Friday, November 9, 2007

  • 'In the morning, we will remember'
  • UW keeps 'best overall' reputation
  • Gates gift for math and CS outreach
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Just before the Armistice

When and where

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

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.

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

Warrior sports: Men’s hockey vs. Brock 7:30 tonight, Icefield. • Women’s hockey vs. Guelph Saturday 2:00, and vs. Brock Sunday 5:00, Icefield. • Basketball (men and women) at Toronto tonight, at Ryerson tomorrow. • Men’s squash at tournament in Hamilton, tonight and tomorrow. • Cross-country championships at Victoria, Saturday. • Cheerleading, CheerTech competition at Niagara Falls, Saturday. • Volleyball (men and women) at Ryerson Saturday; women at Brock Sunday.

'The Rocky Horror Show' major production by UW drama department continues, 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.

Thank-you-a-thon with student volunteers calling alumni donors and creating banners, Saturday, for information e-mail

Self-defence workshop sponsored by Campus Recreation, Saturday 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., register ($15) at athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

Chilean musical group Quilapayun performs at Gig Theatre, Kitchener, Saturday 7 p.m., tickets $35, special $20 student rate available from Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Student Life Centre room 2139.

Warrior Weekend activities Friday and Saturday evenings, Student Life Centre, including inflatable gladiator, mocktail contest, euchre tournament, crafts, movies (“Superbad” 11:00 tonight, “No Reservations” 9:00 Saturday, “The Simpsons” 11:00 Saturday), nachos, pizza, details online.

Tri-University History Program (UW, WLU, Guelph) presents Geir Lundestad, Nobel Institute, "American-European Relations after the End of the Cold War", Saturday 2:45, 655 King Street North.

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.

East Asian studies news conference and major gift announcement Monday 11:30, Academic Centre, Renison College.

QPR suicide prevention training Monday 3:00 to 4:30, registration call ext. 33528; another session to be offered December 10.

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).

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

Geographic Information Systems Day Wednesday, with gallery in Environmental Studies II foyer, as well as workshops, details online.

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

Waterloo Conference on Social Entrepreneurship November 17-18, details online.

PhD oral defences

Recreation and leisure studies. Honggen Xiao, “The Social Structure of a Scientific Community: A Case Study of the Travel and Tourism Research Association.” Supervisor, Stephen Smith. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Tuesday, November 27, 2:00 p.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

English. Mark Wallin, “An Eurhythmatic Response to Adaptive Accrual: A Rhetoric of Adaptation.” Supervisor, Andrew McMurry. On display in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Wednesday, November 28, 10:00 a.m., Humanities room 334.

Electrical and computer engineering. Jackson (Chi Sun) Lai, “Active Matrix Flat Panel Bio-Medical X-ray Imagers.” Supervisors, Arokia Nathan, John A. Rowlands and Sherman X. Shen. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, November 30, 2:00 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

'In the morning, we will remember'

[Poppy]Observations extend over several days this year as UW, and all of Canada, marks Remembrance Day, mourning the country's war dead and honouring those who, daring to die, survived, in wars past and present.

The official date of the commemoration is always November 11, the anniversary of the day in 1918 when the guns felt silent at the end of the First World War. As national leaders mark the occasion in Ottawa tomorrow, local dignitaries will place wreaths at the Cenotaph beside Waterloo City Hall on Regina Street, and veterans will parade.

A wreath on behalf of the university will be placed by Katharine McGowan and Ned Pullen, both graduate students who work with Geoff Hayes, a history professor specializing in military affairs.

On the campus itself, there will be two Remembrance Day services this morning (Friday). One, as usual, is organized by the UW Chaplains’ Association, representing various religious denominations. The service will begin at 10:45 today in Notre Dame Chapel, St. Jerome's University.

The other Remembrance Day service is the annual event organized by the student Engineering Society, and will be held this morning, also at 10:45, in the lobby of Carl Pollock Hall.

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UW keeps 'best overall' reputation

UW “has again emerged as the most highly regarded university in Canada”, a release from the university’s media relations office pointed out yesterday after the publication of this year’s university rankings by Maclean’s magazine.

Says the release: “The annual Maclean's rankings of Canadian universities list Waterloo as having the best reputation among Canadian universities. The university also ranked first in three of the four categories that determine the national reputation ranking — 'best overall', 'most innovative' and 'leaders of tomorrow'.” (In the other category, “highest quality”, UW was second behind McGill.)

"We are, as always, extremely pleased that the opinion leaders who determine reputation think so highly of the University of Waterloo," said David Johnston, president of the university. The reputation rankings are derived from a survey of thousands of people across Canada, including high-school guidance counselors and principals, university officials, heads of organizations, CEOs and corporate recruiters.

Johnston commended the two western universities — Victoria and Simon Fraser — that this year emerged at the top of the “comprehensive” category, where Waterloo came third and nearby Guelph was fourth. Universities in British Columbia have benefited from that province’s commitment to education, the UW news release pointed out, and have been climbing in the Maclean's category for operating budget per student.

Among the comprehensive universities — ones with graduate programs and a broad range of fields of study, but without medical schools — UW captured top spot not just for reputation but also in categories that reflect the financial support of students. It ranked first for student awards, which include Rhodes and other prestigious scholarships, and it finished first among all Canadian universities in terms of scholarships and bursaries as a percentage of the operating budget.

The other two classifications of universities are “medical-doctoral” (where McGill placed first again this year) and “primarily undergraduate” (where Acadia and Mount Allison tied for the top spot).

Said the release: “The University of Waterloo values surveys of this kind, believing they provide important information to students and families as they make important decisions about post-secondary education. The methodology used to create this year's rankings is significantly different than in previous years, and the university will now assess the value of the rankings as a tool for students and parents investigating post-secondary options.”

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Gates gift for math and CS outreach

from the UW media relations office

UW will greatly expand Canada's largest youth outreach program in mathematics and computer science — currently reaching close to half a million young people — because of a gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

John Milloy and students at CEMC gift event The support from the Seattle-based foundation was announced at an event yesterday at Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School in Waterloo, attended by Ontario's new minister of training, colleges and universities, John Milloy, and other dignitaries. At left, Milloy meets Grade 11 students Cathy Tang (right) and Jenna Collier, who took part in an exercise led by CEMC staff on how to disassemble a computer. (Photo: Simon Wilson)

The US $12.5 million donation is a "visionary gift," says David Johnston, president of UW. "It will allow our Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing to expand its world-class outreach program to reach hundreds of thousands more youth and educators around the world."

UW and the foundation share a common goal to give young people the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in an ever-changing world. "The University of Waterloo has established a record of academic excellence, fostering intellectual growth in the fields of math and computer science," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We are proud to support the university's efforts to prepare the next generation of students for a world of innovation."

The gift comes at a time of growing concern about the decline in interest of young people in the fields of mathematics and computer science across North America. The most recent Statistics Canada figures show that the number of students enrolled in undergraduate programs in mathematics, computer science and information sciences dropped by 8.7 per cent between the 2000-01 and 2004-05 academic years. The significant decline occurred while total undergraduate enrolment soared by 21.6 per cent over the same period.

Thomas F. Coleman, dean of the faculty of mathematics, says the gift will allow the centre to significantly enhance outreach efforts, including its contests, workshops and Internet resources aimed at secondary and elementary school students and teachers. The CEMC currently reaches around 450,000 students in Grades 4 to 12 and 10,000 teachers annually, mainly in Canada.

With the shift to an increasingly knowledge-based society, Coleman says, there will be a huge need for people skilled in mathematics and computer science. "This gift will make an enormous difference in helping us to advocate to a much larger youth audience throughout Canada, the United States and elsewhere in the world about the importance of considering an education in those areas." Coleman adds he hopes this grant "will inspire significant additional support from individuals and foundations, as well as the private and public sectors. We welcome additional partners to this exciting venture."

With the gift, the CEMC will dramatically improve access to CEMC enrichment and outreach activities, focusing in part on young women and those facing geographic or economic barriers to learning.

It will develop a “train the trainers” network for mathematics and computer science teachers. The network will then deliver outreach programs at the grassroots level. These programs will stimulate interest, build skills and increase awareness of the opportunities available in mathematics and computer science.

It will also expand its extensive education network by collaborating with more elementary and secondary schools and school boards; develop a community of educators, industry representatives, local organizations and governments to be an advocate for education, issues and opportunities in mathematics and computer science; and continue enhancing the quality of the centre's current programs, especially global contests, enrichment programs and school visits.

Formally established in 1995, but with mathematics contest activity dating back to the early 1960s, the CEMC is Canada's largest mathematics and computer science outreach program. Its activities have produced a successful model for reaching math and computer science students for youths and educators.


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