- Campaign invites campus to stand up to stigma
- Linking animal evolution to ocean oxygen levels
- New campus web search goes live tomorrow
- myHRinfo focus groups and other notes
- Brandon Sweet
- Communications and Public Affairs
Campaign invites campus to stand up to stigma
It's Mental Health Awareness Week this week, and a student-led mental health awareness campaign called Stand Up to Stigma is partnering with UW Campus Wellness with the goal of starting a conversation among students, faculty, and staff about mental health at the university.
Starting today, Stand Up to Stigma will have several photobooths set up across campus where students, faculty, and staff can sign the Stand Up to Stigma pledge, have their photo taken, and sign a banner in support of mental health awareness. The booths will be in operation from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the following locations:
- Monday, October 1: Davis Centre (DC) lobby, Burt Matthews Hall (BMH) lobby
- Tuesday, October 2: Davis Centre (DC) lobby, Math & Computers (MC) 3rd floor
- Wednesday, October 3: Arts Lecture Hall (AL) open space near the ASU, Environment 3 (EV3) near Williams, South Campus Hall (SCH) lobby
- Thursday, October 4: Carl Pollock Hall (CPH) near the coffee shop, Dana Porter (DP) near the front doors
Additionally, on Thursday, October 4, guest speakers Arthur Gallant and Alicia Raimundo will be participating in an event from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in BMH 1621.
Linking animal evolution to ocean oxygen levels
An international team of scientists including University of Waterloo researcher Dr. Brian Kendall has uncovered evidence for extensive ocean oxygenation shortly after 635 million years ago. In the September 27th issue of the journal Nature, the research team led by the University of Nevada Las Vegas, makes a link between one of the most dramatic glaciations in Earth’s history, the subsequent oxygenation of the Earth’s surface environments, and the appearance of the earliest animals.
Fossil records show a marked increase in the diversity of animal and algae fossils shortly after the end of a global "Snowball Earth" glaciation. Researchers have hypothesized that post-glacial oxygenation of the atmosphere and oceans was the driving factor for this, but until now scientists have not been able to find evidence for this rise in oxygen levels. The new evidence from Kendall’s team pre-dates previous evidence of an animal-sustaining oxygenation event by more than 50 million years.
"It took about four billion years before the Earth's surface finally had enough oxygen to support primitive animal life. It is remarkable that it took a catastrophic glaciation to get that boost in oxygen levels," said Kendall, who was a faculty research associate at Arizona State University during the study.
Researchers analyzed organic-rich black shale of the Doushantuo Formation that is positioned above the glacial deposits in South China. They discovered metal abundances that are comparable to modern-day organic-rich ocean sediments but greater than in older black shales, indicating higher levels of oxygen in seawater. These elevated levels of molybdenum, vanadium and uranium slightly predate fossils of the earliest oxygen-demanding animals, thereby supporting the link between ocean oxygenation and animal evolution.
This spike in oxygen levels was likely caused by the burial of large amounts of organic carbon. Weathering of the continents after a severe glaciation delivers abundant nutrients to the oceans, which subsequently lead to high rates of photosynthesis and oxygen production. Rapid burial of large amounts of this photosynthetic organic carbon in sediments would allow accumulation of oxygen in the ocean and atmosphere because the organic carbon is no longer available to react with the oxygen. The increased availability in seawater of some biologically important metals, like molybdenum, may have further spurred the rise in oxygen levels.
Kendall says, "This is an important milestone in our understanding of animal evolution and Earth's oxygenation. But our research will not stop there. We need more data to tell us whether or not oxygen levels varied significantly at the dawn of animal life and how this may have shaped the course of evolution".
The joint research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the NASA Exobiology Program and National Natural Science Foundation of China. The research team includes Swapan K. Sahoo and Ganqing Jiang of the UNLV Department of Geoscience; Noah J. Planavsky and Timothy W. Lyons of University of California, Riverside; Ariel D. Anbar of Arizona State University; Xinqiang Wang and Xiaoying Shi of the China University of Geosciences (Beijing); and Clint Scott of McGill University.
The study appeared in the September 27 edition of Nature, and is available upon request.
New campus web search goes live tomorrow
Here, let me Google that for you.
That, of course, being the University of Waterloo's web presence.
The Google Search Appliance, a device that will index university web pages and replace the current search engine used on campus, is now in the final stages of testing, and according to WCMS technical lead Kris Olafson, the feedback from campus IT staff has been positive. The current search tool will be replaced with the Google search on Tuesday, October 2, if everything goes according to plan.
"The initial crawl of our sites produced over a million pages! Some of these pages were duplicates so we have now adjusted the settings," writes Olafson. "We are pleased with the results so far but need to continue working on one issue: refinement of the ‘People’ search. We expect a solution shortly."
Olafson points out that once the Google Search Appliance goes live, search results from university web pages will be public to the world, so if there are pages that you don't want to be made available publicly, it is recommended that you either password protect the page if possible, or add a robots.txt file that indicates that the page should not be crawled. If neither of those is an option, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to work something out.
Have your say to build a better myHRinfo. Following a survey and department presentations this summer, Human Resources will be launching a project that aims to deliver a more user-friendly, efficient myHRinfo to the desktop of all university employees.
The scope of the project is to address and identify improved solutions for the most significant "pain points" related to navigation and the centralization of information. This will be achieved by gathering feedback from managers and employees, designing mock-up solutions, and providing another opportunity for input through participation in a focus group.
Human Resources will be forming the focus group that will work closely with the project team on the myHRinfo improvement initiative. Survey respondents who indicated that they were interested in participating will be contacted, but any employee who wishes to participate can contact Stacey Parsons or Pam Fluttert via email before October 12.
Renison University College's English Language Institute has added a new ESL course to its repertoire. ESL Speaking for the Workplace is a 25-hour, non-credit course for non-native English speakers (though an intermediate level of English is required). The course features 10 weekly lessons with a focus on speaking. The course starts Tuesday, October 9. The course can be taken alongside ESL Grammar and Writing for the Workplace at a discount. The courses are offered through the ELI's English Language Centre, which also offers International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Examination preparation courses. The registration deadline for these courses is Friday, October 5.
The Federation of Students’ One Waterloo Diversity Campaign is bringing renowned speaker Carlyle Jansen to campus for Sexuality and Pleasure 101. The special event is part of Love Your Body Week and will be held on October 2 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in B1 271. Jansen, an expert on sexuality, will cover topics including safe sex and arousal before taking questions from the audience. More information is available on Feds.ca.
Call for nominations
Nominations are requested for the following faculty seats on Senate:
• One faculty member of the university to be elected by/from the members of faculty of the Faculty of Engineering, term January 1, 2013 - April 30, 2013 (replacing Rick Culham, mechanical & mechatronics engineering)
• One faculty member of the university to be elected by/from the members of faculty of the Faculty of Science, term to April 30, 2014 (replacing Tadeusz Górecki, chemistry)
Nomination forms are available from the Secretariat (x36125) and from the Secretariat web page.
At least five nominators are required in each case. Nominations should be sent to the Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Friday 12 October 2012.
By-elections will follow if necessary.
Link of the day
When and where
Imaginus Poster Sale, October 1-5, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall and multipurpose room.
CECA workshop: Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part II, Monday, October 1, 2:00 p.m., TC 1112. Details.
Senate Executive Committee, Monday, October 1, 3:30 p.m.– 4:30 p.m., NH 3004.
WISE Lecture Series featuring Xavier Vallvé, International Consultant and Partner, Trama TecnoAmbiental, Barcelona, "Hybrid Photovoltaic Power Systems and Rural Micro Grids: Lessons Learned and Case Studies in Developing Countries," Monday, October 1, 5:00 p.m., DC 1304. Details.
CECA workshop: Interview Skills: Selling Your Skills, Tuesday, October 2, 3:30 p.m. TC 2218.Details.
CECA workshop: Work Search Strategies for International Students, Tuesday, October 2, 4:30 p.m., TC 1208.Details.
CECA workshop: Interview Skills: Preparing for Questions, Wednesday, October 3 10:30 a.m., TC 1208. Details.
Water Institute Seminar featuring Prof. Maurice Dusseault, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, "Water demands for hydraulic fracturing and shale gas development," Wednesday, October 3, 12:30 PM, DC 1302.
Conservation Research Summer Programs info session, Operation Wallacea, Wednesday, October 3, 12:30 p.m., Waterloo International, NH 1101.
Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Prof. Michael Serpe, Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta. "Fun with Poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) Microgel-Based Etalons," Wednesday, October 3, 2:30 p.m., C2-361.
Are You LinkedIn? Learning the Basics (presented by a LinkedIn recruiter), Wednesday, October 3, 4:00 p.m., TC 2218. Details.
Are You LinkedIn? Beyond the Basics (presented by a LinkedIn recruiter), Wednesday, October 3, 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.Details.
Grad Studies Info Reception – Engineering, Wednesday, October 3, 6:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m., E5 Student Design Centre. Details.
Stand Up to Stigma Event featuring speakers Arthur Gallant and UW Alumni Alicia Raimundo, Thursday, October 4, 11:30 a.m., BMH 1621.
VeloCity Venture Fund event, Thursday, October 4, 2:00 p.m., DC Foyer.
WISE Lecture Series featuring Heather Andreas, Department of Chemistry, Dalhousie University, "Solving Energy Loss in Supercapacitive Energy Storage," Thursday, October 4, 3:00 p.m., DC 1304. Details.
Centre for Career Action presents Hot Tips from the Pros! Thursday, October 4, 4:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.
Richard Nutbrown Memorial, Thursday, October 4, 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Details.
Pension & Benefits Committee meeting, Friday, October 5, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., NH 3004.
St. Jerome's University Lectures in Catholic Experience Friday, October 5, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall. Details.
WatRISQ seminar featuring Prof. Jian Yang, Associate Professor of Finance, The Business School, University of Colorado, “Credit Risk Spillovers among Financial Institutions around the Global Credit Crisis: Firm-Level Evidence,” Tuesday, October 9, 4:00 p.m., DC 1304.
CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy and Sociology and Legal Studies presents Dr. Ian Kerr, University of Ottawa, "Repo Men Are Coming: Body EULAs, Privacy and Security of the Person," Wednesday, October 10, 1:30 p.m., DC 1302. Details.
School of Public Health and Health Systems retirement reception for Roy Cameron and Nancy Poole, Friday, October 12, 3:30 p.m., Lyle Hallman South Fireplace Lounge.