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Tuesday, March 27, 2001

  • UW's distinguished teachers for this year
  • Grebel thriving, seeks new name
  • Prof's book examines women's hockey
  • The Bulletin's bulletin board

Update on TB case

It appears that no one in Village I picked up a tuberculosis infection from the student who was diagnosed with TB a few weeks ago, Barbara Schumacher, medical director of UW's health services, said yesterday.

She said about 100 people were given TB tests after the recent case became known. Eighteen of them tested positive -- but "all had lived or travelled in countries where TB is endemic," and health officials think they picked up the bacillus there rather than from the student in the Village.

"A close friend who had no history of travel is TB skin test negative," said Schumacher, and so are the two housekeepers who had worked in his room.

"Fortunately our student did not venture out from his residence room frequently, was focused on studies and had few social contacts." (He has moved out of the Village and is now being treated.)

Schumacher said the people who tested positive "have inactive or latent TB infection and are not contagious to others". She noted that travellers who visit "endemic areas" -- which can mean anywhere outside North America -- are advised to get a TB test before leaving and another three to six months after returning to Canada.

UW's distinguished teachers for this year

This year's winners of UW's two university-wide teaching awards were announced at the monthly meeting of the university senate last night, and here they are.

There are four winners of the 26th annual distinguished teacher awards -- as usual, three "regular" faculty members and one from the "non-regular" ranks:

"The Distinguished Teacher Award," says the charter that has been used regularly since the awards were created in 1975, "is given in recognition of continued record of excellence in teaching at the University of Waterloo. It is open to all those who teach students at the University of Waterloo and is not limited just to those holding faculty appointments.

"The Selection Committee will look for intellectual vigour and communication skills in the interpretation and presentation of subject matter. The teacher's human quality and concern for and sensitivity to the needs of students is an obvious criterion.

"The Selection Committee will look for a clear indication that the nominee has favourable and lasting influence on students. Evidence of successful innovation in teaching would support a nomination, but it is also clear that excellence in teaching does not necessarily require innovation."

Awards are decided by a selection committee that includes faculty members, alumni and students and is chaired by the provost. This year there were 26 eligible nominations, provost Alan George told the senate last night, many of them "very strong" and showing "outstanding records of teaching and service to students".

The provost also announced the winners of the awards for distinguished teaching by a registered student, such as graduate teaching assistants. Those awards are being given for the third year. The winners for the year 2001:

Grebel thriving, seeks new name

Conrad Grebel College is in great financial shape, thanks to support from Ontario Mennonites, and has a building program in mind, its president and dean told UW's senate last night.

[Toews] Grebel president John Toews (left) said the college has eliminated $600,000 in debt and started to add faculty members since the last time it reported to senate, five years ago. There had been "painful" cuts, reducing Grebel from 15 faculty members to just ten at one point, and "the auditors were threatening to declare the college at risk."

But its friends have rallied round, and Grebel has now shown surpluses in its last three annual budgets. "The Mennonite community of the college," said Toews, "is subsidizing it by $300,000 a year. We have increased faculty salaries to parity with the University of Waterloo. We have begun to rebuild the faculty. And finally we have launched a $10 million campaign."

By 2003 -- when extra students hit because of the Ontario "double cohort" -- Grebel will expand its residence from 120 students to 150, Toews said. It will also build a larger chapel and other new space, joining its two buildings together with a three-storey block. The new construction will "disrupt traffic" that traditionally passes right between the buildings on the way to the main UW campus, Toews admitted.

Grebel hopes to use some of the new space to house a Canadian Centre for Conflict Research that would be the fourth institute growing out of its peace and conflict studies program. The others are Project Ploughshares, the Network for Conflict Resolution, and the Centre for Family Business.

Toews also announced an expansion of the college's graduate program in theology -- the only field in which it grants its own degrees, independent of UW. A "ministry option" is being created within the Master of Theological Studies program, he said, in response to calls for Grebel to help provide more ministers for Mennonite congregations. (Other streams in the program are for Biblical and theological studies and "historical and cultural" studies.)

He said Grebel has just affiliated with the Toronto School of Theology, an umbrella organization of theological schools from several Christian denominations, mostly based at the University of Toronto. The arrangement with TST will be "consistent with our agreement" with UW, he assured the senate.

In connection with UW, Grebel is responsible for the music department as well as peace and conflict studies, and does some teaching in several other fields in the faculty of arts.

And Toews told the senate that to reflect its expanded programs, the college is seeking to add a word to its name, becoming Conrad Grebel University College.

Prof's book examines women's hockey -- from the UW news bureau

Nearly 40,000 girls and women registered to play hockey in Canada during one recent season -- but women's hockey gets almost no attention. A recently published book by UW professor Nancy Theberge gives voice to the unsung heroes of women's hockey.

The book, Higher Goals: Women's Ice Hockey and the Politics of Gender, is a scholarly investigation of women's experiences at the elite levels of Canada's favourite sport.

Theberge, who teaches in both kinesiology and sociology, first stumbled across a rarely televised women's hockey game in 1990. She was struck by images of women playing a fiercely physical contact sport. Not long after that fateful channel-surfing experience, Theberge began her study of physicality and gender issues within the sport of women's hockey.

Higher Goals offers an in-depth look at a community of women athletes. From locker-room chat to championship games, the book traces the ups and downs of a high-level Canadian women's hockey team called the Blades. "I became, in effect, a member of the team for two years. I went everywhere the team went, except on the ice," she said. "They all came to see me as a special kind of insider."

Her inside look at the world of women's hockey reveals how players struggle to find a place for themselves in a sport closely associated with notions of masculinity and national identity. "What was particularly powerful about these women was that they came together on a regular basis to take part in a sport that outsiders didn't care about," said Theberge, who began travelling with the Blades back in the early nineties.

In recent years, however, fans have warmed to women's hockey. Its appearance at the 1998 Winter Olympics marked a new level of popular and commercial success. Much like tennis and basketball courts, hockey rinks have become socially acceptable places for women to display power and athletic skill.

The book also suggests that women's presence in the rock 'em, sock 'em world of hockey is not necessarily a sign of gender equality. A notion of difference pervades the sport. Rules against fighting or intentional body checking in women's hockey are often the focus of attention. Even the phrase "women's hockey" suggests a qualification -- a deviation from the "real" version of the sport.

"The way men play the game at the elite level is the epitome of aggressive physicality. But this is not inherent to the sport," Theberge pointed out. "It's a style of play that is constructed by rules and cultural practices." That's why she cautions against using men's version of hockey, or any sport for that matter, as a generic model. "Women don't need to play like men."

Computer animation talk

One of the pioneers of computer animation will speak in the fine arts department this afternoon (1 p.m., East Campus Hall room 1219). He's Marceli Wein, who is also an adjunct member of UW's computer graphics laboratory.

Says Wein: "I will describe what it was like to be part of the technical team working with artist Peter Foldes, and other National Film Board animators, making some of the earliest works of computer animation. I will describe how technical and artistic people worked side-by-side, simultaneously creating computer animated tools and animated films. This occurred in the context of the primitive computing facilities that were available when the work was done: the late sixties and early seventies."

Bill Cowan of UW's computer science department gives some context: "This work was seminal in the development of computer animation as a medium. One of the films, Hunger, was nominated, at the time, for an Academy Award in the short film category. The NRC team was recently given an Academy Award for technical innovation in recognition of the importance of this work. The impetus provided by this work also played an important role in seeding the development of animation tools in the Canadian software industry. Firms like Alias-Wavefront, SoftImage and Side Effects, which give Canada technical capability in computer animation out of all proportion to its size, can trace their origins back to this early work at NRC and NFB."

The Bulletin's bulletin board

Brubakers, the cafeteria in the Student Life Centre, celebrates its sixth birthday today. The party runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the food services department says, with "lots of specials" and "a ton of prizes to be won. Our clown, jugglers and magician will delight everyone."

A student recital starts at 12:30 today in the chapel at Conrad Grebel College, with music students showing off their prowess in works by Scarlatti, Mozart, Liszt and others. Performers include Malinda Excel, Terry Vaskor, Andréa Senchnya and Chris Heakes, pianists; soprano Olukemi Atawo, accompanied by Charmaine Martin; soprano Anna Janecek, also with Martin accompanying; and bass Cliff Snyder, accompanied by Heidi Lindschinger. Admission to the recital is free.

Shaun Wang of SCOR Reinsurance speaks in the department of statistics and actuarial science today (2:30, Math and Computer room 5136) on "A Universal Framework for Pricing Financial and Insurance Risks".

Jonathan Dewald of the State University of New York at Buffalo speaks today on "A Discipline with a Past: Reflections on the Emergence of Social History, 1850-1950". His talk starts at 4:30 in Humanities room 334.

The Graduate Student Association will hold its annual general meeting at 6:00 this evening in Needles Hall room 3001. All graduate students are entitled to be there, hear the annual reports of the executive, look at the annual financial statements and vote on by-law changes.

The St. Bede Lectures continue at Renison College; tonight at 7:30, Robert Kelly of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary speaks on "Christian Morality". The lecture takes place in the chapel at Renison.

Tomorrow morning, students in the Certificate in University Teaching program will present the results of their research. Five speakers are scheduled, starting at 9:30, on topics such as "teaching teamwork in computer science courses" and "motivating students in university classes using technology". The presentations take place in Math and Computer room 5158.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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