Friday, August 25, 2006

  • Co-op unveiled 50 years ago this week
  • UW statement on Tamil arrests
  • Beauty and the buskers, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

'Let's go to the Ex'

When and where

'German-Speaking Immigrants and Their Descendants' conference continues through Sunday, St. Paul's College, sponsored by Waterloo Centre for German Studies, details online.

Columbia Lake Village (north and south) end-of-summer barbecue 4 to 6 p.m., Community Centre. Halal food available; cotton candy machine.

Conrad Grebel University College alumni day on Pelee Island, Saturday, details online.

Warrior men's soccer alumni game Saturday 3 p.m., Columbia Field.

'Single and Sexy' preview performance Friday, September 1, 11:30 a.m., Humanities Theatre, admission free. Shows for first-year students: Tuesday, September 5, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m.; Wednesday at 9:30, 1:00, 4:00; Thursday at 10:00, 1:00, 4:00.

Seminar for graduate students who are preparing applications for postdoctoral fellowships, Thursday, September 7, 1:30, Needles Hall room 3001, organized by graduate studies office.

PhD oral defences

Optometry. Sameena Haque, “In Vivo Imaging of Corneal Conditions Using Optical Coherence Tomography.” Supervisors, L. W. Jones and T. L. Simpson. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, September 8, 1 p.m., Optometry room 347.

Electrical and computer engineering. Mahdi Farrokh Baroughi, “Low Temperature Photovoltaic Devices with Quasi-Epitaxial Silicon Thin Films on Granular Silicon Substrates.” Supervisor, S. Sivoththaman. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Friday, September 8, 1:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Chemistry. Tao Robert Wu, “Asymmetric Synthesis Using 3,3’-Disubstituted Binaphthol-modified Boronates.” Supervisor, J. M. Chong. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, September 8, 2 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Systems design engineering. Daniel C. Asmar, “Vision-Inertial SLAM Using Natural Features in Outdoor Environments.” Supervisor, J. Zelek. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Wednesday, September 13, 10 a.m., Engineering II room 1307C.

Statistics and actuarial science. Giuseppe DiCesare, “Imputation, Estimation and Missing Data in Finance.” Supervisor, Don McLeish. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, September 14, 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Psychology. Baljinder Sahdra, “Social Identity and Memories of Injustices Involving Ingroup: What Do We Remember and Why?” Supervisor, Michael Ross. On display in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Monday, September 18, 10 a.m., Psychology room 3026.

Co-op unveiled 50 years ago this week

It was fifty years ago this week — on August 27, 1956, which was a Monday — that Kitchener-Waterloo leaders were stunned by the introduction of “the Waterloo Plan”, a proposal for a co-op program in engineering that would soon become the founding program of the University of Waterloo.

[Needles] The news came from Ira G. Needles (left), who was president of B. F. Goodrich Canada, then a major Kitchener employer, and chairman of a recently-formed board of governors for something called “Waterloo College Associate Faculties”. It was an offshoot of the long-established Lutheran institution called Waterloo College that would be the forerunner of both UW and Wilfrid Laurier University.

Needles gave his talk to the K-W Rotary Club under the title “Wanted: 150,000 Engineers and Technicians”, and began by quoting a Globe and Mail editorial that had appeared earlier that summer, warning that Canada was facing a huge shortage of “professional manpower". Said Needles: "The days of apprenticeship training are being forced to give way before the merits and advantages of our specialized programs of education. . . . Most industries are seeking more young people with college educations as a firm foundation for executive training.”

He put the demand in a context of international competition: “Russia has developed the greatest program in the world for the mass education of youth in the past decade. . . . The inventive genius and the scientific mind are intent on improving and progressing in the surge to higher standards of living. While weapons will always be made by nations, either for offense or defense, these same weapons lead to better products for domestic use, improved methods of manufacture and a richer way of life for all of us. . . . Russia actually has shown us the way, and the competition will be tough.” (Sputnik I, the first satellite, would be launched in October 1957.)

Needles was greatly influenced by Gerry Hagey, who had been one of his own staff, as manager of public relations, before leaving the business world to become president of Waterloo College. In December 1955 Hagey had called a meeting of 17 local business leaders and professional men to discuss launching what was first described as “a faculty of science”. By the time Needles made the idea public just 50 years ago, the emphasis was on engineering, and WCAF was proposing a six-year program for Grade 12 graduates that would lead either to a degree in engineering or, for those who bailed out halfway through, to a technician’s certificate (a feature that would be scrapped later as planning continued).

Still more striking: “Industry cooperates with the college in training the student, who spends one quarter of a year in college and the next quarter period of training in industry. The student continues to alternate quarterly. . . . Because the student’s period in industry is essential for graduation, and he must procure a satisfactory report from his employer, he is under constant supervision.” Needles was telling the local movers and shakers about “co-operative education”, which had been introduced at the University of Cincinnati 50 years earlier and by that time was in operation at about 35 American institutions, but which was unknown in Canada.

“A full 12-month operation of the college facilities will be one distinct advantage,” Needles pointed out. “Compensation for faculty members is readjusted in line with the longer year of instruction, and salaries for teachers, professors and lecturers will be more in line with salaries of industry. Because of the greater revenues, college staffs could be enlarged and more time could be given to teachers for individual study and research programs.”

As for students, said Needles, “The primary purpose of our institutions of higher learning has always been to produce scholars, and I hope that that will always remain the primary purpose. But we need more than the gold and silver medalists. We need the pluggers, the young people who mature later in life, the students who have determination and aggressiveness. We need to make it possible for these young people to procure a higher education.”

The first class of 74 engineering students began their work at Waterloo College Associate Faculties on July 1, 1957, which is now marked as UW’s official founding date.

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UW statement on Tamil arrests

I’ve been asked to pass along a brief statement from UW’s president, in the context of this week’s publicity about several people, including at least two with UW links, being charged with trying to smuggle armaments to Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka.

Here’s the message that the president issued yesterday to off-campus members of the board of governors and other people who needed to know what was going on:

“Just to advise that, as reported in the media, a UW graduate as well as a current UW undergraduate have been arrested. UW is cooperating with authorities, as appropriate, and will continue to actively manage this matter. As the matter is before the courts and the subject of a police investigation, UW will not be making any public comment much beyond confirmation of the undergraduate/alumnus status of the individuals.”

The message adds that Martin van Nierop, the university’s director of Communications and Public Affairs, “will act as UW's spokesman and all media are being referred to him.”

In yesterday’s Daily Bulletin I mistakenly said that Ramanan Mylvaganam, one of the men who have been arrested, had graduated from the UW computer engineering program earlier this year. In fact he’s still an undergraduate student, who just completed his 4A term. The other man with a direct UW connection, Suresh Sriskandarajah, graduated from electrical and computer engineering in June. Both have been executive members in the UW Tamil Students Association.

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Beauty and the buskers, and more

There's a beauty contest Saturday night in Toronto, and one of the contestants is doing her best to emphasize her UW connection. She is Catalina Yue, who recently graduated in political science (arts-and-business) and is working "at an international bank while managing her singing, songwriting, and acting career on the side". Says her contest biography: "Through her co-op program, Catalina has also gained a background in many different fields, having worked in many different industries including software, technology, human resources, communications, business and law. She has completed her Cisco Certification, represented her university as a delegate at the Harvard Model United Nations conference and has been an active volunteer with many organizations such as Child Find, Kids Help Phone, Heart and Stroke Foundation and Habitat for Humanity." Yue is competing to be the Toronto and Central Ontario candidate in next spring's Miss Universe Canada pageant — and word is that her fans can vote for her on the "Beauties of Canada" web site.

I remarked in yesterday's Daily Bulletin about the presence of fire-jugglers and tightrope walkers in Ron Eydt Village this week, thanks to the Waterloo Busker Carnival, observing that such a thing probably doesn't happen at other times of the year. But math student Eric Logan says I'm wrong. "This is most certainly not the only time of year that fire-jugglers appear in residence," he writes. "The UW Juggling Club does fire at least once a term, and some of our members do live in residence. So I guess you could say that fire-jugglers live in residence all year." As for tightrope walkers, he admits, "I guess that one might be correct."

The engineering faculty’s e-newsletter reports that mechanical engineering PhD candidate Amir Baserinia has been chosen one of three winners of the 2006 Graduate Scholarship of the Computational Fluid Dynamics Society of Canada. Offered for the first time this year, the award is based on academic achievement and research project excellence.

A message is at hand from Jason Dockendorff, head coach of the Warrior track and field teams: "I just wanted to let you all know that there will be a fundraiser carwash for the track and field team this Saturday (August 26) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at East Campus Hall. All proceeds from the carwash will go towards improvements in our competition schedule, equipment purchases, and training camp. So, if you are in the area and your car (or bike) is dirty, bring it on by. Your support will be greatly appreciated."

UW scientists have been quoted on energy issues a couple of times lately in the Record newspaper. Siva Sivoththaman, a professor in electrical and computer engineering, says the university's strengths in solar, wind and hydrogen energy make it a valuable partner in the quest to develop alternative technologies. He was interviewed after news about UW scientists being recruited by oil-rich Abu Dhabi to help reduce the reliance of the United Arab Emirates on oil. Meanwhile, James Sloan, director of the Waterloo Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, says coal could be as clean as any other fossil fuel in terms of air quality if the right technology is used. Sloan, a professor of chemistry and physics, told The Record that burning coal could be Ontario's best bet to meet the province's growing need for electricity.


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Yesterday's Daily Bulletin