Friday, May 7, 2010

  • Web projects set November target
  • Canada 3.0 — and our mental health
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Lots of black T-shirts]

The Formula SAE car that will represent Waterloo in competition this year was unveiled in the Student Life Centre Wednesday night by the team that designed and built it. Team lead Tom Ngo, a mechanical engineering student, is in the driver's seat. Photo thanks to Angelo Alaimo of the Iron Warrior.

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Web projects set November target

A new web home page for the University of Waterloo — possibly along the lines of a preview that was glimpsed in March — is now expected in November, as two web projects that started separately yield their results at the same time.

The web “redesign” project is being largely merged with the “content management system” software project, officials have announced, and it will be well into the fall term before the new CMS and the new site design go public together.

Eva Grabinski of information systems and technology, who’s coordinating the Content Management System project, said on the web projects’ web site this week that three pilot sites will come first: “uWaterloo main, November 2010 timeframe; housing and residences, December 2010 timeframe; a web resources website (including CMS adopters information), January 2011 timeframe.”

The other project, for a redesign of appearance and “information architecture” across the university’s 300-plus web sites, is coordinated by Sarah Forgrave of the communications and public affairs office. She gives some history: “In the summer of 2009 it was determined that the University of Waterloo web redesign project would be outsourced to a consultant who had significant expertise in higher-education web design. The external consultant was to work co-operatively with a small internal team to develop and launch the new University of Waterloo website in September 2010.”

But “as conversations between the two project managers for the redesign and WCMS project continued, it was determined that it would make most sense to delay the launch of the redesigned top-level University of Waterloo site by two months and instead join the two projects and launch the top-level site as a pilot site for the WCMS project.”

That means everybody can avoid doing the same work twice, once with the existing software (most people are using Dreamweaver or Contribute for web creation at present) and again when the new product, Drupal, is in use.

“Eventually,” Grabinski explains, “Drupal will be replacing Dreamweaver and Contribute as the centrally supported method for creating and maintaining university websites. We have a lot of university websites . . . rolling out Drupal has taken a couple of years (or more) at Canadian universities comparable to ours.”

With the earliest parts of the brand-new site still several months away, some UW web pages will be able to show off the university’s new graphic look without making two redesigns necessary. Effective “immediately”, Forgrave says, “all site maintainers” can adapt the existing web look-and-feel to use the new colours and wordmarks for their faculties or departments, as well as some of the “language and media assets” that marketing experts have approved.

The next step, “within the next few months”, will involve “a small common University of Waterloo header that will involve a minimal amount of code change” appearing at the top of all web pages across the university. “This is particularly important as we transition to a new design in the CMS,” says Forgrave, “as it will assist in orienting site users during a time where there will not be consistency in look and feel.”

Sometime next winter, web users will start to see a new look for the faculties’ web sites, starting with engineering, which “will be used as a pilot site to provide best practices and lessons learned which will then be shared with other faculties,” Forgrave said.

It’s also been announced that “all University of Waterloo websites” will be hosted in one central CMS, maintained by IST.” Alan George, associate provost (IST), points out in a memo that “having multiple installations removes many of the advantages of using a CMS and is both inefficient and unnecessary.” He added that “a central implementation does not imply central control of website administration and website content.”

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Canada 3.0 — and our mental health

Enthusiasm is building for the "Canada 3.0" forum next week in Stratford, and the stage is building too, judging from a photo posted online yesterday by Brandi Gillett of the advancement staff in the faculty of arts. The two-day event is being held at the Rotary Complex on Stratford's north side, co-sponsored by Waterloo's Stratford campus and the Canadian Digital Media Network, and it's clearly where you'll find the country's digerati next week. (Better add that word to your glossary quickly, before your spellchecker blows up.) The event is "officially sold out", a Twitter posting said yesterday, "but we still welcome general public, so make sure u register." University president David Johnston will be on hand to introduce the keynote speaker, federal industry minister Tony Clement; dean of arts Ken Coates is a key participant; and Global National news anchor Kevin Newman is serving as master of ceremonies. I'm still gleaning details about how the forum will be tweeted, streamed and otherwise delivered over the fibre optic cables; and I'm learning not to embarrass myself by pronouncing its name the way the in-crowd do it, "Canada Three Dot Oh". Oh.

A group of faculty members are making sure that Waterloo is represented tomorrow in Science Rendezvous, an Ontario-wide "one-day festival style celebration for all the public, for free, celebrating all things science". Local activities are sponsored by the university, Perimeter Institute, the Research and Technology Park and the city of Waterloo, says optometry professor Melanie Campbell, one of the organizers. Local activities start at 1:00 tomorrow at Williams Coffee Pub, just east of campus, with Sipping Science, described as "a stimulating, informal discussion on development and genetics with leading scientists". The key topic: "Environmental Influences that Echo across Generations: Your History and Your Health". Starting a little later, and running from 1:30 to 4:00, are hands-on demonstrations in the lobby of the Princess Twin Theatre on King Street: "Non Newtonian Monsters, Thermal Impressions, Coffee Cup Engine, Bernoulli Blower and a Superconducting Train". Starting at 2:00 in the adjacent Princess Café, it's more "Sipping Science" — another "stimulating, informal discussion", this time on nanotechnology. Finally, at 4:00 the Princess Twin will show "The Quantum Tamers: Revealing our Weird & Wired Future". (Free tickets are available at the theatre starting at 1:30.) After the film, a discussion will be led by Damian Pope, senior manager of outreach at Perimeter.

The 5th annual President David Johnston Run for Mental Health is happening on campus on Tuesday, May 18, which is less than two weeks away. Proceeds raised by the event, a flyer explains, will be directed towards Health Services suicide prevention programs. Runners will make two laps of the ring road, a total of 5 kilometres; walkers, just one lap. Both individuals and teams can participate; they’re asked to register (and pay a fee) by May 14, or pay a higher rate if they just show up at the starting line on the big day. “Registration,” says the flyer, “includes a commemorative T-shirt, autographed certificate and refreshments.” “Bib pickup” on race day is at 4:30 p.m. at the Student Life Centre, with the actual race beginning at 5:00. The event is backed by health services (and the MATES program), the president’s office, Moods magazine, and the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council. Prizes come from the Runner’s Choice store in Waterloo as well as the department of athletics and recreational services. Registration forms are available at Health Services room 123 or online. Postscript: “The Faculty of Arts advancement team got together and made a video in support of the mental health run,” Alex Lippert writes from the PAS building. “We are challenging our colleagues on campus to join us.”

A note is at hand from Jeffrey Baer, president of the Waterloo chapter of SOS — that's "Students Offering Support", an organization that combines a tutoring service with a fund-raising mission. "Just to let you know how much we've achieved this term," he reports 22 review sessions held by 47 volunteers for a total of 1,052 students in 11 courses. Such efforts raised $18,265 in the winter term, a little more than last fall's total. "All of the money raised," he says, "is going toward the community of Lucre in the region of Cusco, Peru, which recently suffered a severe flood. Not only are the villages left with little shelter, food and clothing, but their kindergarten classroom, community centre and coliseum collapsed as well. This August, 22 Waterloo SOS volunteers will be travelling to Cusco with Awaiting Angels, a non-profit organization, to work on a two-week project that includes building a new kindergarten classroom, sewing workshop, English language training classroom and library. We hope this is the start of a rewarding relationship."

A number of retired staff members have died in recent days, the human resources department reports:

  • Nellie Bastedo, who was a reference librarian from 1975 to her retirement in 1984, died March 15.
  • Douglas Pearce, who was a budget analyst for the office then known as vice-president (finance and operations) from 1970 to his retirement in 1981, died April 5.
  • Barbara Brubacher, who was business manager at St. Paul’s College from 1968 to her retirement in 1983, died April 7.
  • Ivan Howe, who was an electrician in plant operations from 1967 to his retirement in 1987, died April 17.
  • Carlos Radoc, who was a custodian from 1974 to his retirement in 1998, died April 24.
  • Philip Simpson, who was a maintenance supervisor in plant operations from 1973 to his retirement April 1, 2009, died May 1.
  • Elias Schwarz, who was a custodian from 1976 to his retirement in 1986, died May 3.


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Link of the day

Tulips from the Netherlands

When and where

Campus recreation registration for intramural sports, final day, Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Bicycle auction 12:30 (previews 12:00), Student Life Centre courtyard, cash or cheque only, buyers must have UW identification. Details.

Carousel Dance Centre recitals Friday-Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

K-W Musical Productions presents the romantic comedy “I Love You Because” Friday, Saturday and May 12-15, 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $30 (students $20) 519-578-1570. Details.

[Mothers' Day balloon]Mothers’ Day brunch at University Club, Sunday 11:00 to 1:30, $24.95 plus tax and gratuity, reservations ext. 33801.

UW Blooms Monday 10:00 to 4:00, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre: donate, pick up or exchange plants, seeds, pots, gardening material.

Senate graduate and research council Monday 10:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Library workshop: “New Faculty and Grad Students, Research Tools and Library Services” Monday 1:30, Davis library conference room; May 17 at 10:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Work reports to be marked by coordinators are due Monday, 4:00 p.m., Tatham Centre.

Alumni reception in Calgary during Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists conference, Tuesday 6:00, BMO Centre. Details.

Book launch: Richard Payette, The Amulet of Apollo, print-on-demand novel, Tuesday 7:00 p.m., bookstore, South Campus Hall.

Retirees Association bus tour, “Wineries of the Beamsville Bench” Wednesday, details 519-885-6719.

Open class enrolment for spring term courses ends May 14 (online courses, May 7).

Ontario Olympic Youth Academy for students in grades 10-12, co-sponsored by department of recreation and leisure studies, May 14-16. Details.

Staff career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type” May 14, 1:00 (and second session May 21), Tatham Centre. Details.

Co-op job postings for fall work term open May 15 (main group and pharmacy students). Employer interviews begin May 26 (pharmacy), May 27 (main group).

You @ Waterloo Day for applicants considering offers of admission, May 20, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., headquarters at Student Life Centre. Details.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 24, UW offices and most services closed, classes not held.

Winter term grades become official May 25.

Bob Truman, institutional analysis and planning, retirement reception May 26, 3:00 to 6:00, University Club, RSVP a2morrow@

Retirees Association spring luncheon May 27, 11:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, tickets $25, information 519-888-0334.

‘The Peeled I’, one-man show based on the life and work of Robertson Davies, performed by K. Reed Needles, sponsored by Arbitrary Angle Theatre Company, May 27 and 28 at 8 p.m., May 29 at 2 and 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

UW board of governors June 1, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

100th Convocation June 16-19, Physical Activities Complex: AHS and environment, Wednesday 10 a.m.; science Wednesday 2:30 p.m.; arts Thursday 10:00 and 2:30; mathematics Friday 10:00 and 2:30; engineering Saturday 10:00 and 2:30. Details.

PhD oral defences

Biology. Gregory M. Silsbe, “Bio-Optical Modeling of Aquatic Photosynthesis in the Laurentian Great Lakes.” Supervisors, Robert E. Hecky and Ralph E. H. Smith. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, May 11, 9:30 a.m., Biology I room 266.

Kinesiology. Eric Bombardier, “The Role of Sarcolipin in Calcium Handling and Obesity.” Supervisor, Russell Tupling. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Wednesday, May 12, 1:00 p.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 1633.

Chemistry. Howard Chun-Kuiu Siu, “Characterization of the Self-Assembly of Pyrene-Labelled Macromolecules in Water.” Supervisor, Jean Duhamel. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Wednesday, May 12, 2:00 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

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