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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

  • The forecast this week: 4,744 degrees
  • Retirement research centre offers planner
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Convocation program cover]
The forecast this week: 4,744 degrees

The university’s 102nd Convocation begins today and will see 4,744 degrees and diplomas presented by the time the last of eight ceremonies ends on Saturday afternoon.

Highlights of Convocation range from a performance by a world-renowned pianist to the presentation of the first eight degrees to students from the science-and-aviation and geography-and-aviation programs, launched in 2007.

“"The University of Waterloo and the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre are pleased with the success of our first graduating class," says Ian McKenzie, director of aviation at Waterloo. "Aviation and aerospace industries demand a new breed of specialists who have a comprehensive academic background to help them understand complex aircraft systems and well-developed analytical, critical thinking and decision-making skills."

The piano performance will come at Thursday afternoon’s ceremony when Jean-Philippe Collard, a renowned French musician, will play Chopin on a nine-foot Steinway grand piano. Collard, who is receiving an honorary doctorate, will give the special performance as his convocation address.

Today, the morning ceremony is for graduates from the faculties of environment and applied health studies — a total of 717 of them. The speaker is Karla Henderson, a professor at North Carolina State University who is credited with revolutionizing leisure studies research and who is receiving an honorary degree.

Also at the morning ceremony, which starts at 10:00 in the Physical Activities Complex, Waterloo will recognize Denise Angove, retired from the health services department, as an “honorary member of the university”. Barbara Schumacher, director of health services, will read a citation describing Angove’s work not just as a nurse but as sexual harassment advisor and as the creator of the annual orientation play “Single and Sexy”.

Kaitlyn Whelan, graduating in honours health studies, will be the valedictorian, speaking on behalf of graduating students. Alumni gold medals, recognizing the top graduating students in the two faculties, will be presented to Neilkamal Mundi (health studies, AHS) and Maria-Francesca Archila Bustos (planning, Env). In addition to the medal winners, departmental awards for “distinguished academic achievement” go to Diane Kishi (kinesiology), Jillian Marie Ferguson (recreation and leisure studies), Barry O’Doherty (environment and business), Bojana Savic (environment and resource studies), Michelle Anne Samson (geography and environmental management) and Tianyi Yang (geomatics).

The Governor General’s Gold Medal, “for outstanding academic performance in a doctoral program”, will be presented to Steven Denniss, who’s receiving his PhD in kinesiology. His studies of cardiovascular health have produced “a comprehensive and impactful resource”, says his supervisor, faculty member James Rush, and he has produced seven peer-reviewed papers, three more submitted manuscripts, a prestigious invited review” and more than 30 conference presentations.

Two other students are being recognized for “outstanding achievement in graduate studies”: Nadia Charania (master’s in environment and resource studies) and Azra Premji (master’s in kinesiology).

Three faculty members will also be honoured this morning, with Mark Seasons, planning professor and dean of the environment faculty, receiving a  Distinguished Teacher Award, and Robert de Loë, professor of environment and resource studies, and Russell Tupling, kinesiology professor, each receiving an Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.

This afternoon’s ceremony, starting at 2:30, is focused on the faculty of science, and will see 753 students presented with their diplomas. Among them is Matt Colphon, current president of the Federation of Students, receiving a degree in science and business (hydrogeology). Daani Sarma, receiving a degree in science and business (chemistry), who will speak as the valedictorian. Ilia Droujinine, graduating in biochemistry, is the science winner of an Alumni Gold Medal.

The honorary degree recipient and convocation speaker this afternoon is Anne Dell, a professor of carbohydrate biochemistry at Imperial College London. Vivian Dayeh of the biology department will be presented with a Distinguished Teacher Award, and Robert Le Roy of the department of chemistry will be installed with the rarefied title of University Professor.

Receiving the Dean of Science Awards for their master’s theses re Carolyn Brown (biology), Javed Akbar (chemistry), Adam Keech (vision science), and Deny Hamel (physics and astronomy). Receiving the W. B. Pearson Medal for doctoral theses are Zhenyu Cheng (biology), Bronwyn Benkert (earth and environmental sciences), Krithika Nandakumar (vision science), and Sattar Taheri-Araghi (physics and astronomy). Two students are being recognized for “outstanding achievement in graduate studies”: Ann Kallin (master’s, physics) and Dapeng Zhou (PhD, physics).

The a cappella group The Water Boys will sing the national anthem at both Convocation ceremonies today.

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Retirement research centre offers planner

A news release issued last week by RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)

To assist the growing number of Canadians who are providing care for aging relatives and friends, RBC has introduced an innovative online planner that assesses the emotional and financial impacts of informal caregiving. The RBC Your CareGiving Planner, developed by the RBC Retirement Research Centre at the University of Waterloo, is an interactive resource that helps Canadians evaluate their caregiving needs on an ongoing basis, and produces an individualized report to help manage those needs.

The RBC Your CareGiving Planner asks a series of questions to explore what type of care is required now and in the future. The customized report produced by the planner can be shared with family, friends and trusted advisors, to help caregivers — as well as those needing care — be better prepared as changing health conditions affect the level of care required.

"Providing informal care to a loved one is something that many of us will find ourselves doing in our middle or later years in life," said Lee Anne Davies, head, Retirement Strategies, RBC. "Our planner gives Canadians the chance to explore different caregiving scenarios to see what their lives as caregivers could look like — and better prepare for the emotional and practical impact."

The planner asks a range of questions: Does the person needing care require assistance with tasks such as walking or eating? Are there any indications of consistent memory problems or increasing inability to make decisions? Does this person have any difficulties managing medications? Will extra money be needed for home modifications, relocation, respite care or assistive devices? Is the informal caregiver employed? Is the informal caregiver feeling depressed or socially isolated?

Based on the responses, the planner ranks the weekly needs of the person requiring care from low (requiring seven hours or less of informal caregiving) to very high (requiring more than 36 hours). The planner then examines some of the financial implications of providing this care. Through a set of more personal questions, the planner also looks for any potential signs of caregiver distress.

The RBC planning tool is based on extensive multi-year research in homes and community-based care settings, led by John Hirdes of the University of Waterloo. "Informal caregivers throughout Canada play a vital role in the quality of care that their loved ones receive; they must also be sure to take care of themselves in order to manage the various stressors associated with caregiving," Hirdes notes. "The challenge for us was to determine how to translate the varied aspects of informal caregiving into information that could be useful in a self-assessment tool. We’re very pleased to see our research incorporated into this planner to help Canadians better understand what informal caregiving entails."

The RBC Your CareGiving Planner can be accessed, free of charge, online. The customized report produced by this interactive online tool can be printed by users; none of the user information entered through the tool will be retained on the website. A series of caregiving advice articles are also included on this website.

The RBC Retirement Research Centre at the University of Waterloo focuses on research related to areas that influence quality of life in retirement including health, leisure, wellness, lifestyle, finances, economics, science, arts and technology.


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Feds will negotiate about space

The Federation of Students is now in a position to negotiate with university administrators about "student space", including the future of Federation Hall, Feds president Matt Colphon told the board of governors and interested students in a brief statement yesterday. About 75 students crowded into the board room to express interest in the issue, which wasn't otherwise on the agenda for yesterday's meeting. Said Colphon: "We will continue to push hard for an agreement that provides access to student space, services and equitable compensation."

Link of the day

Lunar eclipse

When and where

Co-op employer interviews for fall work term (main group) continue through Thursday. Rankings open Friday 1:00, close June 20 at 2:00; match results available 4:00.

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

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

Career workshops: 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, 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, 4:30, Biology 2 room 350. Details.

Lobsterfest at Mudie’s cafeteria, Village I, 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 building 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.

Career workshop: Success on the Job, Thursday 2:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology presents Cyril Hilsum, University College London, “Flat-Panel Electronic Displays” Thursday 3:30, CEIT room 1015.

School of Computer Science distinguished lecture: Bruno Buchberger, Joannes Kepler University, “Can Mathematical Invention Be Automated?” Thursday 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Bike repair workshop sponsored by WPIRG and Bike Centre, Saturday noon to 5 p.m., Student Life Centre room 101A. Details 519-888-4882.

Conrad Grebel University  College Mennonite Heritage Dinner, fund-raiser for Mennonite Archives of Ontario, Saturday 6:30 p.m., Grebel dining room, tickets $100, information clichti@

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

Applied health sciences alumni networking reception at Canadian  Public Health Association conference, Monday 4:30, Palais des Congrès, Montrèal. Details.

25-Year Club annual reception Tuesday 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.

‘Oriental Carpets: Mystique, Patterns and Elements’ (Studies in Islam workshop series) June 23, 7 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison U College, RSVP j3miller@

‘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@

Canada’s Wonderland trip organized by Federation of Students, June 25, $54 in advance at Feds office, Student Life Centre.

4-on-4 beach volleyball tournament organized by Campus Recreation, June 25, Federation Hall courts, registration ($40 per team) at athletics office, PAC.

Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, June 29 at BMO Field, Toronto, bus sponsored by Waterloo athletics department leaves 4:45 p.m., tickets $65. Details.

Positions available

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

• Materials engineering technician, mechanical and mechatronics engineering, USG 8/9
• Manager, housing finance, housing and residences, USG 10
• Knowledge translation specialist, Alzheimer Research and Education Program, USG 9

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