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Monday, February 28, 2011

  • New home page; top 40; Warrior Weekends
  • Senate today, and fees and budgets
  • Team wins hydrogen fueling prize
  • Waterloo and China, the Caribbean and beyond
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

New home page; top 40; Warrior Weekends

[Home page features Davis Centre photo]Well, there you see it: the new “transitional uWaterloo home page” that was launched this morning at Here’s a bit of background from Sarah Forgrave and Eva Grabinski of the web redesign team: “Some of the features of the new home page are the interactive panels for About Waterloo, Today at Waterloo, Faculties & Academics, and Offices & Services A-Z; a prominent photo that captures the uWaterloo experience; and a whole new look that aligns with the university's new visual identity. We would like you to submit your photos capturing your uWaterloo experience.” They note that “transitional” means not permanent: “We are working on a more fully featured version of the uWaterloo website. You can watch our progress at Some of the features that you will see are new audience-specific pathway pages based on research with our website users; a global navigation bar ('W' bar) that will appear across all uWaterloo websites; feature stories on the uWaterloo home page; a new and improved navigation structure that is more user friendly; and a new tone in the web content that better reflects the uWaterloo experience.” They’re asking for online feedback.

Three Waterloo faculty members and one student are among the "young leaders in our community" who have been honoured this year as the "40 Under 40" by the Waterloo Region Record newspaper. Names were announced on Wednesday by Record editor Lynn Haddrall, and the winners were profiled and portrayed in a special section in Thursday's paper. They include kinesiology student Emma Glofcheski, who also volunteers with the Special Olympics and other groups; philosophy professor and human rights author Brian Orend; Slim Boumaiza, wireless networks researcher in the electrical and computer engineering department; and Joseph Emerson of the applied mathematics department and the Institute for Quantum Computing. In addition, the newspaper's list includes Lisa Craig, an instructor in the early days of the pharmacy school, and several Waterloo alumni. Jason Coolman, director of alumni affairs, provides a list of them, saying they "know how to take ideas and make them work to build a better future, for Waterloo Region and beyond": Tiffany Bradley, Krystal Darling, Joseph Fung, Ilya Grigorik, Amanda Kind, Natalie MacNeil, Kurtis McBride, and Eric Vieth. There are also a few people who work at organizations with which Waterloo has close connections, including the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Communitech and Wilfrid Laurier University.

The program of “Warrior Weekends”, involving alcohol-free activities in and around the Student Life Centre one weekend a month, is coming to an end. Heather Westmorland, director of the student life office, explains: “Despite the many successes over the years, recent assessment indicated a need to re-evaluate the program. Goals and objectives of the program are unclear and attendance rates are low. In addition, over the past year, the Student Life Office has renewed its focus on first-year student transition and is working towards implementing recommendations from the new-student transition project. As a result, we will be discontinuing Warrior Weekends past the winter 2011 term. The last two Warrior Weekends programs are scheduled for March 4-5 and March 25-26. Our dedicated team of directors is working hard to offer outstanding programming for our final events. I would like to thank our many volunteers and directors for their contributions to the Warrior Weekends program. It's been their dedication and commitment that has made the program so successful in the past.” And she adds: “We will continue to offer volunteer opportunities with our office and encourage students to check out ongoing student leadership opportunities.”

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Senate today, and fees and budgets

The university senate will hold its monthly meeting today (4:00, Needles Hall room 3001). Agenda items include the usual reports from the president and vice-presidents, plus the annual report of the Centre for Extended Learning (the first since it took on its new name, replacing "distance and continuing education"); an update on the 2010-11 budget; three new specializations in the social development studies undergraduate program; and a seven-year academic review of the philosophy department.

Budget issues got much of the attention in the quarterly memo to staff and faculty members from president Feridun Hamdullahpur, distributed last week. He noted that tuition fees are going up as of May 1: “We are sensitive to the issue of increased tuition rates in an environment where we have made attempts to control costs, with the provincially mandated salary freeze being just one example. This increase in revenue will be used to help us achieve our Sixth Decade goals of improving the student experience and continuing to offer academic programs of excellent quality. The establishment of the Office of Student Success, improvements to support our international students, efforts to improve our student faculty ratio, and our continuing commitment to student financial aid to ensure that money is not a barrier to studying at this university, are all key elements we consider when allocating this income.

"In his update, Provost Geoff McBoyle noted that this year almost seven per cent of our operating income, or $33.5 million, was devoted to various forms of student support, including scholarships and bursaries. Maclean’s magazine ranks us first in the percentage of our operating expenses that is allocated towards scholarships and bursaries, and we pledge to continue this practice.”

And more from the president’s e-mailed update: “These tuition increases are part of our operating budget process. Our funding environment, both in terms of the economy and in terms of provincial politics, remains uncertain. We are waiting for funding growth commitments from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for 2011-2012. Some of our costs, such as those reflected in our salary settlements, are known, and we continue to work to find efficiencies in the system. We are also confident that in the near term, undergraduate enrolment will continue to rise. The board will consider the university’s operating budget for 2011-2012 at its April meeting.”

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Team wins hydrogen fueling prize

A Waterloo student team is the grand prize winner in this year’s Hydrogen Student Design Contest, the US-based Hydrogen Education Foundation announced last week.

Winners in the 2011 Hydrogen Student Design Contest were announced in a keynote session of the 2011 Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy conference, held at the Gaylord National Convention Center outside Washington, DC. The Waterloo team included Kirby Skinn, Lisa Tong, and Nicholas Hartmann of chemical engineering, and Anna Beznogova of architecture.

“This Grand Prize marks the fifth award for the University of Waterloo in the six-year history of the contest,” a news release says. “Contest newcomers Imperial College London and University of California Riverside were awarded honorable mentions.”

For the 2011 contest, students were challenged to plan and design a residential hydrogen fueling system. As a part of their entry, teams developed a technical design, conducted an economic analysis, and developed business, marketing, and public education plans for their systems.

"Universities from all around the world submitted entries for the 2011 Contest," said Kyle Gibeault, contest manager. "The three teams recognized today at the conference are truly the best of the best. We are pleased to bestow these awards on a frequent winner as well as teams new to the competition. We are already looking forward to their participation in our next contest starting this fall."

The contest was sponsored by the US department of energy, Praxair, Honda, and Proton Energy Systems. It’s held annually, inviting students “to develop innovative solutions to key issues facing the hydrogen and fuel cell industries. The Contest showcases the talents of students in many disciplines, including engineering, architecture, marketing, and entrepreneurship.”

“The student team was beyond outstanding in their presentation, especially a long and very well received question period,” says chem eng professor Mike Fowler, the faculty advisor to the group. “Their presentation was at the plenary session with 300 to 400 in attendance, and I have received a few requests for their c.v. already. The competition had 54 schools register, and 17 schools submitted reports.”

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[Camera crews in the aisle]

It was standing room only when China's ambassador to Canada, Junsai Zhang, gave a public talk in a Rod Coutts Hall lecture theatre during his visit to campus Thursday. Zhang mentioned Waterloo's growing academic reputation in his home country and spoke about China's desire to increase the international flow of students and scholars. Photo by Joe Bevan, faculty of environment.

Waterloo and China, the Caribbean and beyond

Michelle Burlock of the marketing and undergraduate recruitment is in the Caribbean this week for what those in the recruitment business call “conversion” activities: turning inquirers into applicants for admission. And something new is part of the plan, she reports: “In addition to our regular recruitment activities, we will be hosting a student workshop on ‘Skills Identification and Resume Building’ at some of the local schools. This is a new initiative that we are piloting, in consultation with Co-op, and we are hoping it is something we can implement into our regular recruitment activities. We feel that this is a workshop that allows us to connect with potential Waterloo applicants in a non-traditional way. The concept of co-operative education is very foreign in many of the markets where we recruit. As well, in many countries, it is very unusual for students to have a summer or part time job. This workshop is designed specifically for international students who may or may not have previous work experience.” Burlock will be in Trinidad today and tomorrow, and in Barbados later in the week.

Applications are due in a couple of weeks — March 15 — for the 2011-12 cohort in the Beyond Borders program hosted by St. Jerome’s University. Beyond Borders is, an announcement explains, “a three-credit program designed to help students develop leadership skills for a changing global society, become aware of and concerned about social justice, and gain valuable experience volunteering with development organizations at home and abroad. The program consists of two terms of on-campus course work and one field studies credit. This year Beyond Borders students will be traveling to Kenya, Uganda, India, Ukraine and Dominican Republic taking on a variety of roles. Beyond Borders believes that everyone should care about the world we live in and that many people seek practical ways to make a difference by putting their abilities to work in the service of others. Self transformation is an important first step toward global change. Therefore, Beyond Borders promotes living life in a way that is both meaningful and valuable as an aspect of responsible global citizenship.” There’s more information online, and from St. Jerome’s registrar Heather FitzGerald.


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Link of the day

The tooth fairy

[W]Warrior sports

The men's hockey squad evened its quarter-final series against Western on Saturday night but fell short Sunday, and it's the Mustangs, not the Warriors, who will advance to the OUA finals. In Saturday night's game, captain Chris Ray scored twice to lead the Warriors to a 2-1 victory. But last night's losing score was 6-0.

When and where

Pre-enrolment for fall 2011 undergraduate courses begins today. Details.

Graduate Student Research Conference (April 25-28) deadline for abstracts is today. Details.

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

Library workshop: “Patent Searching” 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

German Research Today: Heidi Schlipphacke, Old Dominion University, “Masculinity Without a Home: Robert Menasse’s Don Juan de la Mancha” 1:30, Modern Languages room 245.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Spanish and Latin American studies lecture: Alicia Partnoy, “Concealing God and Poetry: The Experience of Women Political Prisoners in Argentina” 3:00, Hagey Hall room 373.

University senate 4:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

‘So You Think You Can Dance Waterloo’ auditions Monday-Thursday; competition March 19. Details.

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

Employment information meetings for co-op students matched with spring term jobs, March 1-2.

Library workshop: “Find Books and More” Tuesday 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshops Tuesday: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” 10:30, Tatham Centre room 2218; “Working Effectively in Another Culture” 2:30, Tatham room 1208. Details.

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

German Research Today: Heidi Schlipphacke, Old Dominion University, “The Endless Return: Nostalgia in German Cinema” Tuesday 2:30, Modern Languages room 354.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Logan Donaldson, York University, “SAM Domains, a Versatile Platform for Protein-Ligand Interactions” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry 2 room 361.

Kitchener Rangers vs. London Knights, Kitchener Auditorium, outing organized by UW Recreation Committee, Tuesday 7:30 p.m.

Tech Leadership Conference sponsored by Communitech, Wednesday 7:30 to 5:00, Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener. Details.

TEDxLaurier “Ideas Worth Spreading” event with local speakers and video from Los Angeles, Wednesday, Turret nightclub, Wilfrid Laurier University. Information: mcca8940@

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

‘The University, Retirement and You’ with Sue McGrath and Wanda Speek of human resources, organized by UW Recreation Committee, Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival co-sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Wednesday-Sunday. Details.

Design Exchange Waterloo open forum Wednesday 6:00 to 9:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

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

Education Credit Union lunch-and-learn session: “Let’s Talk Mortgages” March 11, 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP janinew@ by March 4.

Engineering Science Quest one-day camps at Stratford (grades 2-4) and Waterloo (grades 1-6) campuses during March break, March 14-18. Details.

Friday's Daily Bulletin