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Friday, January 10, 2014



  • Associate Provost, Human Resources arrives
  • Honek wins national chemistry award
  • "Broader approach" to closings considered
  • Next week is Winter Welcome Week
  • Friday's notes



Frozen beauty: The polar vortex, as far as weather systems go, left behind some pretty imagery in its wake, as this photograph taken by Brendan Lowther, services manager at the Federation of Students, demonstrates.


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Associate Provost, Human Resources arrives

The University of Waterloo’s new Associate Provost, Human Resources, Marilyn Thompson, began her work at the university on Thursday, January 2.

Thompson holds a Bachelor of Nursing from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a Master of Education and a PhD from the University of Toronto. She has had an extensive career in academic training and development, educational consulting, and strategic planning.

The position of Associate Provost, Human Resources, reports directly to the Vice President, Academic and Provost and is a member of the university’s Executive Council.

In her new role, Thompson is responsible for all areas of human resources management including strategic planning, change management, pension and benefits, salary administration, policy development and application, organizational and human development, succession planning, recruitment and retention, and particularly for preserving and enhancing the University of Waterloo’s collegial and collaborative employee relationships. Thompson's administrative responsibility is for the Human Resources department, housed in the General Services Complex, and the office of organizational and human development, housed in Hagey Hall.


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Honek wins national chemistry award

by Victoria Van Cappellen.

Professor John Honek.The Canadian Society for Chemistry has awarded Professor and Chemistry Department Chair John Honek (right) the 2014 Bernard Belleau Award for his contribution to medicinal chemistry.

His research focuses on how enzymes function and interact with small molecules like drugs and substrates. A better understanding of the chemical mechanisms enzymes use to catalyze reactions is important for designing effective therapeutic drugs.

Honek’s interests in biological chemistry also extend to bionanotechnology as well as the creation of new nanomaterials and nanostructures. His research into nano-sized proteins may be used to develop new nano-sized drug carriers and nano-devices.

Honek will give a lecture when he receives this honor during the 97th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver, British Columbia in June.


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"Broader approach" to closings considered

"This Tuesday, January 7 brought very difficult weather conditions," wrote Vice-President, Academic and Provost Geoff McBoyle in a memo circulated to students, faculty and staff yesterday. "Though all of Waterloo Region’s post-secondary education institutions remained open, many students, faculty and staff were significantly inconvenienced."

Under current University of Waterloo guidelines governing campus closures, snow and ice accumulation on local traffic routes is the central factor in the decision-making process. However, after the extreme temperatures experienced this week, the provost says that a group of facilities and administration colleagues will be convened "to consider implementing a broader approach in future."

In the two decades since the formal procedure was adopted, the university has shut its doors in the face of extreme weather conditions 10 times (11 if you count the August 2003 blackout, which wasn't exactly weather-related), most recently in February 2013. Until 2009, the university followed the lead of the Waterloo Region District School Board in closing campus.

"Thank you to our entire campus community for pulling together this week," the provost's memo continues. "While our decision to remain open was made with the best interest of students in mind, there is a legitimate diversity of opinion about whether the decision struck the right balance. In future, we will achieve that broader balance and communicate the decision more fully."

The guidelines currently state that the university closes "because of severe weather when normal operation would pose a significant danger to students, staff and faculty, or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes."

"On behalf of myself and President Hamdullahpur and our entire campus community, I wish to extend a special thanks to our Plant Operations crews who did such an excellent job keeping our facilities up during the severe weather," McBoyle concluded.


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Next week is Winter Welcome Week

by Jacqueline Martinz, Federation of Students.

The Federation of Students is getting ready to host Winter Welcome Week from January 13-17. During the five days, all undergraduate students will be able to attend a variety of engaging events.

The week will start with a special lunch for students and President Feridun Hamdullahpur at The Bombshelter Pub. On Tuesday, a Spice Girls tribute band will take students back to the nineties with performances of hits by the group. Speaker Joel Baskin will share valuable information about entrepreneurship with students on Wednesday.

Undergraduates trying to stay fit this winter should see Body Break duo Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod’s healthy living presentation on Thursday. The week will end with the Waterloo Warriors men’s hockey game. The full schedule for Winter Welcome Week is available online.


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Friday's notes

A bird on a railing.Viral marketing for Rio 2? John Boldt, manager of the Sedra Student Design Centre, took this photo of a rather chilly-looking bird (Parrot? Macaw? Cockatoo? Help me out here) perched outside of Engineering 5 yesterday. The sight of this winged wayfarer no doubt ruffled a few feathers. (Update: the bird has been identified as an African Grey Parrot, and the Humane Society was called in to assist. If the parrot made a statement to UW Police Services, it went unrecorded.)

Human Resources is reporting that a number of retirees have died in the last few months:

Kenneth Chippier died June 28. Ken began working at the university in June 1979. He was a Custodian in Plant Operations until his retirement on June 1. Ken is survived by his spouse, Norma, who is also a Waterloo retiree.

Claude Holdenmeyer died July 7. Holdenmeyer started at the university in November 1964. He was the Animal Care Supervisor in Psychology until his retirement in July 1987.

John Cunningham died October 14. John started at Waterloo in March 1966, working in the Library as a Library Attendant. He retired in April 1983.

Ruth Parker died on December 2. Ruth worked in Co-operative Education and Career Action as a field coordinator. She began her employment in October 1982 and retired in 2005. Parker, who spent 22 years developing co-op opportunities for students, wrote a book called "The Co-op Adventure." She is survived by her husband Richard.

Norma McKenzie died December 21. McKenzie started working at the university in September 1969 and held the position of Library Assistant in the Materials Acquisition section of the Library. She retired in September 1994. She is survived by her children Owen and Alison.

Jean Skanes died on January 3, 2014. Jean began working at the university in 1968 in the finance department and retired in August 1991.

And a couple of corrections to note: in yesterday's piece about Ken Lavigne's retirement, I listed one of the registrar's duties as acting as executive officer for undergraduate council. This is not correct. The registrar is a member of undergraduate council (and of Senate and Executive Council, for that matter) but has no official administrative duties with respect to undergraduate council. Also, it is more accurate to say that eINFO consumed, as opposed to the suggestion that became eINFO. All the best, Ken!

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Link of the day

65 years of music at 45 RPM

When and where

Feds Used Books extended hours for January: • Monday, January 6 to Friday, January 10, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. • Saturday, January 11 and Sunday, January 12, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. • Monday, January 13, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 8 • Tuesday, January 14, back to regular hours, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, closed weekends.

Winter Orientation 2014, Sunday, January 5 to Friday, January 10. Details.

FASS 2014 auditions, Wednesday, January 8 to Friday, January 10, 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., location TBA. Details.

Add period for online courses ends, Friday, January 10.

Winter Orientation student networking event, Friday, January 10, 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Health Services flu shot clinic, Friday, January 10, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Health Services.

Knowledge Integration seminar, “Summer off? No – summer on!” Friday, January 10, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408.

Philosophy Colloquium featuring Jennifer Nagel, University of Toronto, “The Value of Reasoning in Epistemic Justification”, Friday, January 10, 3:30 p.m., HH 334. Details.

Federation of Students Welcome Week, Monday, January 13 to Friday, January 17.

Senate Graduate and Research Council meeting, Monday, January 13, 10:30 a.m., NH 3001.

Welcome Week Student Lunch served by senior administrators, Monday, January 13, 11:30 a.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Senate Undergraduate Council meeting, Tuesday, January 14, 12:00 p.m., NH 3001.

Using the Grades Tool in Waterloo LEARN, Wednesday, January 15, 10:00 a.m., EV1 241. Details.

Conrad Grebel Noon Hour Concert Series featuring the Toronto Percussion Ensemble, Wednesday, January 15, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. Free admission.

Senate Long Range Planning committee meeting, Wednesday, January 15, 1:00 p.m., NH 3001.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Colloquium featuring Shai Ben-David, Professor, University of Waterloo, "Understanding machine learning - a theory perspective," Wednesday, January 15, 3:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Nancy Theberge retirement reception, Wednesday, January 15, 3:30 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Cheryl Kieswetter by Friday, January 10.

Grade 10 Family Night, Wednesday, January 15, 7:00 p.m., Modern Languages. Details.

Mathematics graduate studies information session, Thursday, January 16, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

Course add period ends, Friday, January 17.

Timesaving Tips in LEARN, Friday, January 17, 1:00 p.m., EV1 242. Details.

International Student Experience Winter 2014 Temporary Residence Application Clinic, Tuesday, January 21, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Student Success Office.

Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology seminar, “Technology & Food: Research Collaboration and Commercialization,” Wednesday, January 22, 3:30 p.m., DC 1304.

CIGI Junior Fellowship Program: How to Write a Policy Brief," Friday, January 24, 1:00 p.m., BSIA 1-43. Details.

Gabe Foreman reads at St. Jerome's University, Friday, January 24, 8:00 p.m. Details.

Leadership Starts Here 2014, Saturday, January 25, 8:00 a.m., Student Success Office. Details.

Centre for Career Action presents Make Networking Count, Monday, January 27, 4:30 p.m., TC 1208.

PhD Oral Defences

Systems Design Engineering. Matthew Borland, "The Effect of Ambient Humidity and Moisture Content on the Tone of Acoustic Musical Instruments Made of Wood." Supervisor, Stephen Birkett. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, January 15, 2:00 p.m., E5 6127.

Electrical and Computer Engineering. Mehrdad Pirnia, "Stochastic Modeling and Analysis of Power Systems With Intermittent Energy Sources."  Supervisor, Kankar Bhattacharya. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, January 20, 1:00 p.m., EIT 3142.

Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. Yauheni Staraselski, "On the Optimal Design of the Material Microstructure." Supervisor, Kaan Inal. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, January 24, 9:30 a.m., E5 3006.

Psychology. Bianca Bucarelli, "Understanding Repeated Actions: Examining Factors Beyond Anxiety in Persistence of Compulsions." Supervisor, Christine Purdon. On deposit in the Arts graduate office, PAS 2434. Oral defence Tuesday, January 28, 1:00 p.m., PAS 3026.


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