Friday, April 20, 2007

  • 'Are we safe at UW?' Some answers
  • Grad research conference next week
  • Other notes from campus and beyond
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

End of winter term exams

The last winter term exams are scheduled for tomorrow, and the UW libraries' extended hours will come to an end, with the Dana Porter Library closing at 11:00 Saturday night and the Davis Centre library at midnight. Both libraries will be open from noon to 6:00 on Sunday and 9:00 to 6:00 daily next week.

Tim Horton's in the Student Life Centre will close at 11:00 tonight, reopening Monday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. REVelation cafeteria in Ron Eydt Village closes tonight at 7:00, and Mudie's in Village I at 7:00 Saturday night.

Athletics facilities will be open 9:00 to 5:30 Saturday and Sunday, then 8:30 to 4:30 next week.

Unofficial marks for winter courses will start appearing on Quest Sunday. Marks become official on May 22. Classes for the spring term begin Tuesday, May 1.

[Globe]Link of the day

Earth Day

When and where

Germanic and Slavic studies 5th departmental conference, sessions on applied linguistics, German and Russian literature, and sociolinguistics, all day, details online.

43rd annual used book sale sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, today 9:00 to 9:00, Saturday 9:00 to 1:00, First United Church, details online.

Rhythm Dance Festival today from 1:00, Saturday and Sunday all day, Humanities Theatre.

Women's studies 35th anniversary colloquium continues: Carla Rice, Trent University, "How Big Girls Become Fat Girls: The Cultural Production of Problem Eating And Physical Inactivity", 1:30 p.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 2703.

Department of psychology presents Gordon Redding, Illinois State University, "Prism Adaptation and Unilateral Neglect", 3 p.m., PAS room 3026.

Wilfrid Laurier University year-end celebration, Saturday night from 9:00.

Faculty of arts lecture series, panel of three researchers funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research on their work in "the grey zone": Alan Blum (faculty of arts), Kieran Bonner (St. Jerome's), Tristanne Connolly (St. Jerome's), Monday 3:00 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218.

Spring term fee payments due April 24 by cheque or April 27 by bank payment, details online.

Staff and faculty lunch hosted by Executive Council, Tuesday 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., Village I central complex; night shift event 10:00 p.m., Davis Centre great hall.

Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network workshop, "Implementing the IHPS, Managing the Change", hot breakfast, keynote speaker and discussion, Wednesday 8 a.m. to noon, Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener, information and registration e-mail

Smarter Health lecture: Tom Closson, management consultant who studied the emergency room crisis in Waterloo Region hospitals, "Why Not Create the Ideal Health System Through Health Informatics?" Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Friends of the Library authors' event: lecture by history professor Ken McLaughlin, launch of his book Out of the Shadow of Orthodoxy, and display of work by UW authors, Wednesday, April 25, 3:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

'Passport to Health' Fair for staff and faculty, Thursday, April 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Student Life Centre; stations include blood pressure reading, ergonomics, "reading your stress level".

President David Johnston Run for Health Monday, April 30, 12:00, around the ring road starting at Needles Hall, register with Johan Reis, ext. 3-5418, pledge forms available, T-shirts $20.

'Learning about Teaching' symposium, including Presidents' Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, speaker Ken Bain, April 30, 2 p.m., Humanities Theatre; workshops and discussions May 1-2, details online.

UW Accounting Conference (second annual) May 4-6, details online.

50th Anniversary Dance sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, DJ, prizes, Saturday, May 5, Federation Hall, tickets $20 at Humanities box office.

PhD oral defences

Physics and astronomy. Hamidreza Molavianjazi, “New Route to Frustration by Quantum Many-Body Effects in the Spin Liquid Pyrochlore Tb2Ti2O7.” Supervisor, M. Gingras. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, May 7, 10:00 a.m., Physics room 352.

Physics and astronomy. Zahra Fakhraai, “Dynamics of Polymer Thin Films and Surfaces.” Supervisor, J. A. Forrest. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, May 11, 10:00 a.m., Physics room 308.

Planning. Li Yang, “Planning for Ethnic Tourism: Case Studies from Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China.” Supervisor, Geoffrey Wall. On display in the faculty of environmental studies, ES1 335. Oral defence Friday, May 11, 1:00 p.m., Environmental Studies II room 173.

Electrical and computer engineering. Mohamed Amin Amin Eldery, “Retrofit Control to Prevent ASD Premature Trips due to Power Quality Problems.” Supervisors, Magdy Salama and Ehab El-Sadaany. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Monday, May 14, 9:00 a.m., CEIT room 3151.

Electrical and computer engineering. Saeed Ul Haq, “A Study on Insulation Problems in Drive Fed Medium Voltage Induction Motors.” Supervisors, Shesha H. Jayaram and Edward A. Cherney. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Monday, May 14, 11:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Computer science. Reaz Ahmed, “Efficient and Flexible Search in Large Scale Distributed Systems.” Supervisor, Raouf Boutaba. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, May 14, 2:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Health studies and gerontology. Sarah Woodruff Atkinson, “Family Meal Influence on Dietary Quality of Students in Grade Six, Seven and Eight from Ontario and Nova Scotia.” Supervisor, Rhona Hanning. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Wednesday, May 16, 9:30 a.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 3701.

[Flags against grey sky]'Are we safe at UW?' Some answers

by Martin Van Nierop, UW director of communications and public affairs (and a member of UW's emergency committee)

The Virginia Tech massacre this week prompted much discussion on campus about security, and some questions: Are we safe? Could it happen here? Could we do anything to prevent this from happening here?

We believe the Waterloo campus is safe and has excellent police and security systems, among the best in Canada. As well, we’re backed by Waterloo Regional Police, who can respond in a few minutes to any emergency, including a report of someone with a firearm.

Universities like Waterloo try to be as prepared as they can be for serious emergencies, and our systems are always being scrutinized as to how we can make them better. The VT tragedy will prompt even more reviews across North America, and here in Ontario the provincial government has started collecting information about overall emergency readiness at colleges and universities.

But it’s important to realize that while we can prepare for emergencies and have a plan ready, it is a very big place. We are like a small city within a city. UW, like many large institutions in Canada, has its own police service. Our police are unarmed but they have an excellent working relationship with Regional police who have responsibility for serious threats such as those involving guns. In the event of an emergency the police response time is no more than a few minutes. Police can also close off the campus entrances in minutes, and secure or lock down buildings in the same way.

Having said that, a university is normally an open place built on trust and free access to labs, classrooms, study lounges and so on. Locking down academic buildings is a measure dictated only by a severe threat, and must only be done if police judge it an absolute necessity, depending on where the threat is coming from.

UW has the ability to post information on its web site very rapidly and send messages via a telephone tree system to all departments and faculties. We can also send messages by e-mail to all students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency. Currently, virtually no university in North America has the technology to send text messages to all students' cell phones, but that is something we are actively working on.

Perhaps most importantly, UW’s emergency plan also relies on prevention; that is, detecting anyone who may be in crisis and providing the help that the individual needs. This includes help from counselling and health services, a conflict management team, human rights office, a 24-hour mobile crisis team, crisis prevention program, employee assistance program and so on. The idea is to help individuals before they become a risk to themselves or others.

Tom Ruttan, director of UW’s Counselling Services office, says having feelings of anxiety and fear after events such as this week's shootings are normal and common. Counselling Services, in fact, posted a message to the campus community this week: “If you or another UW person has been affected by the horrific events at Virginia Tech, please contact us. We can help.”

The Counselling Services website also has links to help students manage their stress in the aftermath of the traumatic events at VT as well as information for parents wanting to help their child at UW. Ruttan emphasizes that Counselling Services can provide counselling and advice as to where to seek help following such stressful events.

“Our campus is a community. We need to look out for each other,” he added.

(Friends of Virginia Tech are holding observations around the world today and wearing the VT colours of maroon and orange. The UW housing web site is dressed in those colours today and carries a message of sympathy to the VT community.)

Back to top

Grad research conference next week

The largest graduate student research conference in Canada starts Monday, with campus people and the public welcome to sit in as master's and PhD students explain their work.

The seventh annual Sharing Discovery conference, from Monday through Thursday, features research accomplishments by more than 200 students. The presenters will give poster or oral presentations covering the areas of health, life and environment, humanities and social sciences, physical science, math and technology. All the research sessions will be held in the Davis Centre, rooms 1301, 1302 and 1304, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A program schedule, is online.

"The conference showcases both the quality and vast diversity of graduate student research at the University of Waterloo," said Bill Power, a professor of chemistry and associate dean of graduate studies. "It's fitting that in this anniversary year, where we look back at the achievements of the first 50 years of the University of Waterloo, we take this opportunity to look ahead at the breakthroughs that will shape the next 50 years, currently emerging from these new scholars, educated through graduate studies at Waterloo."

The keynote speaker is Roberta Jamieson, First Nations leader and conflict resolution expert. Her talk, entitled "Globalization: What it Means to Real People", will be given Monday at 8 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts in the Modern Languages building. Tickets are $3 from the Humanities box office.

A total of 212 master's and doctoral students from UW's six faculties will participate during the four days. Among the diverse research topics: The Politics of Climate Change: Factors Driving Municipal Decision Making by Devin Causley, local economic development/tourism program; Consistencies and Differences in Family Conflict by Marcia Gordeyko, department of psychology; The Effects of Water-Based Exercise on Physical and Psychological Well Being in Parkinson's Disease Patients by Alex Crizzle, health studies and gerontology; Vulnerability Assessment of Water Resources Systems in the Eastern Nile Basin by Mohamed Hamouda, civil and environmental engineering; Chromium Dioxide as a Candidate for Spintronic Applications by Helia Jalili, physics and astronomy; Message Authentication in Ad Hoc Networks Using Two-Channel Cryptography by Atefeh Mashatan, combinatorics and optimization.

During the conference there will be two seminars on graduate scholarships and fellowships: one focused on the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Monday 11:15, Davis Centre room 1351) and one focused on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Thursday 11:15, again in Davis 1351).

The conference, organized through the office of the dean of graduate studies, has received support from the president's office, Graduate Student Association, graduate studies endowment fund, retail services (Campus Techshop), and the deans of the six faculties.

Back to top

[Posing beside Poster Boy perch]
Other notes from campus and beyond

A delegation of UW food services staff headed downtown yesterday (pictured) to donate $1,500 to the Regional Cancer Centre through this year’s KOOL-FM “Poster Boy” campaign, which has become a traditional spring event in the community. “Brian Bourke climbs up onto his billboard perch every April,” the station explains on its web site, “and encourages those in our community to give to find a cure for a disease that has touched everyone in one way or another.” UW’s Ron Koelewijn and Lee Elkas presented the donation in person and were featured on the air talking about the donation. Jeannie Watt of food services explains that staff started to collect donations at their annual Christmas party and kept adding through the winter through a silent auction, games, leftover lottery collection money, and general donations.

Several UW officials took part in an “Oil & Gas Cocktail Reception” held yesterday at Calgary’s famous Petroleum Club and hosted by Jim Gray, a director of several major Canadian companies and founder of Canadian Hunter Exploration Ltd. The purpose: to highlight leading-edge research initiatives in surface and groundwater research at Waterloo and build up support for an international Endowed Chair in Groundwater Research, as well as highlighting Waterloo's strengths in energy research in general. Speakers included president David Johnston, dean of science (and soon to be vice-president for research) George Dixon, and Robert Gillham, chair of the earth sciences department.

Says a memo from the direction of the Tatham Centre: “The Co-operative Education Council is, once again, looking for content developers for online courses as part of the Professional Development program for co-op students. Currently, expertise is being sought for the following topics: Conflict Resolution, Problem Solving, Project Management. The development for these three courses will take place over the next 12 months with the first offerings of these courses to be Spring 2008 or later.” The deadline for proposals for any of these courses is May 14; a document with more information (“the requirements for a proposal or details on remuneration”) is available from Judene Pretti, manager of the PD program,

The proposed "addendum" to UW's north campus Environmental Reserve regulations, part of the plan for the "West Side Partnership" involving a public library, YMCA and sports fields, is expected to come up for a vote Monday night at Waterloo city council. • At least four UW people are on the list of nominees for the Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Awards, which are to be presented Saturday night at an elegant event in the Walper Terrace Hotel. • The Chapel Choir from Conrad Grebel University College goes on tour this weekend, performing at churches in Vineland, Markham and Ottawa.

Here's a reminder that faculty members and departments have until May 15 to apply for funds from the Learning Initiatives Fund and Program Initiatives Fund, aimed at improved instructional methods and learning resources. • Columbia Lake Village is seeking "a certified and experienced tutor to teach English slang, idioms and expressions to our diverse resident population" — Amy Endert ( has details. • And CLV is also holding an art contest for children who live in that "diverse" community, with tomorrow as the deadline.


Back to top

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin