Tuesday, April 13, 2010

  • Planning prof named to be interim dean
  • 'Inventory' assesses how children speak
  • Extra millions in the budget, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Seasons]Planning prof named to be interim dean

The provost has announced that Mark Seasons (left), a faculty member in the School of Planning since 1998, will be interim dean of the Faculty of Environment starting this summer.

He’ll take over when Deep Saini, the current dean, leaves Waterloo to become a vice-president of the University of Toronto and dean of Toronto’s Mississauga campus.

Provost Feridun Hamdullahpur noted in a memo Friday that a search is underway to find a replacement for Saini: “However, it will not be possible to finalize the process before Dr. Saini’s departure. . . . I would like to take this opportunity to thank, Deep Saini for his years of contributions and excellent work at UW and wish him well in his next endeavour, and, Mark Seasons for his willingness to assume this responsibility.”

Seasons will be interim dean “effective July 1, 2010 until a permanent appointment is made, but no longer than one year.”

He is a specialist in such fields as strategic planning and policy and program evaluation, who earned his PhD at Waterloo in 1989 and worked as a planner at the National Capital Commission in Ottawa until coming back to this university nine years later.

He has served as associate dean (undergraduate studies and educational liaison) in the ENV faculty since 2004. He is also a member of the board of governors of St. Paul’s University College, which is affiliated with UW, and has been chair of that board since 2007.

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'Inventory' assesses how children speak

One of the “attribute stories” that are currently appearing in rotation on the university’s web home page

It’s a worry that drives many parents unnecessarily onto speech-pathology waiting lists: is my child having problems learning to communicate?

To determine and measure what’s typical language development, psychology professor Daniela O’Neill has created the Language Use Inventory (LUI). Built through community, then national, testing to develop norms of language development, the inventory is now in use at 50 U.S. and 70 Canadian institutions, from school boards to hospitals, and has the potential to become a standard part of child health assessment across North America.

Language has three main components: vocabulary (knowing “ball” or “cookie”); grammar (forming sentences and knowing word order — calling it a “blue ball” rather than a “ball blue”); and, finally, “a catch-all term we call pragmatics,” says O’Neill, also director of Waterloo’s Centre for Child Studies: “How children can now use language to interact with others appropriately and effectively.”

“The LUI is still the only measure available of pragmatic language development,” she says. “We study how children use language.”

The inventory measures language skills of children ages 18 months to 47 months. The 15-page questionnaire takes a parent 30 minutes to fill out and asks about a child’s communication skills, with gestures and with words. A trained professional can then score the test in five to 10 minutes. Parents are the best observers of their children’s development as it’s hard to capture a small child’s speaking ability in a lab, especially if a child becomes shy in an unfamiliar setting.

The inventory is now being developed in French, O’Neill says, and discussions are underway with Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services to incorporate the inventory “within their intervention programs for language.”

The test has three benefits: It reassures parents whose children are developing normally; it should reduce the number of children waiting for speech assessment services, which are clogged up now with waiting lists of six to 12 months; it should also provide an earlier heads-up when a child is, indeed, in need of extra help.

“Earlier identification allows earlier treatment,” says O’Neill. “That’s when it’s more effective and less costly.”

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Extra millions in the budget, and more

The Ontario government has announced “additional support to Ontario’s colleges and universities to further enhance the high-quality education they provide to a growing number of students”. The money — heralded in the provincial budget a few days ago — includes $11.8 million for Waterloo, according to a news release from Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Leeanna Pendergast. “We recognize our colleges and universities have experienced larger enrolment growth due to the current economic environment,” she said. The money is a one-time grant calculated to provide “full average funding” for the university’s growth in undergraduate enrolment during 2009-10, says Bob Truman, director of institutional analysis and planning. He said it counts as revenue for the fiscal year that’s ending this month, and will contribute to an apparent surplus on UW’s books as the 2009-10 year ends on April 30. The money will probably be spent on one-time costs during the 2010-11 year, he added.

Speaking of Bob Truman, who has been working in Needles Hall since 1973, and for some years now as director of institutional analysis and planning: a memo this week makes it official that he's going to retire at the end of May. "Bob’s retirement," provost Feridun Hamdullahpur writes, "provides us with an opportunity to review the IAP structure and its mandate and, if necessary, modify the role and responsibility of the Director. While efforts are underway to finalize this review, it is unlikely that the process will be finalized before Bob’s departure. I am pleased to announce that Mary Jane Jennings, Associate Director Institutional Analysis & Planning, will serve as Interim Director effective June 1, 2010 until a permanent appointment is made. May I take this opportunity to thank Bob Truman for his many years of contributions and excellent work at UW and, Mary Jane Jennings for her willingness to assume this additional responsibility."

A memo went out to departments the other day, as it does this time every term, explaining the opportunity that's presented by the International Undergraduate Work-Study Program for the fall term. "You could employ an international student on a part-time basis for one-quarter the normal cost," writes Linda Jajko of the student awards and financial aid office. "International students are not eligible for provincial government financial aid (OSAP)," she explains, and "obtaining other financing or part-time employment that fits the student's schedule is very difficult." Hence the program, financed 75 per cent from "a central university fund", to subsidize up to 25 part-time jobs (up to 10 hours a week) in UW departments. "Jobs that tend to receive the most interest are those that create meaningful work experience for the students," Jajko notes, inviting faculty or staff members to submit job proposals by May 14 for the coming term. More information: ext. 35726.

The latest issue of the Iron Warrior included a report from the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund, as represented by director Jay Shah, who listed $85,000 in grants lately approved by the WEEF funding council. "Council had some very tough decisions to make this term," he writes, "as a total of $244,892.20 was requested and only $85,000 was available to allocate." The single biggest grant was $13,100 for computer-aided teaching room upgrades in chemical engineering; other grants included $6,640 in computer hardware for the school of architecture, $2,100 to support a geological engineering field trip to Peru, $2,200 for the Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group, $4,000 for the Clean Snowmobile project (which had asked for $29,000), and $2,000 towards video cameras for systems design engineering. "We encourage all recipients of funding to spend their allocations as quickly as possible while still being prudent," says Shah, "so that an immediate impact can be felt by students."

[Seth]Waterloo doesn’t have an interuniversity women’s squash team, but that isn’t stopping chemical engineering student Micaala Seth (right). Squash Canada reports that Seth “went the five-game limit to win” the other day at the Canadian University and College Squash Championships, held at the University of Toronto. In the women’s final, Seth defeated Erin Roberts of Queen’s University. She reached the final with an upset straight games victory over top-seed Nikole Todd of the University of Manitoba. That was after opening the tournament by defeating Heather Lamb of Queen’s. Along with men’s champion Adruab Dudzicki of the University of Ottawa, Seth earned a trip to represent Canada at the seventh World University Games, July 10-18, in Melbourne, Australia.

And . . . I try to keep an eye on Twitter, and post some Daily Bulletin headlines or other notes every morning. Some tweets that have appeared in recent days: “It's the perfect day for trapping yourself in the DP and cracking down on that studying. Don't forget your umbrella!” • “Roni, our Off-Campus Housing Specialist has won over 15 times on #rutr. How has the game been for you?” • “#uwaterloo hit by another phishing attack overnight. Passwords should never be shared with anyone, particularly over email!” • “Congrats and thank you to the OHD folks for putting on a fantastic Staff Conference. Well done all around.” • “Yep! You can get a waffle cone with two scoops for 2 dollars every Monday at the FEDS store!” • “What are you doing this spring term UW?? Come on down and volunteer at Imprint!”


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Link of the day


When and where

Winter term examinations through April 23. Schedule.

Extended library hours through April 23: Davis Centre library open 24 hours a day, except Sunday 2 to 8 a.m.; Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Details.

Inventory clearance monthly bookstore sale, Tuesday-Wednesday, South Campus Hall concourse.

Canada 3.0 ‘Interactions’ event in Calgary, sponsored by UW Stratford Campus and others, 8:30 a.m., 200 Barclay Parade SW. Details.

Senate undergraduate council 12:00 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Staff career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type” 2:00, Tatham Centre. Details.

Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: P. Lynne Howell, Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, “Deciphering the Pseudomonas aeruginosa Type IV Pilus Assembly Complex” 3:30, Chemistry II room 361.

Stratford lecture: Brendon Larson, environment and resource studies, “Biodiversity of the Future” 7 p.m., Stratford Public Library.

Education Credit Union seminar: “Financing and Purchasing a Vehicle” Wednesday 12:10 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP janinew@ ecusolutions.com by April 7.

Staff career workshop: “Sell Your Skills” Thursday 2:30 p.m., Tatham Centre. Details.

Regional Transportation Master Plan open house Thursday 6:00 to 9:00, First United Church, Waterloo. Details.

Centre for Aboriginal Learning, St. Paul’s University College, government funding announcement Friday 10:30 a.m., by invitation.

Electronic equipment recycling dropoff Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., central stores, East Campus Hall; information 519-624-3300.

University senate monthly meeting Monday 4:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

Luv Lulu, Hate Cancer sale of used workout wear, to benefit Canadian Cancer Society, April 20, 2:00 to 8:00, TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard. Donate items in advance at TechTown, get chance to win $500 Lululemon shopping spree.

Book launch: Polish Orphans of Tengeru by Lynne Taylor, department of history, April 20, 5:00 to 7:00, University Club, RSVP k4king@ uwaterloo.ca (deadline is today).

PostSecret.com founder Frank Warren speaks about his site and signs copies of his books, April 20, 7:00, Humanities Theatre, sponsored by Arts Student Union, tickets $35 (arts students $25) at Humanities box office.

Discovery Days in Health Sciences event for high schoolers, April 21. Details.

Campus-wide utility shutdown April 24 at 4 p.m. to April 25 at 8 p.m.: all main campus buildings, no heat or hot water; buildings in north and east areas, including Villages, SLC, Optometry, Davis, DWE and CPH, also no electrical power.

‘Making Assessment Meaningful’ annual symposium on “learning about teaching”, April 26-27: Monday, Presidents’ Colloquium, Catherine Wehlburg, Texas Christian University, 2:00, Humanities Theatre, reception follows; Tuesday, faculty workshops 9:00 and 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 26-29, Davis Centre. Details.

Opportunities and New Directions conference on post-secondary teaching and learning, sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, April 28. Details.

Advances in Health Informatics Conference 2010 hosted by NIHI, WIHIR, and schools of optometry and pharmacy, April 28-30, Health Sciences Campus, Kitchener.

Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference April 29-30, Ryerson University, Toronto. Details.

Spring term classes begin Monday, May 3.

Canada 3.0 digital media conference sponsored by Stratford Institute and Canadian Digital Media Network, May 10-11, Stratford. Details.

Retirees Association bus tour, “Wineries of the Beamsville Bench” May 12, details 519-885-6719.

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