Wednesday, December 17, 2008

  • Stratford plans set to move ahead
  • Four profs will retire on January 1
  • Student inventor watches his e-mail
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Stratford plans set to move ahead

Plans for a UW campus in Stratford, a half-hour drive west of Waterloo, moved forward dramatically on Monday when UW’s president and dean of arts, as well as officials of the city of Stratford and the Ontario ministry of research and innovation, spoke at a city council meeting in the community’s historic city hall.

The three parties announced plans to launch the campus with the “Stratford Institute”, a research centre for work in digital media, and a graduate program in that field. The proposed undergraduate program will come later, they said.

Tobi Day-Hamilton, director of advancement for UW’s faculty of arts, confirmed last night that “they will be proceeding with the next phases of the Stratford Institute initiative — appropriate approvals through the Senate and Board of Governors.”

The project already has support to the extent of $10 million plus land from the City of Stratford, $10 million from the Ministry of Research and Innovation, and an additional $5 million to be found from sources identified by the City of Stratford. At Monday night’s meeting, mayor Dan Mathieson said there is still hope for involvement from the federal government as well.

In March, the City of Stratford, the provincial ministry and Waterloo-based Open Text Corporation announced their commitment to the Stratford Institute, “and each confirmed their continued support at the event,” Day-Hamilton said. “In addition, Sybase iAnywhere gave its support to the initiative, announcing their intent to be a founding partner in the project.”

“We’re excited to be involved with the university,” iAnywhere president Terry Stepien told Stratford’s Beacon-Herald newspaper.

Says Day-Hamilton: “The Stratford Institute is a think-tank, integrator and training institute devoted to collaboration between digital media, international commerce and culture. The first phase of the project will see the Stratford Institute host conferences, workshops and research activities in digital media beginning as early as spring 2009.

“The first major activity is a planned conference titled Canada 3.0: Defining Canada’s Digital Future, scheduled for May 11-12, 2009, at the Stratford Rotary Complex.

“In addition to the research and outreach activities, a graduate program in global digital media is also proposed and will soon be under development. The original plan for an undergraduate program will be a later phase activity when future funding can be secured.”

The Beacon-Herald emphasized the value of the UW campus for Stratford’s troubled economy, which depends largely on summer tourism for the Shakespeare festival, as well as automotive parts jobs. The campus should create “more than 400 direct and indirect jobs” and pump $38 million a year into Stratford, the paper said.

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Four profs will retire on January 1

After years — sometimes decades — at Waterloo, a number of faculty members will officially retire on New Year’s Day 2009, according to UW’s human resources department. Here are brief notes about four of them. (Names of some faculty members who retired earlier during 2008 will be reported in the Daily Bulletin later this week.)

[Bunting]Trudi Bunting (right) of the department of geography and environmental management came to UW in 1970 as an instructor in what was then called “man-environment studies” (now environment and resource studies) and has also been appointed to the school of planning. In all those disciplines she’s done research and teaching about urban sprawl and its opposite, the development and health of downtown city areas. That included, for example, studies of pedestrian behaviour and safety in central Kitchener and Cambridge. Her last sabbatical leave, in 2004, was for work on “the need for urban intensification”.

Gary Draper of St. Jerome’s University came to UW initially as a professional librarian — head of the reference and collections development department in the Dana Porter Library starting in 1983. He moved to St. Jerome’s University to serve as its librarian in 1989 and then switched to the faculty track in 1999, serving as a professor of English. He’s a specialist in Canadian literature and has been the organizer of the series that brings contemporary writers to St. Jerome’s with Canada Council sponsorship.

Keith Geddes of the school of computer science has been on UW’s faculty since 1973, when the CS school was housed in the upper reaches of the Math and Computer building. His research in numerical approximations and symbolic computation led him in 1980 to launch a project to develop new software; the result was Maple, a computer algebra system that is now marketed worldwide by Maplesoft Inc., of which Geddes was a co-founder. At UW, he served terms as both associate dean (computing) and associate dean (graduate studies and research) for the faculty of mathematics.

Mariela Gutiérrez is a faculty member in Spanish and Latin American studies and has served as chair of the department. She came to Waterloo in 1988 and specialized in Afro-Hispanic studies and twentieth century Latin American women writers, most of all Cuban author Lydia Cabrera. Along the way she earned a Distinguished Teacher Award from UW (1993) and served a term as UW’s academic colleague on the board of the Council of Ontario Universities.

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Student inventor watches his e-mail

from the December issue of the engineering faculty’s e-newsletter

Eric Migicovsky came up with a timely business concept while biking along the canals in Holland during an exchange term earlier this year.

[Migicovsky]"I didn't want to risk dropping my new phone into the water, but I wanted to know why it was vibrating in my pocket," says Migicovsky (left; photo by Ron Neuman, Communitech). It was then that he came up with the idea of being able to glance down at his wrist to see who was calling or emailing. Almost a year later the fourth-year systems design engineering student is busy promoting inPulse, a watch that connects by Bluetooth to a smartphone like a BlackBerry.

It allows wearers to instantly feel a little vibration and see what is happening on their phone, right on their wrist. "If you get a call, email, SMS or calendar alert, it will display the key part of the message on the watch face," says Migicovsky.

Migicovsky has received positive feedback on inPulse: he placed third in the recent CBET Business Plan Competition and first in the kickoff of the annual LaunchPad 50K Venture Creation Competition. He'll take part in the LaunchPad $1K iGNITION Pitch on January 9.

Next steps for the now six-member inPulse team include securing funding, finalizing product design and looking into outsourced manufacturing.

Migicovsky, who hopes to have inPulse on the market by fall 2009, appropriately ended his LaunchPad kickoff presentation with: "If you'd like to know more, send an email to my watch."


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Link of the day

Wonders of Winter in Waterloo Park

When and where

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

Fall term exams December 5 through 19. Details.

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.

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

Barry Levely, mapping, analysis and design, Faculty of Environment, retirement reception 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 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.

Math and Computer building 5th floor, electrical power shut off December 29, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Engineering II and III buildings, electrical power shut off December 29, 10 a.m. to midnight.

Optometry continuing education “CE on the SEA” Caribbean cruise and professional upgrading, January 3-10. Details.

Winter term classes begin Monday, January 5.

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

Social Innovation Generation project presents “Studio Earth”, with remarks by environmentalist Severn Suzuki, sessions on social finance, social technology, political advocacy, 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.

Engineering alumni ski day at Osler Bluff Ski Club, Collingwood, January 16. Details.

Positions available

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

• Project manager, International Tobacco Control Project, psychology, USG 9
• Custodian I, plant operations
• Information systems developer, Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, USG 7
• Financial and administrative assistant, Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, USG 4
• Counsellor, counselling services, USG 11/12
• Development assistant, Waterloo International, USG 5/6
• International education advisor/program coordinator, Waterloo International, USG 6

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