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Monday, March 28, 2011

  • Senate discusses budget, clinical faculty
  • Notes with a week to go in the term
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Water isotope traces display]

World Water Day last Tuesday brought displays and crowds to the atrium of the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology — the university's "water building", as reflected in the gurgling photo that currently graces the web home page. There was a standing-room-only audience for the keynote speaker, Thomas Homer-Dixon of the Balsillie School, and a steady stream of inquirers at individual poster exhibits. Biology graduate student Jana Tondu explains her work in this photo by Aletheia Zoe Chiang.

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Senate discusses budget, clinical faculty

The university senate will hold its monthly meeting this afternoon, with the 2011-12 operating budget on the agenda along with the usual range of reports, proposals and announcements.

A highlight, as usual at the March meeting each year, is expected to be news of this year’s winners of the Distinguished Teacher Award and the Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student.

There will also be a presentation from the Federation of Students, explaining its work to members of the senate, which is the university’s top academic governing body. And the president and three vice-presidents will report as they usually do.

Senate will be asked to approve some changes to Policy 76 (“Faculty Appointments”) and Policy 77 (“Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members”) that would provide for “clinical” appointments of professors. Such positions have existed in optometry and are now prevalent in the school of pharmacy as well. The scholarship expected from such faculty members includes “innovative clinical or professional practice”, the tenure policy will say.

“The revisions,” a report to senate says, “are the result of consultations undertaken by the faculty association and discussions by the Faculty Relations Committee. The amendments were approved by the Faculty Relations Committee (unanimous) and the university president.” They’ll still need approval by the board of governors.

And senate will receive the annual report of the University Appointments Review Committee, which looks at proposed faculty hiring to ensure that fair procedures are being followed.

Among academic issues that are on the agenda for tonight’s meeting:

• Termination of the collaborative Master of Mathematics program in statistics and computing. The stats department and school of computer science “are working to design a new collaborative Master of Machine Learning and Data Analysis,” senate is being told, “which will have some similar course content, but will be a more attractive program.”

• A progress report on changes since a 2007-08 review of the department of fine arts. “The most significant academic development,” it says, “is the introduction of an entirely new curriculum in studio and the introduction of Visual Culture courses. Visual Culture consolidates and enhances the profiles of the existing visual culture offerings in and around the University. The Department’s new curriculum specifically reflects the diversity of contemporary art practice and capitalizes on the strengths of the Department's faculty members.” It adds that there have been some improvements in physical space in the department’s home, East Campus Hall, including a new multimedia digital studio.

As for the operating budget, it’s the document that was presented to the senate finance committee on March 11 by provost Geoff McBoyle. The committee is asking senate “to pass a motion that the Board give favourable consideration” to the budget at its meeting on April 5.

Income is expected to go up by 5.7 per cent from the current year, largely because of enrolment increases, to reach $518 million — including $248 million from tuition fees, $223 million from the Ontario government, and the rest from other sources (including co-op and student services fees).

Spending will also be pegged at $518 million, up by about $30 million from the current year, with approximately $10 million of that money going to salaries and benefits (for both rate increases and new positions). Some of the rest goes to scholarships and bursaries, some to higher costs such as the utilities for new buildings as they open, but the largest share to new or expanding academic programs.

The budget plan includes a 2 per cent cut to most departments' expenditures, for a saving of $4.3 million that will be redistributed by the provost.

Tonight’s senate meeting starts at 4:00 in Needles Hall room 3001.

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Notes with a week to go in the term

Engineering Design Symposium Week has actually lasted more than a week, and winds up today with a final batch of fourth-year projects put on display in the great hall of the Davis Centre. Systems design engineering students will be there from 10:30 to 5:00 (Friday's Daily Bulletin said today would feature software engineering, but surely you don't believe everything you read). "Projects presented," says a news release, "will include an autonomous robot to collect tennis balls, a hardware accelerated equity trading system optimized for a cross market strategy and an adaptive feed-forward controlled electro-acoustic system to reduce noise emanating from a range hood."

Coming later today, also from the faculty of engineering, is a "women and engineering forum" starting at 5:30 in Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 112. Here's how the organizers describe it: "Get facts, discuss issues, ask questions, listen and learn, support for your female peers. Everyone is welcome! Students, professors and staff members are encouraged to attend. Speakers from the faculty of engineering, the women’s studies department, female professional engineers. Male and female students sharing their positive and negative experiences related to diversity. Discussion period to follow regarding workplace discrimination, issues in the classroom, gathering male support from our peers, dispelling the negative ideas around feminism, the sexual portrayal of women and more. Dinner will be provided."

Some 22 Aboriginal high school students from various parts of Ontario are on campus this week, says a memo from St. Paul's University College: "The UW Directions Conference, hosted by Aboriginal Services and St. Paul's, is taking place March 28 to April 1. There will be 22 Grade 11 and 12 students on campus for the program, which provides students the opportunity to gain post-secondary experience. The theme focuses on the ESTEEM framework (Engineering, Science, Technology, Environment, Education and Mathematics) and cultural understanding and support through their Elders-In-Residence program. This year the students will be traveling to Toronto as part of their learning experience to visit other colleges and universities through partnerships with Indigenous Services at affiliating schools. As part of the conference programming the public is welcome to attend Darren Thomas, a comedy hypnotist, on Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Paul’s University College, MacKirdy Hall."

Waterloo is among the university members of the Power Engineering Education Consortium, which sponsored a Toronto symposium early this month with Brad Duguid, Ontario minister of energy, as the keynote speaker. The technology boom and a looming shortage of trained workers in the next five to ten years have set the stage for an aggressive electricity sector renewal project, Duguid said: "Our success will very much be determined by our efforts to ensure our next generation is trained and equipped to drive our energy system forward.” He expressed confidence in post-secondary institutions, industry, labour and government who are partnering in PEEC to address Ontario's shortage of qualified personnel in the electricity sector. The half-day symposium on March 10 outlined strategies that would see post-secondary institutions play a leading role in encouraging more young people to pursue such careers. PEEC says it aims to graduate 1,130 students in Ontario over the next five years, with an estimated investment of $12,600 per electric-power engineering graduate, for a total of $14.2 million. A key figure in the consortium is Claudio Cañizares, holder of a Hydro One Endowed Chair in electrical and computer engineering and associate director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy.

Celebrations were held at the Communitech Hub on Thursday as two high-tech companies "graduated" from the Accelerator Centre — a spinoff service from the university that's now located partly in the north campus Research and Technology Park, partly at the Hub in downtown Kitchener. One of the firms that's now big enough to stand on its own is Tangam Gaming, described as "a leading provider of table game management solutions for casinos", which is moving into space on Weber Street North. "Our experience at the Accelerator Centre was an utterly fantastic one," Tangam founder Prem Gururajan said in a news release.

The other company making the jump is ClevrU, described as "the first graduate from the combined Accelerator Program, announced by the Accelerator Centre and Communitech last November". ClevrU is "a provider of accelerated learning through mobile devices using intelligent and revolutionary e-teaching technology that is both adaptive and collaborative . . . the Facebook of Education." Said Tim Jackson, CEO of the Accelerator Centre and an associate vice-president of the university: “The graduation celebration is a testament to the new joint program and the ability to jump-start businesses in Waterloo Region, something both the AC and Communitech have been successful in doing for many years and in which we’ve now joined forces for the benefit of our early-stage company clients."

The faculty association's academic freedom and tenure committee has announced a series of four workshops "to help faculty through key transitions in their academic career": one each for faculty recently hired to a first probationary term, those applying for contract renewal in 2011, those applying for tenure this year, and those applying for promotion to full professor. They'll all be held April 5 or 6; details are on the association's web site.


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Link of the day

The Triangle Factory fire

When and where

Library extended hours during exam season: March 27 to April 21, Davis Centre library open 24 hours (except Sunday 2 to 8 a.m.), Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

CPR-a-thon organized by Campus Response Team, 11:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre great hall, fund-raiser for Doctors Without Borders.

End-of-term barbecue sponsored by Federation of Students, free burgers and hot dogs, Monday-Tuesday 12:00, Student Life Centre courtyard.

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

Recitals by music students Monday-Wednesday 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel, free admission.

[Tsunami poster]

Earthquake and tsunami public lecture featuring six faculty members, 7:00, moved to Optometry room 347 (parking in X lot, free for permit holders, $3 others). Details.

‘Iron Will’ stage play about Canadian students in Haiti, presented by Mennonite Economic Development Associates, 7:30, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Architecture student co-op job match results Tuesday on JobMine.

Campus Tech workshop on creating multimedia content using Apple equipment, Tuesday 10 a.m., Laurel Room, South Campus Hall.

Institute for Computer Research presents Don Batory, University of Texas at Austin, “Feature Interactions, Products, and Composition” Tuesday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Régis Pomès, University of Toronto, “Molecular Simulations of Peptides and Proteins in Biological Membranes” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry 2 room 361.

David Miller, former mayor of Toronto, “Climate Change and Cities” sponsored by School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, Tuesday 4:00, Hagey Hall room 1108.

Grand River Transit open house about service improvements, Tuesday 4 to 8 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301. Details.

Author reading: novelist Guy Gavriel Kay, Tuesday 4:30, St. Jerome’s University room 3014.

‘Living with a Disability in an Ableist Society’ by former student Michael Gardner, sponsored by WPIRG, Tuesday 5:00, Student Life Centre. Details.

Brick Brewery tour sponsored by SWIGS, graduate student arm of the Water Institute, Tuesday 6:00, information e-mail r2chow@

Colour Me Educated final activities and paint drop, Wednesday 12:00, Student Life Centre courtyard.

Biomedical Discussion Group presents Jennifer Cobb, University of Calgary, “The MRX Complex Regulates Cohesin During DNA Replication” Wednesday 2:30, CEIT building room 3142. Details.

Social Development Night with networking (“students and faculty for development”), speaker Dan Andreae, Wednesday 5:00 to 7:30,  Graduate House. RSVP.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Graduate Student Association annual general meeting Thursday 5:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. Details.

International Spouses get-together: “Making Pasta the Italian Way with Elena” Friday 12:45,  Columbia Lake Village community centre.

Athletics Banquet Friday, St. George Banquet Hall,  Waterloo, tickets $35 from athletics department office.

Relay for Life at St. Jerome’s University in support of Canadian Cancer Society, starts Friday 7:00 p.m., for twelve hours.

PhD oral defences

Psychology. David Cwir, “The Power of Social Connections: Feelings of Connectedness Result in Sharing Goals, Emotions, and Intergroup Empathy.” Supervisor, Steve Spencer. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS room 2434. Oral defence Friday, April 8, 2:30 p.m., PAS (Psychology) building room 3026.

Computer science. Daniel Steven Roche, “Efficient Computation with Sparse and Dense Polynomials.” Supervisors, Mark Giesbrecht and Arne Storjohann. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, April 11, 1:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 2310.

Combinatorics and optimization. Craig Sloss, “Enumeration of Factorizations in the Symmetric Group: From Centrality to Non-Centrality.” Supervisors, David M. Jackson and Ian Goulden. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, April 12, 10:30 a.m., Mathematics and Computer room 5136.

Electrical and computer engineering. Mohammed Bait Suwailam, “Metamaterials for Decoupling Antennas and Electromagnetic Systems.” Supervisor, Omar M. Ramahi. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, April 13, 9:00 a.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Chemistry. Glenn L. Abbott, “Synthetic, Mechanistic and Theoretical Studies Related to the Kinamycin Antibiotics.” Supervisor, Gary I. Dmitrienko. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, April 14, 10:00 a.m., Chemistry 2 room 361.

Friday's Daily Bulletin