Wednesday, September 9, 2009

  • Click: provost finds UW 'fantastic'
  • Students targeted for break-ins, police say
  • Getting oriented to today's events
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Click: provost finds UW 'fantastic'

What Feridun Hamdullahpur says first is what you might expect a new administrator to say: he’s “going to get to know people . . . to learn as much as I can about the university”. But then he makes a commitment I’ve never heard before: UW’s new provost says one of his goals is to meet every single person who works here.

[Hamdullahpur]Seriously? Of course. “This is my new home,” says Hamdullahpur (left), who took on the post of vice-president (academic) and provost as of September 1. He arrives from Carleton University in Ottawa, where he was vice-president (research and international) for six years and then, as Carleton went through some turmoil in its senior ranks, interim VP (academic) and provost for three years.

“I’m used to having a busy life,” Hamdullahpur said in an interview last Thursday, his first full day in Needles Hall. “That will be nothing new.”

He did say that the move to Waterloo, which came on short notice as UW looked for a provost to succeed the departing Amit Chakma, “was a very good opportunity, and a very good click between myself and the university.” He noted UW’s “commitment to excellence”, its “very strong graduate component”, its emphasis on “innovation as one of the main thrusts”, and “seeing the impact of what you do beyond the boundaries of the province and the country . . . those things have been at the forefront of my thinking.”

Born in Turkey, he earned his undergraduate degree and his master’s in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Istanbul, then came to Canada to do a PhD at what was then the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now an arm of Dalhousie University). Academically, he has much in common with UW’s first provost, Tom Brzustowski, who served in the VP’s office from 1975 to 1987 and was a mechanical engineering professor specializing in combustion. Hamdullahpur lists his research areas as energy conversion, thermo-fluids and bio-mass gasification and combustion.

Much of his research work is still based at DalTech, where he was a faculty member and then an administrator before making the move to Ottawa in 2000. “I have a small lab at Carleton,” he noted, and this past year he had four PhD students there. One of the four has just graduated and is coming to UW’s mechanical and mechatronics engineering department as a postdoctoral fellow; the other three will continue at Carleton unless arrangements work out for them to transfer to Waterloo.

Hamdullahpur spoke passionately about “making an education available to young brilliant minds”, and about the exhilaration that comes to an instructor who walks out of the classroom “soaked in sweat, knowing that it was a fantastic lecture!”

He used the word “fantastic” again to talk about the team of senior managers with whom he’ll be working at Waterloo. President David Johnston, he said, “was one of the big attractions” when he considered coming here , and he heaped praise on the deans, associate provosts and others who will share the load: “I’m a strong believer in teamwork.”

One appeal of the Waterloo position, he said, was the amount of authority, both academic and financial, that the provost can wield. It’s a stronger post than the provost occupies at Carleton, he observed. He acknowledged that part of his mandate at Waterloo will be to implement the Sixth Decade Plan for academic quality and impact, which he called “a very good plan, visionary, gutsy”, but he added that the plan “is not cast in stone; it’s a living plan,” and changes are inevitable as the years go on.

The key questions, he said, are “How do we help our country and the world, making it a better place? And how do we offer the best education to our students?”

Meanwhile, on that first day behind the desk he was already dealing with paperwork and making decisions, and observed that “the work and life of the university go on.” He predicted that as he gets to know the issues, he’ll lay out a “war plan” with the priorities and what needs to be done by himself and the university’s other top executives.

However, he made clear that he’ll save a little time for sports. At Carleton, where the men’s basketball Ravens are frequent national champions, “I went to every game and cheered for them,” he says, “and I intend to do the same here.” He also got a workout himself twice a week as a member of an all-staff soccer team, and is wondering whether he can find a similar squad at Waterloo.

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Students targeted for break-ins, police say

Waterloo Regional Police have analyzed crime statistics over the last several years and discovered what they call a disturbing feature. Residential break-and-enter cases show a 30 per cent increase in September as students return to campuses, and again in April as they’re moving out. And students are the main victims.

Staff Sergeant Christopher Goss, a Waterloo Regional Police officer working as manager of police and security operations at UW, says there is a clear trend: “Break and enters in the areas of Waterloo near the universities spike in September and April, and university students living off campus are being victimized.”

Police say students living off campus may not pay close enough attention to locking doors and windows. Accommodations may not have high-quality locks in some cases, and rarely have alarm systems. As well, shared housing with roommates coming and going on different schedules can cause problems with locking things up. Thieves see student homes as good targets for high-quality laptop computers, gaming systems and other electronics.

Police recommend being conscious of securing your residence and talking with roommates about keeping the doors locked. More advice: “If you are away from your residence for extended periods, arrange to have mail and newspapers removed. Do not leave large quantities of cash in your residence. Mark your valuables and always record the make, model and serial number for all items of value (UW students can file serial number information with the UW Police). And report suspicious activity to police.”

Goss comments: “You have to use common sense, look after your property and lock up. We have a safe campus in a safe city, but you should not let yourself be an easy target for thieves.”

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[Crowd on the ground]

David Johnston, UW's president, made a celebrity appearance at the "Playfair" event on the Village green that launched orientation for UW's new students Monday evening.

Getting oriented to today's events

Orientation activities continue today, with an emphasis on academic sessions in most of the faculties, as well as the English Language Proficiency Exam for students in engineering and math. Environment students will, if the schedule can be believed, spend much of the day in Laurel Creek; science students will meet dean Terry McMahon; arts students will join in a scavenger hunt and pose for an aerial photo. At UW's Cambridge campus, architecture students will be greeted by the mayor of Cambridge, Doug Craig, and explore the Galt downtown before getting a bus to Waterloo for the big "mixer" tonight. That's a party for most of the faculties that will be held in the Student Life Centre. Also today: "Single and Sexy" performances at 9:30, 1:00 and 4:00 in the Humanities Theatre; international student orientation from 9:00 to 12:30 (math and applied health sciences) and 1:00 to 4:30 (engineering) in Rod Coutts Hall room 101. Details are, of course, online.

The Student Life Centre will be closed to general use both today and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. for orientation events — tonight's "mixer" and tomorrow's upscale Monte Carlo Night. If past arrangements are followed this year, the Turnkey Desk, the Federation Express convenience store, Tim Hortons, a banking machine and the multi-faith prayer room will continue to be accessible to all users.

UW’s Student Awards and Financial Aid office “is releasing OSAP funding by appointment only from Tatham Centre starting on September 8,” says a memo from assistant director Rhonda Voskamp. “Appointments are available between 8:40 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day September 8-29. Representatives from the National Student Loan Service Centre are also on site at Tatham Centre. SAFA has increased the number of appointments available to see as many students as possible during the first three weeks of the term. To pick up OSAP funding, students should review the Important OSAP Pick-up Information on the website and book an appointment for a date and time convenient for them. Again this fall, Student Awards & Financial Aid is also serving students who receive funding from other provinces. These students should report to the lower level of Tatham Centre between 8:40 and 4:00 Monday to Friday – no appointment required. All students are reminded that their fees must be arranged and they must present their SIN card and government-issued photo ID at the time of funding pick up. OSAP students also need to provide confirmation/proof of their gross earnings for 2009.”

The "Friday morning seminars" for information technology support staff will have a somewhat larger audience this year, says Bob Hicks of information systems and technology (IST). The series resumes this week after an August break. "For many years," says a memo from Hicks, "IST’s Professional Development Advisory Group has coordinated weekly professional development seminars. These seminars are brief updates about new technology, projects, tours of facilities, conference highlights, and sometimes just a fun topic about something not technical. Most people refer to these seminars as the 'IST Friday morning seminars' as they take place on Friday mornings from 9 to 9:45 a.m. in MC 2009. All are welcome to attend the seminars and no registration is required. In the recent IT Task Force Report there was a recommendation to expand the membership of PDAG to include others on campus. This has already started, and it is hoped that there will be representation from all the Faculties sooner than later. At our first meeting with our expanded group, some excellent topics were suggested for the Fall term. The seminars start on September 11."

And . . . this weekend we'll find out just how things went when the ladies of the Food Network's "Eat, Shrink and Be Merry" visited Mudie's cafeteria in Village I back in February. That's the show where Janet and Greta Podleski "take your favourite comfort foods and give 'em a healthy twist", and their target this time was UW chef Trevor Moreland and his tuna casserole. The episode will air three times on Friday, and again on Saturday morning.


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Link of the day

Chrysanthemum 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., Saturday and Sunday 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.

Campus Tech hours (lower level of Student Life Centre): Monday-Friday 9 to 5.

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

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

‘Research Tools and Library Services’ workshop for new faculty and graduate students, today 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 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@

Weight Watchers information session about on-campus program Thursday 12:00, PAS (Psychology) building rom 2438, information ext. 32218, e-mail amcharet@

Chamber Choir auditions Thursday and September 15 from 1:00 to 5:00, Conrad Grebel UC. First rehearsal September 17, 4:00, Grebel chapel. Details.

Chapel Choir auditions Thursday 1:30 to 4:30; Friday 1:30 to 4:30; September 14, 3:30 to 5:00; September 15, 1:30 to 3:00, Conrad Grebel UC. First rehearsal September 16, 3:30 p.m. Details.

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@

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.

Warrior women’s volleyball team meeting and first practice September 14, 3 p.m., Physical Activities Complex room 2021, walk-ons welcome. 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.

Critical Media Lab, UW department of English, launch and open house September 15, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., 195 King Street West, Kitchener. Details.

Canadian Federation of University Women welcomes returning and new members, interest group sign-up, September 15, 6:30 p.m., First United Church, Waterloo. Details.

International student reception September 17, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo open rehearsal September 17, 8:30 pm., location to be announced. Details.

Grades for spring term undergraduate courses become official September 21.

UW senate monthly meeting September 21, 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Volunteer/internship fair representing a number of agencies, September 22, 11:00 to 2:30, Student Life Centre.

Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians, helps launch tap water campaign, sponsored by Environment Graduate Student Association and WPIRG, September 22, 7:00, Federation Hall.

Engineering VI groundbreaking ceremony, September 24, 2 p.m., parking lot B. Details.

UW Retirees Association annual wine and cheese party September 24, 3:00 to 5:00, University Club.

Positions available

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

• Director, student life office, USG 11
• Parking records clerk, parking services, USG 4
• Administrative assistant, Spanish and Latin American studies, USG 5
• Research coordinator, natural sciences, engineering and mathematics, office of research, USG 8
• Environmental engineering technologist, civil and environmental engineering, USG 7
• Admissions assistant, registrar's office, USG 5
• Computing consultant, information systems and technology (client services), USG 9-10

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