Thursday, July 8, 2010

  • Students recreate the Parthenon — with cans
  • University defines key focus areas
  • Hot talks, cool images, retirements
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Students recreate the Parthenon — with cans

Parthenon model made of cans

“A unique design of one of the wonders of the world has not only helped take a bite out of the fight against hunger, it's also won a team of Waterloo architecture students a tasty award,” Says the engineering faculty’s e-newsletter.

The structure (pictured), entitled “Parthenon — Building a Long Lasting Community”, took the Best Meal category at the 14th annual Canstruction Competition held recently in Las Vegas. It also won the same award in the Waterloo Region Canstruction event that took place in March.

The team's 14 members discussed a number of ideas before they came up with recreating the Parthenon out of 19,000 donated cans of all different shapes and sizes. “We wanted something related to architecture and something that would work well out of cans," says team captain Elisabeth van Overbeeke. “We thought it would be fun to make our sculpture look like it was ancient and crumbling.”

The third-year architecture student says both the local and international food-raising events are important because they provide a way to get involved with the community and help the fight against hunger.

"As architecture students we really loved the project because it was a way of applying our specific skills in design to something that was going to directly benefit others as both a donation and an art piece."

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University defines key focus areas

A “mid-course implementation plan”, outlining what will happen next in working towards the goals of Waterloo’s Sixth Decade Plan, is to appear shortly, according to a report from top administrators brought to the university’s board of governors and senate.

The report follows the executive council “K-Bay” retreat in May, at which much of the discussion dealt with the now three-year-old plan. The following questions, it says, were initially raised to provide context for the review process: Are we on target with our objectives? Are these objectives still pertinent? Do we need other objectives/targets? What do we need to do to stay on target where gaps are identified?

“Following a critical analysis and review of our overall progress towards quantitative and qualitative targets it was agreed that we have made very good progress on many aspects of the plan.”

The executive council report continues that “the themes outlined below are still extremely important to the university’s goals and aspirations articulated in the plan:

  • Core academic competence as the heart of our mission;
  • Increased emphasis on research;
  • Higher proportion of graduate students
  • A commitment to a positive student experience, with strong academic and non-academic support systems;
  • High quality, engaged faculty who are involved in teaching, research, and service, and a lower student/faculty ratio;
  • An increase in interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary programs; A stronger international emphasis across the institution;
  • An increase in entrepreneurial activities (for students or the university, or both?);
  • Increased emphasis on citizenship and civic engagement — locally, regionally, nationally, and globally;
  • Enhanced infrastructure and support services that are linked to the academic mission."

Based on these themes, emphasis will focus on specific areas, including:

  • Focussing on students and the student experience both in and out of the classroom. This includes a renewed emphasis on program quality—in both existing core programs and new programs—as well as the concept of a signature student experience that will attract and retain superior students. A key component of this is ensuring that Waterloo also attracts and retains the highest quality faculty.
  • Positioning Waterloo as an intellectual and technological hub for Ontario and benefiting from the intellectual resources of the region. 
  • Expanding and enhancing Waterloo’s research capacity and support of graduate students to assist in positioning/reconfirming Waterloo as a major research institution. Growth in research and growth in graduate programs are closely linked.
  • Positioning Waterloo as a leader in multi-disciplinary programs that integrate research, policy, and programming e.g. water, environment, nano, IQC, energy, Stratford.
  • Expanding Waterloo's international focus, including program and curriculum development, faculty and student recruitment, student support services, and engagement with global issues.
  • Ensuring that the university has the infrastructure and support to achieve its intellectual potential. Establishing the centrality of the university’s academic mission and ensuring that the infrastructure and support services are in place to accomplish this mission are critical in moving forward. The plan will propose a set of organizational operating principles, including enhanced internal and external communication, support for entrepreneurial activities, increased connectivity between and among administration, faculty, and staff, and transparency in decision-making and processes.

“Over the next couple of months the Executive Council will review and further develop these themes/areas of emphasis to create a document that will provide a mid-term (mid-course) implementation plan that will be complementary to the Sixth Decade Plan. Using this plan as a base, the deans will continue to develop their Faculty-specific plans and link them to the larger plan while assessing their progress against the goals and objectives of the Sixth Decade Plan.

“An overall process and timeline that will provide for sequencing and linking the planning and budgeting processes will also be taken under consideration. As this (action/implementation) plan and related plans are being developed, there will be opportunities for communication within and across units to ensure appropriate levels of input, co-ordination, and alignment.”

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Hot talks, cool images, retirements

Marcel CoutuMarcel Coutu (left), president and CEO of Canadian Oil Sands Trust, will give a special presentation on "The Impact of Canada’s Oil Sands" at the University of Waterloo today. The lecture, sponsored by the faculties of engineering and science, takes place in the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, room 1015, 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Coutu “will encourage conversation and questions about the impact of Canada’s oil sands on Ontario,” says a note on the science faculty’s website. “He’ll provide an update on recent developments, talk about their economic impact both provincially and nationally, and speak to continual improvements the industry is making on their environmental performance. You’ll also be provided with a glimpse of the opportunities for business and industry in Ontario and western Canada.”

Marcel Coutu is also chair of the board of Syncrude Canada Ltd., the country's largest oil sands mining operation. A Waterloo grad (BSc ’76, Earth Sciences), he also holds an MBA from UWO, is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists, and has more than 25 years of experience in the resource and energy sector, mainly in corporate finance. Registration and RSVP are encouraged. Details.

From the Earth to the Moon…

The Waterloo Space Society is hosting a talk on "The Astronaut Training Process" by Erik Seedhouse on Friday, 5-6 p.m., in Physics room 145. “Dr. Erik Seedhouse was one of Canada's top 40 candidates in the recent astronaut selection campaign,” says a note on the group’s website. “He is also the author of many books, including Prepare for Launch: The Astronaut Selection Process. Dr. Seedhouse will be discussing his recent book, and giving insights into what it takes to be an astronaut.”

…and back again: Local images

IMAGE is an open photography exhibition displaying works by local photographers from Waterloo, held by the Waterloo Community Arts Council. The show was co-ordinated and curated by uWaterloo fine arts students, and includes works by such artists as Yusuf Kidwai, Deb Whissell, Nigel Saba, Jim Hosepian, Robin Andrade, Norman Lightfoot, Janet Mullin and Whitney South. “The exhibition shows a wide range of techniques, subjects and themes that will surely please visitors,” says a news release from WCAC. The show continues through July 30 at the Button Factory, 25 Regina St. S., Waterloo. The opening reception takes place this Friday, 5-7 p.m. It’s free, and there will be snacks and refreshments.

Recent faculty retirements

James brox, economics professor, retiresJames Brox (right) of economics retired September 1, 2009. He came to Waterloo in 1978 and worked largely in the fields of econometrics and forecasting; for a time he held an annual media event at which a forecast for the Canadian economy was presented and explained. (“Failing to care for infrastructure has already made Canada less competitive,” he told an interviewer in 2008.) He also served extensively on the university’s governing bodies and in the Faculty Association, as its president (1993-95) and as chair of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee.

George Davidson of mechanical and mechatronics engineering retired January 1, 2010. Born in Scotland, he did a postdoctoral fellowship in Edinburgh after his degrees from the University of Toronto, then joined the Waterloo faculty in 1975, working in fluid mechanics (including air pollution and “planetary boundary layer modelling”) as well as acoustics. In 2006 he was presented with a Distinguished Teacher Award. “Imagine a professor always current,” said the citation, “one who continuously revises his lecture materials to reflect modern findings. Imagine a professor always caring, one who helps students make career and study choices and then follows their subsequent progress. Imagine a professor always smiling.”

John English of the history department retired November 1, 2009, winding up a Waterloo career that had begun in 1971. A BA graduate from Waterloo, he earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard, and made a career of studying Canadian political history. His books included biographies of Sir Robert Borden, William Lyon Mackenzie King, and most recently Pierre Trudeau, and he followed his subjects into national politics himself, serving as Liberal MP for Kitchener 1993-97. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and served as the first executive director of the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

CPA staff

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An official announcement from the Prime Minister's Office regarding the appointment of Canada's next Governor General takes place at 10 a.m. today in Ottawa.

Link of the day

Isra Al Mi’raj

When and where

Ring road closure between PAS building and Needles Hall has been extended to July 19.

Women’s volleyball “all skills development camp” for girls 12-17, July 5-9, Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference hosted by Waterloo July 6-10. Details.

BBQ fundraiser for orphan relief by Muslim Students' Association, Wednesday and Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., BMH green beside Student Life Centre. Details.

Matthews Hall elevator shut down Thursday 8 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Farm market Thursday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Student Life Centre lower atrium.

The CEO Factory brings consultants from BCG, Deloitte, McKinsey, and Monitor for a panel discussion followed by an informal networking session, Thursday, July 8, 7 - 9:30 p.m, DC 1302. Please register. Details.

Intercountry Adoption Summit, September, Stratford: call for papers deadline July 9 (negotiable). Details.

St. Jacob's Farmer's Market student trip presented by Eco-Eats, Saturday, 9 a.m., meet at Davis Centre entrance facing Ring Road.

Pedestrian bridge over Laurel Creek at Health Services closed for repairs, July 12 to 16.

Class enrolment on Quest for fall term courses: students enrolling for the first time, July 12-25; open enrolment begins July 26.

Environment 2 closed for overhead steel construction July 13 all day, July 14-16, 6:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Career workshop: “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” Tuesday, July 13, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Golf Social sponsored by staff association, Tuesday, July 13, 4:00, Foxwood Country Club. Details.

Communitech Tech Leadership Conference 2010, Wednesday, July 14, Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener. Details.

Career workshop: “Success on the Job”  Wednesday, July 14, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

StartupCamp Waterloo9 networking event Wednesday, July 14, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard.

Research and Technology Park charity golf tournament (4th annual) Thursday, July 15, Conestoga Golf Club. (Sold out.) Details.

Institute for Computer Research presents Don Batory, University of Texas at Austin, “Stepwise Parallelization of Streaming Architecture” Thursday, July 15, 11:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo spring concert July 15 has been cancelled.

Architecture lecture: Craig Dykers, Snøhetta architects, Norway, Thursday, July 15, 6:30 p.m., Design at Riverside gallery, Architecture building, Cambridge.

Engineering alumni golf tournament Friday, July 16, 4:00, Cambridge Golf Cluib, dinner follows, tickets $30 from Engineering Society office. Details.

Club That Really Likes Anime weekend of shows, July 16 from 4:30, July 17 from 2:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Details.

Postdoctoral fellows social gathering in Waterloo Park, Friday, July 16, 5:00 to 7:00, vegetarian and halal hot dogs at 5:30, other food welcome. Details.

University Choir spring concert Friday, July 16, 7:30 p.m., The Cedars, 543 Beechwood Drive, tickets $10 (students $8).

‘Be Engaged’ roundtable discussion for staff about student engagement, Monday, July 19, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1568.

Beyond the Ring lecture series: Peter Smith, “Engineering to Leadership: An Accidental Journey” Monday, July 19, 1:30, Physics room 150.

Career workshop: “Career Interest Assessment” Monday, July 19, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1113. Details.

Job information session for graduating students Tuesday, July 20, 11:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Details.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions” Tuesday, July 20, 2:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

UWRC Book Club discusses The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, Wednesday, July 21, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Career workshop: “Successfully Negotiating Job Offers” Wednesday, July 21, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Music student recital Thursday, July 22, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC  chapel, admission free.

Job information session for graduating students Thursday, July 22, 3:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Details.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” Thursday, July 22, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Instrumental chamber ensembles concert Monday, July 26, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel, free admission.

Last day of classes for spring term Wednesday, July 28. (Note: Thursday schedule on July 27, Friday schedule on July 28.)


Yesterday's test of the emergency warning system would normally have included a pop-up screen warning that there was an emergency test underway.

It did not deploy due to technical reasons. IST staff have isolated the problem and expect it will be deployed in the next test this fall.


Yesterday's Daily Bulletin