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Friday, April 19, 2013



  • Spring sprung yesterday at 12:45 p.m.
  • Honorary degree recipients announced
  • Senate considers ethical editing and more
  • Friday's notes


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Spring sprung yesterday at 12:45 p.m.

At exactly 12:45 p.m. yesterday, the mercury crept past the 20 degree mark, bringing this year's annual University of Waterloo Weather Station contest to an end, and bringing hope (however fleeting) to those of us who crave a little thing called warmth this time of year.

"Congratulations to Scott Bacon for guessing the correct time of 12:45 p.m. when the temperature first went over 20C when it hit 20.9C," wrote weather station coordinator Frank Seglenieks. "In second place we have Elisa McBride." Prizes will be awarded.

The weather station's annual contest asks contestants to guess the date at which a temperature above 20 degrees is reached in the region. Last year, we hit that milestone much earlier - March 16. There were around 870 entries in this year's edition of the contest.

Bacon and McBride will now have their names enshrined in the Weather Station Contest Hall of Fame.

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Honorary degree recipients announced

The executive chairman and chief strategy officer at OpenText Corporation, a University of Waterloo spin-off company, is among the eight recipients of honorary doctorates to be presented during the University of Waterloo's spring convocation ceremonies from June 11 to 15.

Tom Jenkins has played a major role in several successful Canadian startup firms, including DALSA Inc. Jenkins joined OpenText in 1994, and became executive chairman in 2005. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering and Management from McMaster University and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University. He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and address convocation at the Faculty of Arts ceremony on June 12 at 10:00 a.m.

Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese will receive an honorary doctor of laws and address convocation at the ceremony for Applied Health Sciences at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11. Froese is an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology, director of the International Women’s Health Program, and founder and executive director of Save the Mothers, an international organization she helped found in 2005. She advocates tirelessly for the rights of women and children and has dedicated her career to the interconnection of health, social justice and the recognition of maternal health as a basic human right.

At the Faculty of Environment's convocation ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, Ian Burton will receive an honorary doctor of environmental studies and deliver an address. Burton has been one of the most influential scholars on issues related to hazard management and climate change. He was among the first to recognize that mitigation of hazard loss was a scientific issue, but also required a thorough understanding of how humans perceive and respond to uncertainty in their environment. He holds a BA and MA in Geography from the University of Birmingham, and a PhD in Geography from the University of Chicago.

At the second of two ceremonies for the Faculty of Arts on Wednesday, June 12 at 2:30 p.m., John McKnight will receive an honorary doctor of letters and address convocation. McKnight is a professor of human development and social policy, and co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University. He has a known and respected track record of research and outreach relating to marginalized populations, improving social service delivery and combating racism and other forms of discrimination. McKnight has also had a significant career as a human rights activist.

John Gartner will receive an honorary doctor of science and address convocation at the Faculty of Science's first ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 13. Gartner is a founding partner of Gartner Lee Ltd., the highly successful consulting firm that is a leader in environmental and engineering geology. He has had a long career as a professional engineering geologist, with an impressive list of professional contributions and a deep history of involvement with education and service. Gartner was appointed as an adjunct professor in Waterloo's department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The Canadian Geotechnical Society awarded him the R.F. Legget Medal, the Robert F. Farvolden Award and the Thomas Roy Award.

In the afternoon of Thursday, June 13, Miodrag (Mike) Belosevic will receive an honorary doctor of science and address convocation at the second of two Science ceremonies. Belosevic is a world-renowned parasitologist and fish immunologist, and a leader in developing water quality assessment assays. He pioneered the understanding of fish immunity, and successfully developed a sensor for detecting waterborne pathogens that has proved useful for the aquaculture industry specifically to the prevention of costly disease outbreaks in the industry. He holds a BSc and MSc from the University of Manitoba, and a PhD from McGill.

On Friday, June 14 at 10:00 a.m., Robert Bixby will receive an honorary doctor of mathematics and address convocation. Bixby's early work was mainly in combinatorics, though he is known best for his work in optimization. His designs for new implementations, particularly CPLEX codes, spectacularly improved the efficiency of solution for linear optimization problems. His linear programming codes led to his co-founding a company called CPLEX Optimization Inc., which soon became the leading provider of optimization software. Bixby is the Noah Harding Professor Emeritus of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University and research professor of management at Rice's Jones School of Management.

At the second Faculty of Mathematics convocation ceremony, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14, Hans-Ulrich Gerber will receive an honorary doctor of mathematics and address convocation. Gerber is conceivably the top academic actuary in the world in the past 50 years. His role in advancing insurance risk theory and promoting actuarial education has been exceptional.  A paper he co-wrote in 1998 introduced what is now commonly referred to as the Gerber-Shiu discounted penalty function, which completely changed the direction of research in insurance risk theory. As a result of this paper, there is now a series of Gerber-Shiu conferences held worldwide every second year. Now retired from the University of Lausanne, where he was a professor of actuarial science, he was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

On Saturday, June 15, at 10:00 a.m., Jacob Apkarian will receive an honorary doctor of engineering and address convocation. Apkarian is an engineer, entrepreneur and valued colleague of the University of Waterloo. He is an authority in the area of control systems and related fields such as mechatronics, haptics and robotics. Apkarian's work contributed to the success of the Canadarm I and II. As an entrepreneur, he founded and grew Quanser, which stands today as a Canadian success story that has transformed the way we study, explore, and design control systems. His body of work spans involvement in high profile national projects to developing the very basis of training systems for engineering students across the globe.


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Senate recap and other notes

The university's Senate constituted a number of committees at its meeting on Monday, most of which were filled by acclamation, save for the four faculty positions on the Board of Governors, for which there were six nominees. An election will soon follow.

Senate also adopted guidelines for the ethical use of professional editing services for graduate theses on the advice of its Graduate & Research Council. The guidelines serve to provide a university-wide minimum standard, though individual faculties may have more stringent regulations surrounding the use of professional editors. The university's guidelines include measures that:

  • require written permission from the student's supervisor;
  • require all edits to fall within the limits prescribed by the Editors' Association of Canada's Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Theses/Dissertations and the University of Waterloo's thesis regulations; and
  • require specific acknowledgement of the fact that an editor, professional or otherwise, has been used, including a description of the services provided.

Associate Vice-President, Academic Programs Mario Coniglio then introduced motions on behalf of the senate's Undergraduate Council, the first of which was to adopt the Bridge to Academic Success (BASE) program, a pathway program for students whose first language is not English. Senate also voted to establish clear guidelines for the naming of undergraduate degrees, with Coniglio noting that the university currently offers 18 degree titles, and voted to inactivate the Honours Political Science (Administrative Studies) specialization and replace it with the Public Policy and and Administration specialization.

The report of the Council of Ontario Universities' Academic Colleagues meeting was distributed to senate by Dan Brown, the current Waterloo representative sitting on that body. In his report, Brown indicated that the Academic Colleagues were distressed about a recent report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario that was ostensibly a response to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities' 2012 Strategic Mandate Agreement exercise, but instead ignores the SMAs "in order to focus on the authors' preference for "differentiation" amongst Ontario universities." Senators engaged in a lively discussion about differentiation during a question and answer session.

Senate also heard presentations from Professor Keith Hipel and Federation of Students President Andrew Noble.


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Friday's notes

Human Resources is reporting that the following retired staff members have died recently:

Woodrow Maskell, who started at the university in August 1968 as a groundsman in Plant Operations, and who retired in February 1981 from his position of Receiver in Central Stores, died March 19. He is survived by his spouse, Marion.

George Hill, who began working at the university in September 1964 as a glass blower in the chemistry department, died April 1. Hill had retired in September 1988 and was predeceased by his wife Nancy.


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Sequencing a viral video's genome

English professor Aimée Morrison, who teaches new media studies, put her theoretical work into practice with the production of a viral video as part of a course on New Media Genres.

The video, a "lip dub" that combines lip synching and audio dubbing, was produced with help from one of Morrison's graduate students who produced it as part of her final project. It is a music video for a yoga studio.

In less than 24 hours it received 1200 views and was reposted on several yoga blogs (viral transmission achieved!). A behind-the-scenes interview about the making of the video has also been posted.

Link of the day

A fire in Texas was in the news this week. It was in the news 20 years ago today as well

When and where

Pension & Benefits Committee meeting, Friday, April 19, 9:00 a.m., NH 3001.

Applied Mathematics Colloquium, "Netball - The Network Structure of NBA Basketball," featuring Dieter Armbruster, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Arizona State University, Friday, April 19, 3:30 p.m., MC 5136. Reception to follow.

Leadership Innovation Conference, April 22 and 23. Details.

The Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (I.B.M.B.) Seminar Series featuring Prof. Ke Dong, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, “Voltage-gated Sodium Channels in Insects and Mammals: Comparison of Structure, Function and Toxin Sensitivity”, Tuesday, 23 April 23, 3:30 p.m., C2-361. Details.

Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience Colloquium featuring Marc Bellemare of the University of Alberta, Tuesday, April 23, 3:30 p.m., PAS 2464.

Biology Graduate Student Research Symposium, Wednesday, April 24, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., QNC 1501 & 1502.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Ms. Elizabeth Crawford, Applications Manager, IonSense, Saugus, MA, USA, “Instant Gratification – Mass Confirmation in Seconds:  An Introduction to Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) Ambient Mass Spectrometry”, Wednesday, April 24, 10:30 a.m., C2-361. Details.

Opportunities and New Directions Conference, Thursday, April 25, all day, HH 1101. Details.

Deadline for students to become Fees Arranged, Monday, April 29.

Vegetation Inventory and Monitoring Workshop, Monday, April 29, 9:00 a.m., Huntsville Summit Centre. Details.

Int'l Spouses event, Ethnic Grocery Store Tour By Bus! Monday, April 29, 10:30 a.m. Details.

CTE703, "Freeing Your Voice,"
Tuesday, April 30, 1:30 p.m., MC 5158. Presented by the Centre for Teaching Excellence. Details.

Water Research Symposium 2013, Thursday, May 2, all day, Davis Centre 1350. Details.


PhD Oral Defences

Management Sciences. Heba Gaber, "The Influence of Inward Technology Transfers and International Entrepreneurial Orientation on the Export Performance of Egyptian SMEs." Supervisor, Rod McNaughton. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, April 26, 9:30 a.m., CPH 4333.

School of Public Health and Health Systems. Ron Hoffman, "Development of the interRAI Brief Mental Health Screener to Enhance the Ability of Police Officers to Identify Persons with Serious Mental Disorder." Supervisor, John Hirdes. On display in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, April 26, 1:30 p.m., BMH 3119.

History. Laura Greaves, "No longer helpless recipients of food and clothing: UNRRA's work rehabilitating the DPs in the American Zone of occupation in Germany, 1945-1947." Supervisor, Lynne Taylor. On deposit in the Arts Graduate Office, PAS 2434. Oral defence Monday, April 29, 1:00 p.m., HH 373.

Civil and Environmental Engineering. Ayan Sadhu, "Decentralized Ambient System Identification of Structures." Supervisors, Sriram Narasimhan, Mahesh Pandey. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, April 29, 1:00 p.m., MC 2009.

Computer Science. Azin Ashkan, "Characterizing User Search Intent and Behaviour for Click Analysis in Sponsored Search." Supervisor, Charles Clarke. On display in the Mathematics Faculty Graduate Office, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, April 29, 2:00 p.m., DC 2314.


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