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Friday, May 13, 2011

  • Faculty and staff numbers show growth
  • Nanorobotics team victorious in Shanghai
  • Other notes on a spring (or summer) day
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Faculty and staff numbers show growth

Slightly more than a thousand faculty members at Waterloo, or slightly less? Depends how you count, according to charts attached to the university’s operating budget as it was approved by the senate and board of governors earlier this spring.

A department-by-department tally shows the total as 1,020.7 professors as of September 2010. That includes “open positions”, ones where nobody’s currently on the job. Figures in the same chart go back to September 2006, when, by the same means of counting, the faculty total was just 885.9. So there’s been growth of 15 per cent in the past four years.

Totals by faculty: applied health sciences, 54.0; arts, 257.6; engineering, 278.0; environment, 65.1; mathematics, 194.5; science, 171.6. The largest departments are electrical and computer engineering (84.5), computer science (71.0), and mechanical and mechatronics engineering (53.0).

Just one page away in the budget documents, there’s a different calculation, with a bottom line of 996 faculty members as of April 30, 2011. That’s counting full-timers only, and not considering unfilled positions. The relative sizes of the faculties aren’t much different: AHS 52, arts 243, engineering 270, environment 67, math 196, science 168.

That chart also shows that 648 of the full-time faculty were tenured; 240, “probationary” (on the way to tenure); 45, “continuing”; and 63, “definite term”. The average annual salary of full-time faculty members, as of April 30 this year, was $124,031.

Further along in the budget documents is a chart of “academic support staff positions” across the university — though it includes only staff who are paid from the operating budget. That means anybody whose salary comes from research funds, or who works for self-supporting “ancillary” operations such as retail services and the residences, isn’t included.

The total number of staff as of October 2010 is shown as 1,920.7, which is up from 1,900.5 a year earlier (and 1,751.6 in October 2006).

From 2009 to 2010, there are small ups and downs in the number of staff in many departments. Engineering added a position here and there, bringing its total up from 199.4 last year to 207.3 this year. The largest single department in the university, plant operations, stayed flat at 365.0 positions; the second largest, information systems and technology, showed a drop, from 139.0 in 2009 to 137.0 in 2010. The library’s complement went down by 2.9 positions, co-op education and career services went up by one, and development and alumni affairs added half a position.

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Nanorobotics team victorious in Shanghai

A Waterloo team rules the world in microrobotics this week after taking the championship in a student competition held in Shanghai as part of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2011.

The University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group (UW_NRG) won the Microassembly Challenge, defeating ten other registered teams from top institutions based in the United States, France, and Italy, says a news release issued yesterday. Last year, the Waterloo entry placed third.

It goes on: “UW_NRG’s microrobot, measuring a mere half-millimetre in width and a hundredth of a millimetre in height, was the only robot at the competition to successfully manipulate microscale triangles into a tightly packed formation — a formidable challenge requiring extreme precision and reliability. These principles have several critical applications in everything from minimally-invasive surgery to advanced electronics manufacturing.

“This year’s entry from UW_NRG applied fundamental magnetic principles in an extremely robust and functional package, coupled with an advanced, custom-built control and image recognition system.”

Says Dusan Sarenac, fabrication lead for the group: “We knew that focusing on the fundamentals was a key to success. We’ve proven that Waterloo undergraduates can play and win against top academics around the world.”

The team notes that its work is “made possible by generous support from AMD, Zaber Technologies, and The Imaging Source, as well as support from the University of Waterloo: the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the Dean of Engineering Office, the Office of the Provost, the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund, and the Engineering Society. UW_NRG would like to thank faculty advisor Dr. Mustafa Yavuz, as well as Dr. Rafaat Mansour, Dr. Bo Cui, Dr. Baris Fidan, Salam Gabran, Feyruz Kitapli, and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology for their invaluable advice and fabrication support.”

The group calls itself “Canada’s premier nanotechnology student organization. Consisting exclusively of undergraduate students from the University of Waterloo, UW_NRG has been straddling the divide between research group and student team since its first ambitious design was drawn on a napkin in 2007. Beyond competing annually at the ICRA, UW_NRG organizes and participates in seminars, tutorials, and community outreach sessions.”

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Other notes on a spring (or summer) day

[Walker]Mark Walker (left) is returning to the university’s board of governors as one of the two staff representatives. The secretariat has announced him as the winner of a recent election for a three-year term on the board, beginning May 1, 2011. Walker, who is associate registrar (records and systems), received 408 staff votes, with 192 votes going to Drew Knight of the Waterloo International office. Knight has been a staff representative on the board for the past two years, along with Walter McCutchan of information systems and technology, whose term continues for one more year. Walker previously held a staff seat on the 36-member board of governors from 2005 to 2008.

Scott Kline, a faculty member at St. Jerome’s University who heads its Centre for Responsible Citizenship, is the new board chair of Project Ploughshares, the ecumenical peace centre of the Canadian Council of Churches, which is based in Waterloo and was formerly associated with Conrad Grebel University College. He has served three years on the board as a member-at-large, and was appointed to a three-year term as chair at a recent board meeting. Says Kline about the challenges ahead: “We live in uncertain times. Will the death of Osama bin Laden lead to a power vacuum that leads to more violence? How might the Libya intervention set the stage for further possible Responsibility to Protect incursions? Will the re-elected Canadian government forge new foreign and defence policies and funding priorities? For many, the uncertainty can become debilitating. But Ploughshares, through its leadership and its dedicated staff, has a tradition of providing trusted direction when the future seems unclear.” Ploughshares, founded in 1976, does research and policy development on disarmament and peacebuilding, and has ongoing projects with partners in East Africa and the Caribbean.

[Slavcev]Latest honour for a faculty member in the school of pharmacy, as reported by the school’s director of advancement, Laura Manning: “Roderick Slavcev (right), Shoppers Drug Mart Professor in Business & Entrepreneurship, has been named the first recipient of the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada Janssen Innovation in Education Award. This national award was created to honour ‘the development of significant innovations in teaching, learning and/or assessment’ in a Canadian pharmacy program. Nominated by Shawn Wettig and Nancy Waite, he was recognized for his leadership role in creating and delivering the multiple components of Waterloo Pharmacy’s business curriculum, including the Fundamentals of Business Administration & Management core course; the Pharmasave Business Case Competition; the Seminars in Pharmacy Management & Leadership; independent study opportunities in entrepreneurship or management; fourth-year electives in BioPharma Management & Commercialization and Personal Finance and Entrepreneurship; and the creation of the Pharmacy Investment Club, which now boasts more than 75 members and over $8,000 in invested funds. In her letter of nomination, Waite said: ‘Roderick has made us believers in creating multi-faceted students through improved broader curricular programming.  He should be very proud of what he has created’.”

“Panel, poster and artistic contributions” are invited (with a deadline next week) for this fall’s Conference of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, being held in Kitchener with support from Waterloo’s department of English and the Critical Media Lab. Says English faculty member Marcel O’Gorman: “This is the 25th anniversary of the conference, which is usually held in places like Atlanta, Manhattan, and DC. The conference will be held in downtown Kitchener because it is coinciding with the public art biennial of the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area (CAFKA). Also, Themuseum will be exhibiting a retrospective of computational art during the conference. Finally, the Critical Media Lab will be hosting an exhibition of art/science works that fall under the theme of ‘Pharmakon’. I'm hoping that people on our faculty will consider submitting a proposal to speak at the conference.”

A group of grade 10 students will be on campus from Sunday through next Thursday for a Waterloo Unlimited program featuring lectures, workshops and skills sessions on the theme of "vision". • The staff association is again selling a Corporate Player's Card that offers discounts this season at almost 20 golf clubs across southern Ontario. • Linda Kenyon has been elected (out of four candidates) as staff representative on the dean of engineering nominating committee.


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Elaine Brown officially retired May 1, ending a career in the university's housing office that began in June 1987. She's also been well known on campus (and off) as a blues and pops vocalist, as well as a pressed flower artist.

Link of the day

Friday the 13th in Port Dover

When and where

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

Clubs, Services and Societies Days showing off volunteer and extracurricular opportunities, final day, 10:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

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

Carousel Dance performances tonight (7:00), Saturday (1:00 and 7:00), Sunday (12:30), Humanities Theatre.

Co-op job posting for spring term (main group and pharmacy students) appears on JobMine Saturday.

Environment 2 building electrical power shut down Saturday 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Library books borrowed on term loan before mid-April are due May 15; return or renew .

Town & Gown CMHC Symposium on community-university partnerships, Sunday-Tuesday, Architecture building, Cambridge. Details.

Wildflower hike on the Healthy Valley Trail, St. Jacobs, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee , Sunday 2 p.m.

Spring into Motion including traditional “UW Blooms” gardening event with new clothing swap, Monday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room. Details.

Library workshop: "New Faculty and Grad Students: Research Tools and Library Services" Monday 10:00 or Thursday 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

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

Career workshops Monday: “Writing CVs and Cover Letters” 12:00,  Tatham Centre room 2218; “Career Interest Assessment” 2:30, Tatham room 1112. Details.

Waterloo Region rapid transit information session co-sponsored by Federation of Students, Monday 1:00 to 3:00, VeloCity great hall (Minota Hagey Residence).

Joint Symposium on Robotics Research, Waterloo and Chiba University (Japan), Monday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Youla Tsantrizos, McGill University, “Novel Active Site Inhibitors of Prenyl Synthase Enzymes as Potential Therapeutics” Monday 2:00, Chemistry 2 room 361.

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

Education Credit Union seminar: Stephen P. Haller, lawyer, “Wills and Powers of Attorney” Thursday 12:05, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP janinew@ by today.

Victoria Day Monday, May 23, university closed.

‘Old World, New Realities’ lecture by Warren Jestin, chief economist at Scotiabank, May 25, 1:00, LCAO Lecture Theatre, Accounting wing of Hagey Hall; to be followed by funding announcement.

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