Skip to the content of the web site.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

  • VP (external) leaving to head museum
  • MBET students win innovation contest
  • Play opens tonight, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

VP (external) leaving to head museum

Meg Beckel, the university’s vice-president (external relations) for the past four years, is leaving in June to become director of the Canadian Museum of Nature, officials there and at Waterloo announced yesterday.

“It is with mixed emotions that I share the news,” said a memo from university president Feridun Hamdullahpur. “This is an appointment that will enable Meg to pursue her passion for museums and to contribute to an important Canadian institution.”

[Beckel]He recalled that Beckel (left) “joined the University of Waterloo in October 2007 with a very focussed mandate to advance the ‘post-campaign task force plan’ and to position the university for its next phase in advancement and government relations. The plan called for the creation of a principal gifts team, an annual & planned giving team, a fully staffed major gifts team in each faculty, an alumni affairs program focussed on engagement and impact, and the development and execution of a government relations and marketing communications plan that aligns uWaterloo’s positioning efforts with industry best practice.

“Meg was also tasked with building a team of professionals with the passion, commitment and expertise to advance this plan to the benefit of the university and its stakeholders.”

And he added: “More importantly for me, Meg was recruited to be a member of the senior management team of the university, bringing her experience, wisdom, perspectives and humour to the advancement and focussing of the sixth decade plan. In just under four years Meg has accomplished all that she set out to do with and for the University of Waterloo. We are truly grateful for her tireless work, dedication and commitment in making our University a globally recognized and respected institution of higher learning and scholarship.

“I and my colleagues will miss Meg immensely.”

From Ottawa, the museum — which is housed in a historic building on McLeod Street just north of the Queensway — announced that Beckel will arrive in June and “will be responsible for revisiting and overseeing the Museum's strategic direction, increasing the Museum's public value, nationally and internationally, and securing the long-term sustainability of the Museum through the demonstration of public accountability, value, fiscal effectiveness and robust revenue generation strategies.”

It’s a return to her previous career: before coming to Waterloo she was chief operating officer of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “We are elated,” says Florence Minz, chair of the CMN board of trustees, “that Meg, with her experience in senior administration, fundraising and finance, as well as her previous experience as the COO and Board Secretary for the Royal Ontario Museum from 1999-2007. has accepted the position. The Search Committee was extremely impressed with Ms. Beckel’s strategic vision of what the Canadian Museum of Nature could be.”

The museum’s announcement also quotes Beckel herself: “I’m very pleased to accept this important position with the Canadian Museum of Nature, and I look forward to building upon the momentum experienced after the reopening of the Museum's public exhibition site, the Victoria Memorial Museum Building, in May 2010. I hope to take the Museum experience to the next level, through digital strategies and the latest technology that will expand the virtual presence of the Museum. making the Museum and its treasures accessible to all Canadians.”

The Canadian Museum of Nature describes itself as “Canada's national museum of natural history and natural science. It promotes awareness of Canada’s natural heritage through signature and travelling exhibitions, public education programmes, on-going scientific research, a dynamic Web site, and the maintenance of a 10.5-million-specimen collection.”

Back to top

MBET students win innovation contest

Teams of students from Waterloo’s Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program cleaned up at this year’s Next Great Innovator Challenge, sponsored by RBC (the Royal Bank). Results were announced in late February.

Each year RBC asks graduate-level business students to answer a real-world business challenge. This year’s challenge: to “suggest an innovation that will be critical to Canadian financial services in 2015”. Submissions came from 22 schools across Canada — and the top three winners all came from the MBET cohort.

Coming home with the $20,000 first prize were Krishna Nuthi, Michelle Berelowitz and Wei Wei, who call themselves Team ROKUR ALL. Their proposal was “the We Care portal”. They explain: “This video-based technology will address the link between the aging Canadian population and their caregivers with a novel mix of strategy and technology to create real value in banking interactions.”

Says Berelowitz, looking back on the RBC contest: “The opportunity to compete in and of itself is a huge accomplishment, since these competitions are national, and we’re competing against the top MBA programs — Queen’s, MIT, U of Toronto, Western Ivey. Hundreds of teams enter these competitions. We are extremely proud we are able to get beyond the submission process, never mind to the point where we compete, and then win!”

Coming in second was Team Mighty Moguls, consisting of Pierre-Marc Pepin, Catherine Carroll, Hui Zhang and Prasath Nagendran. This quartet “looked ahead to how the banking needs of Canadians will change in 2015. They introduced a three-phased program to transform banking for the new Canadians of today, and in the future.”

And in third place were David Saint-Onge, Gerrit Ellerwald, Carla Tafich Salim, Kehinde Odumosu and Rahim Kanji, making up Tycoons of Tomorrow. This team “demonstrated what the financial services industry could do today to help children become financially literate. The team introduced an interactive educational account that links financial knowledge, education, and play to address the impact in reducing the many problems faced by today’s adults.”

In another recent MBET achievement, a team consisting of Andrew White, Sanna Choudhary, Annika Martins, Tai-Lee Chen and Pierre-Marc Pepin won the $25,000 grand prize in this year’s IBK Capital-Ivey Business Plan Competition, held at the University of Western Ontario. “It is regarded as Canada’s premier graduate student business plan competition,” says Jenn  Zehr of the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, a unit of the faculty of engineering that operates the MBET program.

And more awards are anticipated any day now:

• MBET students Srimaran Lankeswaran, Abid-Hassan-Ali, Avinash Mohammed, Kevin Kuo, Krishna Nuthi, Rishikesh Ajaykumar and Wei Wei have been accepted into the McGinnis Venture Competition, held at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. “Each year,” CBET reports, “no more than 30 teams are selected to compete in the competition's three tracks: Technology, Life Science and CleanTech. Teams are provided the opportunity to present before judges from across the United States — venture capitalists, angel investors and successful entrepreneurs who are experts in their respective fields. All teams receive invaluable feedback as well as a chance to win awards worth more than $60,000 cash and $60,000 in-kind legal services.”

• MBET’s Clearpath Robotics team, made up of Sharon Katz, Prasath Nagendran and Adam Gryfe, is competing in TieQuest, Canada's largest business venture plan competition. More than 200 applications were submitted by entrepreneurs.

Back to top

[Bursting out of a pink polka-dot cake]

GLOW — "the queer and questioning community centre" — celebrated its 40th anniversary this week. The party included a couple of birthday cakes in the Student Life Centre on Tuesday — one for eating and one that revealed an entertainer, sparklers in hand. "GLOW, the longest-running queer organization in Canada, partied like it was 1971," Kirsty Budd of the Federation of Students reports. "The Women's Centre also jumped into the celebrations. This year marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day as well as the 30th anniversary year of the Women's Centre." Photo courtesy of Feds.

Back to top

Play opens tonight, and other notes

[Actress in 18th century dress]The drama department’s production of Shelagh Stephenson’s “An Experiment with an Air Pump” (left) opens tonight in the Theatre of the Arts, after a preview for an invited audience last evening. The play, a publicity release explains, “takes as its point of departure Joseph Wright’s 18th century painting ‘An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump’ in which a scientist is placed ‘where you usually find God’. Stephenson’s play asks whether the scientist has a right to play God and, if so, at what cost when a human life lies in the balance. As the play travels back and forth between 1799 and 1999, we realize that although the context may have changed, the basic questions remain the same. The story spans two centuries and is also a vivid commentary on evolving gender roles within two unfolding family dramas. Two marriages, intimately portrayed, form the prism through which we view the story.” Performances are Thursday through Saturday, this week and next, at 8:00. Tickets are $17 (students $13) at the Humanities box office.

The Federation of Students “is proud to present Cultural Caravan” tonight in the Student Life Centre, a news release says. “The show is a yearly tradition for Feds, a celebration of uWaterloo’s campus culture through performances.” It quotes Jessica Kumordzie, the Feds’ clubs assistant: “This campus has an incredible range of diversity. Cultural Caravan is a great opportunity for various cultures to showcase their talents.” The performance will start at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall and is a free event for students, staff, faculty and the community. Performers include the Afghan Students Association performing the Attan; Eryka Puzio dancing Kujawiak-Oberek; the UW Indian Connection performing a Bollywood dance; Christina Kowalenko playing the Bandura, the national instrument of Ukraine; and plenty more. Cultural Caravan, put together by various clubs and the Federation itself, is held each winter term.

[Dallaire]The Arts Student Union is selling tickets these days for a talk by military leader and Senator Roméo Dallaire, who will appear at the Humanities Theatre on Friday evening of next week, March 18. It's the ASU's big lecture event of the year, says the group's president, Robert Fry: "The Arts Student Union is proud and honoured to invite the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (right) to UWaterloo. Politically engaged students at UW know of his harrowing story and endless defence of the powerless around the world. We felt that students would appreciate his experience with international affairs, leadership, conflict resolution and human rights through a personal discussion on this engaging campus. Lieutenant-General Dallaire will provide fresh young students with an image of humanity in the world, one that is crucial to the aspiring leaders that UW fosters. We hope General Dallaire inspires students to be vocal about the things they believe in, while at the same time teaching about the responsibility and humility he is famous for." Tickets are $30 for arts students, $35 for others, at the Humanities box office.

And here's a reminder that, starting at noontime today, the Oracle financial system will be out of operation for about six days, while an upgrade takes place. Oracle is a key tool for staff in both academic and non-academic departments as they manage the university's spending, which now exceeds $3 million every business day. The system will be out of service until the morning of March 16, the finance office advises: "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."


Back to top

Link of the day

Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival

When and where

Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change graduate student colloquium March 10-11.

Income tax information session for international students, 10:00, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Library workshop: “Accessing Government Information” 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career Café March 10, 17, 24, 31: career advisor on site at Student Life Centre, 11:30 to 1:00.

CIS women’s hockey national championships March 10-13 at Waterloo Memorial Recreation Centre, hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University. Details.

Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change workshop: Michael Strickland, media relations office, speaks on how academics can deal with the media, 12:00, PAS building room 1241.

Chemical engineering seminar: Piotr Zelanay, Los Alamos National Laboratory, “Non-Precious Metal Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction in Fuel Cells” 3:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Alicia Hendley, counselling services, author of novel A Subtle Thing, speaks at university bookstore, South Campus Hall, 4:00.

Scientific and Technological Literacy series sponsored by department of philosophy: Carla Fehr, Iowa State University, “The Epistemology of Ignorance and Theories of Women’s Intelligence” 4:00, Hagey Hall room 373.

Focus for Ethnic Women “Focus on Friends” dinner and awards, recipients including Panthea Sepehrband, PhD student, 5:30, Golf’s Steak House. Details.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Karen McGregor, Microsoft, “Cloud Services for Education” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Germanic and Slavic studies presents Andrew Port, Wayne State University, and Gary Bruce, Waterloo, “Debating East Germany: A Dictatorship, but What Kind?” Friday 11:00, Modern Languages room 245.

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

Senate finance committee Friday 1:30, Needles Hall room 3004. Agenda.

Staff career seminar: “Sell Your Skills” Friday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Brock Hart, Machteld Faas Xander, “Be Curious, Embrace Diversity” Friday 2:30, Environment 2 room 2002.

Scientific and Technological Literacy series sponsored by department of philosophy: Carla Fehr, Iowa State University, “The Public Understanding of Science When Scientists Are the Public” Friday 3:30, Hagey Hall room 373.

Fashion for Change fashion show, Friday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Relay for Life fund-raiser for Canadian Cancer Society, with overnight entertainment and speakers Friday 7 p.m. to Saturday 7 a.m., Student Life Centre, registration $10. Details.

‘Orange Pop’ concert sponsored by Engineers Without Borders, performers including Unaccompanied Minors, Acabellas, Water Boys, Friday 8:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, $3 donation suggested.

Juggling Festival (19th annual) hosted by UW Juggling Club, Saturday-Sunday, Student Life  Centre; performance in Humanities Theatre, Saturday 7 p.m., tickets $5. Details.

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

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

Engineering Science Quest one-day camps at Stratford (grades 2-4) and Waterloo (grades 1-6) campuses during March break, March 14-18. Details.

March break open house for future students and their families, Tuesday 9:00 to 3:00, Waterloo and Cambridge campuses. Details.

Garage sale in support of Beyond Borders trip to Kenya: sales of used goods, handmade cards and Ugandan jewellery, March 16, 11:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre lower atrium.

Blood donor clinic March 17, 10:00 to 4:00, and March 18, 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre. Details.

Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies: Roger Epp, University of Alberta, “We Are All Treaty People” March 17 and 18, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College great hall.

‘Food Justice: Our Food, Our Bodies’ symposium hosted by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, March 18-20.

Free tax clinic for students and others, run by trained students from School of Accounting and Finance, March 19-21, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, Student Life Centre multipurpose room, no appointment necessary. Details.

‘So You Think You Can Dance Waterloo’ March 19, Federation Hall; auditions February 15 and 28, March 1, 2, 3. Details.

One click away

Small business internship funding announced at Waterloo
New Policy 10, ‘Naming Opportunities’, is official and online
US student blogs about applying to Waterloo
Grad student: treated wastewater stresses out trout
Results of Clean Snowmobile competition
Earth sciences lecture on Chile mine rescue, on YouTube
Slideshow reports Waterloo’s success with SSHRC grants
Northern Ontario School of Medicine gets foothold in Huntsville building
‘Rental licensing overhaul stands to hurt students’
Ontario high school graduation rate goes up
Video highlights Canadian women in science
‘Promote education incentives for aboriginals and the disabled’
Student engagement surveys ‘can be misleading’
Philosophy prof’s blog for International Women’s Day‘A conversation that needs to continue’
Stephen Hawking returns in September to open Perimeter wing
Universities’ submission on federal R&D support
Presidents want more oversight over university sports body
Extra federal funding for Pathways to Education
IQC invites applications to summer school for teens
‘Hatching graduate careers’ including one from architecture

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin