Wednesday, February 6, 2008

  • Grants offered for research on co-op
  • Profs explain their sabbatical plans
  • Of Toronto, Calgary and other points
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Why UW isn't closed

Snow and ice overnight have brought Waterloo Region a slip-slidy morning, but UW remains open because local public schools remain open. The school board cancelled its bus routes, but announced that "schools are open except for those that depend on transportation". UW closes for the day only when the board shuts its schools Region-wide. (However, Conestoga College has announced that it's closed for today.)

Link of the day

Ash Wednesday

When and where

Job Fair hosted by UW and three other institutions, 10:00 to 3:00, RIM Park, Waterloo, details online.

Career workshop: "Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, registration online.

Web clinic for "people of all skill levels and experiences to work on their websites", Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:00, Chemistry II room 160, information e-mail

Management sciences information session about graduate studies with professors, students and pizza, 5:00 to 7:00, Carl Pollock Hall room 3385.

Warrior basketball vs. McMaster, women 6:00, men 8:00, Physical Activities Complex.

Engineering alumni in San Jose reception 6:00, Hilton San Jose, details online.

Perimeter Institute presents science journalist Michael Belfiore, “Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers and Pilots Is Boldly Privatizing Space” 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 519-883-4480.

Gays and Lesbians of Waterloo weekly discussion group, Wednesdays 7:15 to 8:30, PAS building room 3005, information online.

New faculty lunch-and-learn: “Seeking and Using Mid-Course Feedback” 11:45, Math and Computer room 4051, by invitation.

Technical speaker competition for engineering students, sponsored by Sandford Fleming Foundation, Thursday 12:30 p.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

International spouses group hears about Chinese new year, with refreshments, Thursday 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre, children welcome, information e-mail

Chinese new year open house at Waterloo International, with information about UW partners in East Asia, Thursday 3:00 to 5:00, Needles Hall room 1101, RSVP ext. 38350, all welcome.

UW Choir auditions for soloists Thursday evening; sign up at music office, Conrad Grebel room 1302; performance of "Israel in Egypt" is Sunday, April 6.

'Differ/End: The Caledonia Project' researched and relived by UW drama department students, Thursday-Saturday and February 14-16 at 7:00, Studio 180, Humanities building, tickets $12 (students $10) at Humanities box office.

FASS 2008: "Global Warming: Kiss Your FASS Goodbye" Thursday and Saturday at 8:00, Friday at 7:00 and 10:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets $7 Thursday, $9 Friday and Saturday from Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

Exceptional Teaching by a Student Award nomination deadline for 2008 is Friday.

Ski and snowboard trip to Blue Mountain, sponsored by Federation of Students and other groups, Friday, tickets from athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

St. Jerome’s University presents Louise Fréchette, former Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, member of UW board of governors, “Empowering Women: A Sound Investment” (2007-08 Teresa Dease Lecture), Friday 7:30, Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s.

Warrior Weekend alcohol-free activities in the Student Life Centre Friday and Saturday evenings, including “Speed Meet New People”, crafts, ice cream sundaes (Friday) and pizza (Saturday), and movies (“Good Luck Chuck” Friday 11:00, “Bee Movie” Saturday 9:00, “Michael Clayton” Saturday 11:00), details online.

Going Green workshop series sponsored by Grand House Student Co-operative: Solar Power workshop Saturday 9:00 to 12:00, Waterloo Region council chambers, 150 Frederick Street, Kitchener, details online.

Class enrolment appointments for spring term undergraduate courses February 11-16; open enrolment begins February 19.

Employee Assistance Program brown-bag lunch: “Quitting Smoking, Useful Guidance for the Serious, Curious and Furious”, with Paul McDonald, health studies and gerontology, Tuesday, February 12, 12:00 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Blood donor clinic February 13 and 14 (10:00 to 4:00) and February 15 (9:00 to 3:00), Student Life Centre, book appointments at Student Life Centre.

Fair trade rose sale for Valentine’s Day: “show your sweetheart how fair you really are” with organic roses and fair-trade chocolate, offered by Engineers Without Borders. Pre-order by e-mail ( or first-come, first-served on February 14, Carl Pollock Hall foyer.

Loving to Learn Day, "an opportunity for everyone and anyone to share their reflections about their love of learning", February 15, details online.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day at Warrior men’s basketball game vs. Windsor Lancers, Saturday, February 16, 3:00, Physical Activities Complex, prizes, admission free with preregistration.

Alumni career planning workshop offered by Career Services, Saturday, March 1, 9:30 to 4:00, cost $75, registration online.

Environment and business conference sponsored by fourth-year environment and business students, Wednesday, March 26, Humanities Theatre, information e-mail

[Lolle in lab; magazine cover inset]

Biology researcher Susan Lolle, formerly of Harvard and Purdue and now of UW, is featured in the cover story of this month's issue of The Scientist, a prominent life sciences journal. It describes research, dating back more than a decade, that produced shock news in the genetics world a couple of years ago: "She had found that a mutant Arabidopsis plant could 'fix itself' back to the wild-type and take on the genetics of its grandparents. That seemed to contradict the laws of Mendelian inheritance." Other researchers have blamed "outcrossing" — contamination by pollen from nearby plants — but Lolle thinks not. "She plans to publish her results some time this year on [an] experiment involving 200,000 plants that she hopes will put an end to the outcrossing debate." A postdoctoral fellow in Lolle's lab, Marianne Hopkins, is working on similar genetic change in soybeans. Photo from The Scientist.

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Grants offered for research on co-op

UW is launching its own program to support research about co-op education, says a memo from Gary Waller, director of the Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education.

He says WatCACE’s new program “will provide funding for a maximum of three years to support research on both applied and theoretical aspects of co-op. The maximum funds for any one project during any year will be $20,000. During any one year a maximum of four projects will receive support.

“The goals of the program are to enhance the practice of co-op at Waterloo and elsewhere, to enhance our understanding of the pedagogical model, and to enhance the reputation of Waterloo as a world leader in co-operative education.”

Applications are required, says Waller’s memo, “and awards are competitive. Reviews of applications and decisions on awards will be under the direction of a Review Committee that will include, among others, the Director of WatCACE (Chair), a representative from the faculty complement of the Co-operative Education Council, and a representative from among the senior staff of the Co-operative Education and Career Services department. External and internal reviewers will be consulted as necessary.

“Priority will be given to research proposals that focus on improving the practice of co-op at Waterloo and/or enhance our understanding of the pedagogy underlying co-op, and that show promise of leading to external funding and refereed publication. Awardees will be required to hire a UW co-op student for at least one term in each year of the award.”

Application deadline for the first round is April 15, and awards will be announced by the end of May. “Funds will be available as early as June 1, 2008, though the funds can, by request, be delayed until no later than September 1.”

Proposals should be submitted to the Director of WatCACE, which has its offices in the Tatham Centre. Questions: email

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Profs explain their sabbatical plans

Here’s a list of some UW faculty members who are currently on sabbatical, with a summary of their plans for the sabbatical as submitted to the UW board of governors.

Hamid Tizhoosh, systems design engineering, twelve months’ sabbatical leave beginning September 1, 2007: “Main activities during the sabbatical: publishing a book (Springer); organizing an IEEE symposium in Toronto; working with industrial partner (breast cancer imaging).”

Yulia Gel, statistics and actuarial science, six months beginning September 15, 2007: “I plan to devote my sabbatical leave to research on time series analysis and robust statistics at the University of California, Berkeley.”

Jock MacKay, statistics and actuarial science, six months beginning November 1, 2007: “During my sabbatical, I plan to complete the research and write a paper on the foundations of Statistical Process Control. I will revise a set of course notes for Statistics 334 and attend a conference in Germany on industrial statistics. I also plan to continue as the Director of the BMath/BBA Double Degree program.”

Jeff Casello, planning and civil and environmental engineering, six months beginning November 1, 2007: “Research and publishing activities; development of new transportation planning course.”

Daniel Smilek, psychology, six months beginning November 1, 2007: “The goal is to develop a large-scale research partnership with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to study the human factors involved in security searches. The research will also be conducted at Pearson International Airport.”

Richard Culham, mechanical and mechatronics engineering, six months beginning January 1: “I plan to conduct research related to development of thermal electric coolers and power generation devices at Nextreme Thermal Solutions Inc. and Research Triangle Institute, NC. I may also have an opportunity to teach a course at Duke University or North Carolina State University.”

Ralph Smith, biology, twelve months beginning January 1: “I plan to pursue research on new methods of measuring and modeling biological processes in lakes.”

Christine McWebb, French studies, twelve months beginning January 1: “Medieval Women Writers as Agents of Cultural Transfer: the Case of Elisabeth von Nassau-Saarbruecken.”

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Of Toronto, Calgary and other points

The UW School of Architecture in Cambridge has announced two colloquia — the first of them tomorrow — on new approaches to design the design of large buildings in big cities. The presentations, says a news release, “will inform a new generation of designers learning the craft of large-scale city building. The gatherings also contribute to a nation-wide reform of design school curricula to meet the 2010 Imperative that seeks to establish a comprehensive curriculum dedicated to meeting the 2030 Challenge of achieving carbon-neutral cities.” The first event, running from 1:00 to 9:00 on Thursday, is titled “Toronto Futures” and focuses on new dense, sustainable urban architecture. Leaders responsible for the design and approval of large buildings in Toronto will gather for a day of exchanges with activists and critics. It will feature sessions under such titles as “Zero Carbon City”, “Integrating Toronto’s Past”, and “Cosmopolitanism vs. Multiculturalism”. The second event, scheduled for March 13, is titled “Living Large: Sustainable Design of Big Buildings”. Designers and engineers of some of the most innovative buildings in Canada will present detailed case studies. The events are free to the public and all are welcome. They’re sponsored by the Society of Waterloo Architecture Graduates and the students of Arch 392.

Still with the architecture school . . . faculty member Robert Jan van Pelt is a step closer to being hailed as Ontario's "best lecturer". He was named late last year as one of 34 candidates for the title in this year's competition, sponsored by TVOntario; now TVO has named him one of the ten finalists, chosen by a panel of three judges. "The broadcast of their lectures will allow viewers to experience the best that higher education in Ontario has to offer, and then to cast their vote for their favourite professor," says the show's producer. The lectures are scheduled for Saturday afternoons (repeated on Sundays) at 4:00 starting March 1, with two lecturers speaking each week. Van Pelt will be heard March 15 and 16, on the topic "Architecture After Auschwitz".

And back to issues of urban design: Mark Seasons, an associate dean in environmental studies, reports that representatives from the City of Calgary's Planning Department will be in the ES 1 courtyard today to give a presentation on their city's integrated land use and mobility project, "Plan It Calgary". They will also provide information about career opportunities with the City of Calgary. The day begins at 10:00 with an introduction and general meet-and-greet in the courtyard, followed by a presentation in ES1 room 221 at 11:00 and again at 2:00. "City staff will be on hand from 10:00 to 3:00," says Seasons, "to discuss planning and related careers with the City of Calgary. All members of the UW community are warmly invited."

As announced a few days ago, the 2008-2009 Undergraduate Calendar is now live on the web, and has a new address ( — users may want to create a new bookmark. To access the 2007-2008 Undergraduate Calendar (current calendar), navigate to "List of Calendars", which also provides access to past years' calendars. There are two ways to search within the calendar. The simple search consists of a single text box on the top of the public site in which users can type in one or more words. The advanced search is accessed from the "Advanced Search" link on the main page of the calendar. A form displays and requires the user to enter information that defines a search for a specific calendar.

The university secretariat has announced that on January 28, UW’s president approved a recommendation from the Staff Relations Committee to remove the “pro-rating requirement” of the probationary period for part-time staff. That leads to the deletion of two sentences in UW Policy 18 (Note 1, under Eligibility, and section 5c). “This is effective immediately,” says the secretariat memo. “In response to concerns expressed by staff, namely that pro-rating can turn into several years for part-time employees, the Staff Relations Committee believes that the pro-rating practice should end, as the periods established for full-time staff should provide adequate opportunity for managers to assess the performance of part-time staff. Managers who need more time to assess performance can extend the probationary period. Staff Relations Coordinators in Human Resources are in the process of contacting the managers of part-time staff who are on probation to review how this change may affect them.”

One of the student seats on the UW senate went unfilled when the deadline for nominations passed recently, but now there's apparently interest, so the mechanism has been started for holding an election after all. The official word from the university secretariat: "Nominations are requested for one student elected by/from the full-time undergraduate students, term from May 1, 2008 to April 30, 2010. Nomination forms are available from the Secretariat (ext. 36125) and from the Secretariat website. At least five nominators are required in each case.  Completed nomination forms should be submitted to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, NH 3060, no later than 4:30 p.m., Friday, February 22, 2008.  A by-election will follow if necessary."

In preparation for the lunar (Chinese) new year, there's a Chinese dinner tonight at Mudie's cafeteria in Village I, a new year lunch today and tomorrow at the University Club, and "authentic Chinese dishes" at Bon Appetit in the Davis Centre. • The human resources department is advising faculty and staff to check out a page on its web site with an explanation of Registered Retirement Savings Plan calculations for this year. • There's no Positions Available list in today's Daily Bulletin for a good reason: the HR department says there are no open staff positions to be listed this week.


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