Thursday, June 7, 2007

  • National prize for philosophy prof
  • Learned societies coming in 2012
  • News out of a clear blue sky
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Corpus Christi

When and where

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

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

Career workshop: "Successfully Negotiating Job Offers" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation annual town hall meeting 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, 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Canada's Wonderland trip organized by Federation of Students, Friday, tickets $37 from Fed office, Student Life Centre.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Stephen Markan speaks on Sharepoint Services, version 3 (to be deployed by IST June 20), Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar 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.

UW retirees' association wineries tour to Niagara Peninsula Tuesday, sold out, information 519-699-4015.

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.

'Vision' conference, "Tomorrow's Health Leaders Together Today", Saturday, June 16, Davis Centre, details online.

Toronto Blue Jays Saturday, Saturday, June 16, trip organized by Graduate Student Association, tickets (game $7, bus $10) on sale at Grad House.

Canada Day celebrations on the north campus Sunday, July 1. UW holiday Monday, July 2 (no classes; offices and services closed).

The fine print

Mailings to promote "2017: The Workplace", a major conference on work that will be held at UW in mid-October, are being sent to some 18,000 people in business, academe and government, Karalee Clerk of the co-op and career services department told the UW board of governors on Tuesday.

Live entertainment comes to the Graduate House every Thursday evening; today it's members of the UW DJ Club doing their electronic thing. Admission is free for grads, $5 for others.

Gays and Lesbians of Waterloo, along with the Federation of Students, will send a delegation to take part in Toronto's Pride Parade on Sunday, June 24; anyone interested can get in touch by e-mail,

A research group in the psychology department is still looking for looking for married people to complete questionnaires on their motivations in their marriages. "You would be asked to provide personal information about you and your marriage. The questionnaires will take approximately one hour to complete. In appreciation of your time, you will receive two movie passes to Cineplex Odeon Theatres." Information: e-mail

A PhD oral defence by Kai Chen of the statistics and actuarial science department, announced for 10:00 a.m. on June 18, has been rescheduled and will be held at 9:00 a.m. that day, in Math and Computer room 6027.

Tomorrow is the deadline for applications to take part in the Health Informatics Bootcamp, being offered June 14-15 by the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research.

[Thagard]National prize for philosophy prof

a news release from the Canada Council

UW philosophy professor Paul Thagard (left) is one of two winners of this year’s $50,000 Molson Prizes from the Canada Council to the Arts. The other prize goes to composer, conductor and music educator Alex Pauk.

Thagard, winner of the Molson Prize in the Social Sciences and Humanities, is Canada’s foremost scholar in the field of cognitive science, which brings together philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, linguistics and anthropology to study the mind and intelligence. Pauk, winner of the Molson Prize in the Arts, is one of Canada’s most distinguished contemporary composers. In 1983, he founded Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra, Canada’s only orchestra devoted to new music.

Two Molson Prizes are awarded every year to distinguished Canadians, one in the arts and the other in the social sciences or humanities. The prizes recognize the recipients’ outstanding lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada.

In selecting this year’s recipients, the jury said: “Paul Thagard is one of Canada’s most distinguished philosophers, whose virtually unparalleled work on the conceptual aspects of cognitive science and scientific reasoning has helped make University of Waterloo a magnet for top graduate students in these fields. His multi-disciplinary work and cross-disciplinary collaborations link several academic fields, including philosophy, psychology and artificial intelligence in the new discipline of cognitive science, a field which he co-founded.

“He has made major contributions and published widely in a number of fields and in the top publications and presses in the world. He is a true leader at the international level, a ground-breaking scholar and one of the most important thinkers of his generation.”

Established in 1964, the Molson Prizes are funded from the income of an endowment given to the Council by the Molson Foundation and now valued at more than $2.6 million. The Council administers these awards in cooperation with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and, following a nomination process, both laureates are selected by a joint peer jury.

This year’s Molson Prize jury was co-chaired by Carol Bream, director of public affairs, research and communications at the Canada Council for the Arts, and Patricia Dunne, acting vice-president (programs) at the SSHRC. The jury was made up of University of Manitoba English professor Diana Brydon, York University English professor Christopher Innes, Université Laval management professor Réjean Landry, choreographer and director Brian Macdonald of Stratford, photographer and University of Calgary art professor Arthur Nishimura, and video artist Lisa Steele.

The Molson Prize in the Arts will be presented to Alex Pauk at an Esprit Orchestra concert in the fall of 2007; the Molson Prize in the Social Sciences and Humanities will be presented at an event at UW, also this fall.

Thagard, born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, Cambridge University, University of Toronto and the University of Michigan. He has held appointments at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Princeton University and has been teaching at Waterloo since 1992, where he received an Award for Excellence in Research (2003) and was appointed University Research Chair (2005). In 2006, he was made a fellow of the Cognitive Science Society, only the second Canadian resident to receive that honour.

He is author or co-author of eight books and editor or co-editor of three others. He also has close to 200 other publications, including ones in leading journals in philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. He has given presentations at more than 100 conferences and universities and his work has been translated into Polish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, German, Japanese and Chinese.

In 1992, his book, Conceptual Revolutions, was named the Outstanding Book in Psychology at the Association of American Publishers’ professional and scholarly book awards.

The Canada Council for the Arts, in addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts in Canada, administers and awards prizes and fellowships to over 100 artists and scholars annually in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and health sciences, and engineering.

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Learned societies coming in 2012

UW and Wilfrid Laurier University will welcome thousands of scholars to the region in 2012 as co-hosts of the largest academic gathering in Canada — the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) recently approved a joint bid by the two universities to host the organization's 2012 conference in Waterloo. The announcement, although mentioned publicly several weeks ago, was made officially just as the 2007 Congress was winding up on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan.

"The level of co-operation between Laurier and UW's faculties of arts is a rare and valued commodity among Canadian universities," says David Docherty, Laurier's dean of arts. "We look forward to showcasing our capabilities to the more than 7,500 national and international academics who will visit our schools."

"Congress 2012 is a collaborative effort that will highlight why Waterloo Region is widely recognized as being one of the world's most innovative communities," said Ken Coates, UW's dean of arts. "We are excited to host the congress delegates as one of the many joint efforts between our two universities."

The prospect of hosting the congress in Waterloo for the first time in the federation's 76-year history gained early support from such local organizations as the Centre for International Governance Innovation, the City of Waterloo, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo and the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, a news release says

"We have been extremely impressed by the level of commitment and enthusiasm expressed by both universities as well as representatives of the local community, and we know that this bodes well for the 2012 congress," CFHSS president Noreen Golfman said in a letter announcing the successful bid.

Delegates will enjoy lectures, a speaker series, symposia, a scholarly book fair with more than 150 publishers, special events put on by the host universities and local cultural attractions as part of the weeklong conference.

CFHSS organizes the annual conference, formerly known as the Learneds, in collaboration with host universities. CFHSS represents more than 50,000 researchers in 66 associations and 71 universities and colleges. The Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences has been an annual event since 1931.

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[Johnston in scarlet Thunderbird; happy winner]

Arriving in a Thunderbird straight out of 1957, UW president David Johnston was hard to miss at yesterday's noontime Keystone Campaign picnic in the heart of campus. (Photo by Steve Brooks.) Right, Bruce Wildfong of the plant operations mechanical section won the grand prize from VIP Travel. "It was a fantastic event," says Shelley Rudd of the development and alumni affairs office, who has a report on the Keystone web site today.

News out of a clear blue sky

[Doherty]Howard Armitage, the accountancy professor who was the founding director of UW's Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, is taking on a new, less hands-on role as he returns from a sabbatical leave. Armitage will have the new title of "executive director" of CBET, says a memo from the dean of engineering, the faculty in which CBET is now housed. Becoming director of the centre, effective May 1, is Paul Doherty (left), formerly assistant director (and acting director over the past year). "The new position and reassignment of responsibilities," wrote the dean, Adel Sedra, "is the result of CBET's growth in its flagship MBET program, its outreach activities and its growing academic and commercial partnerships."

There should be some money in UW's budget this year, the provost told the board of governors on Tuesday, to get started on what administrators have taken to calling "smart projects". That means efforts to simplify systems, reduce work (especially duplicated work) and eventually save the organization money. Provost Amit Chakma gave seven examples: graduate admissions management and operation (a thicket of paperwork that he's mentioned before as needing an overhaul), undergraduate recruitment and admissions, space usage and management, database management (systems and records that can't communicate with one another), online learning, coordination of the university's marketing, and "administrative processes" generally.

[Campbell]The development and alumni affairs office hires many students to work in the "call centre" making contact with UW alumni and other potential donors. Some stay longer, and raise more money, than others, but Matthew Campbell (right) is pretty much in a class by himself. As he prepares to receive his BA in history next week, he was honoured in a little ceremony a week ago today. Campbell becomes one of just three students who have brought in $1 million in cash and pledges for UW during their shifts in the call centre. Alex Lippert of the arts alumni office and history department chair Andrew Hunt dropped by to add their congratulations. The call centre raised just shy of $6 million altogether in 2006-07, and is aiming for $1.3 million in the current (spring) term.

And speaking of the call centre and annual giving to UW, a new Matching Gift Company Campaign Challenge is to be started this summer. The goals of this mail/call appeal are to increase donor participation and average gifts from UW alumni employed at companies that have a policy of matching their employees' gifts to certain agencies, including universities. More news from the same direction: plans are to launch a new "cumulative giving recognition group" — a complement to such existing groups as the President's Circle for leading individual givers. The new grouping, to be called the 1957 Society in honour of UW's founding year, will include individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations whose giving to UW over the years passes a certain level.

[Structure covered in latticework, geese nearby]Many people pass it every day and don't know what it is — the little structure covered in latticework, across the ring road from Needles Hall. It's a water pumping station, called the Dearborn Well in honour of the long-ago days when University Avenue was Dearborn Street, and formerly part of the local water supply system. The water it delivers from deep in the ground has never had contamination problems, but it's no longer acceptable to put untreated water into city pipes, so the Dearborn Well was taken off the municipal system years ago, and is now used as a source of water for the fish laboratories in UW's nearby Biology buildings. Waterloo Region then offered to sell the pumping station itself to UW, and the university's board of governors was told this week that an environmental study and an assessment of possible liabilities have been completed. "The well provides a reliable non-potable supply," experts from Conestoga-Rovers concluded, according to a report submitted by the building and properties committee. And so the board formally voted "to finalize the transfer of the well from the Region" to UW ownership. The price: $1.

And . . . Adam Rauf is captain of UW's squash team as well as an active member of the UW International Health Development Association (UWIHDA), and does he have an offer for you. “This summer,” he writes, “seven UW students (myself included) will be travelling to Cochabamba, Bolivia, with the registered charity Hands Across the Nation to help construct an orphanage and dental centre. I am hosting squash lessons, and people can donate what they want at the end of a 40-minute lesson. All money raised will be donated to Hands Across the Nation. Tax deductible receipts can be provided.” The offer is available on several weekends — June 9-10 and 23-24, July 7-8 and 14-15 — at Goodlife Fitness on Columbia Street. It’s a $35 value, Rauf suggests. Kids are welcome as well as adults (“under 16 years of age will require parental supervision”) and more information is available by e-mail,, or by phone, 519-574-0806.


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