Monday, November 6, 2017

Research Talks explores urban sustainability innovation

Research Talks logo.

What are the key ingredients to effective sustainability governance in cities? How can initiatives led by cities emerge as crucial actors in the complex transformation toward more sustainable development?

At the next Research Talks on November 17, Sarah Burch will share how policy initiatives, socioeconomic and political pressures as well as technological innovation can lead to sustainability in cities and help mitigate climate change. Please register to attend as seating is limited.

Light refreshments will be provided but feel free to bring your lunch.

Research Talks is a regular series hosted by the Office of Research and supported by the Research Support Fund to celebrate research and provide an opportunity for Waterloo faculty, staff, and students to learn about the world-class and life-changing research underway at Waterloo.

Hack4Health to focus on quality of life issues

Hack4Health banner logo.

The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (AHS) along with the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) at the University of Waterloo are planning a hackathon dubbed Hack4Health. Hack4Health (H4H) is a non-traditional hackathon with a focus on social impact and improving quality of life for those living with MS or dementia.

The event is aimed at post-secondary students (as participants), individuals living with dementia and MS (as mentors and judges), their families, friends and professionals in technology, business, and health fields. Such an event typically brings together computer programmers, engineers, software and hardware developers, graphic designers and project managers alongside other enthusiastic participants who will collaborate in an effort to create new and accessible technology.

H4H provides an exciting space for undergrads, graduate students and recent graduates to create practical applications, including software, hardware, and social solutions that improve quality of life for people living with multiple sclerosis or dementia. The applications that emerge from H4H benefit people affected by and/or living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias or MS, enhance the profile of both conditions, inspire cutting-edge research at the University of Waterloo, and provide an invaluable platform for social innovation.

Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with a broad range of disciplines and members of the community to come up with impactful solutions to real problems.

Registration for the event is open now and can be accessed through the Hack4Health website..The event takes place over the weekend of November 10 to November 12 in the Applied Health Sciences expansion building.

Renison offers first online Arabic course in Canada

This fall, Renison University College launched the first phase of its online Arabic language program, the first of its kind in Canada. Though Renison has been teaching Arabic in a classroom setting since 2010, it was only through the innovative use of technology that this highly interactive language program overcame the obstacles involved with teaching a language online that uses a non-Latin script. Students will begin to learn to read, write, and speak Arabic in this introductory program, which maintains a level of engagement and feedback from the instructor not found in most online language courses at the post-secondary level. 

As students in this course are just learning to write the Arabic characters, they submit photos of their written work for grading. They also utilize live video conferencing for oral assignments. The instructor uses a tablet computer and a stylus to superimpose corrections and notes onto the photos of students’ written work, before returning it. 

“We needed a way to teach students how to form and join the Arabic letters,” said Melanie Misanchuk of Waterloo’s Centre for Extended Learning, who helped to design the course. “Showing them was easily accomplished by filming videos of the instructor writing, but it was tougher to emulate the idea of a professor walking around the classroom watching students write and correcting them. We solved that by having students film themselves using a smart phone or other video camera and uploading the short videos of their writing for the instructor to grade.” 

Professor Idrisa Pandit, Director of Studies in Islam at Renison, believes that offering Arabic online will allow students greater access to language instruction and equip them to engage with their communities and the world in a new way. 

“Arabic is one of the six official working languages at the United Nations, is the liturgical language for all 1.7 billion Muslims and is one of the most spoken languages of the world, with over 422 million people speaking it,” said Pandit. “In today's global market, knowing Arabic opens doors for our students in all sorts of professions, both globally and here at home in Canada.” 

Staffing changes in Finance department

"The Finance department is undergoing significant change as the result of three senior staff changes occurring in the coming weeks," wrote Vice-President, Administration and Finance Dennis Huber in a memo circulated to Executive Council on Friday. "Jane Manson, Director of Finance, Ann Williams-Gorrie, Associate Director, Financial Systems, and Helen Hannusch, Manager, Budget and Client Services will be retiring following distinguished careers at the University."

"In the interim, Sarah Hadley will be taking on the role of Interim Director of Finance and Corrine Krauss will be taking on the additional role of Financial Systems," writes Huber. "Patti Hancock continues to fill the critical role of Controller."

"During the interim arrangements, budget inquiries should be submitted to Finance using the RT system ( to ensure timely responses. Recruitment for the Director, Finance role is proceeding as per Policy 18."

Sharing the warmth and other notes

"Winter is coming and not everyone in our community is able to keep themselves warm and dry during this oftentimes tough and unforgiving season," says a statement from Library representatives Sarah Martin, Nick Richbell, and Laurie Strome. "We would like to ask for your help in sharing the warmth this winter. Please consider dropping off new or gently used winter gear (coats, mittens/gloves, hats, and socks) in the collection boxes located in Dana Porter and Davis Centre Libraries. We would also like to collect new and unused personal items such as deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, and toothbrushes."

The campaign runs from November 6 to 10 in Dana Porter next to the Circulation Desk, and in Davis Centre near the front doors.

Donations will be taken to the “Share the Warmth” program, oneROOF, Ray of Hope, Mary’s Place, and the House of Friendship Men’s Shelter.

"Thank you in advance for your generosity!"

Brave concert banner.

Join local performer Amanda Kind, fellow alumni and current students for an evening of meaningful music in support of a great cause on Friday, November 10 at 7:30 in Conrad Grebel's Great Hall.

Brave: A Concert Celebrating Courage, Compassion and Community will feature everything from classical and jazz to Broadway show tunes and pop hits in a diverse and entertaining evening. Performers at the event include a small ensemble choir, voice instructor Stephanie Kramer, and many other guest vocalists.

As a Waterloo-based singer, songwriter, actor, and vocal coach, Amanda Kind (BA '06) was named a winner of Conrad Grebel University College's 2017 Distinguished Alumni Service Award for her community work.

This special event is being held in support of Aurora House for victims of human trafficking. Tickets are $20.

United Way thermometer showing $203K raised.

Link of the day

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

When and where

Electrical and Computer Engineering Distinguished Lecture: "Recent Developments in Compressed Sensing" by Dr. Mathukumalli Vidyasagar, Monday, November 6, 10:00 a.m., EIT 3142.

Exploring Career Pathways, Monday, November 6, 12:30 p.m., TC room 1112.

2nd Annual Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge (GAMIC) Quarter-Finals, Monday, November 6, 5;00 p.m., DC 1301 and 1304.

Challenge Yourself: International Co-op Work Term Opportunities, Tuesday, November 7, 1:30 p.m., TC room 1208.

Unit 4 research reporting drop-in training session. Tuesday, November 7, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EC5-1111 (Enterprise Theatre).

Applying and Interviewing for International Opportunities, November 7, 2:30 p.m., TC room 1208.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, “Somewhat homomorphic encryption and its attractiveness in privacy-enhancing technologies,” Andreas Peter, University of Twente, Wednesday, November 8, 10:30 a.m., DC 1304.

CPAMI Seminar Series: “AI Ethics? Roboethics?: Practical Approaches to the Growing Ethics Discussion about Machine Autonomy”, Dr. AJung Moon, Director, Open Roboethics Institute (ORI), Wednesday, November 8, 11:00 a.m., E5 4106-4128.

Talk by Faculty of Applied Health Sciences’ 2017 Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Dr. Patrick Brill-Edwards, “It’s about the science, stupid”, Wednesday, November 8, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., D.C. 1302.

University of Waterloo Department of Music Noon Hour Concerts: Autorickshaw, Wednesday, November 8, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

WatCACE Research Seminar: Diversity Recruitment Practices and Workplace Realities: A Study of Co-op Students, Wednesday, November 8, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., TC 2218 (and webinar).

Get a Job Using LinkedIn, Wednesday, November 8, 1:30 p.m., TC 1208.

Algorithms and complexity seminar, “Testing linearity against no-signaling strategies,” Igor Shinkar, University of California, Berkeley, Wednesday, November 8, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

NEW - Chemistry Seminar Series: Preston A. Chase, "Development and Commercial Application of Novel Catalyst and Forward Osmosis Technologies," Wednesday November 8, 2:30 p.m., C2-361.

Faculty of Mathematics Undergraduate Information Session, Wednesday, November 8, 4:30 p.m., DC 1301.

Résumés, Careers and Personal Branding — Day 1, Wednesday, November 8, 5:00 p.m., TC room 2218.

Velocity Start: Pitch Like A Pro, “Perfecting your pitch,” Wednesday, November 8, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

2017 Technology Innovation and Policy Forum, "Disruptive Innovation Over the Wires: Business Models for Success," Thursday, November 9, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Work Search Strategies, Thursday, November 9, 10:30 a.m., TC 1208.

Résumés, Careers and Personal Branding — Day 2, Thursday, November 9, 5:00 p.m., TC room 2218.

Writing CVs and Cover Letters for Academic Job Applications – Ph.D. & Post-Doc students only, Friday, November 10, 10:00 a.m., TC room 1208.

Information systems and science for energy seminar, “C/sells – cellular structures and smart metering for the energy transition of the German energy system,” Ingo Mauser, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, Friday, November 10, 1:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Afrofuturism, Religion and Sustainable Technocultures”, featuring speaker Carol Duncan, Professor, Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University, Friday, November 10, 2:30 p.m., EV3-1408.

Hack4Health 3.0, “Dementia and Multiple Sclerosis Hackathon,” Friday, November 10, 5:00 p.m. to Sunday, November 12, 7:30 p.m., AHS Expansion Building.

Warriors Men's Hockey Think Pink, Staff and Faculty Appreciation, Big Ticket and Donor Appreciation Day vs. Windsor, Friday November 10, 7:00 p.m., DIF Arena.

The Future of Historical Studies: A Symposium in Honour of Dr. James W. St. G. Walker, Saturday, November 11, 8:45 a.m., AL 105.

Remembrance Day, Saturday, November 11.