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Friday, May 26, 2006

  • Community building for R&T Park
  • Dean briefs senate about AHS
  • Staff poll starts today; other notes
Chris Redmond

Australia marks Sorry Day

[Glass walls and green lawn]

Design for the TechTown building, as pictured on the web site

Community building for R&T Park

A web site is in operation now to promote the TechTown development on UW's north campus and accept preregistrations for its health club and child care centre. An official groundbreaking for the building is scheduled for June 8.

As explained on the web site, TechTown is "a community services building dedicated to the needs of employees working or living near the Research & Technology Park, University of Waterloo." It's a combination of shopping mall and community centre, with a café, retail services and office space as well as the health club and day care -- "a convenient alternative for food, fitness, childcare and banking all in one location. TechTown is also a meeting place with events space for 20 to 200."

TechTown will be located at 340 Hagey Boulevard, in the centre of the rapidly developing R&T Park. The building is also expected to include "retail shops", "financial advice" offices, a "community events atrium", and a "wellness centre".

It will be operated by Columbia Developments Inc., which its chief executive, Toby Jenkins, says is "a sole-purpose company" created to lease land from UW, build the TechTown building and rent space to businesses. She said the idea was hatched by leaders of a few firms that are based in or near the R&T Park, along with UW's president. "I was approached to begin managing a working group," says Jenkins, who is a former urban planner and real estate banker, has been involved in venture capital enterprises and is currently chair of the board of Grand River Hospital. Jenkins said UW is not a shareholder in Columbia Developments.

Two of the businesses have names already. Columbia Lake Health Club "is a full service facility offering personal training, cardio, strength and core training.  Sports conditioning classes will help you be the best you can be." And Kids and Company Child Care "is dedicated to providing corporate employees with reliable, flexible and unique, quality child care solutions to suit the needs of each individual child, parent and employer, creating a healthy work-life balance."

More from the site: "A coffee café is planned which will offer premium coffee and healthy food choices. Whether you stop in for lunch or grab a meal on the way home after a great workout, the coffee café brings you convenience. . . . TechTown is on schedule for opening in January 2007."

The groundbreaking celebration is scheduled for 2 p.m. on June 8. Says the site: "There will also be a series of demonstrations of TechTown services. Starting at noon until 2 p.m. and again at 3 p.m. until 5 p.m., come and watch a variety of specialized health club services as well as receive up to date information on child care and other services that TechTown has to offer."

[Group applauding]

Bert Barber was "director of co-ordination" at UW from 1958 to 1972 -- the job that's now called executive director of co-op education and career services -- and during those years was responsible for more than 100,000 student work terms. Barber, who died in 1992, has been awarded a spot in the new Co-op Hall of Honor, launched this year at the University of Cincinnati. His widow, Marjorie, was on hand at the recent ceremony, accompanied by family members and (with fist pumping) Bruce Lumsden, CECS director 1994-2005. The Canadian Association for Co-operative Education presents an annual Albert Sherwood Barber Award.

Dean briefs senate about AHS

Four new graduate programs are likely in the future of the Applied Health Sciences faculty, its dean told the UW senate on May 15. Roger Mannell, who took on the leadership of AHS last summer, was briefing the senate, as other deans have done, about the state of his faculty and its plans as UW moves into its "sixth decade". His detailed presentation ranged from the origins of AHS to the "mixed feelings" in AHS as UW adds a school of pharmacy.

The focus of AHS is on "health promotion, illness and injury prevention", from the cellular level to the societal level. Mannell flashed a PowerPoint slide listing the disciplines represented among faculty members in the three AHS departments: geography, psychology, nursing, nutrition, engineering, medicine and a dozen more. That's a very different side of "health" from the clinical approach represented by the pharmacy school and the McMaster University medical school that will be based on UW's "health sciences" campus in Kitchener.

Research and service activities in the faculty range from back pain treatment to driving safety, Mannell reminded his audience. "We are very undergraduate-oriented," he said, although there are PhD programs in all three departments: health studies and gerontology, kinesiology, and recreation and leisure studies.

A Master of Public Health program has now been approved, he reminded the senate, as has a PhD in "aging, health and well-being". Proposals under way include master's and doctoral programs in health informatics, to be operated jointly with the University of Toronto, and a PhD in "work and health". Graduate students currently make up only about 7 per cent of the enrolment in AHS, compared to 10 per cent university-wide, and there's hope of raising that figure, Mannell said.

Although Matthews Hall, the faculty's home, has added research space to the Lyle Hallman Institute, there are still issues of space and facilities, the dean said. He noted "a real challenge across campus" when it comes to space for animal care and research, and said AHS would be keenly interested in sharing "a central facility" with other faculties. A recent retreat to discuss AHS issues found that "meeting and interaction space" is also in short supply.

With much of the faculty's research work being done through institutes and centres ("behavioural research and program evaluation", the Research Institute for Aging, and others), it's a challenge to keep those activities connected to the core focus of the three academic units, Mannell said. At last count AHS had 47 faculty members and 35 regular staff positions, but there are an additional 72 research staff in the institutes.

Mannell said later that his presentation "was based on information gathered and discussions carried out in AHS over the past year and a half, involving students, staff, faculty members, research centre personnel and our Waterloo Advisory Council members.

"The retreat was a culminating off-campus two-day event that involved about sixty people including a good representation of the above individuals plus key stakeholders outside of the Faculty . . . non-AHS UW faculty members and colleagues, alumni who have been active in Faculty affairs, local people whose work is related to Faculty activities, and members of organizations that fund and use the research that is carried out in AHS.

"The response was very positive. Faculty, staff and students from the various departments developed a better sense of new faculty-wide collaborations that might be possible to enhance our use of resources. These insights were particularly useful given the numerous new faculty members that have joined AHS in the past couple of years. As well, not only did we benefit from the insights of our external stakeholders, but they developed a better sense of the whole Faculty and the contributions all units make to our theme of health promotion -- rather than just those units that they typically interact with or support. Ideas that emerged tended to reinforce and bring together themes, challenges and opportunities and priorities that we had identified in the year or so prior to the retreat, plus some new ideas."

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Leslie Pal, Carleton University, "Governing the Electronic Commons: From ICANN to WSIS", 11:45, 57 Erb Street West, reservations e-mail rsvp@cigionline.org.

Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Dan Einwechter, founder, Challenger Motor Freight, "One of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies", 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302, reservations ext. 7167.

Centre Stage Dance recital tonight and Saturday, Humanities Theatre.

ACM-style programming contest welcomes "all members of the Waterloo community, broadly defined"; programming in C++, Java or Pascal, Saturday from 10:30, details online.

Bicycle maintenance workshop sponsored by campus recreation, Saturday noon to 5 p.m., registration in athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

Graduate Student Association trip to Stratford Festival, choice of "Oliver!" or "London Assurance", Saturday, bus leaves 3 p.m., tickets $35 at Graduate House.

'Great Strides' 5-kilometre walk in support of cystic fibrosis research, Saturday 10:30, Waterloo Park, register 772-2300.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Virginia Haufler, University of Maryland at College Park, "Economies of Peace: Corporate Responsibility in Zones of Conflict", Monday 7 p.m., 57 Erb Street West.

'Odyssey' information awareness day on social development initiatives, sponsored by Udai and Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Wednesday 10:00 to 5:30, Student Life Centre.

Staff poll starts today; other notes

Electronic voting began this morning in a poll of staff members: "Do you believe that there should be a recognition program for staff that includes a monetary component?" The question is posed by the staff compensation committee, as the first step in a review of the Special Recognition Award program that's now in its third year. "The Committee made a commitment to review the program in 2006," a memo notes. "This review will not affect the 2006 award program currently being run and for which nominations close on June 30, 2006. The first step in the review is to gauge staff interest in continuing, in some manner, with the Special Recognition Award Program. If there is interest in continuing, the Committee will conduct a full review over the summer soliciting further comments at that time." The poll was to be held earlier this month, but was postponed for technical reasons. Online voting will now continue until June 12.

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, a short walk down the railway tracks from campus, is hosting a gathering of Ontario's top physics teachers this week, with many of them staying in UW's Ron Eydt Village. Some 90 of them are in Waterloo for a three-day conference examining science education, teaching methods and the transformative potential of modern physics. Perimeter, in conjunction with the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers, is offering workshops and sessions with invited international guests from various universities -- plus (drum roll) Kiran Sachdev and Bogdan Luca, award-winning creators of "Al's Relativistic Adventures". Talks also feature leading scientists from Perimeter itself. Perimeter Institute, a news release reminds readers, "is an award-winning scientific research and educational outreach organization where international scientists cluster to formulate new and innovative ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter and information. The Institute, located in Waterloo, Ontario, also offers a full array of special programming for students, teachers and the general public across Canada and beyond."

It's a Warrior Weekend, which means special activities in the Student Life Centre tonight and tomorrow night, in an alcohol-free environment. There are always movies; this time it's "Glory Road" (midnight tonight) and "Date Movie" (at the witching hour tomorrow). There are also craft activities, games, speed dating tomorrow at 10:00, pizza tonight and ice cream sundaes tomorrow -- the full breathless schedule is online.

A note is on hand from Yvan Rodrigues, manager of systems and technology in UW Graphics: "Graphics is proud to announce their new in-house CD/DVD duplication service. We will make copies of your original CD or DVD and can print full-colour or black and white 'labels' directly on the front of the media, eliminating the need for troublesome adhesive labels. Whether you need one disc or 500, Graphics can do it, even specialties such as mini CDs and business card CDs. We can also provide a variety of jewel cases or DVD cases with custom graphics. Contact Lorrie Winterhalt for details."

The Cambridge Times reports that "A second, more intense municipal campaign school for women who want to run, or help another woman run in the upcoming municipal election, will be held on May 27 at the University of Waterloo architecture school in Cambridge. The campaign school will provide practical information to allow women to decide if they are going to run in the 2006 municipal elections, deliver tools to campaign teams to strengthen support and inspire women to run for municipal office." Details and registration for the event are online.

Robert Tattrie, a staff member in UW's central stores since February 1975, officially retired on April 1. . . . A memo from the president of the Federation of Students this week invited applications for two student positions on the Student Life Centre Management Board>. . . . "We anticipate about 2,000 participants" in this year's online forum for high school students who have been offered admission to UW, the marketing and undergraduate recruitment office reports. . . .

And finally, I had a note from someone who read Wednesday's story about the grant to UW from 3M Canada to pay for a security and inventory system in the libraries. "According to the UW history notes," he observes, "in 1966 the library began checking 'briefcases' for books, and so this year is the fortieth anniversary of the book-checkers."


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