Thursday, October 18, 2007

  • Progress toward an Emirates campus
  • Wellness Fair gets started Monday
  • United Way gifts come in, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Persons Day

When and where

Hurt Penguin Sale outside UW bookstore, South Campus Hall, final 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, last day, 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre.

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

RefWorks bibliographic software workshop 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library; also November 15 at 10:00.

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

Career workshop: "Successfully Negotiating Job Offers" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

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

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

'Bhopal: The Search for Justice' 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.

Ian Campbell, principal emeritus of Renison College, funeral service Friday 3 p.m., Erb & Good funeral home.

'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 tonight 7:30 at Newman Centre, University of Toronto.

Warrior Weekend activities in Student Life Centre Friday and Saturday evenings, including movies, pumpkin carving, drag queen show and manhunt, details online.

Bioinformatics: From Quaternary to Binary symposium hosted by Bioinformatics Club, Saturday, Arts Lecture Hall room 116, details online.

UW weather station tour for faculty, staff and retirees, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Saturday 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.

GeoTime Trail opening of installation by earth sciences professor Alan Morgan, Sunday 1 p.m., Westside Trails beside Munich Circle, west of Erbsville Road.

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

'Thinking about Optometry' briefing on application and interview process Wednesday 5:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

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.

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[Crane against the blue]

The crane heralds the rising of UW's school of pharmacy and health sciences campus in downtown Kitchener. Passer-by Geoff May caught the King Street scene on his cellphone camera a few days ago. "Construction is progressing," says Laura Manning, director of advancement for the health sciences campus, "and we expect that the concrete work will be complete by the end of the month."

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Progress toward an Emirates campus

Faculty members with “a spirit of adventure” will be wanted if UW’s first international campus goes ahead, in the United Arab Emirates half a world away, president David Johnston told UW’s senate Monday night.

“This is where the rubber hits the road on our international ambitions,” said Johnston as it was announced that UW has signed an agreement with the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, a private education corporation with strong ties to the UAE’s ruling family. The goal is a Waterloo campus that would start by offering programs in chemical engineering, civil engineering, financial analysis and management, and IT management.

Provost Amit Chakma and dean of engineering Adel Sedra presented details of the agreement, which would see CERT provide facilities and local administrative support while UW was responsible for program delivery. Students would spend four academic terms in the UAE, then come to Canada to complete their degrees. The goal is to produce 200 graduates a year, with enrolment starting in 2009.

In the Emirates — a cluster of seven quasi-independent states on the Arabian peninsula, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi — both private and public sectors are involved. CERT is a private company but has significant support from the Minister of Higher Education, who chairs its board, and is linked to the ruling family.

Chakma said the greatest benefit for UW is establishing a presence in a major strategic location that has the potential to allow UW to reach out to the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. It will also substantially increase UW’s international student population, he said, and would increase the institution’s revenue by more than $20 million a year while creating more than thirty new faculty positions.

Benefits are not confined to UW, he went on, as the establishment of a satellite campus in the UAE would be Canada’s first major overseas campus, which could reinforce Canada’s leadership role in IT and engineering. The Emirates benefits from the agreement as well, as it is in line with their goals of building a centre for knowledge and research.

It’s by no means a done deal, however, Chakma warned. The next step is for UW to get government licences and go through what he called an “onerous” accreditation process. UW also needs to square its academic mission against the UAE’s requirement for general education — which includes mandatory studies on Islamic history.

From UW’s point of view, the context for the agreement is the Sixth Decade Plan, which calls for significant internationalization to ensure that UW graduates can become “global citizens.” That means sending more students abroad, bringing more international students to Waterloo, and expanding the university’s presence beyond Canada’s boundaries.

Chakma told senate that the project would involve 32 new faculty positions and 8 new lecturer positions, plus capital expansion in the engineering and math faculties. The additional faculty members are expected to supervise at least 160 graduate students and generate more than $5 million in annual research revenue.

There are risks, he said, starting with “onerous” paperwork and the possibility of not getting licensing and accreditation in a timely manner. Among other dangers: not meeting the admission target (potential students are certainly there, he said, but are willing to pay $25,000 in tuition fees?) or not finding enough co-op jobs. Then come problems of marketing, recruitment and logistics.

Right now the UAE is a welcoming environment, he went on — just this week, New York University announced that it will open a campus there as well — but there’s always the possibility of political instability or a change in official attitudes. “I am optimistic,” said Chakma, adding: “I cannot predict we’ll have a campus, but at least we’ll lay the foundation for further dialogue. It will be a hard slog.”

Senate members asked how open a society the Emirates provide (“friendly to women, western clothes, sort of like Singapore,” said Sedra) and how the requirement for Islamic studies fits with UW’s academic values. “We have to investigate more,” said Chakma. “It’s not necessarily religious, but cultural and historical.”

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Wellness Fair gets started Monday

The annual Employee Wellness Fair, sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program, will be starting Monday, and it’s not any too soon to be sending in registrations for the events that require them:

  • [Leaf graphic from brochure]“Healthy Dining” is available at the University Club, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. (Registration deadline is today.)
  • The speaker on Monday, 9:00 to 12 noon, is Dick O’Brien, a motivational speaker and human relations consultant specializing in “Stress Management, Personal Resiliency and Realistic Optimism”.
  • Wednesday’s speaker, 11:30 to 12:30, is Mike Greulich, a UW plant operations staff member. “He will tell us,” says Linda Brogden of EAP, “how he was able to overcome personal tragedy and move forward with his life. This moving story will be an inspiration for many who face similar difficulties.”
  • A “core stability” raining session led by Lori Kraemer of the applied health sciences fitness unit, Monday at 3:30 in the Physical Activities Complex.

Registration is not required for the Monday noon Wellness Walk (meet at noon on the ring road outside the Davis Centre) or for the drop-in “Passport to Health” venue on Tuesday (10:00 to 2:00) in the Davis Centre fishbowl lounge. “Drop by our booths,” says the Fair brochure, “for a free, quick health check . . . enter the draw for door prizes . . . pick up any of the many handouts available.”

There will be an “encore” Passport event Tuesday evening, 8 to 10 p.m., in the General Services Complex, aimed at night shift plant operations staff.

The Employee Wellness Fair is aimed at all staff, faculty and CUPE members, says Brogden. Registrations should go to her at her office in health services, phone ext. 36264.

She adds: “The Employee Assistance Program committee welcomes feedback on all programs offered to the UW employees.” Comments can go to her, or to Glenda Rutledge in the human resources department.

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United Way gifts come in, and more

Bidding is under way in the silent auction organized by UW’s civil engineering department — just one of the many special events (including a chili cook-off yesterday in distance and continuing education) that are being held across campus to support the United Way. Why donate to the cause, either through special events or through cheque and payroll deduction? “Just $2 a week can provide a day of shelter and support for a woman having to leave an abusive situation . . . $5 a week helps distribute, annually, over 2,000 pounds of perishable and non-perishable food . . . $20 a week provides bullying prevention training for 35 students in an area school.” A total of 42 agencies draw support from the United Way, which this year is seeking to raise $5.3 million across Kitchener-Waterloo. UW’s proposed share is $170,000, and as of yesterday, $98,256 had been raised, organizers say. This week’s “volunteer profile” on the UW United Way website is Barbara Zupko of the Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, who serves on the board of Woolwich Community services.

[Two women in such a tidy room]The demure young ladies in the photo at left, showing off a Village I room as it appeared in 1966, come to us via the 50th anniversary photo gallery that was mounted recently on the UW residences web site. • Joe Manchin III, governor of the American state of West Virginia, visited UW yesterday, meeting at the Architecture building with local government and industry representatives. • The popular Craig Cardiff will play the Bombshelter pub tonight (tickets at the Federation of Students office).

Third-year architecture students working under the supervision of faculty member Andrew Levitt will be showing off five "full-scale installations" in and around the Architecture building in Cambridge today. Each of the five projects, says architecture director Rick Haldenby, attempts to introduce an aspect of "the wild" into an urban space: "Each installation has been inspired by the imagination of an animal inhabiting the space in question. The projects include a monumental web of string and sticks on the north face of the building, an enormous inflatable structure that will inhabit the courtyard off Melville Street, and a multi-media labyrinth on the terrace overlooking the Grand River.  The presentation of the projects begins at 3:30 with the elephant in the courtyard and proceeds through the snake in the atrium at 4:30, the tiger on the terrace at 5:30, the spider on the north side of the building at 6:30 and the crow on the terrace at 7:30. The public is welcome."

The Waterloo fire department sent its trucks to campus 116 times during 2006, and found actual “fire, fumes, smoke” 9 times, says an annual summary issued by the UW safety office. Just one of those 9 incidents was a deliberately set fire, down from 7 “willful” fires in the previous year. The number of deliberate false alarms was also down, from 38 in 2005 to 34 in 2006. As always, the largest number of fire alarms came from Village I (26 this year), with Ron Eydt Village in second place and the Davis Centre in third. Deliberate false alarms, however, were concentrated in UW Place, the Student Life Centre and Math and Computer. The largest cluster of fire calls were the result of detectors being set off by steam, paint fumes, chemical vapours, humidity and cooking fumes. Other alarms are blamed on circumstances as varied as water leaks, thunderstorms, construction dust, people bumping into alarm equipment, and small children. A total of 124 fire calls, including 8 which didn’t bring fire trucks, is down from 134 last year.

And . . . we're almost at the middle of the fall term already (that's what "midterm" means, I do believe). To be precise, this coming Monday will mark the halfway point in the term's 61 teaching days. And the end will come before we know it: the registrar's office has just announced that the December examination schedule is now online.


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