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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

  • Spring: how are you liking it so far?
  • President seeks 'a broader conversation'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Bright lights in the little city]

Lights, camera, and other equipment help bring the university's booth to life at the Canada 3.0 digital media forum, winding up today at the Stratford Rotary Complex. University president Feridun Hamdullahpur will greet participants in the forum this morning before they hear a keynote talk from Kunal Gupta of spinoff company Polar Mobile. The day continues with breakout sessions focusing on the forum's seven themes: Education, eHealth, Media & Entertainment, Telecom & Distribution, Natural Resources, Public Sector, Research, Human Resources.

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Spring: how are you liking it so far?

Ah, the spring term, when students shiver across campus in shorts and sandals (because that's all they brought to Waterloo for the "summer"), and the temporary recruits to the plant operations grounds crew spread mulch in an act of blind faith that something's going to grow. Last month was "the wettest April ever recorded", says Frank Seglenieks, coordinator of the university's north campus weather station. Waterloo County precipitation data go back to 1914, he says, and until now the record for April was 135.9 millimetres. But last month produced 136.5 mm, nearly all of it in the latter half of the month. "Another wet month," says Seglenieks, "means that the amount of precipitation that we have seen for the year (391.4 mm) is very much above average for the end of April (264.4 mm)." That includes some snow, converted to its rainfall equivalent, and the weather station recorded 177 centimetres of white stuff over the winter of 2010-11, above the average of 159.5 cm. But how cold was it? Just average, says Seglenieks, though it seemed chilly because daytime temperatures were a little low and nighttime temperatures a little high. April 10 brought the first 20-degree (Celsius) temperature of the year, and thus a winner in the weather station's annual prediction contest. "Congratulations to Janie Simpson on winning," Seglenieks writes.

With the beginning of the spring term, activities are ramping up in the campus recreation program, which is publicizing itself with the aid of a new online newsletter dubbed "re|create". Some notes from the initial issue: "Intramural registration: May 2-6. Instructional registration: May 9-13. New pricing strategy: $25 is all it takes to participate in most programs and activities. New kickball (a.k.a. soccer baseball) league in intramurals, plus no more performance deposits. Play flag football or soccer on the new Warrior Field with turf. The Waterloo intramurals program has one of the largest participation rates in Canada with over 18,000 participants a year. The athletics department uses the Lifesaving Society’s SWIM for Life program that gives you the very best aquatics skills. All it takes is 30 minutes a day of fitness or wellness to see huge health benefits including: fat loss, improvements in cholesterol and blood pressure and decreased stress. Campus Recreation offers a variety of special interest lessons including squash, skills and drills and skating lessons." And so it goes on: beach volleyball, frisbee, dance, weight training, kickboxing.…

Staff and faculty members, at least those who belong to the university pension plan, are getting this memo by e-mail this morning: “There have been several amendments to the pension plan text since it was last restated in May 2000. The number of amendments has resulted in a pension plan text that is difficult for members to read. In the interest of making the pension plan text more readable, a subcommittee of the Pension & Benefits Committee, including the UW pension coordinator and plan actuary, incorporated all of the amendments into the pension plan text and made adjustments for consistency, where necessary. Before the restated pension plan text is brought to the Board of Governors for approval, the Pension & Benefits Committee wanted to give members the opportunity to read the restatement and ask questions. Please send any questions you have to the committee secretary or any member of the Pension & Benefits Committee by May 10.” The secretary is Rebecca Wickens of the university secretariat, phone ext. 35924. The revised pension text (which doesn’t involve any changes in content) is attached to the e-mail message.

[Lawrence]Funeral arrangements are being made this week for Barney Lawrence (right), a Kitchener lawyer who was one of the university's early and vocal supporters in the local community. Lawrence was killed in a car crash in London, Ontario, on Sunday, aged 85. An energetic sportsman (once Ontario amateur squash champion), two-time Progressive Conservative candidate for Parliament, and president of the local Multiple Sclerosis Society, he not only practised law but, for many years, taught it, creating a business law course aimed at Waterloo engineering students. He also got involved in the university's fund-raising and community relations and (inevitably, considering his well-known love of poetry) once composed an almost endless ballad praising the university's achievements and pioneers, with the refrain "For they believe in Waterloo." Lawrence also helped the university launch a squash program, and coached the Warriors in that sport from 1980 to 1996. “Barney was a larger than life figure and a great teacher, both on and off the court," says athletics director Bob Copeland. "His many contributions to the department and to the university were acknowledged through his induction into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001."

Voting closes tomorrow in the election of ten members of the university senate (eight representatives of faculty and two of graduate students). • The Federation of Students is running a contest to find a new name for "the most important book on campus", currently if boringly called The Student Handbook. • Alternatives Journal, published in the faculty of environment, has invited articles for a theme issue honouring the International Year of Forests.

Registration is open for May and June courses in the "Skills for the Electronic Workplace" program, including a pair of courses about SharePoint and several about website management. • The Columbia Lake Health Club, in TechTown on Hagey Boulevard, is running an open house this week with a number of free demonstration fitness classes and the opening of a Walking Club and a Learn-to-Run Club. • The athletics department has announced that former Olympic player Geraldine Heaney, coach of the women's hockey team since 2005, is leaving the Warriors, and "a search for a new coach will begin immediately."

And . . . in a little bit of electronic housekeeping yesterday, I've deleted the Daily Bulletin "page" on Facebook, which had existed for several years but wasn't being actively used for anything except occasional graffiti. Those who can't get enough of the Daily Bulletin by reading it every morning at 9:00 are cordially invited to follow @uwdailybulletin on Twitter. And those who want reliable university news and discussion through Facebook can find it on the university's official page, which at last check was "liked" by 5,973 people.

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President seeks 'a broader conversation'

excerpts from the quarterly memo to staff and faculty members from president Feridun Hamdullahpur

[Quotation]Spring is the perfect time of year to take pride in our accomplishments and celebrate the successes of our students and researchers. The quality of our undergraduate and graduate teaching and scholarship and the commitment of our faculty and staff are remarkably high.  

The world is taking notice. According to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings released in March, the University of Waterloo made it into the top 100 ranking (91st) on the strength of its reputation in teaching and research.

We can take this achievement as a vote of confidence without becoming complacent. Our objective is clear — we want Waterloo to make an impact and be in a position to create talent and knowledge in ways that benefit the future of our community and our country.

With that in mind, we are gearing up to take a close look at our Sixth Decade Plan, to reconfigure and restructure it so that it better addresses our priorities and plans. Further teamwork and innovation in all aspects of our planning and operations will enable us to achieve a distinguished place as a world-class university.

The spring Town Hall meeting was held on April 11th in the Humanities Theatre. Provost Geoff McBoyle and I were able to engage faculty and staff members in a rewarding conversation on a number of topics. I encourage each and every one of you to consider attending one of our town hall meetings.

We experimented with a webcast so that our conversation could reach our growing family of satellite campuses, and we hope to take steps in the future to allow for real-time feedback and questions from abroad. For those of you unable to make it, the meeting was recorded and can be viewed here: president; provost.

This town hall meeting was, I hope, the beginning of a broader conversation that both Geoff and I would like to have with the entire university community. It will be a conversation about many things, but first and foremost, it will be about the future of the University of Waterloo. We all have a stake in the university’s future, and I believe it is time for all of us to invest in this future, together. How will we accomplish this? By hearing from you, at venues like the Town Hall, but also through conversations and personal contact.

I realize that we are taking these bold steps to define our future within the context of the Sixth Decade Plan at a critical time for the university, especially in light of significant transitions at the senior leadership level. With searches underway for many of these positions, we are confident that Waterloo’s situation will stabilize, and in the meantime, we will keep moving forward.

[End of quotation]Dedication, ambition, and leadership are qualities that are not just reserved for a university’s upper administration — they must be possessed by all the members of our community if we are to succeed in our goal to create an engaging intellectual environment that attracts, retains, and trains talented people and positions the University of Waterloo as one of the world’s top 100 universities.


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Link of the day

Kent State University, 1970

When and where

Co-op students return-to-campus interviews May 4-6, Tatham Centre; architecture, May 10, Cambridge campus.

Muay Thai boxing demonstration by student Andrew Poon, 11:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

International student orientation (graduate, undergraduate, exchange; spouses welcome) 12:00 to 4:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 105, lunch provided. Details.

International spouses tour of Gustav Bakos Observatory, 8:45 p.m., Physics building, families welcome. Details.

Catalyst Conference for young women interested in math and science, hosted by Women in Engineering, May 6-8. Details.

Stratford campus reception (by invitation) honouring artists whose work are on display in the Waterloo building, Friday 3:00, 6 Wellington Street, information ext. 23000.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel UC, “A World of Colour” Saturday 8:00, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener. Details.

Employee Assistance Program sponsors UW Campus Walk, May 9 to June 5, individuals and teams welcome. Details.


Census of Canada Tuesday, May 10. Details.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses posted in Quest, May 10; appointments for continuing students, June 6-11; for first-time students, July 11-24; open class enrolment, July 25.

Ontario Association of International Educators and Ontario region of Canadian Bureau for International Education, meeting at Waterloo May 10-12, hosted by international student office. Details.

Student team recruitment fair seeking newcomers for 10 student teams, Tuesday 3:00 to 6:00, Student Design Centre, Engineering 5.

Calgary alumni reception Tuesday 5:30 to 7:30, Metropolitan Conference Centre, speaker Alan Morgan, earth and environmental sciences. Details.

Alumni networking event with speaker Tom Chau, pediatric rehabilitation researcher, Tuesday 6:00, The Carlu, Toronto. Details.

School of Accounting and Finance Leadership Dinner, by invitation, May 11, 5:30, National Club, Toronto.

Open class enrolment for spring term courses ends, May 13.

Ontario Association of Mathematics Educators Waterloo alumni reception, May 13, 4 to 6 p.m., Vanier Hall, U of Windsor. Details.

Discussion group for parents of first-year students (incoming or just finished) May 16, 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116, information e-mail hwestmor@

Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of “Princess Ida” May 19 and 21 at 2:00, May 19, 20 and 21 at 8:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets $35 (students $20) at Humanities box office.

Victoria Day Monday, May 23, university closed.

Retirees Association annual general meeting May 26, 3:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village.

You @ Waterloo Day open house for future students, May 28. Details.

Optometry continuing education weekend June 3-5. Details.

Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 sponsored by Waterloo Global Science Initiative , June 5-9.

Keystone Campaign picnic, Tuesday, June 7.

Positions available

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

• International marketing and recruitment specialist, registrar (undergraduate recruitment), USG 9
• Secretary to the director, Guelph-Waterloo Centre, chemistry, USG 5
• Information systems specialist, information systems and technology, USG 11-12

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