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Monday, October 24, 2011

  • Success office celebrates opening week
  • Official scissor hands, and other news notes
  • Federal panel advises changes in R&D funding
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Success office celebrates opening week

“Success Week” runs from today through Friday at Waterloo, and will culminate with the official opening celebration of the Student Success Office at its headquarters on the upper level of South Campus Hall.

[Success Week button]The week is one of the first activities organized by the new and growing office, says its communications director, Virginia Young. “This week has been designed,” she says, “to help students start thinking about what success means to them, and to help build awareness of the many departments and people on campus here to help them succeed.”

Young adds that the week “will encourage students to take a holistic approach to the university experience, through workshops geared towards learning how to succeed academically; benefiting from social, cultural and civic involvement on campus and in the community; developing your career plans and accomplish your professional goals; being happy, healthy, and fit.”

Activities during Success Week include study skills sessions in the residences, career workshops at the Tatham Centre, Library Day, and Mental Health Wellness Day. Students are being encouraged to participate by picking up a “passport to success” and get stickers at each event location they attend. Students can drop off their passports at the Student Success Office on Friday for a chance to win “one of our great prize packs”, including lunch with university president Feridun Hamdullahpur.

Departments all across the campus are being connected with the event. For example, the theme at retail services (the bookstore, Campus Tech and other outlets) is “Tools for Student Success”, and there will be several presentations in the residences under the heading “Study for Success in Residence”.

Today is “Social/ Cultural/ Civic Day”, Tuesday is “Career/ Professional Day”, and Wednesday, the busiest day of the week, will be “Academic/ Intellectual Day”, with programming that includes a bookstore discount, promotion of a student-created DVD to help teach linear algebra, faculty members serving lunch in the Village I cafeteria, and an evening study break in the Ron Eydt Village great hall promising “free pizza, bubble tea, and fun fall activities”.

Wednesday is also billed as Library Day, with refreshments and special attractions promised between 10 a.m. and noon at the Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries.

Thursday is “Mental Health and Wellness Day”. Says the success office’s website: “There is an incredible amount of pressure on students to succeed, but there is also a lot of support on campus if you need it. Counselling Services, Health Services, Office for Persons with Disabilities, Student Resource Office, and Police Services can all help facilitate personal and social growth; intervene in times of crisis, and help enhance your study skills. Look for staff and faculty wearing Mental Health & Wellness Day T-shirts and talk to them about how they can help you succeed.”

And Friday is Student Success Day, with the grand opening of the new office between noon and 3 p.m. “We encourage all staff, students, and faculty to stop by,” says Young, “to take a tour of our new space, enjoy a piece of cake to celebrate the new office, meet our team, and learn about some of our current services and programs dedicated to helping students succeed. President Feridun Hamdullahpur will be saying a few words at 1:30 p.m.”

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Official scissor hands, and other news notes

Officials from governments and the university worked together to slice a pink ribbon at Friday morning's opening ceremonies for the Mathematics 3 building. “This project has not only created jobs for people in our community, but it also provides infrastructure that will benefit the University of [Seven pairs of scissors at work]Waterloo for years to come," said one of the visitors, Kitchener Centre MP Peter Braid (third from left in photo). The total cost of Math 3 was $23 million. Figures quoted in Friday's Daily Bulletin about the funding received — $18.25 million from the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program and $17.75 million in matching provincial money — actually represented the total for a two-building project that includes both Math 3 and the Engineering 6 building that will be opened this Friday. Across Ontario, officials say, KIP represents a total investment of $2.3 billion to improve infrastructure at postsecondary institutions.

A Waterloo team will be going to the world championships of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest again this year, after success in the regional competition on Saturday. The coach of the team, Ondrej Lhotak of the school of computer science, reports that the Waterloo Black team, made up of Tyson Andre, Benoit Maurin, and Anton Raichuk, won the ACM East Central North America Regional Programming Contest “by a very strong margin. They solved all nine problems of the five-hour contest in just over four hours. Runners-up were the University of Toronto and Carnegie Mellon University with 8 problems, followed by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Waterloo's Gold team (Minghao Dai, Felix Fung, Kevin Yeo) with 6 problems solved. Waterloo's Red team (Chen Fei Du, Daniel Galperin, Deon Nicholas) finished 17th out of 122 registered teams.” Waterloo Black earns a place in the world finals, to be held May 14-18 in Warsaw. “I would like to congratulate the teams,” says a note from Lhotak, “and to thank my co-coaches Hanson Wang, Tor Myklebust, and Gordon Cormack.”

“Since the launch of staff career advising services in 2010,” says Rebecca Burwell in a note from the Tatham Centre, “the Staff Career Advisor has worked with over 200 University of Waterloo staff members. Staff use the service to plan and develop their careers, have their resumé/ cover letters critiqued, and practice their interview skills. The service has proven popular and successful. A full 99% said they would refer others to the service, and the number of staff who used the service in its first year was equal to the number of staff who used an equivalent service at another Canadian university in its seventh year of operation. This success has resulted in staff career advising being changed from a two-year pilot to an ongoing service. Besides offering individual appointments, the Staff Career Advisor also runs career-related workshops.” Burwell, who’s new in the Staff Career Advisor job, says she’s currently developing a workshop plan for the winter term, and needs help in selecting topics. There’s a brief survey online (a copy was also sent by e-mail to staff last week). Says Burwell: “You can also weigh in on the idea of a ‘career club’ — a facilitated group that would meet bi-weekly for 1 to 2 hours over the course of 8 weeks to work on setting and achieving their career goals.”

Kevin O'Leary, a celebrity on CBC's Dragons' Den, will share key secrets on entrepreneurship when talking about his new book at an event hosted by the university bookstore tonight. The book, Cold Hard Truth, is both a personal story — success against the odds — and a practical business book. It features quizzes, questionnaires and lists designed to help readers hone their entrepreneurial and financial instincts. "Kevin will tell us that if you want to be a successful entrepreneur and amass wealth, you’re going to have to work for it," says May Yan, director of the Waterloo bookstore. "But the good news is that with the right guidance and focus, you can turn entrepreneurial vision into lucrative reality." O’Leary, a Waterloo alumnus, is the co–star of CBC’s Dragons' Den and The Lang & O'Leary Exchange, as well as Shark Tank on ABC in the United States. He is a founding investor and director of Stream Global, an international business outsourcing company. He sits on the investment committee of Boston's 200-year-old Hamilton Trust and is the chairman of O’Leary Funds. He also serves on the executive board of The Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. The meet-the-author event begins at 7 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre. Registration is online.

And . . . the Federation of Students says its eagerly awaited bubble tea outlet, Campus Bubble, will open today in the Student Life Centre.

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Federal panel advises changes in R&D funding

from a Government of Canada news release

The expert panel leading the Review of Federal Support to Research and Development has submitted its final report to Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology. It makes a series of recommendations that call for a simplified and more focused approach to the $5 billion worth of R&D funding provided by the federal government every year.

"Government needs to do a better job helping our innovative SMEs grow into larger, world-competitive companies in Canada. Relative to the size of the Canadian economy, government support [Jenkins]for business R&D in Canada is among the most generous in the world, yet we're near the bottom of the pack when it comes to seeing business R&D investment," said panel chair Tom Jenkins (left), who is chairman of Waterloo-based Open Text Corp. "Our report took a hard look at this problem and with valuable input from businesses, scientists, and the academic community; we've come up with some practical solutions."

With a mandate to provide advice on how to enhance federal programming in support of a more innovative economy, the Jenkins panel met with more than 160 stakeholders across Canada, received 228 written submissions, surveyed over 1,000 businesses, and consulted with experts in Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia and the United States. The review could neither increase nor decrease overall funding, nor could it touch regulatory research done by federal laboratories or basic research conducted by institutions of higher education.

"What we found was a funding system that is unnecessarily complicated and confusing to navigate," said Jenkins. "There are also significant gaps that hinder the ability of our businesses to grow and that keep Canada from taking full advantage of this country's innovations."

Highlights from the panel's recommendations:

  • The creation of an Industrial Research and Innovation Council (IRIC) to deliver the federal government's business innovation programs. There are currently more than 60 programs across 17 different government departments.
  • Simplification of the tax credit system used to support small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Make business innovation one of the core objectives of procurement. The federal government spends billions of dollars every year but it ranks low internationally when it comes to using that purchasing power to encourage Canadian innovation.
  • Transform the institutes of the National Research Council into a series of large-scale, collaborative centres involving business, universities and the provinces. While the NRC continues to do good work, research and commercialization activity in Canada has grown immensely. In this new context, the NRC can play a unique role, linking its large-scale, long-term research activity with the academic and business communities.
  • Help high-growth innovative firms access the risk capital they need through the Business Development Bank of Canada.
  • Establish a clear federal voice for innovation and work with the provinces to improve coordination. The Prime Minister should assign responsibility for innovation to a single minister, supported by a whole-of-government Innovation Advisory Committee.

"I commend Minister Goodyear and Prime Minister Harper for recognizing that the federal government needs to rethink the way it supports R&D in this country and I hope they will find our recommendations useful," concluded Jenkins. "We have come up with some very practical solutions that will ensure that Canada unleashes its potential to be one of the world's innovation leaders."


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The new minister of training, colleges and universities, following the Ontario cabinet shuffle, is Glen Murray, MPP for Toronto Centre, who formerly headed the ministry of research and innovation. A former mayor of Winnipeg, Murray "has a lifetime of activism in urban planning, sustainable development and community health", his website says.

Link of the day

United Nations Day

When and where

Pre-enrolment for spring 2012 undergraduate courses, October 24-30. Details.

International Women in Digital Media Summit co-sponsored by Stratford campus, Monday-Wednesday, Rotary Complex, Stratford. Details.

Flu vaccinations for members of “high-risk” groups continue, today, October 31, and November 7, 2:00 to 4:00, health services, no appointment required.

Communitech Hub, Kitchener, one-year anniversary celebration 6 to 8 p.m., RSVP online .

Retail services ‘Fall into a Good Book’ sale Tuesday-Wednesday, South Campus Hall concourse.

Stratford campus workshop: “Effective Public Consultation Strategies” Tuesday 9 a.m., repeated November 15. Details.

Library workshop: “Keep Current in Your Field” Tuesday 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Gairdner Foundation lectures by Adrian Bird, University of Edinburgh, Tuesday: student lecture 10:30 a.m., “A Scientific Journey: From Blue Skies Research to Neurological Disorder”; technical lecture 1 p.m., “CpG Signalling in Health and Disease”, both in Humanities Theatre.

Retirees Association bus trip to Shaw Festival for “My Fair Lady” Tuesday, tickets $112, information 519-744-3246.

Board of governors Tuesday 2:30 p.m., Mathematics 3 room 3127.

Anthropology lecture: Neal Ferris, University of Western Ontario, “Capacities for a Sustainable Archaeology” Tuesday 4:30, PAS building room 1229.

President’s reception for major donors and alumni leaders, by invitation, Tuesday 5:30, Mathematics 3 foyer.

Global Youth Network information session about volunteer trips to India and Morocco in May 2012, Tuesday 6:00 and Thursday 7:30, Math and Computer room 4042.

Comedy night at Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre, Tuesday 9 p.m.

Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays for female staff, faculty, grad students and postdocs, Wednesday 4 to 6 p.m.,  Graduate House.

Staff association annual general meeting Thursday 9 a.m., Math and Computer room 5158.

Deadline for 50 per cent refund of fall term fees, October 28.

Wilfrid Laurier University fall convocation, Friday 10 a.m. (installation of chancellor) and 2:30 p.m. (honorary degree to boxer Lennox Lewis), Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.

Co-op student rankings for winter term jobs (“main” group of students) open October 28, 1 p.m., close October 31, 2 p.m.

Science open house with children’s activities and presentations, Saturday 10:00 to 4:00, CEIT building. Details.

Federation of Students annual general meeting October 31, 12:00, Student Life Centre great hall. Details.

Town hall meeting with president and provost November 1, 3:00 to 4:30, Humanities Theatre, open to staff, faculty, students.

Friday's Daily Bulletin