Tuesday, October 23, 2007

  • Environmental studies sees its future
  • UW names among Waterloo's top 150
  • Optometry, physics, and the rest
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Chevron front page]

The Chevron was UW’s student newspaper in October 1974, when this issue was published with news about Andrew Telegdi (then president of the Federation of Students, now a Member of Parliament) and the Oktoberfest Marathon (won by Bruce Kidd, then a noted Olympic athlete, now the University of Toronto’s dean of Physical Education and Health). Back issues of UW’s student newspapers from fall 1958 to the present are now available through the web site of the present weekly, Imprint.

Link of the day

Mole Day

When and where

[Leaf logo from wellness brochure]
Employee Wellness Fair:
"Passport to Health" exposition in Davis Centre lounge 10:00 to 2:00, with repeat event 8 p.m., General Services Complex; Healthy Dining at the University Club, 5:30; “One Person’s Story” by Mike Greulich, plant operations, Wednesday 11:30; details online.

Career workshop: "Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

The Conflict: Three programs sponsored by Campus for Christ: "The Jesus Conflict" tonight 7 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall; "The God Conflict" Wednesday 7 p.m., Math and Computer room 2066; "The Science Conflict" Thursday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

UW Energy Days: "Ontario's Energy Future", 7 p.m., Centre for International Governance Innovation, details online.

Remote sensing seminar by John Crawford, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Wednesday 9 a.m., Environmental Studies I room 132.

Knowing Your Workplace information session: UW Pension Plan, Wednesday 11:00 a.m. to noon, Math and Computer room 4040.

Free concert: Roman Rudnytsky, "Virtuoso Piano", Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Smarter Health Seminar: Peter Norton, University of Calgary, "Why Not Safer Health Care Right Now?" Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302, live webcast.

Federation of Students annual general meeting Wednesday 4 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall; agenda includes annual financial statements and bylaw changes.

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

UW Energy Days open house Wednesday 6 to 9 p.m., Davis Centre foyer, details online.

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

Electronic waste recycling day sponsored by UW Sustainability Project and HP Canada: bring in old equipment to be recycled, Thursday 10:00 to 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

High-voltage laboratory, electrical and computer engineering, grand reopening Thursday 11:30 a.m., reception by invitation.

Joint health and safety committee Thursday 1:30, Commissary building room 112D.

Women's health seminar on cancer and cancer vaccines, sponsored by Graduate Student Association, Thursday 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

Novelist Trevor Cole reads at St. Jerome's University Thursday 4:00, SJU room 3012.

Women in Mathematics Committee presents Mary Thompson, statistics and actuarial science, "Alarums and Excursions: Applications of Barrier Crossing Problems" Thursday 4:00, Math and Computer room 5158, aimed at graduate and upper-year undergraduate students.

Geography careers night for students in environmental studies and political science, five alumni speaking, Thursday 4 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

UW Energy Days: "Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge" Thursday 7:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116; details online.

Pascal Lecture: Rosalind Picard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Building Machines with Emotional Abilities — Building People?" Thursday 8 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University, admission free. Seminar: "Emotionally Intelligent Technology" Friday 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar on "Authentic Leadership: Creating Effective Relationships", Friday 7:00 a.m., Waterloo Inn, details online.

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

Fitness training boot camp sponsored by Campus Recreation, Saturday 10:00 to 5:00, Columbia Icefield, details online.

Engineering alumni reception October 29, 5:30 to 7:30, Commerce Court West, Toronto, details online.

'Becoming Canada's Knowledge Capital' update for K-W Chamber of Commerce from UW president David Johnston, October 31, 7:30 a.m., Delta K-W, details and tickets online.

'Celebrating Research Through People at UW' 50th anniversary event, November 8, 3:00 to 6:00, University Club.

Environmental studies sees its future

[Saini]The faculty of environmental studies is planning “Smart Green Solutions” to the questions it faces in UW’s sixth decade, ES dean Deep Saini (left) told the university senate last week.

The phrase comes from a “strategic planning and branding committee” that met last winter, building on the “re-profiling” that ES experienced after the faculty was shaken by the transfer of its largest unit, the school of architecture, to the engineering faculty in 2004.

Theme of the plan that emerged from the branding committee was “rising to the challenge”, Saini said, giving some background: With the natural world threatened, the man-made world is in peril also. To rise to the challenge, the ES faculty will have to work to optimize the size of both the faculty and student body, orient itself towards finding solutions while retaining its current strengths in awareness and advocacy on environmental issues, and create a clearer focus for each of its units, which will involve greater natural science content, stronger research capabilities, and synergies.

ES is uniquely poised for “an integrative role” on campus, Saini said, and will work towards increasing international exchanges, engagement with foreign students, and increased enrolments, including expanded outreach and non-degree training. The spirit of the plan, then, is creating a bigger playing field for ES at UW, without encroaching on the other faculties — in fact, building bridges to them.

Saini described an environmental studies faculty organized into five units, including the existing school of planning, the department of environment and resource studies, and the department of geography will be changing its name to the Department of Geography and Environmental Management.

In addition, there are the recently arrived Centre for Knowledge Integration, plus a Centre for Environment and Business, with a focus on green business, ecological and environmental economics, and a sustainable development program in partnership with St. Paul’s College.

In addition, ES will have research centres building on its existing strengths, such as heritage resources and environmental geomatics. New on his list are a proposed Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3 or “IceCube”) and a proposed Ecosystem Restoration and Remediation Centre.

New academic programs are also on the agenda, including the recently approved undergraduate aviation program, Bachelor of Knowledge Integration program, and graduate programs in global governance.

To do it all, Saini said, Environmental Studies will need 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of new space, some of which can be found by reorganizing the existing ES buildings (which are about to be linked to the arts faculty’s PAS building through a new wing), and some by increased collaboration with St. Paul’s College. Another new wing on the ES complex is also under consideration, he said.

Saini spoke to the Faculty’s “catalytic role” on campus as an integrative faculty linking with all others. A diagram shows links with engineering over such issues as water, transport and energy; with mathematics over geomatics; with applied health sciences over tourism; with science over ecological restoration and water; with arts of governance and policy.

And he wound up by telling senate that the ES faculty is considering changing its name, to either “Faculty of Environment” or “Faculty of the Environment.” There is a sense, he said, that the “studies” portion of the faculty’s current name does not adequately describe what it is that ES does — or worse, makes it sound like a department and not a true faculty. A formal name-change proposal is on the way, but currently things are at the focus-group stage, he said.

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UW names among Waterloo's top 150

UW didn’t come along until the city of Waterloo was already 100 years old, but its influence over the most recent five decades has been strong indeed, judging from a list of the “Waterloo 150” that has now been completed by the Waterloo Public Library in honour of the city’s sesquicentennial.

The list is intended to showcase “individuals who have shaped the Waterloo community” over a century and a half, from pioneer Abraham Erb and the first mayor, Moses Springer, to recent figures in high-tech industry and sports. Of the total, at least 17 names, and maybe twice that many depending on how you classify them, are UW-related.

They range from Bert Barber, a key figure in the development of UW’s co-op program, whose memorial garden was opened at the Tatham Centre just last week, to Ken McLaughlin, history professor and author of books about UW, Waterloo, Kitchener and nearby communities.

The university’s first and fifth presidents are included on the list — Gerald Hagey, who headed UW from its beginnings until 1969, and David Johnston, who arrived in 1999 and is still at the helm. So are artist Michael Bird and author-librarian Barbara Smucker, both associated with Renison College, and so is John English, who is a UW history professor as well as director of the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a former Member of Parliament (for Kitchener, not Waterloo).

Two retired faculty members from the fine arts department are included: Nancy-Lou Patterson, to whom “hundreds of local artists owe a debt”, in the words of the Waterloo 150 citation, and Ann Roberts, whose work in ceramics led her to help found the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery.

The public library’s web site includes a few paragraphs of tribute to each of the 150 local figures, who were selected in a project funded by the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation. Of Michael Higgins, former president of St. Jerome’s University, the tribute notes that he “has always reached out beyond the walls of academia, provoking thought and encouraging debate in the community as a commentator in daily newspapers, radio and television”. Hildegard Marsden, UW’s early dean of women, “knew better than anyone the determination it took to finish a degree for women of her generation . . . she was the first woman in Waterloo Region to return to university as a mature student with children.”

The listing includes several of the key people, in addition to Hagey, who brought the university into being in the late 1950s: Ira G. Needles of B. F. Goodrich, Carl Pollock of Electrohome, and Rev. Cornelius “Corky” Siegfried, president of what was then St. Jerome’s College.

Other UW figures on the list are Eric McCormack, author and English professor at St. Jerome’s; Sally Melville, who taught for a time at UW but is best known for her influence on local craft work; philosophy professor and music critic Jan Narveson.

Not full-time members of the UW community, but associated with the university as donors or friends, are the likes of Walter Bean (trust company executive), Lyle Hallman (real estate tycoon for whom a campus building is now named), chancellor and RIM executive Mike Lazaridis, and Barbara Aggerholm, who covers higher education for the Record newspaper.

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[Two in hoods with red stripes]

Twin sisters Suriyapriya (left) and Banupriya Vallamsundar were among the graduates at Saturday afternoon's convocation ceremony, both receiving MASc degrees — the former in civil engineering, the latter in systems design. "Their parents came all the way from India for the function," says Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam of systems design, who was involved in supervising both students' graduate work.

Optometry, physics, and the rest

The Pre-Optometry Club is sponsoring an event tomorrow on the topic that interests its members more than any other: gaining admission to UW's professional optometry program. "Learn how to prepare an effective application," says a blurb announcing the workshop, "and receive tips on the interview process." It happens Wednesday at 5:30 in Tatham Centre room 2218. The application deadline is coming up, on November 23, and no doubt would-be applicants are well into the paperwork by now. Check out the fine print and you'll learn that "the School of Optometry has changed the prerequisites for entry into the Optometry program for September, 2008. . . . An additional year of Bachelor of Science studies will be necessary before entering the Optometry program. Therefore, for admission in September, 2008, an applicant will have taken a minimum of three years of university science courses (instead of the current minimum of two years)." Marie Amodeo of the optometry administration says the change, imposed by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, is fallout from the drop from five years to four in the length of the Ontario high school program, and it's no surprise, as the school has been giving several years' warning. She also says the real impact may be small, as not many students have been entering optometry with the bare minimum of two years' university training.

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics — closely linked to UW, though not part of the university — has announced the appointment of Robert Myers to the position of Interim Scientific Director “following unanimous endorsement by the Institute’s Faculty and Associate members”. Myers is described as “a founding member” of Perimeter and “will provide scientific direction involving all aspects of research activities. The appointment is effective immediately and ensures continuity in scientific leadership as a search for a long-term Scientific Director is conducted.” Myers is also a professor in UW’s department of physics and, the Perimeter announcement went on, “one of Canada's most outstanding theoretical physicists. His research, characterized by deep physical insights and originality, places him among the highest ranks of string theorists around the world.” He came to Waterloo, and Perimeter, from McGill University in 2001. Myers was awarded the Herzberg Medal in 1999 by the Canadian Association of Physicists for contributions to the understanding of black hole microphysics and D-branes. He is also the 2005 winner of Canada's top prize in theoretical and mathematical physics awarded by the Canadian Association of Physicists and the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques. In 2006, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Nominations are still being accepted — until Friday — for the President's Circle Awards for Volunteerism and Leadership. • The UW library continues to offer user workshops, including two of them today, "Keep Current Digitally" and "Applying Social Web Tools to Your Research". • Shortstop Mike Glinka, outfielder Elliot Shrive and catcher Adam Auer of the Warriors have been named to the Ontario-wide all-star teams as the OUA baseball season comes to an end.

The November-December brochure for the "Skills for the Electronic Workplace" program is out, listing short courses in spreadsheets, Bookit, database management, and web content management (using either Contribute or DreamWeaver). • UW's continuing education program has courses almost every day at this season; today it's "Delivering Dynamite Presentations" and next Monday it's "Guerrilla Grammar". • The UW Recreation Committee, which organizes events for staff, faculty and retirees, is planning an outing this weekend to the ArtWorks Show & Sale being held at Bingemans in Kitchener.

Expect some mention of UW on ABC television's "The View" today, as host Elisabeth Hasselbeck has invited the four Waterloo alumni who operate Mabel's Labels to appear at her live-to-air baby shower. • Meetings to launch The Boar, a planned magazine for students in arts, are being held Tuesdays (that's today) at 5:30 in Modern Languages room 212. • The October-November issue of Rex magazine, aimed at local business people, includes a one-page story about electrical engineering student Harpaul Sambhi, who operates a "talent management" business aimed at helping graduating students find the perfect job.


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