Skip to the content of the web site.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

  • Leaders to tackle packed agenda at retreat
  • Magnet for Talent attracts attention
  • On legacies, diplomas, lenses, used books
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Leaders to tackle packed agenda at retreat

Geoff McBoyle, Waterloo provostThe university’s top administrators will do “a lot of brainstorming” when they get away from campus this week for the annual executive retreat, says provost Geoff McBoyle (left).

Altogether 25 people will be away Wednesday through Friday, assembling at the Oakwood Resort in Grand Bend on the shore of Lake Huron. (The annual retreat has been known as “K Bay” for decades, but the university has parted ways with Barrie’s Kempenfelt Bay resort and a new nickname is clearly called for.)

McBoyle said that in addition to the current members of Executive Council, the participants will include two deans-to-be (Douglas Peers of arts and André Roy of environment); Tim Jackson, director of the Accelerator Centre, who will shortly become interim vice-president (external relations); and associate vice-president (communications and public affairs) Ellen Réthoré.

The agenda is “packed”, he said, describing discussions scheduled for Wednesday evening, all day Thursday, and Friday morning. The central theme: the university’s Sixth Decade plan, now four years old and in need of being “reframed and refreshed”.

The plan, McBoyle said, can best be described as “an aspirational plan”, with possibly as many as a hundred ambitious goals for the university, but “no details of how it was going to be implemented”, where the money would come from or who was going to take the lead on most of the efforts. It did specify that there should be a “mid-decade review”, he added, and although 2011 is a year early, it’s a good time to do that since Waterloo has just acquired a new president “and he wants to put his stamp on the university”.

So this week’s retreat will try to set some priorities — “rather than 100 priorities, a select group of priorities that we can all buy into” — and define the first steps and who’s going to take them. McBoyle said the group will look at issues under a few broad headings: undergraduate programs; graduate programs (and the well-known ambition to double graduate enrolment); world-class research centres; the “student success” initiative; the need to “diversify” income, mostly through fund-raising. It’s pretty much the same agenda that McBoyle and the new president, Feridun Hamdullahpur, described in their “town hall meeting” for faculty and staff members last month.

“Lastly,” the provost said, “we’re going to look at the issues of succession planning,” as the university is in line for a large number of retirements by faculty and staff members, and it’s not clear that enough is being done by way of professional development to get new people ready for senior positions.

Back to top

Magnet for Talent brochure attracts attention

front cover of A Magnet for Talent  science brochureThe “first-ever” annual report-style brochure from the Faculty of Science is out in the world, announces Joanna Magee, science communications officer, with pride. It’s called A Magnet for Talent (there's the front cover, right), and you can see highlights from the report online if you can’t get hold of one of the 1,200 hard copies that went out mostly to alumni.

“With so many wonderful success stories coming out of Science, we felt the time was appropriate to formally convey some of our accomplishments with our alumni, friends, students, faculty, staff and community partners,” Magee writes. “This report will be primarily targeted at alumni and will help us to continue to make greater efforts in keeping our key stakeholders updated on our activities. … A Magnet for Talent features engaging stories about our faculty, students and alumni from our departments, professional schools and a few affiliated research institutes."

Trevor Charles, biology professorStories about, for example, biology professor Trevor Charles (left), who is creating ultra-tiny bio-machines. “We are researching new methods of bacterial chromosome engineering in which biological parts can be combined in different ways and applied to real problems,” he says. “The goal is to engineer a biological system that’s going to function in the way that you designed it for diverse applications in agricultural, medical, and industrial biotechnology.” Other people profiled in the brochure include quantum information researcher David Cory, award-winning teacher Vivian Dayeh, much-honoured chemist Janusz Pawliszyn, “laser jock” Donna Strickland, alumna Yeti Agnew, and others.

Back to top

On legacies, diplomas, lenses, used books

“Rewarding career” inspires accounting prof to give back

Dave VertHeld each May, Leave a Legacy Month celebrates individuals who have made a planned gift and encourages others to join them in supporting registered charities of their choice.  Dave Vert (right), a faculty member in accounting, is one of those individuals.  (Here is a video in which he shares his thoughts on giving with a student interviewer.)

This professor is leaving a legacy at Waterloo by establishing an endowment in his will to support the School of Accounting and Finance’s priorities and help students reach their goals.  He sees his gift as a way of giving back and realizes that even a modest gift can go a long way.

As a member of the Laurel Society, he is helping Waterloo develop into a world-class university and is among the more than 400 individuals who took the time to contact Waterloo’s planned giving staff to learn more about available resources and benefits (including tax benefits). Anyone who has included the University of Waterloo in their estate, or who plans to do so, is encouraged to get in touch.

New look for Waterloo diploma?

Waterloo current diplomaOn Monday, the Registrar’s Office sent out an email message to 25,983 grad and undergrad students, inviting them to express their opinion of a revamped Waterloo diploma design – not one but four versions. The new survey follows up on one done in March in which people were asked “to pick five words or phrases that best described the current diploma (right) and a hypothetical diploma,” writes registrar Ken Lavigne.

So, what emerged from that? “The following are the top five characteristics that people believe Waterloo’s diplomas should reflect: High Quality, Instils Pride, Elegant, Powerful, and Distinctive. Based on these words and guided by the good advice from students, faculty, and staff, four diploma designs have been proposed…. Your input will make a valuable contribution to the success of this important initiative.”

A link to the online survey is included in the email. It's short, taking only a few minutes to complete. The Registrar’s Office is asking for people to respond by next Monday, May 23. (A separate but similar email message is to go out to faculty and staff.) A recommendation on the design will go to Senate soon. The first diplomas in the new design, if one is chosen, will be handed out at Convocation in June 2012.

Research study: myopia, children, and contact lenses

Centre for Contact Lense research logoThe Centre for Contact Lens Research is looking for children aged 8-10 to participate in a contact lens study that involves six visits to the CCLR over three months and daily wear of contact lenses.

Why is such a study needed? Myopia (near-sightedness) is a condition that emerges during childhood. Research has demonstrated that children adapt well to contact lens wear. The purpose of this CIBA VISION-funded study is to investigate how well contact lenses work for children who have never worn them before.

Two of the lenses are commercially available in Canada. The third lens has been authorized by Health Canada for use in this study. Lens instruction is provided. In appreciation for their time, the child and their parent or guardian will each receive $120 upon study completion.

This study has received ethics clearance through the Office Research Ethics, University of Waterloo. To register for the study, contact the Centre for Contact Lens Research at 519-888-4742 or email

News from the FedS Used Bookstore

And it’s good news for students selling their books. “The Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo has released a new policy which allows students more time and leniency when picking up cheques from the Feds Used Bookstore,” announces Kirsty Budd in a Federation of Students news release.

The new policy, in effect immediately, allows one free reprint per cheque. “Cheques that are between six and twelve months old can be reprinted if Feds has the original cheque and stale-dated cheques that are between six and twelve months can be reissued if Feds has the original.” Anything older will not be reissued.

Prashant Patel, FedS VP Admin and Finance, is quoted as saying, “We understand that Waterloo students are in a specialized situation as they may be out of the city for months at a time for a co-op term. There’s also the possibility with a heavy workload they may have simply forgotten they had a cheque waiting.” The earlier policy had students being charged $35 for a cheque reprint after six months, a cost that FedS administration will now absorb. “Changing this policy was priority for me and I’m glad I could tackle it within the first few weeks of being in office,” said Patel.

CPA staff

Back to top

Link of the day

Information Society Day

When and where

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

Carl Pollock Hall 2nd floor, electrical power shut down Tuesday 5 to 7 a.m.

ELPE writing skills workshop series for students who failed ELPE by 5 points. May 17 - June 21 or May 19 - June 23. Enrolment filled. For information:

‘Introduction to ArcGIS 9.3’ library workshop Tuesday 10:15, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Integrating Experiential Learning: “Integrating Experience into the Online Environment” Tuesday 12:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshops Tuesday: “Thinking About an International Experience?” 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1208; “International Work Term Procedures” 3:30, Tatham 1208. Details.

Library workshop: "Find Books and More" Tuesday 2:00 or June 1, 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

UW Sustainability Project volunteer meetings Tuesday and Wednesday 6 p.m., Student Life Centre room 3103.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group film screening, “END:CIV” about destruction of civilization, followed by questions with director Franklin Lopez Tuesday 7:00, CEIT room 1015.

Chemistry seminar: Ivan Huc, University of Bordeaux, “Folding and Assembly of Helical Nano-Architectures” Wednesday 10 a.m., Chemistry 2 room 361.

UWRC Book Club: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Country presentations: Pakistan and Ghana, May 18; Ontario and the Prairies, May 27; St. Maarten, June 2, all at 12 noon, Needles Hall room 1116.

Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) workshop with grand master Michael Gould, Wednesday, 1-2:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel. Free, no experience needed. Details:

‘Painting the Town Green’ presentations from local environmental organizations, organized by Climate Action Project, Wednesday, 3 to 5, Student Life Centre room 2134. Details.

Career workshops May 18: “Career Exploration and Decision Making” 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1112; “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 3:30, Tatham room 1208. Details.

Italian Night at Mudies cafeteria, Village I, Wednesday, May 18, 4:30 to 7:00.

Advanced mindfulness workshops (Counselling Services) May 18, 25, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 4:30-6 p.m., St. Bede’s Chapel, Renison University College. Materials fee $5.  Prerequisite: previous mindfulness workshops.

Canadian Society for Civil Engineering student chapter, first meeting of term Wednesday 5:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 3607.

East-West Concert Series: Shakuhachi (Zen flute with East-West Ensemble and University Choir) Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Renison great hall, free.

‘Roots of Love’, a film by Harjant Gill, screening (panel discussion follows) sponsored by arts, religious studies and St. Jerome’s in conjunction with “Assessing the Complexities of South Asia Migration” conference at WLU , Wednesday 7:30, Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s.

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

Education Credit Union seminar: Stephen P. Haller, lawyer, “Wills and Powers of Attorney” Thursday, 12:05, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP janinew@ by May 13.

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.

Health Services closes Thursday at 4 (normal closure is 5 p.m.)

Alumni reception during Ontario Association of Architects annual conference, Thursday, 5:30, InterContinental Toronto Centre. Details.

Women’s studies, religious studies and English departments present Inderpal Grewal of Yale, “Outsourcing Patriarchy: Media and Honour Killings in Contemporary India” Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s University.

Drop, no penalty period ends May 20; deadline to withdraw from spring term courses with 100 per cent fee refund.

Victoria Day Monday, May 23, university closed.

‘Old World, New Realities’ lecture by Warren Jestin, chief economist at Scotiabank, Wednesday, May 25, 11 a.m., LCAO Lecture Theatre, Accounting wing of Hagey Hall; to be followed by funding announcement.

Stratford Campus “Making the Future” dinner, presentation by dean of arts Ken Coates on the vision for Stratford, Waterloo and Canada, Wednesday, May 25, 7:00, Church Restaurant, tickets $90. Details.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin