Tuesday, September 8, 2009

  • Water, water, water: newcomers are here
  • Tours today as accounting wing opens
  • Liberal leader visits, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Standing ready to help heave the boxes]
Water, water, water: newcomers are here

Orientation is under way across the main campus today, as you might know from the chants, songs and boombox music. Thousands of new students arrived Sunday or Monday, unloaded their gear with the help of T-shirted volunteers (photo above by Michael Strickland), and met dons and roommates. Now they're getting to know the campus with icebreakers and introductory events: applied health sciences on the Matthews Hall green, the "Boar Tribe" in the arts quad, and so on. Environment students have academic briefings this morning under the heading of “Pollutant Bonding”; engineering students will have lunch shortly in their respective departments, then “earn” their hard hats at a series of locations on the east side of the campus. For most students, tonight is “Variety Night” based on their residence assignment.

Over the next three days there will be nine performances of “Single and Sexy”, the most famous feature of UW orientation (and one that’s been adopted at other institutions as well, including this week the University of Windsor). The show lasts about an hour, and will hit the Humanities Theatre stage today at 10:00, 1:00 and 4:00; Wednesday at 9:30, 1:00 and 4:00; and Thursday at 9:30, 12:30 and 4:00. Specific groups of new students will be heading for the theatre at each of those times, but I understand it’s possible for others to sidle in as well and see what S&S has to say about sex (wanted and unwanted), academic integrity, friendship, Bombshelter lineups and other issues of student life.

[Integrity flyer in black]Speaking of academic integrity, the flyer that’s pictured at left is one of the many pieces of paper first-year students are being given this week. It introduces an “undergraduate tutorial” (there’s a separate tutorial aimed at graduate students) provided on the academic integrity web site that explains, as the comic-style flyer promises, “how to avoid plagiarism, cheating, and collusion, so you’ll get the most out of your university education”.

Lots more is happening during orientation week — details are on the orientation web site, as well as in printed material available through the orientation program. Social and academic events are balanced with exposure to campus places and services, particularly through a “services fair” that will run Wednesday and Thursday in the Student Life Centre. And Friday, well, that’s something pretty special. “Jumpstart Friday” is a day-long series of events in a dozen or more locations around campus under such titles as “Co-op and All Its Wonders”, “Top 10 Tips to Stay Healthy at University”, “Think Before You Click and Cover Your Privates” (that one’s about social networking web sites, I think), and “You Have the Write to Impress”. The day also includes lunch (on the Grad House green for students in residence on campus, at Federation Hall for those from off campus); a set of lectures at 12:30 by six of UW’s top teachers, one from each faculty; and a “Funny Money” presentation by comedian James Cunningham in the Humanities Theatre at 9:30, 2:00 and 3:30.

Another whole tranche of advice for first-year students came in the fall term’s first issue of Imprint, the student newspaper, which appeared Friday and included a massive second section of wit and wisdom. Among the headlines: “How to make friends: Tips and tricks to overcome social awkwardness”; “Getting the most out of your meal plan”; “Tips to remember for the gym”; “Leadership on campus”. A half-page report gives the, umm, lowdown on the “best and worst bathrooms on campus”, and I quote: “For everything the tenth floor of Dana Porter is famous for in naughtiness, the basement floor makes up for in respectability and quiet dignity.” Another striking item in this section of Imprint was a full-page ad provided jointly by the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge, reminding students of some of the provisions of local bylaws, including those about excessive noise, public nuisances, parking restrictions and barbecues.

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Tours today as accounting wing opens

Ceremonies and tours today will mark the official opening of a new building for UW's school of accounting and finance — a three-storey wing attached to the northeast corner of the 40-year-old Hagey Hall of the Humanities.

[Drawing of building]The building (right), which has been in use since the beginning of the spring term, is a $12 million, 50,000-square-foot project. The energy-efficient building, complete with a green roof terrace, provides new classrooms and a large lecture hall, along with a study and meeting lounge for accounting and finance students, and offices for faculty and staff members.

A by-invitation opening ceremony, scheduled for 10:00 this morning, will feature Jim Barnett, director of the school of accounting and finance; Mike Garvey, campaign chair for the building project; and David Johnston, UW’s president.

Alumni attending the ceremony have been invited to stick around for lunch with students in the arts quadrangle at noon today, followed by building tours between 1:00 and 2:30.

The university community is invited to take a self-guided tour in the afternoon. “No registration is required,” says Frances Houston, the accounting school’s development officer. “Drop by and pick up a tour map from the SAF atrium (first floor lobby) any time after 3 p.m. Staff and faculty will be on hand to welcome you and answer any questions you may have.”

"Our aim is to create global business leaders and now we have a top-calibre space to assist in the growth and development of our future professionals," says Barnett about his growing school. "We have outstanding students and therefore needed an outstanding learning and teaching environment that reflects the quality of our students and faculty. Now we have that."

The school was one of the first Canadian institutions to teach everything students need to meet the requirements for a chartered accountant designation, and has forged strong ties with the accounting associations and firms. As a result, the accounting profession and the school's alumni have played key roles in raising funds for the building project, and a number of rooms in the new building bear the names of well-known accounting firms.

"We deeply thank the support generously given from individuals, firms and associations,” says Garvey. “A gift to the school is indeed a gift to supporting the accounting and finance industry in Canada. We are confident that the best minds in the accounting and finance fields, our distinguished alumni, will work together with us to continue our success as providers of the future leaders of Canada's economy."

Donors to the building fund — $4.4 million has been raised so far — will be recognized throughout the building in a variety of ways, including a multi-media donor wall and in the landscaped courtyard outside the south entrance of the school.

The breadth of the school's programming increased six years ago to combine financial management (management accounting and finance streams) with its existing public accounting stream into the Accounting and Financial Management program. Then four years ago, the school and Waterloo's faculty of mathematics introduced a joint Bachelor of Computing and Financial Management program.

Established in 1981, the school offers a total of four undergraduate co-op programs, three graduate programs (accounting, quantitative finance, and taxation) and a doctoral program.

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Liberal leader visits, and other notes

[Ignatieff at lectern]Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff (right) is expected to be in Waterloo today, taking a tour of Research In Motion, holding private meetings, and dropping in at the Accelerator Centre on UW’s north campus. There he’ll meet with Accelerator board chair Ian McPhee and UW president David Johnston and get a quick tour of the university’s Research and Technology Park. In between, there will be a “media availability”, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the questions Ignatieff is asked will be about technology and economic development, or about the likelihood of an election right after Parliament reconvenes next week.

Some news notes from the engineering faculty’s electronic newsletter: “A poster created by Saied Yousefi won second-place in a competition with only two prizes in the first Canadian Graduate Student Colloquium on Computer-Assisted Construction Technologies. The event, held recently in London Ontario, was sponsored by the Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council. Yousefi’s PhD supervisors are Tarek Hegazi of civil and environmental engineering and Keith Hipel of systems design engineering. . . . Civil engineering graduate students Duncan Young, Saiedeh Razavi and Hassan Nassir placed first in the best poster competition at the Construction Industry Institute Conference held recently in Reno, Nevada. Waterloo was the only non-U.S. school competing. At the end of June, Carl Haas, a civil and environmental engineering professor, received the Tucker-Hasegawa award at the International Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction conference held in Austin, Texas.”

Even as it’s celebrating its new building, the School of Accounting and Finance getting ready for this year’s Professional Futures Conference for students entering Year 2 of several of its undergraduate programs. The 2009 theme is “personal branding”, and tomorrow and Thursday more than 300 students will be involved, honing their professional skills and competencies in preparation for their first co-op cycle. “With the global economic downturn,” an announcement from SAF says, “students face stiffer challenges than ever before in finding co-op positions and permanent full-time employment. The 2009 PFC promises to help students develop skills they need to professionally exemplify the Waterloo identity and be confident managers of their own unique personal brand. Robert Half, the international staffing firm, will be sponsoring this year’s conference, with the keynote speaker being Mike Tennant, writer and co-creator of CBC Radio’s ‘The Age of Persuasion’. The tightly packed schedule will include simulated interviews, resume writing, interview skills workshops, business etiquette talks and personal image consulting.” Says Donna Psutka, director of the Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Management program: “We want students to come away knowing how to develop co-op job search and application strategies based on a realistic assessment of employer needs, market realities and of their own unique capabilities, traits and values.” The conference will once again be competitions-based, with prizes awarded to teams of students who can showcase their teamwork and leadership skills.

While the Muslim observation of Ramadan continues (through September 19), Mudie’s cafeteria will be open from 5 to 6 a.m. daily for predawn breakfast, then reopen at 7 a.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. • Theodozia Rudensky retired September 1 as a senior laboratory instructor in UW’s department of chemistry, ending a Waterloo career that began in 1976. • Last month was “an average August for both temperature and precipitation”, says Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station in his monthly summary.


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Link of the day

International Literacy Day

When and where

Library hours: Through September 13, Davis Centre and Dana Porter libraries open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays noon to 5 p.m.

Bookstore hours (also Waterloo Store, Write Stuff and E-Smart, South Campus Hall): this week 9 to 5; Saturday 12 to 4; Sunday closed; September 14-17, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Warrior golf team meetings, new players welcome, men 9:00 a.m. at Whistle Bear golf club, women 5 p.m., Physical Activities Complex room 2021. Details.

Senate undergraduate council 12:00 noon, Needles Hall room 3001.

Warrior men’s basketball team meeting and tryouts 3:30 p.m., Columbia Icefield meeting room. Details.

Senate executive committee 3:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Warrior soccer practice, walk-ons welcome, 3:30 p.m. at the field. Details.

Fee payment deadline for fall term is September 9 (bank payment). Details.

International student orientation: math and applied health sciences, Wednesday 9:00 to 12:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 101; engineering Wednesday 1:00 to 4:30, RCH 101; arts, science, environment, Thursday 9:00 to 12:30, Biology I room 271.

English Language Proficiency Examination: first-year engineering students Wednesday 10:00 and 12:00, mathematics 2:00 and 4:00, Physical Activities Complex; architecture Thursday 1:00, CEIT room 1015. Details.

Ontario Water Works Association student chapter webcast: “Plant to Tap, the Importance of Disinfection” Wednesday 1:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 106.

‘Research Tools and Library Services’ workshop for new faculty and graduate students, Wednesday at 1:30, Davis Centre library conference room; Thursday 1:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter library; Friday 10:30, Davis; September 14, 1:30, Porter; September 15, 1:30, Porter. Details.

Warrior cross-country (men and women) team meeting and tryouts Wednesday 5:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex room 2021. Details.

Accelerator Centre ‘graduation’ for Energent Inc., Thursday 9:30 a.m., 295 Hagey Boulevard, information info@ acceleratorcentre.com.

New faculty workshop with briefings about office of research and graduate studies office (established faculty and administrative staff also welcome) Friday 11:30 to 1:30, Math and Computer room 2017, with lunch and trade show. Optional 10:30 workshops on research ethics and research finance. Information and details e-mail kdsnell@ uwaterloo.ca.

Warrior football vs. Ottawa Gee-Gees, Saturday 1 p.m., Warrior Field, north campus.

Renison College installation of Glenn Cartwright at 10th Principal of the college, Saturday 3:00 p.m., St. George’s of Forest Hill Anglican Church; reception follows at the college.

Fall term classes begin Monday, September 14. Open class enrolment ends September 25.

Alumni networking workshop: “Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk” September 14, 6 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Graduate student services fair September 15, 9:30 to 3:30, Davis Centre lounge; includes payroll signup, 2:00 to 3:30.

Athletics Open House (sport club and varsity team demonstrations; prizes) September 15, 11:00 to 2:00, Physical Activities Complex main gym.

‘Making Your Graduate Experience More Relevant: Connecting Knowledge to the Needs of Society” interdisciplinary information session and lunch, September 15, 12:00, Environment I courtyard. Details.

Job information session for graduating students to explain the on-campus recruitment process, September 15, 3:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Details.

PhD oral defences

Applied mathematics. Gibin George Powathil, “Modeling of Brain Tumors: Effect of Microenvironment and Associated Therapeutic Strategies.” Supervisors, Sivabal Sivaloganathan and Mohammad Kohandel. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, September 17, 9:30 a.m., Mathematics and Computer room 5136.

Planning. Romasa Mohapatra, “Community Baased Planning in Post-Disaster Reconstruction: A Case Study of Tsunami Affected Fishing Communities in Tamil Nadu Coast of India”. Supervisor, Murray Haight. On display in the faculty of environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Thursday, September 17, 1:00 p.m., Environment I room 221.

Electrical and computer engineering. Julie Raquel Vale, “Stability and Performance for Two Classes of Time-Varying Uncertain Plants.” Supervisor, Daniel E. Miller. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, September 18, 10:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Electrical and computer engineering. Pak Chuen Patrick Tsui, “A Multi-Scale Stochastic Filter Based Approach to Inverse Scattering for 3D Ultrasound Soft Tissue Characterization.” Supervisor, Otman Basir. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, September 18, 3:00 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

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