Thursday, November 8, 2007

  • Waiting for Maclean's — and more
  • Two busloads of shoppers head south
  • Map library celebrates GIS next week
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

CPR Awareness Month

When and where

Megaconference on IP-based videoconferencing in higher education, UW site hosted by information systems and technology, 8:30 to 4:30, Davis Centre room 1331.

Improved Processes and Parameterisation for Prediction in Cold Regions research workshop today through Saturday at Wilfrid Laurier University, details online.

Guitar busker: Anne Powers, recreation and leisure studies, plays as a United Way fund-raiser, 12:00 to 12:45, Matthews Hall main foyer.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: "Using the Case Study Approach to Challenge High-Achieving Students", 12 noon, cancelled.

Earth and environmental sciences presents Charles Lin, atmospheric science and technology directorate, Environment Canada, and David Kendell, Canadian Space Agency, speaking on research in their agencies, 1:30, CEIT room 3142; reception and open house follows in CEIT museum lobby, to celebrate the department's new name.

Career workshop: "Work Search Strategies" 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session, 4:00, Accelerator building, suite 240, 295 Hagey Boulevard, registration ext. 37106.

Young alumni networking event 6:00, The Bier Markt, 58 The Esplanade, Toronto, details online.

Arriscraft Lecture: Isabel Herault, "Parallels Nature, Body, Skin" 7:00, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge campus.

Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, presents Dan Andreae, Renison College instructor and president of Ontario Association of Social Workers, "The Future of Social Work in Ontario", 7:00, 120 Duke Street West, Kitchener.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Robert Bothwell, "Is There a Canadian Foreign Policy Tradition?" 7:00, Accelerator Centre.

Conrad Grebel University College presents the Sawatsky Lecture: Royden Loewen, University of Winnipeg, "Poetics of Peoplehood: Mennonite Ethnicity and Mennonite Faith in Canada", 7:30 p.m., Grebel great hall.

K-W Symphony performs "Latin Currents" with Concerto for Piano and Cello by Gabriela Lena Frank, performed by John Helmers, 7:30, Humanities Theatre, tickets 519-578-1570.

'The Rocky Horror Show' major production by UW drama department, public performances in Theatre of the Arts November 8-9 and 15-17 at 8 p.m., November 10 at 7 p.m. and midnight, school matinees November 9 and 16, tickets $12 (students and seniors $10) at Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

Warrior men's hockey tonight at Guelph.

UPass 'inquiry' into student transit pass and use of buses, Friday 9:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Remembrance Day observations, Friday 10:45 a.m.: Carl Pollock Hall foyer, sponsored by Engineering Society; St. Jerome's University, sponsored by Chaplains Association.

Impact Leadership Conference organized by student Impact organization, Friday-Saturday in Toronto, details online.

Indoor 3-on-3 soccer tournament sponsored by Campus Recreation, Friday and Saturday, register at athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

St. Jerome's University hosts the launch of Unlikely Utopia: The Surprising Triumph of Canadian Pluralism, by Michael Adams, Friday 7:30, Siegfried Hall, admission free.

Warrior Weekend activities Friday and Saturday evenings, Student Life Centre, including inflatable gladiator, mocktail contest, crafts, movies, details online.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel University College, concert "One in the Beginning" Saturday 8:00 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener, tickets $20, students and seniors $15.

Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, information session Monday 9:00, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Getting to Maybe: Frances Westley, UW chair in Social Innovation, speaks on her work and the role of the university in social innovation, Monday 7:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP ext. 38214 (space limited).

UW Retirees Association fall luncheon Tuesday 11:30, Hauser Haus, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, tickets $25.

Waterloo International open house at new quarters, Needles Hall room 1101, Tuesday 2:30 to 5:00.

2007 Hagey Lecture: astronaut Roberta Bondar, "What Space Medicine Teaches Canadians About Life on Earth", November 14, 8:00, Humanities Theatre, admission free.

Waiting for Maclean's — and more

The excitement should start just about now, as Maclean's magazine reveals "its highly-anticipated 17th annual (and for the second year in a row, biggest ever) ranking" of Canadian universities this morning. UW has famously been at or near the top of the rankings ("best overall", "most innovative") ever since the magazine pioneered university rankings in this country. The question now is, how will the positions shift as Maclean's is doing its calculations in new ways? Past rankings have been based on data carefully compiled by university administrative offices — in UW's case, the office of institutional analysis and planning — but after many institutions said they were withdrawing cooperation, the magazine decided to collect its own information, from "public" records and sources unknown. Everybody's now watching to see what emerges — and the first news release came out moments before this Daily Bulletin did.

Dignitaries will be at a local high school this afternoon to celebrate an "expansion and major gift announcement" for UW's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. The centre is best known for its series of contests — the Euclid, the Pascal, the Canadian Computing Competition and so on — but also sponsors events, publishes books and works with school teachers to promote education in its fields. Today's event, hosted by UW president David Johnston and dean of mathematics Tom Coleman, starts at 2:00 in the library at Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School, on Laurelwood Drive northwest of the main campus. Students and teachers from MacDonald are expected to take part as well; the invitation list includes government officials, members of the local boards of education, some UW donors, and selected math students and faculty.

Today brings the second ever DesignCamp Waterloo — a one-day gathering and showcase for student and professional digital designers from Kitchener-Waterloo and beyond. The event promises designers an opportunity to showcase their print, online, and interactive creations and collaborate with other designers in an informal setting. It will start off with a Design Showcase, in which presenters will project their work onto large screens and narrate the creative process, from inspiration to implementation. Then, in collaboration with the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, comes the Design Challenge, in which participants will brainstorm to solve a real-life design problem. The event will conclude with networking. DesignCamp Waterloo runs from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre great hall. Registration is free and open to all. The intention is “to learn what designers are doing to achieve their business and creative goals, and to recognize their accomplishments”, organizers say. “Student Majid Mirza realized this need and took action, proposing DesignCamp to a team of Waterloo students with an interest in the field. Taking its lead from BarCamp, the first camp was held in May, and was a great success.”

The book Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis has drawn some attention this year, which is doubtless why UW’s faculty of arts and the university bookstore have invited its two authors to speak on campus tonight. (And maybe it’s just a coincidence that the event comes on Maclean’s day.) James E. Côté and Anton L. Allahar are both professors in the department of sociology at the University of Western Ontario. They’ll speak at 7:00 tonight in Arts Lecture Hall room 105 (admission free). “The present state of the university is a difficult issue to comprehend for anyone outside of the education system,” a publisher’s blurb says. “If we are to believe common government reports that changes in policy are somehow making life easier for university graduates, we cannot help but believe that things are going right and are getting better in our universities. Ivory Tower Blues gives a decidedly different picture, examining this optimistic attitude as it impacts upon professors, students, and administrators in charge of the education system.”

Andrew Hunter, director of Render (a.k.a. the UW art gallery), writes to announce that the gallery, in collaboration with the recently created Critical Media Lab, “presents Marcel O'Gorman's Screening Coffin featuring Dane Watkins's Call of the Dead. This interactive work by Marcel O’Gorman (Department of English Language and Literature) and Dane Watkins (independent media artist, Somerset, England) is being presented as a complement to the Department of Drama and Speech Communications production of The Rocky Horror Show. The project repurposes O’Gorman’s Screening Coffin to present Watkins’s recently completed animated comic strip The Call of The Dead, a darkly humorous narrative that the artist describes as a ‘zombie love story’. Screen Coffin/Call of Dead will be viewable when the Modern Languages theatre is open for The Rocky Horror Show. Watkins is currently collaborating with Render and the CrimeLab on several new projects including a survey-based personality profiler being developed in collaboration with students in Marcel O’Gorman’s fall 2007 course, The Discourse of Advertising.”

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Two busloads of shoppers head south

Buoyed by the power of their 108-cent Canadian dollars, two busloads of UW people are heading for the shopping meccas of western Pennsylvania this weekend, making a trip that organizers have dubbed Retail Therapy 101.

The outing is an annual event for the social committee of UW’s staff association, and has been planned for months, but couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Canadian dollar well above par with the American greenback and a cross-border shopping boom under way.

The trip is “a girls’ weekend away, although there are three guys going this year,” says Sue Fraser of the kinesiology department, one of four committee members who will serve as hosts for the 92 participants. (The other hosts are Peggy Day of information systems and technology, Jenn Fleet of biology, and Kelly Wilker-Draves of the registrar’s office.)

The buses will leave the Davis Centre at 8:30 on Friday morning, and are expected to return around 8:00 Sunday night depending on traffic and the inevitable delay at Canada Customs. Organizers have promised a good time on the four-hour bus trip, with “random frivolity for prizes and a selection of recent movies”.

Fraser is predicting “fabulous deals” thanks to the vigorous Canadian dollar, which is up about 25 per cent against American prices during 2007. Cross-border shopping has been popular — and controversial — in recent weeks as a result.

Pennsylvania is a centre for shopping tourism at any time, largely because the state doesn’t charge sales tax on clothing. The UW contingent will head for two major centres: the Millcreek Mall area of Erie, just off Interstate 90, and the Prime Outlets complex at Grove City, off Interstate 79 between Erie and Pittsburgh. “We will be distributing maps for Millcreek Mall and Grove City on the bus,” participants have been told. “Feel free to bring along a marker to highlight all your favorite stores.”

They’ve also been given some financial notes: “The US dollar is in our favor, but just a little advice on using plastic. For a debit card you may get charged $4.00 for every transaction that you make and if you use Visa or MasterCard there could be a 2.5% conversion rate added on when you receive your bill. If you take Canadian dollars you will lose heavily on the exchange rate.”

The rising Canadian dollar is also helping UW itself, since the university often buys library materials, laboratory equipment and other supplies from American sources and pays in American funds. On the other hand, the $1.08 loonie makes Canadian education more expensive for students from overseas whose funding from home comes in American currency.

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Map library celebrates GIS next week

by Eva Dodsworth of the University Map Library

On November 14, UW will be joining thousands of other institutions worldwide to educate students, scholars, researchers and others on Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. UW offers geospatial data resources and services from the University Map Library in Environmental Studies I building. Mapping, Analysis and Design (MAD), in ES II, offers technical support for GIS courses offered by the Faculty of Environmental Studies. The two departments are combining their knowledge, skills and efforts again this year to educate students, faculty and staff across campus on GIS resources available to them.

Past GIS Day events at UW have brought 200 to 300 visitors from across campus each year. Although most visitors were students from the ES faculty, every year there is an increase in representations from other faculties such as engineering and science.

The GIS field, once considered complex and non-intuitive, is increasingly attracting internet users, many of whom do not realize they are using GIS. With free and easy access to online mapping, Google Mashups and other geo-tagging services, users are placing themselves on the map and sharing information visually. Instead of reading information in tabular format, in charts, or in directories like the Yellow Pages, users are utilizing GIS technology to map the shortest route, to find the cheapest gas station, to learn updates on road construction, to gain access to property tax assessments and more. Almost everybody uses geographic information. By being part of the earth we naturally relate to our environment spatially, as GIS technology does. Most of us belong to a geographical region, a postal code, a street address. Everything surrounding us can be mapped to this level of geography representing information visually and graphically.

GIS Day 2007 is about sharing GIS knowledge with other members on campus. On Wednesday, November 14, between 10:30 and 2:30, the ES2 main foyer will be transformed into a map gallery displaying UW students’ and faculty’s GIS projects. Brought back by popular demand, the posters will be judged by all and winners of the best posters will be announced at the end of the day. There will be several GIS-related workshops offered in the morning and research discussions in the afternoon. All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend this annual event to learn about GIS as well as to learn with GIS.

More information, and a chance to register in advance, can be found online.


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