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Thursday, May 16, 2013



  • Working group launches benefit survey
  • Professor wins community-building award
  • Waterloo students win microrobotics challenge
  • Researcher to talk work-integrated learning


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Working group launches benefit survey

A memo from the Benefits Review Working Group of the Pension & Benefits Committee circulated yesterday outlines an opportunity for benefits plan members to provide feedback about their satisfaction with and usage of the benefits plan.

The working group was formed "to look at the relevance and competitiveness of the medical, dental, life insurance and income continuance benefits offered by the university to employees (collectively, the "benefits plan") within the context of sustainability," reads the memo.

The Benefits Review Working Group will be conducting research and consulting with benefits plan members through surveys and focus groups in 2013 and is expected to deliver its report to the Pension & Benefits committee at the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014.

The first stage in the consultation process is a survey, the purpose of which is two-fold:

  • To provide a general overview and assess awareness of the benefits plan; and
  • To gauge satisfaction with and usage of the benefits plan by employees.

"Future consultations will give you an opportunity to give more detailed feedback on changes you might like to see to the benefits plan," the memo continues.

The survey will be open from Tuesday 14 May 14 to Friday May 24.

"Your participation is strongly encouraged," the memo concludes. "All results will be held in complete confidence and no results will be linked to any identifiable individual."

The working group members include:

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Professor wins community-building award

by Wendy Philpott, Arts Communications.

Shannon Dea of the Philosophy department.If she isn't inspiring lively debate amongst her students, or hosting a Pedagogy Picnic for colleagues, Philosophy's associate professor and Arts' Teaching Fellow Shannon Dea (left) is being recognized by the province of Ontario for her tireless work within the wider community. In particular, she has just been presented by MPP Catherine Fife with Ontario's Leading Women Building Communities award for her work with Planned Parenthood, among other community initiatives.

"On Friday May 10, Professor Shannon Dea received the Province of Ontario's Leading Women Building Communities award, "For her exceptional community leadership to improve the lives of women and girls in Ontario," writes David DeVidi, chair of the Department of Philosophy. "The award was presented by Catherine Fife, the local Member of Provincial Parliament, who managed to include a number of entirely apt adjectives to describe Shannon in her speech: principled, courageous, tireless, and, perhaps most impressive, fierce."

Read the full piece on the Faculty of Arts' website.


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Waterloo students win microrobotics challenge

Last Wednesday the University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group (UW_NRG) took first prize in this year's Mobile Microrobotics Challenge at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) held in Karlsruhe, Germany.

This is the second time the team, made up of undergraduate students from nanotechnology engineering supported by colleagues in computer science and arts, has won the competition, beating graduate and post-doctoral candidates from top international institutions.

How big a victory is this? It is probably better to think in terms of how small. The arena in which the teams were competing measures 3.5 millimetres by 2 millimetres, and the competitors are 500 µm (micrometres) in size. The microrobots had to successfully navigate a prescribed course around a track in the shortest amount of time. In order to see the race, organizers place a microscope over the tiny arena and projected the race onto a large screen for spectators.

The team used "advanced micro-scale technology" to control the speed and agility of its competitive microrobot "with unmatched precision", finishing three runs with a final average time of .33 seconds.

That's right. .33 seconds.

"The implications of this performance can lead to progressive leaps in the development of micro-scale applications from targeted drug delivery and minimally invasive surgery to advanced electronics manufacturing," says a statement from UW_NRG.

Also, bragging rights.

"The group would not have been able to achieve this fantastic victory without generous support from its valued sponsors: Zaber Technologies, Brim Electronics, Agilent Technologies, Maplesoft, IEEE Canadian Foundation, Sustainability Television, and DEI & Associates Inc." continues UW_NRG's statement, "as well as support from the University of Waterloo: the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the Chemical Engineering Department, the Dean of Engineering Office, the Office of the Provost, the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund, the Engineering Society, Sanford Fleming Foundation, and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology."

UW_NRG also thanked its academic mentors, Dr. Mustafa Yavuz, Dr. Rafaat Mansour, and Dr. Eric Prouzet for their technical guidance.

"UW_NRG will always be truly grateful for the supportive community and network of organizations at the University of Waterloo that provided the group with the resources it needed to innovate and succeed," the statement concludes.


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Researcher to talk work-integrated learning

Last Friday the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario and the Academica Group released a report on the topic of "work-integrated learning"

Among the report's findings? Waterloo co-op students graduate with less debt and report being more satisfied with their co-op experiences than students surveyed at other universities in Ontario. Waterloo graduates also reported that their co-op work terms helped them both academically and professionally. More details about the study can be found on Waterloo Stories.

On the heels of this report, which was partially funded by WatCACE, HEQCO research director Richard Wiggers will be making a presentation as part of the WatCACE research seminar series.

The session will be held on Tuesday, May 21 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in TC 2218.


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Link of the day

The Dambusters

When and where

Feds Welcome Week 2013, Monday, May 13 to Friday, May 17.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Prof. Gerardo Zaragoza-Galán, Ciudad Universitaria, México, "Excimer Formation in Pyrene-labeled Dendronized Porphyrins and Pyrene-Fullerene C60 Dyads," Thursday, May 16, 3:00 p.m., MC 4063. Details.

Campus Walk 2013, Tuesday, May 21 to Friday, June 14. Details.

Student Consultation Group - uWaterloo Student Portal, Tuesday, May 21, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., SCH multipurpose room.

Self-Marketing Session, "Perfect your interview skills," Tuesday, May 21, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC 1208. Register online.

Senate meeting, Tuesday, May 21, 3:30 p.m., NH 3001.

The Office of Research presents "How to Survive the Common CV!," Tuesday, May 21, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., DC 1302. All welcome. No registration required.

Building & Properties Committee meeting, Wednesday, May 22, 3:30 p.m., QNC 4104.

WISE Lecture Series featuring Dr. Jiujun Zhang, Principle Research Officer, National Research Council Canada, Vancouver, BC, "PEM Fuel Cell Catalysis and Supercapacitors at National Research Council of Canada," Thursday, May 23, 2:00 p.m., DC 1302.

The Library presents Services for New Faculty and Grad Students, Friday, May 24, 10:30 a.m., FLEX Lab. Details.

Lessons Learned: Working Towards Effective Lake Stewardship, Saturday, May 25, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment. Details.

Toyota High School Electric Vehicle Challenge, Saturday, May 25, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Engineering 5. Details.

You @ Waterloo Day, Saturday, May 25, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., various locations on campus. Details.

Random Walks: Music of Xenakis and Beyond, Saturday, May 25, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Institute for Quantum Computing. Details.

Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Networking Training Course, Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29, Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville. Details.

CTE presents Instructional Skills Workshop, Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., location TBA. Details.

Retirement celebration for Martin van Nierop, Wednesday, May 29, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., University Club. RSVP online.

Environment Lecture Series featuring Mike Commito, Department of History, McMaster University, "Winnie-the-Pooh to Spring Hunting: the history of Ontario's black bears," Wednesday, May 29, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville. Details.

The Library presents Keep Current with Research Alerts, Tuesday, June 4, 10:00 a.m., FLEX Lab. Details.

Board of Governors Meeting, Tuesday, June 4, 1:30 p.m., Location TBA.

Career Exploration Workshop, "I’d do what I love…but what is it?" Tuesday, June 4, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1112. Register online.

The Library presents Find Books and More, Thursday, June 6, 2:00 p.m., FLEX Lab. Details.

Keystone Picnic, Friday, June 7.


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