Tuesday, February 27, 2007

  • Post-docs called an important group
  • Student duo will bike from sea to sea
  • 'We all work together,' and more notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca


Meghan Reid, a first-year student in the social development studies program, died Friday as the result of an accident. She was particularly well known at Renison College, where the SDS program is based, and a memorial service for her will be held in St. Bede's Chapel there on Thursday at 11 a.m. At the same hour, a service will be held at Tubman Funeral Home on Richmond Road in Ottawa. Memorial donations to Renison College are suggested, and "condolences, tributes or donations" can be made through the funeral home's web site. "Meghan touched many lives," says the official obituary notice, "and will always be remembered for her beauty, warm smile and musical talent."

Link of the day

Elizabeth Taylor is 75

When and where

'iLife Interactive' drop-in presentation by Apple, today and Wednesday 11:00 to 3:00, Campus TechShop, Student Life Centre.

Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian speaks on "Privacy by Design", sponsored by Engineering Society and other societies and faculties, 12 noon, Theatre of the Arts, details online.

'Your Future UW Pension' information session sponsored by faculty association, staff association and CUPE local 793, 12 noon, Humanities Theatre.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week: displays in Student Life Centre, video on body image followed by discussion, 12:00 today, SLC multi-purpose room.

Federation of Students executive meet-and-greet session, 3:30, Student Life Centre great hall.

TD Canada Trust/Walter Bean Lecture by Mike Harcourt, former premier of British Columbia: "Canada's Cities, Competitive and Sustainable?" 3:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre, free reservations ext. 8-4973.

National Engineering Week event: Erin Bourke-Dunphy, 1998 graduate in electrical and computer engineering, "A Woman's Perspective", 4:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 103; then "Dynamic Systems: The Move to Knowledge-Driven Management", 6 p.m., RCH room 101.

Career workshop: "Work Search Strategies for International Students" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, registration online.

Seattle alumni celebration, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Bellevue Arts Museum, details online.

Arriscraft Lecture by Michael Stacey, University of Nottingham, "Aluminium, Excellence and Sustainability", 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall.

Centre for Family Business, Conrad Grebel University College, one-day workshop: "Learn to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence", Wednesday, details online.

Canada Council officials explain Killam Research Fellowship program, presentation Wednesday 9:00 a.m., Needles Hall room 3001; individual appointments available (e-mail jcolwell@uwaterloo.ca)

Free noon concert: "From Rameau to Bach" (soprano, flute and piano), Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Smarter Health seminar: Vimla L. Patel, Columbia University, "Why Not a Cognitive Science Approach to Understanding Clinician-Computer Interaction?" Wednesday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Green Roofs over Waterloo lecture: Martin Liefhebber, Breathe Architects, speaks on "Buildings as Instruments of Change", Wednesday 5 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 302, free.

Render series on contemporary art: Dane Watkins, "Drawing and Animation in the Digital Environment", Wednesday 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall.

Staff association town hall meetings Thursday 12 noon in Rod Coutts Hall room 301, 4:30 p.m. in Physics room 145.

Surplus sale of UW property, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall (off Phillip Street).

Department of English presents Julie Rivkin, Connecticut College, "The Perverse Library of Alice Munro", Thursday 4 p.m., Humanities room 232.

Waterloo engineering 50th anniversary celebration, Thursday 6:00, Royal York Hotel, Toronto, $125 per person, details online.

International Student Development Conference Friday-Saturday, Rod Coutts Hall, agenda now online.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel University College, "Midnight: Darkness and Wonder", Saturday 8 p.m., St. John's Church, Kitchener, tickets $20, students and seniors $15.

Income tax information session for international students, March 7, 10:00 to 12 noon, Needles Hall room 3001.

One click away

American student wonders about coming to UW
Training with the triathlon club (Imprint)
The romantic life of women with degrees
Centenary for McGill's Macdonald campus
Marking the day when tuition fees are used up
Overseas campuses 'not for the faint of heart'
'Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy'
European agencies call for 'open access' research
Liberal critic says students are victims
Bombed university in Iraq dates back to 13th century
Campus sex: 'a series of joyless encounters'
Beyond tuition, the cost of books and student life (Globe)

Post-docs called an important group

Not quite faculty, not quite staff, not quite students, post-doctoral fellows are "an important and growing cohort", says a brief statement about them prepared for the UW senate's long-range planning committee.

PDFs — not the kind created by Adobe Acrobat software, but the kind who carry on academic research after finishing a PhD — are a small, often neglected part of the university's population. Their value is one of a number of issues that didn't get included in the UW "sixth decade plan", which the committee finished last year. It's returning to some of those neglected issues now, and had the importance of post-docs on the agenda for a meeting yesterday.

Postdocs typically are recent doctoral graduates, gaining additional specialized experience in a research lab before launching their own faculty careers. They don't pay tuition fees, and draw what's described as a "stipend" (not a "salary"). Some PDFs are paid by outside granting agencies, and some by UW itself, from funds for specific research projects. The minimum stipend is $30,000 annually.

Says the UW statement, prepared for the committee by two deans and a graduate student: "Postdoctoral Fellows make important contributions to research and innovation in any research-intense university. In many disciplines, they represent a significant intermediate step between student and scholar in an academic career. They are also a key resource for students and faculty alike in furthering the scholarly mission of the university, acting as junior mentors and senior researchers in academic research groups. As a consequence, PDFs are an important and growing cohort of UW's academic community.

"UW will continue to utilize Senate-approved guidelines related to Postdoctoral Fellows and will ensure that PDFs are fully integrated into University policies, guidelines and practices. The Graduate Studies Office will have a process in place to monitor and provide services to PDFs during 2007."

The senate guidelines, which date from June 2005, indicate that "Each PDF must be affiliated with a UW faculty member . . . the maximum initial term of appointment is three years. . . . Postdoctoral fellows and their faculty supervisors must identify appropriate professional growth and career advancement goals . . . faculty members are encouraged to select PDFs who will contribute to their research/research teams and, in turn, provide the resources needed for PDFs to contribute to their field of interest through publications, professional presentations, and teaching/mentoring the activities of junior researchers and graduate students."

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Student duo will bike from sea to sea

by John Morris, UW media relations

Biking across Canada this spring with GPS, Bluetooth and BlackBerry technology tracking their daily progress on a website, two Waterloo engineering students want to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers now in high school to build a greener better world.

Benjamin Sanders and Eric Vieth, both fourth-year majors in electrical engineering, plan to recharge any battery-operated devices they use on the journey — such as their wireless BlackBerries and Global Positioning System receivers — with hydrogen fuel cells, portable power generators and solar panels mounted on two bike trailers. They also hope to use the alternative power to prepare meals when camping along the way.

The two will visit 29 high schools in 10 provinces during their 7,900-kilometre gruelling trek from Victoria to St. John’s in order to encourage students to consider a future in science, engineering and environmental fields. The 68-day tour begins April 23 in Victoria.

“Clean energy is our key theme,” says Sanders. “Concern for the environment is on everyone’s mind these days, which has prompted a renewed focus on clean forms of energy. We want to show high school students how technology in science and engineering can solve environmental problems, how it can effect real change and help bring about a more environmentally sustainable world.”

That’s why it’s important to exhibit small hydrogen fuel cells and portable power generators supplying the renewable energy needed during the trip for everyday tasks such as cooking. “It will attract the attention of curious high school students and promote science and engineering as a career,” Sanders says.

“We want to teach young Canadians about energy consumption and encourage them to re-think the way we manage our resources,” adds Vieth.

The cycling tour has received the support of professors, researchers and students in UW’s faculties of engineering, science and environmental studies. Local high-tech companies, such as Research In Motion, ATS, G-Tech and Infusion Development, have played key roles contributing technology and custom software for the cycling tour.

The project will cost some $20,000, including the cost of road bicycles, camping gear, flights, web development and living expenses. So far, the students have raised $10,000 (mostly in equipment donations) and expect another $10,000 in financial sponsorships, mainly from campus sources.

The name of their interactive website — www.next-generation.ca — sums up the project’s purpose: To engage the next generation of scientists and engineers in building a world using next-generation technologies, as exemplified by UW research expertise in alternative fuels and fuel cell technology.

Visitors to the website can follow the journey thanks to the GPS-enabled BlackBerry technology and the site’s built-in mapping software. It will feature a daily blog and streaming photos, as well as information on the environment, power generation and post-secondary education.

Sanders says he and Vieth have benefited from rewarding experiences during their academic and co-op terms at UW. “We really believe we can help to give a little back by going on this journey and by engaging young people in the pursuit of science and engineering.”

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'We all work together,' and more notes

Today's one of those occasional, unexpected days (the last one was a Wednesday in late January) when for no apparent reason, visiting lecturers and special events converge like planets in conjunction. The "When and where" column at right has the details of today's syzygy, including a visit by privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian, the "Walter Bean lecture" by former British Columbia premier Mike Harcourt, the potentially controversial noontime session about the UW pension fund, and an Arriscraft Lecture tonight at the school of architecture. To bridge them all there's an evening session that's titled "Connecting Communities: The Uniting Power of Art". It's sponsored by two UW-published magazines — The New Quarterly and Alternatives Journal — as well as the program aimed at promising youngsters, Waterloo Unlimited. "Poets and politicians, strategists and storytellers, how can we all work together?" is the question to be addressed by a panel and audience discussion, followed by "storytelling, theatrical antics and musical performance" and the launch of "twinned issues" of TNQ and Alternatives. And it all fits into a two-hour window, 7 to 9 p.m. in the Conrad Grebel University College great hall. Admission is free.

To repeat an announcement from a couple of days back: The UW faculty association has issued a call for nominations as it prepares to elect a 2007-08 president and four members of its eleven-person board. "Serving on the FAUW Board of Directors offers many opportunities to learn about the structures and procedures of University governance," says a memo from the elections committee. "The FAUW is one of the few places where members can effect changes in University policies and procedures." The memo also notes that the current president, Roydon Fraser of the mechanical engineering department, is not running for re-election. The nomination deadline is next Monday, March 5." More information about the association is, of course, available on its web site.

Yesterday afternoon there was a by-invitation reception at the Accelerator Centre on the north campus, which has just become the home of UW's Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, as well as housing a number of start-up businesses, companies to provide services to them, and high-tech agencies. The event was to celebrate "the upcoming 5th year" of CBET's master's degree program — the MBET — and, according to organizers, to encourage "a let's-work-together community mindset". It featured keynote speaker David Thomson, author of Blueprint to a Billion, as well as remarks from UW president David Johnston and several local executives.

Plans are moving ahead for the annual Graduate Student Research Conference, scheduled to be held April 23-26. Grads wanting to present their research either orally or through a poster at the conference were asked to submit abstracts earlier this month, and now they'll be arranged in a schedule that just seems to get more extensive each year. News from Carrie Nickerson of the graduate studies office, who's doing some of the heavy lifting for the event: "We have confirmed our keynote speaker: Roberta Jamieson will be speaking at the Theatre of the Arts on Monday, April 23, at 8:00 p.m. Conference participants will receive one free ticket, and others will be able to purchase tickets through the Humanities box office at the end of March."

Finally, a couple of corrections to yesterday's Daily Bulletin. First, the student who is featured on the co-op department's web site as winner of the S&C Electric Scholarship had his name misspelt there (it's now been corrected), and so it was misspelt here as well. He is actually Ali Kazerani of electrical engineering. Second, the playoff series that pits the men's hockey Warriors against Laurier's Golden Hawks begins not on Friday night, as I wrote, but on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m. That's a home game for WLU, and will be played in the Clarica Arena at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Centre. UW hosts the second game, Friday night at the Columbia Icefield.


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Yesterday's Daily Bulletin