Friday, January 22, 2010

  • Environment dean leaving for U of T
  • Kinesiology department mourns its founder
  • A quick survey of the day's other news
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Environment dean leaving for U of T

with material from a UW news release

The University of Toronto  has reached into the ranks of Waterloo’s top administration for the  next head of its Mississauga campus.

Hargurdeep (Deep) Saini, dean of Waterloo’s faculty of environment  since January 2006, has been appointed vice-president of U of T and principal at U of T Mississauga, Canada’s largest university announced last night. His appointment begins July 1.

[Saini]Toronto president David Naylor said he was “delighted”, calling Saini (right) "a fine scholar and generous mentor” with “a very strong record of innovative leadership at the Université de Montréal and more recently the University of Waterloo.”

"I am thrilled to be joining the leadership team of an institution I have always held in the highest esteem," said Saini. “The University of Toronto has a unique responsibility of nurturing the brightest minds of our nation — indeed the world. I am particularly excited to be taking on a leadership role at U of T Mississauga, a truly dynamic and innovative campus."

UTM (formerly Erindale College) is one of three U of T campuses and has 14 academic departments, 149 programs and 90 areas of study. It is home to about 11,000 undergraduate students, 430 graduate students and 700 faculty and staff. Its campus lies along the Credit River at Mississauga Road and Dundas Street — “amidst one of Canada's fastest growing urban centres, with tremendous entrepreneurial zeal and cultural diversity," Saini said.

In a statement last night, Waterloo president David  Johnston also said Toronto will greatly benefit. “Deep Saini has given extraordinary leadership in his first term as  dean here at Waterloo,” said Johnston. “We know that he will provide  the same extraordinary leadership in his new and much wider responsibilities.” Provost Feridun Hamdullahpur added that officials at UW are “sad to lose a true leader here, but we are truly happy for his new position.”

Saini joined Waterloo at a point when the faculty of environmental  studies, since renamed the faculty of environment, was undergoing changes significant enough to warrant a new name. ENV has grown both in numbers and in the array of programs it offers. The first-year cohort has doubled in size in three years, while admission  standards rose, graduate enrolment grew by 50 per cent, and faculty  and staff grew from 68 to 107 since Saini’s arrival, with more  additions underway.

The faculty has added four undergraduate and five graduate programs since 2007, with two major new organizational units. The Centre for Knowledge Integration administers a unique bachelor’s degree program  and a high school enrichment program, Waterloo Unlimited. The  School of Environment, Enterprise and Development houses programs related to environment and business, international development, and  local economic development, as well as non-degree training in  sustainability practice. And ENV will soon be launching a research and applied  teaching centre in Huntsville.

A great deal of what’s been accomplished, the dean says, is the result of  “repositioning the faculty’s work” to show what it can do. “We were able to secure a research chair in environmental finance from Export Development Canada, for example, by demonstrating that  environmental education is an export commodity. That’s what people need to understand — the faculty of environment  at the University of Waterloo is a national asset.”

Saini came to Waterloo from a faculty post at the Université de Montréal. He holds a  doctorate from the University of Adelaide (1982), following undergraduate and master’s degrees from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, India. He began his Canadian career in 1982 at the University of Alberta as a postdoctoral fellow.

Saini served as president of the Canadian Society of Plant  Physiologists from 2003-05 and president of the Federation of  Canadian Plant Science Societies from 2005-07. In 2009, he was  appointed to EDC’s advisory council on corporate and social  responsibility, and he recently represented UW as  a member of the Ontario Premier’s 2009 Clean Tech Mission to India.

His initial five-and-a-half-year term was scheduled to end in June 2011, and a nominating committee was already being formed to look at whether he should be reappointed. Its job now will be to find the next dean.

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Kinesiology department mourns its founder

A memorial service will be held tomorrow for Norman J. Ashton, a pioneer of what is now the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, and in most eyes the founder of kinesiology as a field of study. Ashton died Tuesday, aged 83.

“Norm’s example has influenced several generations of leadership in kinesiology,” says Jim Rush, who now chairs the kin department that Ashton headed from its beginning in 1967.

[Ashton]Norm Ashton (left) earned a bachelor’s degree at McGill University and a master’s at Michigan, then spent several years as a fitness specialist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was the key creator of the 5BX and XBX exercise programs, for men and women respectively, which spread beyond the military to become the leading fitness programs in Canada in the 1960s.

He was enticed to Waterloo in 1965 as part of an expansion of what was then called the School of Physical and Health Education. Soon, he had launched a program with the unfamiliar title of “kinesiology”. Bob Norman, now retired from the kin department (after also serving as dean of AHS in the 1990s), recalls that “Norm made a huge contribution to the conceptualization and actualization of the notion of kinesiology, the science of human motion in all of its forms and all of its dimensions, from cell to society, as he liked to say.

“The types of human movement worthy of study in his notion included sport, work, recreation, physical fitness, rehabilitation medicine, injury prevention in all activities, motion and training in space, day to day movement, aging, the military and on and on. Norm’s conceptualization of kinesiology as a discipline led to his successful proposal to the Senate of the University of Waterloo for a Department of Kinesiology, rather than proposing yet another department of physical education which was a profession, not a discipline, with some serious limitations.

“Norm faced considerable personal insult from his contemporaries at other universities in Canada over this debate. However, over the past 40-plus years, almost every physical education program in Canada and many in the USA have come around to adopting a kinesiology model for their own programs and have changed their names to reflect this.”

Ashton tells some of the story himself in a partial autobiography that’s hosted on the AHS web site. An excerpt:

“I believe every institution had a course called Kinesiology and Applied Anatomy. This was the only reference to kinesiology that I found. Interestingly, when we changed the program to kinesiology we had to find a new rubric for our course. I'm not sure where the name came from, either I had read it somewhere or made it up, but we adopted the term ‘biomechanics’. Recently Bob Norman, our first appointee in the area, told me that when he got here he had never heard the term before. In fact in the first calendar in which the course appeared some proofreader, obviously equally unfamiliar with the term altered it  to read ‘biochemistry’. Making change wasn't always easy.”

Ashton retired in 1993 and was given the title Honorary Member of the University. In 2007, in addition, he received an honorary degree.

Norm Ashton is survived by his wife, Jan, as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Erb & Good Funeral Home on King Street, with visitation preceding the service at 10:00. Memorial donations to the Lung Association are suggested by the family.

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A quick survey of the day's other news

All Waterloo graduate students should be getting e-mail today with a request to take part in a survey about their grad experience.  The Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey is also going to grads at a number of other universities across Canada, says John Kemp of the office of institutional analysis and planning. The survey, he explains, asks graduate students about their activities as a student and what they feel they are gaining from their university experience overall.  Questions include “If you were to start your graduate/professional career again, would you select this same University?”, as well as questions about their advisor, and about campus such as financial aid, food and the library. "All survey answers will be kept confidential," says Kemp, "and no identifying information will be included in any survey reports.  The survey will allow UW to assess the quality of graduate studies at UW, and in comparison to other Canadian universities and will result in improvements for current and future graduate students." The survey will be available until February 22, after which responses will be collected and analyzed.  Once the final analysis of survey responses has been completed, Kemp says, aggregate results will be made available on the Institutional Analysis & Planning website

The UW residences are now accepting applications for the spring term, says a note from marketing coordinator Ryan King: "Living on campus is a stress-free way to enjoy the spring term while not having to worry about landlords, sublets, and the commute to class. When you live in residence, you’ll get the chance to meet new people, partake in the academic support that’s provided in residence, and develop lifelong friendships and memories. Spacious green space surrounding all residences will give you the chance to enjoy the warm summer weather while you study outdoors, have a picnic with friends, or participate in fun summer activities. Spring term residents have the choice of suite-style residence in Mackenzie King Village (air-conditioned for those hot summer days), UW Place, or Columbia Lake Village South. If you prefer the convenience of a traditional-style residence you can also live in Village 1. Residence is a great way to stay close to class and receive support only available through the residence life experience."  Applications are on the housing web site.

“These are stressful times,” says a flyer from UW’s counselling services, aimed particularly at staff members. “Finding ways to manage stress is essential for personal health, job satisfaction, and an overall sense of well being. Over the past two decades Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programs have  demonstrated results in enhancing emotional and physical well being, self-esteem, and emotional balance. Our group at UW is based on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn (author of Full Catastrophe Living) at the Stress Reduction Clinic, University of Massachusetts Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society; and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, as developed by Zindel V. Segal, Mark G. Williams and John D. Teasdale. This eight-week  program offers staff a forum for learning and practicing effective, mind-body stress reduction skills including the body scan, gentle hatha yoga, sitting and walking meditation, and daily life mindfulness practices. The program includes a practice CD, workbook and readings.” It’ll be held on Tuesday afternoons, starting January 26, from 4:30 to 6:30 in the great hall of Village I. There’s a $20 fee. Registration is online. (A similar program, aimed at students, is scheduled for Wednesdays.)

A mass e-mail message to undergraduate students this week tells them that "The Federation of Students needs your help," in the form of involvement in a planning process: "Participate in focus groups to shape the future of your student government. Let us know what you think! Help clearly define the purpose of the Federation of Students. Ensure the most effective use is made of the organization's resources by focusing the resources on the key priorities. Identify major problems and opportunities." A sign-up form for involvement is available on the Feds' web site.

Here's a reminder that the retail services department has eliminated Saturday hours, so don't go looking for the UW bookstore to be open tomorrow. • Dinner choices in the residence cafeterias tonight include "pork bite with orange ginger sauce" in Mudie's, "pork tenderloin with bourbon glaze" in REVelation, and, since it's a Friday, fish and chips both places. • A list of candidates for seats on students' council is available on the Federation of Students web site; voting runs February 9-11.


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Link of the day

Local hospital's Haiti link

When and where

Change of coverage period for student health and dental plan ends today. Details.

Drop, no penalty period ends today (last day to withdraw with 100 per cent fee refund). Last day to register and pay fees, January 29.

Blood donor clinic 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre. Appointments 1-888-236-6283.

Engineering alumni ski day at Osler Bluff Ski Club, Collingwood, Friday. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Grading and Giving Feedback in the Online Environment” 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Web redesign project open forum with White Whale Web Services, 11:00, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

University Club “Themed Fridays”: today French food, 11:30 to 2:00, reservations ext. 33801.

‘Interview Skills: Preparing for Questions’ workshop 1:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Daniel King and Gajan Sathananthan, Engineers Without Borders, 1:30, Math and Computer room 4061.

Philosophy colloquium: John Turri, Huron University College, “The Express Knowledge Account of Assertion” 4:00, Humanities room 373.

‘Screening the Caribbean’ film series at Wilfrid Laurier University, Fridays 7 p.m., Bricker building room 201. Details.

Warrior sports this weekend: Men’s hockey vs. UOIT 7:30 Friday (Icefield); at Guelph Saturday. • Women’s hockey vs. Windsor 2:00 Saturday (Icefield); at Western Sunday. • Squash, crossover tournament at Toronto, Saturday-Sunday. • Women’s figure skating, winter invitational continues at Toronto. • Basketball at Laurier Saturday, women’s game 1:00, men’s game 3:00. • Women’s volleyball at Guelph Saturday. • Men’s volleyball at Queen’s Saturday, at RMC Sunday. • Swimming, dual meet at Western, Saturday.

Live at the Bombshelter pub: Arkells, Saturday, doors open 9 p.m., advance tickets $15 at Federation of Students office.

‘Jersey Boys’ at Toronto Centre for the Arts, Saturday, bus trip leaves Davis Centre 12:00 noon, tickets $35 (note reduced price) from Federation of Students office.

‘Bridging the Gap to Retirement’ workshop presented by Employee Assistance Program, Monday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

‘Entrepreneurship: A Student’s Perspective’ workshop Monday 1:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

‘Exploring Your Personality Type’ two-session workshop, January 25 and February 1, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Cultural Encounters, Encountering Cultures series: Altay Coskun, classical studies, “Were the Romans Generous in Conveying Their Citizenship?” Monday 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

‘Eyes in Gaza’: Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights presents Dr. Mads Gilbert, touring to speak about 2009 Israeli offensive in Gaza, Monday 6:30 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room. Details.

Chinese Students Association performance Monday 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

RefWorks introductory workshop presented by UW library, Tuesday 10:00, February 2 at 1:30, February 25 at 10:00, or March 2 at 11:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Volunteer and Internship Fair Tuesday 11:00 to 2:30, Student Life Centre. Details.

Engineering exchange programs information session Tuesday 11:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 3602.

Education Credit Union guest speaker: Eva Englehutt, “RRSP, Evaluating Your Options” Tuesday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302. RSVP janinew@

Bruce Lennox, information systems and technology, retirement reception Wednesday 3:30 to 5:00, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP elmartin@

Social Innovation Generation lecture: Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, “Power and Love” Wednesday 7 p.m., CIGI, 57 Erb Street West, admission $25 includes copy of book, registration e-mail siglecture@

International Spouses group: Ruth Kropf, health services, “Navigating Ontario’s Health Care System” Thursday 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre. Details.

PhD oral defences

Philosophy. Allen Conan Wiseman, “A Contemporary Examination of the A Fortiori Argument Involving Jewish Traditions.” Supervisor, Joseph A. Novak. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2434. Oral defence Tuesday, January 26, 2:00 p.m., Hagey Hall of the Humanities room 334.

Electrical and computer engineering. Yasser Moustafa Atwa, “Distribution System Planning and Reliability Assessment Under High DG Penetration.” Supervisor, Ehab F. El-Saadany. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, January 27, 1:30 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Civil and environmental engineering. Peiman Kianmehr, “Characterization of Pretreatment Impacts on Properties of Waste Activated Sludge.” Supervisor, Wayne Parker. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, February 2, 9:30 a.m., Engineering II room 3324.

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