Friday, February 5, 2010

  • Pascal Lectures explore 'Universe of Wonder'
  • Launching Lily in the Snow
  • Paint wanted, and other happenings
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

FASS 2010 Princess Peach and Mushroom Kingdom entertainersIt's FASS (Faculty, Alumni, Staff, Students), and it's been trying hard to make people laugh since 1962, making it the university's most durable amateur theatrical troupe. "An indispensable part of UW life," says FASS publicity. "A cast and crew of 101 people have been working tirelessly for the last month to bring together this musical comedy extravaganza, "Final Fassity MMX", and it's not to be missed!" Performances began yesterday and continue today at 7 (Cameo by Chris Neal, FEDS vice president, administration and finance) and 10 (Cameo by Peter Carette, director of theatre operations), and Saturday at 8 (Cameo by Bud Walker, director of university business operations and interim associate provost, student services). Note that "the Friday 10 p.m. show involves heckling, not for the easily offended or annoyed." Tickets are available from the Hagey Hall box office (519-888-4908) and you can get discount advance ticket prices until 5 p.m. today. At the door, the full ticket price applies. Details at

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Pascal Lectures explore 'Universe of Wonder'

a release from Waterloo Media Relations

NASA scientist Jennifer Wiseman will speak on a variety of scientific topics, including whether finding life elsewhere in the universe will shake our perception of God, at the Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University next Monday and Tuesday at the University of Waterloo.

Wiseman studies star-forming regions of the galaxy using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes, and currently serves as chief of the laboratory for exoplanets and stellar astrophysics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Previously, she was the program scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA headquarters. She has also authored several essays addressing the relationship of astronomy and Christian faith.

Her first lecture, "Universe of Wonder: Universe of Mystery," will be delivered Monday at 8 p.m. in the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, room 1015. Wiseman will discuss whether or not the baffling beauty and mysteries of the universe reflect the nature of a cosmic creator.

The next day Wiseman will give a short lecture followed by a question-and-answer session entitled "Is There Another Earth?" This talk, aimed at high school and undergraduate students, will be held Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in the Optometry Building on Columbia Avenue, room 1129.

Her final lecture, "Finding Other Worlds: A Reflection on Human Significance," will be delivered Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts in the Modern Languages Building. Wiseman will explore the discovery of extrasolar planets and if finding life elsewhere will shake our view of human existence, and our perception of God.

"The Pascal Lecture series is pleased to have a speaker of Dr. Wiseman's stature visit the University of Waterloo," said Robert Mann, professor of physics and astronomy and chair of this year's Pascal lecture series. "We are looking forward to hearing Dr. Wiseman present the most forefront research in astronomy and her thoughts on Christianity."

The Pascal Lecture series was established to create a forum for Christian issues in an academic environment by inviting outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves in areas both of scholarly endeavour and of Christian thought or life. It is financed by donations and royalties from published lectures.

The series is named after Blaise Pascal (1632-1662), a French academic and Christian, best remembered as a forerunner of Newton in the establishment of calculus. Pascal was also the author of the Christian meditation, Les Pensées.

All lectures are open to the public and admission is free. Parking will be available for free in lot H at the south end of campus (off of Ring Road) for the evening lectures.

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Launching Lily in the Snow

Cover of book by Yan Li, Lily in the SnowAll are invited to attend the launch of Lily in the Snow (Women’s Press, Toronto, 2010) by University of Waterloo author and academic Yan Li. The event takes place Thursday, February 11, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., in Renison University College chapel lounge. A wine and cheese reception is included.

"Set in contemporary urban Ontario, Lily in the Snow tells the story a young Chinese journalist who immigrates to Canada with high hopes but finds life in her adopted country far from easy,” says a review by Jenny Kitson, co-director of the Eden Mills Writers Festival. “Through the eyes of her mother, Grace, we come to understand how hard it is for the generation brought up during the Cultural Revolution to understand and adapt to modern Western ways. . . .

“Many people in the expatriate Chinese community seek order and direction in the evangelical Christian churches and Lily, with sharp perception and gentle humour, introduces the reader to a strong cast of immigrant characters, each with their own rich history.”

Yan Li was born in Beijing, where she worked as instructor, translator, and journalist before coming to Canada in 1987. She is the director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Waterloo and coordinator of the Chinese language program at Renison University College. In addition to teaching, she is also a bilingual author. Her first English novel, Daughters of the Red Land, was a 1996 finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her Chinese novels include Married to the West Wind, Red Duckweed, and The Lambs of Mapleton.

RSVP at More information from Cathy Voight, 519-884-4404, ext. 28620, or

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Paint wanted, and other happenings

From a Waterloo Media Relations release

paint cansStudents at the University of Waterloo need paint — lots and lots of paint.

Waterloo's Federation of Students is today launching a new fundraising effort to raise awareness of, and cash for, the fight against poverty. The Colour Me Educated campaign will end with the painting of senior executives of the university — including David Johnston — and of the federation.

The campaign is in support of Pathways to Education Canada, a charitable organization focused on reducing poverty and its effects by enhancing access to education. Waterloo students will be encouraged to raise money through various fundraising initiatives throughout February and March, leading up to the painting of senior administration and federation executives on April 2.

To facilitate donations from students, collection jars will be placed around campus and will be individually labelled with a picture of each participant. The amount of paint available to be poured on each of the candidates will depend on the total amount of money raised by students.

University faculties have also been challenged to take part in the campaign. The faculty that raises the most money will be invited to showcase faculty pride by painting the federation executive of their choice with the colour associated with their faculty. As well, students will be encouraged to obtain individual pledge donations from the local community. Students who raise the most money will pour the first batch of paint on participants.

The Federation of Students launched the campaign yesterday in the Great Hall of the Student Life Centre. For more information email or visit the campaign website at

What else is happening here and there

The Office of the Registrar wants student feedback on its performance. This email message went out recently to all undergrad students: “Fill out our survey for a chance to win a $100 bookstore gift certificate. Have you visited the Registrar’s Office and/or Student Accounts? If you have, tell us how we did by filling out a short survey about our services and earn a chance to win a $100 Bookstore Gift Certificate! Go to

Here’s a reminder that spaces are still available in several Organizational and Human Development (OHD) workshops. “Just in time for performance evaluations,” OHD is offering Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback, February 16, and Giving Recognition, February 17, from the Leadership for Results series. Two new courses are also offered in the Supervisory Success program: Performance Expectations, February 18 or March 4, and Essential Coaching Skills, March 18. (The above courses all are held 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) All staff courses are listed here. OHD uses a new online system that lets you view spaces available in workshops, register online, and receive immediate registration notification by email. The new registration system works through myHRinfo. The process is explained here.

Yesterday’s article on Haiti earthquake relief efforts on campus brought in more news.

  • Ann Simpson, manager of the Student Life centre, remind us that the Turnkey Desk is also collecting items for the MCC Relief Kits.
  • Jenniffer Fleet, biology administrative officer, announces that “On Monday February 8, the Department of Biology will be donning their pajamas in efforts to raise money for the Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund. We will also be having breakfast from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in and around B1 - 266. Monetary donations are welcome and tax receipts for donations over $10 will be issued by the Red Cross. Come and join us for this event!”
  • And Daniel Delattre, who works in Engineering Computing, is auctioning four adult tickets to Beauty and the Beast (Centre in the Square) for the March 16 performance: money raised is to be donated to Haiti relief. The auction site is at

The Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre has discounted Empire Theatre passes for sale ($8, which is a dollar less than the box office price) in addition to discounted passes for Cineplex/Galaxy and Princess Cinemas. Empire Theatres has a complex near Sportsworld in Kitchener and is constructing a new multiplex in Waterloo.

The deaths of several retired staff members are reported by the human resources department. Konrad Gartner, who was a custodian in Plant Operations and worked at the university from January 1972 until he retired on September 1, 1979,  died January 15, 2010. Nicola Skomorowski, who began in May 1975 and was a building serviceman in Plant Operations until he retired on November 1, 1985, died January 20, 2010. Hugh McColl, who was hired in December 1978 as assistant bar services manager in Food Services, retired February 1, 1998 and died January 27, 2010. 

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Super Bowl XLIV

When and where

Federation of Students annual elections campaign period, through February 8. Polls open February 9 at 10 a.m., close February 11 at 8 p.m.

Imaginus poster sale February 3-5, Student Life Centre.

‘Masks on Meds’ Commedia dell’Arte plays presented by UW department of drama, February 3-6, 8 p.m., and Saturday, February 6 at 2 p.m., Studio 180, Hagey Hall of the Humanities, tickets $12 (students $10). Details.

Access road closed from Ring Road to ML at EV2, beginning February 5 and continuing during construction of EV3.

Winter Carnival trip to Ottawa organized by International Student Connection, February 5-7, bus travel and two nights stay from $109 per person, tickets at Federation of Students office.

Centre for Knowledge Integration Speaker Series. Carla Fehr, Iowa State University. "Integrating Expertise: Improving the Advancement of Women and Minority Scientists." Friday, February 5, 1:30 - 3 p.m., Math & Computer Building room 4061

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” Friday, February 5, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Women's Studies Student Society. Meeting to form a student society: all welcome. Friday, February 5, 3 p.m., Hagey Hall room 119.

Philosophy colloquium: Carla Fehr, Iowa State University, “What's in it for me? The benefits of diversity in scientific communities." Friday, February 5, 4:00, Humanities room 373.

Author reading at St. Jerome’s University: novelist Austin Clarke, Friday, February 5, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Bombshelter Pub, Student Life Centre, presents Mudmen, Friday, February 5, doors open 9 p.m., advance tickets $5 at Federation of Students office.

Chapel Choir takes part in worship service Sunday, February 7, 10:45 a.m., St. Jacobs Mennonite Church.

UW Recreation Committee outing to see Kitchener Rangers vs. Saginaw Spirit, Sunday, February 7, 2:00, Kitchener Auditorium. Details.

Super Bowl party sponsored by Warrior football, Sunday, February 7, Bombshelter pub, doors open 4:00, $5 in advance, $7 at door.

Alumni in San Diego: science alumni dinner, Sunday, February 7. Details.

Class enrolment appointments for spring term courses, February 8-13 on Quest. Open enrolment begins February 15.

Graduate Student Research Conference proposal deadline February 8. Details.

Student Climate Change Colloquium sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, deadline for submission of abstracts February 8; event is March 3-4, South Campus Hall. Details.

Senate graduate and research council Monday, February 8, 10:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Strategies for Effective Grant Writing” Monday, February 8, 1:00,  Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Federation of Students executive candidates’ debate Monday, February 8, 3:00 p.m., Student Life Centre.

Book reading and signing: Meg Westley, professor of speech communication, author of fantasy thriller Goddess Fire, Monday, February 8, 3:00, bookstore, South Campus Hall.

Cultural Encounters, Encountering Cultures series: Joan Coutu, fine arts, “Orientalism and 19th-Century Art” Monday, February 8, 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Haiti Earthquake Relief video game tournament, all proceeds to Doctors Without Borders. Prizes. Wednesday, February 10, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Student Life Centre, Great Hall.

Graduating students’ information session and lunch sponsored by student life office and alumni affairs office, Wednesday, February 10, 11:30, Needles Hall room 1116. Repeated February 23. Details.

Planning school speaker series. Scott Nevin, director of policy development, City of Waterloo, "Growth Management in Waterloo," Wednesday, February 10, 12:30 p.m.,  EV1 room 354.

‘Thinking About Pharmacy?’ workshop Wednesday, February 10, 5:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

‘Stress: The Heart of the Matter’ presented by Employee Assistance Program, Thursday, February 11, noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

Chemical engineering Park Reilly Distinguished Seminar: Jim McLellan, Queen’s University, “Following the Curve: Statistical Estimation When the Data Include Profiles” Thursday, February 11, 3:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Loving to Learn Day Friday, February 12; contest information to be announced.

PhD oral defences

English language and literature. J. Andrew Deman, “The Comics Other: Charting the Correspondence Between Comics and Difference.” Supervisors, Andrew McMurry and Heather Smyth. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2434. Oral defence Friday, February 12, 10:30 a.m., Hagey Hall of the Humanities room 334.

Computer science. Rolando M. Blanco, “Process Models for Distributed Event-Based Systems.” Supervisors, Paulo Alencar and Daniel Berry. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, February 18, 1:00 p.m., Mathematics and Computer room 2009.

Systems design engineering. Hanan Saleet, “Modeling and Analysis of Location Service Management in Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks.” Supervisor, Otman Basir. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, February 22, 3:30 p.m., Engineering II room 1307C.

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