Friday, October 29, 2010

  • Balsillie School, course deadline, and more
  • Waterloo shows highest research growth
  • Centre will study 'religion and peace'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Balsillie School, course deadline, and more

University officials are issuing a statement this morning in response to a document published last night by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and reported in today’s Globe and Mail. It’s all about doings at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, which is jointly operated by Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Centre for International Governance Innovation. In particular, the issue is the dismissal, earlier of this year, of political scientist Ramesh Thakur as director of the school. Dean of arts Ken Coates has sent a memo to colleagues this morning: “Privacy and professional considerations prevent the universities from speaking publicly about the details of, and the rationale for, the dismissal. We do, however, indicate in the press release that the report falls a great distance short of being an accurate representation of the events. The two universities have strong and productive relationships with CIGI. These relationships protect academic freedom at all times. The faculty members in the Balsillie School are working to finalize a long-term governance system for the School. These arrangements will ensure — as in the past — that UW and WLU retain all authority on academic matters and that the universities and CIGI are able to collaborate in a positive and mutually beneficial manner.” Monday’s Daily Bulletin will say more.

The registrar's office sent a memo to undergraduate students yesterday telling them they have two extra weeks to make some big decisions: the "withdrawal" date, the deadline for dropping fall courses, has been moved from November 5 to November 19. The decision was made by the associate deans of the six faculties, who meet as the "undergraduate operations committee", says associate registrar Mark Walker. He said there's been discussion of how "midterms are now spread over a wider period of time" than they used to be, and as a result the authorities "wanted to give studsents more opportunity to know where they stood" before deciding whether to drop a course. The later deadline was originally planned as a future improvement, but it occurred to somebody to try it starting immediately, "and it was unanimous," Walker says.

[Roe]Here's another Waterloo person elected to municipal office in the October 25 vote: Peter Roe (left) of systems design engineering gained another term on the council of Wilmot Township, west of Kitchener. • Alternatives Journal, published in the faculty of environment, has just issued a "special issue on biodiversity" that "reveals Canada's web of denial, subversion and even cover-up". • Michelle Burlock of the marketing and undergraduate recruitment office is off to Mauritius, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia over the next two weeks to meet with school officials and potential students.

The annual faculty of science open house will introduce children and their parents to a variety of fun and hands-on activities and experiments this weekend. The free event offers activities and demonstrations aimed at children from kindergarten to Grade 8, as well as their families. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (CEIT building), which houses the earth sciences museum. An associated gem and mineral show will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. “The open house and the gem and mineral show give children and their families an opportunity to explore science in a fun and interesting way,” says Peter Russell, curator of the museum. This year’s open house will give children the opportunity to discover the inner workings of a cell, turn pennies into gold, launch rockets and isolate DNA. The popular chemistry “magic show” will take place at 11 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the nearby Biology 1 building, room 271. The Institute for Quantum Computing and Engineering Science Quest will also be providing activities. Meanwhile, the gem and mineral show will feature a rock pile for young collectors, fossil fish digging, gold panning, and more. On Sunday, Steve Evans, a professor of earth and environmental sciences, will give a free lecture (2 p.m.) on “The January 2010 Haiti Earthquake Disaster: A Georisk Analysis”.

Today's the fourth and final day for a special clinic at Health Services, offering seasonal flu shots to people in the "high risk" categories. That includes those who work in health care, those with existing medical problems, care providers of young children, those who are in household contact with high-risk individuals, and "essential community service people". The clinic runs from 2 to 4 p.m. today. Flu immunizations for the university community as a whole will be offered November 17-19 in the Student Life Centre.

Sarah Rodrigues, coordinator of the courseware service, sends this announcement: "We are asking instructors to submit their courseware orders for winter term as soon as possible. The deadline for courseware submission for the winter 2011 term is November 15. Orders submitted before this date will be available to the students on or before the first day of classes. Please note that Courseware will be closed over the university winter break (December 24-January 3 inclusive). Place your Courseware order online, or email courseware@"

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[Gesturing to seminar audience]

Nanotechnology (“from microscopic science to health-care phenomenon”) was the theme when systems design engineering professor John Yeow gave a seminar for the Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy’s “Policy Engagement Series” in Toronto on October 20. The 80 seminar participants included an MPP, an assistant deputy minister in the research and innovation ministry, as well as engineers, policy-makers, business leaders, researchers, other professionals, and university and high school students, OCEPP says.

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Waterloo shows highest research growth

Waterloo is the “research university of the year” in its category for the third year in a row, according to the Toronto-based firm Research Infosource.

The title reflects “a balanced scorecard of research input and output/impact indicators”, Infosource says. This year’s winners in the Medical/Doctoral category was Toronto, followed by McGill University and, tied for third Alberta and British Columbia. In the Comprehensive category first place went to Waterloo, second to Guelph and third to Victoria. In the Undergraduate category, the University of Northern British Columbia was in first place, Ryerson in second and Trent in third.

“I kind of like this outfit,” says George Dixon, Waterloo’s vice-president (university research), saying that its judgements are based on five simple factors: research funding in total and per capita, academic publications in total and per capita, and citations, a measure of the “impact” of research findings.

Research income growth slowed in fiscal 2009, according to a listing of “Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities” that the firm released last week. Total sponsored research income, which includes both government and non- government sources, grew by only 3.0 per cent — half the rate of last year — to $6.24 billion, up from $6.06 billion a year earlier.

“The pace of income growth has slowed markedly from the high single and double-digit rises that characterized the early decade,” says Research Infosource. “Shades of the economic downturn could be seen as contributions from corporate sources grew by only 0.3% in fiscal 2009, compared with a 10.3% increase the year prior. As well, not-for-profit/foundation funding increased by 2.2% in fiscal 2009 compared with 13.4% in fiscal 2008.

“The lion’s share of research income at Canadian universities continues to come from government sources (68%) in fiscal 2009; however, total funding from government sources also slowed in fiscal 2009 to 2.6% from 5.6% in fiscal 2008.” Says the company’s CEO, Ron Freedman: “University research funding is clearly leveling off as the economy cools and government and other research funders begin to scale back. It’s not an unexpected development, but it signals rough seas ahead.”

Top of the Research Infosource “$100 Million Club” list is the University of Toronto, with $858 million in research funds last year. Most of the institutions listed have medical schools and affiliated research hospitals, “which attract considerable amounts of research support,” the company says. “However, three institutions (University of Waterloo, University of Guelph and University of Victoria) achieved Club status without the benefit of medical schools or research hospitals/health authorities.”

Waterloo, 14th on the list, shows research income of $157.2 million for 2009. That’s a jump from $135.2 million the previous year — in percentage terms, 16.3% more, a faster rate of increase than any other institution on the list can boast.

Ontario and Québec universities both showed “modest growth just below the national average”, says Research Infosource, at 2.6 and 2.9 per cent respectively. Growth was 6.6 per cent in British Columbia and 5.8 per cent in Alberta.

Says Infosource: “Research intensity (research income per full-time faculty) for the Top 50 universities increased only slightly in Fiscal 2009 by 1.4% to an average of $167,200 per full-time faculty position. Five full-service universities posted intensity levels in excess of $250,000 per full-time faculty: University of Toronto ($351,000), McMaster University ($309,400), University of Alberta ($308,800), McGill University ($269,200) and Université de Montréal ($257,200).”

A number of small universities showed the highest year-to-year growth, including Toronto’s OCAD University as well as UOIT, Winnipeg, Windsor, and U de Québec à Rimouski.

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Centre will study 'religion and peace'

Conrad Grebel University College has announced the establishment of a Centre for the Study of Religion and Peace, which was formally approved by the college’s board of governors on October 14. The Centre, which will focus on research, dialogue, and public education activities, “aspires to advance knowledge and awareness of religious contributions to peace, and to enhance the capacity of religious communities to engage contemporary conflict issues and practice the peaceful values they profess.”

A news release notes that “While the work of the centre is rooted in Conrad Grebel’s Anabaptist-Mennonite and Christian heritage, the CSRP will explore the peace potential inherent in all religious traditions, and will explore ways to more fully actualize this potential and apply it to build trust, foster understanding, and revitalize public policy discussions.”

Nathan Funk, associate professor in peace and conflict studies, will be the centre’s lead researcher. Funk, who has authored or co-authored a number of writings on international conflict resolution, with a special focus on unofficial dialogue processes, Islamic-Western relations, identity conflict, and the role of cultural and religious factors in peace building capacity development, says he’s excited about the establishment of this centre. “While religion can be a factor that gets manipulated to sharpen differences between people who are in conflict,” Funk says, “religion can also manifest a positive side in conflict situations. Religions offer resources for peacemaking and value systems that call for changes in human relationships. This will be the focus of the Centre.”

The first official event for the CSRP will take place on November 11. “Fear and Hope: Religion’s Role in Conflict and Peace” will be a colloquium featuring Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, with five diverse respondents. Lugo, a native of Cuba, has directed the religion program at the Pew Charitable Trusts, and has been a professor of political science for more than a dozen years, teaching courses on international relations, Latin America politics, religion and public policy. Funk will moderate the discussion, which will be held in the atrium of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (57 Erb Street West, Waterloo) starting at 7 p.m.

“We did not plan to hold our first event on November 11,” says Funk. “But we were happy when the opportunity arose.  We believe an event like this serves the larger purposes of Remembrance Day, by calling us to reflect on issues that are a source of current concern and inviting conversation about how we can work together to make the peace we enjoy more real and lasting. And by organizing this as a colloquium in which diverse voices will be heard, we want to signal our intent for the Centre: we want it to provide a space for engagement across differences, for collaborative research, and for ongoing public dialogue.”


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Link of the day

Hallowe'en by the numbers

When and where

Pre-enrolment for spring 2011 undergraduate courses under way. Details.

Deadline for 50 per cent tuition fee refund for dropped courses, October 29.

Blood donor clinic 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Wilfrid Laurier University fall convocation 10:00 and 2:30, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. Honorary degree to writer Lawrence Hill, morning; Order of WLU presentation to former governor Gerry McGrath, afternoon.

myCareer@UWaterloo demonstration 10:30, Davis Centre room 1304, register online.

Hallowe’en luncheon buffet at University Club, reservations ext. 33801.

Career workshop: "Interview Skills for Academic Positions" 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Co-op job ranking for winter term jobs closes Monday 2 p.m. Match results available 4:00.

International development seminar: Dai Qing, “Why China’s Three Gorges Was Dammed” 2:00, MacKirdy Hall, St. Paul’s University College.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Emerance Baker, aboriginal services, “Indigenous Matters: What Does It Mean to You?” 2:30,  Environment 2 room 2002.

Warrior sports this weekend: Swimming vs. Waterloo Memorial, Saturday. • Women’s rugby vs. McMaster (bronze medal match) Saturday 12:00, Columbia fields. • Men’s basketball vs. Fanshawe Saturday 4:00, PAC. • Field hockey vs. Dalhousie (quarter-finals) Friday at York U. • Volleyball at Guelph today, at McMaster Saturday women 6:00, men 8:00 both days. • Men’s hockey at Western tonight, at Windsor Saturday. • Tennis (men and women), Queen’s Cup tournament, Toronto, Friday-Saturday. • Men’s rugby at Brock (quarter-finals) Saturday. • Women’s hockey at Western Saturday, at Windsor Sunday. • Cross-country championships at Guelph, Saturday. • Badminton at McMaster, Saturday-Sunday.

Talk Change international development conference Saturday 9:00 to 3:00, Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall. Details.

Residence-only dodgeball tournament Saturday 9:00 to 6:00, Columbia Icefield gym.

Haiti Earthquake Disaster: Steve Evans, department of earth and environmental sciences, gives a georisk analysis, Sunday 2:00, CEIT building atrium.

Lecture on artist  Woldemar Neufeld, by Hildi Froese Tiessen, Conrad Grebel University College, Sunday 2:30 p.m., Grebel great hall.

Application deadline for winter term admission to the university, November 1.

Town Hall Meeting with president and provost for faculty and staff, Tuesday 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Staff event: “The Art of Powerful Conversations” Wednesday 3:30, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Community health fair at Columbia Lake Health Club, 340 Hagey Boulevard, Wednesday 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Alumni event in Ottawa: Special viewing of the new Earth Gallery, Canadian Museum of Nature, Wednesday 5:30 to 8:00, speaker Fred Hazelton (BMath ’97), tickets $10. Details.

Centre for Career Action launch party for staff and faculty, Thursday 12:00 to 1:30, Tatham Centre.

Fall open house for future students and their families, November 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details.

Retirees’ Association fall luncheon with presentation by Larry Martin, “Enriching Our Hobbies and Pastimes Through Photography”, November 10, cash bar 11:30, lunch 12:00, Luther Village, 139 Father David Bauer Drive, tickets $25, information 519-888-0334.

‘The Comedy of Errors’ by William Shakespeare, drama department production, preview (by invitation) November 10, 7:00; public performances November 11-13 and 18-20, 8 p.m. Theatre of the Arts.

PhD oral defences

Germanic and Slavic studies. Peter Wood, “QuickAssist — Extensive Reading for Learners of German Using CALL Technologies.” Supervisor, Mathias Schulze. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2434. Oral defence Friday, November 12, 10:00 a.m., PAS building room 2438.

Chemical engineering. Meshari Al-Harbi, “Application of Environmental Technology Management (ETM) to Automobile Emission Reduction.” Supervisor, William S. Epling. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, November 15, 9:00 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Chemistry. Ahmed Y. Desoky, “Synthesis of Sulfated Carbohydrates Using Sulfuryl Imidazolium Salts.” Supervisor, Scott D. Taylor. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254. Oral defence Monday, November 15, 1:00 p.m., Chemistry II room 278.

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