Wednesday, November 29, 2006

  • Keystone calls for library donations
  • Report urges clear tenure standards
  • Funding for the 50th, and other news
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Today: 'The Expert vs. the Crowd'

Peter Nicholson, president of the Council of Canadian Academies, speaks at UW today under the title "The Expert vs. the Crowd: Networked Knowledge and the Evolution of Intellectual Authority".

The talk — co-sponsored by UW, specifically the Institute for Quantum Computing, and Communitech — starts at 4 p.m. in the Accelerator Centre on the north campus. There's background information online.

Advance reservations had been suggested, but last-minute space might be available.

Link of the day

Talking about the weather

When and where

Stress relaxation series final session: "Cortical Relaxation" 12:00, Math and Computer room 5158.

Before the Music Dies premiere of new movie 7:30 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall, free (donations accepted).

TechTown open house to show off new building and planned services including credit union, dental office, day care and health club, Thursday 4:30 to 7:00, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard, reservations e-mail judy@

'Sports and the media' with Cory Woron of TSN, Thursday 3:00, great hall, Student Life Centre, sponsored by Imprint and Arts Student Union.

'Women and the media' with Josie Dye, 102.1 Edge Rock, Thursday 5:30, great hall, Student Life Centre, sponsored by Imprint, Arts Student Union and Diversity program.

Science Awards Banquet by invitation, Thursday 5 p.m., Federation Hall.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau: John English, UW history professor, reads from the new first volume of his Trudeau biography, Thursday 7 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $2 from the UW bookstore.

Orchestra@UWaterloo fall concert, "Au revoir, Mozart," Thursday 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $10 (UW students free) at Humanities box office.

'Understanding the Darfur Conflict' by Caroline Khoubesserian, Friday 11:45, Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West, details and reservations online.

Archbishop of Winnipeg Most Rev. James Weisgerber, "Bridging the Gap: Reaching Beyond Our Differences", Friday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University, free.

Warrior Weekend activities in the Student Life Centre Friday and Saturday evenings, including movies, free food, dance lessons, crafts, details online.

Perimeter Institute presents Damian Pope, "The Essence of Quantum Theory", Saturday 10 a.m. to noon, 31 Caroline Street North, no reservation necessary.

World Religions Conference sponsored by Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, speakers from eight traditions on "My Faith and Freedom of Conscience", Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Humanities Theatre, details and free registration online.

UW Choir with Waterloo Chamber Players, Handel's "Messiah", Sunday 3 p.m., St. John's Lutheran Church, Willow Street, tickets $12 (students $10).

Language Learning and Teaching colloquium, presentations by students in graduate course on "Applied Language Didactics", Monday 1:30 to 6:00, Humanities room 373, details online.

BarCamp Waterloo for discussion of web and technology issues, December 5, 5:30 p.m., Accelerator Centre.

Positions available

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

• Undergraduate advisor/ coordinator (mechatronics), mechanical and mechatronics engineering, USG 5
• Optician, school of optometry clinic, USG 7
• Graduate admissions and records administrator, special programs, electrical and computer engineering, USG 5
• Customer relations representative, cooperative education and career services, USG 4
• Financial aid assistant, student awards and financial aid, office of the registrar, USG 5/6
• Assistant manager, Student Life Centre, USG 5
• Director, distance and continuing education, USG 16
• Financial aid customer service assistant, student awards and financial aid, office of the registrar, USG 5

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

['Let's close the book' promotion]
Keystone calls for library donations

“The Library is close to meeting the Kresge Challenge,” says a colourful bookmark (pictured above) that was sent to staff and faculty members early this week, in time to encourage donations before the end-of-year deadline.

The goal is to raise enough money, from donors both on campus and off, to trigger a matching $750,000 grant from the Michigan-based Kresge Foundation. The goal: funds to “transform the Dana Porter and Davis Centre Libraries”. When the challenge was taken up last year, the target was $2.8 million. As of October, slightly more than $1.8 million had been raised.

“You can help,” says the bookmark, suggesting pledges that would cover the next three to five years. “As an incentive, the university is offering to match your gift dollar for dollar.”

Gifts for the Kresge Challenge are one option for faculty, staff and retirees giving to UW through the Keystone Campaign, and in a separate mailing a few days ago, they were reminded that money is still wanted for many purposes.

“Every gift makes an important difference,” the Keystone letter said, “and we are sincerely thankful to all our donors who support the campaign. As we head into the University’s 50th anniversary in 2007, we encourage you to continue your support of the Keystone Campaign. We have been in a special campaign, but Keystone is, essentially, a long-standing and ongoing annual giving program. Continued support for Keystone will provide the necessary funds for UW students to receive much-needed undergraduate and graduate scholarships and a high-quality education.”

In addition to scholarships, we are also encouraging donations to the Library this year.… We invite you to consider allocating a portion of your gift in support of this opportunity that will benefit all students and faculty, and teaching and research university-wide.”

A full list of campaign projects is available online, the letter says, noting that “When you contribute to the campaign, 100 percent of your donation is designated to the project you select.”

And the inevitable PS: “Year-end is a great time to support the campaign, take advantage of 2006 tax breaks, and qualify to win a prize in the Keystone Campaign monthly donor draws.”

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Report urges clear tenure standards

A total of 32 faculty members received tenure at UW in 2005-06 — 22 by applying for it (and in most cases being promoted to associate professor at the same time) and 10 who received it when they were first appointed to positions at Waterloo.

The numbers come from the annual report of the University Tenure and Promotion Advisory Committee, which was submitted to the UW senate at its November meeting. The committee is chaired by Jake Sivak of the school of optometry.

Five of the newly tenured faculty members are women.

The report also notes that 36 faculty members with “probationary” appointments were reappointed during the past year — 4 women and 32 men. Those are professors who are on their way to a tenure application, usually two years after being reappointed.

In its recommendations, the committee stresses the importance of faculty members’ annual performance reviews, which carry a good deal of weight when a professor is applying for tenure or promotion (from assistant professor to associate, or associate to full professor). Says the report: “Directions for continued improvement and the overall standard for teaching and/or research performance in a given department/school should be made clear. The objective of performance reviews is to give an accurate account of the positive and negative aspects of the faculty member’s work and to be helpful and encouraging. Reservations, if any, must be clearly expressed, and there should be no equivocation between what is said and what is written.”

Two faculty members who applied for tenure in 2005-06 didn’t receive it and filed appeals, the report says. “Tribunals reviewed the tenure and promotion dossiers considered at earlier levels; both weighed the additional submissions (oral and written) made available to them. The unanimous decision of each tribunal was that the Appellant not be awarded tenure or promoted.”

In addition, the report says, there was one appeal, launched in the previous year, from a faculty member whose probationary term wasn’t renewed. That appeal also failed: “The main deciding factor was insufficient evidence of potential as a teacher… the committee also believed that the minimum threshold in all three areas (teaching, scholarship, service) was a standard for probationary reappointment that had not been met.”

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Funding for the 50th, and other news

[50th anniversary logo]“The 50th Anniversary Steering Committee,” says a memo released this week, “will make $50,000 in funding available to campus departments or organizations to enhance events held during 2007. Grants of up to $1,000 per event will be available to event organizers. The seed funding will be divided into two funding cycles. The first cycle of funding ($25,000) will accept applications until December 15, 2006. Grants for cycle one will be chosen on/by December 22, 2006. The second cycle of funding ($25,000, plus any remaining money from cycle one) will accept applications until March 2, 2007. Grants for cycle two will be chosen on/by March 23, 2006. The funding provided will be a reimbursement, so event planners are required to produce event receipts in order to collect the funds. Completed applications will be recommended to the Steering Committee for funding by a subset of members of the Steering Committee using the following criteria: event is registered as a 50th Anniversary event; event is in line with the goals of the 50th anniversary; scope of the audience; funding is used in an appropriate manner. Funding cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol or to cover bar costs related to the serving of alcohol.” Application forms are on the 50th anniversary web site.

And here’s an exuberant message from computer engineering student Shruti Satsangi: “We're back! The Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference 2007 is happening from January 11-13, at the Hilton Toronto Hotel. There are over 100 subsidy spots available for UW students on a first-come first-served basis, graciously sponsored by various faculties and departments. CUTC is a unique 3-day technology conference for students by students. These three days consist of informative keynotes and seminars on various topics, as well as workshops and interactive events that serve to create a direct link between students and company leaders.” There is, of course, more information on the CUTC web site, and Satsangi repeats that students should “Come attend North America's largest student-run conference! UW students get up to 75% off the registration fee!”

The annual meeting of the Geological Society of America was held in Philadelphia in late October, and a number of UW researchers were on the program. Among them: Jean-Michel Lemieux, E. A. Sudicky, W. R. Peltier and Lev Tarasov, talking about "Impact of the Wisconsinian Glaciation on Canadian Continental Groundwater Flow"; David R. Lee on "Making Basic Measurements at the Interface"; David Blowes on "Predicting and Preventing Acidic Drainage from Sulfide Bearing Mine Wastes"; and Mark Waldick on "Evaluation of Land-Based Infrared Thermography to Identify and Quantify Groundwater Discharge to a Small Stream". More tomorrow.

Voting ends today at 4:00 as graduate students elect one of their representatives to the UW senate. • Philip Beesley, a practising architect, artist and professor in UW's architecture school, is speaking today at a seminar during Construct Canada, the country's biggest construction trade show, being held in Toronto. • Today's Positions Available list includes the position of director of distance and continuing education, which has been held by Cathy Newell Kelly on an "interim" basis since Don Kasta retired in September 2005.


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