Tuesday, April 28, 2009

  • Fire drills cancelled on a rainy morning
  • 'One-stop' commercialization office forming
  • Book tells Renison's 50-year story
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Fire drills cancelled on a rainy morning

The fire drills scheduled for today in most buildings on the main campus have been cancelled because of this morning's weather, a bleak steady rain. "There is no rain date," says Doug Dye, safety and compliance training officer in the university's safety office. The drills are supposed to be held annually, and are always scheduled for a quiet day between the winter and spring terms. Waterloo Fire Service trucks and officers come to campus to supervise the drills along with UW police and safety staff. "Building occupants are expected to vacate the buildings whenever a fire alarm sounds," Dye notes. Residence buildings aren't included in the April exercise; they'll have drills in May when spring term residents have moved in.

Speaking of the weather, occupants of eight buildings on the north side of the main campus should be hoping that the next week will stay cool rather than being an encore of yesterday. The air temperature got above 25 Celsius for a while in the early afternoon, according to the UW weather station, and that's the sort of reading that can make things uncomfortable indoors without chilled water for air conditioning. The plant operations department advises that chilled water will be out of operation for the next week-and-a-bit in the Central Services Building, Commissary and General Services Complex; Village I; the Physical Activities Complex; the Student Life Centre; Matthews Hall; and the Photovoltaic Research Centre. The shutdown was to start at 7:00 this morning and wind up at dinnertime on May 6, and is taking place to allow utility lines to be connected to the Quantum-Nano Centre as it takes shape.

Staff and faculty members had e-mail from Needles Hall late last week, the second in what are to be quarterly updates (following the board of governors meetings) from UW president David Johnston. He touched on provincial spending, pension funds, and other matters: "It is important to emphasize that the University of Waterloo, thanks to prudent stewardship and early strategic action, is in a better position than many other universities across the country. Our hiring freeze will continue, with mission-critical positions being approved on a case-by-case basis, but we are not in the unfortunate position of having to let people go. . . . On April 8 we held a second town hall meeting after the success of November’s event. I will say that I found the event to be a success. I was delighted to see so many members of our community vote with their feet and show up to join the conversation at the Humanities Theatre. The dedication to Waterloo and the civility with which our community’s members conduct themselves is an inspiration."

A key job has been filled in the information systems and technology department, says this memo from Bruce Campbell, director of network services: "Joe Allen has accepted the Manager, Telecommunications, position within the Network Services group, effective April 20. Prior to joining UW in May 2008 as an Information Systems Specialist, Joe was Manager of Systems Development at Gore Mutual Insurance. Joe is also a graduate of the University of Waterloo with an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics and a major in Computer Science. The Telecommunications Services area's responsibilities include telephone installations and changes on campus, switchboard, voice mail, voice activated directory assistance, calling cards, conference calling and administration of telephony related billing, including wireless voice and data plans. Of particular interest to BlackBerry users, Telecommunications Services will be initiating some changes to the wireless plans on campus effective May 1 to reduce costs while maintaining the same quality of service." The previous manager of telecommunications was Jason Testart, who moved to the post of manager of security last fall.

The UW staff association says it's looking for nominees for "members of the Dispute Resolution Pool constituted under Policy 36, Dispute Resolution for University Support Staff. All Staff Association members are encouraged to consider this opportunity and submit an application. The Dispute Resolution Pool is a body of 12 individuals who will be chosen as members of a Tribunal when a staff member takes an issue through the formal stage under Policy 36. A Tribunal will consist of any three members from the Dispute Resolution Pool chosen by the Secretariat from a rotating list. Members of the Pool will undergo annual training on facilitation skills, Tribunal process, policy interpretation and the rules of natural justice." Applications are due (e-mail staffasc@ uwaterloo.ca) by April 30.

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'One-stop' commercialization office forming

One-stop shopping for UW researchers interested in commercializing their inventions still involves multiple stops, but at least all the services are now under one management, says the administrator who’s in charge of them all.

He is Tom Corr, associate vice-president (commercialization) in the UW office of research and also CEO of the Accelerator Centre, which currently houses 25 spin-offs from UW and other educational institutions in the Waterloo Region as well as start-ups from the community not affiliated with the institutions. The Accelerator Centre is located in the Research and Technology Park.

“We have delayed the leasing of additional space due to concerns about the economy,” says Corr, but he reports that administratively, what used to be three separate units are now working in unison.

The hope is to reduce the “confusion” that has often faced researchers and students with bright ideas, he says. They ask, in effect, “what’s the best path to commercialization?” and don’t know which of the three offices to approach for help.

Two of the existing agencies are in the Accelerator building at 295 Hagey Boulevard. Those are the Waterloo office of the Ontario Centres of Excellence, a provincially funded agency designed to promote research in key areas and see that its results reach the marketplace, and the Accelerator Centre itself, a nonprofit agency designed to help little enterprises (mostly UW spinoffs) get big.

The third unit involved is the Intellectual Property Management Group, formerly the “technology transfer office”, in UW’s office of research. It’s housed in Needles Hall, and its role is to work with UW faculty to licence their inventions or help companies get started.

“The Accelerator Centre and the University have been working closely with OCE to determine how we can integrate our services even more tightly,” UW president David Johnston reported to the government last fall, “with the goal of developing an enhanced commercialization model that can potentially be replicated throughout Ontario.”

The goal was “one-stop shopping for industry, entrepreneurs, researchers and students in the Waterloo Region,” and the plan was a single unit, to be called the Accelerator for Commercialization Excellence, that would move into new offices in a nearby building that’s now under construction.

The economic slump has delayed things. “We will revisit our needs for additional space later in the year,” Corr says now. “We will be phasing in the move of the IPMG staff to the Accelerator building as space becomes available.”

But in the meantime, the three units are working together under the terms of an agreement that was actually signed last October.

“The organization,” he says, “sees basically three groups of people who report to me as the CEO of ACE. These are Scott Inwood, director of commercialization, and his staff from UW; Tim Ellis, director of operations at the Accelerator Centre; and a new hire who will be responsible for the OCE operations in Waterloo as ‘director of commercialization’, for whom we are now interviewing.”

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[Book cover]Book tells Renison's 50-year story

I spent an hour last week flipping through the new history of Renison University College, Bold and Courageous Dreams, written by its former principal, Gail Cuthbert Brandt. The book will be launched at a celebration today, sponsored by the UW bookstore and held in the Dana Porter Library starting at 4:00.

The book was published by Renison to mark its 50th anniversary, and is based on both archival research and more than two dozen personal interviews. “Bea Abbott recalls . . . Jean Herzog remembers,” writes Cuthbert Brandt, whose own involvement with Renison began when she arrived as a first-year student in 1963. She was principal 1992-2002, and has continued as a professor of history at Renison and for five years an associate vice-president of UW.

Her own recollections are clearly coming into play in some sections, as when she describes the “grim climate” for college financing in the early 1990s, and the joint library building for Renison and St. Jerome’s University that was proposed in 1999 but never became a reality.

Throughout the book, Cuthbert Brandt weaves threads together: the story of the college’s finances and buildings, the story of its academic programs (especially the growth of social work and, later, of east Asian studies), the story of its people, and the story of its gradually changing role as an Anglican (Christian) institution. Developments at Renison were affected not only by was happening in higher education and UW itself but also what was happening in the church and, particularly, the Diocese of Huron, and the photos in the book include several with bishops in full regalia, as well as one of a baptism taking place in the college’s St. Bede’s Chapel.

The story moves forward from the creation of Renison College in 1959, “the result of the actions of local community leaders responding to the economic, social, and political forces playing out at the national, provincial, and local levels,” rather as had happened for UW itself two years earlier. At the same time, there had been interest in an Anglican presence in higher education in the area, and Cuthbert Brandt reveals that even before UW came into existence, church leaders had talked about creating an Anglican residence associated with Waterloo College.

Cuthbert Brandt devotes the majority of a chapter (“Tumultuous Times”) to the so-called Renison College Affair of 1974, a controversy over academic freedom and administrative authority at the college. She puts it in the context of changes at Renison following the 1971 death of long-time principal Wyn Rees. “Nearly all of the full-time faculty,” she writes, “were now young, freshly minted graduates, moulded by the post-Woodstock student culture of the late ’60s and popular protest movements. . . . While the intellectual atmosphere at the College was clearly an exciting and mind-expanding one for some, for others, who did not share the ideological stance of certain instructors, it could be hostile and intimidating.”

She tells the story in detail: the arrival of a new principal, John Towler; warnings to some faculty members and termination notices to two of them; demonstrations, demands, controversies, formal complaints and eventually arbitration over one of the faculty dismissals. And a now familiar name surfaces in the story: “The agreed-upon arbitrator for the Forest case was Professor David Johnston, the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario, who would later become president of the University of Waterloo. Twelve days of hearings, one of the longest arbitration cases in Canadian academic history up to that time, took place in June and July 1975.”

Read more in Bold and Courageous Dreams, $20.00 at the UW bookstore.


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Link of the day

National day of mourning

When and where

Graduate Student Research Conference through Thursday, Davis Centre. Details. Keynote addresses Tuesday: Peter Forsyth, school of computer science, 11:15, Davis 1302; Howard Burton, former executive director of Perimeter Institute, 1:30, Davis 1350; Joram Piatigorsky, National Eye Institute, 4:00, Davis 1351.

UW-ACE system will be down Tuesday 6:30 a.m., to Wednesday 12:00 noon.

‘Scared Buyers Seminar’, Sandra Dimock of Remax Twin City Realty speaking on the housing market, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 329; sold out.

‘Study and research on the Dutch coast:’ information about exchanges, internships and joint research with water management program at Hogeschool Zeeland University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, 3:45 p.m., Needles Hall room 1101.

[Burton]Howard Burton, former executive director of Perimeter Institute, speaks about his forthcoming book, 7:00 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall, free, sponsored by retail services.

‘Explore the World of Paul’ travel course led by Tom Yoder Neufeld, Conrad Grebel University College, April 29 through May 15.

Math and Computer building hot and cold water shut off for repairs Wednesday 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Survey Research Centre presents Stephen Porter, Wesleyan University, “Do College Student Survey Questions Have Any Validity?” focusing on National Survey of Student Engagement, Wednesday 3:30, PAS building room 1229.

Fee payment deadline for the spring term: April 30 (bank transfer). Details.

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

Philosophy Graduate Student Association annual conference, Thursday-Friday, Humanities room 373. Keynoter: Sanford Goldberg, Northwestern University, “Socializing Reliability”, Friday 4:30 p.m. Details.

K-W Symphony “Fearless Piano”, soloist Eve Egoyan, Thursday 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Ontario Water Works Association student chapter, based in civil and environmental engineering, free tour of Walkerton Clean Water Centre demonstration facility with carpool from campus, Friday, e-mail kmsuperi@ engmail to make arrangements.

Rhythm Dance Festival May 1-2, Humanities Theatre.

Convergences 2009: café-rencontre des étudiants de 2e et 3e cycles, département d’études françaises, vendredi 11h30 à 16h00, Humanities salle 334.

Community Garden Fest Saturday 10:00 to 3:00, Unity Centre, 2631 Kingsway Drive, Kitchener: workshops, children’s activities, speaker Jim Diers, “Building Community in the Garden”. Details.

Spring term classes begin Monday, May 4.

Presidents’ Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, speaker Gary Poole, University of British Columbia, “But Will That Be on the Test? Encouraging Deeper Learning” Monday 2:00, Humanities Theatre, reception follows.

Faculty workshops on teaching with Gary Poole, University of British Columbia, Tuesday, May 5: “Using Door-Opening Concepts in Our Teaching” 9:00, “We Can Promote Deeper Learning” 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

A Research Conference on Teaching and Learning, sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Wednesday, May 6. Details.

David Johnston Run for Health (fourth annual) around the ring road, walk or run, Wednesday, May 6, 4:15 p.m., starts at Needles Hall, participation free, register ext. 84830.

Summer Camp Fair with more than 40 children’s camps represented, Wednesday, May 6, 5:00 to 7:00, University Stadium, Wilfrid Laurier University. Details.

International student orientation for new students from outside Canada, organized by Waterloo International, Thursday, May 7, 12:30 to 4:00, Needles Hall room 1116. Details.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment Thursday, May 7, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Architecture alumni reception at Ontario Association of Architects annual conference, Thursday, May 7, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto. Details.

E-waste Green Day sponsored by UW central stores and Greentec Recycling Services: drop off electronic items (on approved list) for free recycling, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., East Campus Hall.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term courses posted in Quest May 11; appointments June 22-27 for continuing students, July 13-26 for new students; open enrolment begins July 27.

UW Blooms annual exchange of seeds, seedlings and garden supplies, Monday, May 11, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre.

Communitech Tech Leadership Conference Thursday May 14, Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener. Details.

‘The Wedding Singer’ produced by K-W Musical Productions, May14-16, 20-23 at 8 p.m., May 23 at 2 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $29 at Humanities box office.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 18: UW offices and most services closed, and classes cancelled.

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