Monday, May 31, 2010

  • One convocation cancelled, one added
  • Events for postdocs, and other novelties
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Intent on looking at the furrows]

In the community garden on the north campus, Alicia Mah and Geoff Stanley were weeding on Tuesday night, as well as harvesting chives from last season and turning over new soil. The garden will be home to a variety of herbs, plants, and heirloom vegetables this year. "Everyone brings, or can bring, virtually any seeds they want," says biology student and self-professed "vegetable maniac" Aletheia Zoe Chiang, who took the photo and says the community garden “isn't only about growing vegetables — it's about sowing friendships, too.” The garden has a few private plots as well as the communally tilled section, and organizer Jason Rochon says half a dozen of those plots are available for this year: “Use of tools and water is available. Those interested should contact me at jrochon@” The garden has been in use for a decade, and includes both ploughed and unploughed sections, Rochon says, adding that it operates with support from food services, the grounds section of plant operations, and WPIRG.

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One convocation cancelled, one added

One ceremony has been deleted from the original schedule of next month’s convocation ceremonies, and one has been added, registrar Ken Lavigne has confirmed.

As the registrar’s web site now indicates, only one ceremony will be held for graduates from the Faculty of Mathematics, at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, June 18. The originally planned morning convocation that day will not take place. Collapsing two ceremonies into one is “simply a function of numbers”, Lavigne said: a look at the number of students graduating from math this year made it evident that they can all be honoured, and their families can all be seated, at one event. (Plans for 2011 aren’t definite, he said, but it looks as though the graduating class will be larger, and in odd-numbered years the software engineering class also graduates with math, so he’s predicting a return to two ceremonies for math next year.)

Convocation also includes sessions on Wednesday, June 16 (10 a.m. for applied health sciences and environment, and 2:30 for science); Thursday, June 17 (10:00 and 2:00 for arts, depending on field of study); and Saturday, June 19 (10:00 and 2:30 for engineering, with software part of the afternoon ceremony). All these ceremonies of the 100th Convocation will be held — like most Waterloo convocations since 1968 — in the main gym of the Physical Activities Complex.

But, in addition, a small convocation session will be held on the morning of Sunday, June 20, in the “Theatre of Ideas” at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. The 9:45 a.m. ceremony will see Master of Science degrees in physics presented to the first group of students graduating from the Perimeter Scholars International program. PSI was established last year by Perimeter and the UW department of physics and astronomy. The theatre seats only about 200 people, and attendance at the ceremony will be by invitation only, Lavigne said.

It will be the second time the university has held a convocation ceremony — a formal proceeding for the granting of degrees — at the Perimeter building in central Waterloo. Such an event was held there six years ago as part of the opening celebrations for the institute, which is not part of UW but has close ties. Perimeter describes itself as “an independent, non-profit, scientific research and educational outreach organization where international scientists cluster to push the limits of our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter and information”.

The invitation says it is “anticipated” that British physicist Stephen Hawking, the author of the best-selling A Brief History of Time, will be in attendance, although that hasn’t been confirmed. The Cambridge University physicist will be in Waterloo this summer to conduct scientific research, according to a Perimeter news release. He is scheduled to appear on a special TVOntario broadcast from Perimeter later in the day on Sunday the 20th.

Waterloo's convocation sessions, except the one at Perimeter, are open to the public. There is no reserved seating in the PAC bleachers, and tickets are not required (although “graduates are asked to keep the number of guests for these ceremonies to a reasonable limit”, according to the registrar’s office web site). The ceremonies will be webcast live.

There is no charge for students who are graduating, except for rental of “regalia”, the ceremonial gown and hood that are worn as part of the ceremony. The Waterloo Store, which handles rentals, has announced that for the first time, gowns and hoods can be reserved online (up to June 7), with payment made electronically by credit card. Details are on the store’s web site.

Names of some of the people who will be receiving honorary degrees and other distinctions at convocation were announced recently in a UW news release. They’ll be introduced in the Daily Bulletin over the days ahead.

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Events for postdocs, and other novelties

A noon-hour workshop today is the fourth in a series of events that are being organized for postdoctoral fellows on campus, says Sue Horton, the associate provost (graduate studies). Postdocs are a rather new priority for the graduate studies office, she says, but now "we plan on working with the aim of having something for their interests about once a month." Past events have been a basic information meeting, a workshop on tax issues, and a workshop on academic careers. Today's session focuses on "Non-Academic Career Paths" and starts at 12:00 in Davis Centre room 1302. Speakers include Rick Culham, associate dean (research and external partnerships) in engineering; Patricia Lachmaniuk of the Ontario environment ministry; Mike Dutton, director of environmental and health science for Vale Inco Ltd.; and Elizabeth Koblyk, staff career advisor in UW's co-op and career services department. Next for postdocs, says Horton: a purely social event, a picnic in early summer, details to be announced.

[Wilson]Ian Wilson (left), "strategic advisor" for UW's Stratford campus, is on his way to Saskatoon, where he'll receive an honorary degree tomorrow from the University of Saskatchewan. "Over a 40-year career," says a citation, "Wilson has worked tirelessly to make archives accessible and interesting to a variety of audiences. Before becoming the first librarian and archivist of Canada, Wilson held the position of Saskatchewan's provincial archivist and chairman of the Saskatchewan Heritage Advisory Board." He came to Waterloo-Stratford last year, shortly after retiring from his federal post.

If you've been way out of touch in recent days, you might not be aware that Apple's glamorous new multimedia device, the iPad, went on sale in Canada last week. "I was not able to send this information any sooner," Kathryn Fedy of UW's retail services said on Friday morning, announcing that "as of today, the Apple iPad is now available at both Campus Tech (Student Life Centre) and E-Smart (South Campus Hall).  All are welcome to stop by and demo the iPad, or join us for our first iPad test-drive event on Wednesday between 11:00 and 2:00."

Jennifer Boyd, a graduate student in the clinical division of the psychology department, writes that she's looking for women aged 18 to 30 (that would include most female students, presumably) for a research project on exercise behaviour. "This study," says Boyd, "involves completing questionnaires and 12 workouts at the Columbia Icefield. Remuneration includes entry into a draw for an iPod Shuffle. This study has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance through the Office of Research Ethics, University of Waterloo. Email exercisepsy@ for complete details."

The university secretariat sends a reminder that comments about the search for UW's next dean of arts are officially due by this Friday. When the invitation was first issued this spring, the nominating committee asked: "What are the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the Faculty of Arts? What are your aspirations for our faculty? Where would you like to see us go over the next five years? What advice do you have for the search committee as to the background, credentials, qualifications and leadership style we should be seeking in our new dean? Do you have any suggestions as to individuals to whom we should speak about this opportunity?"

Richard Lebel and Zach Bogdon of the Warrior men's rugby team have been named to the [Colourful dolls]Canadian national team that will compete for the world universities championship in Porto, Portugal, in late July. • Knowledge integration student Delaney Swanson writes to say that the "knit-a-thon" held by KI students in December ended up producing 16 dolls (right) that are now on their way to children in troubled areas of the world. • Just as I wrote about the apparent resurrection of the Chevron in Friday's Daily Bulletin, saying it wasn't clear when a second issue could be expected, a second issue actually arrived, with a lead article on the main campus steam tunnels ("What Imprint Is Too Afraid to Tell You").


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Link of the day

World No Tobacco Day

When and where

Last day to make fee arrangements for spring term, May 31.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Academic Interview Skills” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Women in Computer Science distinguished lecturer: Marie desJardins, University of Maryland (Baltimore County), panel discussion on graduate school 2:00, Davis Centre room 1304; social event 3:30; lecture, “Multiagent Communities” 4:30, Davis 1302.

Staff career workshop: “Networking Is Not a Dirty Word” 3:00, Tatham Centre. Details.

Staff workshop: “Job Search Solutions” 5:00, Tatham Centre. Details.

International Green Energy Conference June 1-3, Arts Lecture Hall. Details.

Great Commuter Race featuring local politicians, leaving from Davis Centre Tuesday 8:30, as part of Commuter Challenge.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Designing Exams” Tuesday 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Engineering exchange programs information session Tuesday 11:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 4306.

Library workshop: “RefWorks Introduction” Tuesday 1:30 or Wednesday 10:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Designing Exams” Tuesday 10:30 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

UW board of governors Tuesday 2:30 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Career workshops Tuesday: “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1208; “All About GMAT” 4:30, Tatham 1208; “Thinking About an MBA?” 5:30, Tatham 1208. Details.

Open jam night at the Graduate House every Tuesday, through July 27, 7 to 10 p.m. No cover charge, 19-plus.

Innovators in Action speaker series sponsored by Social Innovation Generation: Penny Milton, Canadian Education Association, Wednesday 7:00, The Museum, 10 King Street West, Kitchener. Details.

In Motion School of the Performing Arts, recital Wednesday 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Accelerator Centre one-day conference: “Innovation, Emerging Technologies and Global Markets” Thursday. Site visits to WatCar and Giga-to-Nano lab; lunch keynote speaker Frank Tompa, school of computer science. Details.

[Keystone graphic]

Keystone Campaign annual picnic, “Keystone: Final Answer” Thursday 12:00, Graduate House green. Details.

Printmaking fair and sale Saturday 10:00 to 4:00, Design at Riverside gallery, Architecture building, Cambridge, admission free. Details.

Conrad Grebel University College fund-raising banquet for Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training, speaker Gareth Brandt, Columbia Bible College, “Leadership for the Next Generation: Is the Church Ready?” June 8, 6:30 p.m. at Grebel, tickets $50, phone ext. 24237.

Retirees Association bus tour, “Castle  Gardens and Wings” (Casa Loma and Canadian Air and Space Museum) June 9, details 519-885-6719.

Ring road closed between PAS building and Needles Hall, because of Environment 3 construction work, June 10 to July 12.

Retirees Association annual general meeting June 10, 3:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, information 519-888-0334.

25-Year Club annual reception June 22, 6:00, Physical Activities Complex, by invitation, information ext. 32078.

Jake Thiessen, school of pharmacy, retirement reception June 23, 3:00 to 5:00, Pharmacy building 7th floor, RSVP ext. 84499.

Lorraine Nesbitt, counselling services, retirement reception June 23, 3:30 to 6:00, University Club, RSVSP cbernard@

Female faculty networking opportunity sponsored by faculty association Status of Women and Equity Committee, June 24, 4:00 to 6:00, Graduate House upstairs lounge, information ext. 33468.

Waterloo tweets

• "#uwaterloo wants my parents to donate money to fund the libraries. I don't even remember walking into a library on campus."

• "Announcing the FEDS Student Developer Network. Are you a student and a developer? Help us make apps!"

• "Have any of you guys been down to the architecture school for a visit?"

• "BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! The construction crew has started drilling the walkway at DP. The Library is very loud."

• "So did anyone go back into CPH after the fire alarm?"

The Daily Bulletin is on Twitter too — and on Friday reached the milestone of 500 "followers".

Friday's Daily Bulletin