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Friday, January 13, 2012

  • First UAE students begin classes in Waterloo
  • Environment seeks research chair applicants
  • Notes on Friday the 13th
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

First UAE students begin classes in Waterloo

a news release from the media relations office

A group of engineering students from the University of Waterloo campus in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) made history when they started the Canadian portion of their studies at the main Waterloo campus this month.

The 12 students from Dubai are enrolled in undergraduate programs in chemical engineering and civil engineering, the first two programs offered at the UAE campus. The campus opened in September 2009 to extend the university's highly acclaimed co-op education model internationally.

Nine of the students have been in Canada since September 2011 on co-op work terms in Toronto, Markham, Brampton, Kingston and Waterloo. The other three arrived from co-op jobs in the Middle East and South Asia.

Basila Abdu and David Brush.“Enrolling in the UAE program gives us the benefit of gaining both international and North American work experience,” explained Basila Abdu, a third-year chemical engineering student from Kerala, India. She is pictured at right discussing an assignment with David Brush, a lecturer in the department of civil and environmental engineering who has taught in Dubai and is now back at Waterloo. Photo by Carol Truemner.

Abdu worked with Toronto-based Celplast Metallized Products Ltd. for her fall 2011 co-op term. She did quality testing of metalized films used in packaging products such as potato chips.

Students enrolled at the Dubai campus spend their first two years studying in the UAE and complete their final two years of study in Canada, alternating classes and co-op work terms. Faculty from the Waterloo campus teach the Waterloo curriculum in the UAE.

“Having the first students from the Dubai campus in Canada marks a significant milestone in expanding the university’s international reputation,” said Leo Rothenburg, associate vice-president international and professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo. “The Dubai campus is an important hub for extending our world-renowned co-op program to the Middle East, South Asia, and beyond.”

A total of 139 students were enrolled at the Dubai campus in September 2011. In addition to chemical engineering and civil engineering, the Faculty of Mathematics is offering three programs in Dubai: financial analysis and risk management, information technology management, and mathematics English language for academic studies.

“Being on such a large campus, it's a new adventure every day,” commented third-year civil engineering student Ashaal Dabholkar. “Our class in Dubai was small and we could work with professors very closely. But being in a larger class lets us work with more people and hear different points of view. The experience has lived up to our expectations.”

The dean of engineering, Adel Sedra, noted that the Faculty had a strong track record of making history at the University.

“Waterloo Engineering was the founding faculty of the Waterloo campus 54 years ago and we continued the tradition as the founding faculty in Dubai,” said Sedra. “We extend a warm welcome to all the students from Dubai as they once again help us make history. We also extend our thanks to all the faculty and staff at the university who have helped make the Dubai campus a success.”

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Environment seeks research chair applicants

The Faculty of Environment is opening its doors to all comers from across campus as it seeks applicants for a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The chair will be held within the environment faculty, but its themes are transdisciplinary, hence the cross-campus solicitation:

Innovation, Stewardship and Environment

A transdisciplinary theme that inspires innovative planning, management and design of the future human and natural environment which recognizes the importance of stewardship of heritage, ethics, and processes that foster healthy and desirable social and ecological systems.
Entry points include human and natural dimensions of climate change; design of the built environment; management of physical and social information and the role of the citizen scientist in contributing to evidence based analysis through social media; and governance of social, economic and political structures as they impact the human and natural environment.

Society, Science and Sustainability

Society, Science and Sustainability is a cross-cutting theme that engages inquiry into human systems and the natural environment, the dynamic and evolving interfaces within and between these systems and future-oriented efforts to ensure their long-term vitality. More specifically, the three dimensions of this theme collectively centre upon the potential and the challenges of realizing ecological and socio-cultural sustainability by considering, for example, the emerging roles of individuals and communities in society and science, the ethical and social justice underpinnings of sustainability science, and how evolving scientific and social structures may mobilize communities and enable more sustainable futures. Possible foci may include, but are not limited to, environmental ethics and social justice, governance issues in natural environment planning and management, design and evaluation of built environment alternatives, and innovations in scientific and social approaches to information management and use for sustainability.

The intention is for the research chair to focus on one of the above themes.

"Potential candidates should have an established record of excellence in research and should be at the rank of Associate or Full Professor at the University of Waterloo," reads the memo from the faculty. Candidates are encouraged to send an application directly to the Dean of Environment, André Roy, at agroy@

Full application details with information about deadlines and submission requirements are available online.

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Notes on Friday the 13th

Registration has opened for Congress 2012 of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Canada’s largest interdisciplinary academic gathering, which this year will be co-hosted by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Some 7,000 scholars and students are expected to participate, while the free Big Thinking lecture series invites members of the public to talks by prominent intellectuals including Margaret Atwood, Thomas Homer-Dixon, and Jane Urquahart. Registration is available online. Prices go up after April 1.

A note from IST's Bob Hicks about two IT professional development sessions happening today: "The Educause 2011 conference took place from October 19-21, 2010 in Philadelphia. Educause is a conference about IT in higher education, be it administrative, teaching and learning, research, infrastructure and other IT topics." Two Educause sessions will be replayed this morning. "The first session describes George Washington University’s mobile strategy," says Hicks. "We are starting to organize our mobile strategy at the University of Waterloo, and this session may provide some ideas." The second seminar describes how the University of Virginia has taken "a completely different approach" to providing student computer labs. "After viewing the sessions, there will be an opportunity to discuss both topics." The sessions begin at 9:00 a.m. in MC 2009.

There will be a used book sale taking place in the hallway outside Renison's Lusi Wong Library on Monday, January 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. that runs until Thursday, January 19. Prices are $.10 for magazines, $.50 for pocket books, $1.00 for trade paperbacks, and $2.00 for hardcovers. Sponsored by the Renison Library Committee, the proceeds from this sale will go towards library accessibility enhancements.

Wilfrid Laurier University will be staging a "critical-incident simulation" between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Wednesday, January 18 "so that police and university personnel can test Laurier's emergency procedures," says a news release from Laurier's Communications and Public Affairs department. This exercise will involve an armed intruder who takes hostages inside the administration building at 202 Regina Street. "The exercise will be confined to the administration building at 202 Regina St. and will not affect other buildings or areas of campus," the release continues. "There will be a visible and well-marked police presence involving teams of tactical officers in full gear."

Drop-in sessions for LEARN, the new learning management system that has replaced UW-ACE, have started up again this term. These sessions are held in EV1 242 on a drop-in basis are will be taking place Thursday, January 19 from 12:00 to 2:30 p.m., and Friday, January 27, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Students from the Clean Snowmobile Team work on a snowmobile.Engineering student design teams are having an open house and recruitment fair on Tuesday, January 17 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Teams on display include the UW Micro Aerial Vehicle Team, the Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group, the UW Clean Snowmobile Team, UW Robotics, Space Robotics and Mars Rover, UW Rocketry Team and WATSAT, the UW Alternative Fuels Team, Baja SAE, Formula Hybrid, Formula Motosports, the Midnight Sun Solar Team, and many others. Everyone is welcome, regardless of faculty, department, or skill level. Refreshments will be provided.

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Link of the day

Bikes in Port Dover

When and where

Open class enrolment for winter term classes ends January 9 (online courses), January 16 (on-campus courses).

Knowledge Integration Seminar, Lucie Edwards, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Friday, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College, room 105.

Warrior sports this weekend: Women’s volleyball vs. Windsor Friday, 6:00 p.m., Women’s hockey vs. Ryerson Friday, 7:00 p.m., Men’s hockey vs. York Friday, 7:30 p.m., Men’s volleyball vs. Windsor Friday, 8:00 p.m., Track and Field at Can Am Meet Friday, Women’s basketball vs. Guelph Saturday, 1:00 p.m.

University senate Monday, January 16, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Studies in Islam Speaker Series, Professor Ali Zaidi, Monday, January 16, 7:00 p.m. Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College.

Mathematics grad studies info session for undergrads, Tuesday, January 17, 4:30 p.m., MC 2065.

Water Institute seminar: Dr. Roland Hall, Department of Biology, University of Waterloo. "Information across broad spatial and temporal scales is important for water resource management: A case study from the Peace-Athabasca Delta." Wednesday, January 18, 11:30 a.m., DC 1302.

Chinese New Year at Mudies, Wednesday, January 18, 4:30.

MDEI Student showcase, Wednesday, January 18, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Mennonite/s Writing in Canada: The First 50 Years lecture series featuring David Waltner-Toews “From A Brotherly Phillippic to Tante Tina to the mysteries of disease, death and transformation: Mennonite reflections on a life of poetry and science,” Wednesday, January 18, Conrad Grebel College Chapel, 7:00 p.m.

Allen Loney, President and CEO of Great West Life lecture, Thursday, January 19, 2:30, DC 1350, reception 3:00 p.m., in Math 3 second floor alcove. Register online by Monday, January 16.

Centre for Career Action Webinar: Writing an A+ resume, Thursday, January 19, 4:30 p.m. Details.

Pension and benefits committee Friday, January 20, 8:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Engineering Alumni Ski Day, Friday, January 20, Osler Bluff Ski Club, 8:30 a.m.

Knowledge Integration Seminar: My Experience with the Beyond Borders program, featuring speaker Brilé Anderson, Friday, January 20, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College room 105.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel U College , lunch seminar, “What Is CFIB Doing to Assist Family Businesses?” Friday, January 20, 11:00, Bingemans Conference Centre.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day Saturday, January 21, 1:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex.

Official Chinese New Year at Chopsticks, Bon Appetit Monday, January 23, 5:00, featuring a live performance by the Central Ontario Chinese Cultural Centre Lion Dancers.

Drop, No Penalty Period ends January 23.

Volunteer/Internship Fair Tuesday, January 24, 11:00 a.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

uWaterloo NYC alumni event, Tuesday, January 24, The Hurricane Club, 360 Park Avenue, New York, New York. Register online.

Noon hour concert, Ben Bolt-Martin, acoustic and electronic solo cello, Wednesday, January 25, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. Free admission.

Canada's Digital Economy, 49 Pixels Study Wednesday, January 25, 5:30 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Centre for Career Action Webinar: Perfecting your interview skills, Wednesday, January 25, 4:30 p.m. Details.

Maintaining Mental Fitness for Life, Thursday, January 26, 12:00 p.m., DC 1304.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, January 26, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Knowledge Integration Seminar: John Baker, founder, president, and CEO, Desire2Learn, Friday, January 26, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College room 105.

PhD Oral Defences

Planning. Jonaki Bhattacharyya, “Knowing Naslhiny (Horse), Understanding the Land: Free-Roaming Horses in the Culture and Ecology of the Brittany Triangle and Nemiah Valley.” Supervisor, Stephen Murphy. On display in the faculty of environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Monday, January 16, 1:00 p.m., Environment 2 room 1001.

Electrical and computer engineering. Qi Chai, “Design and Analysis of Security Schemes for Low-Cost RFID Systems.” Supervisor, Guang Gong. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, January 19, 10:00 a.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Physics and astronomy. Charles Kirkpatrick, “The Relationship Between Active Galactic Nuclei and Metal-enriched Outflows in Galaxy Clusters.” Supervisor, Brian R. McNamara. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, January 19, 1:00 p.m., Physics room 352.

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