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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

  • Chinese ambassador will speak tomorrow
  • Other notes for today's 4,590 readers
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Chinese ambassador will speak tomorrow

from the university’s media relations office

China's ambassador to Canada, Junsai Zhang, will give a public talk tomorrow as he makes his first visit to an Ontario university since taking up his post in November. At Waterloo, which has strong and growing educational ties with the world’s second-largest economic powerhouse, the ambassador will speak on Sino-Canadian relations and educational co-operation.

[Zhang]A graduate of the Beijing Foreign Studies University, Zhang (left) previously served as China's ambassador to Australia and to the Fiji Islands. His talk will start at 11:00 Thursday in J. R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 307.

"This important visit by the ambassador of the People's Republic of China reflects the University of Waterloo's extensive and expanding relationship with China that has been built up over the last 25 years," says Bruce Mitchell, Waterloo's associate provost (resources) and a professor of geography and environmental management who first visited China in 1983. "Our deep relationship with Chinese post-secondary institutions involves more than 50 agreements with Chinese institutions for student exchange programs, joint academic programs, collaborative research and contract training."

For example, Waterloo is the Canadian partner in the Sino-Canadian College with Nanjing University, one of China's leading institutions. The partnership offers joint undergraduate degrees in the faculties of environment, mathematics, arts and science. These joint academic studies are mostly based on a "two-plus-two" model, whereby Chinese students complete their first two years of university education in China followed by two years of study in Canada. They earn bachelor’s degrees from their university in China and Waterloo.

Another model is "three-plus-one”, in which Chinese students take their fourth year at Waterloo, obtain their degree from their home university and can continue at Waterloo for a master's degree. The Sino-Canadian College partnership also supports faculty exchanges, collaborative research, and training, as well as an annual course for Waterloo students offered in the spring.

The Daily Bulletin for February 14, talking about a visit to Waterloo by an orchestra from Nanjing University, listed several two-plus-two programs and said computer science was among them. In fact, the Nanjing-Waterloo CS program uses the three-plus-one structure. (The same Daily Bulletin said Dalian province, where Waterloo and Nanjing have done joint environmental work, is in "southeastern" China; "northeastern" would have been correct.)

Nanjing University is also the home institution in China for Renison University College's Confucius Institute, a language and cultural program supported by the Chinese government. Renison also supports an English Language Institute that trains professors and teachers of English in Jiangsu province, and offers professional development courses to English teachers at Xiamen Institute of Technology.

Among other agreements with top Chinese universities, Waterloo collaborates with Tsinghua University on research projects and faculty exchanges in engineering and mathematics, along with joint academic programs and student exchange programs in computer science. The faculty of mathematics maintains an office in Shanghai, which is a base for training and collaborative research. 

The faculty of science has partnerships with more than 10 Chinese universities for "two-plus-two" joint degrees, including universities throughout the country.

"The extensive collaboration that the University of Waterloo has developed with Chinese universities is clear evidence that Waterloo embraces the world by providing international opportunities for our Canadian students and by attracting more international students to Waterloo," Mitchell said. Waterloo currently has 2,462 undergraduate students and 431 graduate students from China and Hong Kong.

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[Swimmers in fuchsia suits]

A combined team representing Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University won the silver medal at the 2011 Canadian University Synchronized Swimming League championships. Sixteen teams took part. "This is the first year that the UW-WLU Open team has medalled," says systems design engineering professor Carolyn MacGregor, who was one of the organizers of CUSSL ten years ago. "It was a real thrill… it is a testament to the dedication and spirit of our athletes, who are currently self-funded and self-coached."

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Other notes for today's 4,590 readers

A pre-Christmas announcement from information systems and technology said that the ‘uw-wireless’ wireless network might be discontinued as early as March 1, which is next week. “All users of ‘uw-wireless’,” it said, “should switch to using ‘eduroam’, as soon as possible, to avoid disruption in service." Here’s the latest, from IST’s Bruce Campbell: “We will not be phasing out the insecure wireless SSID completely on March 1. Rather, it will be renamed to ‘uw-unsecured’. Approximately 85% of UW's wireless services have migrated to the secure eduroam network. However, some older laptops, and other devices, have difficulty with the security settings required to use eduroam. Such devices will continue to work on the uw-unsecured network; however, they are vulnerable to session hijacking and are unsuitable for use with social network sites that do not support a secure https connection. The ‘uw-unsecured’ network may still be reviewed for removal at a later time.”

Students in their first or final year may be getting some e-mail these days that's signed by the president of the university, no less, and asks for their evaluation of the education they've been getting. The messages come in connection with the National Survey of Student Engagement. "Our current response rate is low," says Blair Clarance of the office of institutional analysis and planning, but he's hoping to see the numbers go up as reminders arrive; an individual could get as many as five e-mail messages in the course of several weeks. In 2008, last time Waterloo took part in NSSE, the total response rate was 41 per cent, Clarance says. NSSE involves an anonymous online survey that's expected to take 15 to 20 minutes for an individual to complete. Says one of the e-mail messages signed by president Feridun Hamdullahpur: "The data will be used by the university to identify issues about which our students are concerned, so that we can improve the Waterloo experience for all students. Any public reports will include only summarized results, ensuring that no individual student can be identified."

Doug Mulholland of the Computer Systems Group will be speaking tonight at Waterloo's Stratford campus, 6 Wellington Street. Says an announcement of his talk: "What do heritage, arts and cultural resources have in common with invasive species? How in the world do environmental stewardship projects, volunteer placements and international water quality projects at the United Nations cross paths? What are some highly innovative First Nations communities doing to communicate their sense of place? and how does that connect with the online Mennonite Heritage Portrait? These are all examples of operational information systems that involve maps and geographical information as well as highly varied data with a strong need for excellent communication among diverse stakeholders. The Computer Systems Group at the University of Waterloo, the first Computer Science research group to be founded at UW back in the 1960s and 70s, has been working to push down barriers to the effective use of computers and technology since its inception. We provided leadership in the drive that saw the City of Waterloo designated as the 2007 Intelligent Community of the Year. This seminar will take a look at where we've been, where we're at and where we're going in the fast-moving worlds of user-driven online mapping, structured and unstructured information management and online and mobile communication." The 7 p.m. event is part of Stratford's Digital Media Series, and RSVPs are requested.

Friday's Daily Bulletin blithely stated that "most food services outlets will be open during reading week," but there's a significant exception: Mudie's cafeteria in Village I is closed this week. Residents who haven't fled campus for the duration are having to walk over to REVelation in Ron Eydt Village for their meals. • Something that's open as usual this week is the Graduate House. "We've received a number of enquiries," says assistant house manager Henry Ensley, stressing that normal Grad House hours are in effect.

And . . . people sometimes ask how many readers the Daily Bulletin has. An answer is hard to calculate (define "read"!) but web statistics show that during January, the average weekly hits to the site were 22,952, or 4,590 per individual Daily Bulletin. February is looking similar — except, that is, for Wednesday, February 2, the day of the storm-closing-that-wasn't, when hits to the Daily Bulletin site jumped fivefold, to 24,065.


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Link of the day

Inconvenience yourself

[W]Warrior sports

Weekly report, February 22

Bus to Western tomorrow for hockey semifinals

When and where

Reading week February 21-25, classes not held.

Library workshop: “Find Books and More” today and March 1 at 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

LinkedIn workshop sponsored by staff association, today and Thursday, 12 noon, Carl Pollock Hall room 1346. Details.

Mathematics contests: Pascal (grade 9), Cayley (grade 10), Fermat (grade 11), Thursday. Details.

Institute for Computer Research and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology present Mario Tokoro, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, “Open Systems Science: A New Research Methodology” Thursday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Bojangles Dance Showcase Thursday 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel U College, breakfast seminar, “Resolving Disputes in Business and in Life” Friday 7 a.m., Bingemans Conference Centre.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Institute for Computer Research and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology present Mario  Tokoro,  Sony Computer Science Libraries, “Open Systems Dependability” Friday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Pre-enrolment for fall 2011 undergraduate courses begins February 28. Details.

Imprint Publications annual general meeting Monday 12:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

University senate Monday 4:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

Application deadline for spring term admission to the university: March 1. Details.

 ‘Digital Cameras for Beginners’ session sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Tuesday 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116.

Demonstration for staff of new myCareer@ UWaterloo system, Tuesday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302. Register.

Ontario University Athletics “Women of Influence” luncheon, guest speaker Venus Williams, March 2, 12:00, Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Details.

‘The University, Retirement and You’ panel organized by UW Recreation Committee, March 2, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Volunteer Appreciation Extravaganza organized by Federation of Students, March 2, 7 to 9 p.m., Federation Hall. Details.

Black Forest Coffee House March 4 and 5, St. Paul’s U College, $7 one night or $10 both nights (at the door).

Hagey Bonspiel for faculty, staff, students and alumni, March 5, Ayr Curling Club. Details.

Climate Change Awareness Week with events sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, March 7-11.

Oracle Financial System downtime March 10 at 12:00 noon to morning of March 16.

‘An Experiment with an Air Pump’ by Shelagh Stephenson, production by department of drama, March 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Cultural Caravan performing arts evening March 10, details to be announced by Federation of Students.

World Water Day graduate research fair and water celebration, March 22, CEIT building foyer. Details.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

• Technology transfer officer, information and software technology, office of research, USG 14
• Technology transfer officer, information, communications and computer engineering technology, office of research, USG 14
• Alumni officer, international, development and alumni affairs, USG 7-9
• Research support technologist, electrical and computer engineering, USG 8/9
• Technology transfer officer, classical engineering and sciences, office of research, USG 14
• Graduate administrator, school of environment, enterprise and development, USG 6
• Director, Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education, USG 14 (three-year secondment or contract, part-time)

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