Wednesday, December 2, 2009

  • UW reports on givings and progress
  • Flu shots, web sites and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Catharine Scott is the guest of honour today as she's recognized for 36 years of service to the university. Originally a staff member in what was then the "personnel" department, Scott has been one of UW's top executives, as associate provost (human resources and student services), since 1996. A reception to mark her retirement is being held in the Festival Room of South Campus Hall starting at 3:30. UW president David Johnston will speak, and pledge forms will be available for friends to support a bursary for a student orientation leader that is being created in Scott's honour. Last-minute information: ext. 32207.

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UW reports on givings and progress

A 20-page glossy report is being distributed to thousands of UW donors, and to staff and faculty across campus, acknowledging “the important role that many people, organizations, and government bodies and agencies play in our success” and inviting more stories about those connections.

“Let us know why you support Waterloo,” it invites readers — primarily UW alumni. “Tell us how your education was impacted by donations or research support. Share a favourite memory.”

[Making the Future cover, predominantly white]The report, titled “We’re Making the Future”, is being distributed both in printed form and online. It combines the features of what might otherwise have been an “annual report”, summarizing UW’s work, and a “donor report”, honouring the 18,880 people who gave the university a total of $53.3 million last year.

“In order to save resources, we have focused distribution of the publication,” says Ryan Jacobs, communications officer for UW’s development office, who edited the report along with Kelley Teahen of communications and public affairs. “The former donor report used to be polybagged into all copies of the fall issue of Waterloo Magazine. This year, we stitched in copies to 18,000 magazines being sent to our actual donors.”

Additional copies were printed for use by Waterloo faculty and staff to promote the university. Requests for copies should go to Karen Mason in Communications and Public Affairs, k3mason@ Teahen notes that this smaller publication replaces “Building the Future”, which has been the university's central handout publication throughout 2008-09.

“This is really the first time,” says Jacobs, “that we’ve put something out there measuring how far the university is making progress toward its Sixth Decade goals, and how much farther we still have to go.” On the first double-page spread, along with a message from UW president David Johnston, are graphic indicators of the progress along four trajectories: up by 6.5 per cent in just one year on international student enrolment, for example.

Johnston tells the readers: “Especially during these troubled economic times, your vision and support are critical to our success. Your support, whether a financial investment or a gift of your time and talent, is critical to helping Waterloo achieve its Sixth Decade goals. Without your support, we couldn’t continue to push boundaries, make new discoveries, and redefine the cutting edge.”

In between the president’s message and the financial graphs that close the report are feature stories about people and projects that are heavily supported by the university’s donors and partners: the new school of pharmacy, the VeloCity “innovation incubator”, the Midnight Sun solar car team, the Canada 3.0 digital media forum, President’s Scholarships for entering students, graduate student work in northern Canada, and the East Asian studies program.

One page gives a preview of the International Olympiad in Informatics that’s scheduled to bring 350 top high school students from around the world to UW next summer. “It’s really Waterloo’s chance to showcase itself,” says Troy Vasiga, associate director of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. “It’s hard to go out and visit the whole world to locate the best students, but if you bring the top kids here, that’s something.”

Figures at the end of the report break down that $53.3 million in 2008-09 giving to UW: $26.1 million for “chairs and professorships”, $9.5 million for research (not to be confused with $144 million in sponsored research funding), $5.1 million for scholarships, and so on. Two-thirds of the donors (12,281) are classed as alumni, 528 as “corporations and government”, and 1,053 as “faculty, staff and retirees”. Another 4,045 donors are “parents and students”, although that figure doesn’t include “all individual student voluntary contributions” such as the refundable fees paid each term to faculty endowment funds.

A note elsewhere in the report says there were 2,564 “donors who supported Waterloo for the first time” during the year.

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Flu shots, web sites and other notes

Red or white? Tea or coffee? And now, which strain of flu vaccine would you like today? Health services has announced that immunizations against the seasonal influenza — the annual surge of flu, not the same as H1N1 or “swine” flu — are now available for people in the “high risk” groups. That includes police, day care and health care workers, people over age 65, adults and children with underlying health problems, and caretakers of children under age 2. Vaccinations are offered from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Health Services building, across the ring road from the Student Life Centre. A seasonal flu vaccination clinic aimed at all students, UW employees, visitors and family members will be scheduled in January in the Student Life Centre. Meanwhile, H1N1 immunizations continue to be available at the same location and the same hours. Any member of the university community who needs H1N1 immunization is welcome on a first-come first-served basis.

With the involvement of Greentec Recycling Services, a Cambridge-based company that specializes in finding a new future for electronic equipment and its components, an "E-waste collection drive" is being held this week in the north campus Research and Technology Park. There are three drop-off locations, a memo says: TechTown ("near front entrance"), the Accelerator Centre ("north side of building near shipping bay"), and Sybase ("shipping area on northeast side"). Items being accepted include computers, monitors, TV sets, printers, keyboards, mice, cellphones, cartridges and laptops. "This is an opportunity to clean out your basement, storage areas and IT back rooms," organizers have told tenants in the R&T park, and people from the south campus probably wouldn't be turned away either. "Please make sure that all hard drives are removed or rendered useless before dropping in the bins."

An information session this morning will bring listeners up to date on the "web content management system" project that was announced during the summer. It involves the introduction of a software product called Open Text Web Solutions for creating and managing web content at UW. (That would include the Daily Bulletin, which is currently developed, in case you're interested, with a combination of Adobe Contribute and other ad hoc tools.) Eva Grabinski of information systems and technology is the project leader, and she along with other members of the task force will answer questions today: "When can I expect to start using the new system? What can I do beforehand so I am prepared? Do we need to budget for additional software costs? What about the Web Redesign project?" RSVPs are not required for today's briefing, the organizers stress: just show up, at 11 a.m. in Davis Centre room 1302.

Speaking of web servers, don't count on using tomorrow morning between 6 and 7 a.m. A temporary page will advise users during that hour that the central web servers, info and strobe, are out of operation; IST says it will be installing "firmware and software updates". Not just the university's web pages but "almost every other corporate application" will be unavailable during the downtime, IST warns.

And still on the subject of the web: somebody drew my attention this week to Alexa, a facility that displays statistics about the use and ranking of various sites. I have learned to take such figures with a great deal of salt, but for what it's worth, I'll quote Alexa's finding that UW's is the 8,236th busiest web site in the world, and the 352nd busiest in Canada. Where else do they turn to Apparently in the United Arab Emirates, which ranks UW 2,532nd among the world's web destinations, a higher rating than it earns anywhere else outside Canada.

There’s news from the Ontario Tobacco Control Research Unit at the University of Toronto: two more awards for UW smoking researchers, this time graduate students who were honoured at the 6th National Conference on Tobacco or Health held in Montréal last month. The UW winners are among students honoured for their research posters. First prize went to Ryan David Kennedy for “Evaluation of Woodstock’s Outdoor Smoking By-law – A Longitudinal Study of Smokers and Non-Smokers”, and second prize to Seema Muitti for “A Scan of Smoke-Free Policies in Outdoor and Quasi-Outdoor Transit Environments across Ontario”. Kennedy notes that “This is Seema's second award winning poster. She also took best poster at the World Tobacco or Health Conference in Mumbai last year with different research. Seema is currently supervised by Dr. David Hammond in Health Studies and Gerontology.” Kennedy is based in the research group of psychology professor Geoffrey Fong.

The October meeting of the engineering faculty council, according to its minutes, discussed everything from curriculum changes to the importance of faculty members being registered as Professional Engineers for the sake of UW’s program accreditation. Also of interest: the minutes say that Wayne Loucks, associate dean (undergraduate studies), presented “data showing course averages by level, and course performance by rubric and year. He noted that the data suggests that 40 per cent of 200-level students are consistently A students. He also noted that according to the data, engineering students’ averages are lower in math and physics courses than in engineering courses.”

[W] Weekly sports report

Athletes of the Week

Golf lessons for "students, staff, alumni and their families" will be available starting in January, says Dave Hollinger, coach of the Warrior men's golf team. It's the team members who will be offering the lessons, intended as a fund-raiser to help get the Warriors to the national championships in New Brunswick in May. Lessons will be available on Sundays in "beginner" and "advanced" groupings, as well as a special program for children aged 7 to 12, and cover "putting, chipping, full swing, golf etiquette and rules. We will supply clubs but you certainly may use your own." A flyer with the details will be distributed on campus this week; inquiries go to davehollinger@

Christopher Hume, architecture columnist in the Toronto Star, has designated the UW Pharmacy building as one of the "10 most important structures of the last decade" in the Greater Toronto Area. • The Bombshelter pub is looking for a slice of the pre-Christmas meal market, with a $10.99 turkey dinner on the menu through December 11 (or stuffed peppers, $8.99). • The Pragma Council, an advisory body to the UW School of Planning, brought alumni and professional planners to campus November 26-27 to discuss "Ontario's Growth-Stressed Water Resources" with insights from government and other experts as well as UW researchers.


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Link of the day

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

When and where

Imaginus poster sale final day, Student Life Centre.

Biomedical Discussion Group 2:30, CEIT room 3142, speaker Russ Tupling, kinesiology. Details.

Stratford Campus community update by Ken Coates, dean of arts, and Ian Wilson, Stratford Institute strategic advisor, 5:30, Stratford City Hall. Details.

Accounting and Finance Student Association presents Brenda Halloran, mayor of Waterloo, speaking on student leadership and the city’s Student Advisory Council, 6:00, Humanities room 1101.

Perimeter Institute presents Michael Peskin, Stanford University, “Top Quark: The Elusive Truth” 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

Knit-a-thon creating Izzy dolls to be given to children in war-torn countries, organized by Knowledge Integration Student Society, Thursday 12 noon to midnight, Environment I courtyard.

Nutrition and health awareness series: “Eating for Exams” presentation Thursday 12:00 at REVelation, Ron Eydt Village; 5:00 at Mudie’s, Village I.

Staff association pension, benefits and compensation subcommittee, open meeting Thursday 12:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture: Fran Allen, IBM Watson Research Center, “High Performance Computers and Compilers: A Personal Perspective” Thursday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Canada’s Technology Triangle networking dinner with consular trade representatives from foreign markets; keynote speaker Thomas Homer-Dixon, Balsillie School, Thursday 5:30 p.m., Waterloo Inn, tickets $100. Details.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo fifth anniversary concert: Gershwin, “Rhapsody in Blue” (Jason White, piano), plus Hatch, Ravel, Beethoven, Shostakovich, Thursday 8:00, Humanities Theatre, free tickets from box office 519-888-4908.

Silent art auction and gift sale Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Artery Gallery, 158 King Street West, Kitchener, in support of fourth-year fine arts students’ end-of-year show.

Philosophy colloquium: Edouard Machery, University of Pittsburgh, “Three Neuroscientific Objections Against the Massive Modularity Hypothesis” Friday 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Lessons and carols service with Chapel Choir, Friday 5:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Fall term classes end Saturday, December 5 (Monday schedule that day). Exams December 9-22; unofficial grades begin appearing in Quest December 23; grades become official January 25.

Peace Society “Make-a-Difference Market” for fair trade vendors, live music, food, Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College upper atrium.

National Day of Remembrance and Action: 20th anniversary of École Polytechnique shootings, memorial lunch sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, Sunday 12:00, Holiday Inn, Kitchener, tickets $50, information 519-740-5249.

‘Commercialization Model for Life/Health and Environmental Sciences in Waterloo Region’ presentation organized by Canada’s Technology Triangle, Monday 9:00 a.m., Pharmacy building room 1008.

The Change Agents Series: George Roter, Engineers Without Borders, speaks Monday 5:00, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Reservations.

WatITis one-day conference for information technology staff, December 8. Details.

Carol sing led by UW Choir, Chamber Choir and Chapel Choir, Tuesday 12:00, Davis Centre great hall.

‘Managing Grief Through the Holidays’ workshop presented by Employee Assistance Program, December 16, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Christmas buffet luncheon served by UW Catering, December 16-18, 12:00 to 2:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall, $17.95, reservations ext. 84700.

Fee payment deadline for winter term, December 17 (promissory note), December 29 (bank transfer). Details.

Eddie Goodwin, UW central stores, reception to mark retirement after 42 years at UW, Thursday, December 17, 2:00 to 5:00, Davis Centre lounge, RSVP cjaray@

Payday for faculty and monthly-paid staff Wednesday, December 23; for biweekly-paid staff, December 18 and 31.

Christmas and New Year’s holidays: UW closed Thursday, December 24, through Friday, January 1, reopening Monday, January 4. Winter term classes begin Monday, January 4.

Positions available

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

• Research program manager, TARSAS, electrical and computer engineering, USG 11
• Geotechnical engineering technologist, civil and environmental engineering, USG 7/8
• Mechanical repairperson, plant operations
• Mechanic II, plant operations
• Laboratory research technician (diabetes research), pharmacy, USG 7

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