Wednesday, June 6, 2007

  • Campaign Waterloo set to continue
  • 16 go overseas from St. Jerome's
  • A shy customer, a crabby co-worker
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

International researchers converge on UW

From a report by the associate vice-president (international), presented at yesterday's board of governors meeting:

UW will be hosting a number of high-profile research forums on campus during this month. With the assistance of a $50,000 grant from the Ministry of Research and Innovation, the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics has organized the Ontario-India Nano-Workshop. It will bring together researchers from a number of Indian universities (including five IITs) and five Ontario universities (UW, U of T, McMaster, UWO, Queen's) from June 11-15.

The following week, UW will also be hosting Nano-Forum, June 18-20 organized by Dr. Tong Leung, Department of Chemistry, and a nano-medicine forum (June 20-22) led by Dr. Pu Chen, Department of Chemical Engineering.

The Institute for Quantum Computing is also hosting a series of events in conjunction with the Perimeter Institute under the banner of "Taming the Quantum World" (May 27-June 30) that will bring together the world's top scholars in quantum computing.

Along the ring road

The east side of the ring road is closed, except to service vehicles, as a crew carries out milling operations (removing the top surface of the pavement). This stage of the summer-long road repairs is expected to last through Friday and possibly into next week.

Pickets near the main entrance to campus are from the Labourers International Union of North America, on strike against contractors, including the firm responsible for the School of Accountancy wing on Hagey Hall.

Link of the day

D-Day 1944

When and where

Garden dedication at Tatham Centre in honour of A. S. (Bert) Barber, pioneer of co-op education at UW, scheduled for this afternoon, postponed until fall.

Architecture graduate Allan Cai, director of World Development Angola, speaks on "The Architecture of Alternative Development: Planning with Vulnerable People and Places in Turbulent Times", 3:00, Architecture lecture hall.

'Air quality in Ontario' presentation by David Yap, Ontario ministry of the environment, 3:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113, presentation for National Environment Week.

Perimeter Institute presents Jay Melosh, University of Arizona, "Death of the Dinos: Giant Impacts and Biological Crises", 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information 519-883-4480.

Faculty of Science 50th anniversary picnic and group photo for faculty and staff, Thursday 11:30 to 1:30, Optometry west lawn.

Christine Ledbury, university secretariat, retirement open house Thursday 3:00 p.m., Needles Hall third floor patio, RSVP ext. 3-2749.

Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation annual town hall meeting Thursday 4:30, Waterloo Inn; keynote speaker, Ken Coates, UW dean of arts.

'The Great Homeless Count' film showing sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Thursday 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Annual child care festival involving Early Childhood Education Centre, Hildegard Marsden Day Nursery, Klemmer Farmhouse Day Nursery and Paintin' Place, Friday 9:45, Village green, guest performer Erick Traplin.

Groundbreaking for Optometry building addition Friday 11:15 a.m. on west side of existing building.

Waterloo Symposium in Undergraduate Mathematics (WatSUM) Friday-Saturday, details online.

Garage sale (9:00 to 3:00) and barbecue (from 11:00), Sunday, Columbia Lake Village community centre; all welcome from inside or outside CLV; sign up for garage sale table by e-mail,

Class enrolment appointments for continuing students to choose fall term courses on Quest, June 11-23.

Ninety-fourth Convocation in eight sessions June 13-16, Physical Activities Complex, details online.

Bruce Lumsden, former UW administrator, director of co-op education and career services, reception marking his award as Honorary Member of the University, Wednesday 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP ext. 3–3926.

'Africa: Not as Seen on TV' multi-media presentation by Greg John, returned from development work in Tanzania, as well as art exhibition, African goods for sale and other features, Wednesday, June 13, 6:30 p.m. (cash bar) for 7:15, St. Paul's United College; repeat showing June 28 at Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, tickets $10 from St. Paul's, 519-885-1465.

Positions available

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

• Coordinator of technical operations, Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, USG 8
• Undergraduate secretary, English, USG 5
• General cafeteria helper (regular recurring), food services
• Food services assistant, food services
• Cook, food services
• Administrative assistant, Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry, USG 6
• Senior instructional developer/programming, Centre for Teaching Excellence, USG 12

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

[Back to the fUWture logo]

'Looks like a great day to go back to the fUWture!' says Scott Davis of co-op and career services, one of the committee organizing today's Keystone Campaign celebration. It's still cool after yesterday's cold snap, but skies are clear and the midday party will definitely be held outdoors as planned, says Davis — adding that people should take note of the temperature and "dress appropriately". Things will run from 11:30 to 1:30 at the rock garden and Biology green, with festivities, food, music, games, and a chance to put "dreams for the future" on record using the form on the back of the gold party invitation. A follow-up event aimed at night staff will be held at 10 p.m. in South Campus Hall.

Campaign Waterloo set to continue

Campaign Waterloo will continue — far beyond its current $350 million target — to help UW meet the goals outlined in the Sixth Decade plan, the university's board of governors agreed last night.

"There is good reason to continue," said industrial executive Bob Harding, chair of the board and also chair of Campaign Waterloo.

The Campaign originally sought to raise $260 million in one-time funding; it's now at 97 per cent of the revised $350 million goal, with more to come. "There are some fairly major donors that we're working with," Harding told the board.

“Our supporters have made it perfectly clear that they are far from finished helping us meet Canada’s research and teachings needs,” he said in a statement later. “They are excited by several of the projects identified in our strategic plan, Pursuing Global Excellence: Seizing Opportunities for Canada, and very much want to support our vision for the coming decade.”

But now the idea will be to move from a single lump sum to a Campaign that brings in money to support UW's work every year — "to move," as Harding put it, "from about a $50 million annual run rate to $100 million."

He distributed a memo to the board noting that at the recent UW executive retreat, "the Provost presented a number of slides to show that UW needs about 190 additional faculty members to reduce the student/faculty ratio to 20:1 and about 200 more academic support staff positions; funding these incremental positions will require an additional $5 million every year for the next ten years. In discussion, it became clear that EC members did not want to end Campaign Waterloo but favoured changing its focus from a targeted campaign to fund specific projects over a period of years to an ongoing campaign." Raising $5 million more each year would increase $50 million in 2007 to $100 million in 2017.

"If we can continue the campaign in an annual mode, it will be wonderful," said UW president David Johnston, telling the board that "we have fresh and exciting, and very appropriate, academic priorities coming out of the faculties," based on the Sixth Decade document. (Among them: the building proposals in the engineering faculty's Vision 2010 plan, the school of pharmacy and health sciences campus, and ambitions in the faculty of arts to be a force for social and human innovation.)

"Every faculty and department on this campus is committed to helping UW seize opportunities for Canada," says Johnston in a statement to be issued this morning. “Campaign Waterloo is here to support this campus-wide effort.”

"We're looking for your endorsement," Harding told the board at its regular quarterly meeting, held in a seminar room in the Centre for Environment and Information Technology. And the endorsement came without a word, as board members around the table nodded: the Campaign continues. "Governors, thank you," said provost Amit Chakma when he had the floor a few minutes later.

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16 go overseas from St. Jerome's

From summer camps in Honduras to an orphanage in Ukraine, a total of 16 St. Jerome’s University students are changing the world this summer through Beyond Borders training and placements.

Originally linked with the service organization Intercordia, Beyond Borders now also involves a partnership with World University Service of Canada, says Dana Woito, director of mission and communications at St. Jerome’s. “We are now continuing to develop these collaborations with other parties in building the entire program,” she said.

“The experiences of the first group of students who pioneered the way last year, along with an amazing crop of students who are in the midst of the program now, convince us that our commitment is not misplaced. We're working on providing experiences for our students that allow them to expand their educational and cultural experiences beyond geographic borders, and, metaphorically speaking, beyond all of the various borders that might limit the education of the whole person in all of its various dimensions.”

One example is Rebecca Mancini and Rebekah Stormes, who have been awarded $10,000 each from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada for their Beyond Borders projects in Kenya. Funded by the Canadian International Development Association, the AUCC "Students for Development" initiative is aimed at promoting student involvement in development work.

Mancini's proposal, which was sponsored by St. Jerome's, focuses on a women's bicycle project in the Ugunja region of Kenya. The purpose of this project is to provide bicycles to women in the region, and to support women who are attempting to remove gender biases around the use of the bicycles. In this part of Kenya, bicycles are viewed primarily as tools used by men. With the help of the Ugunja Community Resource Centre, women in the region have founded support networks and cultural training seminars for members of the community coming to terms with these new gender roles.

Stormes's proposal, which was sponsored by UW, is a microfinance project aimed at providing efficient stoves for women in the Siaya District outside the Kenyan city of Kisumu. The project will allow women to purchase the stoves with a manageable repayment plan, which will be made possible by the lower fuel costs and the increased productivity associated with these stoves. In this part of Kenya, women often use their kitchen stoves in the production of pottery. Beyond these economic benefits, these stoves are generally safer to use.

This summer also sees three students in Honduras, two in Nicaragua, two in Ecuador, one in Bosnia-Herzegovina (working at a Christian-Muslim youth reconciliation centre), two in Ghana, and four in Ukraine, says religious studies professor Scott Kline, the director of the program for St. Jerome’s.

The students in Ukraine finished their language training last week and are now settling into their three-month placements, says Woito. The college has first-hand information about their progress, as the acting president of St. Jerome’s, Myroslaw Tataryn, looked in on them during a late-May visit to Ukraine.

“He has been forging relationships with the universities in the cities (Ternopil and Lviv) where some of our students are placed, as he has the advantage of knowing Ukraine very well, and of speaking the language,” she said. “He reports that they are doing very well, and that the university administration are eager to continue their collaborations with us.”

Kline notes that Beyond Borders “is a year-long program that begins each fall with a course that examines the effects of poverty on education, transportation, health care, housing, and governance. In the winter term, students take a course entitled Justice, Peace and Development, which focuses on understanding the development issues in the country where they have been placed. The spring/summer term they are abroad working with and living among some of the world's marginalized communities.

“For the 2007-2008 program, we have accepted 21 students from a variety of disciplines, including engineering, arts and science. The Beyond Borders program is open to students at SJU and UW. Recruitment will begin in November.”

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A shy customer, a crabby co-worker

“People don’t mean to be difficult, but they can be,” says Patsy Marshall — and that’s why there’s a steady demand for her one-day course in “The Art of Influencing Difficult People”. She says “difficult” can mean negative… indecisive… angry… demanding… even just shy, as with a customer so close-mouthed that it’s hard to figure out what he or she actually wants.

She’ll be teaching the course for UW’s continuing education office next Tuesday (June 12), and says she’s lost track of how frequently it’s been offered before. Seven or eight times, she thinks, noting that the students are generally a mixture of people from inside UW (who get a discount on the regular $310 fee) and outside.

Her own experiences, working in the health care system and more recently as a full-time educator, provide some of the background for the course content, Marshall says. “I’ll tell a story, and then invite the students to share. I just have to have that interaction!” Often students will work in pairs, she says, and sometimes “they can try to imitate or mimic a difficult person.”

An important part of the course, she says, is a quick introduction to Personality Dimensions, a tool for sorting people into four main personality types, much like the popular True Colors. Of course the point is not just classifying somebody as green, blue, orange or gold, but “how do you honour those differences?” For instance, she says, it helps to realize that if a colleague or customer fits into the “green” category, “incompetence is going to bother them” and it would be wise to show up well prepared. “It’s not the sole focus,” says Marshall, “but it’s so helpful!”

Then the course moves on to “other strategies and techniques — how to influence different kinds of people, and yet make sure that we get our own needs met, or the organization’s needs met.” Even if it’s necessary in the end to “agree to disagree”, she insists, “we care enough about the person, and the relationship, to respect each other.”

Marshall doesn’t claim to be able to change difficult people (“our values are often long-lasting, very stable”), just to offer some tools for working with them. And she admits she can be difficult herself at times (“I’m a principled person… it’s important that the class starts on time, ends on time.”)

She’s been teaching for some 30 years in what she calls “soft skills” areas, including organizational behaviour, performance management and training techniques. Some of her work is through Conestoga College, some through Brock University; she also operates her own company, Train on Track, which has sent her all over Canada to do training for corporations. “It’s the real world experience that really counts,” she says.

She has high praise for UW’s continuing education office, not just because “they purposely keep the classes small” to improve interaction, but also for the quality and comfort of the classroom at 335 Gage Avenue where such courses take place. The season is winding down for continuing ed, with just a few courses left in June, including Effective Recruitment and Selection Techniques, Listening with Understanding, Enhancing Your Business Writing Skills, and The Art of Negotiation.


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