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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

  • Board hears about the year's priorities
  • Young participants carry energy 'torch'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Bright yellow team shirt]

He's the sixth president of the university, so it makes sense that the basketball jersey presented to Waterloo leader Feridun Hamdullahpur should bear the number 6. The presentation was made by Warrior varsity players Colleen Quinlan and Laura Bossers at last week's President's Golf Tournament, an annual fund-raiser for athletics department travel and scholarships.

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Board hears about the year's priorities

A ten-point program of “Executive Council priorities” was approved at last month’s retreat by the university’s top administrators, and is being reported to the board of governors at its quarterly meeting today.

“Within the framework of the 6th Decade Plan,” says a report from provost Geoff McBoyle, ten “specific foci for 2011-12 will be considered.” He lists them:

  • Improving communication with various stakeholders on campus and off;
  • Continuing to identify and obtain additional sources of new income;
  • Using best practices, identify leaders, both faculty and staff, and arrange for mentoring and enhancement of their leadership skills;
  • Hiring new faculty and staff complement using best practices;
  • Developing the Student Success Office, including activities related to first-year transition and students-at-risk;
  • Starting a process of reducing the high student/faculty ratio;
  • Attracting international students, both undergraduate and graduate, but from a broader geographical base;
  • Developing means of refreshing "co-op";
  • Streamlining course and degree offerings and standardizing procedures in both undergraduate and graduate programs;
  • Developing measurements of research impact, developing a suitable data base, and communicating the results to various stakeholders.

A separate list of priorities for the university’s president is also on the agenda for today’s board meeting. It says the president will seek to “increase and diversify” the university’s income in 2011-12; “focus on students”, particularly co-op and the student success office; “further increase research productivity”; give attention to the satellite campuses; “review and refocus” the Sixth Decade Plan, now four years old; and “manage leadership changes” and restructure the administration as necessary.

The board will receive a report today on how the faculty and staff pension fund was doing when it was officially valued on January 1 of this year. It will also give the okay to a newly edited version of the official pension plan document, including the many piecemeal amendments that have been introduced over the past few years.

Among other items of business, the board will be asked to approve a budget of $11.6 million for an addition to Needles Hall. About half the money is available so far, a report to the board says.

And it will be presented with 2011 changes to Federation of Students and Graduate Student Association fees, as well as the first chart of non-academic fees for students at the United Arab Emirates campus, which opened two years ago. Fees there will include $100 dirhams per year (about $27) for a student council, plus larger amounts for student activities (soccer, basketball, volleyball, table tennis and music), first-year orientation, health insurance and a local bus pass.

Today’s board of governors meeting begins at 3:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3001.

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Young participants carry energy 'torch'

by Karen Kawawada, Communications and Public Affairs

The Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 has drawn to a close and participants have returned to their homes all over the globe. But that doesn’t mean their work is over. Far from it.

The scientists and engineers who research next-generation energy solutions will continue their work, as will the industry and policy experts. But it’s the young people who participated in the summit who will carry the energy-efficient torch forward in the months and years to come.

The summit, presented by the Waterloo Global Science Initiative, a partnership between the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, took the unusual step of inviting a group of 17 people aged 20 to 30 — including two Waterloo students — to participate alongside the academics and industry leaders. Dubbed the “forum,” these participants came from 11 different countries and a variety of backgrounds.

“Candidly, there are lots of meetings of eminent scientists and experts,” said Jason Blackstock, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Waterloo’s Social Innovation Generation unit, who served as peer advisor to the forum. The Equinox Summit was meant to be a different beast, “one that’s more oriented toward thinking about the actions that can be taken.”

By 2030, the participants will likely be in positions where “they can get major things implemented and done,” said Blackstock, who is also a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. “Now these forum members are equipped with an incredibly powerful network, including connections to the eminent scientists, so they can shape their careers around the idea of being able to lead on these issues.” The delegates aren’t just future leaders; they’re leaders now, and they’ll each be taking concrete steps to advance the agenda set out in the summit communiqué, Blackstock said.

For instance, two delegates who have worked with the European Union plan to meet with members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development regarding using flexible plastic solar cells to bring power to rural areas in developing countries. They also plan to meet with the Red Cross, in hopes of interesting the organization in using the clothlike solar cells on tents to power relief efforts, Blackstock said.

Ted Sherk, who hopes to defend his Waterloo environmental studies master’s thesis in July, is particularly interested in building energy-smarter cities. As project coordinator for sustainable technologies at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, he will be able to apply ideas from the summit immediately to projects he is working on. He also plans to meet with Toronto Hydro on improving feedback to users, to help them save on electricity bills.

Waterloo’s other forum participant was Arthur Yip, a fourth-year engineering student and a team leader of the Waterloo chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Currently on a co-op term at the National Research Council in Vancouver, Yip helps conduct technical analysis and market research to help small businesses commercialize clean energy technologies. He plans to take what he has learned back to his workplace and beyond.

“Participating in the forum was challenging but also exciting,” said Yip. “It’s great that things like this are happening at Waterloo.”

Meanwhile, WGSI will start organizing its next conference, which will take place in two years and will focus on water, said Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur, who serves as vice-chair of WGSI.

“WGSI was created with a vision that we will recognize and identify some very large global issues and talk about those issues through the science and technology to really identify them, bring a lot of recognition, and move forward with solutions.” For more about the future work of the Equinox Summit, see the special Equinox Summit web page.


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Link of the day

Univac, 60 years ago

When and where

World’s Largest Swimming Lesson local site at Physical Activities Complex pool, today 11 a.m., reception follows; register at ext. 35869.

Zero Waste Barbecue sponsored by UW Sustainability Project, 11:00 to 4:00, Matthews Hall green.

Chemical engineering seminar: Aline Auroux, CNRS Lyon, France, “Calorimetry as a Tool for the Study of Depollution Processes” 11:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Senate undergraduate council 12:00, Hagey Hall room 373.

Career workshop: Successfully Negotiating Academic Job Offers, 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Anne Dell, Imperial College London, “Glycomics” 1:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Heidi Bishop, food services, retirement reception marking 46 years of service, 2 to 4 p.m., University Club.

Computer Science Club presents "Taming Software Bloat with AdaptableGIMP" 4:30, Math and Computer room 2054. Details.

102nd Convocation: Wednesday 10 a.m. (AHS and environment) and 2:30 p.m. (science). Thursday 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (arts). Friday 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (mathematics); Saturday 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (engineering), all ceremonies in Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Library workshop: “Geocoding Tabular Data with Google Fusion Tables” Wednesday 10:15, or July 14, 2:15, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

UWRC Book Club: My Life in France by Julia Child, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Career workshops Wednesday: Successfully Negotiating Job Offers, 2:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208; All About GMAT, 2:30, Tatham room 2218; Thinking About an MBA? 3:30, Tatham 2218. Details.

Garnet Wagner, science technical services, retirement reception marking 29 years of service, Wednesday 3 to 5 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301, RSVP ext. 36599.

Ruby on Rails seminar (how to build a web app) by Eric Gerlach, IT manager for Federation of Students, Wednesday 4:30, Biology 2 room 350. Details.

Lobsterfest at Mudie’s cafeteria, Village I, Wednesday, four sittings starting at 5:00, $19.99 tickets for sale at cash counter.

Convocation Liturgy at St. Jerome’s University, Thursday 10:00 a.m., Siegfried Hall.

Chemistry seminar: Guang Yang, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, “Controllable Biofabrication Based on Microbes” Thursday 10:00, CEIT room 2053.

J. W. Graham Medal Seminar: Zack Urlocker, “Disrupting the Software Industry in Five Not-So-Easy Steps” Thursday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

25-Year Club annual reception June 21, 6:00, Physical Activities Complex, information ext. 32078.

Co-operative Education and Career Services reunion of present, former and retired staff, June 22, 3:00 to 6:00, Tatham Centre, information ext. 33926.

‘Managing Your Personal Brand as a Woman Engineer’ talk by Sandy Kemsley, 1984 systems design graduate, sponsored by Women in Engineering, June 24, 12:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 3604, RSVP rwittke@

PhD oral defences

Chemical engineering. Saeid Mehdiabadi, “Synthesis, Characterization and Kinetic Study of Long Chain Branch Polyolefins Using Two Single-Site Catalysts.” Supervisor, João Soares. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, June 24, 9:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Psychology. Huiwen Lian, “Abusive Supervision and Organizational Deviance: A Mediated Moderation Model.” Supervisor, Doug Brown. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2434. Oral defence Tuesday, June 28, 10:30 a.m., PAS (Psychology) building room 3026.

Optometry. Vidhyapriya Sreenivasan, “Near Addition Lenses as a Tool to Investigate Vergence Adaptation in Myopic Children.” Supervisors,  William R. Bobier and Elizabeth L. Irving. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, June 28, 1:30 p.m., Mathematics and Computer room 2009.

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