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Friday, May 28, 2014



  • Waterloo springs forward from winter's chill
  • Town Hall talked transformational research
  • Library launches extended hours for exams
  • Earth Hour event tomorrow
  • Friday's notes



Waterloo springs forward from winter's chill

by Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor.

I suppose I should start with an apology.

When I last wrote to you in this space, on February 28, I concluded my article with this sentiment:

“Thank you for keeping at your work and studies during such a long and cold winter. The next time I write to you Spring will have sprung!”

Technically true, sure, but in retrospect a little misleading. In any event, you’d never know the winter blues were at work at the University of Waterloo. March has been an extraordinary month!

On the week of March 17, I led Waterloo’s delegation to the Technion University in Israel, where we signed a significant partnership agreement with that university.

Our joint research teams got to work planning for collaboration in the core partnerships areas of quantum information science, nanotechnology and water. We were thrilled at the recognition and admiration the University of Waterloo received during the conference.

This effort is a key element of Waterloo’s international activity over the last number of months. In fact, I think we are developing an excellent platform to build Waterloo’s leadership position on international education in the years ahead.

I examined some of the major challenges and opportunities on the international scene in my just-published article for, the website of Canada’s group of research-intensive universities. I currently have the honour of vice-chairing this group, and it has been a great experience supporting the U15’s mandate both at home and abroad. Recently I was in the fortunate position negotiating the U15’s connection to the Global Network of research intensive universities —a well-deserved recognition of Canada’s research excellence.

Also this month, we continued our series of Mini Town Halls on our Strategic Plan themes. I helped to kick off the series at the first session on Entrepreneurship on March 6. These are great opportunities to learn more about the university’s strategic direction and engage with our theme leaders. The next installment is on the subject of Internationalization, and taking place on April 2. Full details and registration information are online.

March also brought a time to bid farewell and good luck to one of my administration colleagues. Tim Jackson, our now former vice-president for university relations, concluded his service with the University of Waterloo to pursue his passion for social finance and entrepreneurship at MaRS in Toronto.

Those of you who know Tim know that he is an extraordinary person and that he loves this university. He will be missed! In his absence, I am personally helping to lead the University Relations area in partnership with its management team, and it’s all systems go for that critical portfolio.

Looking forward, April promises to be every bit as exciting as March.

We have the annual Waterloo Innovation Summit slated for April 14-15, with an outstanding roster of speakers and panelists lined up. WINS, as we refer to the summit, is designed to be a “networking and ideation” platform for some of the region’s and world’s leading entrepreneurship thinkers and practitioners. As you know, WINS is not intended to be a standalone event, but rather the annual keystone of our entrepreneurship and innovation strategy at the university.

Taken together — from new university partnerships, to key international efforts on behalf of Canadian universities, to continued leadership on innovation and entrepreneurship — the University of Waterloo is showing the world that we intend to help lead the way among globally-minded, innovative universities.

Thank you for making your own unique contributions to this exciting journey each and every day.

All the best for April,




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Town Hall talked transformational research

Transformational research was the talk of the town hall held March 18 in the quantum-nano centre.

Transformational research working group members Bruce Muirhead, John Thompson, and Eric Helleiner spoke about the priority area and its relation to the University's Strategic Plan as the implementation phase continues.

The trio took questions from the floor, from Twitter, and from email about data management, how new and emerging areas of research will be identified and supported, how metrics would be decided upon, and how burdens on researchers can be reduced.

The entire town hall was livestreamed.

The next Mini Town Hall is scheduled for Wednesday, April 2 with Internationalization as the key theme under discussion. Check the Town Hall website for more information.


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Library launches extended hours for exams

The Library will be extending its hours from March 30 to April 24 for the examination period.

The Davis Centre will be open 24 hours, except for Sundays, 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. The Dana Porter library will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. every day.

During this period of extended operations, service desks and related services will continue to close at regular times. For Dana Porter this means 11:00 p.m. and for the David Centre that means midnight.

At the Davis Centre location, there will be attendants present for security purposes. Staff will monitor for noise, cell phone use, and hot foods that are not permitted in the library.

On Good Friday, April 18, Davis will be open 24 hours and Dana Porter will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. The circulation desk will be open from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at both locations.

On the final day of extended hours, April 24, Davis will close at midnight and Porter will close at 11:00 p.m.

Intersession runs from April 25 to May 4, and both library locations will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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Earth Hour tomorrow

Saturday is Earth Hour, and the Federation of Students' Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI) will be hosting a campus Earth Hour event in the Student Life Centre as they do every year. There are several festivities planned throughout the day, and from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. the lights in the SLC will be turned off.

In the Student Life Centre Great Hall, there will be arts and crafts, a photobooth, herb planting, bike generator, vendor booths, and raffle draws. From 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., St. Paul's GreenHouse will be hosting a sustainability workshop, and from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., there will be a coffeehouse with live bands.

In the multipurpose room, from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., there will be a bar serving local beer and pizza.

In the SLC's lower atrium, the following events are planned:

  • 4:00 p.m. - 4:40 p.m.: Zumba
  • 5:00 p.m. - 5:40 p.m.: Muay Thai
  • 6:00 p.m. - 6:40 p.m.: Hip Hop
  • 7:00 p.m. - 7:40 p.m.: Yoga

Follow @sustain_campus on Twitter for updates on the Earth Hour event or use the #UWEarthHour hashtag.


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Friday's notes

More Waterloo connections are surfacing in the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) hackathon finals. University of Waterloo alumnus Kevin Quan (BASc '05, MASc '06)'s app "A Healthier Commute" is another one of the 15 finallists. Quan is part of Team Quantified. While an electrical engineering student a decade ago, he was part of a group responsible for bringing the Co-op Rankings website into being.

The Pension Team from Human Resources will be offering a Lunch and Learn Pension session today in DC 1302 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. This session is entitled “UW Pension Plan – The Basics Every Employee Needs to Know”. There's no need to register, just show up with your lunch.

If it's Baroque, you can fix it: A musical ensemble, directed by Kenneth Hull, associate professor of music at Conrad Grebel University College, is giving the first Canadian performance of a newly-reconstructed work for soloists, choir and orchestra created by Johann Sebastian Bach. the "St. Mark Passion" was first performed in Leipzig in 1747, and is a pastiche (or pasticcio, if you prefer) of music by Bach, Kaiser and Handel composed originally for a Good Friday performance. Recently, a missing part was discovered that allowed a full reconstruction to be made, leading to this first performance on Canadian soil. The performance will use Baroque-period instruments.

The performance, which will take place on Sunday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m. in St. John The Evangelist Anglican Church, is being supported by both Conrad Grebel University College and the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. Tickets are available at eventbrite, Words Worth Books, Music Plus, and Conrad Grebel University College.

Here's the latest Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" supplied by Health Services dietician Sandra Ace:

Myth: Regular juice cleanses are good for your health.

Fact: Juice cleanses are big business, promoted to support weight loss and as a way to detoxify the body and heal just about any ailment from digestion to hormonal imbalance to memory loss. Cleanses, either using commercial products or home-prepared juice concoctions, are neither necessary nor effective. Your body doesn’t need a “time out” from digesting solid food; the products of digestion are taken care of through normal processes that occur in the intestines, kidneys and liver. Cleansing regimes may be unsafe and you won’t find scientific evident backing their use for any reason except those specifically prescribed by physicians to prepare the gut for examinations like colonoscopies. You will however, find plenty of retailers and  practitioners willing to sell you products that may result in side effects related to very low calorie intakes,  such as fatigue, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, lightheadedness and nausea. The bottom line? Buyer beware… if it sounds too good to be true, there’s a reason!


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New Zealand's High Commissioner visits campus today

His Excellency Simon Tucker, New Zealand's High Commissioner to Canada will be visiting Waterloo's campus today along with Micaela Buckley, counsellor (science and innovation) from the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, DC.

The objective of the visit is to learn more about the areas of research interest and different models for research commercialization at the University of Waterloo and to explore potential partnerships between the University of Waterloo and universities in New Zealand.

The delegation will conduct meetings at Needles Hall before travelling to downtown Kitchener for a tour of the Velocity Garage.

Link of the day

Three Mile Island, 35 years ago

When and where

Pension Lunch and Learn session, “UW Pension Plan – The Basics Every Employee Needs to Know,” Friday, March 28, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Quantitative Biology seminar featuring Silvana Ilie, associate professor, Department of Mathematics, Ryerson University, "Efficient methods for stochastic simulations of biochemical systems," Friday, March 28, 2:30 p.m., EIT 1014.

Knowledge Integration seminar, “Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Theory and Practice”, Friday March 28, 2:30pm, EV2 2002. Details.

Memorial event for David Sprott, Friday, March 28, 3:00 p.m., Mathematics 3. Details.

2014 Aftab Patla Memorial Cup Hockey Game, Friday, March 28, 4:00 p.m. (BBQ at BMH), 5:30 p.m. puck drop, CIF. Details.

SI Speaker Series: Fascism as a Temporary Default Setting in South Asia, Friday, March 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College. Details.

UW Acappella End of Term Concerts, Friday, March 28, and Saturday, March 29, 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.,
Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages. $5 in advance at FEDS office, (SLC), $8 at the door. Details.

Spiritus Ensemble presents Bach/Kaiser/Handel's St Mark Passion (1747), Sunday, March 30, 7:00 p.m., St. John The Evangelist Anglican Church, 23 Water Street, Kitchener. $20 adult/senior, $10 full-time students. Sponsored by Conrad Grebel University College and the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. Details.

Housing presents Reminiscing Rez, Monday, March 31, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Student consultation - experiential education, Monday, March 31, 12:00 p.m., Student Success Office, SCH. Details.

WICI Seminar featuring Mireille E. Broucke, "Reach Control Problem," Monday, March 31, 2:00 p.m., M3 2134. Details.

St. Paul's GreenHouse presents Social Entrepreneurship Fest, Monday, March 31, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College. Details.

WIN Nano Graduate Seminar Series, Tuesday, April 1, 12:30 p.m., QNC 1501. Details.

Board of Governors Meeting, Tuesday, April 1, 1:45 p.m., QNC 0101.

Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Wednesday, April 2, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sedra Student Design Centre, Engineering 5. Details.

Strategic Plan Mini-Town Hall - Internationalization, Wednesday, April 2, 3:00 p.m., Main atrium, Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT). Details.

Institute for Quantum Computing Graduate Student Association presents a screening of "Gravity," Wednesday, April 2, 7:00 p.m., QNC 0101. Details.

Chemical Engineering seminar featuring David Latulippe, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, "Microscale Processing for High-Throughput Studies in Water Separations and Bio-Polymer Processing", Thursday, April 3, 3:30 p.m., E6 2024. Details.

History End-Of-Term Trivia Night, Thursday, April 3, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Bombshelter Pub.

Germanic and Slavic Studies presents the 2014 Diefenbaker Lecture Series featuring Elisabeth Herrmann, University of Alberta, “How Does Transnationalism Redefine Contemporary Literature? An Investigation of Five German Authors,” Thursday, April 3, 7:00 p.m., HH 1102. Details.

Orchestra@uwaterloo concert, Thursday, April 3, 8:00 p.m., Hagey Hall. Details.

Lectures end, Friday, April 4.

Pension & Benefits Committee meeting, Friday, April 4, 9:30 a.m., NH 3001.

Staff Relations Committee meeting, Friday, April 4, 1:00 p.m., NH 3001.

Knowledge Integration Senior Research Project Symposium, Friday, April 4, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Minto Atrium, EV3.

St. Jerome's Relay for Life, Friday, April 4, 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Details.

WIN Nano Graduate Seminar Series, Tuesday, April 8, 12:30 p.m., QNC 1501. Details.

Retirement celebration for Pam Van Allen, Wednesday, April 9, 3:30 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Lisa Weber by Friday, April 4.

Pre-examination study days, Friday, April 4 to Monday, April 7.

The Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience presents Waterloo Brain Day, Monday, April 7, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EV3 1408. Details.

On-campus examinations begin, Tuesday, April 8.

Germanic and Slavic Studies presents the 2014 Diefenbaker Lecture Series featuring Laurie Johnson, University of Illinois, “Forgotten Dreams: Werner Herzog’s Romantic Cinema,” Tuesday, April 8, 7:00 p.m., HH 1102. Details.

Fine Arts Life Drawing Open Session, Wednesday, April 9, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, April 9, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

Online class examination days, Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12.

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