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Friday, July 8, 2011

  • New office just for postdocs opens
  • German choir joins DaCapo in concert
  • Student senator wanted; other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Feridun Hamdullahpur at Canada Day picnic 2011

The sun shone bright for the Canada Day picnic last Friday, the 27th year for the University of Waterloo’s biggest public event. There were many takers for the cupcakes being handed out by President Feridun Hamdullahpur, although unofficial estimates were that the crowd, usually up around 60,000, was down a bit this year, with many people away for the long weekend.

The event is largely run by student volunteers. Managers and coordinators were Becky Wroe, Federation of Students orientation and special events manager; Lisa Willan, events manager; and Sheena Stevens, administrative coordinator, with administrative support from Karen Mason and Brittany Stacey of Communications and Public Affairs. (Photo: Jon Grieman, UW Photography Club)

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New office just for postdocs opens

A new “postdoctoral office” is being created as part of the university’s graduate studies office to help meet the needs of a group of people on campus who are sometimes overlooked: postdoctoral fellows.

A survey last year found that there were about 240 postdocs at Waterloo at any given time, though the number varies because postdocs can arrive or leave at any time of the year. They work in all the faculties, though engineeering and science have the most.

Sue Horton“Postdocs are not students,” says the associate provost (graduate studies), Sue Horton (right), although responsibility for them has always belonged to the grad studies office. “UW had always recognized them as a special type of employee,” she adds — for example, a postdoc who’s at Waterloo for a year or more is entitled to employee health benefits. And that’s true even if the individual postdoc is being paid by an agency outside the university, such as one of the national granting councils.

The majority, though, are paid by the university from a research grant or other funding. Most fellowships are awarded for a year, although they’re often renewable and some postdocs stay for as long as five years.

Typically a postdoc — who, as the name suggests, has recently completed a doctoral degree — comes to the university to work with a particular senior researcher. As a result, their strong connection is with a local research group, and often nobody has taken much responsibility for orienting them to the whole university and the available services, from parking to libraries.

They're in a league by themselves

“It’s an extremely international group,” says the associate provost, noting that while 30 per cent of graduate students come from outside Canada, for postdocs the figure is 50 per cent.

Her office has announced that effective July 1, a Postdoctoral Office (with a website) is established “to formally recognize the important and key role that postdoctoral fellows hold at the University of Waterloo”.

The office will be managed by Marta Bailey, whose title is manager, graduate communications and postdoctoral affairs. “The office will be housed within the Graduate Studies Office,” says Bailey, “which is in line with other G15 institutions, many of whom have recently established a more formalized presence for postdoctoral fellows.”

Over the last 18 months, Horton and Bailey have been actively engaged with the Waterloo postdoc community — offering workshops and networking opportunities, including meet-and-greets with the faculty deans, specifically for postdocs. They have also organized social functions and co-ordinated access to health-related benefits.

The Postdoctoral Office “will continue to collaborate closely with other on-campus units to provide a wide range of services to be offered to postdocs,” Bailey says. “Those units include the Centre for Career Action, Centre for Teaching Excellence, Health Services, Human Resources, Library, Office of Research, Waterloo International, WatPort and others. An official launch of the Postdoctoral Office will be arranged in September.”

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German choir joins DaCapo in concert

Da Capo chamber choirThe DaCapo Chamber Choir (left) directed by Leonard Enns of Conrad Grebel University College is again a national award-winner, as announced by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities (ACCC). The choir took first place in the Contemporary Choral Music category and placed second in the Adult Chamber Choir category of this year's national choral competition. The winning choirs will be highlighted on CBC Radio 2's Choral Concert with host Peter Togni, 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 10.

Last year the choir’s latest CD, Shadowland, received the ACCC 2010 National Choral Award for Outstanding Choral Recording, among other honours.

DaCapo is presenting a special concert with the Harvestehuder Kammerchor, one of Germany’s top chamber choirs, this Saturday evening at 8 p.m.

“The program represents a kind of roots and shoots look at choral music,” Enns says, with mainstay repertoire by Bach and Mendelssohn, as well as recent works by Canadian (Imant Raminsh and Donald Macdonald) and American (Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre) composers.

The concert takes place at St John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Duke and Water streets, Kitchener. Tickets cost $20 ($15 students and seniors) and are available from the DaCapo website and at the door.

The Harvesthuder choir is in Canada to take part in the Bach Music Festival in Exeter, Ontario, where they will be artists-in-residence for a week, July 11-17.

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Student senator wanted; other notes

Nominations are requested for one student to be elected by and from the full-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts, term to April 30, 2012. The nomination form is available from the Secretariat webpage:

At least five nominators are required. Completed nomination forms should be submitted to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, NH 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Thursday, July 14, 2011. An election will follow if necessary. Information about Senate is here.

Waterloo awards more and more PhDs
The number of PhDs awarded at Waterloo is going up and up — 199 in 2007, 218 in 2008, 225 in 2009, 239 in 2010. This year’s figure will be higher again, which explains something unique that’s happening this morning. (See Daily Bulletin June 28, right sidebar.) In four rooms in various parts of the university, four graduate students are facing oral examination committees of senior academics in their respective fields: statistics and actuarial science, management sciences, computer science, and health studies and gerontology. Before the day’s over, if all goes well, they’ll all be doctors.

Four PhD oral defences in a single day is unprecedented for Waterloo, at least as far as the graduate studies office can tell. But the GSO’s Cathy Jardine, who plays a key role in scheduling the proceedings, says she foresees more big days of this kind as the graduate enrolment continues to rise. Indeed, there are already four PhD orals scheduled for the morning of Thursday, July 28 — and one more in the afternoon.

Deadline for grades (marks)
A memo from the registrar's office went out recently to "affiliated colleges, deans, associate deans, departmental chairs and instructors assigned to courses being taught during the Spring 2011 term."

Its message: be aware of the deadlines for spring term grades. If a course doesn't have a final exam, and thus ends on the last day of classes (July 26), marks are due at midnight on August 16. If it does have an exam, marks are due seven days from the date of the exam. "Academic progression activity for the Spring 2011 term will begin Thursday, September 1," the memo adds, "so it is imperative to have all grades submitted by midnight of Tuesday, August 30."

Work begins on grading (earth)
Watch for heavy equipment: The servicing of Stage 1 of the Northwest Campus has begun, says Tom Galloway of plant operations. "Stage 1 is approximately the southern half of the remaining undeveloped lands bordered by Fischer-Hallman, Bearinger, Westmount and the Hydro One easement.

"Grading and the construction of the storm water management ponds will take place this year, underground services and road construction next year. Completion of servicing and land development availability is expected in 2013. Kieswetter Excavating is the grading contractor and they expect to be on site next week.

"The servicing of the Northwest Campus is part of the agreement with the City of Waterloo and the university in respect to the land lease for the City's YMCA/ Library project nearing occupancy as well as the sports fields land lease on the east side of Westmount Road."

Service set for Norm Choate
There will be a Service of Remembrance for Fr. Norm Choate at St. Francis Church, 49 Blueridge Avenue, Kitchener, on Wednesday, July 13 at 11 a.m. V. Rev. Sam Restivo, CR, will be the presider, and Rev. Jim Donohue, CR, will be the homilist. Interment of the ashes will take place at the Resurrectionist burial plot at Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener, Ontario, after the service and gathering at St. Francis Church. Donations in Fr. Choate's memory may be made to the Formation or Retirement Fund of the Congregation of the Resurrection, 265 Westmount Road North, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G7, or arranged through the Erb & Good Funeral Home, Waterloo.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Elora Festival

When and where

National Mennonite Conference sessions July 3-8, Humanities Theatre.

Drop, penalty 1 period for spring term courses ends July 8.

Waterloo Engineering Competition events in junior team design, senior team design, and consulting engineering, July 8-9. Details.

Architecture employer interviews for fall term co-op jobs, held in Toronto July 8, in Cambridge July 11-13; rankings July 14-15; match results available July 18.

Joint Engineering, Math, Science Semi-formal, Friday 9 p.m. in South Campus Hall. Tickets $10 in advance at student society offices, $15 at door.

Digital Media Project: new arcade games created by English department students, sponsored by the department’s Critical Media Lab and Libro Financial, opening Saturday, July 9, 2:00 to 4:00, TheMuseum, 10 King Street West, Kitchener.

African Lion Safari “family day” for alumni, Sunday, July 10, gates open 9 a.m., barbecue lunch from 12:30, registration 519-888-4973 (tickets sold out).

Engineering alumni golf tournament Sunday, July 10, Grey Silo Golf Club, tee time 10:00, $85 (students $75), reservations at Engineering Society office or e-mail djbirnba@

Donny and Marie Osmond at Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, bus trip sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Sunday, July 10, 2:00. Details.

‘Prisons, Peace & Politics’ seminar sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group: teach-in potluck Sunday 5:00, and film sceening of “The Dhamma Barothers” Sunday 7:30, Conrad Grebel U College; guest speaker Wednesday 7 p.m.; Grand Valley Institution tour July 17, 2:00. Detais, e-mail peacesociety@

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses: first-time students, July 11-24; open class enrolment, July 25.

Warrior athletics camps week of July 11: women’s volleyball. Details.

Career workshop Tuesday, July 12: “Exploring Your Personality Type” Part II, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Staff association golf social Tuesday, July 12, 4:00, Brookfield Country Club, $45 basic fee. Details.

Drama 349 (Cultural Management) symposium: “Engaged and Under 30: Arts and Culture Leadership” Wednesday, July 13, 2 to 6 p.m., Button Factory, 25 Regina Street South. Details.

Career workshop Wednesday, July 13: “Work Search Strategies”, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Career workshops Thursday, July 14: “Career Interest Assessment”, 10:30 a.m., Tatham Centre room 1112; “Thinking About Med School?” 6 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Student Life 101 visits for future first-year students, July 14-15, 18-19, 22-23, 5-26, 28-29, August 2-3, 5-6, 8-9.  Details.

Design at Riverside gallery, Architecture building, Cambridge, “Installations by Architects” lecture and book signing Thursday, July 14, 6:30; exhibition continues through August 6.

Blue Jays vs. Yankees bus trip. Friday, July 15, 7 p.m., Rogers Centre, Toronto. Bus leaves from PAC Red South 4 p.m. Tickets $30 from athletics office, covers game ticket and bus. Details.

International Spouses Walk & Talk. UpTown Waterloo Jazz Festival (free) for the whole family. Meet at Paul Puncher Clothing Shop, 20 Regina Street South. Email Patty ( if you plan to come. More information online

Calgary Stampede alumni event at Wild Card Saturday Rodeo, Stampede grandstand, Saturday, July 16, 1:30. Details.

Graduation (music) recital: Diane Holtby, soprano, Saturday, July 16, 7 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

UWRC Book Club: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, Wednesday, July 20, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Alumni on Pelee Island Saturday, July 23, 11:15 to 2:00, lunch at Pelee Island Winery. Details.

Canoeing the Grand River expedition sponsored by International Student Connection, Saturday, July 23, bus leaves 2:00, tickets $30 at Federation of Students office, Student Life Centre.

Get to Know UWS (Stratford campus) Day for university staff, includes restaurant lunch and tour of Stratford Shakespeare Festival costume warehouse. July 25 or 26. Information and registration here. Free.

Last day of classes for spring term, July 26.

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