[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

  • CPH reopening after lab fire
  • Profs' plans for their sabbaticals
  • Remembering, and looking ahead
Chris Redmond

Origins of International Women's Day

[Equipment behind wire mesh]

A portion of the high voltage lab as pictured on the researchers' web site. According to this morning's Record, E&CE professor Sesha Jayaram says equipment destroyed in yesterday's fire cost "several million dollars".

CPH reopening after lab fire

It's partway back to normal in most of Carl Pollock Hall, as cleanup continues after a fire early Monday morning that pretty much destroyed the high-voltage lab in the electrical and computer engineering department.

The fire marshal's office has brought in an expert to look at the technical equipment where the fire is presumed to have started. It broke out about 4 a.m. yesterday, and damage was largely confined to the lab, a two-storey area in the main section of CPH. About 25 faculty members, graduate students and postdocs work in the high-voltage lab on studies of power transmission and insulation.

"There's no structural damage," Tom Galloway of the plant operations department said yesterday afternoon, but added that there's odour and some smoke damage all through CPH, which includes the multimedia lab, other labs and classrooms, faculty offices, the Engineering Society's Orifice and coffee-and-doughnut shop, and the dean of engineering complex. Computing services based in CPH, including the engineering network and the popular 'mywaterloo' mail service, were not affected.

A company specializing in fire cleanup was at the site by midday yesterday, Galloway said, pumping out smoky air and getting ready for extensive work -- everything from washing walls to checking inside computers for soot. "Fortunately there's not a heavy layer of residue throughout the building," he said, but he expects it to take "a number of days" for cleanup to be complete and the odour to be gone.

Insurance adjusters were also at the site yesterday, said Galloway, whose week had started with a phone call from UW police at 4:30 Monday morning.

Yesterday 21 classes were scheduled to meet in CPH, and new locations were found for at least 13 of them, said assistant registrar Charlene Schumm. She said she was booking rooms for today as well, on the assumption that CPH wouldn't be usable just yet.

However, most parts of the building are expected to be open. Sue Gooding of the dean of engineering office said top priority was given to cleaning up classrooms "where teaching relies on the equipment there and cannot be facilitated anywhere else on campus".

She predicted that cleanup will continue all week, and warned that a few "areas of high risk" will take longer before they're both clean and safe. Staff based in CPH -- which would include those in the management sciences department and engineering computing -- have been told they can come back to work today. They're being advised to wear "casual" clothes, since the place will be dirty, and not to lean against walls until everything has been washed.

[Skier in a white swirl]

Notice what it says on the jacket! The retail services department is running a contest -- deadline, this Friday -- for photos showing people in "UW Wear". This shot by systems design engineering student Geoff Rawle, showing classmate Kyle Renwick at Whistler, British Columbia, was one of the early entries.

Profs' plans for their sabbaticals

Here's another list of how some UW faculty members are planning to spend their sabbatical leaves. All these sabbaticals began January 1, 2005.

Geoff McBoyle, geography professor and former dean of environmental studies, has an 18-month sabbatical to "focus on an analysis of the economic and social benefits from selected tourism events and visitor centres in small communities in Scotland as possible models for peripheral areas in other countries. During the leave I will be a visiting Professor at the Scottish Centre of Tourism and Business School at The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland."

Kathleen Blom of psychology is on a six-month sabbatical, "the beginning of the second year of my Directorship of the SSHRC-CURA award "Research Works! for child literacy". I will work with my partners in the Nova Scotia Family Literacy Program to produce a Systematic Review of existing research reports related to newborn reading interventions, and a Program Catalogue describing all national and international Newborn Book Gift programs. I will assist in analysing data the Nova Scotia Family Literacy Program is currently collecting, and use this work to help revise data collection procedures for the coming year across all Nova Scotia maternity settings."

  • Drinking water advisory in Stratford
  • 'Coop Rankings' web site has been getting publicity
  • 'Midterms and term papers' advice from UW library
  • Recycled chemicals available from UW environmental facility
  • UW grad launches eBay niche business
  • PeopleSoft settles lawsuit from Cleveland university
  • Alberta throne speech emphasizes education
  • Weblog about OneNote by a UW graduate
  • 'National forum on town and gown issues' in June
  • Saskatchewan campus excels in 'collegiate Gothic'
  • Universities expected to benefit from General Motors investment
  • Federal budget 'good news for the arts'
  • 'Universities face questions on cutting mandatory retirement'
  • Paul Calamai of systems design engineering also has a six-month leave: "Research will introduce formal spatial optimization principles to the bioenergy network design program, using both techno-economic design principles and landscape ecology metrics. The bioenergy network design problem will be cast as a location-allocation problem and a new metaheuristic will be developed to address the complex nature of this problem. I will also continue to work closely with my two PhD and my two MASc graduate students."

    Eric Jervis of chemical engineering has a twelve-month sabbatical leave: "There are three main goals: to complete reconstruction of a multiphoton microscope in my laboratory; visit the laboratories of several key collaborators across Canada to learn new skills to support my research; and write a comprehensive review article outlining the application of lineage analysis in cell culture bioreactor engineering."

    William H. Cunningham of combinatorics and optimization has a six-month sabbatical: "I will continue my research on exact and approximate approaches to combinatorial optimization problems. Most of the leave will be spent in Waterloo."

    Liping Fu of civil engineering is on leave for six months: "I will use my sabbatical to strengthen professional relationships with some of the leading research institutes around the world, establish formal collaboration links with some of the premier universities in China, and to seek business opportunities to commercialize some of the innovative technologies and ideas developed by my research team."

    Murray McArthur of the English department also has a six-month sabbatical: "I will begin The Making of 'The Waste Land', a book length study that will complement my recently completed T. S. Eliot and the Making of 'Prufrock and Other Observations', currently being reviewed for publication."

    Sandford Fleming Foundation Debates in the faculty of engineering continue today and Wednesday, 11:30, Engineering II room 3324.

    Senate undergraduate council 12 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

    Yoga for International Women's Week, 2:00, Student Life Centre multi-purpose room.

    Microsoft seminar: Gordon Mangione, Microsoft USA, "Building Trust in Computing", 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

    Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

    Calgary alumni event: pub night at the Bow River Barley Mill, 5:30.

    International Women's Week concert from 6 p.m., Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre.

    Society of International Students Brick Brewery tour tonight, details online.

    Beach party tonight, Federation Hall, "best beachwear" and "best tan lines" prizes, $2 at the door.

    'Documenting Your Teaching for Tenure and Promotion' workshop for untenured faculty, Wednesday 11:45, Math and Computer room 5158, registration online.

    Noon hour concert: Rebecca Campbell and Carol Ann Weaver with Mason Marchildon, turntables, "New Songs & Soundscapes in the Land", Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel, free.

    Health informatics seminar: Pascal Poupart, computer science, "An Automated System to Assist Elderly Persons with Memory Deficiency", Wednesday 3:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

    Computer-Human Interaction seminar: Larry Smith, economics, "The Power of a Multi-Disciplinary Approach", Wednesday 4:30, Coutts Hall room 101.

    Vancouver alumni pub night at the Steamworks Brewing Company, Wednesday from 8 p.m.

    'Defining Your Financial Future' workshop sponsored by staff training and development, all day Thursday, register with Carolyn Vincent, human resources.

    Health informatics and bioengineering career day Thursday 4:30 to 7:30, Davis Centre lounge.

    Maclean's magazine universities editor Ann Dowsett Johnston speaks Thursday 7 p.m., Coutts Hall room 101, free to students.

    Campus Day open house for high schoolers and parents, Tuesday, March 15, details online.

    Remembering, and looking ahead

    [Almond] Jane Almond (right), a graduate student in the department of biology, died February 15 at the end of a second struggle with breast cancer. She was 45. Supervised by professors Bob Hecky and Bill Taylor, she was doing a PhD on land use, water quality and human health in the small lakes surrounding Lake Victoria in Uganda. "She is remembered," the family's obituary notice says, "for her love of nature, her creativity, her compassion and her contagious free spirit." She is survived by her parents, Bill and Mabel Almond, as well as many other family members. Memorial donations can be made to the Hopespring Cancer Centre.

    Yesterday's Daily Bulletin included an item about research into the history and origins of technology transfer at UW, much of which is credited to computing pioneer J. Wesley Graham. The article mentioned some of the key spinoff companies: Watcom, Waterloo Maple, Open Text. I quickly received a note from a reader: "Graham didn't have anything to do with Maple and Open Text." That's strictly true, although I suspect the original article was citing them as examples of a culture that he helped to develop, rather than as companies in which he was involved directly, as he was with Watcom, now a division of Sybase Inc.

    Coming tomorrow in the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology is a special event on "ePortfolios: How They Are Working in Accounting and Financial Management". Peter Goldsworthy of LT3 says Grant Russell of the AFM program (in UW's school of accountancy) and Tracy Penny Light of LT3 will discuss the role of ePortfolios in large accounting classes: "Students in AFM are highly motivated and focused individuals who quickly determine what performance measurement criteria are. They work industriously to accomplish these through the demonstration of technical skills in exams. However, there is no effective means for either students or faculty to track progress of students in 'soft' skills. Electronic Portfolios allow students to demonstrate, reflect, and get feedback on a wide range of competencies from different learning contexts. This session will provide an update on the this project funded by the Learning Initiatives Fund, particularly focusing on the plans to track students' 'folio thinking' between learning contexts and how this strategic project is fostering the use of ePortfolios in other contexts." The event runs from 10 to 11 on Wednesday morning in the Flex Lab in the Dana Porter Library; registration is online.

    Then at noontime tomorrow, two people from the undergraduate recruitment and marketing office will give a talk about what have been dubbed "the Millennials" -- the generation of students now coming into UW and other universities. "We'll be covering the topics of generational theory, the seven core traits of millennials, and implications for campus life," writes Julie Kalbfleisch, who will give tomorrow's talk jointly with colleague Julie Hummel. It's sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program and starts at 12 noon in Davis Centre room 1302.


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