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Friday, March 4, 2011

  • Co-op sets a record: 5,517 on work term
  • Teaching centre director is now official
  • Snowmobile competition, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Co-op sets a record: 5,517 on work term

The co-op department reports that more co-op students are on the job this winter term than ever before in the history of the university — 5,517 of them, including 2,389 from engineering alone.

At the same time, there are 239 students who wanted jobs and didn't get them, so that the final rate of students employed or "not participating" in the winter term is 95.9 per cent, down a little from 96.5 per cent in winter 2010.

"Results for this winter term," says a memo from co-op, "show 498 more students scheduled out to work and 442 more students employed in comparison with this time last year.

"There were 55 more students left unemployed this term versus last winter," and the largest group of those without jobs is junior engineering students. "There were 60 fewer hires by the University this year versus last," the memo says, "equivalent to a roughly 1% drop in the employment rate."

Attention turns now to the May-to-August "spring" term. As of March 1, figures from the co-op department show, there are 189 more students scheduled for work terms than last year, "a relatively small increase compared to the last several terms."

The main job match occurred just before reading week, and the continuous round of interviews is now under way. "The increase in number of students scheduled out to work," says the co-op memo, "has been absorbed in the higher number of students employed (287) versus this time last year." As of March 1, 54.7 per cent of students who need spring term jobs know where they'll be working, compared to 51.2 per cent at the same time time last year. "We hope to be able to maintain that differential through the spring," says co-op director Peggy Jarvie.

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[Ellis]Teaching centre director is now official

Donna Ellis (left) has been named director of the Centre for Teaching Excellence, a position that she's been holding on an interim basis since the departure of the previous director, Catherine Schryer, in 2009. Ellis was formerly CTE's associate director.

The appointment, announced by the provost, is effective as of February 14. "As director," says a note from provost Geoff McBoyle, "Donna will oversee the development and delivery of all CTE programming and services, which include faculty consultations; events directed at graduate students; new faculty and established faculty regarding face-to-face teaching, blended learning, and emerging instructional technologies; curriculum and program review consultations; and teaching and learning research support services.

"Donna has an MA in Language and Professional Writing from uWaterloo and currently is working part-time on her doctorate in Management Sciences on the topic of instructional innovations." She has been working in the centre and its predecessor departments since 1994.

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Snowmobile competition, and other notes

A student team will be taking Waterloo’s entry to Houghton, Michigan, next week for the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, hosted by Michigan Technological University. They’ll compete for awards under such headings as best performance, best (fewest?) emissions, best fuel economy, best acceleration and best ride. The event, in which Waterloo has a decade-long record including one first-place finish, is an annual design [Snowmobiles in hallway]competition for students held by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The challenge: to modify a stock snowmobile (right) to reduce exhaust emissions and noise while improving performance. “These modifications must be done at minimal cost,” the team’s web site explains, “and be practical conversions for common production snowmobiles.” It’s been a busy year for redesign: “Team Technical Captain Alec Espie has been burning the midnight oil convincing the Ski-Doo and Arctic Cat electrical harnesses to play nicely together, and plumbing the oil lines. With the help of the whole team many of the air intake and exhaust components have been installed, including a beautiful exhaust manifold.” After the competition, the team will be rushing home to be on hand in the Student Design Centre in Engineering 5 when the March break open house brings high school visitors to campus.

The seventh annual Fusion Science and Business Conference runs today and tomorrow, bringing together university and high school students under the title “The Future of Innovation”. Fusion 2011 aims “to bring together the current experts and science and technology industries with the bright young minds of the future to explore the concept of innovation, and how its implementation can develop a competitive advantage not just in the context of industry, but also personal innovation for the future professionals. The conference will provide information and broaden the participants’ understanding of what it truly means to be innovative, and how to maintain a competitive edge.” Things start tonight at 6:00. with registration and a reception at Federation Hall. The evening will feature a keynote speaker, Trish Bolton, senior policy advisor for the Ontario ministry of research and innovation. Saturday, delegates will take part in sessions with a number of presenters, including Earl Miller of the Toronto-based MaRS Research District; Steve Lightstone, founder and president of Corner Office Leads; Tim Hanlon, senior manager, of applied innovation at the bank RBC; and Aditya Shah, co-founder of Loose Button. “In addition,” an announcement says, “the delegates will be challenged with an interactive case study competition presented by Open Text.”

The retail services department is in charge of "courseware" these days — the materials that are distributed to students at cost price, complementing or replacing textbooks — and naturally staff there are looking ahead to next term. Here's the official word to instructors: "The deadline for submitting courseware orders for the spring 2011 term is March 15. Orders submitted by this date will be available to students on or before the first day of classes. You can place a courseware order online anytime. If you have any questions about courseware, you can email courseware@, call ext. 33996 or visit the Bookstore 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Also, if you have not yet placed a textbook order, the deadline to do so was February 15. Please place your textbook order immediately."

Another official announcement, this one from the finance office: "The University is currently undergoing an upgrade to the Oracle Financial System. The financial system will be out of service from noon on March 10 until the morning of March 16. FORE (Financial Online Reporting Environment) is anticipated to be unavailable on March 16. Procurement and Contract Services and Finance will minimize service disruption, where possible. However, during this time no transactions can be processed in Oracle Financials and no cheques or electronic payments can be issued. Questions can go to Karen Hamilton (accounts receivable), Helen Hannusch (budget and client services) or Ann Williams-Gorrie (accounts payable) in finance, or Terry Taylor in procurement and contract services.

There's a follow-up on plans for the annual Staff Conference in April, as associate provost Janet Passmore has announced the names of this year's five keynote speakers. "Rarely in today’s world," she says in a memo sent to staff members this week, "is a conference of this calibre accessible to everyone, and right at your place of work. There isn’t a better and more convenient way to learn, meet new colleagues, renew acquaintances with those you only occasionally, and listen to and interact with world-class speakers. Once again, there are a variety of workshops on personal and professional development and information booths.In addition, we have first-rate keynotes for you." Names and topics: Peter Jensen, "Igniting the Third Factor"; Stuart Knight, "Four Conversations of a Leader"; Gregg Ward, "Diversity Theatre"; Sean Aiken, "Talkin’ Bout My Generation"; and Marc Kielburger, "Me to We: Inspiring Employees to Find Meaning in a Material World." Passmore adds that "Attendance at this event has soared. This year we hope to top 1,000. Register now, so you won’t be disappointed."

And . . . results are on hand from the recent Treat-a-Gram promotion supporting the Keystone Campaign. Organizers report: "More than 1,830 boxes of cookies were delivered to faculty, staff, and retirees this past Valentine's Day. With higher-than-ever sales, the beneficiaries — campus-wide undergraduate and graduate senate scholarships — will receive close to $3,750 in funding. Of this tremendous total, $1,090 can be attributed to 43 people who added an extra donation to their order. For the second year in a row, the Treat-a-Gram program included a little something extra — the random inclusion of an extra-special prize. This year, Grace Dong from Optometry was the lucky winner of a new personal lunch bag from Retail Services. A sincere 'thank you' goes out to Food Services and all the volunteers who were a part of this special day. Their hard work made the day a success and is greatly appreciated."


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Link of the day

World Day of Prayer

When and where

Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival co-sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, through Sunday. Details.

Explore Islam: exhibition on Islam, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall; “The Advent and Revival of Islam” 4 to 7 p.m., SLC multipurpose room, presented by Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association.

Library workshop: “Introduction to RefWorks” 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Warrior squash team at Canadian championships, University of Toronto, today.

March Madness three-on-three basketball tournament, Friday-Saturday, Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Wayne Brodland, civil and environmental engineering, “To Build an Embryo” 2:30, Environment 2 room 2002.

Black Forest Coffee House Friday-Saturday, St. Paul’s U College, $7 one night or $10 both nights (at the door).

Standard Deviation Theatre auditions for “Hamlet” and other productions, Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Theatre of the Arts. Details.

Hagey Bonspiel for faculty, staff, students and alumni, Saturday, Ayr Curling Club. Details.

‘Canada’s International Image’ Global Citizenship Conference at Wilfrid Laurier University, Saturday; keynote speaker, Lloyd Axworthy, 6 p.m., WLU Arts building room 1E1. Details and tickets.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel UC, spring concert, “Chiaroscuro” Saturday 8:00 and Sunday 3:00, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener, music includes “Sunne of Grace” by Leonard Enns of Grebel. Details.

Climate Change Awareness Week with events sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, March 7-11.

Career workshop: “Academic Interview” Monday 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Waterloo International country presentations: “The Caribbean Life” and “The Many Faces of Indonesian Culture” Monday 12:00, Needles Hall room 1101. “Pakistan: Where Civilizations Meet” and “Australia: The Land Downunda, Mate” Tuesday 12:00.

Classical studies lecture: Christian Mileta, MLU Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, “The Attitude of the Successors Towards the Indigenous Population of the East” Monday 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 105.

Explore Islam: “Myths and Realities of Islam” Monday 7 p.m., Math and Computer room 2065, presented by Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association.

Life and Health Sciences Conference hosted by Communitech, Tuesday, The Tannery, 151 Charles Street West, Kitchener. Details.

‘BlackBerry 101’ Rogers Trainer-to-Go program one-hour session Tuesday 12:00, Stratford campus, register ext. 23006.

‘An Experiment with an Air Pump’ by Shelagh Stephenson, production by department of drama, preview by invitation March 9, 7 p.m.; public performances March 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Education Credit Union lunch-and-learn session: “Let’s Talk Mortgages” March 11, 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP janinew@ by March 4.

Dungeons and Dragons tournament sponsored by WatSFic, March 12. Details.

Drop, penalty 1 period for winter term courses ends March 14.

Waterloo Unlimited enrichment program for grade 11 students, March 14-18. Details.

Senator Roméo Dallaire, former commanding officer of UN forces in Rwanda, presented by Arts Student Union, March 18, 6:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $35 (arts students $30) at Humanities box office.

PhD oral defences

Biology. Michael D. J. Lynch, “Characterization of the Evolution and Phylogenetic Distribution of Cryptic Species in the Red Algae (Rhodophyta) Using Novel Gene Sequence Analysis.” Supervisor, Kirsten M. Müller. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, March 11, 2:00 p.m., CEIT building room 2014.

Systems design engineering. Andrew Cenko, “Automatic Interferometric Alignment of an Optical Coherence Tomography System.” Supervisors, Arsen Hajian and Glenn Heppler. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, March 18, 10:30 a.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Nada Zamel, “Effective Transport Properties of the Gas Diffusion Layer of PEM Fuel Cells.” Supervisors, Xianguo Li and Jun Shen. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, March 18, 1:30 p.m., Energy Research Centre room 3012.

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