Tuesday, March 2, 2010

  • Higher profile for 'honorary members'
  • Music prof launches Paraguay opus
  • Research awards to five arts professors
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[McCrae between chancellor and registrar]Higher profile for 'honorary members'

More people should know about one of UW's special honours, says the chair of the committee charged with finding the people who deserve to receive it.

"The Honorary Member of the University designation is the highest honour a staff member can attain at the University of Waterloo," says a terms-of-reference sheet that has just been approved. "It recognizes the individual for outstanding service to the university as a whole, not limited to one department or faculty. For faculty members it recognizes distinctive administrative service to the university."

The Honorary Members committee must be chaired by a staff member, and currently that's Tom Galloway, director of custodial and grounds services, who says the award — presented at convocation along with other UW honours such as "professor emeritus" status — isn't as widely known as it ought to be.

"Staff and faculty of the university and of its federated and affiliated colleges are eligible upon retirement," say the revised terms of reference, which were given approval in mid-February by the senate committee on honorary degrees, which oversees the program.

"The award is intended to recognize staff who, in addition to excellent departmental work, have contributed distinctive and distinguished service to the university as a whole and/or have made contributions beyond the university that have brought credit to the university. Involvements on multi disciplinary efforts or university-wide collaborations and committee work or significant contributions to outside associations would be examples.

"Members of the faculty should meet a higher standard than staff, in part because they are expected normally to assume a share of service activities on a regular basis. While the Distinguished Professor Emeritus designation is a higher award based on academic criteria, the Honorary Member award for faculty is intended to recognize outstanding administrative or other service.

"Any staff or faculty member can initiate a nomination process within their units. All nominations must be submitted in writing; the nomination package should include a letter of nomination signed by the senior executive of the nominee’s unit with particular reference to the stated criteria.  . . . Nominations approved by the Honorary Member Committee are forwarded to the Senate Nominating Committee for Honorary Degrees for consideration.

"The investiture ceremony will typically take place during a convocation ceremony and will consist of a citation and the placing of a green silk stole embellished with the University of Waterloo crest at each end. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the recipient is expected to attend the ceremony." (Pictured above: Judy McCrae, former director of athletics and recreational services, is inducted as an Honorary Member at fall Convocation 2009.)

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[Weaver poses with sculpture]
Music prof launches Paraguay opus

A new multi-media piece with music by Carol Ann Weaver of Conrad Grebel University College will have its premiere tomorrow in a free concert in Grebel’s chapel.

“Paraguay Primeval”, starting at 12:30 tomorrow, will feature Weaver at the piano, with vocalist Rebecca Campbell, percussionists Kyle Skillman and Chris Snow, cellist Ben Bolt-Martin, Low German reader Henry Paetkau, and projectionist Myra Weaver.

The work stems from a recent trip and an ongoing collection of stories, Weaver says: “In July, my daughter Myra and I found ourselves going to Asunción, Paraguay, for the Mennonite World Conference. Witnessing various cross-cultural reconciliation commemorations on stage, eating meals in the mass cafeteria while speaking German to the man across the table and French to the woman beside me, participating in the massive communion service, were richly significant moments.

“Wending our way through the streets and byways of Asunción, Myra and I took many photos of this once proud city showing its earlier prominence, with its charm, as well as its struggle to stay on top of grinding poverty. I wanted to 'hear' the real Paraguay, so I began to record sound bites — ambient noises, the buzz of a sudden street rally, groups of Asunciónians chatting, a merchant selling pop music by looping its sounds into the vibrant city air.

“Our trek to the Chaco was possibly an even more profound experience. What stole my heart was a sense of the incredible dedication to this new land as displayed by these Mennonite colony people, many of whom had already survived impossible circumstances in Russia, or who had felt the need to leave Canada so they could continue their own schools. I was particularly moved by the statue of the woman with the plow, dedicated to the women's colony in Friedensheim (pictured). And the singing in the Filadelfia churches, both by the Mennonites and by the various indigenous groups, was gripping.

“Back in Canada, I began reading everything I could lay my hands on, and I put out a call for poetry, writings, information of any sort. Gradually, I began composing a set of pieces which would include a multi-media sonic soundscape of my recordings, plus vocal/instrumental songs and instrumental sections. Having already composed much music to poetry of American and Canadian Mennonite poets, I was hoping to find articulate and succinct poetry from these Chaco Mennonites describing their experiences.

“What I found were fascinating journal-entry stories by various writers from the Schoenbrunn Colony, as beautifully translated by Henry and Esther Regehr in their Schoenbrunn Chronicles. I allowed these stories to form rudimentary draft versions of songs. In September Rudy Wiebe's Blue Mountains (with its vivid and poetically written Paraguayan sections) became text for the first fully-completed songs, which Rebecca Campbell and I premiered in Winnipeg at the Mennonite/s Writing Conference in October. I had been told there might be no piano in the Winnipeg conference venue, so Chaco Christmas became an a cappella vocal setting, particularly effective for expressing the stark conditions faced by these staunch Mennonite colonists who faced unbearable heat, strange soil, scarce water, and deadly diseases. ‘Green Hell’ served as an apt description for this new land.

“Esther Regehr describes these writings as ‘raw, unfiltered, and straight from the horse's mouth, coming right from these people's own lives’. I was able to fashion a song about the Harms family members who died during the typhoid outbreak, about Uncle Hans who survived falling into a well, about the women's village at Friedensheim, about drought, heat and Chaco springtime. And from Dora Dueck's Under the Still Standing Sun, an opening song is fashioned, detailing the trek from Russia to Puerto Casado to Chaco land.

“The music attempts to catch the spirit of the text, allowing evocative percussion sounds to augment the other vocal/instrumental sounds and textures.  Writer Dora Dueck will travel from Winnipeg, and Henry and Esther Regehr will come from Waterloo to attend this premiere.”

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Research awards to five arts professors

by Janet Janes, office of research

Five faculty members have each received an award to further their research in the humanities and social sciences — ranging from performance-based research in early English theatre history to the investigation of Arab-Canadian migration and integration in the context of globalization.

The Robert Harding Humanities and Social Sciences Awards and the Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Awards were presented to the faculty members at a reception last week in which a welcoming address was provided by president David Johnston.

The awards were made from the Robert Harding Humanities and Social Sciences Endowment. This endowment was established in 2008 by Bob Harding, chair of the board of governors. Recognizing the value of humanities and social sciences research, as well as a need for funding in this area, Harding donated $1 million to launch the fund and the university matched it with another million. Harding also chose to honour Lois Claxton, the secretary of the university, for her visionary leadership and many years of dedication to Waterloo by having half of the awards made in her name each year.

The endowment will help researchers in the humanities, social sciences, and fine and performing arts improve their success in securing external grants and support small-scale or startup projects.

Recipients of the Robert Harding Humanities and Social Sciences Award:

  • Guy Poirier, professor, French Studies, to establish a network of researchers as well as a digital archive and database of French missionary writing. These projects will serve as a foundation for his collaborative, international research on the impact of these writings on historical and current conceptions of the “Other.”
  • Jennifer Roberts-Smith, assistant professor, Drama and Speech Communication, to support the multi-university project “Chester 2010: Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy,” which examines performance-based research in early English theatre history.

Recipients of the Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Awards:

  • Alice Kuzniar, professor, Germanic and Slavic Studies, to launch a new interdisciplinary project examining the potential contribution of the neglected Romantic Orphic tradition to current thinking about or relationship with the environment.
  • Victoria Lamont, associate professor, English Language and Literature, to further her research on the genre of the popular western, specifically, examining the significant contribution of women writers in shaping this “male genre” in its early years.
  • Bessma Momani, associate professor, Political Science and History, to complete a project investigating Arab-Canadian migration and integration in the context of globalization.


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Link of the day

Colorectal Cancer Awareness

When and where

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

Graduate Student Association referenda on bus pass and expansion of health services, polls open until Thursday midnight. Details.

RefWorks introductory workshop presented by UW library, 11:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

UW Recreation Committee presents Marilyn Smith, school of optometry, “The 45-Plus Eye” 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116 (workshop is full).

Career workshops today: “Writing CVs and Cover Letters” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218; “Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions” 3:30, Tatham room 1208. Details.

Joint health and safety committee 1:30 p.m., Commissary room 112D.

Library workshop: “Assess Your Research Impact” 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ events organized by Students for Palestinian Rights: today, film “Britain and the Struggle for the Holy Land” 1:30, Student Life Centre great hall; human rights advocate Suzanne Weiss speaks 6 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 307.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology presents Marc Aucoin, chemical engineering, “Baculoviruses, What Can’t They Do” 3:30, Chemistry II room 361.

Computer Science Club presents John Watrous, Institute for Quantum Computing, “QIP=PSPACE” 4:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

Student Climate Change Colloquium (second annual) sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, Wednesday-Thursday, South Campus Hall. Details.

Canada 3.0 Interactions, continuing the discussions at Canada 3.0 in June 2009: keynote speaker David Jacobsen, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and panelists, Wednesday 8:30 a.m., PwC, 145 King Street West, Toronto. Register.

Refworks workshop aimed at members of Teaching-Based Research Group, Wednesday 10 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

School of planning seminar: Nancy Button, director, rapid transit, Region of Waterloo, Wednesday 12:30, Environment I room 354.

Israel on Campus presents Barry Rubin, “The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Understanding the Current Impasse” Wednesday 12:30, Wilfrid Laurier University, Alvin Woods Building 2-106.

Chemistry seminar: Mario Leclerc, Université Laval, “Conjugated Polymers: From Micro-Electronics to Genomics” Wednesday 2:30, Chemistry II room 361.

Career workshop Wednesday: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” 3:30, Tatham room 1208. Details.

Short Attention Span Math Seminars hosted by Pure Math Club, Wednesday-Thursday 4:30 to 11 p.m., Math and Computer room 2066.

Perimeter Institute public lecture: Joseph Emerson, Institute for Quantum Computing, “The Quantum World, from Weird to Wired” Wednesday 7:00,  Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association presents BBC documentary, “Did Jesus Die?” Wednesday 7:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 2065.

Observatory night with brief talk on astronomy, tour of UW observatory and chance to look through telescope, Wednesday 8:00, Physics room 308.

Staff career workshops Thursday: “Networking Is Not a Dirty Word” 3:00; “Job Search Solutions” 5:00, Tatham Centre, register lkoblyk@ uwaterloo.ca.

Work reports from fall co-op work term marked by field coordinators available for pickup from Tatham Centre, Friday.

St. Jerome’s University Scarboro Missions Lecture: Vincent Miller, University of Dayton, “Where Are We? Responsibility, Spirituality and Place in a Global Age” Friday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Etiquette Essentials: Dinner and workshop for graduating students, hosted by Student Life Office and Alumni Affairs, March 9, 5:30 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

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