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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

  • Application day for Ontario teenagers
  • What profs are doing on their sabbaticals
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Modern Languages on a cloudy day]

Cold and dark: the Modern Languages building will experience an electrical power shutdown tonight, from midnight to 3 a.m., as crews replace a connection to the Environment 3 construction site next door. • In this photo taken just before the snow started falling yesterday, note the bright green sand bin with its invitation to "use as needed" when road and walkway conditions get slippery.

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Application day for Ontario teenagers

Today's the big day for 100,000 high school students across Ontario, the deadline day for them to apply to universities — including Waterloo — for September 2011 admission.

An oddity of the system operated by the Ontario Universities Application Centre is that the general deadline actually isn't until March 31, but Ontario students may find themselves shut out of high-demand programs if they don't get the online paperwork done by midnight tonight. (And even then there are exceptions; the details, so far as this university is concerned, are online.)

It's a stressful time, in part because most of the applicants have never been 17 before and will never be 17 again, and they're making a life-changing decision. In addition, there are concerns about how stiff the competition will be as the number of young people, especially from the fast-growing Greater Toronto Area, is rocketing upwards. And there's concern about extra competition for those young people, with a growing number of adults leaving the job market, in hard economic times, to seek additional education.

“This year,” says the web site of the ministry of training, colleges and universities, “spaces for more than 42,000 new full-time students are being created in colleges and universities across Ontario, making post-secondary education more accessible than ever.” The site also boasts about improvements to the Ontario Student Assistance Program.

Waterloo is likely to admit about as many first-year students this year as last year. Nancy Weiner, associate registrar (admissions), said yesterday the target stands at 5,602 new students this September. That's a "preliminary" figure and could change, she added. The target for September 2010 was 5,487, but all six faculties ended up above their goals: the actual number of new first-year students, as of the November 1 count date, was 5,981.

As the new students of 2011 make their application decisions (and get ready to make even more difficult choices in response to university offers of admission over the weeks ahead), their younger brothers and sisters are starting to think about university too. Grade 10 students and their parents can get a head start on that planning by attending an evening event at Waterloo on Thursday of next week, January 20.

The annual Grade 10 Family Night will help students understand what they can do in high school to prepare for applying to any of Ontario’s universities. Topics include courses to take and resources to learn about the hundreds of university programs offered in Ontario. Current university students will talk about what they wish they knew about university while still in high school.

“My stepdaughter and I attended Grade 10 Family Night last year and found it invaluable," says Sean van Koughnett, Waterloo’s director of student success and himself a parent. "The speakers were very informative and allowed us to learn more about the wide range of academic programs available, as well as different ways to help pay for university. Education is important to our family, so it was helpful to get advice well ahead of time that has enabled us to understand the admissions process.”

At next week’s event, Weiner will talk about admission requirements and application information, and dean of math Ian Goulden will speak on “Study what you love — choosing the right program for future success”. There will also be a session on budgeting for a university education, led by student awards and financial aid staff.

And guests will be able to visit booths to learn about such high school enrichment opportunities as Waterloo Unlimited and the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, which runs math contests for thousands of students across Canada and around the globe.

The event starts at 6:45 p.m. and will take place in the Humanities Theatre. People will also be able to view the evening as a live webcast. Details and registration are available online.

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What profs are doing on their sabbaticals

Here’s another list of Waterloo faculty members who are currently on sabbatical leave. In each case the plans for the sabbatical are quoted from material submitted to the university’s board of governors, which has to give approval for all leaves.

Beth Jewkes, management sciences (starting November 1, 2010, for 12 months): “I plan to write up research conducted by myself and students in the past two years on emergency medical services design, ambulance offload delays and emergency room congestion. My sabbatical includes plans to visit healthcare researchers in Southampton, England, and to visit Abu Dhabi to teach one course in the MMSc program in late fall 2010.”

Selcuk Onay, management sciences (starting November 1 for six months): “Planning to use my sabbatical leave mainly on developing two research ideas that have always been of deep interest. One of these projects is on the role of time perception in intertemporal choice and the other one is on ambiguity aversion over time. In addition to pursuing new projects, I am planning to complete a revision and to finish up a paper that is about to be submitted.”

Naveen Chandrashekar, mechanical and mechatronics engineering (starting November 1): “I am requesting a six-month sabbatical in order to get trained in some of the new research areas I hope to explore and to catch up with my current research obligations. I would like to finalize research articles and submit them to international journals in preparation for my tenure application which is due at the end of the proposed sabbatical term. I also intend to visit my collaborators in the US and to write new grants.”

Sriram Narasimhan, civil and environmental engineering (starting November 1 for six months): “The purpose of this leave will be to mainly finalize research articles and submit them to international journals in preparation for my tenure application. Additionally, I plan to explore new research areas and collaborations in the areas of green energy and system identification. For this purpose, I have been invited to visit Columbia University (with Prof. Betti) and to Trinity College, Dublin (with Prof. Basu). Subject to availability of time, I plan to spend two weeks pursuing these collaborations.”

Russell Tupling, kinesiology (starting January 1, 2011, for six months): “During my proposed sabbatical I will co-write a textbook, Biochemistry Primer for Exercise Science, Fourth Edition, which has been reviewed by Human Kinetics. In addition to upgrading my undergraduate and graduate courses, I will also complete several manuscripts from ongoing research projects and prepare research grant applications for new initiatives.”

Barbara Schmenk, Germanic and Slavic studies (starting January 1 for six months): “Conduct research at some of the most important libraries at German universities in Applied Linguistics/ Language Education and Philosophy of Education (Bochum, Gießen, Berlin).”

Sherman Shen, electrical and computer engineering (starting January 1 for twelve months): “I will spend most of the time on campus, working on ORF/RE and NSERC research projects, supervising more than 20 graduate students. I will also initiate new research direction in e-health and prepare new NSERC CRD and ORF-RE proposals to support the research. In addition, I will make short visits to universities and research institutes in Japan, Singapore, and China for research collaboration in wireless communication networks and in e-health. I will also edit and write books on Vehicular Communications networks.”

Theophanis Stratopoulos, accounting and finance (starting January 1 for six months): “The purpose for applying for the leave is to complete my unfinished research projects and start a couple of new projects. Currently, I have three research papers for further revisions and re-submissions to top-tier journals. In addition, I have five research projects that are in progress and several research ideas to further explore.”


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Link of the day

International Year of Forests

When and where

Frost Week welcome-back events sponsored by Federation of Students: “Sex with Sue Johanson” Wednesday 12:00, SLC; Frostfest at SLC and Grad House, 8 p.m.; free Justin Nozuka concert Thursday at Federation Hall, doors open 8 p.m.

Campus recreation registration: instructional programs through Thursday at PAC; clubs at first session or any regular session during term. Details.

Career workshop: “Networking 101” 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208 (second part January 26). Details.

I3 Challenge to improve the campus main entrance, information session 4:45, Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 301.

Centre for International Governance Innovation panel discussion: “WikiLeaks, Security, Diplomacy and Global Gossip” including Waterloo history professor Andrew Hunt, 7 p.m., 57 Erb Street West. Webcast.

Housing information sessions focusing on fall term residence for upper-year students: Wednesday 10 p.m., Ron Eydt Village east quad lounge; Village I great hall; Mackenzie King Village multipurpose room. Thursday 10 p.m., REV east quad lounge; UW Place Beck Hall community centre. January 18, 10 p.m., MKV multipurpose room; UW Place Waterloo Court lounge. January 19, 10 p.m., REV east quad lunge; V1 great hall; UW Place Wellesley Court south lounge. January 20, 8 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre; 10 p.m., REV east quad lounge; CLV community centre.

Water Institute seminar: Alex Campbell, Lifewater Canada, “Water for the Rural Poor: A Grassroots Approach” Thursday 11:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Weight Watchers at Work January 13, 20 and 27, 12:15 p.m., PAS building room 2438 (note room change); information ext. 32218.

Job information session for graduating students, overview of Centre for Career Action, recruitment process and job fair, Thursday 4:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 116.

Art gallery reception for the opening of exhibitions by Balint Zsako and Susy Oliveira, Thursday 5 to 8 p.m., East Campus Hall.

Warriors Band practice Thursday 5:30, Physical Activities Complex room 2012, all welcome.

Federation of Students nominations for 2011-12 executive positions and students’ council close Friday; voting February 8-10. Details.

Waterloo International Spouses “walk and talk evening” in uptown Waterloo, Friday: meet at the bell sculpture in the public square 7 p.m., short walk, move to  Symposium Café. Confirmation necessary by Thursday (e-mail intlspouses@

Library books borrowed on term loan before mid-December are due January 15; return or renew online.

Co-op job postings for spring work term begin on JobMine Saturday 7:00 a.m.

Banff Festival of Mountain Films Sunday 7:30 p.m., Monday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Open class enrolment for winter term ends January 17.

Education Credit Union brown bag lunch: “RRSP, Evaluating Your Options” January 20, 12:10, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP janinew@ by January 12.

Student health and dental plan change-of-coverage period for the winter term ends January 21. Details.

Volunteer and Internship Fair organized by Centre for Career Action, January 25, 11:00 to 2:30,  Student Life Centre.

Payday for faculty and non-union staff members, Thursday, January 27.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department:

• Graduate admissions and records administrator, Conrad Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, USG 5
• Manager, graduate studies, electrical and computer engineering, USG 7
• Financial aid customer service assistant, registrar's office, USG 5

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