Tuesday, September 22, 2009

  • 'Verification of illness' won't be needed
  • Conservation authority papers in UW library
  • Mindful eating, and two notable speakers
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

'Verification of illness' won't be needed

Students who miss classwork because of the flu this fall will not have to get the traditional "verification of illness" documentation, UW's provost announced yesterday. The new policy is consistent with what health authorities have been saying: except in special circumstances, people with the flu should stay home, rest and take over-the-counter medications, rather than coming to doctors' offices where the main thing they'll accomplish is to spread the disease faster.

For other illnesses, though, the verification form, or VIF, is still required, and in fact the UW senate last night approved a change in the academic regulations, tightening the rules about it. A section that will now be called "Accommodation Due to Illness" says that students who cannot meet an assignment due date or write a test because of illness "should seek medical treatment and provide confirmation of the illness to the instructor(s) within 48 hours by submitting a complete UW Verification of Illness Form."

The VIF, which is available online, is "normally the only acceptable medical documentation" and can be filled out by either UW's health services or an outside doctor. Geoff McBoyle, associate vice-president (academic), told senate that faculty members have been wanting clearer guidance on what documentation they should or shouldn't accept — although individual instructors can still recognize doctors' "notes" and other certificates if they choose to.

McBoyle reminded senate that in spite of the change in regulations, yesterday's memo means the VIF isn't needed for a student who's out of commission because of the flu. Text of the memo from provost Feridun Hamdullahpur that was distributed to faculty, students and staff members:

"In late August, there was communication from Barbara Schumacher, director of Health Services, to members of the UW community providing information about staying healthy and steps to take should you develop symptoms of H1N1 influenza.

"Questions have now arisen about the need for students to provide verification of illness if they cannot attend class, complete assignments or attend examinations. Effective immediately, and until further notice, verification of illness is not needed for absences resulting from the flu. This decision is based on advice received from health officials, and is consistent with practices at other institutions in Canada.

"Absences resulting from other conditions still must be verified in the usual manner.

"While students will not be required to submit verification of illness forms for absences due to suspected H1N1, the University is considering a protocol whereby students self declare their absence if they are seeking accommodation from an instructor for missed assignments, tests and the like. The method for doing so will be announced soon.

"As is the current practice with verified illnesses, instructors are asked to make appropriate accommodation to deal with student absenteeism due to H1N1. Alternative arrangements for fulfilling course requirements are to be determined by each instructor, in consultation with the associate dean or chair as appropriate.

"Further, and consistent with current practice, students remain responsible for meeting course requirements.

"There will be communication regarding a reporting mechanism for faculty and staff absences when information is available."

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Conservation authority papers in UW library

a news release from the UW media relations office

Researchers and the public can access the entire water management history of the Grand River Conservation Authority with the donation of the GRCA papers to the UW library.

The GRCA, which manages the Grand River's water and natural resources on behalf of 38 municipalities and 925,000 residents, has donated its corporate archives for the last 75 years to the university library. The Grand River flows 300 kilometres through southwestern Ontario from the highlands of Dufferin County to Port Maitland on Lake Erie.

"The GRCA donation complements the rich archival holdings of the University of Waterloo library on the environment and conservation, such as the papers of W.H. Breithaupt, the earliest proponent of flood control on the Grand, as well as the archives of the Walter Bean Grand River Trail, the Muskoka Lakes Association and the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain," said university librarian Mark Haslett.

The official opening of the Grand River Conservation Authority Papers will be held today from 4 to 6 p.m., on the first floor of the Dana Porter Library. At the event, officials will also sign a GRCA-UW memorandum of understanding, which renews the research agreement between the university and the authority.

"This collection represents a significant resource to researchers interested in the natural history of southern Ontario," said Alan Dale, chair of the GRCA. "We are grateful to the University of Waterloo for accepting the donation, conserving it in perpetuity and making it available for research use. "

The GRCA came into being in 1934 and is Canada's oldest watershed management agency, celebrating 75 years of activity in 2009. The archival collection contains records that go back to the earliest days in the GRCA's history, including such items as the original minutes of its predecessor agencies, the Grand River Conservation Commission and the Grand Valley Conservation Authority. The comprehensive collection features photographs, slides, negatives, films, sound recordings, news clippings, scrapbooks, reports and publications.

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Mindful eating, and two notable speakers

There's much happening on campus today, as there will be nearly every day of the fall term. See the "When and where" listings at right for many of the events, at least the ones that have been reported to the Daily Bulletin by their organizers or otherwise come to the editor's attention. The range is enormous: at today's noon hour, for instance, you can attend a workshop on breathing, another on "mindful eating", a seminar on malnutrition, or an event celebrating "active and sustainable transportation", or instead of any of that, you can be in the Student Life Centre great hall finding out about volunteer opportunities.

Or — not quite so selflessly — you could skip all of the aforementioned, and instead head up to the University Club for lunch. A new "quick and casual" bar menu arrived in flyer form the other day, including the University Club Salad, a Caesar salad, a "warm pita or Tuscan black olive baguette", University Club wraps with tuna, egg or chicken salad, and a "sun-dried tomato thintini", the latter being a word that I think doesn't exist but that already has 3,020 Google hits.

Moving on . . . at 5:00 today, Donald A. Stewart, the CEO of Sun Life Financial, will be giving a major lecture, not in the Humanities Theatre as I said yesterday, but in the nearby Room 1101 of Hagey Hall, the new amphitheatre for the School of Accounting and Finance. Stewart, who also heads a federal task force on "financial literacy", will be speaking on "The New Financial Order: Canada and the International Financial Community". Stewart believes recent economic conditions around the world and the impacts they have had on financial institutions will result in the creation of a new financial order. His wide–ranging presentation is expected cover key economic drivers and the effect of global economic conditions on risk management and the regulatory environment. Says Jim Barnett, director of the accounting school: “Don Stewart has significant experience leading a vast organization with operations around the world and has travel extensively to Asia, where Sun Life has been establishing new business relationships. Our students, faculty and guests can only benefit from his insights, and we are thrilled to welcome him.” Free tickets have been available online, but I'm told that none are left, even for seats in some nearby high-tech classrooms where the talk will be streamed live.

A couple of hours later, a quite different figure will be speaking on campus: Maude Barlow, "senior advisor on water" to the president of the United Nations General Assembly and national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. She's brought in by the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, and will be kicking off something called the “Just Tap It! Don’t Toss It!” campaign to encourage the use of municipal, not bottled, water. Barlow is the author or co-author of 16 books including Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water. She is the recipient of the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel”), the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award and eight honorary doctorates. “Just Tap It! Don’t Toss It!” is a student initiated campaign to promote the healthy and sustainable option of tap water. Barlow's appearance is co-sponsored by the Environmental Grad Students Association and the Waterloo Environment Students Endowment Fund. Admission is free.

The fall program of UW continuing education courses is under way, and a reminder comes from the CE office on Gage Avenue in Kitchener: UW staff members can register at half price for the likes of "Proofreading and Editing" (next Wednesday), "The Art of Influencing Difficult People" (October 2), and "Introduction to Public Speaking" (October 6). But first: this Friday, it's "Guerrilla Grammar", a one-day course (9:00 to 4:30) taught by Ron Champion. "Is grammar weighing you down?" a publicity blurb asks. "Get that monkey off your back. Grammar doesn’t have to be time-consuming, confusing, or boring. Guerrilla Grammar focuses on relevant points of English grammar, punctuation, style, and usage. Real-life (and often humorous) examples of broken writing illustrate common pitfalls and predicaments that you’ll learn to recognize and avoid. Finally! Grammar you can enjoy, understand and apply to perfect your writing." Registration information is, of course, on the CE web site.

The staff association says it's looking for someone to occupy a seat on the President's Advisory Committee on Traffic and Parking. • Grand River CarShare is expanding its fleet, which already includes a car based at the parking lot of UW's School of Architecture, and now has a total of 15 vehicles in Waterloo Region and Hamilton. • Joycent Senior, who has been a housekeeper in UW's housing and residence operation since 1976, will officially retire on October 1.


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Link of the day

A point on the celestial sphere

When and where

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

Volunteer/internship fair representing a number of agencies, 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?” 11:45 a.m., 57 Erb Street West. Details.

UW Recreation Committee presents “Better Breathing, Better Living” with Michele Cadotte of Higher Vision Lifestyle, 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, 12:00, start at Matthews Hall green.

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

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

‘Career exploration and decision making’ workshop Wednesday 10:30 a.m., Tatham Centre room 1113. Details.

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

Tailgate Party with football Warriors, supporting Research and Technology Park Tenants Fund, Wednesday 11:30 to 1:30, TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, $5 in advance or $5 on the day.

Institute for Quantum Computing presents Greg Chaitin, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, “Algorithmic Information as a Fundamental Concept in Physics, Mathematics and Biology” Wednesday 12:00, Research Advancement Centre, 475 Wes Graham Way.

Warrior curling team meeting, walk-ons welcome, Wednesday 5:00, Physical Activities Complex room 2021. Details.

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

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

Alzheimer’s coffee break at the Computing Help and Information Place, Math and Computer room 1052. Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., coffee, tea and snacks, proceeds to Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program.

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

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

Making the Most of the Water We Have: launch of book edited by David Brooks and others, Thursday 3:30, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, sponsored by Faculty of Environment and Bookstore.

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

PhD oral defences

Kinesiology. Alison Smith, “Cortical and Behavioural Adaptations Induced by Bimanual Movement Training: An Electrophysiological Study in the Healthy Population.” Supervisor, Richard Staines. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, September 25, 2:30 p.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 3701.

Applied mathematics. Rudy Gunawan, “Bayesian Inference Methods Applied to Cancer Research.” Supervisor, Siv Sivaloganathan. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, October 1, 9:30 a.m., Math and Computer room 5158.

Electrical and computer engineering. Seyed Abolfazi Motahari, “Interference Management in Non-Cooperative Networks.” Supervisor, Amir K. Khandani. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, October 2, 9:00 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

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