Tuesday, October 10, 2006

  • Seeking the next University Professors
  • Urgent appeal for symphony funds
  • Notes on a Monday that's a Tuesday
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

[Holding a rough nugget]

A mineral collection developed by Johann Werner, who retired from the plant operations carpentry shop six years ago, has been donated to UW's earth sciences museum in the CEIT building. He shows off one of the most striking items in his collection.

Link of the day

World Mental Health Day

When and where

Senate undergraduate council 12 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Graduate student seat on UW senate, nominations close 3 p.m. today, details online.

Faculty of arts reception in honour of new faculty members, 3 p.m., Humanities room 373, to be followed by arts faculty council 4:00, Humanities 334.

Career workshop: "Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Canada-Kenya Global Citizenship Project presentation by speakers from Free the Children, sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, 5 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 208.

UW Retirees Association boat cruise and visit to Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, Wednesday, last-minute information 519-699-4015.

Farm market Wednesday 9:00 to 1:30, Environmental Studies I courtyard.

Stress relaxation session sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, first in a series: "Empowered Breathing," Wednesday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158.

Writer and publisher Jean McKay, author of The Page-Turner's Sister, reads from her work, Wednesday 4 p.m., St. Jerome's University room 2017.

Computer science Distinguished Lecture: Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland at College Park, "The Thrill of Discovery: Information Visualization for High–Dimensional Spaces", Wednesday 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Climate Action Tour workshops visit UW, hosted by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Wednesday 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Humanities room 150, registration today (e-mail info@wpirg.org).

Arriscraft Lecture, school of architecture, Manuel Herz, Zürich, "Refugee Camps," Thursday 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall.

[Visser]Pascal Lecture on Christianity and the University: Margaret Visser (right), classics professor and author, "Fate, Honour and Transcendence", Wednesday 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre; seminar Thursday, October 12, 3:30, Davis Centre room 1302; details online.

Self-defence workshop sponsored by Campus Recreation, Wednesday 8:45 p.m. Registration $15 in advance at athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

Linda Bluhm, human resources, retirement reception Thursday 4 to 6 p.m., South Campus Hall, RSVP ext. 3-3573.

Go Eng Girl engineering open house for girls in grades 7-10 and their parents, offered at UW and 14 other schools of engineering, Saturday, details online.

One click away

'Religious studies prof talks about his often misunderstood field'
Italian ambassador comments on architecture school
Introducing alumni officer Pat Polan
Record enrolment at Conestoga College
Environmental engineer assists tsunami-stricken Maldives
'How prepared is the young workforce?'
'Commercialization of intellectual property in the higher education sector' (Stats Canada)
Proposed overhaul of Harvard's core curriculum
Imperial College withdraws from University of London

Seeking the next University Professors

The provost has issued an invitation for department chairs and "the University community generally" to suggest who should receive the high honour of University Professor in 2007.

"To date," a memo from provost Amit Chakma notes, "UW has awarded this distinction to eight individuals: Garry Rempel, Mary Thompson and Mark Zanna in 2004; Terry McMahon, Cam Stewart and Robert Jan van Pelt in 2005; Phelim Boyle and Ian Munro in 2006."

He summarizes the purpose of the award and the nomination process, established in 2003 when UW's Senate approved the introduction of the University Professor designation. Says the document: "The University of Waterloo owes much of its reputation and stature to the quality of its eminent professors. UW recognizes exceptional scholarly achievement and international pre-eminence through the designation 'University Professor'. Once appointed, a faculty member retains the designation for life.

"Not counting retirees, it is anticipated there will be 14 University Professorships at steady state, with at most two appointments each year. Such appointments are reported to Senate and to the Board of Governors in March and April respectively, and are recognized at Convocation."

Each year, nominations are sought "from Deans, Directors and Chairs, as well as from the University community generally. A nominee shall have demonstrated exceptional scholarly achievement and international pre-eminence in a particular field or fields of knowledge. The individual who nominates a colleague is responsible for gathering the documentation and submitting it to the Vice-President, Academic & Provost. The University Tenure and Promotion Committee will act as the selection committee; its decisions are final.

"A nomination must be supported by at least six signatures from at least two UW departments and must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae and a short non-technical description of the nominee's contributions. A nomination must also be accompanied by letters from the nominee's Dean," and also comments from "scholars of international standing in the nominee's field" -- the memo gives the details. The provost adds that the selection committee keeps the dossiers of unsuccessful nominees on hand for two more years, to be considered again along with updated information.

Nominations for this year's awards should be "in my hands before Christmas", Chakma writes.

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Urgent appeal for symphony funds

A special appeal is going to interested staff and faculty members at UW, after the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony announced last week that needs to raise $2.5 million by the end of October “in order to remain a viable organization”.

“Please, if music in general and/or our Symphony Orchestra in particular are important to you and your family, dig deeply into your pocketbooks now in order to help sustain our Orchestra,” says a letter from psychology professor Barbara Bulman-Fleming, one of several people with UW connections who serve on the orchestra’s volunteer board of directors. Ken Hull of the music department at Conrad Grebel University College is also a current board member.

Bulman-Fleming calls the situation a “crisis” and says the annual Professional Colleagues campaign, which invites $175 donations in return for special recognition from the orchestra, is being launched early this year as one way of bringing in some of the needed funds. Her letter is going to colleagues who have donated in past years and some others who have expressed interest. Of course other supporters are also welcome.

“None of your pledges will be processed until we have reached our $2.5M goal,” she writes.

“I can assure you that the K-W Symphony Board comprises a group of smart and very dedicated volunteers who have worked and will continue to work hard for the organization. In fact, collectively all 18 members of the Board have committed $230,900 to the campaign, just short of 10% of our overall goal. Please help us to ensure that our Symphony Orchestra can continue to play this season and into the future — music nourishes the soul and, as such, is a powerful force for good in our troubled world.”

In a letter posted on the symphony’s web site, the board chair — Clarica executive Bob Astley — reports: “We have reached a point where the Symphony is in a serious financial situation that threatens our future in the Region. If commitments totaling $2.5 million aren’t realized then the Board will have little choice but to declare bankruptcy and the Symphony will cease to operate.”

He noted that while the symphony has been able to sustain its financial security to this point, it has faced a number of challenges over the past 10 years. Heading into the 2005-06 season, there was an accumulated deficit of approximately $580,000. Through last season, there was a further shortfall of $600,000, leading to an accumulated deficit of $1.2 million.

Between 2002 and 2006, the orchestra says, total revenue has declined by more than 6 per cent. “During the same time, expenses have increased by close to 11%. The main reasons for the deficit are declining ticket sales, a cut in grants from the Ontario Arts Council, and shortfalls in special fundraising initiatives.”

Says Astley, “The situation we are currently facing is not unique to Kitchener Waterloo. In fact, arts organizations across North America have faced similar financial challenges and have emerged and been able to continue in their home communities. I am confident that, with the community’s support, we can overcome this situation and remain viable in Kitchener-Waterloo.”

The month-long crash program to wipe out the deficit is being called SOS, for “Save our Symphony”. It’s “a multi-level campaign that will utilize direct mail, e-newsletters, media advertising, and a phone campaign. There will also be direct appeals to symphony supporters, community leaders, local governments and provincial and federal arts bodies.”

In addition to launching the fundraising campaign, Astley said, “the Symphony has developed a plan to reduce expenses and is identifying other short-term cost-cutting measures as part of its response to the financial issue. Earlier today, staff and players were advised of the situation, and were informed of a 15% reduction in fixed pay. . . .

“Other steps taken by the Board to improve the Symphony’s financial position include narrowing the search for a new Music Director and focusing on innovative ways to enhance the symphony experience for the community that will in turn expand the audience by attracting a new and younger listener.”

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Notes on a Monday that's a Tuesday

A memo from the registrar's office notes that, as the request of staff, the side doors of the office (on the second floor of Needles Hall) will now be locked. Visitors should enter through the customer service area at the main entrance to the office. Staff and faculty arriving on university business are not required to sign in; other visitors will be escorted to the appropriate office by customer service staff. And another notice from the registrar's office, directed to staff in the departments and faculties who help get information to undergraduate students: "You will now be able to print important information and deadline signs for posting from a new web page available on the Registrar's Office website. You may want to bookmark this page for future use. From here you can select and print the desired sign available in PDF."

[Honorees in a row, one standing]Pictured at right is Jack Edmonds, noted mathematician who is retired from UW's department of applied math, in the centre of a group of scholars being honoured Friday by Syddansk University (the University of Southern Denmark). He received an honorary degree at a ceremony, in the presence of the Queen of Denmark, helping to mark the institution's 40th anniversary. The photo is captured from Friday's live webcast.

Says a UW news release issued last week: "The Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research (WIHIR), based at the University of Waterloo, has partnered with the University of Alberta, Capital Health and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology to bring WIHIR's much-praised Bootcamp to Edmonton on Nov. 1 to 3. A key objective of the WIHIR-developed Bootcamp is to make a significant contribution in building the army of more than 2,000 additional professionals needed in the health system. It is a short-term answer to increasing the human resources capacity of Canada in the expanding field of health informatics (HI). The Bootcamp introduces participants with little or no knowledge of HI to the nature, key concepts and applications of the discipline. The Edmonton Bootcamp will consist of a three-day on-site educational experience combined with over 50 hours of online presentations. A special feature is a day dedicated to structured reviews of actual health informatics products and services presented by key vendors. Other content focuses on HI progress and issues specific to Western Canada. The first Bootcamp, held at UW in July 2005, was attended by a full house of 80 participants. A Bootcamp held at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto last spring attracted 85 participants. Both programs generated long waiting lists." More information: 1-800-860-7901.

Orange leaflets are out across campus listing this fall's programs for staff training and development, under the familiar title "Get Up & Grow". "Programs offered," writes Carolyn Vincent of human resources, "include Leadership for Results, Healing Customer Relationships, Serving a World of Customers, Personality Dimensions and Work-Life Balance with Personality Dimensions. Those interested can send their registration forms to me or contact me at ext. 3-2078 for more information."

If you live in Columbia Lake Village, you can find many services at the community centre there, and can borrow tools and toys ranging from irons to DVD players. "To borrow an item," the CLV newsletter explains, "simply come by the front desk with your WatCard. Being that there are partners, family members and boarders in the north community without WatCard, we are now providing new swipecards for residents in the north community which are assigned to individual units. Any member of the home can now use the swipecard to borrow an item from the front desk. The new swipecard works just like WatCards plus has a magnetic backing to easily store on the fridge."

Colin Ellard of UW's psychology department has signed a publishing contract with HarperCollins for his book A Natural History of Space, due to be published in 2008. . . . The athletics department reports that two former Warrior hockey players have signed professional contracts, defenceman Matt Iannetta with Italy's Asiago Hockey Club and forward Matt Levicki with the Bossier/Shreveport Mudbugs of the Central Hockey League. . . . Imprint said Friday that it will give a prize to "the first person to send a picture of the beaver living by the church colleges across the creek". . . .


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