Thursday, February 5, 2009

  • Campus will be 'more a part of the city'
  • Grants bring the world to the classroom
  • It's all downhill, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[spacer][Everybody on stage]

They can't die tomorrow — they've got to make it through four performances by Saturday. "Live FASS, Die Tomorrow" is this year's espionage-themed, solemnity-challenged edition of the annual FASS musical comedy, opening on the Humanities Theatre stage.

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Campus will be 'more a part of the city'

University Avenue past the main entrance to the UW campus will be “a much more urban street” in the years to come, planner Joe Berridge told the UW board of governors on Tuesday as he spoke about the new campus master plan.

University Avenue, or Waterloo Regional Road 57, is a four-lane artery that runs the full width of the city of Waterloo. The segment between Phillip Street and Westmount Road has a large influence on the campus because UW has facilities on both sides of it, and the majority of visitors arrive on campus by driving along it or crossing it.

Berridge, who heads the Toronto-based firm Urban Strategies, described the present University Avenue as “free-flowing”. But he said redesign and clever choice of construction materials could give the road a more citylike feel — slower-moving cars, more space for pedestrians and bicycles — as the campus becomes more closely integrated with Kitchener-Waterloo.

The spiral-bound “Master Plan Update” presented to the board on Tuesday is developed from a plan that was created by Berridge’s firm in 1992 and approved by the board at that time. Local real estate agent Mary Bales, who has been serving as chair of the board’s building and properties committee, asked for — and got — board approval of the plan, though laughing that she’s approaching the end of her term as a board member and won’t be around when the time comes to deliver progress reports on how it’s working.

The committee’s sense that it was time for an update to the 1992 plan is “a measure of your success,” Berridge said. “The campus is getting quite crowded. It’s often hard to focus on the landscape rather than the buildings, but the context where the buildings are is very important.” He quickly took the board through eight “key moves” that are endorsed in the master plan:

• “Develop a north-south circulation spine through South Campus as a wayfinding device, a focus for enlivening open spaces and public uses, and to create a common space for all people on campus.” (“I’m delighted to see that the Grad House is right at the centre of it,” said systems design engineering professor Keith Hipel, recalling last year’s controversy over proposals to tear down or move the 19th century house that sits opposite the Doug Wright Engineering building.)

• “Develop a comprehensive network of landscapes and open spaces, and invest significantly and early on in key landscape initiatives on South Campus.”

• “Direct some new academic growth to the periphery of South Campus to improve connections to the City and preserve open space within the Ring Road.”

• “Create new campus gateways to the south, north and east, framed by prominent new buildings and enhanced open spaces, and with an improved sense of arrival for visitors travelling by car, transit, bicycle or on foot.”

• “Work with the Region of Waterloo to successfully integrate any rapid transit initiatives into the Campus Master Plan.” (Rapid transit is coming within a decade, Berridge reminded the board. A station will likely be constructed somewhere near the point where the existing CN railway tracks cross University Avenue.)

• “Create a new university mixed-use community with the redevelopment of the East Campus Hall lands and the renewal of Phillip Street.”

• “Develop a comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle trail network that seamlessly links South, North and West Campus, and improves connections beyond the edges of the University into the Waterloo Region.”

• “Implement a comprehensive transportation demand management program and begin to accommodate parking in centrally located structures.”

Discussion at the board meeting addressed the University Avenue entrance to campus, as Berridge pointed to a proposal for tearing down South Campus Hall and putting up new buildings nearby. “One aspect of being more a part of the city,” he said, “is that you’re going to get many more visits. We can use new buildings to architecturally define a new gateway.”

But Germanic and Slavic professor James Skidmore observed that for many people who walk to campus, the “gateway” comes sooner, and that trudging though a vast UW parking lot on the way to crossing University Avenue is “a deflating way to enter a grand institution”. The 1992 plan called for doing something about University Avenue, he said, asking whether the same appeal in 2009 will be any more successful.

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Grants bring the world to the classroom

Six faculty members have received this year’s internationalization grants, to bring the world into courses as diverse as pharmacy and religious studies. The Centre for Teaching Excellence and Waterloo International have announced these winners: Marissa Cunningham and Jamie Joseph for Pharmacy 110/111 (Anatomy, Physiology and Histology); Doris Jakobsh for Religious Studies 325 (Sex and the World Religions); Luna Khirfan for Planning 408/648 (Urban Design Seminar); Anne Banks Pidduck for Computer Science 490 (Information Systems Management); Zhu Qian for Planning/Geography 349 (Urban Form and Internal Spatial Structure); and Michael K. C. Tam of chem eng for Nanotechnology Engineering 335 (Macromolecular Science 2).

“Internationalizing course curricula involves incorporating international and intercultural perspectives into teaching, learning, and assessment approaches,” says Svitlana Taraban-Gordon of CTE. “The goal is to expose students to global perspectives and international issues in their field of study, preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of global citizenship.”

So far, she says, 16 faculty have received grants to use in courses that include world music, statistical forecasting, and resource management. “If you are interested in discussing ideas about how you can internationalize your course,” she says, “check our website.”

The latest issue of the CTE newsletter includes a report on one of the 2007 grant recipients, Josh Neufeld of the biology department, after he “came up with an innovative idea to internationalize his fourth-year course, which was offered in Fall 2008 and involves student presentations on recent high-profile publications in the field of biogeochemical microbiology”.

Says the newsletter: “After submitting a successful proposal for a UW course internationalization grant, Josh worked with a tech-savvy undergraduate student (Forest Rong Wang) to create a collection of digital interviews from international researchers whose articles were used in the course.

“To demystify the process of scientific research and to connect his students with leading international researchers, Josh wanted the students to do more than simply read the articles and deliver standard in- class presentations. He turned to current internet-based technology to contact international researchers from Germany, England, Austria, Netherlands and the U.S., sent Webcams for them to use and keep, and invited them to return recorded interviews with their ‘behind-the-scenes’ perspectives. All researchers responded enthusiastically and provided insightful interviews, telling Josh’s students about how their scientific discoveries were made, how this discovery shaped their career, and what they love about science and academia.

“This novel teaching approach provided students with a chance to discover the personal side of scientific research and to have a very different level of interaction with the course content. Throughout the course, students in Josh’s class presented and discussed high-impact articles.

“Following each presentation, students watched an interview with the researcher who had conducted the research and written the article. The collected interviews offered a balance of male and female researchers, new faculty members, and well-established professors. This approach gave students a rare opportunity to see the diverse people and personalities behind scientific research, get to know the big-picture story behind each of the groundbreaking international discoveries, and appreciate the process of scientific discovery and publication.

“Josh hoped that this personal touch would help students understand that scientific discovery is a current and international phenomenon, often catalyzed by graduate students who are not much older or more educated than themselves. He also intended that some of his fourth-year students would become inspired to embark on their own research journeys by applying to graduate schools, including those abroad, so that they could work with international researchers whom they first ‘met’ through this course. In fact, several current students have already contacted the researchers featured in these interviews while developing ideas for their term paper, which involves generating a graduate-student research proposal that builds upon the discoveries presented in class.”

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It's all downhill, and other notes

A UW team is on its way to Alberta, ready to take part in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race over the next four days at Red Deer College. “Our team,” co-captains Valerie Pearce, Chad Vanderwoude and Kenneth Ng write, “is made up of over 25 civil engineering students. Each member brings a diverse skill set and unique personality to the table. This notion is reflected in our theme: Boggan Bears!” UW took first place in the 2008 competition, which basically involves speeding downhill on a custom-made, concrete-surfaced, 300-pound toboggan with rudimentary steering and brakes. The UW design allows for four seated riders and one stander, a technical report notes. “Our team is looking to take initiative in the fight against climate change and minimize our ecological footprint,” the co-captains write: “offsetting carbon generated from our flight, locally sourcing our building materials, and using recycled aggregate and supplementary cementing materials (SCM) in our concrete mix design.” The toboggan itself was shipped to Alberta on Tuesday; opening ceremonies at the race are this evening and judging starts tomorrow.

UW president David Johnston and dean of arts Ken Coates leave for Ottawa today to promote the proposed Waterloo Centre for Public Service. Tonight at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, there’s a meeting of an Honorary Advisory Committee whose members include former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, former premiers William Davis and Roy Romanow, and former prime minister John Turner. Later this evening, still at the museum, a larger-scale alumni event takes the form of a feedback session, with guest speakers that include Kevin Lynch, Clerk of the Privy Council, and Jocelyne Bourgon, president emeritus of the Canada School of Public Service. UW has approximately 7,000 alumni living in Ottawa, including hundreds who work in Canada's public service. The proposed Waterloo Centre aims to be a “facilitator of connections and conduit for communications” among public servants from all three levels of Canadian government and think tanks, industry partners, and researchers. The centre will be anchored by a Master in Public Service program, a two-year professional master's degree program that will prepare graduates for positions in the public service by focusing on the skills needed for the "effective delivery of government services and programs".

With Valentine’s coming on a Saturday this year, UW’s “Loving to Learn Day”, sponsored by the Centre for Teaching Excellence, will be a day early, on Friday the 13th. “Loving to Learn Day,” Mark Morton of CTE explains, “is an annual event that encourages everyone — to celebrate their love of learning. At the heart of every Loving to Learn Day is a contest with prizes! This year's contest asks you to create your own original ‘education quotation’; that is, a short and snappy statement that captures your own perspective about learning: for example, what it is, what it isn't, how it happens, where it happens, why it happens, or anything else that comes to mind. If you want to focus on teaching rather than learning, or on education in general, that's fine. Just keep your statement as brief and memorable as possible — aim for something that's less than twenty-five words. There are four categories in our contest: Students in grades 1 to 8; students in grades 9 to 12; students, staff, and faculty at the University of Waterloo; everyone else.” The idea: “invent your education quotation”, then e-mail it to Morton (mmorton@, no later than 7 p.m. on Thursday the 12th. “Winning submissions will be published the following day,” he says, “and winners will receive a book prize.”

With a blood donor clinic today and tomorrow in the Student Life Centre, here's a note from Jennifer Maxwell of Canadian Blood Services about how well the last one went: "At our most recent clinics January 19 and 20, we collected 121 units of blood — enough blood to positively impact the lives of up to 363 people! In addition to helping save lives, the students who participated at these two clinics have helped contribute to the blood donation goal of 250 units for the National Blood 101 Challenge, where the winning university will get bragging rights for a year, and one lucky person will be drawn to win an iPod Touch. The Challenge is on until February 16, and you can find the sign-up sheet at the turnkey desk in the SLC. If you have a group that would like to get more involved in promoting blood donation on campus or within your faculty/department, please contact Canadian Blood Services." The clinic in the SLC will run from 10 to 4 today, 9 to 3 on Friday.


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[Arms in the air]

FASS tickets are $7 for tonight, $10 for Friday and Saturday performances, at the Humanities box office.

Link of the day

EngSoc, 50 years ago today

When and where

Employer interviews for spring co-op work term continue; rankings open February 27, 1 p.m.

Co-op job ranking for pharmacy students, February 5-9.

‘Urban Futures’ colloquium on “New Dense Sustainable Urban Architecture”, 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., School of Architecture. Details.

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

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute Distinguished Lecture: David Goodstein, California Institute of Technology, “Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil”, 4:00 p.m., Perimeter Institute lecture theatre.

Institute of Anabaptist Mennonite Studies and Pandora Press book launch: Werner and Karin Packull, From the Tyrol to North America, and Linda Huebert Hecht, Women in Early Austrian Anabaptism, 4:00, Conrad Grebel UC atrium.

German film series: “Scarlett Street” (1945), 6:00, East Campus Hall room 1220.

Arriscraft Lecture: Michael Speaks, University of Kentucky College of Design, “Design Thinking”, 6:30 p.m., Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

'UpStart Women' festival presented by department of drama continues: three plays ("Cliques That Click", "Surface Tension", "Bittergirl") Thursday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m., three other plays ("The Hair Affair", "Clothture", "The Red Tent") Friday at 7:00, Saturday at 2:00. General admission $12 ($20 for both shows), students $10 ($16).

Doctors Without Borders founder Richard Heinzl speaks, sponsored by UW International Health Development Association and other agencies, 7:00 p.m., Federation Hall, admission free.

Chemistry in society lecture: Jean Duhamel, “The Dawning Era of Plastics in Medicine”, 7:00, Biology I room 271.

Distinguished Teacher Awards nomination deadline for 2009 is Friday. Details.

Graduate Student Research Conference (April 27-30), deadline for submission of abstracts is February 6. Details.

Campus media forum with candidates in Federation of Students elections, Friday 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre great hall; polling February 10-12.

Storyteller Dan Yashinsky presents “The Listener’s Tale” in Knowledge Integration seminar series, Friday 2:30 p.m., Environment II room 2002.

Wilfrid Laurier University presents James Youniss, Catholic University of America, “Youth Political Engagement: Forging Healthy Identities” Friday 2:30, Bricker building room BA201.

Engineering Jazz Band (“With Respect to Time”) music exchange concert featuring U of Toronto’s Skule Stage Band, Friday 6:30 p.m., Student Life Centre.

Warrior Weekend activities in the Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday, including movies, salsa, crafts, food. Details.

[Chilly Dog logo]

Chilly Dog Run (or walk) around the ring road, sponsored by Moods Assistance Through Educational Support, Saturday, depart from Student Life Centre 10:30 a.m. Chili follows.

ACM-style programming contest Sunday 1:00 to 4:00, preceded by practice contest, Math and Computer room 2037. Details.

Black History month event: Afri-Can Connection “Celebration of African Culture and Music” February 13, 8:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, tickets $10.

PhD oral defences

Civil and environmental engineering. Mohammad Alauddin Ahammed, “Safe, Quiet and Durable Pavement Surfaces.” Supervisor, Susan Tighe. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, February 12, 1:30 p.m., Carl Pollock Hall room 2371.

Chemistry. Tibebe Lemma, “Investigation of Protein-Drug Interaction Using Capillary Isoelectric Focusing with Whole Column Imaging Detection and Spectroscopic Techniques.” Supervisor, J. Pawliszyn. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, February 17, 10:00 a.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Chemistry. Xu Zhang, “Time- and Space-Resolved Solid-Phase Microextraction for In Vivo Study.” Supervisor, J. Pawliszyn. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, February 20, 2:30 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Health studies and gerontology. Neill Bruce Baskerville, “Systematic Review of Practice Facilitation and Evaluation of a Chronic Illness Care Management Tailored Outreach Facilitation Intervention for Rural Primary Care Physicians.” Supervisor, Roy Cameron. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Monday, February 23, 1:30 p.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

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