Skip to the content of the web site.

Monday, January 31, 2011

  • Student Life 101 will be a sleepover
  • Pavement engineering chair is launched
  • Allergy team studies kids' confidence
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Student Life 101 will be a sleepover

September’s first-year students won’t just get a tour and a WatCard when they come for the Student Life 101 preview this summer, they’ll also have an opportunity to try out the pillows.

“I’m pleased to confirm exciting new changes to our Student Life 101 program,” says a memo from Heather Westmorland, director of student life, announcing innovations that result from the “transition project” that she helped lead last year. Among the recommendations from the project, as revealed last fall, was “a pre-arrival program” that “may include on-campus visits, specialized orientation programs and online modules”.

Westmorland’s memo says SL 101 “is moving from a one-day, information based program to a two-day overnight experience where incoming first-year students will have the opportunity to experience Waterloo’s campus and culture.

“Students attending the program will be able to stay overnight in a traditional style residence community, attend a lecture designed just for them, start their personalized success plans, become familiar with their faculty buildings and learn more about student services on campus.”

And she goes on: “Parents are an important partner in enhancing student success. For this reason, we’ve created a component to our Student Life 101 program that’s designed just for parents of first-year students. This one-day program will educate parents on their new role in supporting student success. Parents will have a campus tour, meet with experts from across campus and attend a workshop.”

SL 101 has been in existence for 15 years now, and has been operated as one big day (last year it was Saturday, July 23) with visits, information sessions and WatCard lineups. Starting this year, Westmorland says, it will operate “eight times over a four-week period” in July and August.

She adds: “In the past several months, our team has been connecting with our colleagues who have been involved in the Student Life 101 program in the past to share the new program and discuss new ways for involvement. If we have not connected with you or your team and you would like to discuss Student Life 101 further, please contact myself or Gabrielle Finnie, Student Life Coordinator: First-Year Experience. Gabrielle will be overseeing the Student Life 101 program this summer.

“In the coming months, we’ll be hiring 16 Experience Leaders to serve as peer mentors, finalizing the program schedule and continuing consultation with our campus partners. We anticipate registration for the program opening in mid-March.

“Our strong partnerships have been what have made Student Life 101 successful in the past and we look forward to the new opportunities this program offers.”

Back to top

[Tighe at microphone]
Pavement engineering chair is launched

based on a news release from the media relations office

The Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology has officially launched the new $1.5 million endowed Norman W. McLeod Chair in Sustainable Pavement Engineering, which will focus on advanced pavement research, collaborative projects with industry, and graduate student teaching and supervision. The main goal of the new chair is to develop roads and highways that are safer for drivers and better for the environment, using green pavement technology.

At the launch ceremony Friday, Susan Tighe (above; photo by Chris Hughes) was announced as the Norman W. McLeod Chair in Sustainable Pavement Engineering. She is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and a Canada Research Chair.

Tighe's new appointment “cements the University of Waterloo's long and successful history of expertise in transportation engineering, and in particular roads and pavements research and education," said Adel Sedra, dean of engineering. "The Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology has been at the forefront of exceptional research, training and professional activities. This success is rooted in the experienced and highly skilled faculty members, as well as the state-of-the-art facilities."

CPATT's facilities include a central lab in Engineering 3, a main field lab, a test site at Waterloo Region’s waste management facility and several satellite test sites.

Established in 2005, CPATT is closely partnered with industry, government and other universities, and has a strong track record of achievements. The new chair was one of engineering’s key fundraising priorities in its Vision 2010 Campaign. 

The chair’s endowment has received donations from industry and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and well as funding from the university’s own budget. The endowment will support the research of the senior researcher, along with hiring a junior researcher in the pavement engineering area.

The new chair will focus on advanced pavement engineering, new materials evaluation, innovative concrete pavements and implementation of Superpave technology, which reduces asphalt pavement rutting and thermal cracking. Tighe’s research areas cover sustainable pavement engineering and management; designing and building safer roads and airfields; and developing and evaluating infrastructure management system components.

The chair’s partners, with their expertise and resources, will play an important role as the chair pursues research initiatives, Friday’s announcement said. They include Capital Paving, DBA Engineering, Golder Associates, Holcim Canada, LVM-Jegel, McAsphalt Industries, Miller Paving, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Ontario Good Roads Association, Ready Mixed Concrete Association of Ontario, Roto-Mill, Shiloh CanConstruct, Stantec Consulting and Steed and Evans.

Back to top

Allergy team studies kids' confidence

A study by a group of researchers that includes Waterloo’s dean of applied health sciences has found that teenagers who have survived life-threatening incidents from food allergies are “less confident of their surroundings” than younger children who have gone through the same ordeal.

According to a news release issued by the Society for Risk Analysis, which published the study, “young people who have experienced life-threatening anaphylactic shock from specific food exposures have significantly different views of the risks associated with their allergies based on their age and can benefit from discussing their perceptions of the safety of their school environment in improving their ability to cope.”

It says a rise in the perception of food allergy risk “parallels the increasing independence and empowerment that comes as children mature into their teen years”, with teenagers feeling less confident than younger children about their surroundings and about how much information school personnel and parents have.

High schools were perceived as less safe because of the lack of home rooms, unsupervised lunch areas where food fights sometimes take place, and more uninformed staff. Elementary schools were considered safer because of the stronger presence of parents and consistent routines involving supervised lunch rooms, trained personnel, and communication strategies.

Interviews found that the greatest barrier to safe environments regarding food allergies stemmed from uninformed or misinformed friends, school staff, and other parents. The research provides information for parents and allergic children to help inform school policies around risk management and coping.

The study, “Illustrating Risk: Anaphylaxis Through the Eyes of the Food-Allergic Child,” was done by a team including AHS dean Susan Elliott. It appears in the January issue of the journal Risk Analysis. Besides Elliott, who came to Waterloo from McMaster University last year, the authors include Nancy Fenton of McMaster, Lisa Cicutto of the University of Toronto, Ann E. Clarke of McGill University, Laurie Harada of Anaphylaxis Canada, and Elizabeth McPhee of the Community Services Agency in Hamilton. The research was funded by AllerGen-NCE, Inc., with the support of Anaphylaxis Canada.

Food allergy affects up to 6 percent of young children, the SRA’s news release notes, “and results in an estimated 150-200 fatalities each year in the U.S. and 15-20 deaths in Canada. Accidental exposures are common and occur in homes, camps and restaurants in addition to schools.”

The study consulted directly with children about their experiences living with a chronic medical condition that requires them to be keenly alert to their surroundings. The study involved 20 children and teenagers and is considered “exploratory” by the authors, who caution against broader conclusions because of its limited sample size.

Ten children aged 8 through 12 and ten teenagers, all of whom have potentially life-threatening food allergies, were selected from public schools in Ontario. Their conditions are severe enough that many have to carry an injectable form of adrenaline in case they begin reacting to a food allergen. 

Both age groups identified environmental and social barriers that contributed to feelings of isolation, exclusion or being teased. Missing out on school activities, camps, or time with friends was common. “I feel left out because I can’t have everything, like my friends and the other people in my family,” one 16-year-old said.

Close friends provide key support to allergic kids, but the subjects identified the greatest barrier to safety as stemming from uninformed or misinformed educators and others. Young children relied more on parents and teachers to cope, whereas adolescents often anxiously fended for themselves by avoiding risky foods, educating others, navigating confusing food labels and quickly escaping from unsafe places. Some felt disempowered and overburdened and even developed symptoms like constant handwashing or waiting to eat until an adult was present who was available to drive them to the hospital. For teenagers, one successful coping strategy was redefining what is “normal” given their potentially life-threatening reactions to certain food exposures such as tree nuts and some seafood.


Back to top

Link of the day

Bubble wrap

When and where

Employer interviews for spring term co-op jobs (“main” group of students) through February 16 Ranking opens February 16 at 1 p.m., closes February 18 2 p.m., results available 4 p.m.. Details.

Final date for fee arrangements for winter term, January 31.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Designing Blended Courses” 9:00 to 4:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Federation of Students candidates’ debates Monday and Tuesday 12:00 to 3:00,  Student Life Centre; voting February 8 (9 a.m.) through February 10 (9 p.m.). Details.

Career workshop: “Making Job Fair Work for You” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Web phasing protocol “Understanding and Applying” information session 2:00, Math and Computer room 2009, register by e-mail pllafran@ Details.

Controversies public lecture: Robert Ballard, drama and speech communication, “Buying Children or Saving Orphans? Controversies of International Adoption” 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Reception to honour faculty winners of Robert Harding and Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Awards, Tuesday 9:30, Hagey Hall room 3106, by invitation, information ext. 35108.

Library workshop: “SciFinder, Web Version” Tuesday 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘What Is Chinese New Year?’ food, music, arts demonstration, Tuesday 12:00 to 1:00, international student office, Needles Hall room 1101.

Pharmacy students co-op job ranking opens Tuesday 1 p.m., closes Wednesday 1 p.m., results available Wednesday 4 p.m.

Career workshops Tuesday: “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1208; “Choosing a Major” 3:30, Tatham room 2218. Details.

Board of governors Tuesday 3:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

WatRISQ presents  Brian Hartman, statistics and actuarial science, “A Bayesian Hierarchical Model for Multi-Population Mortality Forecasting” Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Classical studies lecture: Margriet Haagsma, University of Alberta, “The Archaeology of Daily Life”  Tuesday 4:00, Hagey Hall room 227.

Job Fair Wednesday 10:00 to 3:00, RIM Park, Waterloo. Details.

Librarians’ Association presents Linda Hecht, author of Women in Early Austrian Anabaptism, Wednesday 11:30, Dana Porter Library room 428.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Grading Groups and Teams” Wednesday 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Stratford Campus update event, remarks from president Feridun Hamdullahpur and others, Wednesday 5:00, Stratford Rotary Complex, registration online.

Development Social Night hosted by Engineers Without Borders: networking, collaboration, refreshments, Wednesday 5:00 to 10:00, Graduate House. Details.

Canadian Association of Planning Students annual national conference will be held at Waterloo February 3-5. Details.

FASS of the Titans annual musical comedy, February 3 and 4 at 8 p.m., February 5 at 2:00 and 7:30, Humanities Theatre, tickets at Humanities box office 519-888-4908.

‘Dissocia: A Digital Gambling Venture’ original production by department of drama, February 9-13 at 8 p.m., February 12-13 at 2 p.m., Hagey Hall Studio 180.

Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University: Mary Poplin, Claremont Graduate University, “How the Religious Worldview Became a Secret” February 10, 7:30, Humanities Theatre; “Diminishing the Marketplace of Ideas” February 11, 7:30, Humanities; student conversation, “Is Anything Sacred?” February 11, 2:30, Hagey Hall room 1104. Details.

Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Registered Student (Amit and Meena Chakma Award) nominations due February 11. Details.

PhD oral defences

Management sciences. Ahmed Saleh Alojairi, “Project Management: A Socio-Technical Perspective.” Supervisor, Frank Safayeni. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, February 4, 10:00 a.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Computer science. Krishnam Raju Jampani, “Simultaneous Graph Representation Problems.” Supervisor, Anna Lubiw. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, February 8, 2:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Systems design engineering. Matthew J. H. Millard, “Mechanics and Control of Human Balance.” Supervisors, John McPhee and Eric Kubica. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, February 11, 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Friday's Daily Bulletin