Monday, September 21, 2009

  • 'Directions are clear' for web redesign
  • Gaza physician speaks on peace efforts
  • Monthly meeting of senate; other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

'Directions are clear' for web redesign

A project to redesign UW’s web pages is underway, and some web users are being asked to answer a brief survey posed by the redesign team.

The project is currently headed by Megan McDermott of the communications and public affairs office and UW Graphics, although a new leader is to be named momentarily, since McDermott leaves at the end of this month to begin a maternity leave. In a posting to the “” blog, she offers “some of the background around the redesign project including rationale, people involved, and relationship to other current activities on campus.”

There are two main reasons for the redesign project,” she writes: “to demonstrate the attributes defined in the new UW identity, including the visual expression; to improve the user experience, including enhancements to the navigation as well as improving consistency throughout the UW web space.”

That web space is estimated to include more than half a million web pages on at least 300 separate servers, from the UW home page at to sites for individual departments and projects across the university.

“Our directions are clear,” McDermott writes. “The UW website needs to position the university as unconventional, creative, risk-taking, and experimental. How we approach that direction will be a key focus of this project over the next few months.

“At the same time, we understand that the website is a functional tool. People need to use the website to quickly and accurately find information and do things such as check email and find library resources. The website must support these user activities while also demonstrating UW's unique characteristics.

“It has become evident over the past few years that the current UW template design does not suit all UW sites. The new template framework will be more flexible, enabling all units to develop a website that works for their content while still ensuring consistency across the UW web space.”

Currently, the blog entry says, the plan is to have something to show the public in January. “It is anticipated that the redesigned UW site would be launched in May, 2010. The design would then be rolled out throughout the UW web space starting in spring 2010.”

UW’s new “visual identity” ran into some difficulty with the recent high-profile controversy over logo design, and as a result, “the visual identity system has not yet been finalized,” she writes. “However, this does not prevent the website redesign from moving forward. There are many activities that need to be completed before the visual design for the website is created. This includes audience research, content analysis, information architecture, and navigation design.

“A feedback survey is available. In addition, you are free to post comments here, become a fan of our Facebook page, or to contact us directly.”

McDermott notes that creating a template framework that works well for all UW sites “is a key part of the redesign project. A feedback survey for website maintainers will be available shortly.

“All UW websites will be expected to adopt the new templates. Reasonable timelines will be allowed and support will be provided to those who need it. Compliance will be enforced — and exceptions granted — by the Web Steering Committee. We will make every effort to ensure that the new templates meet your website's needs.”

The redesign project is separate from the project, already under way, to introduce a new Web Content Management System at UW. “The redesign team will work with the WCMS project team to ensure templates work properly in the new system. Currently our plan is to release templates for Dreamweaver and the WCMS, as well as a plain HTML version. Templates for other platforms (e.g. Wordpress) may be developed in the future.”

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Gaza physician speaks on peace efforts

Izzeldin Abuelaish, a physician from the troubled Gaza region who turned personal tragedy into a worldwide campaign for peace, will speak in Waterloo tonight on the designated International Day of Peace.

The Day was established by the United Nations as an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and nations to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace on a shared date. Abuelaish is brought to campus by UW’s peace and conflict studies program, based at Conrad Grebel University College.

[Abuelaish]Says a news release: “As a man who has devoted his life to medicine, treating both Palestinian and Israeli patients, Dr. Abuelaish (left) is a committed advocate of forgiveness and healing in the search for reconciliation in the Middle East. He will give a free public lecture at 7:30 p.m. at the Theatre of the Arts in the Modern Languages building, entitled ‘Peacebuilding in Gaza: Dr. Abuelaish’s Story’.”

The release continues: “This painful story made international headlines during the attacks on Gaza last winter as Dr. Abuelaish tragically lost three of his daughters and a niece when Israeli tank shells shattered his house in the Jabala camp. The drama was broadcast live on Israeli television, capturing for the first time the lethal toll that the battle was taking on Gaza’s civilian population and conveying it right into the living rooms of Israelis and others around the world.”

Says Lowell Ewert, director of the PACS program: “His is an inspiring story of the commitment of a peacemaker to continue to work for peace despite difficult circumstances. Dr. Abuelaish will give each of us something to ponder as we look at how we can be instruments of peace in all the circumstances of our lives.”

During his visit, Abuelaish will also speak to invited high school students and a UW PACS class, as well as participate in an informal discussion with senior level PACS students.

An international foundation inspired by Abuelaish’s vision and commitment to peace and reconciliation is being created with headquarters in Toronto and Gaza. The foundation will develop programs promoting education, health and leadership for women and girls throughout the Gaza and the Middle East.

Educated at Harvard (Master’s of Public Health), Abuelaish is currently associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Monthly meeting of senate; other notes

The UW senate, the university's top academic governing body, will hold its September meeting today at an unfamiliar time. The monthly meetings have been getting longer lately, and so the traditional 4:30 p.m. start time is being changed to 4:00. Senate meets in room 3001 of Needles Hall. Today's agenda will include the usual reports from the president and the vice-presidents (this time including both new provost Feridun Hamdullahpur and associate provost Bruce Mitchell, who was acting provost for July and August) and a briefing on the issue of class sizes, which jumped into public attention last spring thanks to a memo from now-departed provost Amit Chakma.

Among other agenda items today, the senate will discuss a planned new Master of Public Service program in the faculty of arts; a Master of Mathematics for Teachers program; a "digital media specialization" in the honours BA program in UW's department of English; and a minor, option and diploma in "Studies in Islam" to be offered at Renison University College. There will also be a report from the undergraduate council, one of senate's committees, about existing procedures on "accommodation due to illness", a topic of current interest because of the prospect that more than a few students might be stricken with H1N1 or "seasonal" flu this fall.

The CEO of one of Canada’s leading financial institutions and leader of a federal task force on financial literacy will share his vision of world-wide financial markets after the current economic crisis during a lecture at UW tomorrow. He is Donald A. Stewart, chief executive officer of Sun Life Financial and chairman of the Government of Canada Task Force on Financial Literacy. Stewart will speak on "The New Financial Order: Canada and the International Financial Community" at 5:00 tomorrow, in the Humanities Theatre, to an audience of students, accounting and finance faculty, and local business leaders. At last report, all the tickets for seats in the theatre itself had been given out, and arrangements were being made for an overflow audience to watch by video. Tomorrow's Daily Bulletin will say more about Stewart's visit, which is sponsored by the school of accounting and finance.

Road repairs along Columbia Street, on the north side of the main campus, are progressing, and work crews are expected to reach the vicinity of the Optometry building driveway today or tomorrow. As a result, access to the front side of Optometry will be blocked, possibly for as long as three weeks, the plant operations department reports. The city of Waterloo will post signs advising staff and visitors to turn north on Hagey Boulevard and use the north (rear) access to the building instead.

And . . . as Friday's Daily Bulletin announced, the editor has joined the five million (or some such number) users of the social media site Twitter. That means that 140-character messages will be going out from time to time, and the world is invited to "follow" them online or on mobile devices. My thanks to the 30-plus people who signed up as "followers" on the strength of that first announcement. Unknowingly, I timed the launch exactly right, so thanks also to a couple of people who recommended the Daily Bulletin through the "Follow Friday" convention. And I've learned that an enthusiastic reader has already been operating a Twitter feed of the DB text itself, or at least 140 characters' worth of the daily headlines. We'll be talking about what innovations might come next.


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Link of the day

End of Ramadan

When and where

‘Find Books and More’ library workshop today 1:30, Tuesday 10:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Exploring Your Personality workshop about Meyers-Briggs Type indicator, today and September 28, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1113. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology Distinguished Lecture: [Hosono]Hideo Hosono, Tokyo Institute of Technology, “New Frontiers of Materials Research” 3:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Work reports from spring term co-op jobs due 4:00 p.m., Tatham Centre.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group volunteer meeting 5:30 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Stage Band first rehearsal 7:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, information e-mail music@

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

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Sue Horton, UW associate provost and CIGI chair in Global Health Economics, “Tackling Malnutrition: What Would It Cost?” Tuesday 11:45 a.m., 57 Erb Street West. Details.

UW Recreation Committee presents “Better Breathing, Better Living” with Michele Cadotte of Higher Vision Lifestyle, Tuesday 12:00 noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

Rally around the ring road on foot, bike or other “active and sustainable transportation”, as part of Car Free Day celebrations, Tuesday 12:00, start at Matthews Hall green.

‘Mindful Eating’ workshop for staff sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, led by Beth Bower of counselling services, Tuesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Networking 101 workshop Tuesday 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

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

On-campus part-time job fair Wednesday 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre. Details.

Corporate recruitment event for students with disabilities, sponsored by Lime Canada, Wednesday 5:30 to 8:00, University Club. Details.

UW Farm Market Thursdays through October 8, 9:00 to 1:00, Environment I courtyard: local produce, preserves, honey, baked goods.

QPR Suicide Prevention training by Counselling Services, Thursday 11:30 to 1:00, to be repeated Monday, October 19, details and registration ext. 33528.

International Spouses monthly meeting: welcome and speaker from Newcomers Waterloo Region, Thursday 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre. Details.

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

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

‘Why Scientific and Technological Literacy Is Important’ lecture by blogger and author Chris Mooney, Friday 9 a.m., Humanities Theatre, free admission but preregister.

Homecoming 2009 Saturday; includes AHS fun run, East Asian Festival, engineering and math reunions, biology reunion, Aboriginal Pow-Wow, Conrad Grebel University College 1990-95 era alumni reunion. Details.

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York U gets court order to find out authors of critical e-mail
'Online learning: reaching out to the skeptics'

Friday's Daily Bulletin