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Monday, March 14, 2011

  • Hamdullahpur presidency runs to 2017
  • Chancellor praises 'wisdom, vision and energy'
  • Out of Japan; the look of the diploma
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Hamdullahpur portrait]
Hamdullahpur presidency runs to 2017

Feridun Hamdullahpur, interim president of the university for the past five and a half months, will hold the job until the Sixth Decade ends in 2017. The chair of the board of governors announced Friday morning that Hamdullahpur (above) will formally be Waterloo’s Sixth President, effective March 11, 2011, through June 30, 2017.

The appointment was made in a special meeting of the university’s board of governors, after a recommendation from a special meeting of the senate held first thing Friday morning.

The board chair, industrialist Bob Harding, said in a memo distributed to faculty, staff and students that both governing bodies had “enthusiastically approved” the recommendation of a nominating committee that’s been at work since early last year.

Said Harding’s memo: “Feridun Hamdullahpur is known to all of you. He came to Waterloo as a seasoned academic leader with more than 34 years of university teaching, research, and leadership experience. Since his appointment as vice-president, academic & provost and then as interim president, Waterloo has been the beneficiary of his vision, talents, and engaging intellect. As vice-president, academic & provost and as interim president, Prof. Hamdullahpur has demonstrated commitment to the university’s various constituencies, including our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and our many partners.

“During his term as our vice-president, academic & provost, Prof. Hamdullahpur spearheaded several initiatives focused on students, prompting organizational changes and plans designed to lead to excellence in student success and experience at Waterloo. Similarly, with respect to teaching and research excellence, initiatives are being put in place so that Waterloo is on a trajectory to meet the goals set out in the Sixth Decade Plan.”

The memo continues: “As interim president since October 2010, Prof. Hamdullahpur has actively pursued initiatives that were already underway to build on successful fundraising initiatives led by our past president, David Johnston. Prof. Hamdullahpur is committed to continuing the sixth decade journey of pursuing global excellence and seizing opportunities for Canada. He is already well known by our principal donors, our community, provincial and federal ministers, and our national and international academic partners.

“Prof. Hamdullahpur has also demonstrated the passion and commitment needed to pursue excellence as we strive to reach the overarching goals set out in our Sixth Decade Plan: to achieve a level of excellence in research, teaching, and student experience comparable to the top 100 universities in the world.

“Prof. Hamdullahpur brings to the Waterloo presidency a deep appreciation of and commitment to what is unique about this institution at this important time in its history. He is an academic leader driven both by his passion for teaching and research and by a genuine desire to demonstrate how quality education can change society and the lives of individuals.

“We are delighted that Feridun Hamdullahpur has agreed to lead the University of Waterloo. Please join me in welcoming Feridun as our next president. I know that you will provide him with your ongoing support.”

Staff and faculty members will have a chance to speak with Hamdullahpur at the next in a series of “town hall” meetings with senior administrators, scheduled for four weeks from today: Monday, April 11, in the Humanities Theatre. Details will be announced shortly.

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Chancellor praises 'wisdom, vision and energy'

David Johnston, president emeritus of the university and Governor General of Canada, was given advance word of the presidential appointment and sent a comment that was included in a news release on Friday morning. "I am full of admiration for what Feridun has accomplished and confident of Waterloo's future under his leadership," said Johnston. "I predict he will be an outstanding president."

Said the university’s chancellor, Toronto-based investor Prem Watsa: "I know our students, faculty and staff will benefit from the wisdom, vision and energy that Feridun will bring to the Waterloo enterprise.”

A statement was also included from Hamdullahpur himself. "My experience to date makes it clear what an honour it will be to serve as the University of Waterloo's sixth president and vice-chancellor," he said. "Waterloo is a great institution known for its leadership in innovation, industry connections, and its unconventional approach to excellence and relevance.

“Looking ahead, our goal as a university is to continue to provide national leadership in creativity, innovation and discovery. The opportunities are immense. Based on our rigorous academic foundation, we will provide both the practical skills and the innovative ideas that Canada needs in this new century."

Hamdullahpur received his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Istanbul, Turkey, and a PhD in chemical engineering at the Technical University of Nova Scotia in Halifax. He held administrative positions at TUNS (now part of Dalhousie University), then moved to Carleton University in Ottawa, serving there as vice-president (research and international) and interim vice-president (academic) and provost. He was named provost at Waterloo effective September 1, 2009.

As a faculty member in mechanical and mechatronics engineering, he works in research areas including energy conversion, thermo-fluids and biomass gasification and combustion. He has published more than 160 scientific and technical articles and supervised more than 50 graduate students.

In addition to his work within the universities he has served, Hamdullahpur has been involved with various national and international bodies. He has consulted widely with organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, Ministers of Energy and Environment in several developing countries establishing human and physical infrastructure in education and energy sectors, and has served on many public and private boards, commissions, and task forces.

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Out of Japan; the look of the diploma

As the news broke Friday morning about Japan's disastrous earthquake and the resulting tsunami, the co-op department was quickly able to identify 10 students on work terms in Japan. They include several at international banks in Tokyo and one at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science. Co-op staff members have been busy all weekend getting in touch to confirm that the students are all safe amid aftershocks, power outages and fears of nuclear radiation leakage. By late last night, Cathy Lac-Brisley was reporting that five of the 10 have decided to leave Japan, one of them as early as today and others tomorrow. "We have told the students that we will support their decision to leave or stay," says Lac-Brisley, "and we will follow up with their employers to ensure a smooth resolution of their work term." She adds: "I am very impressed by the calm and maturity of our students. They are facing an extraordinary situation and have to make an important decision for their safety under huge pressure. They are very appreciative of our support."

Shortly after Friday morning's historic quake, a memo went across campus from Waterloo International, asking for details on "anyone (faculty, staff, co-op students or exchange students) from the University of Waterloo who are currently travelling in Japan". Nobody other than the co-op students has been reported so far. The event in Japan also made Friday a busy day for Steve Evans, a landslide and earthquake expert in Waterloo's department of earth and environmental sciences, who did a number of media interviews.

[Scan of diploma]Students will be surveyed by e-mail this week as thinking continues about a possible redesign of the university’s graduate and undergraduate diplomas. Ken Lavigne, the registrar, has been asked by the university senate to “consult widely to confirm support for a new diploma or a preference for retaining the current design” (right) and develop designs “guided by the University’s positioning attributes, incorporating the new university seal”. A recommendation is to come to senate this spring, with the first diplomas in the new design, if there is one, being issued at Convocation in June 2012. Lavigne says he has already been meeting with one key group, the student representatives on senate, and confirmed some of the key expectations for the diploma: “Looks valuable, conveys a high-quality degree, source of pride, attracts attention, conveys our position as an innovative university, unites grads in a special community”, among others. Leaders of the Federation of Students and Graduate Student Association have also been consulted and “provided initial insight related to diploma design”, he said. Both undergraduate and graduate students can now expect to receive a short survey by e-mail, inviting opinions on the current diploma format and design and soliciting opinions on a possible new design.

A three-day exhibition in the university’s art gallery, opening today, amounts to a temporary museum. Says Kim Boucher of the Centre for Knowledge Integration: “The students of the very first cohort of the KI program invite you to experience ‘KI-X 2011: Learn in 3D’, the culmination of their capstone design project, the Museum Course. For over a year the students have been immersed in museums and museum exhibit design, combining self-directed, classroom, and extended group learning in an interdisciplinary experiential learning experience.” The result is KI-X, the Knowledge Integration eXhibition, “a convergence of disciplines, teaching methods and creative minds in an exhibition of topical, object-centric displays.” Boucher sent word on Friday morning that “the students are installing right now, and it looks amazing!” She adds: “Touring the exhibits, you will learn why robots may make you feel uncomfortable. Explore forms of peaceful protest and how you might get involved. Learn how limitations in mathematical tools led to the development of new ones. Understand the impact of a concussion, and learn about other neurological phenomena like dreams, or why some people see letters and numbers in colour. Discover how archaeologists determine the purpose of an unknown object, and have a chance to try it out yourself.” The exhibition will be open today from 12 to 4, with a reception (“space is limited”) following between 4 and 7 p.m. KI-X continues Tuesday from noon to 7 p.m. and Wednesday to 6 p.m.

The mathematical constant Pi is (approximately) 3.14, so 3/14, which is today, is observed as Pi Day, particularly on the third [Pi] floor of Waterloo’s Math and Computer building. Anna Merkoulovitch, vice-president (activities and services) for the Math Society, sends word of what’s planned: “Pi-zza for sale 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pi Your Execs, 1-2 p.m. (the dean and the four MathSoc execs have volunteered to be pied as part of the Colour Me Educated campaign. We are raising money in bins in the office, MC 3038, and if the goal for each person is reached, they'll be pied). Free Pie and Pi-neapple juice will be served at 1:59 p.m. At 3:14, there will be a pi reciting contest. We'll also be showing a pi-inspired movie in the MathSoc comfy lounge.”

And here’s a reminder that tomorrow brings the March break open house for potential students their parents and their friends. They’ve been invited to visit the Waterloo, Kitchener (pharmacy) and Cambridge (architecture) campuses between 9:00 and 3:00 to find out about university life, just as the decision about where to attend university next fall looms over high school students across Ontario. The day will include campus and residence tours, a “student services fair” at the Student Life Centre, faculty sessions around campus, and information sessions about co-operative education, residence life and financing one’s education. More information is online. Kim McKee of the visitors centre warns that parking will be tight: “We are encouraging students, staff and faculty to look into finding alternative ways of getting to school/work on event day so that parking spaces can be available for our guests. We are also looking at finding alternative visitor parking off campus.”


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Link of the day

Commonwealth Day

When and where

Oracle Financial System downtime scheduled to continue until morning of March 16.

Drop, penalty 1 period for winter term courses ends today.

Waterloo Unlimited enrichment program for grade 11 students, March 14-18. Details.

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

Senate graduate and research council 10:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills for Academic Positions” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Anthropology lecture: Pascale Sicotte, University of Calgary, on dispersal in primates and conservation issues facing primates, 4:00, PAS building room 1229.

‘LinkedIn for Success’ workshop sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, led by Liz Koblyk, Centre for Career Action, Tuesday 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Country and region presentations at Waterloo International: "The Sugar Bush Season in Eastern Canada" Tuesday 12:00, "South Korea: The Small Peninsula with a Large Potential" Wednesday 12:00, Needles Hall room 1101.

Federal minister of state (science and technology), Gary Goodyear, will speak briefly before touring Engineering 6 construction site, Tuesday 1 p.m., Engineering 5, fifth floor (tour not open to public).

Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Dyllan Pillai, University of Toronto, “Antimicrobial Resistance in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry 2 room 361.

Career workshop: “Dental School Interviews” Tuesday 5:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Wilfrid Laurier University March break open house, Wednesday at Brantford campus, Friday at Waterloo campus. Details.

Garage sale in support of Beyond Borders trip to Kenya: sales of used goods, handmade cards and Ugandan jewellery, Wednesday 11:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre lower atrium.

UWRC Book Club: The Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Free noon concert: Amy Waller (soprano) and Jo Greenaway (piano), “Opera, Art Song and Lieder” Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Blood donor clinic Thursday 10:00 to 4:00, and Friday 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre. Details.

Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies: Roger Epp, University of Alberta, “We Are All Treaty People” Thursday-Friday 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

‘An Experiment with an Air Pump’ by Shelagh Stephenson, production by department of drama, continues Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

‘Food Justice: Our Food, Our Bodies’ symposium hosted by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, March 18-20.

Pilot demonstration of new main website, Friday 9:00, Math and Computer room 5158. Prototype is online.

Senator Roméo Dallaire, former commanding officer of UN forces in Rwanda, presented by Arts Student Union, Friday 6:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $35 (arts students $30) at Humanities box office.

‘So You Think You Can Dance Waterloo’ Saturday, Federation Hall. Details.

General application deadline for September 2011 admission is March 31 (subject to earlier deadlines for selected programs and for Ontario high school students).

Friday's Daily Bulletin