Tuesday, May 29, 2007

  • Klondike story set to intrigue surfers
  • All about the Staff Recognition Awards
  • Happening around the ring road
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Mennonite-Muslim conference off to a noisy start

The controversial Shi'ah Muslim–Mennonite Christian Dialogue III got started last night — a day late because of difficulties getting its half-dozen Iranian speakers to Canada — and then shut down its one public session soon after it began.

Demonstrators shouted and chanted, keeping the first speaker from Iran's Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute from speaking, and organizers abandoned the event after a few minutes. The rest of the conference, now scheduled to run through Thursday, will be held in private.

Scores of police surrounded Conrad Grebel University College last evening, with outposts up and down Westmount Road and even an officer visible on the college roof. A crowd control squad was brought in from Toronto in case things got out of control with multiple groups of demonstrators outside the college, but the extra police weren't needed.

The conference is sponsored by Grebel and the Mennonite Central Committee, and is third in a series of events linking Iranian Shi'ah Muslims with North American Mennonites.

Report in today's Record

Link of the day

Ascension of Baha'u'llah

When and where

University of Toronto convocation presenting honorary Doctor of Science degree to Adel Sedra, UW dean of engineering and former U of T provost, 10:00, Convocation Hall.

Career workshops: "Exploring Your Personality Type, Part I" 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1112; "Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions" 3:30, TC room 1208; "Are You Thinking of an International Experience" 4:30, TC 2218; registration online.

Computer science information session on third-year and fourth-year courses, 4:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 1085.

UW @ MaRS opening celebration 5:00 to 7:00, MaRS Discovery District, 101 College Street, Toronto.

'Sustainable development, the environment and engineering' session sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Wednesday 12:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room, details online.

Master of Engineering in mechanical engineering information session Wednesday 7:30 p.m., Accelerator Centre suite 240, registration ext. 3-2019.

UW Graphics 50th anniversary open house, ice cream sodas and the new four-colour digital imaging press, Wednesday 11:00 to 3:30, Commissary building, information ext. 3-3452.

Money management workshop sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Thursday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5136, registration ext. 3-7028.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and property, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, Central Stores, East Campus Hall.

Diana Brohman, office of development and alumni affairs, retirement reception Thursday 3:00 to 4:30, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall.

Research and innovation announcement by John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Friday 9:30 a.m., Microwave Integrated System Lab, Engineering III.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Chicago Cubs, trip organized by Columbia Lake Village, June 2, bus leaves 10:30 a.m., admission and bus $25 per person, tickets at CLV community centre.

Charlottetown alumni event sponsored by UW and University of Guelph: family skate with Olympic medalist Cassie Campbell, followed by reception, Saturday 4:00 to 6:30 p.m., details online.

5-km run and family walk raising funds for a new facility for Hildegard Marsden Cooperative Day Nursery, Sunday, June 3, 10:30 a.m., details and registration online, donations welcome.

Val O'Donovan memorial garden dedication ceremony Tuesday, June 5, 1:00 p.m., north end of PAC quadrangle.

UW board of governors meets Tuesday, June 5, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Keystone Campaign annual summer event, Wednesday, June 6, 11:30 to 1:30, rock garden and Biology green, plus evening event 10:00 p.m., South Campus Hall, details online.

Perimeter Institute presents Jay Melosh, University of Arizona, "Death of the Dinos: Giant Impacts and Biological Crises", Wednesday, June 6, 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, June 7, 11:30 to 1:30, Optometry west lawn.

Groundbreaking for Optometry building addition Friday, June 8, 11:15 a.m. on west side of existing building.

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

Staff association annual general meeting June 19, 9:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 2017.

PhD oral defences

Statistics and actuarial science. Kai Chen, “The Valuation and Risk Management of a DB Underpin Pension Plan.” Supervisor, Mary Hardy. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, June 18, 10:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 6027.

Statistics and actuarial science. Siu Hang Li, “Stochastic Mortality Models with Applications in Financial Risk Management.” Supervisors, Mary Hardy and Ken Seng Tan. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, June 18, 2:00 p.m., Math and Computer room 6027.

Electrical and computer engineering. David J. Rennie, “Analysis and Design of Robust Multi-Gb/s Clock and Data Recovery Circuits.” Supervisor, Manoj Sachdev. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, June 19, 9:30 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

Civil and environmental engineering. Ahmad Rteil, “Fatigue Bond Behaviour of Corroded Reinforcement and CFRP Confined Concrete.” Supervisor, Khal Soudki. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, June 28, 10:00 a.m., Engineering II room 3324.

[Chatting in the Great Hall]

The editor-in-chief of the Record newspaper and associated publications, Lynn Haddrall, was the speaker at the May meeting of the Town and Gown Society, a group of local women who support the social development studies and social work programs at Renison College. She's seen after her talk (and after being presented with a copy of UW's 50th anniversary book) holding copies of the newest magazines from the Record enterprise, Rex and Grand, while chatting with society member Jane Hill in Renison's Great Hall.

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Klondike story set to intrigue surfers

from the UW media relations office

The Klondike Mystery, co- authored by UW historian and dean of arts Ken Coates, will be the latest historical addition to the popular Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History website. The feature was launched last week in Dawson City, Yukon, and an article appeared Friday in the Record newspaper.

"The Klondike Gold Rush is perhaps the only event in Canadian history that is known around the world," says Coates. "There is a great debate about who discovered the gold that touched off the most famous gold stampede in history. The website allows people to look at the primary documents and to explore the debates, questions and issues related to the discovery. Our project is based on the premise that students can be drawn into Canadian history and archival research through the enticement of solving historical mysteries."

Coates, who specializes in the history of the Yukon and the Canadian North, co-authored the Klondike Mystery project with long-time collaborator William Morrison, a professor of history at the University of Northern British Columbia. It's part of a national project providing free materials to schools and universities to enhance the understanding of historical methods and the appreciation of Canadian history.

The project, based at the University of Victoria, the Université de Sherbrooke and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, has created a series of instructional websites aimed at enhancing research strategy and critical-thinking skills among students.

And what is the Klondike mystery? Well, at first they didn't believe George Carmack when, in August 1896, he burst into a saloon in Fortymile loudly proclaiming that he had found gold lying "thick as cheese" further up the Yukon River. He tipped a spent shotgun shell and out poured the gold dust. But did Carmack make the discovery that started the Klondike Gold Rush?

Carmack, an American, had been prospecting with three First Nations people: his wife Kate, her brother Skookum Jim, and their nephew Dawson Charlie, on a creek suggested by Canadian Robert Henderson. For a century, controversy has swirled around the question of who deserves the credit for the discovery that set off the greatest gold rush in the history of the world and a turning point in Canadian history.

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All about the Staff Recognition Awards

from a brochure distributed earlier this month

The Special Recognition Awards have been created to recognize staff members’ dedication, hard work and continued commitment to excellence in the performance of their jobs. These are staff members who come to work each day committed to making UW a better place. Contributions are made in a variety of ways and through a wide diversity of jobs at UW. Because of this diversity and because some jobs do not lend themselves to the spotlight as well as others, staff, faculty, students and others are encouraged to seek out those dedicated and committed staff who may not always have the opportunity for special projects or highly visible successes. This does not mean that the awards are for that group exclusively — only that they should reflect the true nature of all UW staff in their breadth and scope.

Each November, up to 150 individual awards of $1,500 each will be presented. The awards will not apply to base salary, which means they won’t affect recipients’ position in the salary range or attract benefits. Award payments will be included in November's pay and be accompanied by a letter of commendation, a copy of which will be retained in recipients’ Employment Files located in Human Resources. Recipients will be invited to a reception hosted by Executive Council and have their names posted on the Special Recognition Award website.

New in 2007, up to four team awards will also be presented in November. The value of the team award depends on the number of individuals in the team and the number of teams selected to receive an award. The award may be used in a combination of ways, for example, team development, enhancement of work environment, celebratory event, commemorative gifts.

All University Support Staff (i.e., regular on-going full- or part-time staff members regardless of position funding source), and housekeepers and janitors, are eligible for the awards, except members of Executive Council. USG grade level and position in the salary range are not factors. Staff must have completed their probation. Temporary and casual earnings staff, CUPE Local 793 staff and staff from the Federated University & Affiliated Colleges are not eligible.

Nomination deadline for 2007 is July 31.

All members of the UW community (peers, colleagues, co-workers, managers (your own, others), students, Board members, faculty, etc.) can nominate any University Support Staff for either an individual or team award. Nominations for individual awards can be submitted electronically, using the online nomination form, or by regular mail using the printer-friendly nomination form. Nominations for team awards can only be submitted in hard copy.

This award is for staff who consistently make a positive contribution to the success of the University and/or have a positive impact on the working lives of their colleagues, customers, etc., in one or more of the following ways:

  • Building Relationships: interacts positively and constructively with others; collaborates well with others; maintains the self-confidence and self-esteem of others; helps build strong inter-department working relationships.
  • Outstanding Service: demonstrates a positive commitment to customer service; demonstrates a commitment to resolving issues; contributes to the overall success of the University.
  • Fostering Innovation: looks for ways to do things better; seizes opportunities to effect change in a beneficial way through the utilization of technology or changing work processes; encourages others to think creatively.
  • Going Beyond Expectations: goes above and beyond the scope of their duties; takes the initiative to make things better; demonstrates commitment to the University by serving in volunteer capacities.
  • Positive Influence on the Workplace: demonstrates an overall high standard of excellence; looks to enhance teamwork; builds a positive rapport with staff, faculty and students.
  • Leadership: leads by example; shares knowledge and expertise with others; provides mentoring and coaching to others.
  • Other (Makes UW a Better Place): motivates others to be the best they can be; demonstrates exceptional commitment to the values of the University; promotes the University and impacts positively on its reputation.

Criteria — Team Award: one or more of: fostering innovation; major efficiency improvement or cost savings; achievement of a major project milestone.

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Happening around the ring road

I took a campus stroll yesterday and happened to notice a network of spray-painted lines on roadways and sidewalks, especially in the vicinity of the Davis Centre. Tom Galloway of the plant operations department says the marks are harbingers of major road construction that's scheduled to start next week and will last most of the summer. The job will involve redoing the east side of the ring road, as far up as the Columbia Street entrance to campus, and the service roads that connect it to the science and engineering buildings. It won't all happen at once, but there will definitely be effects on traffic, as there were when the west side of the ring road experienced major work a few years ago. Details are to be announced.

Since the days when it was "the purchasing department", Procurement and Contract Services has been holding an annual "trade show" to put staff and faculty in touch with the suppliers of many of the things they're likely to be ordering. This year's show began yesterday with a visit from VWR Scientific Products, which provides many of the items used in UW labs, and continues today with the emphasis on computer and audio-visual supplies. "Due to the overwhelming success of the computer show in previous years," a memo explains, "we’ve invited a number of our computer suppliers: Dell Computers, Group 4 Technology, JKL Microsystems, Onward Computers, 5D Computers, Edcom, Metafore, Nextec SMS, The Sony Store & Dynamix as well as our own Campus TechShop to attend this year’s event. We believe with the fast changing technology available with computers, this show will offer something new every time we hold it." Tomorrow the visit is from Basics Office Supplies, "back by popular demand and bringing with them a number of their suppliers". The memo adds that someone from Enterprise Rent-a-Car will also be at the show today and tomorrow — 10:00 to 3:00 both days, in the Davis Centre lounge.

While UW marks its 50th anniversary this year, a number of units are marking their 40th, as 1967 saw the creation of the Faculty of Mathematics and other changes in UW's scope and organization. The department of statistics and actuarial science (originally just "statistics") is among the groups that are reaching 40, and will hold a conference tomorrow and Thursday to celebrate. "Talks are being given over two and a half days," a memo notes, "by 17 prominent graduates of the department on a wide range of topics, under the theme Statistical Science: Present Position and Future Prospects." (Inter alia, David Bellhouse of the University of Western Ontario will give "Some Reflections on the History of Probability and Statistics"; David Li of Barclays Capital will offer "An Overview on Credit Portfolio Modeling Using Survival Analysis"; and Jack Kalbfleisch, former dean of math and now at the University of Michigan, will return to speak on "Competing Models for Competing Risks".) Details, including a schedule of the speakers, can be found online.

An announcement arrived yesterday from the unit that I suspect most people still call "the audio-visual centre", but which is now the Media Resources section of the Instructional Technologies and Multimedia Services group of Information Systems and Technology. (A-V was absorbed into IST as of May 1 a year ago.) "Media Resources is located in Engineering II, room 1309," Cheryl Petrie of the staff there notes. And business hours there are changing: "The new hours will be 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., instead of 8:30 to 12 and 1 to 4:30."

The UW chapter of Engineers Without Borders is organizing its spring term activities around a special theme, a call for Canada (and other developed countries) to devote 0.7 per cent of gross national product to international development. • The two engineering students who are bicycling across Canada this summer have made it from the prairies and onto the Canadian Shield, and they'll be visiting Michipicoten High School in Wawa, Ontario, today. • Counselling Services will have a "Wellness and Health" display in the Student Life Centre today through Thursday as a way of marking May as Mental Health Month.

The "Code Compete" programming competition will have its closing event, with intense competition and a raffle for some major hardware, from 4:30 to 6:30 today in Rod Coutts Hall room 301. • Tomorrow brings an "Open Classroom" event allowing professors to see how a colleague, Wei-Chau Xie of civil and environmental engineering, teaches a tough subject; last-minute information should be aVailable from the Centre for Teaching Excellence. • Monika Szydlowski is the newly elected president of the student Mathematics Society.


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