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Friday, October 12, 2018


Most innovative university, 27 years running

The University of Waterloo is Canada’s most innovative university, according to a reputational survey from Maclean’s magazine.

Maclean’s annual ranking of Canadian universities, released yesterday, also named Waterloo 2nd place in the ‘best overall’ and ‘leaders of tomorrow’ reputational categories, after the University of Toronto.

“Innovation has been a driving force at the University of Waterloo and has been an integral part of our success in research, entrepreneurship and experiential learning,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur. “These honours are a result of the hard work of our students, faculty members, staff and external partners without whom our many successes would not be possible.”

Waterloo maintained its 3rd place ranking among comprehensive universities in Canada, with Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria in the first and second spots.

Check out the rankings on the Maclean’s website.

Waterloo introduces Healthy Workplace Statement

A message from the Healthy Workplace committee.

President Feridun Hamdullahpur introduced the University of Waterloo Healthy Workplace Statement at the second annual Keeping Well at Work Day event held on Wednesday, October 10.

Waterloo supports a holistic approach that recognizes the social, emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological health and safety needs of its community. We recognize health practices contribute to every employee’s personal success and set the institution up for success in accomplishing its mission and goals. We are committed to providing a supportive environment where all individuals are valued, engaged and able to thrive.

Developed by the Healthy Workplace Committee, with representation from faculty, staff and students, the Healthy Workplace Statement supports and upholds the University of Waterloo’s commitment to ensuring a healthy, safe, and supportive workplace. It encourages the participation of University employees in healthy workplace programs and initiatives. We invite you to provide your feedback through the Healthy Workplace survey.

Take a look at the Healthy Workplace Statement on the Healthy Workplace website. Keep an eye out for posters that will be distributed across campus later this month.

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Katrina Di Gravio, chair of the Healthy Workplace Committee.

Waterloo women recognized for outstanding community work

 by Anne Galang.

Last week, the K-W Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year Awards paid tribute to outstanding women in the community, and the University of Waterloo was well represented among them. Of the almost 50 women nominated in ten categories, six nominees had ties to the University, with three of those women going on to win awards: alumni Tara Hebblethwaite and Carol Leaman and current student Chloe Jang.

Tara Hebblethwaite (BA Legal Studies 2013) won the award in the Health & Wellness category recognizing women for promoting and helping others achieve mental, physical or spiritual well-being. Since 2014, Hebblethwaite has been using her voice to raise awareness about mental illness, sharing her story of her personal struggle in the hopes of addressing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Carol Leaman (BA Accounting and Finance 1989, MAcc 1989) took home the award in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, recognizing women for outstanding advancement to the field of STEAM. Leaman has 20 years of experience building successful tech-based ventures from the ground up and supporting Waterloo Region’s thriving technology start-up sector as a mentor, thought leader, investor, and community representative on the world stage.

Biomedical sciences student Chloe Jang received the award in the Young Adult category, which recognizes young women who lead by example. With a passion for healthcare, Jang advocates for vulnerable populations. In addition to volunteering at various health centres, she also started ASCEND, a not-for-profit camp for children learning English and conducts Humanitarian Clowning workshops to encourage mental wellness and social change.

Congratulations to the award winners for their outstanding contributions to the Kitchener-Waterloo community.

Revealing hidden patterns in ecology

Coral living on the ocean floor.

by Victoria Van Cappellen.

In an era of invasive species, climate change, and rapid habitat loss, ecological systems may never experience a “stable equilibrium”, according to Kim Cuddington, a professor in Waterloo’s Department of Biology. Instead, the system may be experiencing temporary behaviour, a transient, which differs markedly from what we predict in the long term.

“Transient behaviors are ubiquitous in ecology.” says Cuddington. “We see them in every observation of population size or ecosystem state."

She and her international colleagues have used dynamical systems theory to understand a number of questions in ecology, including population dynamics, ecosystem regime shifts and the role of environmental variation, over ecologically relevant timescales.

Previous researchers have often treated sudden changes to an ecological system as though they are driven by environmental change. The existence of long transients means, however, that an abrupt change can occur for a number of reasons, and even for no reason at all.

Cuddington and her colleagues have been able to classify observations of transient dynamics in ecology and link them to possible underlying causes. Their review and mathematical analysis of transient dynamics - a first for the field of ecology - appears this month in the journal Science.

Take for example population dynamics - whether it’s for coral reefs, fish, zooplankton or budworms -  in a simple model we can find two types of behaviour:  an asymptotic stable equilibrium, also known as the carrying capacity, and the temporary bevhaviour that lasts until the population reaches the equilibrium.

Where it gets tricky for ecologists is when transient phases become extremely long-lived: Either the population never reaches an equilibrium (even after thousands of years), or there is a disturbance, and the population returns to exhibiting transient behaviour.

“How do you know when you’re in a period of transient dynamics and how long will it last?” says Cuddington. “It’s easy under to think under certain circumstances the phenomenon you’re tracking is stable, when it’s actually not.”

The authors argue that by classifying transient dynamic patterns, and even viewing them over different timescales, it provides a framework that ecologists can use to analyze increasingly complex problems in the field, including extinction and biological invasion.

“Our goal is to be able to use this approach to start unraveling the forces behind the major drivers of ecological change,” Cuddington says. “Uncovering the existence of long transients can reveal that we were in mistaken about the forces we believed were having an impact

Authors on the paper include Alan Hastings (University of California, Davis), Karen Abbot (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio) , Tessa Francis (University of Washington, Tacoma), Gabriel Gellner (Colorado State University), Ying-Cheng Lai (Arizona State University), Andrew Morozov and Sergei Petroveskii (University of Leicester, UK), Katherine Seranton (University of California, Los Angeles) and Mary Lou Zeeman (Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine).

Remembering Marc Villeneuve

A message from Food Services.

Marc Villeneuve.It is with deep sadness that Food Services inform the campus community of the death of one of our colleagues and friend, Marc Villeneuve. Marc passed away suddenly in his sleep on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

Marc has been a part of the Food Services family since January 2000, most recently as the Manager, Operations at South Campus Hall. Marc was a valued colleague and a dear friend and this is truly a great loss to our department.

Marc’s family will receive friends from 10:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. on Sunday October 14 at the Henry Walser Funeral Home in Kitchener. The Funeral Service will follow in the chapel at 12:00 p.m. followed by a reception to celebrate his life at 3:00 p.m. at the Moose Lodge, 655 Wabanaki Drive in Kitchener where everyone is encouraged to wear their favourite hockey jersey.

Link of the day

Rewind the tape: tomorrow is Cassette Store Day

When and where 

IST Seminar, Drupal North Regional Summit Highlights, Friday, October 12, 9:00 a.m., MC 2009.

Annotated bibliography using RefWorks, Friday, October 12, 10:00 a.m., Library FLEX Lab.

TEDxUW, Saturday, October 13, 8:30 a.m., Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall.

Warriors Football Vs. McMaster Think Pink Game, Saturday, October 13, kick off 1:00 p.m. 

Quantum Innovators in Science and Engineering, Monday, October 15 to Thursday, October 18.

NEW - Data systems seminar, “ExpoDB: Towards a unified OLTP and OLAP over a secure platform,” featuring Mohammad Sadoghi, University of California, Davis, Monday, October 15, 10:30 a.m., DC 1302.

NEW - Programming languages seminar, “State machine Replication and the Modern Exchange,” featuring Yaron Minsky, Chief Technical Officer, Jane Street, Monday, October 15, 1:30 p.m., DC 1331.

Design and deliver II: Creating assertion-evidence presentations, Monday, October 15, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., SCH 228F.

University Senate meeting, Monday, October 15, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Coping Skills Seminar - Challenging Thinking, Monday, October 15, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

NEW - Jane Street Tech Talk, “Data driven UIs, incrementally,” Yaron Minsky, Chief Technical Officer, Jane Street, Monday, October 15, 5:30 p.m., DC 1302.

NEW - Velocity Brainstorming @Environment, “Identify business problems in the world related to the environment,” Monday, October 15, 4:00 p.m., EV3 4412.

The Eagle and The Condor - From Standing Rock with Love, Tuesday, October 16, 4:00 p.m., St. Paul's University College Alumni Hall.

Jack Rosen ideation workshop, Tuesday, October 16, EV3 4412.

Waterloo ExL Symposium, Wednesday, October 17, 8:30 a.m., Federation Hall.

2018 High Risk Flu Vaccination Clinic, Wednesday, October 17, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Health Services Family Health Clinic.

Interviews: Preparing for Questions (for employees only), Wednesday, October 17, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Lecture: Understanding the archived web as a historical source (registration required), Wednesday, October 17, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library computer lab, LIB 329.

Noon Hour Concert: The Water is Wide, Wednesday, October 17, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

David Sprott Lecture featuring Dr. Emery Brown, Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, “Uncovering the Mechanisms of General Anesthesia: Where Neuroscience Meets Statistics,” Wednesday, October 17, 4:00 p.m., EIT 1015.

Velocity Start presents Do People Want Your Sh*t?, Wednesday, October 17, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, South Campus Hall 2nd floor.

Politics at The Pub, Thursday, October 18, 4:30 p.m., The Bombshelter Pub.

The Body Project, Thursday, October 18, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., NH 2447.

2018 Benjamin Eby Lecture featuring Professor Alicia Batten, "Memory, Identity, and the Sermon on the Mount," Thursday, October 18, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

2018 High Risk Flu Vaccination Clinic, Friday, October 19, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Health Services Family Health Clinic.

NEW - Lectures in Catholic Experience featuring David Wells, “Where are the Young People?" Friday, October 19, 7:30 p.m., Vanstone Lecture Hall, St. Jerome's University Academic Centre.

Warriors Basketball vs. Windsor Home Opener, Youth Basketball Day, Faculty Appreciation Day, Donor Appreciation Day, Saturday, October 20.

Thrive Week,  Monday, October 22 to Friday, October 26.

Fake cures: User-centric modeling of health misinformation in social media, featuring Amira Ghenai, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Monday, October 22, 9:30 a.m., DC 2568.

Further Education Fair, Monday, October 22, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Coping Skills Seminar - Strengthening Motivation, Monday, October 22, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

An Evening with Michael Landsberg, Monday, October 22, 7:00 p.m., Federation Hall. This event is part of Thrive Week

NEW - Gairdner Lecture: The Evolution of the Global Health Field & Priorities for the Future by Dr. King Holmes, Tuesday, October 23, 4:00 p.m. QNC 2502.

NEW - Velocity Fund $5K and $25K applications close, “Today’s Velocity Fund winners, tomorrow’s innovative companies,” Tuesday, October 23, 11:59 p.m.

Research ethics system training, Wednesday, October 24, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., MC 1078. For all upcoming sessions, please visit the Research ethics system webpage.

Student Mental Health Forum, Wednesday, October 24, 2:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. This event is part of Thrive Week

NEW - The Waterloo Centre for German Studies and the Balsillie School of International Affairs Research Cluster for Indigenous Peoples, Decolonization and the Globe, “Drew Hayden Taylor's ‘Searching for Winnetou’” – an exploration of cultural appreciation vs. appropriation in Germany with Drew Hayden Taylor, Wednesday, October 24, 7:00 p.m., Balsillie Multipurpose room.

NEW - Co-op Rollercoaster: The Reality of Working for a Startup, “Learn about the ups and downs of working for a startup company,” Wednesday, October 24, 7:30 p.m.

NEW - 117th Convocation Ceremonies, Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27, Physical Activities Complex.

NEW - University Club Convocation Luncheon, Friday, October 26, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

UW Gem and Mineral Show, Friday October 26, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 27, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Earth Sciences Museum. Free admission for all.

NEW Science Open House, Hands-on science extravaganza for school-aged kids! Saturday, October 27, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in STC and EIT. Free event, no registration.