Tuesday, December 16, 2008

  • Claws without Santa: beware of bear
  • 'Perseverance Award' is a memorial
  • Sabbatical leaves begin January 1
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Fearsome skeleton on the wall]Claws without Santa: beware of bear

If you're wondering why Peter Russell (right), curator of the earth sciences museum, and Frank Brookfield are looking a little nervous, the answer is those mighty claws behind them. Rosie Triebner of the science faculty development office explains: "We’re pleased to announce the arrival of our latest member of the Earth Sciences Museum, just in time for Christmas — an authentic Russian Cavebear skeleton! Frank Brookfield, retired from the Department of Biology, generously purchased the skeleton for display. Giant cave bears froze to death during the last Ice Age in Europe about 28 000 years ago, according to a study that cleared human hunters of driving them to extinction. The largely vegetarian bears, weighing up to a ton and bigger than modern polar bears or Kodiak bears, apparently died off as a sharp cooling of the climate led to a freeze that killed off the fruits, nuts and plants they ate. Everyone is welcome to drop by the Museum to see this ferocious beast. He is resting comfortably with the Albertosaurus and both seem to be happy!"

From the latest issue of Eng-e-news, the e-newsletter of UW's engineering faculty: "From alternative energy to carbon capture and storage: local retirees have recently learned a lot about what Waterloo Engineering professors are researching. This fall six of the eight speakers of the Kitchener-Waterloo Third Age Learning group were engineering faculty members. They included Jatin Nathwani, Mike Fowler, Raymond Legge, Peter Douglas, David Johnson and Siva Sivoththaman. A non-profit group, Third Age Learning arranges lectures by professors and community experts. . . . The recently announced new IEEE fellows include electrical and computer engineering professors Omar Ramahi for contributions to computational electromagnetics in electromagnetic compatibility, Xuemin Sherman Shen for contributions to resource management of wireless, and adjunct professor Ming Yu for contributions to the design and tuning of microwave filters and multiplexers."

Conrad Grebel University College has announced the appointment of its new archivist-librarian, following the retirement of Sam Steiner this fall. Laureen Harder-Gissing will take on that role as of January 1. Harder-Gissing comes to Grebel from the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Resource Centre in Kitchener, where she has worked as manager/librarian since 2003. She is a history graduate from UW and has a master's degree in religion and culture and is finishing a Master of Information Studies degree at the University of Toronto. Grebel president Henry Paetkau predicts that she "will make a significant contribution to the College, the Mennonite church and the larger community by collecting, preserving and promoting that heritage.” The Grebel library contains more than 40,000 items, with special emphasis on Peace and Conflict Studies, Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies, Music and Religious Studies and is the home of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

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[Showing off a small photo of Ahuja]
'Perseverance Award' is a memorial

a feature article from UW’s 2007-08 “Report on Giving”

Thankful. Generous. Determined. These are the words that punctuate a conversation with the Ahuja family when they remember their son and brother, Sameer. Sami, as he was affectionately known, died on January 30, 2004, after an 11-month battle with brain cancer. Although he had many qualities, he was most noted for his perseverance. It was this trait that drove him to pursue two of his dreams: completing his undergraduate degree, and one day helping other students facing similar obstacles to do the same.

Even as his condition worsened and his chemotherapy treatments intensified, Sami Ahuja never lost sight of his goal of graduating. Defying doctors' recommendations to tread lightly in his studies, he enrolled in three courses and continued to achieve high marks. It wasn't until he lacked the strength to hold a pen that he accepted that he could go no further, just over halfway through his degree program.

With Sami's selflessness reverberating in their minds, the Ahuja family made certain that his second dream became a reality: they created an endowed award to honour his desire to support other students. The Sameer Ahuja Perseverance Award is one of the few awards at UW established specifically to address the needs of students with physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses. Many students facing such circumstances struggle with the daily activities that most take for granted — getting to class, taking notes, or communicating with professors. The award helps offset expenses, such as medication, therapy, and mobility assistance, which might otherwise hinder students from completing their studies.

Jason Baetz (pictured), a third-year social development studies student who received the award in February, knows first-hand how critical financial aid can be. "Students with serious illnesses and disabilities are fully capable," says Baetz. "To overcome the enormous challenges we face every day and be successful, we just need the right support." The Sameer Ahuja Perseverance Award seeks to provide that crucial assistance. And as students like Jason Baetz pursue their own dreams, Ahuja’s vision is being fulfilled and his courageous spirit carries on at UW.

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Sabbatical leaves begin January 1

Here’s another list of some of the UW faculty members who will be on sabbatical leave starting January 1. For each of them, sabbatical plans are summarized as they were reported to UW’s board of governors at the time the sabbatical was approved.

Sujeet Chaudhuri, electrical and computer engineering (six months): “We have a $12.5M CFI/OIT award to establish the Centre for Intelligent Antennas and Radio Systems (CIARS) at UW. During the leave I will lead the commissioning of the new state of the art measurement/ characterization facilities. I will also visit KAIST, South Korea, to continue on our international collaborations.”

Martin Cooke, sociology and health studies and gerontology (six months): “I will mainly spend this six months collecting and analysing data for my SSHRC-funded project Aboriginal Inequality and the Life Course. This will include travelling to Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario as well as working at the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre. I will continue to supervise graduate students and MPH practicum assignments during this time.”

John Flanagan, optometry (twelve months): “To visit Imperial College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital to continue research collaborations in ocular biomechanics, cell models of glaucoma, clinical trials into the early detection of glaucoma and its progression, and the structure-function relationship in glaucoma. Establish proteomics research in collaboration with Ontario Cancer Biomarker Institute and UW Biology, a new small animal ocular imaging laboratory, and metabolic/ functional imaging.”

Keith Freeland, statistics and actuarial science (six months): “The purpose of the leave is to strengthen my research profile before going up for tenure. I plan for the most part to remain in Waterloo and complete several working papers with my colleagues. I also plan to take a two-week trip to the University of Liverpool to work with a colleague, Prof. Brendan McCabe.”

Bertrand Guenin, combinatorics and optimization (six months): “I intend to spend time, mostly in Waterloo, writing up existing results from the past couple of years, as well as working with visitors during that period. I will visit Dr. Paul Wollan at the University of Hamburg for a few weeks.”

Christine Moresoli, chemical engineering (twelve months): “Pursue current research projects in functional and bioactive products, biomateirals, energy efficiency and science and technology teaching. I will also visit current collaborators and potential collaborators at Ecole Centrale de Lille and Wageningen University.”

Maren Oelbermann, environment and resource studies: “The focus will be the preparaton of peer-reviewed journal articles from research conducted over the past 3.5 years in addition to continuing work on currently funded projects: NSERC (PI), OMAFRA (co-PI).”


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What's happening over the holidays

I'd like to ask appropriate people in UW departments and organizations to take a look at the last Daily Bulletin of 2007, and see what similar information needs to be published in the last Daily Bulletin of 2008 (appearing a week from today, on December 23). Details about closings, openings, emergency contacts, special events and anything else connected with UW during the 12-day holiday closing would be welcome.

Link of the day

Happy birthday, Beethoven

When and where

Christmas luncheon buffet at University Club, December 1-23 (Monday-Friday), $19.25, reservations ext. 33801. Dinner buffet Wednesday, $36.95.

Fall term exams December 5 through 19. Details.

Libraries extended hours through December 19: Davis Centre Library open 24 hours a day except Sundays 2 to 8 a.m.; Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Libraries open December 20-23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed December 24 through January 4.

Feds used book store, Student Life Centre, open Monday-Friday 9 to 5 this week; closed Saturday and next week. Open January 3-4, 9 to 5, and starting January 5, 8:30 to 5:30.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Finding Nemo: Advanced Techniques for Finding Web Resources” 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Fee payment deadline for the winter term: December 17 (cheque, money order or fee arrangements), December 30 (bank transfer).

Equipment cooling shut off in Biology I and II, Chemistry II and ESC buildings, Wednesday 7:30 a.m. to Friday 4 p.m.

Hot water shut off in Physics and CEIT buildings Wednesday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Barry Levely, mapping, analysis and design, Faculty of Environment, retirement reception Wednesday 2:00 to 4:30, Environment II room 1008A.

Computer Help and Information Place (CHIP) regular hours this week and Monday (8:00 to 4:30) except will close at 3:15 Thursday, and from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday. December 23, open 8:00 to 3:30.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Unofficial fall term grades begin appearing on Quest December 22; grades become official January 26.

Unsilent Night outdoor ambient music holiday event, with support from UW architecture students, all welcome, Monday, December 22, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., City Hall, 50 Dickson Street, Cambridge.

Christmas and New Year’s holidays: Tuesday, December 23, last working day at UW for 2008. First working day of 2009 is Monday, January 5. Winter term classes begin Monday, January 5.

‘Language as a Complex Dynamic System’ at Renison University College, Thursday, January 8, 7:00 p.m.; guest speaker Diane Larsen-Freeman, University of Michigan; details e-mail jpwillia@ renison.uwaterloo.ca.

Social Innovation Generation project presents “Studio Earth”, with remarks by environmentalist Severn Suzuki, sessions on social finance, social technology, political advocacy, Sunday, January 11, 12:30 to 5:00, Kitchener City Hall, registration $10, call ext. 38680.

Application deadline for September 2009 undergraduate admission is January 14 for Ontario secondary school students. General deadline, March 31. Exceptions include pharmacy (for January 2010) January 30; accounting and architecture, February 13; engineering and software March 2. Details.

Fantastic Alumni, Staff and Faculty Day at Warrior basketball games, Sunday, January 17, women 2 p.m., men 4 p.m. vs. Guelph, Physical Activities Complex, half-time promotions. Details.

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