Wednesday, February 11, 2009

  • 'No confidence' vote at St. Jerome's
  • Lectures today on e-health, climate
  • Hot news on a warmish morning
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

'No confidence' vote at St. Jerome's

Faculty members at St. Jerome’s University, the Roman Catholic institution federated with UW, have voted “no confidence” in its president, Rev. David Perrin, an announcement yesterday said. Religious studies professor David Seljak, president of the St. Jerome’s University Faculty Association, said the vote was “overwhelming”.

A mail ballot asked the 30 faculty members at the college to vote on the proposition that “The St. Jerome's Faculty Association expresses its no-confidence in David Perrin, as ‘Chief Executive Officer who is empowered to govern all aspects of the University’ (SJU Handbook Section 2.1.1).” The vote was conducted by the UW faculty association at the request of its St. Jerome’s affiliate, said David DeVidi, president of the UW Association. “They asked us to conduct the non-confidence vote, which we did,” he said.

DeVidi said 27 votes were received, with 20 faculty voting yes, 2 no, 4 abstentions and 1 unmarked ballot.

“This is an important decision, and we know they didn’t take it lightly,” DeVidi said yesterday.

In a news release, Seljak said that “professors are concerned about the failure of leadership and the impact this is having on the teaching environment at the university. The sense of community we used to have at St. Jerome’s has been lost, and faculty no longer have trust in the president. The President has failed to address the collapse of morale at the institution and has tried to suppress academic freedom.”

He said there has been “a dramatic increase of the number of people who have left the institution in the last year.”

[Perrin]Perrin (left) came to St. Jerome’s August 1, 2007. He was formerly a faculty member in theology, and former dean, at Saint Paul University, a Roman Catholic institution affiliated with the University of Ottawa. A priest in the religious order of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, he has served as Provincial (regional head) of the St. Peter’s Province of that order.

The chair of the St. Jerome's board of governors says the board continues to have "confidence" in the president, this morning's Record newspaper reports. ""We will be moving forward with an external consultant," she is quoted as saying, "and will continue to dialogue with our faculty and staff, support them and listen to their concerns."

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Lectures today on e-health, climate

Plenty is happening on campus today, and here are glimpses of just a few of the events (see the “When and where” column at right for notes about more of them). First of all: “Free pizza!” is one of the selling points of a session that will run from 11:00 to 2:00 in the Campus TechShop, on the lower level of the Student Life Centre. It’s a demonstration of “Apple iNteractive”. “Demo the software!” says a flyer. “Drop in to learn from an Apple expert how you can manage your digital life with iWork ’09 and iLife ’09. One day only: save 15%.”

At 12 noon, Dominic Covvey, founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, will speak (Davis Centre room 3333, or by webcast) on “Building the eHealth Edifice from the Second Storey Down”. Says Covvey: “Canada Health Infoway and provincial ehealth organizations have invested several billion dollars in putting in place the architectural components of a womb-to-tomb Electronic Health Record for Canadians. Recently Infoway’s funding was extended by another $500 million. The lion’s share of this funding has gone into developing various national registries, repositories and other systems, as well as contributing to funding for provincial projects such as Ontario’s Laboratories Information System and regional implementations of Picture Archiving and Communications Systems. We have called these ‘superstructural’ projects, in that they are dependent on data from feeder systems in hospitals, healthcare providers’ practices, and other health organizations, which we call ‘infrastructural’ systems. We became concerned regarding the state of these infrastructural systems, and worked with the Ontario Hospital Association for 3 years to survey the state of these infrastructural systems in Ontario hospitals. We will present the data from these studies and share our conclusions relating to matters such as the need for adequate infrastructure, the cost of putting in place adequate systems, data and technical standards, and the need for competent personnel.”

Also at 12:00, one of the joint winners of the “climate change” Nobel prize of 2007 will be speaking, brought to campus by the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change. She is Linda Mortsch, a senior researcher with the Adaptation and Impacts Research Division of Environment Canada and an adjunct professor in UW’s Faculty of Environment. Mortsch will be speaking (in Environment I room 221) about “Assessing Vulnerability to Flooding: Case Study of London, Ontario, in the Upper Thames River Watershed". Her research interests include climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation assessments of water resources and wetlands, climate change scenario development, and effective communication of climate change, and she was the coordinating lead author for the North America Chapter for the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that brought the Nobel award (shared with Al Gore) to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

And at 4:00 there’s an information session about the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program, to be held at the Centre for BET, 295 Hagey Boulevard on the north campus. “Are you thinking about starting your own business?” a yellow flyer asks. “Are you considering a Master’s degree to gain more business knowledge and skills? Are you searching for ways to use your entrepreneurial abilities to move innovation forward in existing organizations? Then consider the MBET program. Come tour the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology and have a chance to meet current MBET students, faculty and staff!” Space is limited, the flyer adds, so participants should send an advance note to jzehr@

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Hot news on a warmish morning

UW computer scientist Jeffrey O. Shallit of UW’s is among 37 people who have been named “distinguished engineers” or “distinguished scientists” by the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. The annual honours come “in recognition of their individual contributions to both the practical and theoretical aspects of computing and information technology,” ACM says. “The new ACM Distinguished Members include computer scientists and engineers from some of the world’s leading corporations, research labs, and universities. They are being honored for significant advances in computing technology that have dramatically influenced progress in science, engineering, business, and many other areas of human endeavor.” Shallit is a professor in UW’s school of computer science who lists his professional interests as “combinatorics on words, formal languages and automata theory (especially connections with number theory), algorithmic number theory (primality testing, factoring, etc.), history of mathematics and computer science, ethical use of computers, debunking pseudoscience and pseudomathematics.” He is also vice-president of the academic freedom group Electronic Frontier Canada. And, as the Wikipedia article about him notes, “He has an Erdös number of 1, from a joint publication with Paul Erdös in 1991.”

For the second time, in a program that's been going for 13 months now, UW pharmacy students are about to head out on co-op work terms. The co-op department says 70 pharmacy students are listed as requiring employment for the May-to-August work term and took part in the recent employer interview process. "Of these," a memo advises, "62 were matched, leaving 8 without employment for the moment. Pharmacy and CECS will work with these remaining unemployed students to quickly find a suitable employment opportunity from among the dozens of Pharmacy jobs still open. The anticipation is that Pharmacy will achieve a 100% employment rate for the May-August 2009 work term."

And more numbers from the co-op and career services direction deal with last Wednesday's job fair: "5,000 students descended upon RIM Park to meet with 194 organizations in a 5-hour time frame. Of those 5,000, 1,689 were UW students. UW student attendance was up 46% over the 2008 Job Fair."

Seats are still available on a weekend trip to Ottawa that's sponsored by the Arts Student Union. A $95 ticket gets you a seat on the bus (leaving campus at noon tomorrow, Thursday), overnight tomorrow at the Days Inn downtown, and then a trip back on the bus on Sunday. "This is a fantastic opportunity," an ASU flyer says, "to meet new students and share a memorable experience in Canada's capital!" Information and reservations: phone 226-868-2778.

[Heaney behind the bench]Geraldine Heaney (left), coach of the Warrior women’s hockey team, will enjoy a share of the glory next month as the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame welcomes this year’s new members. They include the Canadian teams, both men’s and women’s, that won gold medals at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Heaney played defence on the women’s team in that competition — a highlight of her 12 years on the Canadian national squad. “After winning silver in 1998,” says the hall of fame web site, “the women's Olympic hockey team earned a rematch with Team USA in 2002 — and in a 3-2 victory claimed its first gold medal. Coached by Danièle Sauvageau (inducted last year to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame), Team Canada first had to come from behind against Finland in the semifinal. Team USA had won eight pre-tournament games against Team Canada by a combined score of 31-13. Despite a penalty ratio of 13-4 in favour of Team USA, the Canadians captured gold on the strength of goaltender Kim St. Pierre and goals by Caroline Ouellette, Jayna Hefford and tournament MVP Hayley Wickenheiser.” The Canadian Olympic Committee will host a dinner in Vancouver on March 26 for this year’s hall of fame inductees. Heaney, who has been with the Waterloo squad for 2005, will take her players on the road this weekend for games at Queen’s on Saturday and at UOIT in Oshawa on Sunday.

The UW library is running a contest (deadline February 20) asking people to "take a picture of their favourite spot in the Library, sending it with a description of why they love it". • The registrar's office says the winter term final exam schedule should be posted online as of today. • The Renison Academic Student Council is encouraging students to bring non-perishable food items to Renison University College classes any time this week, to help restock the Federation of Students food bank.

And . . . a link in yesterday's Daily Bulletin pointed to an Iron Warrior story about the recent electrical and computer engineering student design symposium, but erroneously said the work was from students in systems design engineering. The ECE symposium, which took place January 21, was featured last week on the Discovery Channel's "Daily Planet" program, and video can now be seen online.


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[Five members of ensemble, in informal pose]

Today's free concert at Conrad Grebel University College features the five members of "Digital Prowess", who posed for this photo without their piano, bass clarinet, double bass and drums. The concert starts at 12:30 p.m. in the Grebel chapel.

Link of the day

Imperial holiday in Japan

When and where

Federation of Students election polls open 7 a.m. Tuesday to 7 p.m. Thursday; results announced noon Friday, Student Life Centre.

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

Class enrolment appointments on Quest for spring 2009 courses, February 9-14; open enrolment begins February 16.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, workshop, “Project Management”, today, St. Jacobs.

UW Shop sidewalk sale with deals on UW fashions, Wednesday-Thursday, 9:30 to 4:00, South Campus Hall concourse.

Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership information session, 10:00, Needles Hall room 1101.

Département d’études françaises présente une lecture-conférence de l’écrivaine québécoise Hélène Dorion, 10h30, Modern Languages salle 354.

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn series: Jody Decker, Wilfrid Laurier University, “Introduction to Cultural Heritage Landscapes”, 12:00 noon, Environment I room 317.

Cesar Forero, Thunder Bay artist and UW fine arts graduate, speaks about his work Wednesday 1:00, East Campus Hall room 1219.

Warrior basketball at Laurier, women’s game 6:00, men 8:00.

North House reception as student team develops its entry for the Solar Decathlon, Wednesday 5:00, 280 King Street East, Toronto; Thursday 7:00, UW Architecture building, Cambridge.

‘Your Dream as an Entrepreneur’ with speakers from Google Canada, Watercooler Inc., Plug and Play Tech Center,, and Carol Stewart, UW research and technology park, 5:00 to 8:00, University Club.

Engineering alumni reception at Facebook headquarters, Palo Alto, California, Wednesday 5:30 p.m., speaker Chamath Palihapitiya (BASc 1999), Facebook vice-president. Details.

Lifestyle Learning: “Medical Weight Loss Management” 5:30 p.m., TechTown boardroom, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Keith Geddes, school of computer science, retirement reception Thursday 4:00 to 6:00, Davis Centre lounge.

German film series: “Aguirre: Wrath of God” (1973), Thursday 6:00 p.m., East Campus Hall room 1220.

Graduating students session at St. Jerome’s University, discussion with college alumni about next steps, Thursday 7:00 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Warrior men’s hockey vs. Laurier, Thursday 7:30 p.m., Icefield.

Bombshelter pub and 100.3 Sound FM (CKMS) present the Ruby Coast and Knock Knock Ginger, interviews with Federation election candidates, Thursday $6 advance, $8 at door.

Loving to Learn Day sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Friday. (Deadline for “education quotation” contest, Thursday 7 p.m.) Details.

Exceptional Teaching by a Student awards for 2008: nomination deadline Friday. Details.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: “New RT System” and “Internet Kiosks Revisited” Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.

Valentine’s Day meals at the University Club: Friday, luncheon buffet 11:30 to 2:00, $19.50; dinner 5:00 to 8:00, a la carte menu; reservations ext. 33801.

Study in China summer program information meeting Friday 12:00 noon, Renison University College cafeteria (also March 13).

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

Garage sale fund-raiser for drama student trip to Italy, February 25, 1:00 to 4:00, Theatre of the Arts. Drop off items for sale at Modern Languages loading dock February 6, 9, 11, 13, 23.

Graduate Student Association deadline for nominations in annual executive elections, February 25, 4:30 p.m. Election, if required, March 10-12. Details.

Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University: Denis Alexander, University of Cambridge, “Rescuing Darwin” February 25, “Is Darwinism Incompatible with Purpose?” February 26, both 8:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall. Details.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin