Friday, November 19, 2010

  • Renison-Waterloo-China program flies
  • O'Gorman work reinvents Canadian icon
  • Notes from on, off, and cyber campus
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Renison-Waterloo-China program flies

Renison University College news release

Grace Chum (of North York), Annie Wong (of Hong Kong), Ron Champion (Renison’s English Language Institute)

(From left: Grace Chum of North York, Annie Wong of Hong Kong, Ron Champion of Renison’s English Language Institute.)

A major agreement has been struck that will bring a special group from China to Renison’s classrooms in 2011. The Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC) will be sending almost half of their English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers to Waterloo to take part in the ACE TESOL course, which instructs ESL teachers in methods to teach English to speakers of other languages.

CAFUC, located in Guanghan, China, is the largest aviation training facility in the world, responsible for training pilots, air traffic controllers, aviation mechanics, and other aviation personnel for the civil aviation sector in China. CAFUC trains about 90 per cent of all pilots for civil aviation in China and for other countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Mongolia and Vietnam.

Forty ESL teachers will take this course. Half the teachers will come in late January and half in the summer. The training will last 3-4 months and include 250 hours of instruction in best practices in ESL teaching methodologies and more than 50 hours of classroom observation, practice teaching, instruction in phonics, and evaluation of language software.

“This project is the largest ever for [Renison’s] English Language Institute—and certainly the most exciting because of the potential to influence how English is taught to thousands of students in China,” says Judi Jewinski, Renison’s administrative dean.

Renison’s principal, Glenn Cartwright, is excited by the prospect of building new partnerships beyond local borders. “It means that Renison gains recognition on the international scene by training [these teachers].”

Faculty of Arts involved in ESL research centre

A second part of the agreement is the establishment of the Wong-Chum ESL Research Centre (WCERC) at the University of Waterloo, a joint venture of the Faculty of Arts and Renison University College. The centre will be devoted to understanding second-language instruction and training and to improving current ESL programs.

WCERC will be funded by Perfect Wisdom, a not-for-profit corporation established by Dr. Annie Wong and Grace Chum, and will collaborate with a similar centre to be established at CAFUC on teaching ESL to Asian learners. The first project will be to evaluate the impact of the training program scheduled for 2011.

Ken Coates, dean of the Faculty of Arts, says that this program will explore new ways of training young people and ESL teachers. “Our goal is to improve ESL outcomes and to create life-long proficiency in English for our students.”

This isn’t CAFUC’s first affiliation with an outside party that wishes to make improvements to the quality of English taught at the school. Actor Jackie Chan has taken an interest in the school and established the Jackie Chan Charitable Aviation Fund. This foundation was created to help students in financial need get the education to become a pilot, and to increase the quality of English amongst Chinese pilots.

According to Chan’s website, he thinks the pilots trained in China have the necessary skills to fly the planes, but need to improve their English to avoid mid-flight “misunderstanding[s]” and “scary moments” along international routes.

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O'Gorman work reinvents a Canadian icon

A “cyber-ghost canoe” is the core of an artistic installation by Marcel O’Gorman entitled “Myth of the Steersman” to be part of a Kitchener exhibition on Tom Thomson next year.

canoe prow in Canoe lakeThe ambiguous, many-layered character of the work is in keeping with the near-mythic status of the artist, whose paintings of the Canadian wilderness have become iconic, and whose early and mysterious death on Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, in July 1917, still haunts the collective imagination.

O’Gorman, a Waterloo professor of English who directs the Critical Media Lab in the arts faculty, recently won a juried competition for the inaugural Murray Gamble Family Award for his proposal for an interactive work with a digital component that would interpret an aspect of the Thomson exhibition.

Entitled “Searching for Tom – Tom Thomson: Man, Myth and Masterworks,” the exhibition opens next February at the Museum in downtown Kitchener. It will include works by Thomson and photos and other objects related to him, as well as works by his contemporaries and by later artists who were influenced or inspired by him.

O’Gorman’s “Myth of the Steersman” centres on Thomson’s canoe, which was found floating and empty after his death, and which disappeared soon afterward. The project, he explains on his blog, itself a work in progress, “resurrects this vessel with a spirit of adventure and pioneering inspired not by Canada’s pristine lakes, but by the vast and equally mythic expanse of cyberspace.”

Canoe carried past Kitchener City hallHe began by locating an old cedar and canvas canoe of the same Chestnut Cruiser model owned by Thomson, painted it blue-grey like the original, and (above) took it to Canoe Lake for a photo shoot in the spot where Thomson is believed to have died. Later O’Gorman and student Pouya Emami portaged the canoe (left) across downtown Kitchener to its present home in the Museum on King Street. The photos and videos taken during the canoe’s travels and development, as well as the artist’s blog, will be part of the exhibit.

Next came the transformation of the canoe from a water-borne vehicle into a digital art installation. O’Gorman wrapped the canoe with fishing line, recalling that Thomson was found with one leg wrapped in fishing line, and also suggesting the wind/wilderness association of the Aeolian harp.

Inside the canoe, under the fishing line, three touch-screen monitors will provide the ghostly glow that O’Gorman first visualized in a dream. They will also provide the digital interface that will allow people, in the museum and in cyberspace, to make the canoe come alive.

The interface is still in the design phase. “What I imagine at this point is that people will strum across a series of images on the monitors related to Thomson's life and work,” O’Gorman says. “The screens in the museum/gallery will be linked to a website that also displays three screens. When a gallery patron strums the screen, you will see this action appear on the website.

“Also, when someone visiting the website ‘strums’ the screens by dragging a mouse across them, this action will be mirrored on the actual canoe screens in the gallery. In fact, it will be possible for someone on the web to interrupt the strumming of someone in the gallery.”

O’Gorman’s English classes will be introduced to the project in the winter term, he says, “and students will help me put it all together. There's a lot of fishing line to work with. . . .”

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Notes from on, off, and cyber campus

More than 4,000 optometrists and vision scientists from around the world, including some from Waterloo, are attending this year's American Academy of Optometry meeting in San Francisco. Reporting from the meeting is Thomas Freddo, director of Waterloo’s School of Optometry. "Each year, the academy selects a very limited number from more than a thousand research presentations to be featured in a press conference for local and national media," Freddo says. “This year, one of the 10 selected to be featured in the press conference was a presentation by three Waterloo faculty members.” The title of the talk was "The Prevalence of Binocular Vision Anomalies in the Elderly," by optometry professors Susan Leat, Elizabeth Irving, and Patricia Hrynchak.

Logo for Scholars PortalThe latest issue of the University Library’s newsletter is now online. Among other news, it’s celebrating the 20 millionth e-journal article loaded to the Scholars Portal e-journal database. “Many of you will know Scholars Portal as the primary ‘journal articles’ search on the Library’s homepage: By locally loading articles, Scholars Portal not only lets you search across over 20 million articles, but it also helps Ontario university libraries preserve access to this e-journal content so it will still be available in the future. In addition to this achievement, Scholars Portal also recently launched an e-journal mobile application and has enabled French language interfaces within its e-journals and e-books platforms.”

News @ your library is also asking readers to take part in an online survey with the object of improving the publication.

There are still some spots left in the International Students Holiday Experience, but you're advised to apply by November 25. This "comprehensive Living-Learning cultural program" is based at UW Place over the December holiday break, December 23 to January 2. While any Waterloo student can apply, priority is given to international undergrads currently living in residence on a two-term contract (fall/winter). Activities could include such things as a traditional Canadian Christmas dinner, ice skating, day trips to Toronto and/or Niagara Falls, a coffeehouse/cultural night, and a faculty/staff night. The $500 fee includes all accommodation and excursions, with some costs extra. More information, and an online application form, are on the program's website. Questions? Contact Gregory Smith, manager of Living-Learning Programs at the university: or ext. 31124.

A notice about the Math bridge construction comes from Don Haffner, the university’s major projects construction coordinator: From Monday, November 22 to Friday, November 26, “we will be installing the steel structure for the walls, complete with window glazing and flashing, between the two concrete columns over the Math road. It is necessary to close the Math road before the loading dock to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Pedestrians will continue to have a walkway beside the math stairs.” He adds that this is a fire route and the fencing will be opened for emergency vehicles; but there will be no deliveries to the Math loading dock between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the construction time, and no access to the QNC/Aecon parking lot.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

World Toilet Day

When and where

International Education Week November 15-19, details online and to be announced.

Flu immunization clinic November 17-19, 10:00 to 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

‘The Comedy of Errors’ by William Shakespeare, drama department production, preview (by invitation) public performances continue Thursday-Saturday 8 p.m. Theatre of the Arts, tickets 519-888-4908.

Waterloo Unlimited “Roadmap to Research” residential program for grade 12 students, November 18-20. Details.

‘Drop, penalty 1’ period ends November 19 (date changed from what was originally announced).

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel UC, breakfast seminar: “What Happens When Equal Parties Sit at a Round Table?” Friday 7 a.m., Bingemans.

Spirituality and aging seminar: George F. Handzo, HealthCare Chaplaincy, “Integrating Spiritual Care into Health Care” Friday 9:00 to 3:00, Conrad Grebel UC, fee $50, information ext. 24264.

Country presentation: “Netherlands, A Tiny Country Home to the Most Progressive and Liberal Ideas” Friday 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116.

Ontario-Jiangsu (China) exchange program information session Friday 2:00, Needles Hall room 1116.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Ray Cao, “My Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride” Friday 2:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 307.

International Development guest speaker, David Pell, CEO of Streetkids International, on "Street Business for Urban Youth in Kenya," Friday 2-3:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College, MacKirdy Hall. Faculty and students welcome.

Philosophy colloquium: Jamie Tappenden, University of Michigan, “Natural Properties in Mathematics” Friday 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Nanorobotics Group discussion of the year’s progress, including entry in the 2010 NIS Mobile Microrobotics Challenge, Friday 4:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

Toronto Raptors vs. Houston Rockets, bus to Toronto for the game, Friday evening, tickets at athletics department, Physical Activities Complex.

St. Jerome’s University lecture: Robert Ellsberg, Maryknoll, “Dorothy Day: A Saint for Today” Friday, November 19, 7:30, Siegfried Hall.

Benjamin Eby Lecture, Conrad Grebel University College: Nathan C. Funk, Peace Starts Now: Religious Contributions to Sustainable Peacemaking” Friday 7:30, Grebel chapel.

‘Masquerade’ all-ages event presented by off-campus dons, Friday from 8 p.m., Federation Hall.

Warrior Weekend Winter Carnival and International Celebration Day, Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m . - 1 a.m., Student Life Centre. Free with WatCard. Details.

Math Charity Ball in aid of Canadian Blood Services, Saturday, November 20, 6:00 to midnight, Federation Hall, tickets $25 single, $45 couple at Math Society office.

East Campus Hall, Engineering 5, and Continuing Education: electrical power shut down Sunday, November 21, 6 a.m. to noon.

Centre for Career Action open house events November 22-26, Tatham Centre. Details.

‘Guerrilla Grammar’ workshop sponsored by Organizational and Human Development, Monday, November 22, 9:00 to noon. Details.

Alumni affairs event for parents with children approaching university age, Wednesday, November 24, 6:00, Hilton Suites Toronto Markham. Details. If you can’t attend, but would like to be part of the action, follow us on Twitter at #uwfuturealum. Send your questions and check out what others are saying!

‘Technology to Support Graduate Supervision’ workshop organized by Learning Community on Graduate Teaching and Learning, November 30, 1:30, Humanities room 336. Details.

PhD oral defences

Chemical engineering. Mohamed Bin Shams, “Fault Detection and Diagnosis in Chemical Processes.” Supervisors, Hector Budman and Thomas A. Duever. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, December 3, 10:30 a.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Electrical and computer engineering. Sayyid Anas Vaqar, “SNGF Selected Node Geographic Forwarding Routing Protocol for VANETs.” Supervisor, Otman Basir. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, December 3, 1:00 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Earth and environmental sciences. Jennifer E. Parks, “Meso- and Neoarchean Tectonic Evaluation of the Northwestern Superior Province: Insights from a U-Pb Geochronology, Nd Isotope, and Geochemistry Study of the Island Lake Greenstone Belt, Northeastern Manitoba.” Supervisor, Shoufa Lin. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, December 3, 1:30 p.m., J. R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 307.

Computer science. Claus W. Strommer, “Pursuing the Relations Between Saliency, Context, Intent, and Rhetorical Figures in Text Media.” Supervisor, Chrysanne DiMarco. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, December 3, 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 2306C.

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