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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • Mid-Cycle Review progress report
  • Teaching award winners named
  • Tuesday's notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Checking the warranty: Michael Worswick, a professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair within Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, shows a lightweight prototype automotive structural component developed in his laboratory to MP Peter Braid during a tour of his lab last Tuesday. Braid was on campus to announce that Worswick had received $3,526,838 for his research on "Magnesium Intensive Multi-Material Automotive Structures: Fabrication and Performance" from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) under the Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) program. Photograph by Jessica from Light Imaging.

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Mid-Cycle Review progress report

A memo from the President

As we at Waterloo find ourselves more than halfway through our sixth decade, we are measuring our progress and plotting our future course. We are engaged as a community in the Mid-cycle Review of Waterloo’s Sixth Decade Plan, our strategic plan delivered in 2006. Through the Mid-cycle Review we have been assessing and realigning the priorities identified in the plan. We will set ambitious goals of where we strive to be as an outstanding institution, and identify objectives that will help us achieve those goals. Our actions will include an accountability framework and measurable outcomes, and will guide our future success.

As we move forward, University of Waterloo’s six foundational pillars will remain at our core:

  • Academic excellence
  • Research excellence and impact
  • Co-operative education
  • Graduate studies
  • Internationalization
  • Entrepreneurship

Priorities are beginning to emerge through the review process: Through extensive consultations with our stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, and a subsequent survey, information was gathered. It was analyzed by an independent research team, and further sorted by a group of university stakeholders. Common areas of interest identified as developing priorities are beginning to emerge. But woven into each of those priority areas was an underlying message about the importance our stakeholders put on the research that happens at Waterloo. Research excellence was seen as fundamental to many of the priorities identified. At the Mid-cycle Review Campus Update meeting on February 29, I shared our results to date. I valued hearing once again from students, faculty and staff, and invited further feedback from live and online audiences.

The developing priorities are:

  • Student opportunities and experience
  • Quality of education
  • Resources
  • Clear and effective leadership
  • Campus environment
  • Visibility and outreach
  • Image and Philosophy

These will continue to evolve as the Mid-cycle Review progresses. Academic and research excellence, which guides all of our developing priority areas, will play a key role as we move forward.

Our next steps

Beginning this spring, we will start to set goals and plan a course of action for the next five years, addressing priority areas defined by our stakeholders. To ensure our success, our progress must be measured. To that end, we will establish an accountability framework, which includes individuals responsible for action plans and measures of success. We will share our progress with our community at regular intervals, including through our website. Our priority areas will drive our planning and budgeting decisions and inform other faculty and non-academic planning.

Plotting a course for global success

One of the most important questions we asked ourselves during consultations was what it will take for Waterloo to secure its place as one of the most recognized and respected universities in the world. We have already accomplished much as an institution. But both here and around the world much has changed, bringing new challenges and new opportunities. We must measure and adjust our course to secure our place among the world’s top universities at the forefront of global change, while we continue to serve our community, country and the world. With your input and support, this new roadmap to success will lead us there.

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Teaching award winners named

Distinguished Teacher Awards for 2012 will be presented to four faculty members at convocation, provost Geoff McBoyle announced at last night's meeting of the university senate. The winners are:

  • Firas Mansour, Physics & Astronomy
  • Alfred Menezes, Combinatorics & Optimization
  • Tim Kenyon, Philosophy
  • Tracy Penny Light, Sexuality, Marriage & Family Studies

The Distinguished Teacher Award citations follow below.

In addition, four graduate students have been named this year’s winners of the Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student. They are:

  • Keith Delaney, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Andrea Murphy, School of Architecture
  • Arash Shahi, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Hamed Shateri, Mechanical Engineering

This year's DTA winners: Firas Mansour

As a Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 2007, Firas Mansour’s exceptional teaching style has gained respect and praise from his students. Mansour (right) currently teaches first year Physics classes to Engineers, Life Science and Physical Science students and has taught upper year elective Physics courses in the past. He is highly regarded for his quality of teaching, his enthusiasm in teaching, and his understanding of students’ needs. Many students have praised Firas for the extra help sessions that he holds throughout the term, as well as during the exam period. In the classroom, students find his lectures fun and enjoyable, stating that he has a “fantastic sense of humour” and teaches the course material with great enthusiasm. Firas remembers the names of all of his students, forming stronger teacher-learner bonds and motivating his students to be successful. His approachable manner and unique teaching style captivate his students’ attention while also effectively building their confidence and problem solving skills. The students note that “Prof. Mansour demonstrates all of the characteristics that the best professors display”. While his dedication to teaching is exemplary, so is his interest in outreach activities in bringing scientific knowledge beyond the university boundary.

Alfred MenezesAlfred Menezes (left), as a professor and Chair of the Department of Combinatorics & Optimization, is an instructor in cryptography, coding theory and introductory combinatorics and algebra. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students, Alfred is an active graduate supervisor with more than 25 successful supervisions at Waterloo. In 2010, he was awarded the Mathematics Faculty’s Award for Distinction for his contributions to the faculty since he was hired in 1998. Students compliment Alfred on his exceptional teaching, stating “Alfred was clear, clever, and concise; an excellent combination for effective teaching”. One student wrote that he was amazed at how Alfred returned midterm tests personally without calling out their names. By memorizing the names and faces of his students using Watcard photographs, Alfred shows his dedication towards understanding his students. He maintains a well-organized website where he posts lecture summaries, assignments, and solutions in a timely manner. Alfred’s devotion to teaching excellence and student success displays his dedication to his profession. One nominator summarized the students’ view of Alfred as a teacher. “Based on the applause at the end of the final day of lectures, I think that others share my high opinion of Menezes”.

Tim Kenyon.Tim Kenyon (right), an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, is highly regarded for his “great ambition for student success”. Students note that Tim incorporates memorable examples and humour into his lectures while encouraging student questions. His “mastery in the classroom” challenges their understanding of the course material while maintaining a positive atmosphere within the classroom. His genuine concern for his students’ success exists beyond the classroom, demonstrated by the extra study sessions he organizes. Tim also mentors junior faculty members. He works to cultivate a departmental environment in which faculty members and graduate students have regular opportunities to discuss their teaching practices, to learn from each other and to seek advice when they face challenges in their teaching. While being open to new teaching methods, he shares his own teaching tips with his colleagues and graduate students. In 2008, Tim participated in the Teaching Excellence Academy, where he redesigned his course to enhance his students’ learning. Tim’s influence motivated other faculty members, both within his department and other departments, to participate in the Teaching Excellence Academy. He recently served on the Task Force on Innovative Teaching Practices to Promote Deep Learning at the University of Waterloo.

Tracy Penny Light.Tracy Penny Light (left) is an assistant professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies at St. Jerome’s University. Students praise her various teaching methods including the use of ePortfolios, PowerPoint, films, radio clips, research articles and small group work. Her students’ ePortfolios have been published and won prizes, and their collaborative experimental classroom processes have led to exciting learning outcomes such as BeInclusive! (a documentary film examining inclusivity at Waterloo), an annual conference on sexuality, marriage, and family studies, and a ground-breaking first-year transition program to help high school students adapt to university learning.

Tracy impacts students directly through her classroom teaching style, mentorship, and pedagogy, and indirectly through her contributions to curriculum redesign and support for her colleagues’ own growth as teachers. She was a key leader in the establishment of the Teaching Excellence Academy, a four-day workshop for faculty members to engage in a course design process to revise a course that aligns intended learning outcomes, teaching activities, and student assessment. She has also been an excellent ambassador on behalf of Waterloo to other institutions, and a catalyst for advancing teaching nationally and internationally.

The winners of the Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student will be profiled in tomorrow's Daily Bulletin.

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Tuesday's notes

The Feds Used Books store has updated its hours for March and April. The bookstore, located in the basement of the Student Life Centre, is open 9:00 to 5:00 on Monday to Friday for the remainder of March, and is closed on Saturdays. Beginning on April 2, the bookstore will continue its 9:00 to 5:00 schedule, but will open also open on Saturday, April 14 and April 21 from 9:00 to 5:00.

Here's the latest Nutrition Month "myth vs. truth" tip from Health Services dietician Sandra Ace:

"Myth": Artificial sweeteners have too many chemicals to be healthy.
"Truth": Artificial sweeteners can be part of healthy eating. Health Canada approves all sweeteners for safety before they can be sold in Canada and also establishes strict guidelines for how food producers can use them and what amounts are safe to eat. Artificial sweeteners do not contain nutrients but add a sweet taste while limiting calories and can be enjoyed in moderation when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

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A Canada goose.
Angry Birds

Reports have been coming in of aggressive geese on campus. Seriously, the birds are bitey this time of year. Plant Operations will be erecting the usual barricades around nesting sites that are close to areas of human traffic on campus.

The university's safety office has recommended a warning leaflet prepared by the Ohio state government that outlines how to avoid getting on a goose's bad side.

Photograph by Basel Sabbagh.

Link of the day

Singin' In The Rain released 60 years ago today

When and where

Engineering Shadow Days, Monday, March 19 to Friday, March 30.

4th Annual Pink Day, Tuesday, March 27, Pink Coffee break gets started at 9:00 a.m. in NH 1021.

The Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (I.B.M.B.) Seminar Series, Dr. Jared Silverman, VP Discovery Biology, Cubist, Lexington, MA, "Mechanism of Action of the Lipopeptide Antibiotic Daptomycin: Studies in Artificial Membranes and Bacterial Cell Biology", Tuesday, March 27, 3:30 p.m., C2-361.

Student appreciation night at REVelation, Tuesday, March 27, 4:30 p.m.

Public lecture by Sir John Meurig Thomas, "The Genius of Michael Faraday", Tuesday, March 27, 4:30 p.m. EIT 1015.

Reading and Q&A with children's author Robert Paul Weston ("Zorgamazoo", "Dust City"), Tuesday, March 27, 4:30 p.m., St. Jerome's room 2009. Part of the St. Jerome's Reading Series.

Waterloo Centre for German Studies presents Faust in the Box by Bridge Markland, Tuesday, March 27 (German-language performance) and Wednesday, March 28 (English-language performance), 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages building. Tickets available at the door or at the uWaterloo box office. Details.

VeloCity Demo Day, Wednesday, March 28, 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre foyer. Details.

Lunch 'N Learn event, "Mortgages Made Easy" featuring Sharon Feldmann and Paul O'Reilly, Thursday, March 29, 12:05 p.m., Davis Centre 1302. Please RSVP to Janine Warry, 519-722-3050 ext. 2423 or janinew@ Presented by the Education Credit Union.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, March 29, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy presents Dr. Guy Newsham, National Research Council of Canada, "Demand Responsive Buildings: Reducing on-peak electricity use in offices and houses", Thursday, March 23, 4:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Third annual SMF Symposium, Friday, March 30. Details.

Knowledge Integration Senior Research Conference, Friday, March 30, 4:00 p.m., Minto Atrium, Environment 3. Details.

Alyson Woloshyn fundraiser cocktail party and silent auction, Saturday, March 31. Details.

Lectures end April 2.

Staff conference April 3-4, Humanities Theatre and other rooms in Hagey Hall, details online.

Board of governors Tuesday, April 3, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

The Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience presents the 6th annual Waterloo Brain Day, Wednesday, April 4, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., PAS 2083. Details.

Designing the Future, Faculty of Engineering reception, Wednesday, April 4, 6:00 p.m., Student Design Centre, Engineering 5. Details.

English Language Proficiency Exam in the Physical Activities Complex, Thursday, April 5.

Good Friday holiday April 6, university closed.

Drop, Penalty 2 Period ends Friday, April 6.

On-campus examinations begin Monday April 9.

Paint Drop on Wednesday

The third annual Colour Me Educated Campaign will end with a splash on Wednesday March 28 at 12:15 p.m. in the Student Life Center Courtyard. Representatives from the faculty that has raised the most money throughout the nine week campaign will pour paint in their faculty colour over university administrators and Federation of Students executives at the Paint Drop.

The winning faculty and fundraising totals will be revealed at the event.

The brave participants are:
• Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor
• Bud Walker, Associate Provost, Students
• Bob Copeland, Director, Athletics and Recreational Services
• Matthew Colphon, Feds President
• Kumar Patel, Feds VP Administration and Finance
• Natalie Cockburn, Feds VP Education
• Luke Burke, Feds VP Internal

Campaign volunteers will gather at a reception after the Paint Drop to celebrate the campaign’s success and present the funds raised to Pathways Kitchener.

Colour Me Educated is a fundraising and awareness campaign run by the Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo that focuses on access to education. Funds raised support Pathways Kitchener, a local non-profit organization that helps youth living in economically disadvantaged communities graduate from high school and successfully transition to post-secondary pathways.

PhD Oral Defences

Computer Science. Mona Mojdeh, “Personal email spam filtering with minimal user interaction.” Supervisor, Gordon Cormack. On display in the Mathematics Faculty Graduate Office, MC 5090. Oral defence Wednesday, April 11, 9:00 a.m., DC 2310.

Geography and Environmental Management. Laura Brown, “Modelling lake ice cover under contemporary and future climate conditions.” Supervisor, Dr. Claude Duguay. On display in EV1 335. Oral defence Friday, April 13, 9:30 a.m., EV1 221.

Electrical and Computer Engineering. Rongxing Lu, “Security and Privacy Preservation in Vehicular Social Networks.” Supervisor, Sherman X. Shen. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, April 13, 10:00 a.m., EIT 3142.

Recreation and Leisure Studies. Maria Banyai, “Assessing Visitors’ Satisfaction with Experiences and Parks Canada Sites.” Supervisor, Stephen Smith. On display at the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, April 13, 11:00 a.m.

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