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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

  • Universities eye a Harper government
  • Grad students defend PhD theses
  • Lectures on anthropology, on Germany
Chris Redmond

The depth of January misery

[Two guys and a fist logo]

Socially responsible entrepreneurs are third-year students Ian Cole (science) and Travis Sedore (environmental studies), partners in a clothing company they've named Screenager. Sedore says students are the target market for "products that are sweatshop-free and manufactured solely of Canadian-made materials", as well as relying on environmentally friendly organic dyes. "When I asked students from a wide variety of faculties if they would be interested and support a company that sold clothing that was purely Canadian, sweatshop-free and enviro-friendly, I received some passionate, positive responses!"

Universities eye a Harper government

Universities, like the rest of the country, will be adjusting to a change in the federal government over the weeks ahead, as Paul Martin's Liberals leave office and the Conservatives' Stephen Harper becomes prime minister.

He'll lead a minority government even smaller than Martin's previous minority, meaning the Conservatives will have to round up support from opposition members on every issue that comes to a vote. The unofficial count this morning gives the Conservatives 124 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons, with the Liberals at 103, the Bloc Québécois 51, the New Democratic Party 29, and one Independent.

Liberal members Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre) were re-elected but will find themselves sitting in opposition in the new Parliament. In Cambridge, incumbent Gary Goodyear of the Conservatives was re-elected, and in Kitchener-Conestoga, Conservative Harold Albrecht narrowly defeated Liberal incumbent Lynn Myers.

Tony Maas, a graduate student in UW's planning school, finished fourth as the Green Party candidate in Kitchener Centre, pulling 5.6 per cent of the vote. Undergraduate arts student Ciprian Mihalcea came in fifth as an independent candidate in Kitchener-Waterloo.

As local results were reported on Kitchener's CKCO television, third-year political science student Shikha Sharma was among the studio guests commenting on the vote.

Two former Federation of Students leaders were defeated in their bids for office. Liam McHugh-Russell, who was a Feds vice-president two years ago, carried the NDP banner in Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding in Toronto, but lost to Liberal star Michael Ignatieff. One-time Feds president Christian Provenzano was the Liberal candidate in Sault Ste. Marie, but lost to the New Democrats.

Conservative platform on education and training

Analysis by Educational Policy Institute

Universities across Canada are keenly interested in what a Conservative minority government will mean in terms of policy and funding decisions, says Avvey Peters, UW's director of government relations, who will play a major role in building a relationship between Waterloo and Harper's new team. She notes that the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, of which UW is a member, has posted an evaluation of the Conservative positions on higher education and research on its website.

Of special interest to Waterloo will be Ottawa's position on research and innovation funding, considered a special interest of Paul Martin. During the election campaign the Liberals had promised major new grants that included earmarked money for UW's Institute for Quantum Computing and the nearby Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and presumably there will be efforts to see that those projects move ahead anyway.

Peters listed a few of the things the Conservatives indicated they would do if elected:

Grad students defend PhD theses

Here's the latest list of graduate students who have completed their doctoral theses and are approaching the final hurdle before graduation, the oral defence.

Chemical engineering. Haslenda Hashim, "An Optimal Fleet-wide CO2 Mitigation Strategy for a Network of Power Plants." Supervisors, P. L. Douglas, A. Elkamel and E. Croiset. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Friday, January 27, 9:30 a.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Computer science. Zhenmei Gu, "Adaptive Information Extraction from Online Documents." Supervisors, N. Cercone and F. J. Burkowski. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, January 30, 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 2306C.

Electrical and computer engineering. Sanjiv Sambandan, "High Performance a-Si:H AMOLED Display with Fuzzy Pixel Calibration." Supervisor, A. Nathan. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Wednesday, February 8, 4 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Electrical and computer engineering. Czang-Ho Lee, "Nanocrystalline Silicon Thin-Film Transistors." Supervisors, A. Nathan and A. Sazonov. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Thursday, February 9, 2:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Chemical engineering. Jessada Jitjareonchai, "Implementation of Markov Chain Monte Carlo Techniques in Parameter Estimation for Engineering Models." Supervisors, T. Duever and P. Reilly. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Monday, February 13, 1:30 p.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Electrical and computer engineering. Howard (Hao) Li, "A Framework for Coordinated Control of Multi-Agent Systems." Supervisors, F. Karray and O. Basir. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Monday, February 13, 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Chemistry. Gabriel N. Njikang, "Interfacial Properties of Amphiphilic Dendritic Polymers." Supervisor, M. Gauthier. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Wednesday, February 15, 1:30 p.m., Biology I room 266.

Electrical and computer engineering. Mohammad Hadi Baligh, "Analysis of the Asymptotic Performance of Turbo Codes." Supervisor, A. Khandani. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Monday, February 13, 10:30 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

Staff safety training: WHMIS training with safety orientation, Tuesday 10 a.m. or Thursday 2 p.m.; general safety orientation, Tuesday 2 p.m. or Thursday 10 a.m.; all sessions in Davis Centre room 1304. Information ext. 5613.

Volunteer fair 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre. Students can speak with agencies that work with children, seniors, people with health issues, arts programs and others.

Engineering exchange program information sessions: General overview, Tuesday 11:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 309; Pacific rim and Mexico, Tuesday 4 p.m., RCH room 302; Europe and the Netherlands, Wednesday 4 p.m., RCH 302; United Kingdom, Thursday 4 p.m., RCH 302.

Career workshops: "Career Decision Making" 2:30, "Are You Thinking About an International Experience?" 4:30, both in Tatham Centre room 1208, information online.

UW Recreation Committee "A to Z Dining" outing to Oscar's Family Restaurant, 5:30, more information online.

Chilled water shut off in Needles Hall, Modern Languages, Dana Porter Library, Environmental Studies I and II, Wednesday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Waterloo-Germany exchange program information session Wednesday 11:00, Modern Languages room 245, details online.

Free noon concert: Classical Trio (clarinet, cello, piano), Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Smarter Health seminar: Ian McKillop, chair in Health Information Systems, "Drowning in Data: What's a Healthcare Provider to Do?" Wednesday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Poet George Elliott Clarke reads from his work, Wednesday 4 p.m., St. Jerome's University room 2009.

M. I. Elmasry, electrical and computer engineering, retirement reception Friday 3 to 5 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301, information lgreen@ecemail.

Lectures on anthropology, on Germany

A leading scholar on the controversial practice of female circumcision will speak tonight as UW's Public Anthropology Lecture Series continues. Miroslava Prazak, a cultural anthropologist from Bennington College in Vermont, will present a public lecture titled "Making the Cut: A Kenyan Community Confronts the Tradition of Female Circumcision."

The talk starts at 7:00 in Arts Lecture Hall room 113. A reception will follow. It's the first of two public lectures this year sponsored by the anthropology department, under the general title of "Public Anthropology: The Intersection of Health, Culture and Society".

Organizers say that human health is one of the most important public policy issues facing Canadians and is connected to all other human endeavours. The series is supported by Learning Initiative Funds from the office of the associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation).

In her lecture, based on ethnographic fieldwork, Prazak will discuss the controversial and changing practice of female circumcision in Kuria society in Kenya. Female genital surgeries such as those practised by the Kuria are little understood, although often condemned as primitive, unhygienic and dangerous by people in the West. The case that Prazak will examine involves a Catholic missionary priest who supports the surgeries and international NGOs which oppose the surgeries, as well as the Kuria girls upon whom the surgeries are performed and who are caught in the middle of an ideological battle about modernity and social and religious values.

Prazak has conducted fieldwork in Kenya since 1984. She has published on social change, modernization, family life and work, and child mortality.

The second Public Anthropology talk will be given March 9 and will feature William Jankowiak of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. His topic is romantic love and evolutionary theory concerning human affective attachment. Jankowiak has done ethnographic fieldwork in China and among both swingers and polygynous Mormons in the western United States.

Also today: Steve Crawshaw, London director of Human Rights Watch and author of a book on "Germany and the Twenty-First Century", will speak on "The New Germany: Where Is It Heading?" Crawshaw's visit is sponsored by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, and other agencies. He'll talk at 2:30 in Environmental Studies I room 221.


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