Thursday, November 15, 2007

  • Johnston to head Mulroney review
  • Dance studio to close, school to leave
  • Dementia forum Saturday in Toronto
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[As the creature comes to life . . . in cutoffs]

Life, but not as we know it: Terry Reid is Dr. Frank N. Furter and John Wideman is Rocky Horror himself. The drama department's production of "The Rocky Horror Show" is in its final week in the Theatre of the Arts, with public performances tonight through Saturday at 8:00 plus a school matinee at 12:30 on Friday.

Link of the day

I Love to Write Day

When and where

Academic book sale organized by UW bookstore, South Campus Hall concourse, final day.

Craft, toy and bake sale sponsored by Hildegard Marsden Co-operative Day Nursery, continues today and Friday 9:00 to 5:00, Davis Centre lounge.

Flu immunization clinic continues through Friday, 10:00 to 5:00, Student LIfe Centre multipurpose room; students, staff, faculty, family and community welcome.

'Can a chiropractor help me?' lunch-and-learn session 12:10, TechTown boardroom, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

International spouses group: speaker about volunteering in Kitchener-Waterloo, 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre, e-mail

Career workshops: "Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 2218; "Getting a US Work Permit" 4:30, TC room 1208; registration online.

Mathematics exchange programs information session (programs involving Australia, Hungary, Japan, Thailand, others) 4:00, Math and Computer room 5158, information ext. 37711.

Faculty of arts study abroad information session 4:30, Humanities room 373.

Chemistry open house with tour of professors' labs, 6:00 to 9:00, start with speaker in CEIT room 3142.

Arriscraft Lecture: Charles Waldheim, Toronto, "Fords Field: Landscape, Urbanism, and Industrial Economy", 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge campus.

Vietnam Education Society fundraiser for education in rural Vietnam, presentation by UW history professor Andrew Hunt, 7:00 to 9:00, Centre for International Governance Innovation, tickets $15 (couple $25, student $5) from UW dean of arts office or from CIGI.

'Trailer Park Party' at the Bombshelter pub tonight, doors open 9:00, $10 at the door.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, skill workshops: "Hire the Best: Interviewing Techniques", Friday in St. Jacobs, details online.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Vista from the client and computing support perspectives, Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Independent studies project presentation: Stu Green, "Transfer of information from building design and construction to building operations and maintenance in large buildings", Friday 10:30, PAS room 1053.

Charity Ball sponsored by Mathematics Society, Saturday 6:30 p.m., Federation Hall, tickets ($37.50 for one, $70 for two) at MathSoc office.

Queer Film Night sponsored by GLOW and One Waterloo diversity project: showing of "Unveiled" followed by discussion, Friday 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015.

Residence-only dodgeball tournament sponsored by Campus Recreation, Friday night and Saturday, registration (Physical Activities Complex room 2021) ends today.

CS4U@UWaterloo Day open house for future computer science students, Saturday 9:30 to 4:30, Davis Centre, register online.

Waterloo Conference on Social Entrepreneurship Saturday-Sunday, details online.

Office house plants presentation by a master gardener, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Monday 12:05, register by e-mail: uwrc@admmail.

Jewish studies program presents Stephen Berk, Union College, "Putin, Russia and the Jews", Monday 7:30, Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University, reception follows, admission free.

Staff association craft sale November 22-23, Davis Centre lounge.

Communitech annual general meeting, "Ten Years of Technology", November 22, 5:00, La Hacienda Sarria, 1254 Union Street, ticket information online.

Orchestra@UWaterloo concert: "Vive la France!" with music by Debussy, Saint-Saens, Franck, and UW's Carol Ann Weaver, November 29, 8:00, Humanities Theatre, free tickets from Humanities box office.

Johnston to head Mulroney review

UW president David Johnston hit the headlines last night after the federal government named him to advise on the handling of what one media report summed up as a “massive political scandal” involving former prime minister Brian Mulroney and businessman Karlheinz Schreiber. The affair has been the country’s top political news over the past few days, and current prime minister Stephen Harper followed up Tuesday’s promise that an inquiry would take place with Wednesday’s announcement that Johnston will head the first stage of it.

The UW president has been named an “Independent Advisor” to “conduct an independent review of those allegations respecting financial dealings between Mr. Schreiber and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, P.C., and to submit to the Prime Minister by January 11, 2008 a report in both official languages, which shall make recommendations as to the appropriate mandate for a public inquiry into those allegations, including the specific issues that warrant examination, under the Inquiries Act [and] state whether the Independent Advisor, in the course of his review, has determined that there is any prima facie evidence of criminal action; in that case, the report shall make recommendations as to how this determination should be dealt with.”

Johnston is a lawyer, specializing in securities regulation and information technology law, and was dean of law at the University of Western Ontario and principal of McGill University before taking his post at UW. Says a news release from the prime minister’s office: “Recognized for his considerable legal experience and expertise, Professor Johnston is ideally suited to conduct this review and provide independent advice to the government on these allegations and the way forward.”

Major media are focusing on him and his qualifications this morning, with the Globe and Mail calling him "wholesome . . . demanding . . . ambitious". He is "no stranger to politics," the Star adds, "having moderated both the 1979 and 1984 televised federal election debates, the latter of which included Mulroney."

He was refusing all interviews yesterday. I'm told that it's not entirely clear how much time the job will take over the next few weeks, but that Johnston "will continue to fulfill his presidential duties" at UW. He’s scheduled to go to Singapore and Hong Kong next week for a series of events and meetings with alumni, donors and other friends of the university. Under UW's administrative structure, when the president is unavailable, the vice-president (academic) and provost serves as acting president, with the associate provost (academic and student affairs) next in line.

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Dance studio to close, school to leave

The dance studio in East Campus Hall will be closed next summer, UW’s few remaining credit courses in dance will be dropped from the curriculum, and the Carousel Dance Centre will leave the university to become a private business.

The “fine and performing arts” option that’s available to undergraduate students will continue, based on music, drama and fine arts but not dance, says dean of arts Ken Coates.

He said the changes are partly driven by “the pressing need for space” for the fine arts department — based downstairs from the dance studio in ECH — and for performing arts. “We will be identifying the best use of the ECH space over the next few months,” the dean said, “and are pleased to have the opportunity to better serve the needs of our students in fine arts and related areas.”

At one time UW had a full program in dance, leading to a BA offered by the faculty of applied health sciences. That program was closed following budget cuts in 1994. A number of courses have remained, with titles like “Ballet 1A”, “Introduction to World Dance”, and “Dance Composition”.

Faculty member Rhonda Ryman, who was in the department of dance when it existed and is now based in recreation and leisure studies, has been responsible for the remaining dance courses, and notes that some of them have been taught by “illustrious” part-time instructors. Among them: David Earle, head of DanceTheatre in Guelph, who has taught composition courses and directed modern dance courses for the past two years. “We are very fortunate,” says Ryman, “to have had an artist of David’s stature at UW in our final years.”

The dean pointed out that discontinuing the dance courses was approved by undergraduate council in June and by UW’s senate in September. They’re being offered for the last time in the 2007-08 academic year.

That leaves the Carousel Dance Centre, now 37 years old, which offers dance courses for some 500 children from age 3 into the teen years (and some adults), emphasizing ballet, modern dance and jazz. When UW had a full dance program, training graduates who often went on to be dance teachers, Carousel was a laboratory where they gained practical experience.

But it no longer plays any obvious role in UW’s work, says associate provost Bruce Mitchell, who worked with Carousel director Heidi Churchill to plan for a new start. Churchill’s job with UW is being terminated according to policy, he said, and the university has agreed to help move Carousel’s furnishings to a new location — although it’s not clear yet who will actually move the huge wall mirrors that line the ECH studio.

Churchill and two Carousel colleagues who are contract UW staff members — associate director Richelle Brown-Hirlehey and teacher Laura Prada — told the parents of their students last week that they are leaving the university and will operate Carousel privately. “We will be relocating to a facility at 550 Parkside Drive,” their letter to parents said. “Programs at the new facility will commence during July 2008 causing no interruption to our current program offerings. . . .

“While we have been very comfortable in our current space, we view the move as positive transition and would like to ensure our clientele that we will be able to continue to offer the same quality of faculty, facility, studio space, resources, and programming. . . . The ground floor arrangement at 550 Parkside Drive will allow us to further expand our work to promote dance among children with disabilities.”

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Dementia forum Saturday in Toronto

from the UW media relations office

People living with early stage dementia and their partners in care will share their unique perspectives this Saturday, learning to become stronger advocates and more in control of their disease.

A Changing Melody, to be held in Toronto, is a one-day forum that focuses on the experience of those living with dementia. While other conferences and forums look at research or professional care, A Changing Melody bills itself as “a learning and sharing forum designed specifically by and for persons with early-stage dementia and their partners in care”.

"One of the biggest issues facing people with dementia relates to a loss of control, both real and perceived," says Sherry Dupuis, director of UW’s Kenneth G. Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program. "This forum is one way in which they can regain some control, find hope, and learn to become much stronger advocates for themselves as individuals and as a group." The goal is to provide people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, as well as their family members, with information and strategies for planning ahead and living a meaningful life with dementia.

David Knight, a retired professor and administrator diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2002, will set the tone with the forum's keynote address. His talk, “Forging Ahead with Courage and Hope: One Step at a Time”, will discuss the challenges associated with receiving a diagnosis of dementia and the difficulties with increasing limitations. Knight continues to write music and perform with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, the Guelph Concert Band and the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra.

The day will end with an interactive workshop entitled Healthy Living with Dementia — Pantyhose Programs: One Size Doesn't Fit All. Christene Gordon, director of services for the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories, and an Alzheimer's advocate now living with dementia, Jeanne Bentley, will explore programs and activities that provide appropriate stimulation, socialization, purpose and dignity for people living with memory loss.

Two new “By Us For Us” guides will also be launched at the forum — one focused on enhancing communication and the other on managing triggers. The guides, created by people with early-stage memory loss and supported by MAREP, offer exercises and tips to improve or maintain memory and quality of life for people with dementia.

The forum is organized annually by people with dementia and their family partners in care with support from MAREP, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, and the Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International.

In other matters today . . . it's International Week, which means that people across campus are being encouraged to "wear your favourite international clothing". (Better hope it's thick and warm.) St. Paul's College is offering an "international cuisine dinner" for $7 at noontime. And there are some special events, including a video presentation on Japan at 12:00 in Renison College's Link Lounge, a lecture on Japanese-Canadian relations at 2:30 in St. Bede's Chapel at Renison, and a presentation on "fair trade" coffee and tea, delivered over an international buffet, from 5:00 to 8:00 at the Graduate House. Full information about the week's activities is available online.

Also timed for International Week is tonight's China Reach benefit gala, which is a fund-raiser for AIDS programs and orphans in Henan province, sponsored by a recently formed student organization. Henan is enduring "an alarming spread of the HIV virus," an announcement explains, "some villages suffering from a 62% infection rate. At this rate, this epidemic could be as severe as the one Africa is currently facing within 10 years. The purpose of China Reach is to create awareness of the issues, educate the masses on the disease and prevention, as well as support the care centres for those affected by the disease. The Gala will hold a fantastic silent auction, art exhibit, as well as live performances to entertain the evening. There will also be hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. It will be an informative yet entertaining event, and all proceeds go towards the Chi Heng Foundation Orphan Project." The semi-formal event runs from 7:00 to 11:00 at Federation Hall.

The next round of blood donor clinics at UW is scheduled for November 19-23 in the Student Life Centre. "Thanks to the outstanding support from everyone at UW," writes Sharr Cairns of Canadian Blood Services, "we are pleased to announce that effective with the November clinics, we are able to increase the number of appointments in our schedule, thereby giving UW donors more opportunity to help us save lives. We expect to collect an additional 15 units per day, which may not seem a lot, but those extra units have the power to help save or improve up to 45 additional lives and help us meet the increasing demand for blood. Your continued support is greatly appreciated." Appointments can be booked now at the turnkey desk in the SLC; the clinics will operate from 10:00 to 4:00 Monday to Thursday next week, 9:00 to 3:00 on Friday.


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