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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

  • Architecture mulls move to engineering
  • UWone gives way to Angel package
  • Researchers receive $4.6 million from CFI
  • Rock concert supports magazine
Chris Redmond

National Epilepsy Month

[Green grass, paving stones, battlements]

Castle-dweller for a time was math student Joanna Duong, who spent her 4A term at Queen's University's study centre in England, Herstmonceux Castle. "People probably don't know about all the exchange opportunities that are out there," she says. She'll be spreading the word as one of the speakers today at an information session on exchanges for math students -- 3 p.m., Math and Computer room 5158.

Then at 4:30, students from Germany's Technical University of Braunschweig will give a presentation about the exchange program between their home institution and the UW engineering faculty. The session is scheduled for Davis Centre room 1304.

Architecture mulls move to engineering

Faculty members in the school of architecture are voting on whether they'd like to move their school to a different faculty.

Architecture has been part of the faculty of environmental studies since ES was founded in 1970. The current proposal is to move it to the engineering faculty, where it was housed in the 1960s.

A memo from Geoff McBoyle, dean of ES, explains that "The process will be the following: regular faculty members of the School of Architecture will vote on the issue within the next two weeks. If the vote is overwhelming, the Vice President (Academic) and Provost will move the process to the next step which will occur probably before fall 2004."

That's when architecture is already scheduled to make a move of a different kind: from the Waterloo campus to a new home in a century-old renovated factory building in Cambridge.

Students in architecture looking for spring term jobs get match results at 11:00 today. Meeting for students without employment, 4 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218.
Architecture is the largest of the four academic units in environmental studies, with 17 of the 61 faculty positions in ES in 2002-03. The dean -- a professor in the next-largest unit, geography -- said yesterday: "The faculty of environmental studies has appreciated, and enhanced over the years, the multidisciplinary liberal arts education offered by the school of architecture. The result has been very successful graduates working in all aspects of architecture and design.

"However, there is a movement to move the school from environmental studies to engineering. This is under discussion."

He said the vote is "as far as we've got", adding that "if the vote is overwhelmingly in favour, and they do move, lots of details have to be worked out," including administrative and financial issues.

UWone gives way to Angel package

A new "online course management system" will be available across campus shortly, a pared-down version of the UWone system now used in about 175 courses.

While UWone includes software for various kinds of teaching, the new system, to be dubbed UW-ACE, is limited to the administrative aspects of teaching: keeping class lists, submitting marks, providing chatrooms for students to communicate.

"It's good news for those who want the basic infrastructure," says Tom Carey, UW's associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation). The coming of UW-ACE is announced in a memo signed jointly by Carey and Alan George, associate provost (information systems and technology).

Carey's domain includes LT3, the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, where UWone was largely developed. "The intention has always been," he said yesterday, "that any innovations would be looked at to see, is this something we need to support campus-wide?" The course management aspects of UWone are in general demand, he said, and now will be available to everybody, including instructors who aren't ready for more advanced or more specialized teaching software.

Says the Carey and George memo: "As well as relying on locally developed functionality to assist in managing specific learning activities, UWone uses features of ANGEL, a commercially available course management system. The benefits of a system such as UWone have been evident, but it never functioned as a foundational, campus-wide system for the UW community.

"There is a clear and increasing need to ensure that a robust, campus-wide platform is in place for the basic services that many faculty members need, including such things as the posting and management of course materials, automatic class list creation, assignment and exam distribution, management and submission of marks, and support for instructors to communicate with students and for students to communicate among themselves. . . .

"Building on the experience we have gained with UWone and taking advantage of the evolving capacity of ANGEL, an accessible, well-supported, and stable campus-wide course management system will be provided. . . . Such a system will satisfy the basic needs of UW faculty members, will provide a more stable, campus-wide environment for basic services, and will provide for easier development and better management of additional features and innovations. . . .

"A new online course management system, UW-ACE (UW's ANGEL Course Environment) is under development with the intention of providing all UW faculty with an online environment for the delivery and management of courses. UW-ACE will be implemented using an "out-of-the-box" commercially available course management system -- ANGEL.

"Pilot testing of UW-ACE will be underway during the Spring '04 term, so that a limited number of courses can try out the system and "iron out" any difficulties. The UW-ACE system will be available campus-wide in the Fall '04 term.

"Plans will be made to incorporate the additional UWone features into UW-ACE, guided by feasibility and demand, and in consultation with the user community. During the transition to UW-ACE the UWone platform will continue to be supported for existing users. UWone courses will be transferred as UWone features are incorporated into the UW-ACE system."

There will be a UW-ACE Implementation Team, led by Andrea Chappell of IST, to provide advice on how to support the UW-ACE service and ensure access for teachers across campus. To assist UWone users in making the transition to UW-ACE and to maintain limited UWone service during transition, Liwana Bringelson, LT3, will lead a 'UWone to UW-ACE Migration Team'. . . . Current UWone users will be contacted as soon as possible.

"As part of this transition process, there are ongoing discussions with the ANGEL vendor, CyberLearning Labs, to explore how some of the locally developed features in UWone might be included in ANGEL as part of their standard offering. Some of the local functionality may be built into UW-ACE."

Researchers receive $4.6 million from CFI -- from the UW media relations office

Several young researchers have received a total of just over $4.6 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to establish the infrastructure necessary to flourish in their careers. The support from the federal corporation includes a large Innovation Fund award for photovoltaics research, as well as two awards from CFI's New Opportunities Fund and a Canada Research Chair Infrastructure Award.

The Innovation Fund is meant to allow institutions to strengthen their infrastructure in all areas of research. Innovative research may require multi-disciplinary approaches and contributions from individuals from a variety of institutions or sectors.

UW's new award from the Innovation Fund was given to Siva Sivoththaman, electrical and computer engineering, as lead investigator, Centre for Advanced Photovoltaic Devices and Systems. Project involves many collaborators at UW and elsewhere. Funding is a total of $4,454,957.

The centre will provide a comprehensive infrastructure facility for developing affordable technologies for photovoltaic energy in Canada. PV systems use semiconductor materials that convert sunlight directly to electricity.

The multidisciplinary work seeks to develop photovoltaic technologies that are affordable in order to offer a cost-competitive alternative to environmentally hazardous, fossil-fuel based technologies. "Being an environment-friendly technology alone cannot warrant photovoltaics being accepted as a viable alternative to conventional energy sources," Sivoththaman says. "Therefore, bringing down the cost of photovoltaics is of paramount importance."

Project collaborators include John Hamel, Raafat Mansour, Arokia Nathan, Andrei Sazonov and Dennis Striakhilev, electrical and computer engineering; Michael Collins, Roydon Fraser, Steve Lambert and John Wright, mechanical engineering; Pu Chen, chemical engineering; and Tong Leung, chemistry and physics; as well as people at Toronto, McMaster, York, Saskatchewan, Concordia, Western, and Simon Fraser, and in government and industry.

Two grants announced this week are from CFI's New Opportunities Fund, which provides infrastructure for newly recruited faculty members so they can undertake research. The fund also enables institutions to recruit new faculty members in the areas of research identified as priorities in their strategic research plans. The two awards to UW:

Student referendum on membership in the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations -- online polls open through 8 p.m. tomorrow night; campus polling stations 9:00 to 4:00 today and tomorrow. (Polling times were garbled in yesterday's Daily Bulletin.)

Web developers presentation on LAMP (Linux, Apache, mySQL, PHP), 10:30 a.m. (note time change), Davis Centre room 1304.

Sandford Fleming Foundation debates wind up, 11:30 to 1:00, Engineering II room 3324.

'Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities', lunch-and-learn session, office for persons with disabilities, 12 noon, Needles Hall room 1132.

Conflict management for instructors, workshop sponsored by teaching resource office, 12 noon (repeated March 16, noon), preregister ext. 3132.

Ovarian Cancer presentation sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Classical concert, Veronika Cherniak (violin) and Elena Klyucharova (piano), 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel, free.

Career workshop, "Selling Your Skills", 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Poet Karen Solie reads from her work, 4 p.m., St. Jerome's University room 2009.

'Eye Care 101', Tammy Lebreche, school of optometry, 7 p.m. at Kitchener Public Library.

T-shirt Graffiti party, Bombshelter pub tonight.

Philosophy Graduate Student Association conference, Thursday and Friday, details online.

Electrical and computer engineering brown-bag seminar series (aimed at non-specialists) begins: Raafat Mansour, "Radio-Frequency Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems", Thursday 12:00, CEIT room 3142.

Adobe Creative Suite information session, sponsored by Campus TechShop, Thursday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

HIV and AIDS seminar, "Students Hand-in-Hand", sponsored by WPIRG, Saturday 10:00 to 6:00, Arts Lecture Hall, details online.

Rob Hill, physics, "Ultra-High B/T Facility for Research into Electronic Properties of Novel Materials", $100,000. "The award will enable the purchase of a cryomagnetic system for research to be conducted simultaneously at ultra-low temperatures and in high magnetic fields," Hill says. "The cryomagnetic system will be used to study exotic materials whose properties are dominated by the collective quantum behaviour of their electrons. The goal of the research is to provide new insights into this fundamental area of physics, which is driven, in part, by a recent explosion of activity in materials science."

Andy Houston, drama and speech communication, "The Sensorium Suite: Mapping Sites of Controversy with Multi-Media", $98,415. "The funding will support an infrastructure designed to help theatre practitioners and researchers explore the complex interface between live and digital environments, providing a state-of-the-art, mobile, acoustic sensorium suite with all the equipment required to collect, analyse, store and design data," Houston says. The infrastructure creates a fully equipped multi-modal research facility to combine audio sensorium equipment with videoconferencing technology, easing the study of digital interactivity in theatre and performance. The infrastructure will complete the comprehensive media range of the Canadian Centre for Arts and Technology facility.

Finally, as part of a Canada Research Chair nomination, universities, together with their affiliated research institutes and hospitals, have the opportunity to request a Canada Research Chair Infrastructure Award. The one Canada Research Chair Infrastructure Award to UW this time round was given to Achim Kempf, applied mathematics, "Physics of Information Lab." Funding; $34,720.

The award will build an advanced lab for the study of the physics of information. The lab will contain workspace for a number of students and postdoctoral researchers, as well as facilities for remote collaboration with researchers worldwide.

Rock concert supports magazine

Canada's foremost environmental magazine, the UW-published Alternatives Journal, is holding a benefit concert tonight.

Alternatives has gathered three up-and-coming local bands to help spread the word about its unique brand of thought-provoking independent journalism. The concert will be hosted by Waterloo's newest coolest music venue, the Starlight, 47-A King Street. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Masters and Moderns, one of K-W's hottest new indie bands, will kick off the evening with their mesmerizing and attention-grabbing brand of rock. Next up will be K-W reggae veterans the Jolly Llamas, whose catchy ska beats and politically conscious lyrics are sure to get people moving. Irresistibly wacky The Ludes will round off the night with their hilarious theatrics. Originally hailing from Elmira, The Ludes are long overdue to bring their grandiose pop hooks, tantric guitar playing and ferocious beat back to Waterloo.

Tickets for "Alternatives Rocks!" are $15 in advance (call Alternatives at 888-4442) or $20 at the door.

"Alternatives Rocks!" is the latest in a recent grass roots effort to rally behind the national environmental magazine and registered charity. The Alternatives office is an active training ground for students from UW, Wilfrid Laurier University and high school co-op students. Professors and teachers locally and across the country use the magazine to enhance their curricula. Alternatives is active in the K-W region, with ties to local organizations including the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Residential Energy Efficiency Project, the Working Centre, Region of Waterloo Health and Water Services, Project Ploughshares and more.

Alternatives Journal started at Trent University in Peterborough in 1971, and since 1985 has been housed at the faculty of environmental studies at UW. Offering concrete alternatives to a wide range of environmental concerns -- Canadian and international -- the magazine is filled with well-researched feature articles, environmental reports, opinion, news briefs, current book reviews and humour. Citizens, practitioners, students, activists academics, teachers, politicians, and media professionals alike rely on Alternatives Journal for their work, studies and interest.

For Alternatives, the road to sustainability is paved with subscriptions. Proceeds from "Alternatives Rocks!" will be devoted to doubling the magazine's subscriber base.


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