[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Monday, September 26, 2005

  • Four graduate supervisors honoured
  • Student's death called homicide
  • Ready for the United Way campaign
  • VP joins health council, and more
Chris Redmond

One Book, One Community


The first annual Ziva Kunda Memorial Lecture will be given today in UW's department of psychology. Kunda, an active researcher in the social psychology wing of the psych department, died last year. Donations from friends and colleagues have led to plans for "an internationally recognized psychology scholar" to visit each year "and also take an opportunity to honour Ziva Kunda as a treasured colleague, friend and mentor". Speaker this year is Richard E. Nisbett of the University of Michigan, who will talk about "The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently and Why", at 4 p.m. in MacKirdy Hall of St. Paul's College.

Four graduate supervisors honoured

The first four winners of the new "Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision" have been announced by Ranjana Bird, the dean of graduate studies. An announcement explains: "The Graduate Studies Office, in collaboration with the Graduate Student Association, established this Award to recognize exemplary faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in graduate student supervision.

"Graduate student supervision requires complex interaction between the graduate students and the graduate supervisor. This Award recognizes four outstanding graduate supervisors who act as mentors, advisors, role models, humanists, and strategists to their graduate students." Here they are:

Richard Hughson, kinesiology: "Prof. Hughson is acclaimed by his colleagues and students, both former and present, for the creation of a research environment that both provides the best for, and demands the most of, the graduate students within the group. His impressive research facility attracts outstanding students from around the world, and upon graduation, disperses them just as widely.

"His ability to be 'rigorous without being intimidating' as well as his nurturing a research environment where ideas are generated and challenged in a thorough and collegial manner are particular strengths noted by the many former students who supported his nomination. His close personal contact and impression on these students is evident in the extent of their close connection to him, and their words of utmost praise and respect, even years after graduation."

Arokia Nathan, electrical and computer engineering: "Prof. Nathan's record in graduate supervision is one marked with distinction. As the supervisor of three winners of the NSERC Doctoral Prize since the award was established in 1992, he is the most successful NSERC-funded mentor in Canada. Despite the large number of students he supervises, both current and former students, applaud the time he takes with his students, directing them carefully in their scholarly pursuits and ensuring their research is the best it can be. His emphasis on teamwork, and his diligence in sending his students to present their own work at important international conferences stand out in the minds of his students as key elements of his exemplary supervisory style.

"Every student, whether former or current, who supported his nomination was particularly struck by his deep concern for every aspect of their welfare."

Frank Tompa, computer science: "No one has supervised more graduate students in Computer Science than Prof. Tompa, a feat in itself when you consider the size of the School. However, to have received letters of support from most of those students is a clear indication of the very positive and personal impact he had on each one of his students. All of his students made note of his care and diligence in helping each of them select a research topic, and of the importance he placed on their selection rather than his.

"His former students have been highly successful, and each one of them emulate Prof. Tompa's mentoring style with their own research group."

Mark Zanna, psychology: "One of Prof. Zanna's nomination letters noted that he 'is a distinguished scholar . . . the quality of his scholarship is perhaps nowhere more evident than in his outstanding supervision of graduate students.' The committee concurred, except for the presence of 'perhaps' in the quote.

"As a supervisor to 28 PhD students, 26 of whom hold academic appointments, as the editor of The Compleat Academic, a professional guide to graduate students and young faculty in launching their careers, and as the only Canadian to be recognized as an outstanding mentor to graduate students with the American Psychological Association's Raymond D. Fowler Award, he has established a very high standard in graduate supervision."

Recipients will be honoured with $1,000 and a plaque, to be presented at a reception on October 18 at the University Club.

Student's death called homicide

First-year arts student Chandrasegar Nagulasigamany, 21, was killed early Friday morning in what Waterloo Regional Police say was a double homicide on a Waterloo street.

Also killed was his brother, Soumiyan Nagulasigamany, 19, a student at Centennial College in Scarborough. A third man was injured.

Police initially described what happened as a hit-and-run accident, but said yesterday that they are now treating it as homicide. Said the police announcement: "At around 1:15 a.m. an altercation took place on Dearborn Place in the City of Waterloo. Investigators believe that two groups of individuals met in the area after a dispute at a local nearby nightclub, the Revolution. The altercation led to three people being struck by a vehicle.

"Soumiyan and Chandrasegar Nagulasigamany were critically injured, and later pronounced dead at Grand River Hospital. A third male was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released. Investigators are appealing to the public, area car dealers, rental outlets and body shops for their assistance in locating the vehicle involved in this incident. Police believe the vehicle is similar to a GMC, Tahoe, Yukon or Suburban type, and may have a broken window on the passenger side and other damage.

"Police believe that several individuals involved are from the Greater Toronto area and members of the Investigative Team are seeking the public's assistance from the communities of Waterloo and Toronto for any information that may assist them with this ongoing investigation."

Chandru Nagulasigamany was initially in UW's science faculty, but transferred to arts this year. He had been on the executive of UW's Tamil Students Association and was active in fund-raising for relief after last winter's tsunami.

Ready for the United Way campaign

Staff and faculty United Way volunteers from across campus will get together Wednesday in the Davis Centre for the kick-off of the 2005 UW United Way Campaign.

As usual, the annual campaign will span the month of October and is run by volunteers in support of the K-W and Area United Way. The co-chairs of this year's on-campus campaign (Pat Cunningham of the dean of mathematics office and Winston Cherry of statistics and actuarial science) say the goal of $165,000 in contributions is "ambitious" but are confident that it will be met. a

Wednesday's kick-off for volunteers will begin at 10:30 with a one-hour social and training event in the ICR lounge. "This will give volunteers a chance to meet each other and learn details regarding this year's campaign and the United Way agencies that benefit," writes Jonah Levine of the on-campus United Way office.

Then at 11:45 a.m., he writes, "the entire University community is invited to cheer on UW president David Johnston and WLU president Robert Rosehart as they face each other in a mini-putt challenge. The golf course will be set up in DC's Great Hall using existing stools and benches as obstacles."Levine says it will prove to be "a fun and challenging course". As well, United Way agencies will be on hand to explain how important United Way support is to their programs in the community.

He goes on: "This mini-putt contest will set in motion a semester of philanthropic competition, as Laurier's United Way campaign begins later on October 27. The challenge has been issued to see which school can increase its number of donors over 2005. Regardless of who wins the competition, though, the real winners will be the people in the K-W community who need the services that the United Way funds."

Publicity material and pledge forms will reach all staff and faculty members through their departmental representatives over the next few days. Levine can be reached in the United Way office at ext. 3840.

VP joins health council, and more

"Weather permitting," some work will begin today on the Doug Wright Engineering building. My betting would be no, as the rain was coming down pretty hard last time I looked outside. Anyway, the three-week job is about to begin, involving repairs to exterior walls and windows of DWE, in the area facing the parking lot and South Campus Hall. The plant operations department warns of "some noise" and suggests that "Workers will be at the windows. If privacy is a concern, please use window coverings." It'd be a good way not to have to see the rain, too.

Anthropology professor Anne Zeller speaks on "Humans and Neanderthals" in connection with Robert J. Sawyer's Hominids, 12 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

Career workshop: "Introduction to Career Services Online Modules" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, details online.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council representatives talk about graduate scholarship opportunities, Tuesday 9:30 to noon, Needles Hall room 3001.

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System training and safety orientation for new employees and others, Tuesday 9:30 or Thursday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1304, information ext. 5613.

Architecture exhibition tour of "Now and Then: The Phillip Street Generation", Architecture building, Tuesday 7 p.m.

Teaching workshop: "Polishing Your Presentation Skills", chiefly for graduate students, Tuesday 12 noon, details online.

One Waterloo diversity campaign events: Tuesday, K'naan 1:00, Jully Black 10:30 p.m., Bedouin Soundclash 11:30, Student Life Centre, free. Thursday, guest lecturer K-OS (spoken word/questions and answers), 8 to 9:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Friday, comedian Shaun Majumder, 9 p.m., Humanities. Tickets for both Humanities events: $12 for UW people and $15 for guests, Humanities box office or Federation of Students office.

University-College Career Fair Wednesday 10:00 to 3:30, RIM Park, Waterloo, buses from campus, information online.

Employee safety orientation sessions Wednesday 10 a.m. or October 4, also 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

St. Jerome's reading series begins with poet Erin Noteboom, Wednesday 2:30, St. Jerome's room 2011.

Smarter Health Seminar: Sarah Kramer, Cancer Care Ontario, "Standing on a Burning Platform: Implementing a Province-wide Wait-time Information System," Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

UW Retirees Association annual wine and cheese party, Wednesday 3 to 5 p.m., University Club.

Pat Aplevich, French studies, retirement reception Wednesday 3:30 to 5:30, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, cash bar.

Engineers Without Borders fund-raising gala Wednesday from 6 p.m., South Campus Hall.

Environmental Studies Lecture: Trudi Bunting, department of geography, "Learning from the Local: Dispersion, Size and New Urban Forms in Waterloo Region and Beyond," Thursday 7:30, Theatre of the Arts.

Alumni event in Toronto: Systems design engineering graduate Tom Chau speaks about his work on assistive devices for children with disabilities, Saturday 1 to 3 p.m., Ontario Science Centre. Children's activities available; details online.

12th Downey Tennisfest Sunday, October 2, faculty and staff invited, last-minute information ext. 4074.

The provincial government has announced the membership for the new Ontario Health Quality Council, which will "monitor the health care system and report to the public on how well it is performing". Says health minister George Smitherman: "Through the council, Ontarians will be engaged in the health care discussion, and be able to hold our government accountable for the progress [Talbot-Allan] we're making in health care." Among the 11 council members is Laura Talbot-Allan (right), UW's vice-president (external relations). A former banking executive and federal assistant deputy minister, and VP at Waterloo for the past four years, Talbot-Allan brings to the council both experience in public accountability (something that universities, too, have been under pressure to demonstrate) and knowledge of UW's growing involvement in health research and education.

Marianne Miller, UW's ombudsperson for the past twelve years, is leaving to pursue a teaching career, says associate provost Catharine Scott. "Sorry to see her go -- she was excellent at her job and helped students as well as staff and faculty resolve academic, landlord-tenant, and a variety of other problems. The job was advertised this week and Marianne will come back to help the new person learn the ropes. In the meantime, there is information on her door about where advice and assistance can be found, particularly with landlord-tenant issues." Many other student problems, Scott said, can be handled by the Conflict Management and Human Rights Office. "Staff and faculty are encouraged to seek help within their normal problem solving processes."

Voting starts this morning as staff members elect one of their two representatives on the UW board of governors. Unionized staff have been sent paper ballots, but non-union staff can vote online any time between now and the close of voting on Friday, October 7. Nine candidates are contesting the position.

At last week's meeting of the UW senate, university president David Johnston gave what he calls his "environmental scan", a monthly report on what's happening in national and provincial, mostly government, circles that could affect the university. This time, for instance, he talked about the prospects of a November federal-provincial conference on education (probably not), a late-winter federal election, and plans for the Ontario government to name a deputy minister for research and innovation. Johnston also told the senate that as the result of new regulations, the people at UW who may find themselves trying to influence federal policy and action in one way or another have been required to register as "lobbyists". In fact, the president said, "there are 21 people, including myself," who now have that status.

The graduate recruitment season in Ontario begins today, writes Tracey Cote, who is marketing and recruitment manager in UW's graduate studies office. "I will be representing UW at the Graduate School Fair at the University of Ottawa. My full schedule is on the Graduate Studies website. I will be promoting UW's graduate programs to undergraduate students at these universities, and promoting the President's Graduate Scholarship, an incentive award for holders of OGS, SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR."

The third annual Waterloo Information Technology and Information Systems conference, or WatITis, will be held on Tuesday, December 6. . . . A number of writing skills workshops offered by the counselling services department will be run over the next few weeks, starting with "Level One Grammar and Style" this Friday. . . . Again this term the UW staff association will offer a $500 undergraduate award and another at the graduate level for students who are dependents of association members. . . .


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