Wednesday, August 9, 2006

  • Purple sparkler from Manitoba finds a home
  • Ethiopian refugee arrives this month
  • Notes on an August morning
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Five-digit dialling now in place

From Bruce Uttley, IST: "The conversion to five-digit dialing on campus happened on time. The change happened shortly after 5 pm [yesterday]. Coordinating our changes with the central office and setting up SpeechAttendant to recognize the new dialing plan took a bit longer. Running tests and making changes to compensate for some things that didn't work quite right took another hour.
The renumbering of the voicemail system to five digits was complete about 10 pm but the system had been prepared to recognize both four and five digit extensions for any incoming calls, so no messages were lost in the meantime." More information here.

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Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Curriculum assistant, arts undergraduate office, USG 5

• Project leader/Application developer, health studies & gerontology – Ideas for health, USG 8

• Technician, earth sciences, USG 6

• Pension coordinator, human resources, USG 8-10

• Workshop developer and instructor, English language proficiency program, USG 7

• Undergraduate studies co-ordinator, school of accountancy, USG 5

• Payables specialist, finance, USG 5/6

• Patrol officer, police services, USG 7

When and where

Alumni Night: UW grads are invited to attend Tennis Canada’s Rogers Cup game in Toronto’s Rexall Centre, Thursday evening: details online.

Good Night and Good Luck, part of the CIGI Summer Cinema series, shows Thursday, 9 – 11 p.m., 57 Erb Street West, Waterloo. It’s outdoors: bring your own lawn chair or blanket. Free, but a food bank donation will be welcome.

'The Power of Ideas' one-day conference on accessibility, teaching technology and curriculum design, August 15, Rod Coutts Hall, details online.

Spring term exams end August 12; unofficial marks available on Quest starting August 13.

Hot water shut down in all buildings inside the ring road, as well as Village I, August 23-24 (12:01 a.m. Wednesday to 4 p.m. Thursday).


Purple sparkler from Manitoba finds a home

A half-tonne chunk of purple sparkling lepidolite mica is the latest addition to the Peter Russell Rock Garden south of the Math and Computer building.

It’s a donation from Tanco, or Tantalum Mining Corporation, from its facility at Bernic Lake, Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba, says Russell, who doesn’t let his long-retired status slow him down as volunteer curator of the rock garden and the nearby Earth Sciences Museum.

Lepidolite mica donated to Peter Russell Rock Garden

The mine is one of the largest rare element deposits in the world, he explains. Tanco mines cesium for use in biodegradable drilling fluids for offshore and sensitive area drilling, as well as tantalum and niobium for the electronics, medical and chemical processing industries. Lepidolite mica contains lithium, which is used for ceramics, glass, air conditioners and nuclear power stations. Another major use is the lithium batteries in laptop computers.

Earth sciences profs Shoufa Lin and Bob Linnen (pictured) and their graduate students are conducting research on pegmatic rocks, an unusual coarse-grained igneous rock that is known for housing spectacular crystals. They encouraged Cabot Corporation, who owns the Tanco mine, to donate a specimen to the garden.

A sidelight to the story of the purple rock’s 2,000-kilometre journey to Waterloo comes from Tom Hilliard, an earth sciences graduate now working at Tanco, who reports that “I was just walking past our warehouse yard and observed a large piece of lepidolite being strapped onto a pallet.” Curious, he asked where it was going, and learned that it was destined for his old friend, Russell.

“We could have found a bigger one,” Hilliard mused, “but then I realized that it might be too heavy for the pallet.” Pegmatites can be from a few centimeters to hundreds of metres across, said Russell, and crystals inside a pegmatite can be more than 10 metres in length.

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Ethiopian refugee arrives this month

UW will be welcoming its first refugee through the World University Service of Canada Student Refugee Program this month, says Lisa ter Woort of the co-op and career services department, who advises students on international programs and has helped WUSC get started on this campus.

She said WUSC has been helped more than 850 refugee students from all over the world to continue their education in Canada over the past 27 years. “The University of Waterloo is now joining other universities across Canada to support an individual from a refugee camp in Kenya, Malawi or Thailand. This fall UW has enrolled a student from Ethiopia, who is currently in a Kenyan refugee camp, and has been for over ten years. This student will be coming to Canada to achieve his dream of completing post-secondary education, an option not available to him in the refugee camp.”

Tariku Kebede is a WUSA student refugee from Ethiopia, seen here in a Kenyan refugee camp, front row.

The student in question is Tariku Kebede (right, highlighted in the front row of this photo taken in a refugee camp in Kenya). He will be met by WUSC organizers when he arrives at Toronto’s airport on August 30 — “waving a welcome banner,” ter Woort promises. “Tariku will stay in an arranged home stay for a few days and will become acquainted with the Ethiopian community in K-W (some 150 families strong) before moving into St. Paul's College on September 4 to begin frosh orientation.

“In the fall Tariku will be attending the Renison English Language Institute, honing his English skills while adapting to our Canadian way of life before beginning full time studies at the Faculty of Science in winter 2007.”

She said the sponsoring group “is still fundraising, having recently reached out to the Faculty of Science Foundation, Science Society, local community Rotary and Lions clubs to raise an additional $4,600 needed to meet the budget to support Tariku for the duration of the year. We would love for a second hand bicycle to be donated too!”

Says ter Woort: “The UW WUSC Local Committee has received tremendous support from various university community members including the President’s Office, the Office of the Vice President (Academic), and St. Paul’s. . . .

“While the UW WUSC Local Committee is thrilled to be supporting this one individual, the group would like to see an ongoing Student Refugee Program established on campus, so that each year a new student will come to UW and receive both financial and logistical support from the Local Committee for one year before moving towards self reliance in Canada.

“There are plans to hold a student referendum in 2007 when the UW WUSC profile on campus is greater. Following a model of several other universities like Wilfred Laurier University, the local committee will likely be asking each student to contribute $1 each time tuition is paid which will go towards the SRP program. This would allow UW to support one or two student refugees for two or three years. . . .

“The refugee students that WUSC sponsors have an opportunity to have a post secondary education, which they can’t do in the refugee camps, and domestic UW students have the opportunity to learn about international development issues first hand through these students, even if they don’t have the opportunity to leave campus.”

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Notes on an August morning

A memo from Amit Chakma, vice-president academic and provost, announces that “the Waterloo Unlimited high school enrichment program will move into the Faculty of Environmental Studies effective September 5.” FES will take over the program’s administration from the Provost’s Office immediately, and the physical move will take place next spring. Under the direction of former Systems Design Engineering chair Ed Jernigan, this “unique and highly successful trans-disciplinary enrichment program for high school students of exceptional potential ... started as a pilot project in 2004.” While Waterloo Unlimited “bridges all the faculties, departments, and University Colleges,” the move “is in keeping with the emerging integrative role” of FES, the memo says.

Also from the provost: Jake Thiessen, Hallman director of the new School of Pharmacy, is now also the director of the Health Sciences campus in downtown Kitchener. He was appointed for a four-year renewable term, effective July 1.

James Barnett, director of the MTax program and a 2006 winner of the Distinguished Teacher Award, has been appointed director of the School of Accountancy, effective August 1.

Barbara Yeaman, who retired in 2002 after nearly 30 years in the dean’s office at FES, notes: “The following is from Friday’s Bulletin: ‘The same bulletin board shows a photo from the founding celebrations of the geography department in 1962, and notes that it was held in what’s still the official name of ES I, the Isaiah Bowman Building for the Environmental Studies.’ I wasn’t there at that time but the name of the building then was the Isaiah Bowman Building for the Social Sciences. It didn’t change until at least 1973 when FES took over the whole building and the arts departments moved into Humanities.”

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