Tuesday, March 10, 2009

  • Returning to campus in soggy spring
  • Consultation about the next provost
  • 'Uncanny' art lecture, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Returning to campus in soggy spring

Over the past two weeks I’ve had an experience that you may enjoy frequently, but that’s rare for me: reading the Daily Bulletin and learning things I didn’t know before. I’ve been away from campus for personal reasons, and checking in while my colleague Pat Bow kept the DB appearing on schedule and with (at least) the usual range of news, announcements and features. And frequently I’ve been both surprised and interested.

For example: the campus-wide memo from UW president David Johnston, first of what are intended to be quarterly updates about the “challenges and opportunities” that face the university’s staff and faculty members. “We must,” he wrote, “strive to achieve and surpass our Sixth Decade goals of graduate student expansion and greater internationalization. We must capitalize on our continuing trend of rising enrolments and new capital monies available in current public stimulus packages.”

For example: yesterday’s main story, a report on a visit to Mexico by 13 optometry students who provided vision care for more than 1,100 patients in an area where such help hasn’t been available, and left behind many tears as well as a supply of glasses for future patients. I wasn’t the only reader who was touched by that one; within hours I was copied on an e-mail message from a faculty member who described it as “one of the most moving stories I’ve read anywhere in a long time”.

For example: the news last week, which I gather caught nearly everybody on campus by surprise, that UW has been talking with people at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University about a possible "new graduate school of digital media" in downtown Toronto. One paper promptly dubbed the project “iYonge Street”. In case anybody hasn’t quite realized it yet, let’s note that “digital media” is not something in the school of computer science, but is a priority area for UW’s faculty of arts, which has existing or proposed activities in that field in Stratford and Kitchener as well as on UW’s main campus.

I returned to the office to find mountains of paper and billows of e-mail, of course, and my apologies to anybody whose valued announcement should have appeared in the Daily Bulletin by now but hasn’t shown up because I’m still sorting through things.

Also on my desk as I returned was the fat new Bell Canada phone book for Waterloo Region, and that means the old 2008-09 edition goes for recycling. I checked with central stores to confirm that past years’ arrangements still apply: put the old books beside white recycling boxes in UW departments, and custodians will see that they get to a spot where stores can pick them up for disposal. (At home, phone books go into blue boxes for regular weekly pickup.)

At some point yesterday morning I looked at the phone on my desk, and discovered that the time displayed on its little screen was still Eastern Standard rather than Daylight Saving. Fortunately I restrained myself from wasting IST’s time with a phone call asking why they were zoned out: the reading corrected itself in the course of the morning.

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Consultation about the next provost

As the search for UW's next provost gets under way, the nominating committee is today announcing its plans for "consultation" across campus about what sort of person should be offered the position. A communiqué yesterday described the process, and a message today — being sent by e-mail to all staff and faculty members — invites advice. Here's what it says:

"The Vice-President, Academic & Provost Nominating Committee is committed to undertaking broad consultation to identify the external and internal issues, challenges and opportunities facing the institution and the critical qualities of the individual who might provide best leadership as Vice-President, Academic & Provost in dealing with these matters.

"To achieve this, Committee members will consult directly with the Vice-Presidents, Associate Vice-Presidents, Associate Provosts, Deans; the Presidents of the FAUW, Staff Association, CUPE, Federation of Students and the Graduate Student Association; the Heads of the Federated University and Affiliated Colleges; members of the Board of Governors; and Faculty Councils.

"The Committee would encourage Academic Department Chairs and Directors of Schools and of Academic Support Departments, as well as interested regular and non-regular faculty, staff and students to make written submissions expressing views on these matters. These submissions, along with suggestions of individuals who might be considered for the position, may be directed in confidence to Lois Claxton (lclaxton@ uwaterloo.ca). Any group wishing to make a brief presentation to a member or members of the Committee may contact Lois Claxton.

"Consultation will be completed by and submissions received up to March 25. On the basis of information generated by this broad consultative process, the Committee will prepare a position profile describing the critical qualities of the individual who might best fill the role.

"Advertisements for the position of Vice-President, Academic & Provost have been or will be placed locally in the Daily Bulletin and nationally in University Affairs, the CAUT Bulletin and The Globe & Mail. Nominations and applications can be made to President David Johnston, Chair of the Nominating Committee, c/o Lois Claxton, Secretary of the University, Needles Hall, Room 3060 (lclaxton@ uwaterloo.ca; fax 519-888-6337) or to Janet Wright & Associates Inc., 174 Bedford Road, Suite 200, Toronto ON M5R 2K9 (uwprovost@ jwasearch.com; fax 416-923-8311). Documentation should include a curriculum vitae and a brief statement of the qualifications and specific achievements on the basis of which the individual merits consideration for the position. Nominations, applications and expressions of interest will be treated in strict confidence.

"The Committee membership can be found online."

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'Uncanny' art lecture, and other notes

Today’s events on campus include a somewhat unusual lecture sponsored by the fine arts department. First the lecturer: “Mark Morley is an engineer and philosopher currently studying theology at St. Peter's Seminary (University of Western Ontario). He was formerly a faculty member of Systems Design Engineering and lecturer at the Centre for Society, Technology and Values (University of Waterloo). He is co-founder of Model Science Software and recently taught Philosophy of Technology at St. Jerome's University.” Then the topic: “The Origin of the Work of Art in an Age of the Uncanny: Art, Technology and Society in a Changing Technological Environment”. And finally the background: “In the 1930s there was a ‘crisis’ in Germany concerning the relevance of the arts in the midst of technological changes in society. Among the responses, two stand out: Martin Heidegger's The Origin of the Work of Art and Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. At first glance, it would seem that a ‘fascist’ philosopher and a ‘Marxist’ cultural critic would have little in common to say about art, technology and society. Yet they provide us with philosophical theories upon which we can create and interpret works of art in a technological society that continues to change, perpetuating ‘crises’ for the arts. This lecture will present these along side ideas from Sigmund Freud and Marshall McLuhan with the aim to demonstrate the significance of the phenomenon of the ‘uncanny’ in aiding us to create and interpret works of art within our current technological environment, which is marked by social networking, interactivity and virtual reality. Examples will include works currently installed at the National Gallery, Ottawa.” Anyone intrigued by all that can hear more at 3:30 this afternoon in East Campus Hall room 1219.

Ariana Marcassa, a biology student who volunteers with the Campus Response Team, sends word that the group is looking for volunteers to act as injury victims for a simulated first aid exercise this Saturday. “The event will last from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” she says, “and lunch will be provided.” More information is online, or e-mail crttrainers@ gmail.com.

“Are you ready to retire?” asks Wanda Speek in the human resources department. “Join the ‘Bridging the Gap’ sessions, a pre-retirement workshop, sponsored by the Rockway Centre in Kitchener. Explore your options through six weekly sessions: Planning Today Tomorrow, Changing Roles and Relationships, Making the Most of Your Time, Taking Charge of Your Health, Financial and Legal Affairs, Housing a Place to Grow.” The sessions run once a week, 7 to 9 p.m., starting April 14, at the Rockway Centre on King Street East, and the fee is $60 plus tax. More information is online.

Alexandra Huebner is a third-year psychology student at UW, though she’s actually several thousand miles away at present, taking part in an academic exchange with England’s University of Leeds. (“I check the Daily Bulletin daily to stay updated with life back home,” she writes. “I also work as a student caller for the office of development, so staying [Huebner]in the know is important.”) Huebner (left) is preparing for a three-week trek in June, heading for the South Base Camp of Mount Everest in Nepal. “Ten Leeds students are participating through the non-profit organization Child Reach International,” she says. “As part of this challenge, I need to raise £3,000 to cover the costs of travel and to fund the charity.” Anybody interested in helping her raise the funds and support the cause can get more information online.

The Columbia Lake Health Club, which is housed in the TechTown community centre on UW’s north campus, frequently holds wellness-related information sessions under the label of “lifestyle learning”. (They were formerly “lunch and learn”, but somehow that wasn’t convincing for a session held at 5:30 p.m.) Scheduled for tomorrow, and aimed chiefly at women, is a presentation on “Hormones and Health”. “This is a topic that I am frequently asked questions about,” says Linda Brogden, the occupational health nurse in UW’s health services. The speaker, Phil Hudson, is a pharmacist (based at Beechwood Wellness Pharmacy on Fischer-Hallman Road) who specializes in the topic and, a flyer says, “has used his extensive knowledge and experience in helping to treat and counsel hundreds of women on topics such as menopause, pre-menopause and anti-aging”. Says Brogden: “It would certainly benefit the health for a number of UW employees to have the chance of hearing him.” RSVPs go by e-mail to jknarr@ clhc.com.

The annual Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival used to include some showings on campus, but now takes place entirely at the Princess Cinema in central Waterloo. However, there’s still a close UW connection, with the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group serving as a co-sponsor. This year’s festival is scheduled for the coming weekend and “is sure to add a splash of colour to the dreary days of March”, a WPIRG news release promises. “Get ready for four days filled with internationally acclaimed films, like the probing documentary A Jihad for Love, the reflective Argentine drama xxy, and the thought-provoking Save Me. Of course the action isn't just in the movies. Opening night involves a stylish gala event following the screening of Were the World Mine. On Thursday, see the evening's feature and then gather at the Huether Hotel's Kent Room for music, wine, hors d'oeuvres and fabulous door prizes. Dress to impress! Rainbow Reels is aimed at exploring issues and challenging perceptions of the queer community while bringing entertainment to people of all orientations.” Tickets are $5.75 for individual films or $15 for the full weekend; details are, of course, on a web site.


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Link of the day


When and where

‘Interactive Teaching and Learning Strategies’ three-day workshop sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, continues today. Details.

Career workshop: “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” 10:30 a.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Exchange program information session for 1B engineering students 11:30 a.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 112.

Pension expert Robert Brown, department of statistics and actuarial science, speaks on “The Future of Pensions in Ontario” 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302, all seats already reserved.

Arts faculty council 3:30, PAS building room 2438.

Live and Learn Lecture: Randy Harris, UW department of English, “Mr. Plow Meets the Beatles” 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Public Library main branch.

K-W Little Theatre auditions for May one-act play weekend, today and Wednesday 7:00 to 10:00, room to be announced. Details.

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn series: Anne Fitzpatrick, graduate student, school of planning, “Parks and Heritage”, Wednesday noon, Environment I room 354.

Career workshops Wednesday: “Academic Interviews” noon, Tatham Centre room 2218 (details); “Success on the Job” 3:30, TC room 1208 (details).

Employee Assistance Program presents Abigail Dancey, Community Care Access Centre, “Finding Support: Government-Funded Home Care Services and Long-Term Care Facilities” Wednesday noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Workshop on academic interviews open to all grad students and instructors, Wednesday noon. Tatham Centre room 2218. Enrolment is limited. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research presents Chrysanne DiMarco, school of computer science, "Where Computer Science, Linguistics, and Biology Meet: Using Lexical Chaining to Analyze Biomedical Text” Wednesday 1 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304. Details.

Poet David McFadden reads from his work, and launch of new book Be Calm, Honey, Wednesday 4 p.m., St. Jerome’s University room 3027 and art gallery.

Digital Design and User Experience Forum Wednesday, 5 p.m., Tatham Centre, room 2218. Event is free, but RSVP at Events@infusionangels.com.

Arts Student Union elections for executive positions Thursday and Friday 8:30 to 4:30, ASU office, Arts Lecture Hall room 120.

Senate finance committee Thursday 11 a.m. Details.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Montréal media artist, lecture Thursday 7 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Blood donor clinic Friday 9:00 to 3:00, and March 19, 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre, book appointments at turnkey desk or call 1-888-236-6283.

Erie Shores wind farm tour. Jim Wilgar will demonstrate how the Port Burwell area turbines work. Saturday, bus leaves Davis Centre at 9 a.m. Free; e-mail step@feds.ca for details.

UW Juggling Festival performance Saturday 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Arts Gala 2009: Saturday 8 p.m. Federation Hall. Tickets $20 in ASU office, Arts Lecture Hall room 120.

Staff annual performance appraisals due at human resources department Monday, March 16.

March break open house for applicants and their families, Tuesday, March 17, 9:00 to 3:00. Details.

Drama department production of “Mad Forest” by Caryl Churchill, March 18-21 at 8 p.m. and March 21 at 2:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets from Humanities box office, 519-888-4908; preview performance by invitation, March 17 at 7:00.

Ontario Centres of Excellence overview seminar and “Characteristics of a Great Research Project” Thursday, March 19, 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

QPR suicide prevention presentations Wednesday, March 25, and Monday, April 20, 11:30 to 1:00, Math and Computer room 4068, register ext. 33528.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin