[University of Waterloo]


Past days


About the DB

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

  • Renovated residence courts open
  • 'Access to knowledge that matters'
  • Former prof mourned, and other notes
Chris Redmond

The birthday of Krishna

[Axonometric view from above]

How it's looking: Construction of the new Academic Centre is under way at Renison College. This stylized view makes the building look taller than it'll be in reality, but does show how it links the existing wings of Renison to form an enclosed quadrangle and provide a new main entrance to the college, facing the road that leads down from Westmount Road. The left (east) portion of the new building is Renison's library, and at right is the multimedia lab. Progress on the project can be seen -- with updates every 15 seconds -- through a webcam housed in the nearby Founders Building.

Renovated residence courts open

The last stage of renovations is finishing at UW Place, the residence complex on University Avenue that used to be the "Married Student Apartments", and students will move in next week.

The new space is in Waterloo Court and Woolwich Court, two of the four low-rise buildings that cluster around the two UW Place towers. Renovations that have kept Waterloo and Woolwich out of use for the past eight months are "on schedule", says Gail Clarke, director of housing and residences administration. Since the late 1990s, work has been under way in stages to convert the forty-year-old apartments of UW Place to single rooms grouped in "suites", and finally it's all done.

With 1,700 students living in UW Place, "it's our largest residence now," Clarke said. Village I, the biggest UW residence since it opened in 1965, has 1,400 beds.

She said while most of the UW-operated residences are filled with first-year students -- Village I, Ron Eydt and Mackenzie King Villages, even the Columbia Lake South townhouse complex -- UW Place will have about 1,100 upper-year students this year as well as 600 in first year. Wilmot will house 256 of the first-year students, and Waterloo gets 235 of those in the upper-year ranks.

From north to south, the university residences "are right full," says Clarke, "and we're very excited about that." Why no vacancies on campus, when "For Rent" signs are scattered on privately-owned housing the length and breadth of the city? "We're the best landlord!" Clarke laughs.

In the renovated UW Place, Clarke is particularly proud of four lounges in Waterloo and Woolwich, each with a "theme" -- Lava, Laser, the Mad Hatter, and (with the elaborate woodwork getting its final touches now) The Master's Club.

There is some lounge space in the other two courts (Wilmot and Wellesley) and the two high-rises (Beck and Eby Halls), but Clarke makes it clear that the new ones are in a league of their own. All were designed by the architectural and engineering firm of Totten Sims Hubicki, which managed the renovation project.

Still needed at UW Place, she concedes, is someplace to eat -- the suites have kitchenettes, but not every student wants to cook all the time. "What we're dreaming of," she said, "is some community space, which would include a cafeteria of some description."

'Access to knowledge that matters' -- based on a UW news release

"It's not enough to just tell decision-makers about research," says UW psychology professor Kathleen Bloom. "You have to show that the way you disseminated research findings really makes a difference."

Enter the Canadian Centre for Knowledge Mobilisation, a network of "researchers, practitioners, policy analysts, library and information scientists, students, and writers working and learning together to bring research knowledge to decision makers". "We work together to bring the right information to the right people in the right format at the right time, so as to improve decision-making," says Bloom.

CCKM boasts that it "translates research reports into plain language", "relates research to its relevant social and political contexts", and "provides tools to make research easier to understand and use", in the fields of health, social science, education and the humanities. In this fast-paced Information Age, having "just the facts" isn't good enough. It is "access to knowledge that matters," says CCKM on its web site.

To show how the process works and to argue for "evidence-based" knowledge mobilisation, Bloom and UW student Julie Hachey have created a "News and Commentary" section on the site. The first item to appear there calls for the creation of a "National Network of Health Libraries" and gives an example of the kind of information that could be useful across the country: a British study of how to reduce unnecessary X-rays.

In what they're dubbing "the power of the Post-It note," researchers attached brief guidelines about appropriate referrals for radiographs on reports that radiologists sent back to physicians. But the researchers didn't only tell referring doctors when best to order X-rays, they measured the impact of the "educational reminder" messages, and how much the rate of referrals went down.

Their conclusion: an educational reminder of that kind was capable of reducing unnecessary referrals by 20 per cent, with no loss in quality of practitioner decision-making. The researchers proposed that this straightforward solution could easily be applied in other services and settings to reduce growing health-care demands and costs.

"These researchers not only demonstrated an easy way to bring information to practitioners, they demonstrated how we in knowledge mobilisation can measure our efforts," says Bloom. "They gave us a model for accountability in knowledge mobilisation, and a standard to which we can aspire. CCKM hopes that this study will serve as a catalyst for learning many ways of achieving accountability in knowledge mobilisation."

She says her network "welcomes challenging issues from many domains of research, policy and practice. These challenges help us invent new ways of organizing information so that it is easier to access, understand and evaluate."

Former prof mourned, and other notes

A former UW faculty member, who moved to the University of Toronto three years ago, died suddenly on August 23. James R. (Jim) Lepock was 56. He served as a professor of physics at Waterloo from 1977 to 2002, and was chair of the physics department for a time, then went to U of T as chair of the department of medical biophysics. "We will miss him greatly," says a tribute from U of T colleagues. The funeral service will be held Wednesday at 10:30 at St. Anselm Church on MacNaughton Road in Toronto.

[Bourque] The men's hockey Warriors have their new coach. He's Brian Bourque (right), taking over from Karl Taylor, who left the team on short notice for a job in professional hockey. Bourque, a local teacher, has been an assistant coach for the Warriors for the past two years, responsible for defence, video analysis and game breakdown, game strategies, practice implementation, recruiting, and alumni development. Previously he was an assistant coach for the junior hockey squad in Newmarket, Ontario, and other teams. He has a teaching degree from Dalhousie University and a master's in kinesiology, specializing in coaching, from York. Athletics director Judy McCrae noted that although Taylor had held a full-time job in her department, Bourque will be a part-time coach. She predicted continuity with the way things have been for the Warrior team: "Brian has been very much a part of the success the past two seasons. . . . His appointment will ensure the players can expect the same approaches and learning environment."

In the latest issue of its alumni newsletter, Conrad Grebel University College announces this year's winner of its Distinguished Alumni Service Award. It's Tim Wiebe, who did a master's degree in theology at Grebel in 1990. He's a high school teacher -- currently at Kitchener's Rockway Mennonite Collegiate -- but there's more, a citation explains: "After returning from a trip to Russia with the MCI Faith and Life Male Chorus, Wiebe captivated audiences with powerful images and stories of the trip that tied spiritual ideas to everyday events. Wiebe was soon asked to write a radio spot, later entitled Timsights, that first aired on October 8, 1993 in Southern Manitoba. 2,800 Timsights have aired since '93, leading Wiebe to publish his first book, called The Timsights Treasury: 365 Devotionals and Delights. The book includes 365 parables and poems that follow the calendar year."

The fall program of short courses from UW's continuing education office is about to get rolling -- watch for a catalogue -- and an announcement is already out about one of them, "Writing for Public Relations and Marketing", which will run on four evenings in September. "This workshop-style course," the publicity says, "will teach you the tools and techniques used by professional business writers. Topics and applications include writing for brochures, news releases and media kits, direct mail, the Internet, print and radio advertising." The instructor is Paula Hendsbee, a graduate from UW's professional writing programs (BA and MA) who "has worked for 15 years as a professional writer and communicator".

On-campus employers are being invited by UW's career services office to get involved in a Part-time Job Fair to be held September 13. . . . Undergraduate students who took courses in the spring term may be seeing unofficial grades on Quest now, but grades become official only on September 15. . . . In exhibition action at McMaster on Sunday, both the Warrior soccer teams tied the Marauders -- the men 1-1, the women 0-0. . . .

Finally, I invite departmental administrative assistants, or others as appropriate, to take a look at the online list of University Officers and Administrators that we in Communications and Public Affairs maintain. If there are corrections and updates that should be made, please drop me a note.


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