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Friday, October 2, 2015


Waterloo climbs in which rankings? THE rankings!

The University of Waterloo rose into the top 200 universities in the world placing 179 in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings released today.

Waterloo’s rise in the rankings, from 251-275 a year ago, is the largest rise amongst Canadian universities in the ranking. Waterloo is among just seven Canadian universities ranked in the top 200 in the world by Times Higher Education.

“I am pleased that the University of Waterloo’s strength in world class research, scholarship and innovation is again recognized on the global stage,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur. “It’s particularly encouraging that Times Higher Education have made changes to their ranking methodology that better represents unconventional innovation institution like ours.”

THE made significant changes to the methodology used to calculate their ranking this year. The changes are:

  • The data source for indicators based on journal article publications and citations changed from Thompson Reuters’ Web of Science to Elsevier’s Scopus. Scopus generally has wider coverage compared to Web of Science, including in the areas where Waterloo has strength such as math and computer science.
  • THE increased its reputation survey coverage by adding the survey in six additional languages and decreased the percentage of survey responses from North America (from 25% last year to 18% this year).
  • Papers with more than 1,000 authors listed were excluded (about 650 papers, in areas such as physics and biology).
  • The citation indicator has, in past years, included a “regional modification” based on the country of the university. This normally gave a boost to universities in countries with overall low citation numbers. This year, the weighting of this modification has been decreased, so the advantage of publishing in a country with lower overall citations will be decreased.
  • 800 institutions were included in the ranking this year, compared with 400 in previous years.

Earlier this month, Waterloo rose 17 spots to 152 in the world according to UK firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). QS also ranks Waterloo 20th in the world for its work in Mathematics, 24th for Computer Science and 48th in the world for Geography. The Academic Ranking of World Universities also ranked Waterloo 47th in the Engineering field.

Waterloo recently ranked 10th in the world in the Parchment Student Choice College Rankings 2016 that ranks schools based on student enrolment decisions and PitchBook ranked the University the top school in Canada for venture-capital backed entrepreneurs.

$10M for improved student space announced at town hall

Feridun Hamdullahpur speaks at the town hall as the panelists look on.

Improving student experience is the focus of a $10-million funding announcement made last Wednesday at the mini town hall on Teaching, Learning, and Community Space.

“As the University continues to develop and mature, our spaces should reflect our progress. In fact, I think having the right teaching and learning space goes hand in hand with research excellence in determining our success,” said President Feridun Hamdullahpur, who made the announcement during his opening remarks at the town hall.

We need to excel in both areas if we want to attract the world’s best students and faculty.”

The $10-million allocation will help fund renovations to existing classrooms, social space, student services and the Physical Activities Complex.

Chris Read, associate provost, students, said the funding includes $400,000 to enhance study space on campus, $2 million to expand student services in Ira Needles Hall and $1.2 million for improvements to the University’s Physical Activities Complex — home to varsity teams and campus-wide activities including Convocation ceremonies and exams. The University’s allotment of $1.2M is being matched by a student contribution of $1.2M.

The rest of the funds will go to classroom upgrades, the creation of flexible learning spaces and improvement of graduate student space, said Mario Coniglio, associate vice-president, academic.

The investment will be guided in part by a new teaching and learning space committee which will include student leaders and faculty representation and will be chaired by Associate Provost, Resources, Beth Jewkes.

The mini town hall meeting on teaching, learning and community space featured remarks by Chris Read, Mario Coniglio and Sarah Hildebrandt, director of graduate academic services, Maya D’Alessio, president of the Graduate Students Association and Chris Lolas, Federation of Students president.

Questions, submitted via social media, email or asked from the floor, included space planning in light of enrolment numbers, the process for engaging students in decision-making, the feasibility of a purpose-built year-round exam location, improvements to the booking system, food service locations, and parking.

The entire mini town hall was livestreamed.

Welcome (back) to Reunion this weekend

The University of Waterloo will host alumni, the community, staff and students on Saturday, October 3rd in celebration of Reunion 2015. All are invited to attend a variety of activities at the Waterloo campus.

"The University of Waterloo is proud to call this dynamic region home," said Feridun Hamdullahpur. "It is my pleasure to invite members of our local and campus communities to take part in the festivities of this annual event and join us as we welcome back our Waterloo alumni."

Among the highlights, Professor Raymond Laflamme, executive director for the Institute for Quantum Computing, will deliver a free public lecture at the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre at 2:30 p.m. 

“So much is happening here at Waterloo," said Laflamme. "Our research is already disrupting classical technology and the transformational effects these quantum technologies will have on society. Our work is helping Waterloo Region become the Quantum Valley.”

Other events include:

  • 8:00 a.m. - The AHS Fun Run around the Ring Road takes place at B.C. Matthews Hall;
  • 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. - Come to the engineering open house and engineering tours at the Sedra Student Design Centre in Engineering 5;
  • 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Arts alumni reunion, with the Dean's Panel Discussion;
  • 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Meet Bob Lemieux, dean of science, and receive a VIP tour of the Science Teaching Complex;
  • 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Math alumni open house;
  • 11:00 a.m. - Test your memory in the fun lecture, "What Are The Odds? Revisiting ENVS 178," with Jean Andrey, dean of environment;
  • 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. - Attend the 21st annual East Asian Festival at Renison University College. Experience the vibrant cultures of China, Japan and Korea with live performances, music, food and educational booths;
  • 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Discover the excitement of quantum mechanics by attending the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) reunion open house;
  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. - Bright young minds will experience the wonders of science, including live demonstrations of electricity, magnetism, superconductivity and more at the Q-Kids Science Show at the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre;
  • 1:00 p.m. - Cheer on the Waterloo Warriors as they take on the Laurier Golden Hawks at Warrior Field.

For a full list of events and to register, please visit the Reunion 2015 website.

Fun Run traffic disruptions and other notes

Grand River Transit, GO Transit, and Greyhound bus pick-up locations will be altered on Saturday, October 3 for the annual AHS Fun Run, which is being held as part of Reunion 2015.

Beginning at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, all traffic around Ring Road will be routed to the outer lane only until approximately 12:00 noon. Police and Parking Services will be managing traffic during this time.

  • Greyhound will be picking up directly in front of Parking Lot R for their 9:00 a.m. departure
  • GO Transit  will be picking up across from the existing stops on the outer side of the Ring Road for all service until 1:00pm on Saturday.
  • Grand River Transit has been notified of the change to ring road and will adapt their pick-ups accordingly.

If anyone has questions about the transportation diversions, please contact Alumni Advancement Officer Mari-Beth Davis by email or at extension 32610.

Mediated Bodies poster.The Department of English Language and Literature is hosting an author event featuring English faculty members Beth Coleman and Jay Dolmage. "Mediated Bodies" will take place today at 1:30 p.m. in HH 373.

Beth Coleman is the author of Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked Generation (MIT Press). Hello Avatar examines a crucial aspect of our cultural shift from analog to digital: the continuum between online and off-, what she calls the “x-reality” that crosses between the virtual and the real. Coleman looks at the emergence of a world that is neither virtual nor real but encompasses a multiplicity of network combinations. Exploring such network activities as embodiment, extreme (virtual) violence, and the work in virtual reality labs, and offering sidebar interviews with designers and practitioners, she argues that what is new is real-time collaboration and copresence, the way we make connections using networked media and the cultures we have created around this.

Jay Dolmage is the author of Disability Rhetoric (Syracuse University Press), winner of a 2015 PROSE Award. Disability Rhetoric is the first book to view rhetorical theory and history through the lens of disability studies. Traditionally, the human body has been seen as, at best, a rhetorical distraction; at worst, those whose bodies do not conform to a narrow range of norms are disqualified from speaking. Dolmage argues that communication has always been obsessed with the meaning of the body and that bodily difference is always highly rhetorical.

Columbia Street westbound lanes closed this weekend

What's happening: the westbound lanes will be closed between Hagey Boulevard and Phillip Street at the CN Railway tracks as Waterloo North Hydro crews work in the area

When: Starting October 3 for approximately 3 days.

The impact:  Eastbound lanes will still be open. Westbound travellers are asked to detour down Phillip Street to University Avenue.

Link of the day

Good grief! Peanuts is 65!

When and where

Imaginus Poster Sale, Monday, September 28 to Friday, October 2, Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Minka - A Social Justice Conference, Friday, October 2, 8:00 a.m., St. Jerome's University.

Warrior Weekend Charity Tailgate, Friday, October 2, 11:30 a.m., TechTown patio.

University of Waterloo Research Talks featuring Professor Heather Keller, "Finding solutions to nutritional vulnerability in older adults," Friday, October 2, 12:00 p.m., DC 1302. Register online, seating is limited.

Staff Relations Committee meeting, Friday, October 2, 12:30 p.m., NH 3001.

Say it in your own Words: Paraphrase & Summary, Friday, October 2, 1:00 p.m.

English Faculty Research Series: Mediated Bodies, Friday, October 2, 1:30 p.m., HH 373.

Knowledge Integration Seminar: Berlin Reflections, Friday, October 2, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408.

40th Anniversary Mathematics Reunion - Class of 1975, Friday, October 2 to Saturday, October 3.

Reunion 2015, Saturday, October 3.

AHS Annual Fun Run, Saturday, October 3, 8:30 a.m., BC Matthews Hall.

Math-Bus Workshop, "Asset allocation and portfolio construction," Saturday, October 3, 10:00 a.m.

Further Education Boot CampSaturday, October 3, all day, RCH.

East Asian Festival, Saturday, October 3, 11:00 a.m., Renison University College.

Battle of Waterloo Reunion football game, Saturday, October 3, 1:00 p.m., Warrior Field.

A Liturgy and Feast 2015, Saturday, October 3, 4:00 p.m., St. George Hall, St. Jerome's University.

Conrad Grebel 70s-era reunion, Saturday, October 3, 6:00 p.m., John E. Toews Atrium, Conrad Grebel University College.

Fall Teaching Week, Monday, October 5 to Friday, October 9.

Federal election 2015 local candidate debate, Monday, October 5, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall. 

CBB visionary lecture series: Tackling grand challenges in global health & development, Monday, October 5, 2:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics featuring Richard B. Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University, "Reducing inequality and improving productivity by employee ownership:
evidence-based economic policy for 21st century capitalism," Tuesday, October 6, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

"Can I Kiss You? A Presentation by Mike Domitrz," Tuesday, October 6, 4:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Canadian Engineering Graduate Studies Consortium, Tuesday, October 6, 5:00 p.m., Engineering 5.

UW Farm Market, Wednesday, October 7, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., SLC lower atrium.

Renison presents a Taiwanese OperaWednesday, October 7, 7:00 pm, Dunfield Theatre Cambridge.

Building A Unicorn: Kik’s Journey to $1 Billion, Wednesday, October 7, 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. 

Velocity Alpha: Ain’t No Model Like A Business ModelWednesday, October 7, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412. 

Thanksgiving Day, Monday, October 12, most University operations closed.

Velocity Science: Brainstorming, Tuesday, October 13, 7:30 p.m., QNC room 1506.

Noon Hour Concert: Surprising Shostakovich, Epic Tschaikovsky, Wednesday, October 14, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

Velocity Alpha: Setup Your Business Like A Boss, Wednesday, October 14, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412.

Dragon Challenge Quidditch Tournament, Saturday, October 17, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Village 1 Green.

Mitacs Step Workshop - Time Management, Wednesday, October 21, 9:00 a.m., TC 2218.

Velocity Alpha: Do People Want Your Sh*t?, Wednesday, October 21, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412.

WISE Lecture Series - The Impact of "Energiewende" on Renewable Energy in Germany, Thursday, October 22, 10:30 a.m., DC 1302.

111th Convocation ceremonies, Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24, Physical Activities Complex.

English Language and Literature Series featuring Lisa Hager, University of Wisconsin - Waukesha, "Towards a Queer Literary History of Gender Identity: Steampunk, Gender Nonconformity, and Victorian Studies," Friday, October 23, 1:00 p.m., PAS 2438.

Velocity Alpha: How To Find Your Customers Online, Wednesday, October 28, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412. 

Noon Hour Concert: Attacca Quartet plays Haydn, Friday, October 30, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.