Waterloo magazine wonders "what's your problem?"
While everyone is looking for solutions to global challenges, the University of Waterloo is teaching students how to analyze problems – important problems.
The spring issue of Waterloo Magazine, called What's Your Problem? takes a look at how the University launched Canada's first Problem Lab, a place where you can learn to identify the right problems to create ventures that have significant social and economic impact in the world. Find out what the five steps are to identifying your killer problem in a feature story called A lab with no solutions?
You'll also read about how Pampa Dey, who grew up in a rural village in India, overcame obstacles to get her PhD in engineering and how she inspires girls to study science and engineering. Read about her journey in Sweet success.
The spring issue also brings us a feature about how Chris Hudson, a professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, is researching how the eye can help physicians diagnose Parkinson's disease — while battling the disease himself. Read more about it: In the fight of his life.
There are also profiles on four alumni who are making an impact in the world of renewable energy, children's cancer care, barrier-free cities and maternal health.
Retirees celebrated at reception
The new Retiree Reception was held on Wednesday, May 9 in partnership with the University of Waterloo Retirees Association (UWRA).
More than 170 University retirees joined President Feridun Hamdullahpur and President of the University of Waterloo Retirees Association (UWRA) Alan George at the reception held in Federation Hall.
Existing retirees gathered to welcome and celebrate new retirees from the previous calendar year during the cocktail reception. Also included in the program were speaking remarks from Executive Director, Human Resources, Kenton Needham, and Co-Chair from the Keystone Campaign Tony Munro.
This new recognition event was based on feedback from employees and recent retirees and is part of a new pilot program that enhances the way the University recognizes the service of its faculty and staff.
LITE grants awarded to innovative teaching projects
The Office of the Associate Vice President, Academic and the Centre for Teaching Excellence have announced the recipients of the latest round of Learning Innovation and Teaching Enhancement (LITE) seed grants:
- Assessing Lifelong Learning in Work-Integrated Learning Reflections and Student Self-Assessments, Judene Pretti, Bob Sproule, and David Drewery
- Assessing the Learning that Occurs with Arts-Based Pedagogy: Learning About Social Justice, Trish Van Katwyk, Amir Al-Azraki, and Soheila Kolahdouz Asfahani
- Closing the Collaborative Skills Gap: Assessing the Effectiveness of a University-Wide Course Designed to Teach Students How to Collaborate in Diverse Groups, Kathryn Plaisance and Christine Logel
- Development and Assessment of Project-Based Laboratory in Chemical Engineering, Mingqian (John) Zhang, Cheryl Newton, Jason Grove, Mark Pritzker, and Marios Ioannidis
- Evaluating Comics as Pedagogical Tools in an Undergraduate Mathematics Course, Dan Wolczuk, Amanda Garcia, Joslin Goh, and Giuseppe Sellaroli
- Second Language Pronunciation Learning at a University Level, Svetlana Kaminskaïa and Dominique Louër
- Tackling Weight Bias in the Classroom: Developing Capacity for Weight-sensitive Instruction among Educators and Learners at the University of Waterloo, Rhona Hanning, Amanda Raffoul, Rachel Acton, Kirsten Lee, Katie Burns, and Katelyn Godin
- Teaching and Learning with Controversial Issues in Diverse Postsecondary Classrooms, Christina Parker
Two rounds of seed grant funding are available each year, and the next annual deadline is fast approaching: June 1.
Since 2012, 67 LITE seed grants of up to $5,000 have been awarded to instructors and staff investigating innovative approaches to enhancing teaching and fostering deep student learning at Waterloo. Recipients across campus have explored topics ranging from transcultural learning to ePortfolios, Communities of Practice to undergraduate teamwork development workshops, and more.
For more information, you can explore the LITE Grant website, which includes application guidelines, descriptions of funded projects, and sample proposals. If you would like guidance on your project or feedback on your application, please contact Crystal Tse or Kristin Brown at the Centre for Teaching Excellence.
WatRISQ takes a bite out of the Big Apple
by Nan Gao.
A seminar room at the Manhattan Institute of Management was filled with Math alumni and the other guests in New York on April 19 as the University of Waterloo partnered with Columbia University to host a special lecture event.
The enthusiastic audience attended the joint lecture series entitled Machine Learning & Sentiment Analysis in Finance for Statistical Arbitrage featuring remarks by Dr. Arun Verma of Bloomberg.
The event was co-hosted by the Waterloo Research Institute in Insurance, Security and Quantitative Finance (WatRISQ) and the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department (IEOR) of Columbia University.
Director of WatRISQ Professor Thomas Coleman welcomed guest speaker Dr. Arun Verma, Waterloo math alumni, and the other guests.
Dr. Arun Verma joined the Bloomberg Quantitative Research group in 2003. Prior to that, he earned his Ph.D from Cornell University. At Bloomberg, Mr. Verma’s work initially focused on Stochastic Volatility Models for Derivatives and Exotics pricing & hedging. More recently, he has enjoyed working at the intersection of diverse areas such as data science (with structured and unstructured data), innovative quantitative models across asset classes and machine learning methods to help reveal embedded signals in financial data.
In his talk, Professor Verma spoke about the high volume and time sensitivity/dependence of news and social media stories necessitating automated processing to extract actionable information; the unstructured nature of textual information presents challenges that are naturally addressed by machine-learning techniques. After the lecture, there was a lively Q&A period regarding the hot topic of machine learning and finance.
To view a recording of the event, please visit WatRISQ's website.