Wednesday, October 17, 2007

  • Injury rate above education average
  • A walk through 4.5 billion years
  • Internationalization grants, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Internet link restored

UW's off-campus Internet connection was out of operation for a little more than four hours in the middle of yesterday. "The solution provided," says a memo from Information Systems and Technology, "was a change of the interface and line card in the Orion network connecting to Cogent."

Link of the day

To overcome extreme poverty

When and where

Hurt Penguin Sale outside UW bookstore, South Campus Hall, continues through Thursday.

Research In Motion employee training session, Humanities Theatre, all day.

Professional and Post-Degree Days with information about some 100 education, health, pharmacy, social work, law, MBA and other programs as well as graduate studies, organized by Career Services, today and Thursday 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre.

'Navigating Through the University Application Process' information session aimed at staff and faculty who may know university-bound students, 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 211, information ext. 36220.

'International Distance Teaching' seminar by Gordon Sanderson, medical and surgical sciences, U of Otago, New Zealand, 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Noon-hour concert: "Made in Canada Piano Quartet", music of Clarke, Coulthard, Ravel and Dvorak, 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Café-rencontre du département d'études françaises: Jane Newland, "Grandir et le paradoxe du temps coexistant deleuzien dans les séries enfantines," 14h30, Humanities salle 373.

Anthropology silver medal and Sal Weaver Awards presentation; James Waldram, University of Saskatchewan, "Traditional Healing or Experience-Based Medicine? Example from Southern Belize," 3:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Knowledge Mobilisation seminar: Sandra Burt (political science), Steve Manske (applied health sciences), and Carol Campbell (Ontario ministry of education), "Connecting Research to Policy Development in Health and Education", 6 p.m., PAS room 3026.

Economic Outlook 2008 from Wilfrid Laurier University school of business and economics, 7:30, 57 Erb Street West, tickets $20.

'Evening with the Stars': Robert Mann, physics and astronomy, "The Lighter Side of Black Holes" 8 p.m., Physics room 235, observatory tour follows.

International spouses group walk at the Millrace Trail, St. Jacobs, meet Thursday 12:45 at Columbia Lake Village community centre; children welcome (must have car seats); RSVP e-mail

'Building Farms on University Campuses' seminar by Martha Gay Scroggins, Canadian Organic Growers, Thursday 2 p.m., Environmental Studies I room 221.

History speakers series: Katharine McGowan, UW graduate student, "Rethinking the Boer War", Thursday 7 p.m., 232 King Street North, Wilfrid Laurier University.

K-W Symphony concert: "The Story of the Saxophone", soloist Wallace Halladay, Thursday 7:30, Humanities Theatre, tickets 519-578-1570.

'Bhopal: The Search for Justice' Thursday 7:30, CEIT room 1015, film sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

'City/Campus' fall conference of Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Friday-Saturday, Architecture building, 7 Melville Street South, Cambridge, details online.

'Go Fly a Kite' with Amos Latteier, visiting professor at Render (UW art gallery), Friday 2:00 to 4:00, Columbia Fields.

Beehive Design Collective demonstration sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Friday 2:30 to 4:30, Student Life Centre.

'Art laboratory and science fair' or "Creativity at the Intersection of Art and Science", sponsored by Render (UW art gallery) and Waterloo Unlimited, Friday 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., East Campus Hall, details online.

Faculty of Science presents Chris Barnes, University of Victoria, former chair of UW earth sciences department, "The Neptune Project: Understanding Earth and Ocean on an Ailing Planet", Friday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre, admission free.

St. Jerome's University presents John Bentley Mays, "The Creative City: The Future of Christian Urbanism" Friday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, admission free; same lecture to be given Thursday 7:30 at Newman Centre, University of Toronto.

Warrior Weekend activities in Student Life Centre Friday and Saturday evenings, details online.

UW weather station tour for faculty, staff and retirees, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Saturday, October 20, 9:30 a.m., register by e-mail uwrc@admmail.

Fall Convocation Saturday: AHS and arts 10 a.m., other faculties 2:30 p.m., details online.

Employee Wellness Fair October 22-24, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, includes Wellness Walk, morning session on "Personal Resiliency", and other events, as well as "Passport to Health" booths Tuesday 10:00 to 2:00 with evening reprise.

UW Energy Days October 23-25, two public talks and open house, details online.

Intelligent Waterloo Conference on use of broadband technology, October 25, details online.

Keystone Run for Excellence walk or run around the ring road Friday, October 26, start time 12:15, entry fee $10, registration online.

Trick-or-Eat Hallowe'en canvassing on behalf of Food Bank, October 31, volunteers sign up now online.

Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Information systems specialist, Centre for Education in Math and Computing, USG 9/10
• Secretary/clerical assistant, mathematics graduate office, USG 4
• Director of advancement, office of the dean of arts, USG 14
• Patrol officer, police services, USG 7
• Building serviceperson II (carpenter), plant operations
• Building serviceperson II (painter), plant operations
• Associate university secretary, secretariat, USG 11-14
• Assistant director, operations and outreach program, Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, USG 9
• Field coordinator, co-operative education and career services, USG 11

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

[Gladwell's head on hand as Balsille speaks]

Research In Motion tycoon Jim Balsillie, left, ponders an answer as writer Malcolm Gladwell prepares for the next question. Their on-stage interview was a highlight of Monday's "leaders" session at the "2017: The Workplace" conference, hosted by UW as a feature of the 50th anniversary year. The three-day conference was extensively reported by media ranging from local television, which devoted much of the Monday evening CTV newscast to issues of employment and the economy, to the Globe and Mail, which quoted Balsillie at length yesterday. Photo by Chris Hughes, UW Graphics.

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Injury rate above education average

UW continues to have a higher rate of on-the-job injuries than other educational institutions, according to a report for 2006 released this month by the safety office.

The “lost time injury frequency rate” for UW was 0.51 during 2006, compared to 0.43 for other employers in the same group. Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board calculates the rate to represent the number of injuries during the year per 100 full-time-equivalent employees. (The WSIB says the university had 6,334 FTE employees, including faculty, union and non-union staff, casual workers, and graduate students being paid for assistantships.)

UW actually had 32 lost-time injuries last year, up from 28 in 2005. There were 78 other injuries (down from 95 in 2005) that required medical aid but didn’t lead to somebody needing time off work. The year brought a total of 310 “injuries/incidents” of all kinds, many of them too minor to require medical aid.

The frequency rate of 0.51 was up from 0.47 in 2005, but lower than the rates in 2002 (when it hit 0.76) through 2004. It’s been consistently higher than the rate at other employers in the education sector.

“Slips and trips were the predominant type of injury,” making up about a quarter of the total incidents, says the 2006 Annual Injury Report. “Most injuries by month were recorded in January, and the fewest in July and September.”

As usual, the injuries were concentrated in two departments, plant operations and food services. The custodial section of plant ops accounted for 7 of the lost-time injuries and 5 medical-aid injuries. Other parts of plant ops had 8 lost-time injuries and 14 medical-aid injuries. Food services had 6 lost-time injuries and 9 medical-aid injuries.

But no part of the university seems to be immune from on-the-job injuries, as accidents were reported during 2006 from such units as co-op education and career services, finance, graphics, optometry and psychology.

Employees lost a total of 384 days of work because of injury last year, up slightly from 349 days in 2005. The “lost days severity rate”, another WSIB calculation, was 46 (per hundred employees) for UW, twice the rate for educational institutions as a whole.

The safety report adds that there were 55 reported injuries to students and visitors during 2006. That number, which depends on voluntary reporting since it’s not monitored by the WSIB, has been dropping steadily since 2002.

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A walk through 4.5 billion years

A “GeoTime Trail” will be officially opened this Sunday on the Westside Trail system operated by the city of Waterloo. UW earth sciences professor Alan Morgan, who has been the main creator of the GeoTime installation, explains what visitors will see:

The Geotime Trail is designed to be a 4.567-kilometre-long trail that will eventually make its way from the start (and end) as a loop trail very close to Columbia Street West in Waterloo. The distance of the Trail corresponds to the current estimates of the age of the Earth at 4.567 billion years. Every 1 metre on the trail will, therefore, represent one million years of geological time, and each one millimetre represents 1,000 years.

“The Trail will be a closed loop covering a distance that can be walked in 1 to 1.5 hours (a reasonable distance for a healthy workout). Participants can walk either way along the Trail, although it would be sensible to walk from the origin of Earth toward the present to see the gradual evolution of the planet. However, at this time only the last part of the trail is sign-posted. The Trail will be completed over the next few years.

“Another of the principal objectives is to provide a learning tool for students of all ages to try to relate to the immensity of geological time: where geological periods start and end, when different biological organisms appeared on Earth and when major catastrophic events took place. Perhaps students can more easily relate to the place of humanity on Earth. For example, all of human history in terms of agriculture and urban settlement takes place in the last 10 centimetres of a trail that is almost 4.6 km long! The relationship of dinosaurs to humans can also be clearly seen when dinosaurs vanished 65 metres from the end of the Trail.

[Dense with information about the Mesozoic]“A precursor to the Trail saw the development of two ‘talking’ (audio) signs, the first to be located in Waterloo Region. These were installed and opened in October 2002. The second stage (and Phase 1 of the GeoTime Trail) was to design 10 signs (left) to cover the last 1.3 billion years of geologic time. This time frame represents the oldest rocks below the Waterloo Region. Unfortunately rocks are not exposed in Waterloo because the area is covered in a thick sequence of glacial sediments and there are multiple time breaks in the stratigraphy of the region.

“The ten signs that illustrate the geological story are based either on local rocks that can be seen nearby, for example at the Elora Gorge or on the Niagara Escarpment, and time frames that show features of interest.

“Initial funding for Phase 1 was provided by the Canadian Geological Foundation and the City of Waterloo. The Waterloo GeoTime Trail is the first of this type in Canada and is one of the projects outlined in the Canadian contributions to the Unesco-sponsored International Year of Planet Earth that will take place in 2008. Expressions of interest in adopting the concept have been informally received from Edmonton and Halifax. Ultimately it is hoped that GeoTime Trails with as many as 40 or more signs will be established in many parts of Canada and perhaps elsewhere in the world.

“The GeoTime Trail opening coincides with the City of Waterloo's 150th Anniversary, the University of Waterloo's 50th Anniversary, the 150th kilometre of trails in the City of Waterloo and the opening of a gnomon at the unveiling site.”

The celebration of the trail’s opening is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Sunday on Munich Circle (off Columbia Street via Salzburg Drive), with Waterloo’s mayor and other prominent guests.

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Internationalization grants, and more

The Centre for Teaching Excellence is taking applications for this year’s Course Internationalization Grants, jointly sponsored by CTE and the new Waterloo International. “The purpose of the grants,” says a memo, “is to encourage faculty members to bring international perspectives into existing courses and to incorporate international components in their teaching and learning activities. Grant recipients are asked to use the internationalization strategies that are best suited for their courses. Examples of possible strategies include inviting guest speakers with international experience for in-class presentations; purchasing instructional materials with an international focus; developing course-related international case studies or simulations; designing intercultural group work activities and inviting students with international experiences from Student-Speakers Roster program maintained by Waterloo International.” Details are online, and grant applications are due by October 29. Up to eight grants of $1,500 each will be awarded this year, CTE says. Questions: call ext. 37110.

The nomination deadline for this year’s President’s Circle Awards for Volunteerism and Leadership had been set for last Friday, but it’s been extended until October 29, the student life office announces. The awards exist “to recognize the significant volunteer contributions made by students to UW and the local community”, and carry an honorarium of $250 for each winner. The Awards for Volunteerism have been around for a decade, but the Awards for Leadership are new this year to recognize “students who have left a lasting impression on the UW campus through encouraging student participation, acting as a role model, enabling others to become leaders, or taking initiative to lead by example to make the university community better”. Nominations can come from students, staff, or faculty, or even members of the community at large. Self-nominations are also accepted for the Volunteerism awards, but not the Leadership awards. Details are online.

[Gyronny of eight Or and Sable . . . ]Ian Campbell, who was principal of Renison College 1977 to 1992, and subsequently professor emeritus, died yesterday at his home in Waterloo. Visitation is scheduled for Thursday (2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.) at the Erb & Good funeral home on King Street South, and the funeral service will be held there Friday at 3 p.m., the college announced last night. Campbell was a heraldry enthusiast and introduced some old-world customs to Renison, as well as developing its campus and its academic programs.

A researcher in UW’s geography department had a major role in the landmark reports released this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a few days ago along with politician and media star Al Gore. Linda Mortsch, who earned a master’s degree in environmental studies in 2001 and is based at UW but employed as a Senior Impacts and Adaptation Researcher for Environment Canada was the Canadian Coordinating Lead Author of the North America chapter of the "Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability" report released by the IPCC in April. Other UW contributors to the report include geography professors Jean Andrey and Daniel Scott, and Don Burn of civil engineering. The report was one of three major IPCC reports released this year that raised global awareness of climate change and stated that climate change is mostly likely caused by humans. The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Gore for “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change".

And . . . count on it: next February 18, and the third Monday in February in subsequent years, will be a paid holiday for UW staff and faculty. "It is a statutory holiday and a matter of law," says associate provost Catharine Scott. Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty announced the creation of "Family Day" for that date as soon as the election results were in last week. His announcement was worded a bit tentatively — "Adding Family Day to the calendar would give Ontario workers and families a total of nine statutory holidays per year" — presumably because a formal amendment to the Employment Standards Act is still needed. But the change seems to be a done deal. UW registrar Ken Lavigne notes that it won't affect students much, since the third Monday in February, in 2008 and probably every year, falls during reading week when there are no classes anyway.


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