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Monday, April 4, 2011

  • Annual overview of faculty hiring
  • Students finish, students apply to begin
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Group of researchers]

Researchers at Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing recently demonstrated that “quantum entanglement — the powerful correlation between particles — can significantly enhance the accuracy of communication between parties,” the IQC web site reports. “While entanglement cannot itself be used to communicate, the IQC optics researchers demonstrated that one can transmit information over a certain channel with higher success when using entanglement than with the means available in classical physics. The research team — Robert Prevedel, Yang Lu, Rainer Kaltenbaek, Will Matthews and Kevin Resch — published their results in the March 14 edition of Physical Review Letters.”

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Annual overview of faculty hiring

The committee that reviews proposed faculty hiring across the university looked at 58 cases in 2009-10, exactly the same number as the year before, says its annual report to the university senate. The figure of 58 cases last year had been a sharp drop from 90 cases in 2007-08, before the current policy of filling only jobs that are classed as “mission-critical”.

Of the 58 proposals for faculty appointments, 4 involved women and 54 involved men, says the report from the chair of the University Appointments Review Committee, geography professor Ellsworth LeDrew.

Nine were for positions with tenure, 42 for probationary (tenure-track) jobs, and 7 for definite-term appointments, UARC says. A chart in its report indicates that 44 of the 58 proposed hires were Canadians or permanent residents of Canada, while 14 were foreign.

Twenty positions were in engineering, 12 in arts, 10 in science, 9 in math, 6 in environment and one in applied health sciences. The report does not indicate how many of the 58 people actually ended up accepting jobs at Waterloo.

“Appointment proposals from academic units and faculties generally continue to be very good,” LeDrew writes. “Chairs/directors have been very helpful in providing any additional information requested. During the past year, UARC members were able to complete most reviews within three or four working days.”

The report also says that “As noted in previous reports to Senate, UARC continues to be challenged by special circumstance hires, such as hires conditional upon award of externally funded chairs. These may not follow the normal guidelines for hiring.

“UARC discussed these issues with the provost and the president of the Faculty Association last year and the unanimous statement was that UARC is ‘to protect the process’. With that guidance we have asked to review all appointments for more than two years as per Policy 76. For the special circumstances we try to accommodate the specific issues while being mindful of the mandate of UARC.”

Says the report to senate, which was presented at the March 28 meeting: “The issue of gender representation in both applications and hires is discussed at the regular UARC meetings as well as when particular cases are reviewed. This year, in response to a letter from Dr. Diana Parry to UARC on behalf of the Status of Women and Equity Committee of the Faculty Association, UARC devoted much of two meetings to the topic.”

The result was a letter that is to be published in the faculty association’s newsletter, LeDrew says. It tells the association that UARC has done a study of “the history of the ratio of female to male faculty hiring” and discussed the issues not only with association representatives but with provost Geoff McBoyle.

From 1995-96 to last year, “the average appointment of females for all Faculties was 34% of the total,” the report says, adding that the figure reached 49 per cent in 2007-08.

“UARC has had a wide-ranging discussion of gender balance in the hiring process and has concluded that there is more that can be done. We note that Department or School efforts to proactively attract members of the under-represented gender are not well documented, despite the requirement on the Submission Form to report on ‘Special efforts to recruit candidates of the under-represented sex’.

“UARC will provide Guidance through a ‘Best Practices for Chairs’ document (to be developed). This document will address issues that include discipline-specific web sites and methods of personal outreach to the under-represented gender.”

Among other recommendations: “We recommend that the Provost request the breakdown of gender in the Department or School when the Dean seeks approval of the position . . . that there be compelling written discussion by the Chair or Director if there are no applicants of the under-represented gender in the short list of three applicants submitted for review.”

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Students finish, students apply to begin

"Happy last official day of the term to fellow #uWaterloo slaves," one student wrote on Twitter early today, "& good luck on finals!" In fact, thousands of Waterloo students will have their last-ever class today, on this final day of the winter term, and now all that stands between them and June Convocation is the exam period. Exams will run April 8 to 21; unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest on April 22, and grades become official May 24.

Meanwhile, the calendar rolls on, and September’s first-year class is taking shape. Nancy Weiner, the associate registrar (admissions), reports that as of April 1, the university has made 11,437 offers of admission for full-time first-year study. “This is an increase of 1% from last year at this time,” she writes, and more of those admitted are top-rated students who are being offered scholarships: “We have 8,995 identified for one of the three entrance scholarships (85% or higher) compared to 8,480 last year (increase of 6%).” The percentage of students being offered scholarships ranges from 56 in arts to 94 in math, her figures indicate. Most of the admission offers (9,099 out of the 11,000-plus total) have gone to Ontario secondary school students, with 1,380 to other Canadian applicants and 958 to non-Canadians. “Many of the OSS offers that were made in March were based on a combination of final grade 12 marks from first semester and their final grade 11 marks. The final round of OSS offers will occur in May once we receive the April grades (final grades from first semester and interim grades from second semester). All OSS applicants will have a decision made no later than May 18. NonOSS offers are made on a continuous basis as files become complete.” Eventually the September first-year class is expected to number about 5,600.

The faculty association will hold its spring general meeting tomorrow, starting at 2:00 in Math and Computer building room 4020. The agenda includes finances, committee reports and other usual things, and two proposals that were pointed out in an e-mail message sent to members last week by the association's president, George Freeman. One deals with a fee increase: the proposed association budget includes a hike in the "mil rate" to 5.25 from the present 4.75. (The mil rate can be most easily read as dollars per thousand dollars of salary.) "There are several factors motivating the increase," Freeman writes, "which are briefly mentioned in the FAUW Treasurer's report and which will be discussed at the meeting."

Second, the association will be asked to instruct its board, and its representatives on the faculty relations committee, to negotiate a structure for doing performance evaluations of tenured faculty members every two years instead of, at present, every year. "This is a significant and potentially complicated change," involving an amendment to the Memorandum of Agreement, Freeman writes. He calls it "leftover business" in implementing the report of a working group on performance evaluation which made extensive recommendations two years ago. That working group said a two-year system "will allow a performance evaluation committee more time to construct detailed feedback to the individuals evaluated without an overall increase in workload."

Members of the public can learn about schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, how to choose a pain reliever, foods that provide health and medical benefits, and many other topics from the experts at Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy at the second running of its “Mini Pharmacy School”, starting later this month. Sessions “will include lots of time for questions and a chance to speak with the instructors during the coffee break,” an announcement promises. “Participants receive a reference binder with speaker notes.” The series will run Tuesday evenings April 26 through May 31. Registration cost is $100 for adults, $75 for seniors or students. The full program is online, from “Sexual Dysfunction” to “Make Your Own Foot Cream”.

And . . . Erin Sargeant Greenwood, the university's associate vice-president (annual and planned giving), became a mother a few days ago, as Evan was born March 24. A maternity leave replacement for the associate VP is expected to be announced; meanwhile, alumni affairs director Jason Coolman, who filled the role temporarily before Sargeant Greenwood came to Waterloo in 2008, is assisting.


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Link of the day

Mine awareness

When and where

Heritage Resources Centre annual general meeting and lunch, 12:00, Environment 1 room 221, information hrc@

Institute for Computer Research presents Kim Roberts, Nortel, “Digital Signal Processing for Optical Transmission” 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Kardinal Offishall performs at Federation Hall, doors open 9 p.m., tickets $17 advance at Federation of Students office, $23 at door.

Tech Art Exhibition April 5-8 at fine arts Artery Gallery, 156 King Street West, Kitchener.

Permanent residency information session aimed at international faculty, Tuesday 9:00 or 2:00, Hagey Hall room 1101. Details.

Ability Awareness Day sponsored by One Waterloo diversity campaign, Tuesday activities and refreshments in Davis Centre lounge and Student Life Centre, 11:00 to 4:00; film showing in SLC 5:00, free supper.

Work in the United States briefing for graduating students by immigration attorney Nina Juncewicz, Tuesday 12:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Waterloo Centre for Advancement of Cooperative Education research seminar: Robert Sproule, accounting and finance, and Judene Pretti, WatPD, “Integration of Learning: Classroom, Workplace and PD Modules” Tuesday 12:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Board of governors Tuesday 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: James Gauld, University of Windsor, “Computational Insights into Enzymes Relevant to Porphyrin Biosynthesis” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry 2 room 361.

Master of Digital Innovation (Stratford campus) information session Tuesday 4:00, Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre.

WatRISQ presents Peter Forsyth, computer science, “Numerical Solution of the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman Formulation” Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Author reading: poet Roy Miki, Tuesday, 4:30, St. Jerome’s University room 3014.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group Tuesday 5:30, Math and Computer room 5136. Details.

Annual staff conference Wednesday-Thursday, Humanities Theatre and nearby classrooms. Details pending.

’52 Jobs in 52 Weeks’ author Sean Aiken speaks on “Discover Your Passion” Wednesday 2:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Perimeter Institute presents Sir Roger Penrose, University of Oxford, “Twistors and Quantum Non-Locality” Wednesday 7:00, Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

English Language Proficiency Exam Thursday, Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Town hall meeting for faculty and staff with president and vice-presidents, April 11, 3:00, Humanities Theatre; submit questions by e-mail to townhall@

E-waste green day dropoff for staff, faculty and the public, April 16, 8:00 to 4:00, East Campus Hall (off Phillip Street): computers, peripherals, TV sets, phones, microwave ovens, stereos, cellphones accepted for recycling.

PhD oral defences

Electrical and computer engineering. Behzad Nourani, “Relay-Aided Interference Alignment in Wireless Networks.” Supervisor, Amir Khandani. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, April 14, 1:00 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Christopher P. Salisbury, “On the Deformation Mechanics of Hyperelastic Porous Materials.” Supervisors, Duane Cronin and Fue-Sang Lien. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, April 14, 1:00 p.m., Energy Research Centre room 3012.

Electrical and computer engineering. Yibo Zhang, “Retinal Image Analysis and Its Use in Medical Applications.” Supervisor, Fakhreddine Karray. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, April 15, 2:00 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

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