- Sparking innovation through data management
- "Who you know" can count with referral portal
- World rankings keep on turning
- Grad supervision award winners announced
- Mixed notes for Wednesday
- Brandon Sweet
- Communications and Public Affairs
Sparking innovation through data management
The recent focus on big data and its potential applications has proven that data management, far from being boring or just nice-to-have, is becoming wildly relevant and useful in everyday life. Now with research agencies like SSHRC and CIHR requiring it as part of their funding protocols, there are a lot of reasons for researchers to take notice of how data management can propel innovation and their own research.
Dr. Ellsworth LeDrew (right), Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, is one of the scientists leading the cultural shift in the way that researchers discover, share, and preserve their research data.
“Data management is no longer just about the data,” Dr. LeDrew remarks. “It’s about how to convert the data into something people can use in their lives.”
Using his own research in polar studies as an example, LeDrew describes how radar imagery of polar waters can be converted into a map of sea ice to help individuals navigating to know where the ice is and how hazardous it may be, and, how polar information on snow cover and vegetation and whale migration might be used one day to immediately communicate transportation and tourist information.
For many scientists, data management requires a new way of looking at their data and a commitment to handing it as part of a continuum that moves well beyond simple data storage. LeDrew’s own experience with this shift is captured in the evolution of the Polar Data Catalogue – a resource for sharing polar research data that he helped to create over 15 years ago.
“The forerunner of the Polar Data Catalogue, the Canadian Cryospheric Information Network, was initiated with the primary purpose of facilitating data sharing amongst Arctic and Antarctic scientists,” LeDrew explains. “It has since evolved into a resource that is now just as much about connecting people as it is about numbers.”
With its most recent update, the Manager of the Polar Data Catalogue Dr. Julie Friddell (left) has launched a Twitter feed, Polar Google feed, Kids’ Corner, and an Ask an Expert application to its interface.
Now it’s not just researchers collecting and disseminating polar information. LeDrew gives the example of Snow Tweets, a citizen science project developed by Dr. Richard Kelly of Geography and Environmental Management whereby volunteers measure snow cover in their areas and share it over Twitter using the #snowcover hashtag.
Interested in learning more about how data management can fit into your research lifecycle?
The Library and the Polar Data Catalogue are co-hosting Data Management Day on Thursday, October 25. Occurring during uWaterloo’s Open Access Week, its purpose is to raise awareness and discuss the issues surrounding the discovery, access and preservation of research data.
Among other things, the day will cover:
- How to do data management as a research scientist
- Tri-Council as well as other funding body (existing, emerging) requirements for data management
- Journal requirements for data management
- Problems/issues with data management (including, possibly, researcher hesitation/inexperience, privacy issues for health data, etc.) and how and if these problems can be or are being overcome
- Where you can find help with/support services for proper data management
- What are some sample data portals/archives, and what are the requirements for development of a data portal (nuts and bolts of DM)
- The uWaterloo Library's role in DM
- The future of data management at Canadian universities
The day will start with a keynote address by Dr. Sallie Ann Keller, VP Academic & Provost, and continue with presentations to highlight data management from the perspectives of the funding agency, researcher, digital curation & data preservation.
Speakers will include Dr. Chad Gaffield, President of the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Dr. Warwick F. Vincent, Professor of Biology and Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Ecosystem Studies at Université Laval, and Alan Darnell, Director, Scholars Portal Services, Ontario Council of University Libraries.
"Who you know" can count with referral portal
Do you remember your first real job? Think hard. What was it? Do you remember how you got it? Through your mom? Your uncle? A neighbour? Was it your hairdresser’s friend’s sister? It can be tough to get your foot in the door when you enter the workplace, which is why so many of us rely on our connections.
Here at Waterloo, we have thousands of students looking for work. Roughly 6,000 co-op students are searching for jobs each term, and approximately 8,000 graduating students are searching for full time positions in their final year of study.
That’s a lot of jobs! The Office of Alumni Affairs and Co-operative Education & Career Action have partnered to provide a way for the Waterloo community to help. If you know an organization looking for a hand, you can refer them to the university through our new web portal.
We accept referrals from everyone, but we’ll mainly be promoting the program to alumni who are looking for a chance to support the university. It enables them to refer prospective employers to the university to help maintain the high quality opportunities available for students. We’re asking them to let their friends, family, and employers know about the benefits the co-op program and the diverse skill set Waterloo graduates possess. When people refer an employer, they’re vouching for our co-op program and our alumni, and opening the doors for Waterloo.
Last week’s poll results: 11 per cent of you guessed correctly that 82 post-secondary institutions in Canada have a co-op program. The winner of our random draw for a CECA water bottle is Environment and Business student Aidan Turley. Congratulations Aidan! Thanks to everyone who entered.
This week’s question: according to the Centre for Career Action’s Career Development eManual, what percentage of jobs are never advertised? These jobs are part of the hidden job market and include necessary work that no one has identified, work that has been identified but for which candidate recruitment has not yet begun, or work for which informal (word-of-mouth) recruitment has begun. Take a guess and enter to win a CECA umbrella.
World rankings keep on turning
The latest editions of the QS and Times Higher Education rankings are in.
Released in September, the QS World University Rankings, published by consulting firm Quacquarelli Symonds, provides a ranking of approximately 700 universities based on six indicators that each carry a weighting that impacts the overall institutional score, according to a fact sheet produced by Institutional Analysis and Planning. The top 400 universities are ranked overall, and then the next 300 universities are separated into cohorts of 50.
Waterloo, ranked 160th in 2011, was ranked 191st this year. Waterloo was the 9th highest-ranked Canadian university in the top 200. Waterloo improved its scores in three of the six indicators, including employer reputation (which carries a 40 per cent weighting), faculty-student ratio (a 20 per cent weighting), and international faculty (a 5 per cent weighting).
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings were released in early October, and provide a ranking of the world's top 400 universities based on thirteen indicators in five areas. Waterloo was ranked 213 in 2011, and this year is ranked 249th. Despite the decline in overall ranking, Waterloo did improve its standing in two of the five indicators - industry income (which carries a 2.5 per cent weighting) and citations (a 30 per cent weighting).
"How do we interpret this?" said Feridun Hamdullahpur last Monday as he reported on the most recent results to Senate. "Simply, even though by our own measurements we are making good progress, some others are doing these rankings a lot more strategically and advancing faster than we are." Rankings have "become a very interesting business now," the president concluded.
Rankings season is in full swing, with new reports released yesterday by the Globe and Mail and by Maclean's in the very near future.
Grad supervision award winners announced
The Graduate Studies Office (GSO) has announced this year's winners of the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision. They are Kenneth Davidson (Pure Math), Wendy Mitchinson (History), and Paul Parker (Geography and Environmental Management).
The GSO, “in collaboration with the Graduate Student Association, established this Award to recognize exemplary faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in graduate student supervision", Heidi Mussar of the grad studies office writes. Award winners are selected by a committee including the associate provost (graduate studies), the associate deans of the six faculties, and representatives of the GSA and the faculty association.
The grad office also released citations for the three award winners, based on the information provided by those who nominated them. Excerpts follow:
Professor Kenneth Davidson "puts an incredible amount of effort and care into graduate supervision", reads his citation, with one colleague stating "The results of his efforts are quite simply amazing. Ken achieved these outstanding results with students who required very different levels and very different modes of supervision and mentoring. Ken's skill and wisdom in recognizing these needs of students and adjusting his supervisory modes have been outstanding." Former graduate students emphasized the value of their regular meetings with Professor Davidson and how committed he was to holding these meetings.
Professor Wendy Mitchinson is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Gender and Medical History and a "leading and prolific scholar in the area of women, health, and medicine in Canada," according to her citation. "As one supporter wrote, she also 'set[s] a very high standard for graduate and post-graduate supervision' and 'has personally trained and shaped several cohorts of scholars.' All that Dr. Mitchinson does benefits her students, whether that means inspiring a love of research, promptly giving detailed and supportive feedback on students' ideas and writing, using her own grant money to fund students' travels to conferences, helping graduate students develop as good teachers and work colleagues, or modeling a successful balance of work and life. Former and present students comment not only on Dr. Mitchinson's generosity but also on how much of their own success they accredit to her mentorship."
Professor Paul Parker "has successfully launched or participated in a number of research groups and networks, such as the Residential Energy Efficiency Project (REEP), and he actively engages his students in all aspects of these projects." The nominator noted the many letters of support accompanying the nomination demonstrating that he is "deeply appreciated as a graduate supervisor by students and colleagues alike." Many students "spoke about Paul's sensitive and dedicated interactions, the time and attention that he devotes to individual and group meetings, and of his timely review of written material. Students clearly felt that they were being treated as individuals when interacting with Paul, and colleagues recognized that he takes the time to get to know each student's strengths and weaknesses before deciding what supervisory approach is best."
The award winners will receive their awards at the Spring 2013 convocation ceremonies.
Mixed notes for Wednesday
The sidewalk sale in the concourse South Campus Hall featuring wares from the Waterloo Store continues today from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Speaking of sidewalks, several cedar arches have been installed over the pedestrian walkway at the south campus entrance, complementing the new University of Waterloo sign that was installed earlier this fall. They're quite nice.
Faculty and staff can still fill out the TravelWise survey for a chance to win a number of prizes while sharing their commuting habits. The survey runs until end of day Friday, October 26.
Tomorrow is Mental Health Wellness Day, and faculty and staff are encouraged to wear their bright orange shirts in support of this important campus initiative.
Mark your calendars: the Fall 2012 Town Hall Meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, November 20, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre. As always, questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. More detailed information about the event will appear in the Daily Bulletin as it approaches.
Jacqueline Martinz of the Federation of Students writes: "The Federation of Students is hosting a birthday bash for the Campus Bubble mascot, Tappy, today. It will be held at Campus Bubble, which is located in the Student Life Centre." The University community is invited to attend the celebration, which will include "delicious cake and exciting prizes." The first 200 guests to purchase a bubble tea will receive special Tappy stress balls.
“Campus Bubble has enjoyed success this year, and Tappy has contributed to that,” said Prashant Patel, Vice-President, Administration and Finance for the Federation of Students. “We’re looking forward to the next year, and party guests will get a preview of some of the new Campus Bubble initiatives including loose leaf tea.”
Photograph by the Federation of Students.
Science open house and gem show promises to rock
The Faculty of Science invites all curious members of the public to its annual science open house this weekend. This free family-inspired event offers an assortment of fun and hands-on activities and demonstrations aimed at children from aged 5 to 13.
The science open house takes place on Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT).
The Faculty of Science will also be officially opening the Discovery Mine with a core breaking ceremony replacing a traditional ribbon-cutting. Children will be outfitted with miner’s hats at 10:15 a.m. in the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT) outside the tunnel itself.
For the Open House, attendees can expect to walk inside a giant cell, create a laser maze, pan for gold, fish for fossils and eat dry ice cream. The popular chemistry magic show will take place at 11:00 a.m. and again at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday in the Biology 1 building, room 271.
Additionally there will be the associated Gem and Mineral Show with vendors selling their wares from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday.
Link of the day
When and where
Open Access Week, October 22 to October 28. Details.
International Spouses presents Carving Jack O'Lanterns, Wednesday, October 24. Participants must pre-register by October 23. Details.
Noon Hour Concert, "Canadian Music for Saxophone & Piano," featuring Willem Moolenbeek, sax, Cheryl Duvall, piano, Wednesday, October 24, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College chapel. Free admission, all are welcome.
Data Management Day, Thursday, October 25. Details.
Mental Health and Wellness Day, Thursday, October 25. Details.
UWSA Annual General Meeting, Thursday, October 25, 9:00 a.m., MC 5158, coffee and treats at 8:45 a.m. Details.
Annual Fall Lecture featuring Professor Susanna Braund, “Snarling Satyres, Porcupines and the 1599 Bishops’Ban,” Thursday, October 25, 5:30 p.m., ML 349. Presented by the Classical Association of Canada, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.
Park Reilly Distinguished Seminar featuring Ramila Peiris, "Development of Membrane Fouling Monitoring, Modelling and Optimization Strategies for Drinking Water Treatment Systems," Thursday, October 25, 3:30 p.m. E6-2024. Coffee and donuts served at 3:20 p.m.
Science and Technology in Society Collaboration event featuring Mark B. Brown, California State University, "Who Speaks for the Global Climate? Institutional Pluralism and Democratic Representation," Thursday, October 25, Great Hall, Conrad Grebel University College, 7:00 p.m.
Department of History lecture featuring Scott Campbell, "Computer Services and Configured Users: A History of Academic Computing in Canada," Friday, October 26, 12:30 p.m., Hagey Hall 138.
SDS Round Table Series featuring Featuring Dr. J.C. Blokhuis, Assistant Professor, Social Development Studies, "Public Educational Authority and Children's Rights from a Parens Patriae Perspective," Friday, October 26, 1:00 p.m.
Science and Technology in Society Collaboration event featuring Mark B. Brown, California State University, "What Does It Mean to Politicize Science?" Friday, October 26, 3:30 p.m., Hagey Hall, Room 373.
Third Annual Across the Creek Event, Saturday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. Details.
Board of governors meeting, Tuesday, October 30, 1:30 p.m., QNC Room 0101.
Noon Hour Concert, "Courage for Lydia," featuring new music by Carol Ann Weaver and Joanne Bender, with Meaghan McCracken, flute, Willem Moolenbeek, saxophone, Ben Bolt-Martin, cello, Marianne Wiens, violin, Joanne Bender & Carol Ann Weaver, piano, Wednesday, October 31, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College chapel.
School of Public Health and Health Systems lecture featuring Dr. Ping Yan, “Quantitative models and their appraisal in the study of infectious diseases”. Wednesday, October 31, 2:00 p.m.,Lyle Hallman North, room 2703.
CTE687 Active Learning in a Really Large Classroom, Session 0002: Wednesday, October 31, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EV1 324A.
Arriscraft Lecture Series featuring Margie Zeidler, Urban Space, "The Accidental Developer," Thursday, November 1, 6:45 p.m., School of Architecture.
Fall Open House, Saturday, November 3 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., various locations on campus.
Shanghai Chapter launch and networking reception, Wednesday, November 7. Details.
Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Hector Levesque, University of Toronto, "Two Thoughts on the Turing Test," Wednesday, November 7, 3:30 p.m., DC 1302.
"Life in 2030" panel discussion and researcher fair, Thursday, November 8, The Tannery.
Department of English Language and Literature lecture featuring Elizabeth Harvey, University of Toronto, “Shakespeare's Spirit World,” Thursday, November 8, 4:00 p.m., HH 373.
8th Annual UWSA Shopping Weekend to Erie Pennsylvania, Friday, November 9 to Sunday, November 11. Details.
Annual Hong Kong Alumni Networking Dinner, Saturday, November 10, 6:00 p.m. Details.
On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:
• Automotive Technician – Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering, USG 8
• Administrative Coordinator – Combinatorics and Optimization, USG 5
• Co-ordinator, First Year Experience (New Student Orientation) – SSO-Student Experience, USG 7
• Associate Vice-President, Advancement Services – ODAA – Advancement Relations – General, USG 17
• Administrative Officer – School of Optometry, USG 14
• Manager, Digital Communications – Registrar’s Office, USG 11
• Technical Specialist – Co-op Education & Career Services, USG 8
Internal Secondment Opportunity:
• OHD Co-ordinator – Organizational & Human Development Office, USG 8