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Monday, January 24, 2005

  • Keystone passes $4.5 million goal
  • Four exams a day, starting in spring
  • UW grad wins architecture prize
Chris Redmond

70 years of beer in cans

1,000 rooms for upper-year students

A memo from the housing and residences offices announces that upper-year undergraduate students are invited to apply for fall 2005 residence spaces in Minota Hagey Residence, UW Place and Columbia Lake Village South. "With over 1,000 spaces available, there is lots of opportunity for students to continue living in residence after first year. Students can apply on their own, or request to live with friends.

"Upper-year students who are offered a space are guaranteed a single room and can apply for either a fall 2005/winter 2006 contract or a fall 2005/spring 2006 contract -- whichever accommodates their academic terms next year (a 2-term contract is required in the fall). This is a real plus for students when compared to 12-month leases offered off campus.

"Applications are available online from January 24-31. Selection will be through a random process (not first-come, first-served). As long as students have submitted their application by 10 a.m. on January 31, they have the same chance as anyone else of getting a space."

Keystone passes $4.5 million goal

The president sent congratulations across campus on Friday, as officials announced that the Keystone Campaign has met its $4.5 million goal two and a half years early.

"This is tremendous news," wrote president David Johnston in an e-mail message sent to staff and faculty using the human resources mailing list. "I'd like to express my sincere thanks to the many donors, volunteers, and sponsors in the campus community who are responsible for this outstanding success."

The Keystone Campaign is the on-campus (faculty, staff and retirees) unit of Campaign Waterloo, which is edging close to the overall goal of raising $260 million for the university. The target date for Keystone and the overall campaign had been July 1, 1957, the university's 50th birthday. When totals were counted up on December 31, three weeks ago, gifts and pledges were already past $4.6 million.

Said Johnston: "Congratulations to you all! You should be very proud. A campus-wide celebration is being planned in the next few weeks and I hope you will come celebrate this important campus-wide achievement for the University and its deserving students."

He called Keystone "the cornerstone" of Campaign Waterloo, saying that "It sets a phenomenal example for the greater community to follow.

"Again my sincere gratitude to each of you for all you do every day for this exceptional institution."

Bonnie Oberle of the development office, whose responsibilities include Keystone, said the next step is "for volunteers and campaign staff to plan the new focus of the Keystone Campaign to 2007, when the campaign ends. Our plan is to launch the new focus at the June 9 Keystone Campaign annual event."

  • 'Feds elections loom accompanied by vague promises' (Imprint)
  • Library getting compliments on new 'information commons'
  • Rae review likely to arrive in February (Imprint)
  • McMaster buying land for a research park
  • Universities help rebuild Indonesia after tsunami
  • Students urge Ontario to invest in universities
  • WLU to create chair in pastoral counselling
  • Ottawa intervenes in RIM patent lawsuit | Speculation about possible takeover of RIM
  • 'University grads beget university students' (Globe)
  • Québec announces income-related loan repayment plan
  • More autonomy for Québec's colleges
  • New issue of The Chinese Student magazine
  • 'The Persisting Racial Gap in College Student Graduation Rates'
  • Four exams a day, starting in spring

    UW's senate gave approval last week to an overhaul of the way final exams are scheduled, starting with this year's spring term exams in August.

    There will be four exam slots each day, with each exam a maximum of 2.5 hours long, in place of the current schedule of three slots for three-hour exams. Exam times will be 9:00, 12:30, 4:00 and 7:30.

    For the first time, there will be stated rules on spacing out an individual student's exams. Senate approved a clause that says the university will "strive to schedule final exams with no student having two examinations in a row; no student writing in the last slot on one day and the first slot on the next day; and no student writing more than two examinations in one day." Where the timetable won't allow that comfort for an individual, "the University will ensure relief by making alternative scheduling arrangements for that student."

    The new timetable was worked out by the undergraduate operations committee, a subcommittee that looks at arrangements across the faculties and the registrar's office, and approved by senate after considerable debate at its January 17 meeting.

    While a number of speakers said they were glad to see some rules about spacing out a student's exams, others were less happy about the elimination of three-hour exams. "Three hours is better than two and a half hours academically," Frank Zorzitto of pure mathematics told his senate colleagues. But other speakers said a properly planned 2.5-hour exam can certainly cover a term's work, and noted that the trend is toward less emphasis on the final exam and more on other forms of evaluation anyway.

    Roydon Fraser of systems design engineering, the president of the faculty association, said there hadn't been adequate consultation about the proposed change, adding that some faculty councils hadn't seen it at all.

    Registrar Ken Lavigne said one goal of the change was to move as many exams as possible into the Physical Activities Complex, rather than in other buildings where they can be harder to proctor and where exams are happening in the midst of other daily activities.

    One issue was the spate of false fire alarms that have happened during exams, especially in the last two terms and especially in the Math and Computer building. Getting exams back in a central location, the PAC, is bound to help, he said: in the PAC things can be better supervised, and there are approved "special evacuation procedures" in case of alarms, with no disturbance to people involved in other activities.

    "Special needs accommodations will not change," Lavigne assured the senate.

    ['The Corporation' free film showing 8 p.m. Humanities Theatre]

    Computational mathematics seminar: Kartik Krishnan, McMaster University, "A Conic Interior Point Dantzig-Wolfe Decomposition Approach", 3:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

    Career workshop: "Job Search Strategies for International Students", 4;30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Midnight Sun solar race team recruitment meeting 5:30, Math and Computer room 4020.

    Café-rencontre: Gerardo Acerenza, St. Jerome's University, "Écrire la nation au Québec et en Sardaigne", mardi 14h30, Modern Languages salle 246.

    Harry Rosen, men's wear retailer, speaks on entrepreneurship and success Tuesday 4:15, Rod Coutts Hall room 302 -- pre-register by e-mail, asec_harryrosen@hotmail.com.

    Social work program information session Tuesday 5 p.m., Renison College chapel lounge.

    Toronto alumni pub night, Tuesday 7:30, Irish Embassy pub, 49 Yonge Street.

    Jewish studies lecture: Steven Katz, Boston University, "The Uniqueness of the Holocaust", Tuesday 7:30, Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University.

    Smarter Health seminar: William Hersh, Oregon Health and Science University, "Grand Challenges for Biomedical Information Retrieval", Wednesday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

    Campus Crusade for Christ presents author Ravi Zacharias, "Absolute Truth in a Relativistic Age", Wednesday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $2 (888-4908) or $4 at the door.

    Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Murray Gamble, C3 Group of Companies, "Managing Multiple Priorities and Business Units", Thursday 12 noon, Needles Hall room 1101, pre-register by Tuesday at ext. 7167.

    Christians Without Borders series at St. Jerome's University: Jim Profit, director of Ignatius Jesuit Centre, "God of the Outdoors", Friday 7:30, Siegfried Hall.

    UW grad wins architecture prize

    UW's school of architecture is taking pride this week in a major prize that will allow one of its recent graduates to spend a year researching the architecture of Spain and Egypt. Taymoore Balbaa is the first winner of the $34,000 Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners, one of two new prizes which evolved from the previous, Rome-based Prix de Rome.

    The new version of the prize, announced last week by the Canada Council, is awarded to a recent architecture graduate who demonstrates exceptional potential. The winner is given an opportunity to visit remarkable buildings across the world and intern in an architecture firm of international stature.

    Balbaa's application for the Prix de Rome was supported by UW's school, says its director, Rick Haldenby, who describes him as "the paradigm of the kind of a thoroughly humanistic architect". Haldenby said his former professors "think very highly of Balbaa, not only as a scholar or as an intellectual, but also as a human being."

    Over the next year, Balbaa will investigate the legacy of Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy, recipient of numerous international awards for his work on affordable building materials and technologies, his respect of popular building and dwelling modes, as well as his advocacy of sustainable development. He will also visit Moorish towns and buildings in Spain as well as more recent works that display a similar merging of modernism and regionalism. He will do an internship in the Spanish office of Fernando Martin Menis of AMP Arquitectos, a firm that has expanded the expressive limits of one of the world's most widely accessible and least creatively employed building materials: poured concrete.

    As Balbaa points out in his application for the prize, "these architects are both builders and artisans." He believes the internship will further his "evolution as an apprentice in the craft of building, without excluding a larger set of social/political/economic concerns."

    The prize jury noted Balbaa's commitment to architecture as both a material reality and an intensely social practice; his caring for both creative craftsmanship and for providing shelter to all. Says a news release: "As a result of the exuberance of his statement and the spirit of adventure of his proposal, jury members believed he could become a notable contributor to Canada's architecture scene. They awarded him the Prix de Rome in the hope that his exposure to the world and to the craft of architecture might help him strengthen his voice as an advocate and a creator."

    Haldenby recalled that the original Canadian Prix de Rome in 1987, which provided a residency in a studio apartment adjacent to the Waterloo Studio in Rome, was won by UW graduate John Shnier. As well, three previous Prix de Rome winners have become full-time faculty members at the school of architecture.

    "Now that the Canada Council has relaunched the grant program in a modified form, the former Prix de Rome studio apartment has now become part of the University of Waterloo Studio in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, and UW graduates are still winning," he added.

    Taymoore Balbaa received his Master of Architecture degree from UW in 2003 and won the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada's 2004 Medal for Outstanding Thesis. Since March 2004, he has been working with the Toronto firm of Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna, Blumberg Architects (KPMB) on the Manitoba Hydro new downtown office project in Winnipeg. Working with Massimiliano Fuksas Architetto in Rome in 2000-2001, Balbaa was the project architect for the Shimon Peres Peace Centre in Jaffa and has worked on notable projects in Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.


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