Friday, May 21, 2010

  • Long weekend for the Queen’s birthday
  • 22,500 get offers, 6,000 will come
  • 'Reframing' can strengthen couples' bonds
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[V.R.]Long weekend for the Queen’s birthday

Monday will be Victoria Day, a holiday for most things in this country, including the university. As one of my colleagues wrote in this space a couple of years back, “It's our gateway to the short, sweet Canadian summer, the date you can safely plant your annuals and set up the barbecue.”

It’s also, of course, the birthday of the late Queen Victoria (born 1819, reigned 1837-1901). She was the great-great-grandmother of the present Queen, Elizabeth II, who was on local front pages yesterday with the news that she’ll be visiting Kitchener-Waterloo in the first week of July. It’s the Queen’s first appearance in K-W since 1973, and apparently a tour of Research In Motion is on her itinerary.

But back to the May 24 long weekend: UW classes will not be held on Monday, and offices and most services are closed.

That includes the bookstore and other retail services outlets. Mudie’s cafeteria, in Village I, will be open as usual, but all other food outlets, including Tim Hortons in the Student Life Centre, will be closed Saturday through Monday. The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Monday (open as usual on Saturday and Sunday). The Physical Activities Complex will be closed all weekend, and the Columbia Icefield closed Monday (but open Saturday and Sunday).

Some key services continue uninterrupted: UW police, 519-888-4911 (ext. 22222 on campus); Student Life Centre, turnkey desk 519-888–4434 (ext. 84434 on campus); maintenance emergencies ext. 33793.

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22,500 get offers, 6,000 will come

[Visitors in Student Life Centre]Waterloo is “in a strong position” to hit the targets for September first-year enrolment, but everything now depends on individual decisions by students, including the thousands who visited campus during a four-hour open house event last night (right).

“There’s a process,” registrar Ken Lavigne reminded the university senate at its monthly meeting on Monday. “We make the offer, the student accepts, and that’s called a confirmation. We need just under 6,100 confirmations to achieve that target” — actually, 6,085.

But “there is a lot of churn over the summer,” Lavigne said. “They change their minds, or they don’t meet the conditions we set out. My next report will detail whether we have made that 6,085 by June 1.”

That doesn’t mean there will be six thousand new first-year students when the official count is taken on November 1, he assured the senate. The target for that day is 5,487 (not counting previously registered students who are still in first year).

“In order to reach our goal,” the registrar said, “we needed to make 21,000 offers. I’m pleased to stay that we’ve beaten that target and we have made 22,500 offers.

“We have not had to lower our standards in making this larger number of admission offers — five per cent more than last year at this time. The quality is there.”

Actually, according to the associate registrar (admissions), Nancy Weiner, a total of 22,546 offers had been sent out by last Friday. That includes 5,760 offers for arts, the largest faculty; 5,077 for science; 4,126 for math; 3,576 for engineering; 1,920 for environment; 1,772 for applied health sciences; 212 for software engineering; and 103 for computing and financial management.

Most of the offers — 18,552 — went to “OSS” (Ontario secondary school) students. But 2,229 went to non-OSS students inside Canada, and 1,765 to international students.

More than half the offers of admission were accompanied by an offer of an entrance scholarship: 14,104 President’s and Merit  Scholarships, for students with high school averages over 90 or over 85. “More students of that calibre!” Lavigne told the senate happily. “Now all Feridun [Hamdullahpur, the provost] has to do is find the money!” Weiner’s report shows that 87 per cent of engineering offers included a scholarship, and 79 per cent of offers in math.

While the main admissions process goes on, Waterloo is also trying to fill first-year classes at the United Arab Emirates campus — this year not only in engineering, which began last fall, but also in mathematics. So far, 23 students have been admitted in engineering, Lavigne reported, and 21 in math. Last year at the same time: 15.

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'Reframing' can strengthen couples' bonds

a news release from the media relations office

Romantic relationships involving low self-esteem individuals can be strengthened by using a psychological intervention technique, says a new University of Waterloo study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

The technique enables low self-esteem individuals to help themselves by thoroughly reviewing and taking to heart any compliments from loved ones. Typically, they question their partner’s sincerity and dismiss compliments as concrete, isolated incidents. Making more abstract meaning of the compliments, however, allows them to deal with inevitable difficulties that occur in most relationships.

Without the technique, individuals with low self-esteem are quick to suppose that a partner's irritation or disappointment means that their partner sees critical faults in them, which leads them to question their partner's love and acceptance of them.

"Even in the most satisfying relationships, partners will inevitably irritate, upset or disappoint each other on occasion," said Denise Marigold, a professor of psychology at Renison University College. "One of the major challenges of relationship life is to be able to absorb the impact of relatively minor slights and prevent them from shaking one's core sense of relationship security. Low self-esteem individuals have relatively more trouble rising to this challenge."

She conducted the study with John Holmes and Michael Ross, both faculty members in the psychology department.

"On the basis of our research," she says, "we suggest that low-esteem individuals should be encouraged to abstractly frame and generalize from their partner's positive behaviour on a regular basis. This may help them to develop resilience for the occasional negative experiences that are just as much a part of relationship life.

When feeling acutely insecure, low-esteem individuals protect themselves from further psychological hurt by derogating their partner and distancing themselves from the relationship. In other words, a less important relationship is less painful to lose. Over time, these defensive behaviours undermine the well-being of the relationship.

People with high self-esteem, on the other hand, tend to respond more resiliently to threats — they actually embellish their partner's acceptance and draw closer to the relationship.

One way to counter the destructive behaviour of low self-esteem individuals is to have them describe or reframe praise from their partners in an abstract manner, explaining why their partners admired them and what the compliments meant to them. This technique is known as the abstract reframing intervention.

In previous research, the Waterloo researchers asked participants to recall a compliment that they had recently received from their current romantic partner. In the critical condition in each study, researchers used the abstract reframing intervention. Participants were asked to explain why their partner admired them, what the compliment meant to them and what significance it had for their relationship.

When low-esteem individuals described a past compliment from their partner in this abstract manner, compared with low-esteem individuals who were not asked to use an abstract description, they reported greater feelings of security in their partner's acceptance and more satisfaction with their relationship. These effects still held when re-measured two to three weeks later.

The abstract reframing intervention had no effect for people with high self-esteem, who already felt very secure and satisfied with their relationships in the absence of any intervention.

The new research study extends the previous work in two ways. In one study, involving 21 male and 55 female undergraduate students, researchers showed that after receiving the abstract reframing intervention, low-esteem individuals responded resiliently to salient concerns about their partner's acceptance. They did not derogate their partner as threatened low-esteem individuals typically do. In a second study, involving 20 male and 67 female undergraduate students, they showed that low-esteem individuals who received the abstract reframing intervention exhibited less cold and critical behaviour toward their partner over a two-week period.

Thus, the abstract reframing intervention seems to prevent low-esteem individuals from turning their anxiety about an isolated relationship incident into more general concerns about their partner's acceptance of them. This protects their relationships by decreasing their defensive behaviour toward their partner.


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Conference honours stats profs

A conference is under way honouring two prominent Waterloo researchers in the field of statistics, with talks being given yesterday and today in the Arts Lecture Hall.

The conference on “Statistical Methods and Life History Analysis” is being held “to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Jack Kalbfleisch and Jerry Lawless”, the conference web site says.

“Through a remarkably productive collaborative research program, important advances have been made in a broad range of areas in the statistical sciences including life history methods, methods for incomplete data, response-selective and multi-phase sampling and statistical inference. This conference is an opportunity to celebrate these achievements and the impact these two outstanding researchers have had on the discipline of statistics, their students and colleagues, and University of Waterloo through their vision and leadership.”

Speakers come from as far afield as Auckland, California, Cambridge and Copenhagen. A banquet last night in South Campus Hall was the major social event for the conference, which has drawn about 100 participants.

Lawless has been a Waterloo faculty member since 1972 and is now distinguished professor emeritus. Kalbfleisch was on faculty from 1967 to 2002, and served as dean of mathematics 1990-1998.

Link of the day

Birthday of Buddha

When and where

Canadian Student Conference on Biomedical Computing and Engineering hosted by school of computer science, May 20-22, Davis Centre. Details.

Drop, no penalty period ends (last day to drop or withdraw from spring term courses with 100 per cent tuition refund) Friday, May 21.

‘Chester 2010’ symposium on “Drama and Religion 1555-1575”, including live performance of the Chester Cycle plays, May 21-24, Victoria College, University of Toronto, co-sponsored by UW. Details.

Library electronic services Scholars Portal and Racer will be unavailable Monday 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. for server upgrading.

Procurement and contract services annual trade show in Davis Centre lounge: technology and computers, Tuesday; Staples, Wednesday; e-procurement, Thursday. Details.

Touring Players children’s show: “The Name of the Tree” Tuesday 10:00 and 1:00.

QPR Suicide Prevention training session Tuesday 11:30 to 1:00, Math and Computer room 4068, register ext. 33528.

Engineering exchange programs information session Tuesday 11:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 4306.

Education Credit Union seminar: “Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Wills” Tuesday 12:05, Davis Centre room 1302, reservations janinew@

Career workshops Tuesday: “Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions” 2:30, “Networking 101” 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Biology and chemistry seminar: Frank Gu, chemical engineering, “Polymeric Nanomaterials for Cancer Therapy” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry II room 361.

Robin Jones, school of optometry, retirement reception Tuesday 4:00 to 6:00, University Club, RSVP samccoy@

Computer Science Club presents Gerald Sussman, “Why Programming Is a Good Medium for Expressing Poorly Understood and Sloppily Formatted Ideas” Tuesday 5:00, Math and Computer room 2066. Details.

Laurier Association for Lifelong Learning lecture by Paul Tiessen (WLU) and Hildi Froese Tiessen (Conrad Grebel UC), “The Construction of Kitchener-Waterloo in the Visual Imagination of Woldemar Neufeld” Tuesday 7:00, senate and board chamber, WLU.

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

Female faculty networking opportunity sponsored by faculty association Status of Women and Equity Committee, June 24, 4:00 to 6:00, Graduate House upstairs lounge, information ext. 33468.

PhD oral defences

Civil and environmental engineering. Wail Menesi, "Construction Scheduling Using Critical Path Analysis with Separate Time Segments (CPS)." Supervisor, Tarek Hegazi. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, May 26, 9:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Biology. Lisa A. Golding, "Chronic Bioaccumulation and Toxicity of Cadmium from a Periphyton Diet to Hyalella azteca." Supervisors, D. George Dixon and Uwe Borgmann. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Wednesday, May 26, 1:00 p.m., Biology I room 266.

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