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Thursday, February 26, 2004

  • Psychology professor is mourned
  • Teaching techies to handle conflict
  • 'Otherness' in a Mennonite art show
  • Scores, receipts, more happenings
Chris Redmond

Freedom to Read Week

[Kunda in office]

Psychology professor is mourned

Ziva Kunda (left), a faculty member in UW's psychology department since 1992, died Tuesday.

Praised as a star researcher in her field of social psychology, and someone who succeeded in balancing work with personal life, she was author of the 1999 book Social Cognition: Making Sense of People. Last year she received a major grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for work on "Understanding and overcoming cultural divides".

In 2001 her work on "stereotyping" was described at length in a UW news release. "In one of our studies," she said then, "we found that UW students apply negative female stereotypes to a female professor if they get a bad grade from her." She also looked at racial stereotypes, professional stereotypes, and the different expectations faced by introverts and extroverts.

A graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she did her graduate work at the University of Michigan and came to UW from the faculty at Princeton.

Kunda was on sabbatical leave this term, and had been fighting cancer for some time. She is survived by her husband, Paul Thagard of UW's department of philosophy, and their two sons. ("She was a great hockey mom," a colleague said yesterday.)

A memorial service will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. in the great hall of Conrad Grebel University College.

Teaching techies to handle conflict -- by Barbara Elve, from this week's Gazette

When it comes to dealing with conflict, "we're all bad," laughs Keith Regehr, who's teaching a new course on the subject -- geared to techies -- at Conrad Grebel University College.

The idea for Peace and Conflict Studies 325, "Conflict Management for Technical Professions", grew out of conversations that peace and conflict studies director Lowell Ewert had with systems design engineering professor Keith Hipel and students from Engineers Without Borders.

"While a number of professions include training around so-called soft skills," says Regehr, "there may be a stronger emphasis on technical skills in some of the programs of students I'm dealing with." He developed the course to help students move beyond what he calls the basic fight-or-flight reaction to conflict, toward understanding the opposing interests that arise in interpersonal, work group and public relations -- and developing tools to "enable effective responses."

[Regehr] Offered for the first time this term, the course has attracted students from engineering, science, computer science, actuarial science, arts, philosophy and planning.

Organized around a set of readings, using case studies and group work, the course is structured as a collaborative learning process where students sit in a circle -- an approach that reflects Regehr's "fairly strong bias toward believing students can actually learn from each other."

Class discussions have dealt with situations that arise in co-op experiences -- "the role someone at the bottom of the hierarchy can play in dealing with conflict" -- as well as conflicts of culture in the global context of work. In the major assignment, a case study, students are asked to apply the conflict resolution principles they've studied to their own areas of interest, from battles over where to locate a landfill to debates over water in the Middle East.

Evaluation is based on class participation and skills development, as well as more traditional written assignments. In the syllabus, Regehr (right) tells students: "Because a major goal of the course is giving students a set of skills for responding to conflict, a portion of the course mark will involve assessment of the use of the skills practised in class."

Students are encouraged to appreciate ambiguity and complexity, become aware of diversity and to practise democratic habits. After each class, they are invited to reflect: At what moment in class this week were you most engaged/distanced as a learner? What action that anyone in the room took this week did you find most affirming or helpful/most puzzling or confusing? In their responses, students have observed "how different other people's perceptions of the same thing can be," and have become aware of "the limit of my experience outside my Œbubble,'" and "the cooperative nature of people in the smaller groups."

"For some," says Regehr, "it's a struggle to move beyond a system that says Action A has clear consequences: Action B. It doesn't work that way in conflict. Conflict can be very messy," with variables relating to the structure of an organization, personalities of the players, and "the fight you had with your wife before you came to work."

Student feedback has been "really positive," says Regehr, a lawyer who "struggled with the adversarial nature of the (legal) process." He was inspired to explore alternative ways of dealing with conflict after spending time working in South Africa, and now has a private practice dealing with conflict resolution.

He plans to offer Conflict Management for Technical Professions every second year, alternating with another course he teaches, Community Conflict Resolution.

'Otherness' in a Mennonite art show

"Iconoclastic: Contemporary Mennonite Visual Art", a collection of recent paintings, prints and photographs by members of the Mennonite Artists' Collective, opens today at the UW art gallery in East Campus Hall.

The goal of the exhibition of works by Karim Awad, Matthew Tiessen, David Lobe (all UW alumni), and Paul Janzen is to "encourage a more widespread awareness of the visual art being actively created within the Mennonite community", says gallery curator-director Carol Podedworny.

In UW's older art gallery, in the Modern Languages building, the show "Handle with Care" -- works of art from the UW permanent collection that have suffered damage of various kinds -- continues through March 25.
In a statement about the art, the collective explains: "The title of this exhibition can be read in a number of ways. However, the word "iconoclastic," as we are using it here, is an adjective that describes someone who challenges generally accepted, traditional, cherished beliefs. The iconoclast is the irreverent skeptic, the critic, the radical, the artist. In our case, we -- the Mennonite Artists -- have chosen this title to emphasize the "otherness" of visual arts and visual artists within the Mennonite community, which tends to foreground the written and spoken word.

"Throughout their history, Mennonites have generally eschewed visual stimulation. This visual asceticism is most noticeable in the simple homes, churches and clothing of the Old Order Mennonites. . . .

"This is not to suggest that Mennonites don't champion their artists. However, it is to say that the artists who are most revered amongst the Mennonites tend to be musicians, choral conductors, poets, novelists, composers, quilt-makers. . . . This low-level suspicion of candy for the eye, this tepid iconoclasm, has often led Mennonite visual artists to seek recognition beyond their conventional systems of support."

The exhibition opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight and continues until March 18. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, noon to 4 p.m., Thursday, noon to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Scores, receipts, more happenings

First of all, results from last night's big games. In men's basketball, the Warriors edged Laurier 66-63 in the PAC gym to move to the next round in the OUA playoffs -- I'm afraid I don't have any game details yet this morning. In women's basketball, in a game played at Guelph, the Warriors defeated the Gryphons 56-37 and also move up in the playoffs. In men's hockey, the news is less happy, as "the biggest crowd in the past three seasons" at the Icefield, according to Canadian Interuniversity Sport this morning, wasn't enough to stop the Lakehead Thunderwolves. They took a 5-1 victory from the Warriors in the first game of a three-game playoff; the rematch is Friday night in Thunder Bay. Adam Metherel, pictured in this space yesterday, scored the only UW goal.

The Co-Workplace: seminar about teleworking, by planning professor Laura Johnson at Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, 12 noon, Needles Hall room 1101.

Teaching Dossiers workshop, chiefly for grad students in the Certificate in University Teaching program, 1:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 211.

Joint health and safety committee, 1:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Imprint Publications annual general meeting, 2:30 p.m., multipurpose room, Student Life Centre.

Anita Fonn, mechanical engineering, retirement reception, 3 to 5 p.m., Engineering II room 4404.

Career development workshops: "Interview Skills: The Basics" 3:30, "Preparing for Questions" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Black History Month lecture on "Black Soldiers and Civil Rights Activism", Kimberly Phillips, College of William and Mary, 4 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Arriscraft architecture lecture: Volker Seding, Toronto, "Survivors: Reflections on Things About to Vanish", 7 p.m., Environmental Studies II room 286.

Joseph Schneider Haus lecture on traditional and folk arts, Nancy-Lou Patterson, retired UW fine arts professor, 7:30, 466 Queen Street South.

'Havana Nights', Latin music and dancing presented by Spanish Club at the Bombshelter pub, doors open 8:00, free salsa and merengue lessons 8:30.

'Peoplesoft Application Upgrades' report at weekly IST professional development seminar, Friday 8:45, Math and Computer room 2009.

Theologian Karen Armstrong speaks at St. Jerome's University, Friday 8 p.m.

Ontario PC Campus Association convention in Waterloo this weekend; keynote speaker at Saturday banquet is Belinda Stronach, candidate for national Conservative leader; tickets $40, call 589-9700.

One of the buzzwords of the past year has been "quantum computing", and I'm not sure that I understand it, in spite of admirable efforts by Patricia Bow in a feature article that appeared in the winter 2003 issue of the UW Magazine. It's important not only for its scientific and social impact, but for the prominence on this campus of the Institute for Quantum Computing, based in the physics department but with tentacles in many parts of the university. One of the graduate students associated with the IQC, Carlos Perez, is the speaker today as the Interdisciplinary Coffee Talk Society holds its monthly session. "Our seminars are open to all," writes organizer Achim Kempf. "Just drop by." Today's session starts at 5 p.m. at the Graduate House.

As we're coming up to income tax time, students will be needing their tuition fee receipts, known to its friends as form T2202A. All the forms were mailed out as of Monday, says JoAnne Chesher in UW's finance office: "Undergrad receipts were mailed to their home addresses, and Grads were mailed to their mailing addresses showing on Quest. If their address is incorrect on Quest they may change them and if the receipt is returned to us we will redirect it. To order a new copy there is a cost of $10."

Here's a note from Susan Schaefer in UW Graphics: "Graphics has sent out a survey in the mail to our on-campus customers asking them to rate our services -- are we making the grade? If anyone did not receive a survey, but would like to respond, an electronic version is available. We are interested in all comments and encourage anyone on campus to let us know how we are doing."

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced this year's Killam Research Fellowships, which "enable Canada's best scientists and scholars to devote two years to full-time research and writing". There are nine new fellows this year. And eight winners from last year have had their fellowships renewed, including Marilyn Griffiths of the UW biology department, who will continue her work under the title "Survival of Overwintering Plants".

Chris Edey, president of the Federation of Students, has put out a call for the annual Student Leadership Awards: "Winners of the awards will have demonstrated exemplary leadership skills in various ways. . . . Winners will be presented a cash prize and certificate." Nomination forms are available now at the Fed office in the Student Life Centre, and are due back by March 17.

Finally, a reminder that the official opening of the Centre for Environment and Information Technology -- that big new building at the heart of the campus -- is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30. A UW news release yesterday says the ribbon-cutting will be done by a robot: now that should be worth seeing.


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