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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

  • Catalyst connects women and engineering
  • Professor awarded for teaching innovation
  • Town Hall tomorrow and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

An engine dissection in process.
Catalyst connects women and engineering

by Margaret McKerron, WE-Connect Engineering Outreach Office

It was a great weekend at Waterloo for young women interested in engineering!

Hosted by the Faculty of Engineering, 50 girls from across Ontario gathered at the University of Waterloo came to the second annual Catalyst Engineering Conference designed for Grade 11 girls. Held this past weekend, delegates had the opportunity to do workshops, meet female students in engineering, compete in a design competition, and experience life in residence.

The weekend was a great success thanks in large part to some spectacular workshops held by staff, students and faculty. They included a wildly popular engine dissection (pictured above), a session on “imitation learning” for humanoid robotics, and a tour of a lab working on breast cancer treatment - among many others!

Besides being able to ask current students about their experiences, delegates were also able to talk to women in engineering and technology careers. Speakers from the Waterloo chapter of Canadian Women in Technology as well as panellists at Google provided great advice and insight into work, life, and work-life balance!

The Catalyst Engineering Conference is run by the Waterloo engineering outreach office, and is part of a broader commitment to engaging high school students in engineering at Waterloo. More information about the Catalyst program can be found online.

Photograph by Joel Mieske.

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Professor awarded for teaching innovation

A news release from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Robert Sproule, a professor at the University of Waterloo's School of Accounting and Finance, was named one of five winners of the inaugural Desire2Learn Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning.

Established by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and Desire2Learn Incorporated, the award seeks to recognize and celebrate innovative teaching approaches in post-secondary education, both nationally and internationally. The award has been established to inspire and encourage educators to utilize innovative techniques, and to showcase proven examples of innovation.

Sproule is a Lecturer and Associate Director, Teaching and Learning with the School of Accounting and Finance. He is also a member of the university's Teaching Excellence Council, and, as his nomination package outlines, has facilitated a number of instructional and teaching excellence workshops while demonstrating creativity in his course design, with AFM 131, An Introduction to Business in North America, as the highlighted example.

The other winners were:

  • Tetyana Antimirova of Ryerson University's department of physics
  • Alison Flynn of the University of Ottawa's chemistry department
  • Joe Shapter of the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Flinders University
  • Jay Wilson of the University of Saskatchewan's College of Education

"I am absolutely delighted to congratulate and join the inaugural celebration of this Desire2Learn Innovation Award cohort. STLHE members join me in recognizing each of these trailblazers who have taken personal risks in committing themselves to creative projects that have made a difference to students”, says STLHE President, Arshad Ahmad. “We are also thrilled that they are leading to build capacity in Canada by launching a community of innovative educators that embody our collective vision."

These inaugural five winners are great examples of the high caliber of instruction and the positive impact of creativity on teaching and learning at the post-secondary level. They each show their commitment to teaching and innovation while employing new approaches that promote meaningful learning at post-secondary institutions. Each of the award recipients has had a positive and long-term impact on their students’ learning and development.

“Desire2Learn congratulates these five exceptional educators on their accomplishments, and the commitment they bring to inspiring the next generation of leaders,” remarks John Baker, President & CEO, Desire2Learn. “In a society where innovation is of paramount importance, we are thrilled to recognize these individuals who instill a passion for creativity in their students. It is educators like these who are paving the way for the future of education.”

The distinguished winners were chosen by a panel of six educators from various Canadian post-secondary institutions. Each panel member has a wealth of experience working with creative and innovative teaching and learning initiatives.

More information about the award and the bios of the award winners are available online.

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Town Hall tomorrow and other notes

The Spring Town Hall is scheduled to take place tomorrow, May 9, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Hagey Hall's Humanities Theatre. The event will feature remarks from Feridun Hamdullahpur and Vice-President, Academic and Provost Sallie Ann Keller, and a question & answer period.

The event will be webcast and is available for live viewing in the Student Life Centre's Great Hall.

Anyone can email questions to townhall For those who wish to follow along on twitter, use the #uwth hashtag to keep up with the conversation, and get live updates by following @uWaterlooLIVE.

Registration for the Student Leadership Programs offered by the Department of Organizational & Human Development opens today at noon. The experiential workshops are free. For more information, check out the program's website or email ohdslp@

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Countdown to Congress: 18 days remaining

Sign up to volunteer at Congress!

University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are looking for a variety of volunteers to help elevate and enrich the Congress conference experience. Anyone can volunteer – training will be provided. Be a part of this extraordinary event, register to volunteer today.

Factoid: There will be a beer tent located on campus for Congress. Location TBC

Link of the day

World Red Cross Red Crescent Day

When and where

Unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest April 23, standings and official grades available May 22.

UW Retirees Association Spring Luncheon, Tuesday, May 8, 11:30 a.m. (cash bar), 12:00 (lunch), tickets $27; presentation by retired French professor Ray Dugan, Bayeux Tapestry. Information 519-888-0334. Details.

The Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (I.B.M.B.) Seminar Series featuring Prof. Todd Holyoak, Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, "The Coupling of Conformational Equilibria and Enzyme Function in Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase," Tuesday, May 8, 3:30 p.m., C2-361.

Systems Design Engineering seminar featuring Keith Hipel, "Tackling Climate Change: A System of Systems Engineering Perspective," Wednesday, May 9, 11:30 a.m., E5 6004.

Centre for Career Action webinar (staff only), "Writing an A+ Résumé," Wednesday, May 9, 12:00 p.m. Details.

Undergraduate Council meeting, Wednesday May 9, 12:00 p.m., NH 3004.

Spring Town Hall, Wednesday, May 9, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Alumni reception at the 2012 Ontario Association of Architects Annual Conference, Thursday, May 10, 5:30 p.m., Westin Ottawa. Details.

Graduate Leisure Research Symposium, May 10 - 11. Details.

Waterloo Engineering Alumni and Friends reception, Thursday, May 10, 5:30 p.m., Daly's, Westin Ottawa, Ottawa ON. Register online.

Co-op Job Posting for main group and Pharmacy opens Saturday, May 12, 7:00 a.m. Closes 11:59 p.m. on May 15.

2012 Campus Walk, May 14 - June 19. Register now.

Alumni event in Calgary, Tuesday, May 15, 6:00 p.m. Details.

David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science distinguished lecture series, featuring Cynthia Dwork, Microsoft Research, "Lipschitz Mappings, Differential Privacy, and Fairness Through Awareness," Wednesday, May 16, 4:30 p.m., DC 1302. Details.

UW International Spouses presents "Cooking Risotto Italian-style," Friday, May 18, 12:45 p.m., CLW Community Centre. To pre-register email elena.cecchetto@

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 21, classes cancelled, university offices and most services closed.


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