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Monday, May 16, 2011

  • Senate hears public health proposal today
  • Search for a provost, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Senate hears public health proposal today

The health studies and gerontology department would be reborn as a School of Public Health and Health Systems, under a proposal that’s coming to the university senate at its monthly meeting today.

“The creation of a School will once again position the University of Waterloo and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences as a global innovator,” says the proposal that’s coming to senate. “It will address emerging challenges in the world, and establish a new standard of performance and impact.

“The mission of the School of Public Health and Health Systems will be to advance learning, knowledge, practice and capacity in the fields of public health and health systems through strategic partnerships and excellence in teaching, research, and service. Our goal is to be recognized by students, peers, and other stakeholders as Canada's most innovative and influential school of public health and health systems.”

The school will add “at least nine” faculty positions to the 20 positions in the current HSG department, says the proposal being presented to senate by Susan Elliott, dean of applied health sciences. If senate gives the okay tonight, the plan will be on the agenda for final approval by the university’s board of governors on June 14.

More from the proposal: “Objectives are aligned with UW's Sixth Decade Plan, as well as those of the local, provincial, national and international public health and health systems communities. The objectives address six broad areas: enhancing graduate teaching and training; improving undergraduate teaching and training; internationalization; advancing the amount, relevance, and creativity of our research; improving our ability to rapidly transform policy, practices, structures and tools for health and health systems; and enhancing our resource base.”

The new school will emphasize “solving significant national and international challenges”, not just describing them, the proposal says. “Our current BSc program in Health Studies will continue to use a transdisciplinary curriculum to prepare students for admission into graduate schools and professional careers in medicine, dentistry, nursing, chiropractic, etc. However, significant emphasis will be on public and population health, defined as ‘the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, communities and individuals’.”

It promises to be “more than a classic school of public health. The health systems component will emphasize the dynamic interrelationships of variables at multiple levels (e.g., from cells to society) while also attempting to understand the impact of systems on health and health care over time.”

The current programs of the HSG department, including the BSc, graduate programs (MSc and PhD), and the distance-education Master’s of Public Health, will be joined by new programs over the next few years: “Phase one will involve new professional, distance based masters programs in health evaluation and a new public health specialization for UW's existing Master of Health Informatics.” Bachelor of Public Health and Bachelor of Health Promotion programs will also be coming along, the proposal says.

Creation of a school of public health has been a longstanding goal in the AHS faculty, and senate is being told that the plan has been approved unanimously by members of the HSG department. The change would be effective in September 2011.

Today’s senate meeting starts at 4:00 in Needles Hall room 3001. Other agenda items include the usual reports from the president and vice-presidents, a roundup of the construction projects under way across campus, and a two-page report on what’s happening in the Centre for Teaching Excellence.

Senate will also be asked to approve new Certificates in the Croatian, Dutch, German and Russian languages, “to provide recognition of proficiency” for students who have taken several language courses but aren’t doing a degree in that field.

Also up for approval is a new regular BES program in environment and business, complementing the existing co-op program. And the biology department is proposing new specializations in environmental biology and molecular genetics.

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Search for a provost, and other notes

The next steps are being taken as Waterloo seeks a provost. (Feridun Hamdullahpur, who’s now the university’s president, was previously the vice-president, academic, and provost; Geoff McBoyle, whose day job is as associate VP, academic programs, has been interim provost since Hamdullahpur moved to the president’s office last fall.) Says a memo from the university secretariat: “As required by Policy 48, we are preparing to constitute the nominating committee to identify the next vice-president, academic & provost. Nominations are requested for the following seats on the nominating committee (at least three nominators are required in each case): A senator of professorial rank from each Faculty, elected by a vote within that Faculty. (The names of those individuals eligible to stand for nomination are printed on the nomination form.) Two regular faculty members, elected from and by the faculty-at-large of the University. Completed nomination forms are to be sent to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 31, 2011. Elections will follow if necessary.”

A symposium organized by the Town and Gown Association of Ontario, sponsored by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and hosted by Waterloo’s School of Architecture, is taking place today and tomorrow at the Architecture building in Cambridge. More than 100 city officials, landlords, planners and developers, along with university and college students, faculty and staff from across Ontario are there to talk about “innovative community-university partnership models between post-secondary institutions and near-campus neighbourhoods”. The presence of Waterloo Architecture in the old downtown Galt section of Cambridge is an example in itself of how educational institutions interact with cities. Says Cambridge mayor Doug Craig: “Cambridge is very conscious of the successes that result from our collaboration with the university; our gold LEED-certified City Hall is a perfect example of this relationship.” Jeff Lederer, general manager and adjunct professor in architecture, adds that “Our graduate students have been very instrumental in leading the charge in experimental urban design on sustainable city projects.” Says Orest Katolyk, president of the TGAO: “As student populations continue to grow within Ontario colleges and universities, there is an increasing need to harness this potential to mutually benefit schools and their neighbouring communities. Sharing fresh ideas to tackle communal issues is the first step to evolving this relationship.”

[Carty]Arthur Carty (left), executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, will receive an honorary degree from Wilfrid Laurier University at its afternoon convocation ceremony on June 7, WLU announced last week. Carty spent 27 years as a faculty member in chemistry at Waterloo, serving in various administrative roles including a term as dean of research, before leaving in 1994 to become president of the National Research Council of Canada. He later spent four years as science advisor to the prime minister, before returning to head the administration of WIN in 2008. He is one of nine people who will be honoured with degrees from WLU during convocation ceremonies in Waterloo June 6-10 and in Brantford June 21-22.

Here’s news from Beth Bohnert of the university’s Alumni Affairs office: “On Tuesday in Toronto, nearly 300 alumni filled the Carlu’s theatre to hear about Waterloo’s future from its new president and to meet an alumnus who is helping children with severe disabilities build theirs. In his address, president Feridun Hamdullahpur noted the respect Waterloo and its alumni have earned around the world. “Our graduates are making a difference to the economy, in science, technology and the arts,” he said. He invited alumni feedback and support as Waterloo strives to join the world’s top 100 universities within the next three years. Guest speaker Tom Chau (PhD 1998) is one of those alumni who are ‘making a difference’. As senior scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Chau works to give children with severe disabilities the freedom to communicate. He described how his multi-disciplinary team is creating technology that harnesses movements the children make, however small, and enables them to ‘speak’, type and even play video games. Quoting a parent of one of his young patients, he said, ‘It is a crime to keep a child in the jail of a non-functioning body.’ Alumni Affairs plans to make Chau’s talk available on the university’s You Tube channel later in May.”

Robotics researchers from Waterloo and Japan’s Chiba University will give an overview of their work at a one-hour symposium this afternoon, starting at 2:00 in Davis Centre room 1304. “Four 15-minute talks will cover a broad range of robotics topics,” organizers say, “including the latest news concerning Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis — how robots helped and how you can help.” Steven Waslander of the mechanical and mechatronics engineering department will give an overview of work at Waterloo, and three speakers from Chiba will talk about research there, including “robots that worked and failed in Japan’s current earthquake crisis”, and about research opportunities in the field.

And . . . Friday’s Daily Bulletin said that the peace organization Project Ploughshares “was formerly associated with Conrad Grebel University College”. In fact, Ploughshares is still associated with Grebel, the college says, though it’s no longer housed in the Grebel buildings (its current headquarters is with the Centre for International Governance Innovation on Erb Street). The agency has connections with Grebel’s peace and conflict studies program and is affiliated with the college, says president Henry Paetkau, also noting that the founding director of Ploughshares, Ernie Regehr, is now a research associate at the college.


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Link of the day

Biographers Day

When and where

Employee Assistance Program sponsors UW Campus Walk, May 9 to June 5, individuals and teams welcome. Details.

Spring into Motion including traditional “UW Blooms” gardening event with new clothing swap, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room. Details.

Library workshop: "New Faculty and Grad Students: Research Tools and Library Services" today 10:00 or Thursday 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Discussion group for parents of first-year students (incoming or just finished) 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116, information e-mail hwestmor@

Career workshops today: “Writing CVs and Cover Letters” 12:00,  Tatham Centre room 2218; “Career Interest Asessment” 2:30, Tatham room 1112. Details.

Waterloo Region rapid transit information session co-sponsored by Federation of Students, 1:00 to 3:00, VeloCity great hall (Minota Hagey Residence).

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology semiar: Youla Tsantrizos, McGill University, “Novel Active  Site Inhibitors of Prenyl  Synthase Enzymes as Potential Therapeutics” 2:00, Chemistry 2 room 361.

Carl Pollock Hall second floor, electrical power shut down Tuesday 5 to 7 a.m.

‘Introduction to ArcGIS 9.3’ library workshop Tuesday 10:15, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Integrating Experiential Learning: “Integrating Experience into the Online Environment” Tuesday 12:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshops Tuesday: “Thinking About an International Experience?” 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1208; “International Work Term Procedures” 3:30, Tatham 1208. Details.

Library workshop: "Find Books and More" Tuesday 2:00 or June 1, 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

UW Sustainability Project volunteer meetings Tuesday and Wednesday 6 p.m., Student Life Centre room 3103.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group film screening, “END:CIV” about destruction of civilization, followed by questions with director Franklin Lopez Tuesday 7:00, CEIT room 1015.

UWRC Book Club: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

‘Painting the Town Green’ presentations from local environmental organizations, organized by Climate Action Project, Wednesday 3:00 to 5:00, Student Life Centre room 2134. Details.

Drop, no penalty period ends May 20; deadline to withdraw from spring term courses with 100 per cent fee refund.

Victoria Day Monday, May 23, university closed.

‘Old World, New Realities’ lecture by Warren Jestin, chief economist at Scotiabank, Wednesday, May 25, 11 a.m., LCAO Lecture Theatre, Accounting wing of Hagey Hall; to be followed by funding announcement.

Stratford Campus “Making the Future” dinner, presentation by dean of arts Ken Coates on the vision for Stratford, Waterloo and Canada, Wednesday, May 25, 7:00, Church Restaurant, tickets $90. Details.

Co-op employer interviews for fall work term begin May 26 (main group).

PhD oral defences

Electrical and computer engineering. Ahmed Elsayed Bayoumy Abu Elanien, “Transformer Health Assessment and Techno-Economic End of Life Evaluation.” Supervisor, Magdy A. Salama. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, May 25, 10:00 a.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Statistics and actuarial science. Mario Ghossoub, “Loss Aversion and Contracting Under Heterogeneous Beliefs.” Supervisors, Carole Bernard and Andrew Heunis. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Wednesday, May 25, 3:00 p.m., Mathematics and Computer room 6027.

Management sciences. Meyyappan Narayanan, “ Venture Capital Investment Under Private Information.” Supervisor, Brian Cozzarin. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence  Thursday, June 2, 10:00 a.m., Carl Pollock Hall room 3623.

Kinesiology. Laura Hauck, “Understanding the Influence of Fear of Falling on Clinical Balance Control — Efforts in Fall Prediction and Prevention.” Supervisors, Jim Frank and Stephen Prentice. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, June 3, 6:00 p.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

Friday's Daily Bulletin