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Monday, May 28, 2012

  • What's on at the "meeting of meetings"
  • NSERC announces grant winners
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

What's on at the "meeting of meetings"

Congress 2012 of the Humanities and Social Sciences is in full swing this week.

"The opening weekend of Congress was fantastic!" says Congress academic co-convenor James Skidmore. "A huge shout out to all of the uWaterloo employees in Parking Services, Police Services, Physical Plant, Food Services, Retail Services, Audio-Visual, the Library, the Student Success Office, Communications and Public Affairs, campus police, the scheduling office, the Dean of Arts office, and of course to all of the student and staff volunteers who have made it all come together."

The Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and the University of Waterloo's President Emeritus, delivered a keynote address as the first speaker in the Big Thinking lecture series on Saturday, May 26.

So what's ahead?

The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries have extended hours during the week of Congress, opening at 7:30 a.m. daily. Inside Dana Porter is an interactive exhibition by REAP (Research Entrepreneurs Accelerating Prosperity), which features a virtual art gallery, immersive video, and interactive projections.

Congress is often described as a "meeting of meetings," with a number of concurrent conferences and conclaves going on. One example of this is the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) Conference co-hosted by Renison University College and the the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University. The CASWE conference gets underway today with opening ceremonies featuring keynote speaker Emmanuel Bochud, Manager of Social Circus Training at Cirque du Soleil, an innovative social intervention approach based on circus arts.

The University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) has put together an exhibition that runs this week in keeping with the theme of this year's Congress entitled "An Uncertain World," featuring prominent Canadian artists Matthew Carver, Susan Dobson, Shelley Niro and Kelly Richardson. The artworks are intended to " alter perceptions of the familiar and elicit pressing topics that range from the environment to urban sprawl, First Nations land claims to the Occupy movement." The exhibition is open daily from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and there is a reception scheduled for Thursday, May 31 at 5:00 p.m. Both the reception and the exhibition are open to the public.

Many University of Waterloo faculty members and graduate students are active participants in the many events, meetings, and lectures going on this week. For example, The Mobile Crime Lab, part of Waterloo’s Critical Media project, has opened its doors for a week-long stay just outside the beer tent on the Wilfrid Laurier University campus.

In addition, English Language and Literature professor Winfried Siemerling presented “Witnessing and Our Contemporaneity with the Past: Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes” on Saturday at Laurier, and Ken Graham, also of English, spoke on “Religious Mystery and Rational Citizenship in Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton.”

Today, Doris Jakobsh from Religious Studies is participating in a panel entitled “What is Canadian about the World’s Religion?” at 9:00 a.m. in SBE 1210 (WLU), Drama's Jennifer Roberts-Smith presents “Control Freaks: An Iterative Story of Designing a Scholarly Theatrical Environment in 3D.” at 1:30 p.m. in R 137 (WLU), Martin Cooke of Sociology and Legal Studies/School of Public Health and Health Systems is organizing a panel entitled “Measuring Well-Being: A Symposium on the Use of Well-Being Indicators” at 1:30 p.m. in Laurier's Dining Hall, and Grit Liebscher (Germanic and Slavic Studies) is speaking on “Intercultural awareness and linguistic (mis)-understandings in a long-distance collaboration” at 2:00 p.m. in HH 1102.

And here's today's "Skid @ Congress" summary:

Monday, May 28

"Monday morning has a Big Thinking Lecture at breakfast time (7:45am). Who can think deep thoughts at that time of day? Well, it appears Jane Urquhart can, and she will be explaining how archives and libraries have influenced the development of her historical fiction. (Senate and Board Chamber, WLU – breakfast included!)

Starting at 10:00 a.m. Monday there’s a series of events being held by Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equality/Equity (RACE) in Bricker 201.

At noon there’s another Big Thinking Lecture on our campus. Mary Eberts, who has had a marvelous and varied career centring on human and equality rights, is giving a talk entitled “Professor as Citizen.” She wants to challenge us to think about the career obstacles that prevent academics from becoming deeply socially engaged. I’m looking forward to this.

In the afternoon the folks here at Waterloo who have developed the Well-Being Index are hosting a symposium on the use of well-being indicators. Again, this is something I know nothing about, so I hope to take in at least part of it. (Paul Martin Centre, WLU)

Then I will eventually make my way to the PAC for the first of the two President’s Receptions being held on our campus. Each delegate gets one free drink ticket, so this is a very popular event. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Reception committee has turned our main gym into a cocktail bar!"

You can follow Congress happenings on Twitter with the hashtag #congress2012.

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NSERC announces grant winners

Last Wednesday, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, and Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), announced over 3,750 significant, new investments in research programs and scholarships that will further knowledge in fields such as botany, zoology, physics, mathematics, and Earth sciences.

Scientists, engineers and students at universities across the country will receive more than $410 million in grants and scholarships over terms ranging from one to five years. These awards comprise the 2012 competition results for NSERC's Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships, and Postdoctoral Fellowships.

"Through these programs, NSERC provides direct support to an exceptionally strong base of scientific and creative talent in every field of the natural sciences and engineering," said Dr. Fortier. "Our scholarships and fellowships programs help us recruit and retain the bright young minds that will lead the next generation of Canadian discoverers and innovators. The flexibility and broad base of research supported by our internationally recognized Discovery Grants Program maintains our capacity to promote important breakthroughs."

Waterloo researchers were awarded 150 NSERC Discovery Grants and nine Discovery Accelerator Supplements. This announcement brings the total number of Discovery Grants currently held by Waterloo to more than 600 and total number of Discovery Accelerator Supplements to 25, resulting in $19 million of funding through these programs for this year.

In addition, researchers are receiving:

  • 16 Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) doctoral-level awards, valued at $35,000 a year for two or three years;
  • 51 Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) master's-level awards, valued at $17,500 for one year;
  • 26 NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (PGS) doctoral-level awards, valued at $21,000 a year for two or three years; and
  • 4 NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (PGS) master's-level awards, valued at $17,300 for one year.

"I am pleased that NSERC's Discovery Grants Program will continue to support a broad range of ongoing research projects," said George Dixon, speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Ontario Council on University Research. "Funding long-term research in this way is an important component of Canada's strategy to maintain a leadership role on the global research stage."

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Congress 2012 Daily Update Videos

uWaterloo's Congress organizers have put together daily update videos:

Video Update - Day One

Video Update - Day Two

Video Update - Day Three

Link of the day

Downfall of the Derg Day

When and where

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences hosted by Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, May 26 through June 2. Details.

Congress 2012 Big Thinking Lectures, May 26 - May 31. Details.

The University of Waterloo Art Gallery presents An Uncertain World, Saturday, May 26 to Saturday, June 2, open daily 12:00–5:00 p.m., East Campus Hall. Held in conjunction with Congress 2012.

Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) Conference, Monday, May 28 to Thursday, May 31, Renison University College. Details. Held in conjunction with Congress 2012.

UW International Spouses presents "Movie and Coffee with Patty," featuring A Streetcar Named Desire, Sunday, May 27, 1:00 p.m., Galaxy Cinemas Waterloo. To register email patty91872@

Measuring Wellbeing: A Symposium on the Use of Wellbeing Indicators, Monday, May 28, 1:00 p.m., Paul Martin Prosperity Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University.

WatRISQ seminar featuring Mikhail Krayzler, Department of Mathematics, Technische Universitat, Munchen, Germany, "Pricing of Guaranteed Minimum Benefits in Variable Annuities." Tuesday, May 29, 4:00 p.m. DC 1304.

Retirement celebration for Adel Sedra, Wednesday, May 30. Details.

Centre for Career Action presents a Social Media Presentation featuring Lisa Kramer, Thursday, May 31, 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Geographers Without Borders: geography department's 50th anniversary, Thursday, May 31, 5:30 p.m. Details.

Board of governors Tuesday, June 5, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Keystone Picnic "Waterloo World," Wednesday, June 6, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Burt Matthews Hall green, lunch served at 11:45 to 1:00 p.m.

Master of Digital Experience Innovation brown bag lunch, Wednesday, June 6, 1:30 p.m., Communitech Hub Kitchener, P2P Meeting Room. Register today.

Keystone picnic event for evening staff, Friday, June 8, 6:00 p.m., Bombshelter Pub, Student Life Centre.

Master of Digital Experience Innovation student showcase, Tuesday, June 12, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus. Register today.

University senate Monday, June 18, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

PhD Oral Defences

Electrical and Computer Engineering. Hamzeh Zawawy, "Requirements-Based Root Cause Analysis Using Log Data." Supervisors Kostas Kontogiannis, Paul A. Ward. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, June 1, 10:30 a.m., E5 5047.

Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. Seyed Alireza Kasaiezadeh Mahabadi, "Developing a Class of Global Optimization Methods for Engineering Applications." Supervisor, Amir Khajepour. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, June 1, 1:30 p.m., E3 4117.

Geography and Environmental Management. Zainub Ibrahim, "Assessing the Status of Tourism Planning." Supervisor, Geoffrey Wall. On display in the Faculty of Environment graduate office, EV1 335. Oral defence Monday, June 4, 2:00 p.m., EV2 1001.

School of Planning. Jeffrey Nii Torgbor Squire, "Biomedical Pollutants and Urban Waste Management in the Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana: A Framework for Urban Management of the Environment (FUME). On display in the Faculty of Environment graduate office, EV1 335. Oral defence Tuesday, June 5, 10:00 a.m., EV1 354.

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