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Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • Questions, answers at town hall
  • Thursday's notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

It's gold, Jerry: Science and business student Jessica Lawson (right) poses with Olympic gold medallist and former member of the Warriors soccer, rugby and track teams Heather Moyse at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Women of Influence Luncheon held Tuesday, May 8, at Huntsville's Deerhurst Resort. Lawson, a member of the university's field hockey team, was one of 19 student athletes named as the OUA Women of Influence for 2012.

Photograph by Waterloo Athletics.

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Questions, answers at town hall

Yesterday's town hall meeting opened with a presidential plug for the campus Canada Goose Twitter account (@uwgeese), as Feridun Hamdullahpur spoke to a live audience in the Humanities Theatre and to a virtual audience through the webcast.

Hamdullahpur introduced the university's new Vice-President, Academic and Provost, Sallie Ann Keller, who told the audience how excited she was to be joining the university. She said that she had almost come to study here as a graduate student and that she "had been thinking about the University of Waterloo for 25 years." She said she was attracted by the university's "can-do" spirit.

"Something is happening here," the president said during his opening remarks. "Something right is happening.” Reviewing the accomplishments of the previous years and highlighting priorities in the year to come, the president noted that starting August 1, the university's complete senior leadership team will be in place, with no "interim" or "acting" administrators among them. He highlighted research and scholarship successes, including impressive Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants and the university's above-average application record in obtaining Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grants, as well as the number of prestigious Vanier Scholarship winners among the student body.

The president also took the opportunity to speak about the recent CAUT decision to initiate a process of censure against the administrations of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. The consultation and development process behind the Balsillie School of International Affairs governance document "ensured we can take advantage of private-public partnerships while the university's integrity remained intact," he said. "No money on this earth is enough for us to compromise our integrity and academic freedom."

Past president of the university faculty association David DeVidi noted that the association voted against the censure motion at the CAUT national council meeting on April 27, and while the specific BSIA agreement was not being held up as a model or precedent for future partnerships, "given where we started from, it's better than we hoped for."

Questions came from the floor and via email, with people following along on Twitter. Among the issues raised:

Salary freezes - "The salary freeze as far as faculty and staff members is no longer in effect," Hamdullahpur said as he referenced the five-year salary agreements in place for faculty and staff that secured zero per cent scale increases for the first two years and 3 per cent annually starting in May 2012 and continuing in 2013 and 2014. "However, there is a freeze on senior management and executive officers, starting with the president, vice-presidents, and deans." The president noted that for deans, the salary freeze applied to the administrative portion of their compensation.

Sustainability - Feridun deferred to Faculty of Environment dean André Roy, who said that there's been "quite a bit of movement this year on that front," with a proposal in January to create an advisory committee on the topic of sustainability. The committee will be co-chaired by Roy and Vice-President, Finance and Administration Dennis Huber, with nine other members drawn from students, faculty, and staff.

Gender equality - "We are fully committed to ensure that equity is at the top of the agenda," the president said. "As soon as our University Secretary starts, he will establish an equity office or officer." Hamdullahpur said that the university will no longer accept the excuse that "there just aren't enough women" in a particular hiring pool.

Student mental health - Newly-minted Associate Provost (Students) Chris Read referenced a soon-to-be-released operational review of student support services on campus that contains 48 recommendations. "One thing we do know is that the people working in those areas are committed," Read said, indicating that the report calls for a "more public, community-based, proactive approach to student mental health."

Internationalization - A question was asked about the recent Ontario budget plan to recover $750 in university operating funding from each undergraduate and master's level international student, and how this might impact the university's internationalization. "This is one that really made me upset and angry," the president said of the budget measure. "It flies in the face of this province's recruitment of international students." Hamdullahpur said that the decision will cost the university $3.2 million next year. "We are being penalized for being really active and making our campus more international," he said. "It is a serious, serious, blow." Should the cost be passed on to international students, he noted, it could affect Ontario universities' competitiveness with other jurisdictions when it comes to recruiting international students.

This led to a discussion of the challenges faced by the Ontario post-secondary education system. "The system is quite stretched," said the president. "We know government funding will not stay at the same level. Will we just sit there and watch this happening or are we going to be more innovative?"

The president said that the current Ontario government has invested much in post-secondary education and are continuing as best they can. "In the meantime there are fundamental mistakes being made."

"If there’s an institution in this province that’s going to survive, it’s this institution," said Keller. "We’ll figure it out and we’ll figure it out together."

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Thursday's notes

Today, Canada AM featured a segment on University of Waterloo alumna Alyson Woloshyn's battle with cancer and how she has inspired her closest friends to establish a student leadership award in her name. The "Baker's Dozen" video clip can be viewed online.

For those of you keeping score, the Pebble smartwatch crowdfunding initiative has passed the $10M milestone with just over a week to go before the fundraising project, with an initial goal of $100,000, comes to an end. Pebble is the brainchild of University of Waterloo alumnus (and VeloCity veteran) Eric Migicovsky.

And a note from the Federation of Students' communications co-ordinator, Jacqueline Martinz: "The Federation of Students is holding Clubs and Societies Days today and tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre’s Great Hall. A variety of groups including Students Offering Support, the Club That Really Likes Anime (CTRL-A), the Waterloo Warlords Paintball Club, Science Society (SciSoc), and the Muslim Students’ Association will gather to answer questions from students. Getting involved with a club or society is a great way for students to make friends on campus, develop new skills, and simply have fun!"

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Countdown to Congress: 16 days remaining

Factoid: The Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences represents more than 85,000 researchers in 80 associations from 79 institutions.

Congress 2012 takes place May 26-June 2, 2012, and is co-hosted by University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and organized by the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Crossroads: Scholarship for an Uncertain World, the theme of Congress 2012, explores the real-world impact of the humanities and social sciences. Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is the largest annual multidisciplinary academic gathering in Canada.

Link of the day

World Lupus Day

When and where

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

WISE lecture series, featuring Dr. Doris Sáez, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Chile, "Modeling and Optimization of a Micro-Grid: Huatacondo, Isolated Village in Northern Chile," Thursday, May 10, 10:00 a.m., DC 1304.

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

Warriors band practice, Thursday, May 10, 5:30 p.m., PAC 1001.

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.

Waterloo Unlimited Grade 10 "Change" program, Sunday, May 13 to Thursday, May 17.

WIN Seminar series features Professor Guillaume Wantz, Bordeaux Institute of Technology, France, "Organic Photovoltaic Research at Bordeaux University: A Focus on Advanced Materials for Efficient and Stable Solar Cells." Thursday Tuesday, May 15, 11:00 a.m., DC 1304.

The Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (I.B.M.B.) Seminar Series, featuring Prof. Brian Shilton, Department of Biochemistry, Western University, "ABC Transporter Mechanism from an Enzymologist’s Perspective," Tuesday, May 15, 3:30p.m., room C2-361.

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

The Chemistry Department Seminar Series features Prof. Boniface Fokwa, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University, Germany, "Understanding and Designing New Magnetic Materials," Wednesday, May 16, 2:30 p.m., room C2-361.

Student Team Open House, Wednesday, May 16, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Student Design Centre, Engineering 5 first floor. Refreshments provided.

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.

Warriors band practice, Thursday, May 17, 5:30 p.m., PAC 1001.

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.

University senate Tuesday, May 22, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Farewell reception for Alan George, Thursday, May 24, 3:30 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall. RSVP by May 18 to Michelle Mank, ext. 36448 or mank@

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