Monday, November 15, 2010

  • Senate meets, will consider Games Institute
  • Philanthropy Day brings award to alumnus
  • An invitation to International Week
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Senate meets, will consider Games Institute

A proposal for a Games Institute, drawing on Waterloo expertise in such fields as animation, gambling, simulation, neurobiology and wellness, is one item on the agenda for tonight’s monthly meeting of the university senate.

The proposal comes backed by the senate’s Graduate and Research Council and the dean of arts, and draws on “core faculty members” in systems design engineering, drama and speech communication, psychology, anthropology, management sciences, mechanical and mechatronics engineering, English language and literature, and computer science.

“The games industry is growing rapidly throughout Ontario, Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Asia,” says a summary in the senate agenda, “and offers numerous and wide-ranging areas for cross-faculty and multi-institutional interdisciplinary research collaborations. Furthermore, the games field is an area of strong interest for students, as researchers, creators and industry employees. The games industry is receiving substantial funding and incentives from governments, including the Ontario government.

“The Games Institute is proposed to advance research and knowledge in game-related interactions and technologies. The institute aims to establish strong academic and academic-industry research projects and programs, establish a richly cross-disciplinary graduate teaching and research institution, develop commercialization projects with industry partners, strengthen community ties, encourage student engagement, and enhance educational and employment opportunities for students. Research will cover video and computer games (including online games), social games, mobile games, educational and serious games, simulations and virtual worlds, more traditional non-digital games, board games and gambling games.

“The institute will seek funding from government (SSHRC, NSERC, MRl, etc.) and industry (Google, Microsoft, partners in the games industry and related industries); and UW seed funding.”

The proposal also lists some of the questions that researchers in the institute could tackle. Among them: “What are the psychological and psychophysiological aspects of gaming that contribute to addiction? What aspects of interface design can we learn from games? How can machine learning and AI influence new games? How can we optimize code for networked mobile games? How do we incorporate ideas from board games into new digital technologies? What public policy recommendations should be made with regard to games?”

It adds: “Our vision is very broad, incorporating game research that may have non-gaming applications, non-gaming research that may have game-related applications, hardware, software, and interaction.”

Also on the agenda for tonight’s senate meeting is the proposed Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, which was first brought to the governing body’s June meeting but ran into some criticism about its organizational structure. “The revised proposal effectively responds to the concerns raised,” the Graduate and Research Council says.

Other agenda items today:

  • Discussion of the annual “performance indicators” report prepared by the institutional analysis and planning office.
  • A report and recommendations from two administrators about the relationship between the university and the “federated university and affiliated colleges” (St. Jerome’s, Renison, Conrad Grebel and St. Paul’s).
  • The usual reports from the president and vice-presidents, including the president’s “environmental scan”.
  • Curriculum changes from the faculties, including a new “operations research specialization” and “business specialization” in the math faculty’s mathematical optimization program.
  • Academic calendar dates for the 2011-12 academic year, and admission requirements for September 2012.

The senate meeting starts at 4:00 in Needles Hall room 3001.

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Philanthropy Day brings award to alumnus

The president of the University of Waterloo Alumni Council is among the givers — philanthropists — who are being honoured today as Canada and the United States mark National Philanthropy Day.

[Philanthropy logo]“The day began in the United States,” explains Gillian Martin of Waterloo’s development office, “but as Canadians are no strangers to important philanthropic acts, the day has been adopted officially and unofficially by individuals, communities, governments, and organizations across our country.

“One of the great things about National Philanthropy Day is that it is an excellent opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who contributes to their community through gifts of their time, knowledge, and financial support. We speak both specifically about philanthropic gifts to the university and of gifts made in general, as they’re all vitally important to our community and ultimately our country.”

According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, people can “change the world with a giving heart” through contributions of “time, talent or treasure”. The local “Golden Horseshoe Chapter” of the AFP, which includes some of the university’s fund-raisers, will celebrate with a lunch today at the Burlington Golf and Country Club, honouring a total of eight philanthropists and organizations, including alumni leader Bill Watson and his wife, Jeanne Elgie-Watson.

Says a citation recognizing them as Individual/Family Philanthropists of the Year: “In the mid-70’s, Bill was a student at St. Paul’s University College in Waterloo, and his positive experience there still resonates with him. In 2008, the couple raised millions of dollars to help renovate the college’s main entry, food services and student space, resulting in the creation of the ‘Watson Student Centre.

“In addition to their financial support and fundraising efforts, Bill is also the Chair of the University of Waterloo’s Alumni Council. Outside of Waterloo, Bill and Jeanne are active members of Jubilee United in Don Mills and avid fundraisers in their community.” They’re also members of the Governors Council of the Shaw Festival Theatre.

Says Jason Coolman, Waterloo’s director of alumni affairs: “Bill and Jeanne’s support of both St. Paul’s and the University of Waterloo has made a positive impact on our institutions, our alumni and our students. I believe that their dedication, demonstrated through gifts of both time and treasure, make them highly deserving recipients.”

“His skills as a fundraiser are renowned,” Martin adds, “having chaired the St. Paul’s University College fundraising campaign since 2006, as well as the United Way Campaign at the law firm of Baker & McKenzie from 1998 to 2000. Because of his many professional achievements and community contributions, Bill was one of 50 recipients of the University of Waterloo’s 50th Anniversary Alumni Award in 2007.”

She says there are “countless alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and students who, like Bill and Jeanne, continually contribute their time, talent and financial support in support of uWaterloo. We all benefit as a result of their philanthropy.”

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An invitation to International Week

by Nancy Collins on behalf of the International Education Week Committee

Ever wonder how your name is spelled in Chinese, Arabic, or Japanese? You can find out today at the “What’s Your Name” event to kick off International Education Week. [Arabic script]Stop by the Renison College cafeteria between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. where international students will spell out your name in a wide variety of languages. (Editorial note: the script pictured at right is the work of one of today's volunteers, and renders the editor's name in Arabic.)

This year more than 100 countries are celebrating International Education Week. At Waterloo, we have a full week of events planned to highlight the diversity and role of international education at Waterloo and within Canada. This week has something to offer everyone on campus with events of interest to students, faculty, and staff. Some of the planned events:

  • A screening of “After the Wedding” tonight at the Princess Cinemas in Uptown Waterloo. This Danish drama follows an orphanage manager from India to Copenhagen, where he discovers a life-altering family secret. Bring your WatCard and a canned food item for the KW Food Bank and your admission is only $2.00! Ticket sales start at 5:30 p.m.; the film begins at 6:30.
  • The “Where in the World?” Photo Contest. Come to the Tatham Centre on Thursday to view photos from students who worked outside of Canada for their 2010 work terms. This popular event opens at 10:00 a.m. Vote for your favourite photo and the winners will be announced by 3:30.
  • Arts and Environment exchange program information sessions. Arts and Environment students are invited to learn about the international exchange programs available to them. The Environment session is today at 1:45 in Environment 1 room 221. The Arts session is on Thursday at 4:30 in Humanities room 373.
  • PressDisplay: Explore Newspapers from Around the World. Interested in global perspectives on the world’s events? Want to keep up with an international newspaper as it appears in print? Attend this workshop on Wednesday from 11:30 to 12:30 in the Dana Porter Library’s Flex Lab to learn more about PressDisplay, a database containing hundreds of international newspapers available to you on the day they’re published.
  • Volunteer opportunities information session. Attend this workshop from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday to discover what international volunteer opportunities may interest you. Location: St. Jerome’s University room 3020.
  • A workshop on the Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas. The Big Guide is the perfect resource to help you build global career skills. Attend this session to learn if you’re interested in volunteering, studying, or working abroad.

Visit the IEW website for a full list of the week’s events or check the Daily Bulletin’s “When and where” column for a day-by-day listing. The IEW committee encourages you to make the most of this week.


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[Mighton at blackboard]

Mathematician and playwright John Mighton will be at Waterloo November 29 to give the 2010 Hagey Lecture, under the title "The High Cost of Intellectual Poverty". He'll also give a student colloquium next morning. Details will be online this week.

Link of the day

Steve Irwin

When and where

Senate graduate and research council 9 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

‘International Research Opportunities’ panel of faculty and graduate students, 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

‘What’s Your Name?’ demonstration (get your name written in Chinese, Arabic or Cyrillic script) 12:00 to 1:00, Renison University College cafeteria.

Environment exchange programs information session 1:45, Environment I room 221.

Library workshop: “Geo-Abstract: Create Your Own Cartographic Art” 3:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

PDEng presentation: “Challenges of a Unique Enrolment Process” Tuesday 11:30, Davis Centre room 1568.

Workshop on “The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas” Tuesday 12:00, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Country presentation: “Czech Republic, the Heart of Europe” Tuesday 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116.

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

WatRISQ presents Sheldon Lin, University of Toronto, “Modeling Dependent Risks with Mutivariate Erlang Mixtures” Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Germanic and Slavic studies undergraduate career night Tuesday 4:30 to 6:00, Environment I room 221.

Department of anthropology Sally Weaver award ceremony; speaker Lucilla Spini, UN University, “Anthropologists and the United Nations” Tuesday 4:30, PAS room 1229.

Students for Palestinian Rights presents Yves Engler, “Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid” Tuesday 5:30, CEIT room 1015.

Hong Kong annual alumni dinner Tuesday 6:00, Regal Hongkong Hotel. Details.

Department of English presents “15 Seconds of Frame”, lecture-performance and exhibition by Nick Rombes, Tuesday 7 p.m., Critical Media Lab, 10 King Street West, Kitchener. Details.

Canadian Federation of University Women K-W chapter, speaker Emily Richards, “Canadian Living Cooks”, Tuesday 7:00, First United Church, Waterloo.

Flu immunization clinic Wednesday-Friday 10:00 to 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Employee Assistance Program presents workshop with Lesley Nevils, “Desk De-Stress”, Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

UWRC Book Club: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Geographic Information Systems Day Wednesday, with presentations 12:30 to 3:30, Environment I courtyard; keynote speaker Jeff Casello, civil and environmental engineering, “GIS Applications to Transit Design” 1:15, Environment I room 221.

Engineers Without Borders semi-formal gala, “Sherehe”, remarks from past EWB volunteers, Wednesday 7 p.m., Federation Hall. Details.

Communitech annual general meeting Thursday 5:00, Federation Hall. Details.

Engineering Outreach public lecture: Catherine Burns, systems design engineering, “Health Care Star Date 2010”, followed by panel discussion on health care research, Thursday 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

Alumni in Seoul, Korea: networking reception Thursday 7:30, Embassy of Canada. Details.

‘Drop, penalty 1’ period ends November 19 (date changed from what was originally announced).

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