40, pride all round
  • Interview with a retired psych prof
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Last Render art show opens tonight

[Handwritten letter: Dear Haven]The “Render” program that has been taking art, generously interpreted, well beyond the walls of the university’s art gallery is closing after three years, a brief online announcement says.

“The Render program of exhibitions, events, inter-disciplinary projects and community collaborations will come to and end at the closing of the current exhibition,” says the notice, dated January 22.

“Under new leadership, the University of Waterloo Art Gallery will reemerge as the professional exhibition program at UW. For those interested in the position of Director/Curator, please check the official job posting.” (The job, classified as a USG 9 position, was advertised in the Positions Available list for January 6.)

The announcement adds that current Render director and curator Andrew Hunter “will remain connected with the University of Waterloo as Adjunct Faculty and Visiting Researcher at Waterloo Architecture and as Director of the DodoLab (a collaborative program of WA and Musagetes). Hunter will also be continuing to work as an independent artist, writer and curator.”

Hunter explained in 2007 that “The focus of Render is the production and dissemination of contemporary art projects (exhibitions, residencies, screenings, performances, publications, lectures, think-tanks, research labs, test runs, samples, multiples, fanciful ideas, challenging thoughts, odd things, etc.) that emphasize innovation, critically engage the use of new technologies, address current social and cultural concerns and contribute to a dynamic learning environment at the various campuses and facilities of the University of Waterloo and throughout the Waterloo Region.”

Exhibitions and programs offered by the gallery over the Hunter years have included a show in 2008 based on university marketing slogans and a major project, leading to the “Home/land & Security” show last fall, about Native land claims along the Grand River, among others. The gallery also helped sponsor installations at the Architecture building in Cambridge, as well as film showings in off-campus locations.

The final show of the Render program opens with a reception tonight, 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery’s headquarters in East Campus Hall. Title of the show is “Dear Haven”.

“What if we could all write a letter to our favourite means of finding comfort or solace?” ask its creators — Barbara Hobot, Jen Hutton and Sasha Nelson. “Dear Haven looks at the sanctuaries or havens that we build for ourselves every day.

“Sanctuary can live wherever we place it. That could be in a physical space like a house or a church, it could be found in our memories or the nostalgia we attach to precious relics from our lives, it could be in our beliefs, it could even be an area of land for animals to take refuge. A haven or sanctuary is any sacred place that provides solace for anyone or anything For many of us our havens are our secret comfort.” The exhibition continues through March 20.

Back to top

Gold Medal, Top 40, pride all round

So, yes, that was some hockey game in Vancouver last night, and people on campus were following it any way they could. Twitter reports: “The #CS350 exam had a running hockey score on the whiteboard. The prof is awesome.” “Environment FOC were streaming the game during leader interviews tonight. Periodically interrupting for score updates.” And from an instructor: “Game ran precisely through night class. I looked up once to see 3 students signalling me 5-1.” (For the record, we’re talking Olympic men’s hockey here. Final score was Canada 7, Russia 3, with the next game scheduled for tomorrow.)

Meanwhile, yesterday also brought what’s probably the first Olympic gold medal for a Waterloo graduate. Former all-star athlete Heather Moyse, with teammate Kaillie Humphries, won the gold medal in women's bobsleigh. Their Canada 1 sled won in a combined time of 3:32.28, 0.85 of a second ahead of a second Canadian sled driven by Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown. Moyse competed in multiple university sports for both the Warriors and, later, the Toronto Varsity Blues. As a Warrior she was a member of the women's soccer team for one year, the rugby team for two seasons and the track and field team for four years. She was a two-time all-Canadian and multiple OUA all-star in rugby, and led her team to a national bronze medal and provincial silver. In track she won 10 OUA medals and two CIS bronze medals. She is a member of the Waterloo Athletics Hall of Fame.

The Waterloo Region Record newspaper came out with this year’s “40 Under 40” yesterday — a listing of “individuals making a difference in our community” — and a quick calculation is that 11 of them are University of Waterloo alumni or faculty members. They include David Hammond, assistant professor of health studies and gerontology, who drew worldwide publicity a few months ago for his research on “deceptive” tobacco marketing; Michele Mosca, physics professor and deputy director of the Institute for Quantum Computing; and Sarah Wolfe, assistant professor of environment and resource studies, specializing in water issues. Another in the group works in a UW building but is employed by McMaster University: Michael Lee-Poy, a faculty member in the medical school that’s housed at the downtown Kitchener health sciences campus. Another winner, Matthew Stevens, is a PhD student in chemical engineering as well as being chief executive of CrossChasm Technologies. “It was a very pleasant surprise and honour to be chosen, knowing how many remarkable people there are in this region,” says Mosca. “I think the spirit and values of the community which founded the university were contagious and continued to bring more talent to the region over the years.”

Nothing on tonight? Andrew McMurry of the department of English has an offer you can't refuse: "At the Critical Media Lab we present David Cronenberg's 'Videodrome' (runtime 89 minutes). This sometimes repulsive but always fascinating 1983 flick stars the inimitable James Woods as the sleazy operator of a sleazy Canadian cable tv station who becomes embroiled in a sleazy, flesh-morphing, brain-rotting, media conspiracy involving an addictive, plotless television show. Sounds kinda like '24' or 'NCIS,' doesn't it? Post-film discussion led by 1980s-ologist Dr. Aimee Morrison. If you see only one movie this Thursday evening that features Blondie's Deborah Harry as a sadomasochistic blond psychiatrist, make sure it's this one! Free admission. Doors open at 7:30. Olympic hockey updates provided." The CriMe Lab is at 191 King Street West in downtown Kitchener.

Nothing on next Thursday? Kelley Teahen of communications and public affairs has an offer you can't refuse: "The annual International Women's Day Dinner takes place one week from today, March 4, at the University Club, beginning with a reception from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., followed by a three-course dinner at 5:30 p.m.. Reflecting the theme of 'women to women: making global connections', guest speaker Carin Holroyd, a professor in the department of political science, will talk about her volunteer work in Vietnam. History professor Gail Cuthbert Brandt is MC, and Peiyi Nu, a PDT researcher from engineering, will be performing two pieces on the Ehru, a traditional Chinese instrument. Tickets are $32 and are on sale through Monday at the box office in Hagey Hall, telephone 519-888-4908. Menu options for gourmet meat and vegetarian meals are listed on the IWD website, along with more details about the program."

Back to top

Interview with a retired psych prof

by Neal Moogk-Soulis, based on an article in the newsletter of the UW Retirees’ Association

Psychology professor Bill Corning retired on July 1, 2000, after a career that included more than 75 refereed articles and six books. He lives in Baden with his wife Gail, who continues to teach part-time in the Drama and Speech Communication Department at UW.

He was born in 1934, the middle of three brothers. He grew up in central New York State where his father was a printer. Gail and Bill first met at the University of Rochester through mutual friends and they married in 1962.

Corning’s undergraduate education began at Heidelberg College, a small liberal arts college in Tiffin, Ohio, where he studied psychology. He became interested in both the behavioural and the biological aspects of behaviour, in particular how the brain and the neurons within actually functioned.  He later studied at the University of Rochester, and after completing a PhD, he helped establish the biophysics department at Michigan State University before he settled at Fordham University in New York City.

The road to Waterloo began at Fordham. While Corning began his research into the circuits and systems in animal nervous systems, Fordham was in financial crisis in the late 1960s. With one son already, and another on the way, he began to look around for other options. He delivered a talk on the neurochemistry of learning to the American Association for the Advancement of Science  in 1969. Afterwards he received a phone call seeking candidates who might want a faculty position in psychology at a new, well-funded university in Canada. “I told them that I knew of one person who was interested: me.”  He flew to Canada for an interview and joined UW later that year.

Corning was excited at the chance to put an imprint on a growing department, “It was a very active, involved and young department.” Like most departments, it risked becoming set in its ways as it matured. He attributed the long standing dynamism to the young faculty that were constantly brought in to the growing department.

In 1972 Corning had a large tank built in the new psychology building to study marine animal psychology. He worked with horseshoe crabs because they had large, primitive nervous systems. He remembers the large monkey colonies that also used to live in the building, though the focus has switched to human-based research. Among the courses he taught was the introductory to psychology night course.

In retirement, Corning became a full-time artist. He is primarily self-taught, beginning with paper and ink from his father and later colour pencils and realism. In time he turned to painting and estimates that he has painted more than 120 works since the 1960s. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Amadeo Modigliani are his two largest influences. His themes reflect the paths that his life has taken. His travels through the American Southwest, New Mexico and coastal regions are prominent themes, as are his interactions with people.

“My favourite subject is human behaviour and situations, an interest that probably derives from my travels and clinical experiences,” he wrote in an artist’s statement on his web site,. In September 2009, Corning mounted a solo show titled “The Second Time Around” at the Waterloo Community Arts Centre of more than 50 oil and acrylic paintings and limited editions prints titled.

On his web site, he noted that while professional interests took him around North America, art was never far from his mind. “There was always time for art, whether preparing backdrops for theatrical productions, cartoons for newsletters or producing paintings that took prizes, were purchased at open shows and are now widely dispersed in the U. S., Canada, England and Australia.”

Since his last art show finished, Corning continues to paint, but he also turned to more pragmatic matters. When I asked him about his immediate future plans he replied, “I’ll probably redo the bathroom upstairs.” A century-old house has its quirks, and he should know. In his lifetime, he has gutted and rebuilt at least four houses, and learned the basics of carpentry, plumbing and wiring as he went.


Back to top

Link of the day

Good time of year to visit the Klondike

When and where

‘So You Think You Can Dance Waterloo’ auditions continue through Friday, Physical Activities Complex; competition March 27. Details.

RefWorks introductory workshop presented by UW library, Thursday 10:00 or Tuesday 11:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

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

Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Cooperative Education seminar: Kerry Mahoney, career services, “Student Learning Outcomes:  Online and Face-to-Face Instruction Using Subjective and Objective Measures” 12:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment, 12:30 to 2:00, has been cancelled.

Pascal, Cayley and Fermat math contests for grade 9-11 students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, today. Details.

International Spouses monthly gathering: Elisabeth Adrian, career services, “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” 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, 1 to 8 p.m., the Gig Music Hall, downtown Kitchener. Details.

Library workshop: “Conference Proceedings” today or Monday 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Greg Cummings, information systems and technology, retirement party 3:30 p.m., South Campus Hall, Laurel Room, RSVP elmartin@

Career workshop: “Success on the Job” 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Computer Help and Information Place, Math and Computer room 1052, will close early (4:00) today.

Department of English speaker series: Sarah McNamer, Georgetown University, “Medieval Literature and the History of Emotion” 4:00, Humanities room 373.

Computer Science Computing Facility ‘town hall meeting’ on improving the undergraduate computing environment in CS, 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Author reading at St. Jerome’s University: Governor General’s Award winner Fred Wah, 4:30,  StJ room 3027.

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

Arriscraft Lecture: David Gissen, California College of the Arts, “Subnatural Histories” tonight, cancelled.

Bojangles dance showcase: “Dance for Haiti” 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: “Communitech” Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.

Religion and Public Life Conference at Wilfrid Laurier University, Friday 9:00 to 4:30, Paul Martin Centre. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Classroom Communication Strategies” Friday 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

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

Ontario Research Fund announcement of grants, Friday 1:00, Engineering III room 1704, by invitation.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Stacy Wakeford, Canada Science and Technology Museum, “Free-Choice Learning in the Museum” Friday 1:30, Math and Computer room 4061.

Philosophy colloquium: Thomas Lennon, University of Western Ontario, “Descartes and Indifference” Friday 3:30, Humanities room 373.

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

Warrior Weekend activities in the Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m., including dance lessons, fruit, crafts, movies, Black History Month Gala. Details.

Brain Bee for high school students, sponsored by department of kinesiology, Saturday 10 a.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 1621. Details.

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

Career workshop: “Medical School Interviews” Saturday 12:30, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

‘Extreme Ice Racing’ show at Kitchener Auditorium, outing sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Saturday 7:00 p.m., discount ticket information e-mail schatten@

Black History Month Gala: music, poetry, fashion show, Saturday from 8 p.m., Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel University College, winter concert Saturday 8:00 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener. 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.

Pre-enrolment for fall term undergraduate courses, March 1-7 on Quest.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin