Monday, October 20, 2008

  • UW's annual flock of indicators
  • Awards listed from math banquet
  • Plenty of data points for a Monday
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

UW's annual flock of indicators

[Pencil drawing of goose]There must be a few statistics that aren’t in the 2008 edition of UW’s annual Performance Indicators report — the number of geese on campus, maybe — but here are a few that do appear:

• Operating revenue last year: $204.3 million in grants, $175.8 million in academic fees, $45.2 million in “other”.

• Percentage of undergraduate students in co-op programs: 100 in engineering, 58 in mathematics, 19 in arts.

• Percentage of students who said “definitely yes” when asked in a survey, “If you could start over again, would you go to the same institution?” 53.1 (compared to 44.0 at all Ontario universities).

• Average time to complete a graduate degree, in terms: Master of Arts 6.3, Master of Applied Science 6.2; PhD in applied health sciences 11.3, PhD in science 14.8.

• Percentage of assistant professors who are female: 22.8.

• Five-year age group that includes the largest number of academic support staff: 50 to 54 for men (148 staff), 45 to 49 for women (202).

• Average age of physical facilities: 31.6 years.

These examples are chosen almost randomly from the 107-page document, the fourth annual such report prepared by staff in institutional analysis and other departments. The project is guided by a Performance Indicators Task Force chaired by dean of engineering Adel Sedra.

“Over the next 10 years,” says a one-page Introduction, “the University of Waterloo will continue to pursue a course for program excellence, enriched research, and a global presence. This course will not be without challenges — increasing expectations of parents, students and government for high quality, accessible and responsive programs; global competition for highly qualified faculty, staff and students; insufficient funding to adequately resource the university enterprise; and demand for transparency and accountability.

“We continue to be diligent in our efforts to enhance performance, improve quality, and ensure both accountability and transparency. The publication of this document, along with our Public Accountability web page, is evidence of our commitment to transparency, the strategic management of our resources, and sound planning for our future.”

Data in the report are organized into nine sections: undergraduate studies, graduate studies, research, faculty, staff, co-operative education, resources, fundraising, and library.

Says a concluding page: “The Performance Indicators Task Force and the Data Working Group continue their efforts to shed more light on important activities of the University. In particular, we will continue to work with our provincial and national peers to define, collect and build data sets and indicators that will allow meaningful comparisons and benchmarking.”

Spiral-bound copies of the report were distributed with the agenda for today’s meeting of the UW senate. They’ll also be distributed in other ways over the next few days.

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[Three men in front of a curtain]
Awards listed from math banquet

More than 110 faculty members, alumni and friends of UW’s Faculty of Mathematics attended this year’s Faculty Banquet on September 25 — an annual event that “welcomes new faculty, honours retired faculty, and celebrates Alumni Achievement Awards and Awards for Distinction in Teaching”.

Bruce Mitchell, associate provost (academic and student affairs), brought greetings on behalf of the university as a whole, says a summary provided by the dean of mathematics office. Here is a list of new faculty, retired faculty, and award winners as provided by the dean’s office.

New faculty in Applied Mathematics, Matthew Scott (UW); in the Office of the Dean of Mathematics, Michael Eden (York), Steven Furino (UW, formerly of St. Jerome’s), and Brent Matheson (Windsor); in Computer Science, Bin Ma (Peking) and Ben Reichard (California at Berkeley); in Statistics and Actuarial Science, Diana Chisholm (UW) and Jean-François Renaud (Montréal).

Retired faculty: John Wainwright, applied mathematics 1967-2008; Paul Schellenberg, combinatorics and optimization 1966-2008; Harry Panjer, statistics and actuarial science 1975-2008. (Pictured are Schellenberg, left, and Panjer, right, with math dean Tom Coleman.)

Alumni Achievement Medal: Abdel El-Shaarawi graduated with his PhD from the Department of Statistics in 1973 and joined the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington, Ontario. He is Research Scientist at the National Water Research Institute, located at CCIW, and has served as an adjunct professor at McMaster, University of Western Ontario and the University of British Columbia. His research covers areas such as the modeling and analysis of environmental change, water quality monitoring, and the impact of contaminants, and has been applied not only to Canada’s lakes and rivers but also in other parts of the world. He was a founder of the International Environmetrics Society and its first president, and was the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmetrics. In addition, he serves as editor of the Encyclopedia of Environmetrics.

Alumni Achievement Medal: Robert Hogan received a Bachelor of Mathematics degree in actuarial science and statistics in 1976, and is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. Since joining Towers Perrin's Toronto office in 1979 as a consulting actuary, he has served in several consulting and business leadership roles within Towers Perrin. He currently serves as the firm's Chief Financial Officer, and as a member of the Executive Council and Board of Directors. Past positions within the firm include Chief Operating Officer, global head of the firm's Human Capital Group, global head of the Retirement business, and head of the Calgary office. He has consulted for large global client organizations on actuarial, investment, merger and acquisition, and other services, and has been instrumental in guiding the growth of the firm's business globally.

(The Faculty of Mathematics Alumni Achievement Medal was established in 2002 to acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments and achievements of alumni of the Faculty to their communities and professions. The Alumni Medal Selection Committee, comprised of UW math alumni appointed by the dean, chooses the annual winners.)

Awards for Distinction in Teaching: Robin Cohen, School of Computer Science, and David McKinnon, Pure Mathematics.

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Plenty of data points for a Monday

Today, it appears, is Wear Jeans If You're Queer Day. It's a feature of Queer Pride Week, sponsored by GLOW, formerly Gays and Lesbians of Waterloo but now subtitled "the Queer and Questioning Community Centre". Says GLOW's web site: "Happening October 18 through 24, Queer Pride Week 2008 aims to celebrate sexual and gender diversity, encourage greater visibility of the queer community, and raise awareness of coming out issues. We’ll be having events for visibility, education, discussion, and socializing to keep you busy all week!" If things went according to plan yesterday, there will be provocative chalk inscriptions across campus today, and a Sexual and Gender Diversity Fair is running in the Student Life Centre. Other events over the next few days wind up with a Friday night bonfire at Columbia Lake.

Peter Dauvergne of the University of British Columbia will be speaking at UW this afternoon, brought in by a coalition of the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Environment and the Centre for Global Governance Research — not to mention the bookstore, which will sponsor a reception and book-signing after the lecture. Dauvergne is founder of the journal Global Environmental Politics, and the book that has just been published is The Shadows of Consumption, "which explores five very different histories: automobiles, gasoline, refrigerators, beef, and harp seals". (Again, no geese.) His talk, "Consequences for the Global Environment", starts at 3:30 in Environment I room 132; the reception is scheduled for 4:30 in the nearby courtyard.

The agenda seems thinner than usual for the monthly meeting of the UW senate, which will be held today starting at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. As well as a run-through of the Performance Indicators report, senate will hear a major presentation from mathematics dean Tom Coleman about what's been happening (and what's planned) in his domain, and the customary reports from president David Johnston and provost Amit Chakma. Senate is also scheduled to give its formal, final approval to the long list of students who will receive their degrees at this Saturday's Convocation ceremonies. Incidentally, you might think that Convocation is the only time UW students are officially awarded degrees, but you'd be wrong. Today's senate meeting will be presented with a list of 37 students "who have been issued their degrees early to support employment or immigration requirements outside of Canada", something that the registrar's office and UW's president are authorized by senate to do "when circumstances necessitate".

The engineering faculty's e-newsletter reports that Mohammad Alauddin Ahammed, a PhD student in civil and environmental engineering, was the second prize recipient of the 2008 Transportation Association of Canada’s Student Paper Award competition. Ahammed’s paper, entitled "Long Term and Seasonal Variations of Pavement Surface Friction", deals with the variation of skid resistance, an important aspect of highway safety.

With course enrolment for winter term courses under way, there's a green flyer around campus promoting a new course in Russian and East European Studies: REES 230, "The Devil", based on a novel by Russian writer Mihail Bulgakov. • Here's a reminder that applications for positions as dons in UW's residences for the spring term are being accepted until November 3. • Jody Grewal, a third-year student in accounting and financial management, has been named one of 12 winners of Women in Business Scholarship Awards offered by Zonta International.

Alec Wickson, who died October 6, is remembered as a long-term UW staff member: he was a mainstay of the engineering machine shop over a 31-year career, and retired in 1991.

A weekly group called "Thriving at Waterloo", aimed at "students feeling alone, overwhelmed, stressed", will be meeting Wednesday afternoons, and health services (ext. 33308) can provide the details. • The psychology department is holding a Hallowe'en "door decorating contest" in the PAS building as a United Way fund-raiser. • The schedule for fall term final examinations is now available on the registrar's office web site.


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Link of the day

Birth of the Báb

When and where

Employer interviews for winter term co-op jobs continue; ranking (main group) opens Friday 1 p.m.

Open class enrolment for winter term undergraduate courses begins today on Quest.

Kitchener Public Library lecture: Jan Narveson, retired from UW department of philosophy, “Justice: Basic Views”, 12:00, KPL main branch.

Certificate in University Teaching workshop: “Teaching Philosophy Statement” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Walk the Ring Road exercise and conversation organized by UW Recreation Committee, , start 12:00 at Davis Centre.

Senate long-range planning committee 3:00, Needles Hall room 3004.

Photographs of China by 2008 China Trip students, exhibition opens today 4:00, Renison UC chapel lounge, continuing through November 20.

Federation Orientation Committee information night (past orientation leaders interested in FOC for 2009) 7:00 pm., Physics room 313.

International Opportunities Fair with information on study, volunteer and work programs, Tuesday 11:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

UW Recreation Committee tour of Waterloo City Hall green roof, Tuesday 12:05 p.m. Details.

Joint Health and Safety Committee Tuesday 1:00, Commissary room 112D.

Earth and environmental sciences seminar: John F. Gartner speaks on his book Confessions of a Consultant, Tuesday 2:00, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, book signing follows.

Career workshop: “Applying to Teacher Education Programs” Tuesday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence faculty workshop: “Show and Tell: Learning Technologies for Making and Sharing Presentations” Tuesday 3:30 p.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Faculty of Environment alumni reception featuring Stephen Lewis, and presentation of the faculty’s alumni achievement awards, Tuesday 6:30 p.m., IBM Toronto Software Lab. Details.

Quest unavailable Wednesday 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. for software upgrade.

Bachelor of Social Work information session Wednesday 11:45, Renison UC chapel lounge.

Faculty of Science Gairdner Foundation Lectures: Sydney Brenner, Cambridge, 2002 Nobel Prize winner, Wednesday: “Why I Became a Scientist” 10:30 a.m., aimed at high school students, and “The Architecture of Biological Complexity,” 1:30 p.m., both in Humanities Theatre.

Poet Nathaniel G. Moore reads from his work Wednesday 4:00, St. Jerome’s University room 3027.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Thomas Homer-Dixon, UW faculty of arts and Balsillie School, “Homegrown or Flown-In: Is Local Food Always Best?” Wednesday 7:00, 57 Erb Street West.

Federation of Students annual general meeting Thursday 12:30 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

Annual Gem and Mineral Show (theme: International Year of Planet Earth), October 25 and 26, 10:00 to 5:00, earth sciences museum, CEIT building. Details.

UW board of governors October 28, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Staff association annual general meeting October 30, 8:45 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Faculty of Science Arthur J. Carty Lecture: Nina Fedoroff, “Seeds of a Perfect Storm: The Global Food Security Crisis” October 30, postponed.


It's a product of students in English 408B ("The Discourse of Advertising") and I think I'm not supposed to explain any more than that.

PhD oral defences

Applied mathematics. Gregory Mayer, “Spatial Resolution Enhancement in Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” Supervisors, Edward Vrscay and J. R. Mitchell. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Wednesday, October 29, 1:30 p.m., Mathematics and Computer room 5158.

Electrical and computer engineering. Yasser Ibrahim Mohamed, “New Control Algorithms for the Distributed Generation Interface in Grid-Connected and Micro-Grid Systems.” Supervisor, Ehab F. El-Saadany. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, October 31, 9:00 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

Statistics and actuarial science. Zhi Li, “Optimal Reinsurance Retentions under Ruin-Related Optimization Criteria.” Supervisors, Jun Cai and Gordon Willmot. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, October 31, 10:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 6027.

Civil and environmental engineering. Flavio Cunto, “Assessing Safety Performance of Transportation Systems Using Microscopic Simulation.” Supervisor, Frank Saccomanno. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, October 31, 1:30 p.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Friday's Daily Bulletin