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Monday, March 27, 2006

  • Director named for health research
  • Historian to be next arts dean
  • Voices of UW's computing history
Chris Redmond

It's a holiday in Alaska


Director named for health research

A new senior official in UW's office of research will "help to coordinate the university's internal and external health research portfolio", a memo from the provost announced on Friday.

Ian McKillop (left) -- a faculty member in both the department of health studies and gerontology and the school of computer science -- gets the new position of Executive Director, University Health Research. The memo from provost Amit Chakma explains:

"UW has a growing medley of activities in health-related research. To ensure that these are effectively coordinated and that the University is able to capitalize on external opportunities for involvement in health-related research, I have asked Professor Ian McKillop to accept the position of Executive Director, University Health Research.

"I am pleased to report that Professor McKillop has agreed to assume this role, effective immediately, for a term ending June 30, 2009. Professor McKillop will serve as UW's liaison and spokesperson on matters related to health research and will help to coordinate the university's internal and external health research portfolio. Professor McKillop will also direct a new campus-wide health research institute that has been approved in principle by Deans' Council and will be reviewed by Senate later this year.

"He will be housed in the Office of Research and will report to Professor Alan George, Vice-President, University Research.

"Professor McKillop holds the J.W. Graham Research Chair in Health Information Systems and is a member of the David R Cheriton School of Computer Science and the Department of Health Studies & Gerontology. He has a broad working knowledge of health related research within UW and a wealth of contacts with the external health research community. I am pleased that Professor McKillop has agreed to accept the position of Executive Director, University Health Research and look forward to working with him in his new role."

McKillop has been at UW since 1991. His web site says his research "explores data management, privacy, security, and system performance issues. He has a particular interest in these issues in the context of large scale financial information systems, such as those used in the health and banking sectors. . . . He has a keen interest in how information technologies can be used to support the delivery of quality medical care through telemedicine -- linking physicians, hospitals and other care providers together to create vibrant e-enabled care environments. . . . Professor McKillop is affiliated with both the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science (Ontario's clinical research data warehouse) and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto."


Historian to be next arts dean

A historian with experience as a dean or vice-president at four Canadian universities will come to UW July 1 to be dean of the faculty of arts, the president announced Friday.

The new dean is Ken Coates (right), who will take over from economist Bob Kerton, dean since 1999. At UW, deans of faculties are appointed for a five-year term, and renewals are usually three years, but Kerton said when he was reappointed in 2003 that he wanted only two additional years.

Coates is currently working as a consultant in British Columbia, after leaving a position at the planned Sea to Sky University at the end of 2004. "I served, for six months, as the Vice-President (Academic) of the planned university," he says in his curriculum vitae. "Financial difficulties postponed the scheduled launch of the institution and delayed institutional development. I opted to leave the project."

Earlier, he was dean of arts and science at the University of Saskatchewan, and acting provost and vice-president (academic) there for a year; dean of arts at the University of New Brunswick campus in Saint John; chair of the history department at the University of Waikato, New Zealand; and the first vice-president (academic) of the University of Northern British Columbia when it opened in 1992. He's also been on faculty at the University of Victoria and Brandon University.

Born in the Yukon and educated at the University of British Columbia and University of Manitoba, he's a specialist in the history of northern Canada and Aboriginal issues.

His appointment as dean "was recommended by the Nominating Committee established under UW Policy 45," president David Johnston said in Friday's memo. It was approved by the executive committees of the UW senate and board of governors earlier this week on behalf of those two bodies.

"The appointment of Ken Coates as dean," Johnston wrote, "has strong support within the Faculty of Arts and at the Colleges. Ken brings to Waterloo the wisdom, commitment and energy to help lead the Faculty of Arts to even greater prominence and will be a valued member of UW's senior administrative team."

Voices of UW's computing history

A recorded interview with the founder of UW's Faculty of Mathematics, Ralph Stanton, done three years ago this week by a history graduate student, is now available in part on the UW library's web site.

It's part of the "Unbundling Computing History" project, which was recently featured in the 'News at Your Library' electronic newsletter. The interview with Ralph Stanton, who was chairman of the Department of Mathematics at the time the Faculty was being created, includes his recollections of why he hired Wes Graham, who later became known as "the father of computing at Waterloo".

Blood donor clinic in the Student Life Centre, Monday-Thursday 10 to 4, Friday 9 to 3, appointments at the turnkey desk.

Joint health and safety committee 10 a.m., Commissary building room 112D.

Computational mathematics colloquium: Fred Hickernell, Illinois Institute of Technology, "Solving High Dimensional Numerical Problems", 1:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Senate long-range planning committee 2:30, Needles Hall room 3004, to continue discussion of Sixth Decade report and plans from faculties of arts and mathematics.

UW Senate 4:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Sustainable career night sponsored by UW Sustainability Project: graduates from environmental studies and environmental engineering speak, 5:00, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Engineers Without Borders discussion of "Make Poverty History" campaign, 7:00, Graduate House, all welcome.

UW Chamber Ensembles end-of-term concert 7 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College chapel, admission free.

International student focus group about the UW experience, 7:30, Columbia Lake Village community centre.

'Blues by the Beach' film about a 2003 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, 7:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 116, sponsored by Waterloo Israel Political Affairs Club.

Fed Flicks: "Munich" 8:00, Humanities Theatre, admission free.

School of Computer Science distinguished lecture: Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, "Minix 3: A Reliable and Secure Operating System", Tuesday 4:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 101.

Wireless Internet in Waterloo: "what if" forum sponsored by city of Waterloo, Thursday 8:30 to 3:00, details 747-8706.

'Forward Into the Past' annual collegium with classes on mediaeval textiles, dance, Vikings, military science and other topics, Saturday all day, details online.

Peter Burroughs, registrar's office, retirement open house April 6, 3:30 to 5:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

Says Stanton: "Wes was an old friend of mine. I had taught him as an undergraduate, I had taught him as a graduate student, I had stayed in close touch with him when he went to IBM -- I knew him very well; I probably knew him better than anyone else in the computing area, and I suppose that when I wanted someone who had some industrial experience, he was the first person I thought of."

The library newsletter gives some background to the interview: "In 2004, the Library and Dr. Kenneth McLaughlin jointly received a grant from the J. W. Graham Information Technology Trust Fund. This grant has supported Dr. McLaughlin's work in researching the history of computing and information technology achievements at UW. As part of this project, a series of oral history interviews were conducted with key members associated with UW's history of computing and technology transfer. . . .

"Central to Dr. McLaughlin's research has been the 31 linear meters of archival material of the late J. Wesley (Wes) Graham. . . . Supporting these archives are the Library's recently received collections of Dr. Donald Cowan, Dr. Paul Dirksen, and Dr. Ralph Stanton. In addition to the new archival material, a number of photos related to the history of UW's computing and technology are currently being digitized. The digitization process will make these photos more readily accessible for future research."

Graham began his career at UW in 1959 as an assistant professor of mathematics. Aside from helping to make UW well-known for its math and computer science programs, Graham was famous for his pioneering teaching and research in information technology, as well as the development of software and hardware that helped initiate several spin-off companies.

The J. W. Graham Information Technology Trust Fund was established five years ago by a group of Graham's former colleagues, students, and friends. It is sponsoring the oral history program aimed at documenting the history of computing at UW, starting with Graham's own work and influence. At the request of Graham's family, the first person to be interviewed under the program was Stanton. The "Unbundling" web site also offers a page with reminiscences by Jim Mitchell, who was a student working with Graham in 1962 and is now a senior official of Sun Microsystems.

The library notes that the Graham project "complements several oral history programs which have been active at University of Waterloo during the University's 47-year history. These include interviews which were conducted by students, by senior administrators, by University Historian Dr. Kenneth McLaughlin and by a program undertaken by the University of Waterloo's Retirees Association from 1997 to 2003. Largest of these programs was that funded by the Office of then University President Dr. James Downey and conducted by Dr. Kenneth McLaughlin and two co-op students in 1997 at the time of the Special Early Retirement Program."


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