Wednesday, March 11, 2009

  • Small classes won't count, says provost
  • Nominating committee for math dean
  • Student technology conference in Toronto
  • Other notes, and plenty of them
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Small classes won't count, says provost

A memo from provost Amit Chakma this week tells faculty members that UW is taking steps to discourage small classes — those with fewer than 10 students — at the undergraduate level.

Says the provost: "As always, but particularly in these times of financial constraint, it is important that we deploy our teaching resources efficiently and effectively. At the University of Waterloo, approximately 10 per cent of the undergraduate courses taught in any academic year have 10 or fewer students. While there may be unusual circumstances where small classes are unavoidable, it should not be a regular occurrence in an undergraduate program.

"To that end, on February 4, 2009 Deans’ Council endorsed the following: 'Beginning fall 2009, undergraduate courses of 10 or fewer students will not be counted in the teaching load of any faculty member.'

"It is understood that there may be a short transition period where some small classes are offered while adjustments to programs, curricula and practices are implemented. However, the objective is that by the end of 2009 those adjustments will be made, and in 2010 and beyond offering undergraduate courses with 10 or fewer students will be unusual."

Back to top

Nominating committee for math dean

a memo from the university secretariat

The Dean of Mathematics Nominating Committee, constituted under the terms of Policy 45, is now in place and has held its first meeting.

You are invited to provide feedback concerning the reappointment of Tom Coleman, or the deanship in general, to any member of the nominating committee identified below. If you wish to respond in writing, please direct your submission to the committee secretary, Erin Windibank (Secretariat, Needles Hall; ewindiba@; fax 519-888-6337). Comments are due by March 25, 2009 and will be held in confidence by the committee.

The ballot required under section 4.B.1 of Policy 45 will be distributed after the committee has completed the consultation described above.

Dean of Mathematics Nominating Committee members:
Amit Chakma, chair ( ext. 84766, provost@
Erin Windibank, secretary ( ext. 32225, ewindiba@
Andrew Brown, graduate student, Combinatorics & Optimization ( ext. 37814, salvor7@
Robin Cohen, School of Computer Sciences ( ext. 34457, rcohen@
Lis D'Alessio, staff member, Pure Mathematics ( ext. 33484, eadalessio@
Michaelangelo Finistauri, undergraduate student (mfinista@
Beth Jewkes, Management Sciences ( ext. 33279, emjewkes@
Julie Kalbfleisch, staff member ( ext. 35447, jkalbfle@
Jock MacKay, Statistics & Actuarial Science ( ext. 35146, rjmackay@
Alfred Menezes, Combinatorics & Optimization ( ext. 36934, ajmenezes@
Siv Sivaloganathan, Applied Mathematics ( ext. 33248, ssivalog@
Cameron Stewart, Pure Mathematics ( ext. 35567, cstewart@
Peter van Beek, School of Computer Science ( ext. 35344, vanbeek@

Back to top

Student technology conference in Toronto

by Daniel Hsia, 3A environmental engineering

The Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference will be held at the Hilton Toronto Hotel on March 12 and 13, and promises an environment where delegates can learn, grow, and discover new opportunities – exactly what is needed in our troubled economic times.

CUTC is not like the typical sequence of speakers and seminars where barriers are drawn between the speaker and audience. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the conference is reminded of its legacy of exposing delegates — ambitious and talented students from all over Canada — to cutting-edge technologies and experienced leaders from industry as well as academia; it strives to break down barriers and encourages collaboration between all participants of the event.

As a delegate at last year’s conference, I recall many fond memories. An early morning registration, decadent breakfast, and a table seated with school-mates—who somehow found one another—started off the day on a pleasant note. This was a time to meet other delegates, introduce oneself, and savour the surroundings. The energy of the room was evident and the notion of meeting new individuals had everyone in the mood to impress. A hush fell over the main conference room as our first keynote, Dave Caputo, the CEO of Sandvine — a network management company — began to unravel a tale about an ending that became the beginning of something so much more. Pens were scribbling and a few bold individuals sauntered up to microphones to ask questions. I remember commenting on how inspiring the keynote was to a friend, who mentioned that it was something to be expected from CUTC. After all, in the past they’ve had other excellent speakers including Mike Lazaridis, co-CEO of RIM, and others from AMD, Facebook, Google, as well as from institutions like the University of Toronto.

That was just the beginning. Delegates moved on to the seminars that they indicated were of interest of them, where detailed knowledge was presented. It was followed by lunch with a side of fruitful conversations, and everyone was off again on the next scheduled event.

There is just so much that was memorable from CUTC. The TechTeam event is a chance for delegates to compete in design competitions. My team chose to tackle RIM’s challenge of designing a hardware or software feature for their BlackBerry devices to better target the undergraduate market, with a BlackBerry prize for each member of the winning team. It was made all the more fun when another group made it clear that they were keen on winning and were ready to embarrass us. We didn’t win, but at least we got an honourable mention, which was much more than what can be said for our rival team.

This year’s delegates can look forward to exploring the evolution of technology: Where did it all start? How did we get to where we are today? What can we expect in the near future and beyond? It is a topic that is of utmost importance and highly applicable in our world. The encompassing nature of technology, its ability to spark innovation across all industries and markets make it a prudent topic in a time where opportunities are in short supply.

CUTC 2009 will also have TechTeam design competitions to challenge, inspire, and foster innovation where valuable prizes are awarded to the winning teams; TechShow demonstrations and presentations of cutting-edge technology offering opportunities for guests and delegates to interact and exchange ideas; TechExpo blending a technology showcase and a career fair and giving delegates a chance to inquire about interesting sponsors, submit resumes, and network with various companies; TechPanel discussions with industry representatives on current issues; inspirational Keynote Speakers sharing their experiences and knowledge; Seminar Speakers where delegates get an opportunity to hear from those at the frontier of the business and technology market; Social Events and a closing banquet.

The conference is only $100, with subsidies for students from many schools. For registration and more conference information, please visit the web site.

Back to top

Other notes, and plenty of them

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin mentioned that people in UW offices can recycle local phone directories by piling them next to the white paper recycling boxes, from where custodians will carry them off to recycling depots. However, there are other ways to achieve the same result, I learned yesterday. "Offices that have the big blue bins can put the telephone books in there," one colleague reminded me. "In fact anything paper related (except white paper) can go in the bins — boxboard, newspapers, magazines, catalogues, books. etc." The whole business got simpler with the advent of a new UW recycling system late last fall.

[New iPhone]Islam Awareness Week is under way, with daily activities in the Student Life Centre being advertised. • The campus recreation program will run a “March Madness” 3-on-3 basketball tournament this weekend, with registrations due by today at the athletics office in the Physical Activities Complex. • The Campus TechShop in the SLC is advertising an opportunity to “pick up and play with” (and, presumably, buy) the new iPhone 3G, pictured at left.

Counselling Services is launching a program aimed at staff members, under the title “Mindful Eating” (although my scanner wants to call it “M'Ibndful Eati*ng”, which has a sort of psychedelic appeal). Says a flyer: “Have you ever continued to snack when you were full? used eating to deal with stress? felt guilty when you ate some foods? If you said yes to any of these questions, this workshop is for you! This six week program is intended for staff who struggle with emotional eating and weight management. In the group you will learn and practice lasting changes to how you eat; strategies to manage stress and emotional eating; cultivation of self-acceptance and body acceptance; mindfulness skills including mindful eating, body scan, walking & sitting meditation, & gentle stretching.” The program runs in six weekly sessions, starting March 25 (4 to 6 p.m.) and the total fee is $5. Registration is at counselling services in Needles Hall, phone ext. 32655.

The Warrior football program will hold its second annual March Break Day Camp for youngsters next week, in cooperation with the Twin City Minor Tackle Football Association. The event runs March 16-20 from 8:30 to 5:30, says Warrior assistant coach Marshall Bingeman, “featuring daily instruction, swimming, and intramural games”. Details are online.

Michael Hunt, UW’s associate director of continuing education, is urging people both on and off campus to “spring forward with UW Continuing Education!” He writes that staff members, in particular, should “watch your mailboxes for our new spring calendar. We have lots of new courses and a new Certificate in Business Analysis program, all guaranteed to forward your skills and bring a spring to your step. Here’s a sample of our upcoming courses: March 23, Introduction to Project Management; March 24-25, IT Outsourcing Primer; March 26, Leading People to Effectiveness; May 25-27 and June 15-17, Comprehensive Project Management. View more upcoming classes at our Schedule of Courses.”

Every summer, UW hires students to work on the grounds crew and as painters, and the human resources department has announced details for this year: “Student painters are required for the 2009 summer. Start date is on or before May 4, 2009 through to August 21, 2009. Hours of work are 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Rate of pay is $10.00 per hour. Painting experience is an asset but not required. Grounds start date is in March, 2009 through to August 21, 2009. Rate of pay is $10.00 per hour. Grounds experience is an asset but not required. Applicants must be registered students of the University of Waterloo. Applications can be forwarded to Human Resources by the following methods: e-mailing to hrresume@; university mail to Human Resources, GSC; personal delivery to Human Resources, in the General Services Complex.”


Back to top

Link of the day


When and where

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn series: Anne Fitzpatrick, graduate student, school of planning, “Parks and Heritage”, 12:00, Environment I room 354.

Employee Assistance Program presents Abigail Dancey, Community Care Access Centre, “Finding Support: Government-Funded Home Care Services and Long-Term Care Facilities” 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Workshop on academic interviews open to all grad students and instructors, 12:00, 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” 1 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304. Details.

International Women’s Week film: “Women in the Face of AIDS” 2:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Career workshop: “Success on the Job” 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

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

Digital Design and User Experience Forum 5 p.m., Tatham Centre, room 2218. RSVP Events@

Columbia Lake Health Club presents pharmacist Phil Hudson, “Hormones and Health”, 5:30 p.m., boardroom, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

K-W Little Theatre auditions for May one-act play weekend, last day, 7:00 to 10:00. Details.

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.

Arriscraft Lecture: Mark Smout, Smout Allen Architectural Design Research, London, “Augmented Landscapes”, Thursday 6:30 p.m., Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

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

Schneider Haus Fellows Lecture. History grad Bryan Lovasz, Edna Staebler Research Fellow for 2009, "Animosity, Ambivalence and Co-operation: Heterogeneous German Identities in the Kitchener-Waterloo Area," Thursday 7:30 p.m., Schneider Haus, 466 Queen Street South, Kitchener, 519-742-7752 to reserve.

Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival co-sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, March 12-15, Princess Cinema, Waterloo. Details.

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.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering graduate studies information session Friday 11:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 302.

Study in China summer program information meeting Friday 12:00 noon, Renison University College cafeteria.

Self-defence workshop sponsored by Campus Recreation, Saturday 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., Columbia Icefield, fee $35, register at athletics office, PAC.

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

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.

‘Dragons’ Den’ series on CBC television visits in search of aspiring entrepreneurs to appear during the new season: auditions Thursday, March 19, 11:00 to 6:00, Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

New faculty lunch-and-learn: “Documenting Your Teaching for Tenure and Promotion”, Tuesday, March 24, 11:45 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Federation of Students general meeting Friday, March 27, 1:00, Student Life Centre great hall. Details.

TVO's AgendaCamp with Steve Paikin, Sunday, March 29, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Davis Centre. Live broadcast Monday, March 30, 8 p.m. Details.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo spring concert Thursday, April 2, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Winter term classes end Friday, April 3; exams April 8-24. Unofficial winter term grades appear in Quest beginning April 27. Grades become official May 25.

Second annual Staff Conference April 6-7, “2 More Full Days Just for You”, keynote speakers, workshops, “Your Passport to Health”. Details.

Positions available

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

• Residence life coordinator, housing and residences, USG 7
• Associate director, athletics and recreational services, USG 13/14
• Associate provost, human resources, office of the vice-president (academic) and provost
• Manager, living-learning programs, housing and residences, USG 8 (one-year maternity leave replacement)

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin