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Thursday, November 3, 2011

  • High schoolers will visit Saturday
  • Bookstore offers e-books from Google
  • Town hall postscript, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Flame, steam, extinguisher]

The safety office held a fire extinguisher training session for some staff members late in October. Jaymis Goertz, who usually deals with much smaller-scale reactions at the Institute for Quantum Computing, was there, and caught this view of John Percy of Waterloo Fire Rescue demonstrating proper technique.

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High schoolers will visit Saturday

a news release from the media relation office

Thousands of prospective university students and their families can learn about campus life at the University of Waterloo during an all-day event on Saturday. Close to 5,000 visitors are expected at the fall open house — mostly on the main campus, with some at Waterloo's school of architecture in Cambridge and school of pharmacy in Kitchener. 

Waterloo's open house event is held as students are making up their minds about which universities best suit their needs.

"The day showcases the University of Waterloo's academic strengths, world-leading co-op program, student life and leadership opportunities," said Kim McKee, manager of the visitors centre. "This on-campus event gives future students and their families the opportunity to participate in activities that will increase their interest and level of commitment to Waterloo. Visitors can take a walking tour of the campus and speak with our student ambassadors about their personal Waterloo community experience."

The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with tours starting from the Student Life Centre. Information booths will be open all day long. As well, the six faculties will offer more detailed academic presentations. Parents can stop by the parents' lounge in the SLC for tips on how they can help their children with the process of applying to universities.

The day also includes residence tours and visits to Conrad Grebel University College, Renison University College, St. Jerome's University and St. Paul's University College.  

The future students are invited to eat in the SLC's food services outlets and browse in the university bookstore and Waterloo Shop. Free parking is offered all day in half a dozen campus lots.

Students who favour the University of Waterloo and decide to apply for admission in September 2012 will be encouraged to attend the March break open house four months from now.

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Bookstore offers e-books from Google

The university’s bookstore is “positioning itself for the future”, says an announcement this week: the store has plans to sell more than 250,000 electronic books through its website. “This is the result,” says a news release, “of a partnership between the University of Waterloo Book Store and Google eBooks to distribute public domain and commercial ebooks across Canada.”

The Google eBooks service was launched in Canada on Tuesday and is being delivered through both commercial bookstores and a number of campus stores.

Says the announcement at Waterloo: “Google eBooks is a new form of cloud-based digital book that allows readers to access their libraries on almost any device, including smart phones and iPads, from one single repository, regardless of where the books were purchased.” The books that are for sale come as an addition to the estimated two million free books already available through Google.

A web page with technical details notes that Amazon’s Kindle doesn’t currently work with the Google system, but many devices do, including iPads and some iPods, the Nook, the Kobo reader, and laptop computers. The book doesn’t actually live on the user’s device, it lives in Google’s “cloud”, so that “If you lose a device, you don't lose any Google eBooks you downloaded onto it; you'll be able to read all of your Google eBooks with your new device.”

Says May Yan, director of retail services, the unit that includes the bookstore: “We are delighted to be able to offer hundreds of thousands of titles online to supplement our in-store selection. Our customers can now buy and read a book wherever they want, however they want to, digitally.

“Going forward, the platform gives us the capability of adding faculty and locally authored ebooks through Google eBooks’ Publisher and Author program. This program also ties in very well with our technology offerings in-store — our customers can buy their device and ebooks in one place.”

Google eBooks, says the release, “represents the solution for eBook distribution that best reflects the particular needs of an academic marketplace and is consistent with the student centric operating policies of the University of Waterloo Book Store."

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Town hall postscript, and other notes

Tuesday's "town hall" meeting with president Feridun Hamdullahpur drew 428 people to the Humanities Theatre, a note from the theatre centre says, and of course that's not counting those who watched the live webcast. Anybody who missed the show (or wants an encore) will soon be able to see it online, as the video will be ready shortly, I'm told. And Ellen Réthoré, associate vice-president (communications and public affairs), says she's heard from a number of people who wanted to provide feedback and continue the conversation that started at the event. "Feedback is welcome," she writes, "and can be sent to townhall@"

[Riley]Barb Riley (left) is the new executive director of one of Waterloo’s biggest research centres, the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact. “I would like to thank her and Steve Brown for serving as Interim Co-Directors for the past few months,” says a memo from the dean of applied health sciences,  Susan Elliott. She adds: “In the search for a leader to succeed Roy Cameron, the ideal was to find a candidate who is familiar with the Centre and its many stakeholders, is highly regarded by relevant scientific, policy and practice communities, has proven leadership skills, and has a vision for Propel’s future. Barb was a natural choice, and received very strong support from colleagues at the University of Waterloo and the Canadian Cancer Society who are involved with Propel.” Riley has a master’s degree from Waterloo and a PhD from McMaster, and returned to Waterloo in 2004 as the recipient of the Dr. Andres Petrasovits Fellowship for Cardiovascular Health Policy Research. “Barb’s goal,” says Elliott, “was to build a culture and infrastructure for linking evidence and action in population and public health. She now has an extensive track record that contributes to that goal, including foundational research that catalyzed the field of dissemination and implementation research.”

A test of the university’s emergency communications system is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) afternoon between 1:00 and 2:30. This system employs several communications media, including messages to voicemail on campus phones, text messages to cell phones, and a message to computers that appears as a "pop-up" directing everyone to the university's special emergency home page. This system is only deployed in the event of major emergencies where there is imminent physical danger. To ensure that they will receive an emergency cell phone text message, faculty, staff and students must list their cell phone numbers in their university personal information files. For students this should be done using Quest. For faculty and staff, log into the myHRinfo system to make sure your cell phone is accurately listed. Most people on campus will receive the automatic pop-up message if they are using PCs. Those with "self-managed" machines, including all Macintosh computers, can obtain the necessary software for downloading themselves. This software will enable these machines to connect with the Emerge software system used to display pop-up messages. And during emergency situations, the university's InfoLine can be accessed at 1-866-470-0910. This special university number is a communication service allowing multiple callers access simultaneously. The number will help in avoiding switchboard overload in high-volume situations.


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myHRinfo shutting down today

The myHRinfo system will shut down for a systems upgrade from 4:30 p.m. today until next Wednesday, November 9. During the shutdown period, users will not be able to login or to make changes to any information using myHRinfo. Check for updates on availability.

Link of the day

'Men make dinner'

When and where

School of Environment, Enterprise and Development symposium: “Sustainable Development, Possibility or Pipe Dream?” 9:00 to 12:30, Federation Hall. Details.

Library workshop: “Extreme Google” 10:00, Davis Centre room 1568. Details.

‘We’ve Got You Covered’ sale of used winter coats and jackets, final day, 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room; proceeds to United Way; donations call ext. 36574.

Library workshop: “Advanced RefWorks” 12:00, Davis Centre room 1568. Details.

‘Romeo and Juliet’ production for high school audiences by Classical Theatre Project, 2:00, Humanities Theatre.

Career workshops today: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208; “All About the GMAT” 4:30, Tatham room 2218; “Thinking About an MBA?” 5:30, Tatham 2218. Details.

Chemical engineering seminar: Muhammad Yousaf, York University, “Rewiring Cell Surfaces” 3:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Bridges Lecture: David Seljak (religion) and Benoit Charbonneau (mathematics), “Dimensions of Transcendence” 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s University.

Wilfrid Laurier University open house for potential students,  Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Waterloo), November 11, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Brantford).

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Heather Wey and Natasha Jennings, “Waterloo Content Management System Training Plan” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Environment and resource studies speaker series: Jennifer Clapp, ERS professor, “Food Economies: From Global to Local” Friday 12:00, Environment 1 room 221. Details.

Balsillie School of International Affairs lecture: “What Makes a Summit Work?” Friday 12:30, 57 Erb Street West.

Alumni in Hong Kong: networking dinner Friday 6 p.m., Regal Kowloon Hotel. Details.

Waterloo Engineering Competition Friday evening and Saturday, Rod Coutts Hall and Doug Wright Engineering, competition in junior and senior design and consulting engineering. Details.

The Waterboys a cappella group open for The Essentials in live concert at Princess Cinema, Friday 7:30 p.m., tickets $25 (519-880-9595).

‘Drag Me to the Bomber’ pub evening sponsored by GLOW, Friday from 8 p.m., $5 in advance.

Heritage Planning Workshop November 5-6 in Kingston, Ontario, sponsored by Heritage Resource Centre. Details.

Entrepreneur Week November 7-11; Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Gala, November 8, 5:30 p.m. Details.

We Innovate engineering research showcase, Monday, Engineering 5 building: 1 to 3 p.m. (students only), 4 to 7 p.m. (industry and general public). Details.

‘Entrepreneurship: The Path to Success’ by “serial entrepreneur” Ryan Blair, hosted by student success office, Monday 8 p.m., Student Life Centre, reception follows.

PhD oral defences

Management sciences. Mark Steven Zschocke, “Competitive Project Portfolio Management.” Supervisors, Beth Jewkes and Benny Mantin. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, November 11, 2:00 p.m., Carl Pollock Hall room 4333.

Civil and environmental engineering. Rashid Rehan, “Sustainable Municipal Water and Wastewater Management Using System Dynamics.” Supervisors, Mark A. Knight and Carl Haas. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, November 14, 11:45 a.m., Carl Pollock Hall room 2371.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Minchul Jang, “Nanostructured Complex Hydrides for Hydrogen Storage.” Supervisors, Robert Varin and Linda Nazar. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, November 15, 10:00 a.m., Energy Research Centre room 3012.

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