[Yesterday][Previous][Search][About the Bulletin][UW home page]

Friday, October 19, 2001

  • Convocation, but not on the web
  • Novelist wins arts alumni award
  • Physics department called high quality
  • Events today and on the weekend
Chris Redmond

Government says 'Klingerman virus' is a hoax

[Three happy grads in gowns]

Every convocation is the same -- the robes, the roses -- and every convocation is different, a lifelong memory for each new graduate who celebrates with family or, sometimes, two amigos.

Convocation, but not on the web

Tomorrow's Eighty-Third Convocation won't be broadcast over the web, says assistant registrar Charlene Schumm -- meaning that if you want to see the ceremonies, morning or afternoon, you'll have to come to the Physical Activities Complex and experience the pomp live.

Schumm noted that there were many difficulties with the webcast of last spring's four days of convocation. "The university has decided," she said yesterday, "that if we can't offer it properly, we're not going to offer it. We are looking into buying our own equipment, but that won't happen until spring at the earliest."

So, no webcast tomorrow, just real live smiles and thrills as two top graduate students receive gold medals and hundreds of students get what they came for, a Waterloo diploma.

Winners of the alumni gold medals as the top PhD and master's level student will be Christopher Derksen (PhD, geography) and Jeffrey Baschuk (MASc, mechanical engineering). The two are among seven students receiving "outstanding achievement" designations in graduate studies at this convocation. The other winners are Allyson Bingeman (PhD, civil engineering); Adam Dubrowski (PhD, kinesiology); Lisa Ligori (MA, accounting); Amarpreet Rattan (Mmath, combinatorics and optimization); and Jeffrey Semple (MSc, biology).

Alumni gold medals at the undergraduate level are given at the spring convocation each year, and graduate medals at the fall convocation.

Tomorrow's convocation will be held in two sessions -- at 10 a.m. to present degrees from the faculties of arts and applied health sciences, and at 2 p.m. for the other faculties.

Speaker at the morning session will be Paul Mitchell, retired business executive and former chair of UW's board of governors, who will receive an honorary degree along with two noted academics: Bert Hamilton, Renaissance literature professor at Queen's University, and Bartha Maria Knoppers of the Université de Montréal, an authority on medical ethics.

Jiri Zuzanek, retired from the department of recreation and leisure studies, will be installed as "distinguished professor emeritus", and Howie Green, of the kinesiology department, will receive one of this year's Excellence in Research awards.

At the afternoon session, the speaker will be Sherwood Rowland, Nobel Prize winner and chemistry professor at the University of California at Irvine. He is receiving an honorary degree along with Lawrence Morley of the Geological Survey of Canada.

Three "distinguished professors emeritus" will be installed: Grahame Farquhar of civil engineering, Graham Gladwell, also of civil, and Josef Paldus of applied mathematics.

Two more Excellence in Research awards will be presented, to Murray Moo-Young and Garry Rempel, both of chemical engineering. And Ron Scoins, recently retired from the faculty of mathematics, will be installed as an "honorary member of the university".

Novelist wins arts alumni award

Tim Wynne-Jones, award-winning novelist, lyricist, playwright, critic, and children's writer, will be at convocation tomorow to be honoured as the fourth recipient of the Faculty of Arts Alumni Achievement Award. The award recognizes Waterloo arts alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their professional field and/or in community and public service.

Wynne-Jones graduated in 1974 with a BA in fine arts and taught visual arts from 1974 to 78. He later earned his MA in visual arts at York University. "In one of the curious twists in the creative process, Tim Wynne-Jones came to his distinguished career as a writer through his work in fine arts," say UW's Ann Roberts (fine arts) and Ted McGee (English). In an interview published in Canadian Materials, Wynne-Jones describes how he began writing: "When I was drawing and started writing in the margins, I was already thinking in terms of the story behind the picture."

"As a writer, Wynne-Jones is one of the most versatile and accomplished with an impressive list of achievements," says an appreciation published in the arts alumni newsletter this fall. To date, he has written twenty-four books, three of which are novels for adults. He won the $50,000 Seal First Novel Award for Odd's End in 1979. Odd's End was published in the United States, Great Britain, and Germany. It has also been released in France and England as a made-for-TV-movie entitled "The House That Mary Bought". His work is regularly translated into Japanese, French, Dutch, Danish, German, and Italian.

But Wynne-Jones is most famous for his writing for children. He has written songs for television's "Fraggle Rock", theme song lyrics for YTV shows, poetry, parodies, short stories, picture books, and novels for adolescents. He has written the libretto and book for an opera, the book and lyrics for a children's musical, and more than a dozen radio plays for the CBC, one of which, "St. Anthony's Man", won the 1988 ACTRA National Radio Award. Two of his books have won the Governor General's prize for children's fiction: in 1993, the collection of short stories Some of the Kinder Planets, and in 1995 the novel The Maestro.

Since 1982, Wynne-Jones has, on occasion, taught writing at colleges and universities across Canada. He has made many contributions to the writing community, having served as a children's book columnist with the Globe and Mail, writer-in-residence at Nepean Public Library in Perth, and children's book editor with the Red Deer College Press. Since 1997, he has been the core-speaker at the Children's Literature New England annual institute.

Wynne-Jones is married to writer and artist Amanda Lewis, and they live near Perth, Ontario, with their three children.

Physics department called high quality

UW's physics department offers "among the best and largest programs in Canada and the United States", according to a review that has just been completed, and is "in a stage of successful renewal. The students are viewed to be 'very good', but recruitment and retention of students are issues."

The review of the physics department -- one of UW's oldest and biggest units -- was reported to UW's senate October 15 as part of the continuing "academic program review" process. Bruce Mitchell, associate vice-president (academic), told the senate in a written report that physics students have high marks, high co-op placement rates and high success in getting graduate scholarships. "In addition to teaching its own students," says his summary of the program review, "Physics provides significant service teaching."

The review says that the early retirement program in 1996, combined with positions lost earlier, resulted in faculty positions decreasing from 35.5 in 1990 to 26.5 in 1996. A staff position also was lost in the early retirement program. In 1999, Access to Opportunities Program (ATOP) funds added two new positions to support service teaching, bringing the total to 28.5. The outcome has been increased teaching loads, reduction in courses offered, especially at the third and fourth year levels, and larger section sizes for first year courses except for the physics courses for engineering students.

The review team said the physics co-op program has been very successful and a good system is in place to monitor the effectiveness of teaching. Furthermore, the undergraduate program "is well balanced and covers a broad range of theoretical and experimental training for the students," and the students said the faculty and staff are supportive and helpful. More good news: "The demand for physicists in Canada currently far exceeds the number of graduates in Canadian universities."

The combined graduate program with the University of Guelph was seen by the review team to provide "a great deal of benefit." But it recommended that at the graduate level both number and quality of students should be improved. The review team also remarked that "the research conducted by faculty is first-rank and ranges from the traditional areas to the very practical applications." The review team complimented the department in its success in hiring new faculty "of a very high quality".

It said opportunity exists for better coordination among mathematics and physics courses and concepts.

Total undergraduate applications decreased in the period 1992 to 1997 but have been fairly constant since then. "Efforts to increase the number of high quality applicants would be appropriate." The review team found the student retention rate to be low, and said the attrition rate of 40% in first year is a "serious concern".

In response to the report, the physics department said it "will seek to hire faculty who are of high quality and able to attract significant research funding. Emphasis will be given to hiring to strengthen experimental areas, and the first priority will be to hire a biophysicist. Hirings also are intended to establish a group of faculty who will provide the critical mass to develop a strong photonics program for undergraduates."

The creation of the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics has "exciting potential" for the department, especially regarding research by the Astronomy and Gravitation group. "Considerable time has been and will be taken to work collaboratively with the Perimeter Institute to ensure mutual benefit."

Science open house

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow primary school children and their families can experience science through hands-on chemistry experiments like turning copper into gold and making nylon.

Staff from Engineering Science Quest will present some of the activities from their summer programs -- slime, pop rockets and liquid nitrogen ice cream. Youngsters can play paleontologist in the Earth Sciences Museum, and help extract fossil fish from limestone.

A barbeque lunch is part of the day's events; parking is available in Lot C. For more information, email the museum at esmuseum@uwaterloo.ca or telephone ext. 2469.

Events today and on the weekend

A note about the University of Waterloo's Inquiry System: to facilitate an upgrade, WINQ will not be available from 2 p.m. today until 8 a.m. on Monday.

Engineering is hosting a potluck lunch to raise funds for the United Way campaign today -- the event is $3 per person, and begins at noon in DWE 2513.

Tim Wynne-Jones, winner of this year's Arts Alumni Achievement Award, will be reading from his work at 12:30 today in the Common Room at St. Jerome's (SJU 327). Also at 12:30: Rudy Wiebe, two-time recipient of the Governor General's Award for fiction, will read from and discuss his new novel Sweeter Than All the World in the boardroom at Conrad Grebel College. And at 2 p.m. a lecture by ozone scientist Sherwood Rowland, who's at UW to receive an honorary degree on Saturday. He'll speak on "Stratospheric Ozone Depletion and Global Climate Change", in the Humanities Theatre.

At 1:30 p.m. today in HH 334 a philosophy colloquium entitled "Fine-tuning and Multiple Universes," with professor Neil Manson of the University of Notre Dame. Also today, a Tourism Public Research Lecture -- "Thrills and Chills in Exotic Destinations: The 3 Ps (policy, planning and pitfalls)" with professor Valene Smith of California State University. The talk will take place in ES1 room 132.

The "11th Midwest and 1st Central Canada Relativity Meeting," continues today and tomorrow in the Davis Centre, hosted by UW's department of physics. "This," says physics chair Robert Mann, "is an all-day meeting in which researchers working in gravitation, general relativity, cosmology and astrophysics gather together to present the latest results of their research."

At 7 tonight the 16th Annual Benjamin Eby Lecture features Kenneth R. Hull, who will speak on the topic "Text, Music and Meaning in Congregational Song" in the Chapel at Conrad Grebel College.

Tomorrow night, the Federation of Students presents a night of folk music to benefit the Judy Cardiff Memorial Foundation -- a concert by Craig Cardiff, starting at 8 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre. Tickets are $6 in advance from the Humanities box office, and are also available at HMV Waterloo.

And finally, sporting events this weekend see the men's rugby Warriors take on Brock at 1 p.m. at Columbia Field 1, followed at 3 p.m. by the women's rugby team who play McMaster in the OUA Semi-Finals. On Columbia Field 2, the women's soccer team plays Western at 1 p.m.; the men's match is at 3 p.m. And the PAC squash courts will be the site of West Sectional play today and tomorrow.

Correction: yesterday's bulletin gave an incorrect date for the Stanley Knowles lecture. It is in fact taking place on Thursday, October 25.

CAR with Avvey Peters

Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
| Yesterday's Bulletin
Copyright © 2001 University of Waterloo