Thursday, October 21, 2010

  • Chinese actuaries open Waterloo centre
  • More graduate students, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Davis Centre lecture hall] Chinese actuaries open Waterloo centre

A crowd of students came out on Monday to celebrate the launch of the new China-Canada Actuarial Qualification Examination Centre at the University of Waterloo. A signing ceremony formalized collaboration agreements between Waterloo and the China Association of Actuaries, together with the corporate sponsor, Sun Life Financial.

Creation of the "centre" means that Waterloo actuarial science students intending to start careers in China will be able to pass their qualifying exams while still in Canada. The Waterloo-based exam centre will also be a resource for others in the community who wish to write the qualification exams for the profession in China.

At Monday's gathering, university president Feridun Hamdullahpur, dean of mathematics Ian Goulden, Sun Life vice-president K. C. Chan, Wei Yingning, president of the China Association of Actuaries, addressed the audience (photo above). Waterloo actuarial science professor Ken Seng Tan served as the master of ceremonies.

The China-Canada Actuarial Qualification Examination Centre at the University of Waterloo will be the first overseas exam centre authorized by the China Association of Actuaries. Its establishment "is a tribute to Waterloo's outstanding actuarial science programs and exceptionally strong students," an announcement on Monday said, "a great example of the international and industry and connections that have helped build the University of Waterloo's reputation for excellence."

Wei Yingning — who is also a vice-chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission and chairman of the China Insurance Protection Fund Company Ltd. — treated the audience of students, faculty and industry guests to a special overview presentation on the Chinese insurance industry and actuarial undertakings.

"Today is monumental," said Waterloo's Ken Seng Tan. "The partnership between Waterloo and the China Association of Actuaries echoes our pursuit of global excellence and fosters our relationship with China. The partnership with Sun Life Financial further strengthens our industrial alliances.

"We are honoured to be the first China Actuarial Qualification Examination Centre outside China. Indeed, the Actuarial Science group at Waterloo is one of the best in the world. We are also grateful to Sun Life Financial for their continual support. With the new examination centre, we are able to provide more service to our growing number of students and to facilitate other overseas Chinese in pursuing actuarial careers." Tan will serve as director of the Canada-China Actuarial Qualification Examination Centre.

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[Red T-shirts in a row]

A pancake breakfast on Tuesday, organized by staff in the housing and residences department, was one of this week's fund-raising events for the United Way. Engineering bingo is also under way, statistics and actuarial science had a "break for cake", and the psychology department is organizing a Hallowe'en pizza lunch for next week. Campus-wide, tomorrow is a "dress up" (instead of "dress down") day: "Wear your convocation robes, evening gowns, suits, etc.," organizers suggest. But while the events are sizzling, the $200,000 campaign itself is lagging a bit, says United Way office manager Marina Selioukova. As of Tuesday, gifts and pledges had reached $102,866, which is 52 per cent of the goal, compared to 70 per cent at the same point in the 2009 campaign. New donors whose forms are received by this Friday will be entered in a draw to win a $50 gift certificate from retail services.

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More graduate students, and other notes

Growth in the graduate programs is one of the university's most frequently repeated goals, so it's no wonder that the number of applications to come to Waterloo as a grad student has been rising. Lynn Judge, director of graduate studies academic services, says that as of this week, total applications in 2010 are up by 3.9 per cent from last year's figures. "New applications are still arriving for winter 2011," she notes. "For fall 2010, applications are up over last year by 3.8%, offers by 17.4%, and new students by 6.25%." The actual number of new grad students this fall: 1,377, subject to change when the official count is taken on November 1.

Judge notes that OnBase, the university's Document Management software, is the platform used for graduate admissions. "Graduate applicants upload their application materials using Quest, and the electronic files are then imported into OnBase to be viewed by the decision-makers. Workflow is used for the evaluation and approval process. The entire process is paperless. Graduate admissions has been using OnBase since November 2008, and the Graduate Studies Office will be implementing graduate records using OnBase in early winter 2011." OnBase is scheduled to be out of operation today and tomorrow because of a software upgrade, coming back up as of 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Also out of use today is Quest, the student information system used by both students and faculty; its upgrade is scheduled to be complete by noon on Friday.

Guidance counsellors from schools in Waterloo Region, "and a few who travel from farther away" will be meeting on the Waterloo campus for what Jody Berringer, the university's manager of liaison and visits, calls "a morning of great food and relevant information sharing". Says Berringer: "They will have the opportunity to meet our recruitment and admission specialists, to have their individual questions answered, and to learn more about the admissions process. Each year we look forward to personally hosting our partners from the guidance community as a way to thank them for their continued support and to share with them exciting news from Waterloo." It's an early event in the annual cycle of university admission applications, giving counsellors plenty of time to talk to high school students before the primary application deadline of January 12 for September 2011 admission.

Here's a reminder that faculty and staff members have been invited to submit questions for a "town hall meeting" with the university's president and provost — and show up at the event on November 2 to hear the answers, of course. The agenda, as listed on an invitation that's been e-mailed across campus, includes “Student Success, Engagement and Retention — Working collaboratively to transform the student experience in and out of the classroom” and “Excellence in Research and Scholarship — Advancing Waterloo’s position nationally and around the world”. (But questions on all campus-related topics are welcome.) As in the past, I’ve been asked to collect, screen and organize the questions, which will be passed along to the top officials without an indication of who asked them. Questions should be submitted by October 27 to the special e-mail address townhall@ Time permitting, questions can also be asked right at the meeting on November 2, which will start at 3 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre.

“Calculate Your Academic Footprint” is the title of a workshop on “citation tracking” that the library will be holding on Tuesday morning — one in a series of sessions, some general and very specific, about how researchers and students can make the most of the library's resources. Tuesday's workshop “demonstrates citation tracking techniques for academic advancement, grant proposals and sabbatical applications”, the library web site says. Kathy MacDonald, liaison librarian for two departments — optometry and electrical and computer engineering — will be leading the two-hour session, and explains that it's “of interest to established academics and to graduate students planning on becoming academics or working in positions requiring them to publish. The workshop helps attendees find citation information relating to their own work, including the number of citations, who is citing them and what the citation trends are for given articles. Participants will use either a paper-based or electronic-based starting point (bibliography management software such as RefWorks), and research databases with citation tracking capabilities article alerts and to determine and monitor citation counts for a variety of publication types. Participants will learn to find and sort citations of their own work from multiple sources to ensure they have maximized their citation counts.” Details and registration are online.


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Link of the day

Trafalgar Day

When and where

Professional School and Post-Degree Days with representatives from Canadian and international universities, hosted by Centre for Career Action, final day, 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Centre for the Advancement of Cooperative Education research seminar: Nancy Johnston, Simon Fraser University, “Cooperative Education, Recruitment and Retention: A Multi-Institutional BC Study” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Education Credit Union brown-bag lunch, “Getting to Know Your Credit Union” 12:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Library workshop: “Conference Proceedings” 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1113. Details.

Computer Science Club presents “Gathering for Gardner” in memory of mathematician Martin Gardner, 5:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel UC, breakfast seminar: “What’s Different About Family Business?” Friday 7 a.m., Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener. Details.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Project updates on Content Management System, Active Directory, Learning Management System, Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Library workshop: “Introduction to RefWorks” Friday 10:00, or November 11, 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

myCareer@UWaterloo recruitment and job search system, demonstration Friday 10:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Faculty of Arts 50th anniversary celebrations Friday: pizza in the arts quad 12:00, free for arts students; staff, faculty, retirees, alumni reception 2:30 to 3:30, Festival Room, South Campus Hall; dinner (by invitation) 4:30 to 9:00, Federation Hall. During the day, tours and open houses in many arts departments. Details.

Farvolden Day events in department of earth and environmental sciences, Friday, including groundwater research symposium 10:30,  Davis Centre room 1302 (registration fee applies); lecture by Anthony Daus, AMEC Geomatrix, “Managing Groundwater Resources in the Wild, Wild West” 2:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Flu shot clinic at health services for “high risk” individuals, October 22, 27 and 29, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Summer Off, No, Summer On!” Friday 2:30, Environment II room 2002.

Independent studies graduate Shirley Tillotson (1978) speaks on “How to Write a New Political History for Contemporary Democracy” Friday 2:30, Hagey Hall room 280.

Philosophy colloquium: Bryon Williston, Wilfrid Laurier University, “The Importance of Self-Forgiveness” Friday 3:30, Humanities room 373.

101st Convocation Saturday 10:00 and 2:30, Physical Activities Complex.

Tamil Cultural Night Saturday 5:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Pre-enrolment for spring 2011 undergraduate courses begins October 25. Details.

Ontario municipal elections polling day Monday, October 25. Details.

Gairdner Foundation Lectures: Faculty of Science presents Peter Ratcliffe, Oxford University, Tuesday. Lecture primarily for high school students, “Why I Became a Scientist” 10:30 a.m., Humanities Theatre. Public lecture, “How  Cells Sense Oxygen” 1:00, Humanities.

Employee Assistance Program presents “QPR for Suicide Prevention” Tuesday 12:00, Math and Computer room 5158.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department:

• Administrative manager, Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, USG 6
• Admissions officer, registrar's office, USG 8
• Faculty financial officer, dean of applied health sciences, USG 9
• Building serviceperson (painter), plant operations (two positions)
• Electrician, plant operations
• Evening supervisor and technical support, library (circulation services), USG 5 (12-month secondment or contract)
• Administrative assistant, Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation, USG 4 (12-month secondment or contract, part-time)
• Field coordinator, cooperative education and career services, USG 11 (12-month secondment or contract, possibility of renewal) — one position based in Toronto, one in Vancouver

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