February 2013 InsideLaurier
The February 2013 edition of Inside Laurier, WIlfrid Laurier University's internal newsletter.
Inside FEBRUARY 2013 WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY Waterloo | Brantford | Kitchener | Toronto (l-r): Robert McLeman, Colin Robertson and Haydn Lawrence are inviting Canadians with a backyard rink to report skating conditions to provide data about the impact of climate change. Using backyard rinks to track climate change Laurier researchers ask Canadians to help document changes in winter weather By Sandra Muir From the Yukon to Newfoundland, and from Minnesota to Massachusetts, hundreds of North Americans have signed up their outdoor skating rinks as data sources for a Laurier research project on climate change. More than 450 outdoor skating rinks from across North America have been registered on www. RinkWatch.org since the website launched January 7. The website invites Canadians who maintain a backyard or neighbourhood rink to report skating conditions over the winter to provide valuable data about the impact of climate change. It is also seen as a way to help families connect with environmental research through an activity they enjoy. “We’re amazed the response we’ve had so far,” said Associate Professor Robert McLeman. “It shows just how passionate people are about their rinks. The more participants we have, the better the data we are able to gather.” The research project led by McLeman, Assistant Professor Colin Robertson and Master of Science student Haydn Lawrence from Laurier’s Department of Geography and Environmental Studies has also garnered widespread English- and Frenchlanguage media attention including numerous CBC shows, CTV, and newspapers across Canada. U.S. Public Radio has also covered RinkWatch, and the U.S. National Science Teachers Association featured it as a science project of the week. “The backyard rink is a tradition, one that future generations may not get to experience because of the damaging effects of climate change,” said McLeman, who has fond memories of past winters skating on backyard rinks and the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. “If we want to skate on backyard rinks in the future, we have to find out what is going on today.” Increasing temperatures have made the headlines over the last few years. Environment Canada chose unusually warm temperatures from coast to coast in 2012 as Canada’s top weather story of the year. Senior climatologist David Philips said the period between January and November was the fourth warmest on record since 1948. The 2011-2012 winter was the third warmest on record, with national average temperatures 3.6 degrees Celsius above normal, according to an Environment Canada 2011 report. The warmest winter on record since nationwide records began in 1948 was in 2009-2010, with a national average temperature 4.1 degrees Celsius above normal. The Laurier researchers hope that the backyard-rink concept will not only generate valuable data about climate change, but also raise awareness about its impact. To become part of the study, people with a backyard or neighbourhood rink can visit www. RinkWatch.org to create a profile and add the location and name of their rink, which will show up on a Google map. Registered users, whose identities remain private, are asked to return to the site once a week to check off which days they were able to skate. The website will track the results and compare conditions across North America. The website also has a user forum, where rink enthusiasts can share rink-making tips, favourite stories, and photos of their rinks. Deborah MacLatchy named to Most Powerful Women list By Mallory O’Brien Deborah MacLatchy, vicepresident: academic and provost for Wilfrid Laurier University, has been named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women for 2012 in a Top 100 list compiled by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN). MacLatchy was honoured in the category for public-sector leaders. Nominees are assessed on four criteria: management role, vision and leadership, financial performance, and community service. “Deb is an inspiring leader and a wonderful colleague,” said Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Laurier. “She leads by example, and her commitment to student, staff and faculty success and excellence is exemplary. I value her contributions enormously.” This is the 10th year WXN has held the Canada’s Most Powerful Women event, which honours corporate directors and executives, entrepreneurs, and trailblazers. Past winners include Laurier alumna Heather Munroe-Blum, president and MacLatchy see page 4 5 Best-selling authors Alissa York and Andrew Westoll visit Laurier’s campuses. 7 David Johnson studies standardized test results and what they really mean. 8 A look inside Margaret Walton-Roberts’ graduate geography class. Photo: Tomasz Adamski Inside FEBRUARY 2013 president’s message Laurier prepares for uncertain post-secondary environment The post-secondary environment in Ontario continues to be influenced by the uncertainty that currently exists in the province’s political and economic landscape. As a result, universities will need to exercise a heightened sense of financial caution in the coming months as we wait for important developments to unfold at Queen’s Park. This uncertainty will influence Laurier’s 2013-14 budgeting process, which began in January. Our plan is to keep the 2013-14 budget in line with current-year spending. The only increases being contemplated are for critical needs and negotiated salary-and-benefit commitments. This cautious approach is necessary in the current provincial context. At Queen’s Park, we have a new premier and a new cabinet presiding over a minority government. At the time of writing it is not known how similar or different their priorities will be from the government of outgoing premier Dalton McGuinty. However, we should know soon. One of the government’s first priorities will be to establish a provincial budget. Provincial budgets are subject to a confidence vote; and with a minority government situation, the outcome of such votes is never clear.Details of the next provincial budget are, of course, unknown. But given the persistent global economic challenges and a provincial deficit that has grown to more than $14 billion, the new budget will likely strive to contain provincial spending. For universities, there are two key unknowns. The first is provincial operating grants; the second is provincial tuition policy. At the moment, we do not know how much we will receive in operating grants in 2013-14; nor do we know the government’s plans regarding tuition fee increases. What do we know? First, it is clear that the current government, as well as the other parties and a number of independent experts, recognize the key role that higher education plays in generating economic and social prosperity. In a 2012 report on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, economist Don Drummond described the post-secondary sector as a “vital asset for Ontario” and noted that two-thirds of all new jobs in the province are expected to require postsecondary education. While Drummond pointed out the need for more efficiencies in Ontario’s post-secondary system, he also said that more funding will be needed just to keep the system operating at current levels. Meanwhile, the Ontario government issued a discussion paper last June called Strengthening Ontario’s Centres of Creativity, Innovation and Knowledge. Like Drummond’s report, the discussion paper calls on universities to find ways to be more innovative and efficient. As the title of the paper suggests, the central premise is that universities and colleges play a vital role in building a healthy economy. I am pleased to say that in recent years Laurier has developed plans and practices that align with the direction called for in both the Drummond report and the provincial discussion paper. A good example is the Integrated Planning and Resource Management process that is now underway. The intent of this collaborative review is to identify key principles and priorities that are critically important to the future of Laurier, and to then put resources toward these priorities. This kind of planning enables us to operate in a thoughtful and strategic manner, especially during times of uncertainty. As a result, I believe Laurier is well-positioned to deal with the transformations that are in store for post-secondary education in Ontario. Max Blouw talks with a President’s Gold Scholarship recipient at the President’s Awards ceremomy at the end of 2012. More than 180 students were honored. Max Blouw President and Vice-Chancellor Professor receives award for work in residence By Sandra Muir Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts, associate professor in the Languages and Literatures Department, has received Laurier’s Residence Academic Partnership award. The award recognizes faculty members who support academic initiatives within the university’s residences. Rowinsky-Geurts spends up to two hours a week with first-year students living in the Languages and Literature Residence Learning Community (RLC), one of Laurier’s themed residence environments designed to bring together like-minded students who share common goals and interests. All of the students in the Languages and Literature RLC are enrolled in Rowinksy-Geurts’ first-year Spanish class or in a second-year class. “I am amazed at how much she has given to the students in the RLC. She has been unbelievable by volunteering her time on a weekly basis,” said David Shorey, associate director of residence education. “Students feel a strong connection to her. She cooks with them, talks about her experiences and encourages students to share with one another. It has made an impressive impact in terms of student satisfaction.” Rowinsky-Geurts has more than 30 years of teaching experience and has been at Laurier since 1994. In addition to her teaching role, she is also associate dean of students: student affairs and special projects for the Faculty of Arts. Her passion for teaching has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including a 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2008. “Having the opportunity to work closely with the students was a transformative experience for me as a professor,” said RowinskyGeurts. “Through 12 weeks, we have built a close community of learners. We have cooked together, eaten together, explored texts from a critical perspective, played games while learning, and in the midst of all these activities, we have discovered the power of getting to know each other as human beings. It has been a gift for me, and I believe this is one of the most powerful experiences we can have with students if we want to inspire lives of leadership and purpose.” Rowinsky-Geurts will continue her involvement with the Languages and Literatures RLC in the winter term. The Residence Academic Partnership award is bestowed on one faculty member each term. Previous recipients include Bob Sharpe, associate professor of geography, and Julie Pong, an academic advisor in the Faculty of Arts. Corrections In the November 2012 issue of InsideLaurier, the photo credit for the “In the Classroom” article was incorrect. Tackacs Studios was the photographer. In the December 2012 issue of InsideLaurier, the headline for the “In the Classroom” article was incorrect. Jonathan Finn is an associate professor of Communication Studies. Send us your news, events & stories Email: email@example.com Deadline for submissions: Feb. 15, 2013 All submissions are appreciated, however not all submissions will be published. We reserve the right to edit all copy for accuracy, content and length. InsideLaurier is published by Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing (CPAM) Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5 InsideLaurier welcomes your comments and suggestions for stories. Tel: (519) 884-0710 ext. 3341 | Fax: (519) 884-8848 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org InsideLaurier (circ. 2,100) is published eight times a year by CPAM. Opinions expressed in InsideLaurier do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the university’s administration. InsideLaurier Volume 7, Number 5, February 2013 Editor: Stacey Morrison Contributors: Tomasz Adamski, Kevin Crowley, Lori Chalmers Morrison, Sandra Muir, Mallory O’Brien Available online at www.wlu.ca/publicaffairs. Printed on recycled paper Mar Next issue of Inside March 2013 2 FEBRUARY 2013 Inside NEWS What’s new and notable at Laurier Laurier grad earns accounting gold medal Laurier graduate Joshua Huff (BBA ’11) captured the Canadian and Ontario gold medals for achieving the highest standing in the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants 2012 Uniform Evaluation (UFE), considered one of the world’s most challenging professional entry examinations. Since 1993, Laurier accounting graduates have won more Canadian and Ontario gold medals than any other university in Canada. Huff, an accountant at KPMG in Waterloo, Ontario, is the fifth Laurier graduate to earn both medals. “Laurier has a legacy of earning top national and provincial UFE honours,” said Micheál Kelly, the dean of Laurier’s School of Business & Economics. “We look forward to adding Joshua’s name to Laurier’s SBE Gold Medal wall of fame in the New Year.” The UFE is a national three-day evaluation and is an important component of the Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification program. Held every September, students write three papers in three days to assess essential knowledge, professional judgment, ethics and ability to communicate. More than 3,000 students across Canada passed the 2012 UFE exam. Huff says Laurier helps prepare students for success in the UFE. The business program integrates accounting courses with other subject areas, such as marketing and human resources. It also exposes students to case writing, which is a big component of the exam. “There is obviously a strong accounting component to the UFE, but they also want you to see the bigger business issues,” he said. “Now that the UFE is done, I look forward to continuing to work at KPMG and getting practical experience.” Two other Laurier graduates achieved standing on the 2012 national UFE honour roll: Michael Black (BBA ’11) of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Toronto, and Thomas Callaghan (BBA ’11) of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in London. Eighty-thousand words in 180 seconds You might spend three minutes reading a newspaper article, making a sandwich, or cleaning your shoes. Not insignificant accomplishments, but Laurier PhD and master’s students in thesis programs are invited to do something much more cerebral in a three-minute time slot: deliver their thesis. On March 8, Laurier will host the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition at its Waterloo campus. PhD and master’s students interested in entering the competition must condense their research into a brief, engaging presentation for a non-specialist audience, using a single presentation slide. A judging panel will assess students on set criteria including communication style, engagement with the audience, and audience comprehension of the research. “The 3MT® will help graduate students to develop their academic, presentation, and research communication skills,” says Joan Norris, dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. “Developing the capacity to explain their research effectively and succinctly to a general audience will be of great benefit to students.” Winners of the Laurier competition will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to represent the university at the Ontario 3MT® competition hosted by Queen’s University on April 18, 2013. Started at the University of Queensland in 2008 as a single university event, the 3MT® competition is now held in Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States. Open Classroom series invites you back to school How often do you get a chance to sit in on a class of an academic colleague or strike up a conversation with a peer about teaching and learning? In the spirit of fostering peer-to-peer connections and reflection upon teaching and learning, Educational Development has started the Open Classroom series. This initiative builds on the “Welcome to My Classroom” theme of last year’s Teaching Day event and provides an opportunity for Laurier’s teaching and learning community to experience being a student again from the perspective of an experienced educator. Several faculty from various campuses and academic disciplines are opening up their classrooms for others to attend. There is no need to register in advance, however, as a courtesy those inter- ested in attending a class are asked to email the course instructor. The next open classroom is Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. when Communications Studies Associate Professor Jonathan Finn opens his Visual Communication and Culture Class (CS351) in Room 2-105 in the DAWB on the Waterloo campus. The topic will be Cartography, and the class will be a combination of lecture and activity. If you are interested in opening a class for visitation, contact Mary Neil at email@example.com. Classes of all sizes, years and instructional approaches are welcome. IPRM enters second phase With the election and appointment process for the Integrated Planning and Resource Management (IPRM) working groups complete, the IPRM now is entering its second phase. Training for the working groups is set to take place in mid-February. Training will provide working group members with a technical understanding of their roles, a clear vision for the process and a focus on working effectively to achieve objectives. Following the initial one-to-two meetings with interim co-chairs, the Planning Task Force (PTF), Academic Priorities Team, Administrative Priorities Team and the Resource Management team members will identify permanent co-chairs for their groups to lead them through the process. For background information and ongoing updates about the IPRM, please visit www.wlu.ca/IPRM. Laurier launches new Emergency New masters programs think locally and globally Notification System Staff, faculty encouraged to register mobile numbers Laurier has launched a new Emergency Notification System (ENS) that expands the university’s ability to alert students, staff and faculty in the event of a significant on-campus safety threat. One of the key features is a text-messaging service that allows individuals to receive an emergency text on their mobile phone in the event of a significant danger on a Laurier campus, such as a gunman or an equally dangerous situation. To register your cellphone or mobile number, you must have a valid LORIS ID and PIN. Log in to LORIS at http://telaris.wlu. ca and follow the instructions that appear. You will only receive a text message in the event of a significant on-campus emergency and for periodic tests. The new Emergency Notification System augments Laurier’s existing emergency systems, providing the university with additional channels to communicate with students, staff and faculty at all its campuses and locations. The ENS enables the university to: 1. Send an emergency message to the screens of thousands of university computers, locking these computers so that users are prompted to follow the directions provided in the message. 2. Send a text message to every member of the Laurier community who has voluntarily registered their cellphone or mobile number. 3. Send a mass email notification to all staff and faculty accounts (the university is working toward adding student email accounts in future). “The safety of the Laurier community is a top priority for the university,” said James Butler, vice-president: finance and administration. “Studies indicate that swift and clear communication can save lives in an emergency. Our new Emergency Notification System enhances Laurier’s ability to quickly alert the university community to dangerous situations on campus.” For more information about the ENS, please visit www.wlu.ca/ens. Laurier has been enhancing and testing its emergency procedures over the past few years. In 2008, the university developed a set of lockdown procedures for students, staff and faculty to follow in the event of a serious emergency, such as a gunman on campus. The lockdown procedures are available online at www.wlu.ca/emergency. Laurier is launching two new masters programs that will have a local and global focus. The Faculty of Music is introducing a new part-time Master of Arts in Community Music that balances theory and practice for the development of leadership skills in community music. Starting in September (upon approval from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities), the program is designed to attract community leaders who are, or plan to be, engaged in creating or making music with diverse populations in schools, places of worship, private studios, seniors’ homes, community centres, etc. Students complete an applied community-service placement as part of a capstone project. “When we posted details of the program to our website I received my first email about it within the hour,” said Glen Carruthers, dean of the Faculty of Music. “Certainly, the idea behind the program is that music plays a pivotal role in communities around the world, and our program will help students become community leaders wherever their musical careers may take them.” In May, the School of Business & Economics is launching a new one-year, full-time International MBA program that will give students a global educational experience, spanning three countries and a diverse range of business environments. The program is spread over three terms, with each term delivered in a different location. The first term will take place at Laurier’s Waterloo campus, the second in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, and the third in Mumbai, India. Applied projects and learning experiences will be structured to provide an insight into how business works in each of the three countries. The three locations were selected to give students an experience in contrasting business contexts, from India’s rapidly developing market, to the UAE’s international service-based market, to the developed market of Canada. About 40 per cent of learning will consist of immersion in the real-world business environment at each location, including a business-consulting project requiring participants to work in teams in the local operations of global organizations. “It takes different thinking and skills to succeed in each of these environments, and an ability to work across cultures to do well in all three,” said Hugh Munro, Laurier’s MBA director. “In essence, this is management education in a global laboratory.” 3 Lockdown Procedure: Immediately move to the nearest room you feel is safe with as many people as possible. 2. Lock and barricade the door. 3. Turn off the lights or maintain minimal lighting. 4. Close all windows and blinds. 5. Lie flat on the floor or take adequate cover out of sight, keep back from windows and doors. 6. Turn off cellphones unless you need to report injured people. 7. Stay in the room until police arrive. Remember it may be a number of hours before you can be safely evacuated. 1. Inside FEBRUARY 2013 Laurier appoints AIDS expert as CIGI Chair in Global Health By Mallory O’Brien Wilfrid Laurier University has appointed the internationally recognized academic and AIDS researcher Alan Whiteside to the position of CIGI Chair in Global Health at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. His term will begin in 2013. Prior to joining Laurier, Whiteside was the founder and director of the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division at the University of KwaZuluNatal, South Africa. He has written numerous articles and several books on HIV/AIDS, including AIDS: The Challenge for South Africa (2000) and HIV/AIDS: A Very Short Introduction (2008). Whiteside is well known for his work in this field and lectures on the international stage. He developed a successful training workshop, “Planning for HIV/AIDS,” and mentors students, academics and researchers in the field. “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr. Whiteside to Laurier and to the Balsillie School of International Affairs,” said Deborah MacLatchy, vicepresident: academic and provost at Laurier. “His research has made a significant difference to our understanding of the combined human and economic dimensions of HIV/AIDS to the African continent. He will add to our growing expertise in global health at the university.” In his new role, Whiteside will be affiliated with Laurier’s School of International Policy and Governance, the Department of Economics, and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The latter is a partnership involving Laurier, The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and the University of Waterloo. “The position is really exciting because it is not a narrow, discipline-based appointment,” said Whiteside. “It is a chance to work with excellent, imaginative academics.” Whiteside holds a BA in Development Studies (1978) and an MA in Development Economics (1980) from University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, as well as a D.Econ (2003) from University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Whiteside was a journalist and teacher in Mbabane, Swaziland before becoming a planning officer and economist for the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning of the Government of Botswana. From 1983-1997, he held a number of positions at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, including associate professor of the Economic Research Unit. In 1987, he began his work on HIV/ AIDS, presenting his first paper on AIDS and migration at a conference in London. In 2003 he was appointed by Kofi Annan as one of the Commissioners for the Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa. Task force will look at the first-year student experience By Stacey Morrison A new Task Force on the 1st Year Experience has been struck to review, discuss and recommend a more comprehensive institutional approach to the first-year student experience at Laurier. The initiative is a joint strategy of the vice-president: academic and provost, and the vicepresident of student affairs, and will be co-chaired by Deborah MacLatchy and David McMurray respectively. “At Laurier, our focus is on human development and a learning experience that emphasizes the whole person, which includes intellectual, personal and cultural development,” said McMurray. “We are eager to begin our work, which we anticipate will lead to a more comprehensive and cohesive institutional approach to the first-year student experience at Laurier.” The task force, which consists of appointed members from a broad representation of all areas of Laurier’s campuses, will consider the goals of the firstyear student experience, guiding principles and desired firstyear competencies, skills and outcomes. “First and foremost, we want our first-year students to succeed academically so they can flourish as Laurier students throughout their time with us until graduation,” said MacLatchy. “This task force will help us examine all the factors that we should be considering to provide the environment first-year students need to transition well to university.” The task force will consult at various stages with the university community, including Senate and the Board of Governors, as it works through its process and develops preliminary reports. The recommendations in the final report will go to Senate and the Board of Governors. The first meeting will be held before the end of the term to affirm the task force’s purpose, goals and responsibilities that will guide its path as the process gets underway in 2013. MacLatchy continued vice-chancellor of McGill University, and Ginny Dybenko, former dean of the Laurier School of Business & Economics. “I’m honoured to be part of a list that includes so many accomplished Canadian women, and especially to have been nominated by my colleagues at Laurier,” said MacLatchy. As vice-president: academic and provost, MacLatchy oversees the strategic and operational management of the academic functions of the university, including the management of Laurier’s seven faculties and the Brantford campus, their departments and programs, as well as the library network. Her portfolio also includes services designed to support teaching and learning such as Teaching Support Services, Student Recruitment, the Registrar’s Office, international programming and computing services. MacLatchy is also responsible for a majority share of the university budget, and will participate in the Integrated Planning and Resource Management process that will position Laurier to meet the challenges and opportunities of its second century. In addition to her management role at Laurier, MacLatchy has dedicated a large portion of her time to teaching, supporting her graduate students, and conducting her own research, which is primarily focused on the effects of contaminants on aquatic ecosystems. MacLatchy received her PhD in 1991 from the University of Manitoba. In 2007, she was appointed the dean of science at Laurier, making her the first female dean of the university’s Faculty of Science, and one of the youngest deans at Laurier. In 2009, she was named to her current role. Name: Jordan Jocius Job Title: Communications Officer, Alumni Relations Book Title: Business Model Generation Author: Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur If you had to write the best business book of all time where would you start? Osterwalder and Pigneur started by collaborating with more than 470 co-authors and after 4,000 working hours, nine years of research and 28,456 Post-it Notes they have come pretty close. This visually stunning handbook is for anyone trying to improve their company and needs a proven process. What are you eating? Name: Erin Klassen Job Title: Recruiting Assistant, Career Development Centre Restaurant: Marbles Location: 8 William St., Waterloo Photo: Tomasz Adamski Deborah MacLatchy was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. You only need to walk through the door and look at the unique bar to determine how this quirky restaurant got its name. The menu consists of fresh spins on old favourites and a number of raw vegan menu items, such as raw vegan cheesecake. It won’t be long until you’re considered a regular and the staff will greet you by name. The innovative daily specials and friendly staff always keep me coming back. 4 FEBRUARY 2013 Inside Authors promote love of the written word at Laurier Andrew Westoll and Alissa York will visit with the Laurier community, connect with aspiring writers By Stacey Morrison Andrew Westoll, the 2013 Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence, and Alissa York have much in common. Both are awardwinning authors who passionately promote literacy and the sharing of ideas. For the next few weeks, both writers will be on campus sharing their love of the written word with the Laurier community. York will be visiting the Waterloo campus Feb. 25, 26 and March 1 to discuss her work and talk to students and faculty about writing. She is scheduled to visit the Brantford campus Feb. 27 and March 7, and the Kitchener location Feb. 28. For a full schedule of events, visit http://bit. ly/UvJra5. York is the author of several books, including Effigy, the story of a polygamist family in rural Utah, and most recently, Fauna, which examines themes of homelessness and the humananimal connection. Effigy was short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Fauna, a national best seller, was short-listed for the 2011 Toronto Book Award. York’s short fiction has won both the Journey Prize and the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award. Her essays and articles have appeared in publications such as The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire and Eighteen Bridges. A “Laurier Reads Alissa York” group comprised of students, staff and faculty, is reading Fauna and meeting to discuss themes from the book. “I look forward with great anticipation to meeting with the students and faculty of Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as members of the wider community, for a series of inspiring, illuminating discussions,” said York. “This is an opportunity to engage with developing writers and other lovers of the written word, while fostering meaningful connections between artistic, academic and public spheres.” York’s visit to the Brantford campus on March 7 at 7 p.m will include a joint public lecture and art exhibition with Laurier’s Edna Staebler writer-in-residence Andrew Westoll. The human-animal theme is also explored in Westoll’s award-winning book The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery. A primatologist and narrative journalist, Westoll’s three-month residency runs until April. During his role as writer-inresidence, Westoll is devoting much of his time to writing projects. He is also involved with community programs and projects at Laurier’s Waterloo campus, including consulting with students, visiting classrooms, and giving lectures and workshops. He will conduct similar community programming at Laurier’s Brantford campus, tentatively scheduled for March. “If I can help aspiring writers on campus find their own literary voices, I’ll consider these three months a success,” he said. Westoll is also the author of The Riverbones, a travel memoir set in the jungles of Suriname. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary won the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize, one of Canada’s most prestigious non-fiction book prizes. The book was also shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, and named a book of the year by The Globe and Mail, Amazon.ca, Quill & Quire and CTV’s Canada AM. people at Laurier For a complete list of appointments visit www.wlu.ca/hr New appointments: Laura Bolton, career consultant III, Career Development Centre (Waterloo campus). Kayla Church, food services associate — Science, Food Services (Waterloo campus). Kelly deJong, human resources assistant, Human Resources (Waterloo campus). Megan Delaney, administrative assistant, Faculty of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies (Waterloo campus). Tracey Dingwall, MSW field advisor, Faculty of Social Work (Kitchener campus). Megan Dyksterhuis, food services associate — Second Cup, Food Services (Waterloo campus). Michael Faulds, manager, Football Operations, Athletics & Recreation (Waterloo campus). Brooke Hammer, food services associate — Starbucks, Food Services (Waterloo campus). Jessica Horwood, administrative and marketing assistant, Continuing Studies, Teaching Support Services (Waterloo campus). Elissa Hutt, food services associate — Science, Food Services (Waterloo campus). Amanda Kristensen, program coordinator PhD and Research, School of Business & Economics (Waterloo campus). Ajibola Madamidola, director, data warehousing project, Institutional Research (Waterloo campus). Roger Mainland, MSW field advisor, Faculty of Social Work (Kitchener campus). Elaine Muia, food services associate — Science, Food Services (Waterloo campus). Todd Schmidt, special constable, Special Constable Service (Waterloo campus). Deborah Sheach, career consultant III, School of Business & Economics graduate programs, Career Centre (Waterloo campus). Christina Sookram, program development coordinator, School of Business & Economics (Waterloo campus). Diane Toomey, co-op coordinator, Co-op Education (Waterloo campus) (Kitchener campus). Donna Braund, financial officer, School of Business & Economics (Waterloo campus). Pamela Cant, assistant vice-president, Human Resources (Waterloo campus). Susan Diep, compensation & benefits specialist, Human Resources (Waterloo campus). Lisa Favero, manager, Career Resources & Operations, Career Services (Waterloo campus). Colleen Ginn, administrative assistant II, History (Waterloo campus). Lisa Hunt, advisor, Service Laurier (Waterloo campus). Melissa Jutzi, manager, compensation, benefits & EE Wellness, Human Resources (Waterloo campus). Samah Katerji, counsellor/ pychotherapist, Counselling Services (Waterloo campus). Debbie Kohlruss, administrative assistand and reception, ALC (Waterloo campus). Janice Maarhuis, supervisor, Creative Services, CPAM (Waterloo campus). (Waterloo campus). Bonnie Voisin, cross reg/ communication assistant, Registrar’s Office (Waterloo campus). Cindy Wood, manager, Student Wellness Centre (Waterloo campus). Louis Mastorakos, business process analyst, ICT Solutions (Waterloo campus). Matthew Park, manager, administration and marketing (Toronto Office). Roy Vinner, systems analyst I — finance/AR, Enterprise Systems Retirements: Ellen Petillot, project and administrative coordinator, Academic Services (Waterloo campus). Changes in staff appointments: Mieke Barette, administrative assistant, Faculty of Arts (Waterloo campus). Melody Barfoot, administrative assistant, Faculty of Social Work 5 Inside FEBRUARY 2013 A look at staff and faculty across campus coffee with a co-worker Name: Stacey Morrison Title: News & Editorial Officer, Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing Where you can find her: 255 King St. W., third floor. Drink of choice: Coffee with one cream and one sugar. Stacey Morrison’s adopted golden retriever Chloe inspired her to start her own pet photography business. How long have you been at Laurier? I first came to Laurier as a student in the 1990s. I graduated early when I was accepted into the graduate journalism program at the University of King’s College in Halifax. I started working at Laurier in my current role in 2006. What is your typical workday like? There are two publications that I regularly work on: insideLaurier and the university’s alumni magazine, Laurier Campus. For insideLaurier I’m assigning stories, writing articles, doing the layout and sourcing photography. If I’m working on Campus, which is a bit more intensive, I’m editing, managing all the content and setting up photo shoots. I also write news releases and other content as needed. How do you find your stories? That is one of my favourite parts of my job because I get to be a bit of a detective. I do online research, check in with the Alumni Relations Office or think of a particular job or field we haven’t profiled and start searching. I like the more eclectic people — maybe they graduated from one program but ended up working in a totally different field, or they lead interesting or unusual lives. What do you like to do in your spare time? When I’m not running around after my two-year-old son, I’m a pet photographer with my own business, Happy Tails Pet Photography (www.happytailspetphotography.ca). It all started when we adopted our golden retriever, Chloe, when she was four. I love photography and I’m a huge animal lover, so I was constantly photographing her — it just expanded from there. I love capturing animals in a natural way and seeing them through their owners’ eyes. Each pet is unique and each bond is special, and it makes me happy giving people tangible memories of a loved one. I’m also passionate about animal welfare. I volunteer with the Burlington Humane Society, and photograph the animals available for adoption for its website and promotional materials. What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? I was an automotive journalist for about six years. I test-drove cars and wrote reviews for magazines and The Globe and Mail’s automotive section. Each week I got the keys to a new car — everything from Smart Cars to Hummers and Porches. It was great because I never had to own a vehicle and I got to travel a lot for that job. I went to Japan, Europe and all around North America. It was tough though too, since there aren’t many females in that field. What do you like most about working at Laurier? I like the variety of my role, and I enjoy meeting interesting people and telling their stories. There is always a great team effort, too, which is great. By Sandra Muir coming Events For a list of events visit www.wlu.ca/events Heard on Twitter Check out what the Laurier community has been tweeting about at twitter.com/lauriernews. Laurier also has official sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LaurierNow and YouTube at www. youtube.com/LaurierVideo. Soup & Frybread Tuesdays When: Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26 Noon – 2 p.m. Where: Aboriginal Student Centre, 187 Albert St., Waterloo campus Cost: Free Stop in for delicious soup and tasty frybread, including vegan/ vegetarian options. Soup & Frybread Wednesdays When: Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Where: Aboriginal Student House, 111 Darling Street, Brantford campus Cost: Free Stop in for delicious soup and tasty frybread, including vegan/ vegetarian options. Music at Noon When: Feb. 14 Noon – 1 p.m. Where: Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, Waterloo campus Cost: Free Bring your lunch and enjoy the music of the Nu:BC Collective: Paolo Bortollussi, flute, Eric Wilson, cello, Corey Hamm, piano. Summer Camp Fair When: Feb. 21 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Where: Science Building courtyard, Waterloo campus Cost: Free Start making summer plans! Meet representatives from about 50 camps and programs from around the province. For more information, visit www.wlu/campfair. Public Lecture by Marianne Marchand When: Feb. 28 4 p.m. Where: Paul Martin Centre, Waterloo campus Cost: Free Visitng Professor Marianne Marchand from the University of the Americas, Puebla, Mexico, will speak about “Mexican State Governmentality/ies, Borders and Stories by ‘Ordinary’ Travelers’.” Laurier Opera Production When: Mar. 1, 2, 3 3 p.m. Where: Theatre Auditorium, Waterloo campus Cost: $10/$5 Enjoy a performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Barbie Doll by Rose Ann Baily When: March 6 – April 13 Where: Robert Langen Art Gallery, Waterloo campus Cost: Free This photography exhibit explores the conceptual development in pop culture and mainstream media of the representation of beauty and body image of Black women. The artist recreates the daily environments of Black women and superimposes haute couture “Barbie” dolls into their staged reality. 2012 United Way Campus Campaign raises more than $57,500 Laurier’s 2012 United Way campaigns raised more than $57,500 in employee donations and special event proceeds from the university’s Brantford, Waterloo, Kitchener and Toronto locations. “The result of this year’s campaign again demonstrates Laurier’s commitment to supporting our local communities, and exemplifies our focus on inspiring lives of leadership and purpose,” said Deb MacLatchy, vice-president: academic and provost, and chair of Laurier’s United Way campaign. “I want to personally thank all the staff, students and faculty who contributed to making this campaign a success.” The Brantford campus raised $7,947.19 in employee donations and special events proceeds. The funds raised by the Brantford campus helped the Brant United Way collect $1,635,844 for the 2012 campaign, exceeding the goal of $1.625 million. Campaign events at the Brantford campus included volunteering at the local Food Bank and Dress Denim Tuesdays. The Waterloo, Kitchener and Toronto locations raised $49,575 in employee donations and other proceeds, in support of the Kitchener-Waterloo United Way’s goal of $5 million. Results of the K-W United Way campaign will be announced later this month. In addition to Laurier’s campaigns, the Waterloo campus WLU United Way student club raised $3,442 through participation in the CN Tower stair climb fund-raiser in October. @techtriangle Waterloo Region = Combining business and technical talent key to fostering innovation — bit.ly/V7Yxoc @LaurierNews #talent Jan. 17, 2013 @KitchLibrary RT @LaurierNews: Laurier announces new Master of Arts in Community Music bit. ly/Ust7Ji #Laurier Jan. 16, 2013 @CTVlocalsports Wilfrid Laurier basketball guard @MaxAllin is CIS Male Athlete of the Week after scoring 71 points in two games. @WLUAthletics @OUAsport Jan. 16, 2013 @Communitech +1 RT @techtriangle: @AC_ Waterloo and @LaurierNews LaunchPad collaboration! bit. ly/ULZhmH Jan. 10, 2013 @DavidSuzukiFDN Great initiative: RinkWatch unites hockey and climate science. rinkwatch.org Jan. 8, 2013 In the media “ ... world-class science and technology by itself does not enhance productivity and create prosperity. This can only be achieved if we can create globally competitive companies.” ~ Micheál Kelly, dean, School of Business & Economics From “Combining business and technical talent key to fostering innovation ...,” published in The Record Jan. 16, 2013. The article, by Ross Simone, addresses how to foster innovation in Canada. Laurier community members are frequently featured in the local and national media. To see more coverage, visit www.wlu.ca/Laurierin thenews, and find out about our Experts at Laurier program, visit www.wlu.ca/experts. 6 Photo: Brightside Photography FEBRUARY 2013 Inside research file Do standardized testing results define a “good school?” David Johnson studies the relationship between test results and school quality By Mallory O’Brien If the Ontario government wanted to better allocate education resources, closing middle schools might be a good place to start, Laurier Professor David Johnson suggests. This challenging statement is based on Johnson’s latest research analyzing the results of standardized testing in Canada’s education system, which has led to a number of publications over the years, including his 2005 book, Signposts of Success: Interpreting Ontario’s Elementary School Test Scores, which was shortlisted for the Donner Prize. Johnson, a professor of economics, has been at the university since 1985. He spent two decades conducting research on macroeconomics, exchange rates, international borrowing, fiscal policy and monetary policy. In 2005, Johnson turned his focus toward standardized testing. “It was a combination of observing the standardized testing process in Ontario, which was relatively new at that time, having a child that went through it, and realizing that there was, in my view, a very significant policy question that needed to be asked about standardized testing,” he says, explaining his research shift. Johnson often characterizes his line of work as, “What you can and cannot learn about school quality from standardized testing results,” and has organized the results into studies that explore the differences between Catholic and public schools, overall school quality and, most recently, the shortcomings of middle schools. His first project began with a pilot study using standardized test results in Waterloo. Johnson was interested in sorting out how closely related students’ social and economic backgrounds were to the test results. “People often say, with a lot of justification, that you tend to know which schools are going to have the highest results before the results are published, and that is a partly but not entirely true statement,” he says. The C.D. Howe Institute, a Toronto-based public-policy think tank, became interested in the study, and funded the expansion of the project to all of Ontario. Since then, Johnson has also completed studies in Alberta and B.C., which use standardized testing in the same way as Ontario. In all three provinces, Johnson found that although the social and economic characteristics do predict school results in a statistical way, they account for only about 50 per cent of a school’s results. The other half is not related to the background of the students and has been used by Johnson and others as an indicator of school quality. “Because it could have been 100 per cent,” says Johnson. “It could have been that it is impossible to have good standardized test results in a school area that has lots of obvious and measurable disadvantages like low income, high unemployment and lots of singleparent families, but it’s not. The other way of thinking about that is the quality of teaching makes a difference. “The upshot of this research is you can now have an intelligent discussion about quality and assessment results at schools, because the unintelligent discussion is ‘We have a poor result because our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds’ or ‘We just had a bad year.’ “This allows the discussion of quality to move forward, in precisely the same way two hospitals with the same pool of patients would have statistically significant different infection rates. You would be obligated to investigate that difference in phenomenon had been investigated, such as the United States. He tracked individual students — those who went to a middle school (often Grades 6-8, but sometimes 7-9) and those who stayed in the same elementary school before moving on to high school. He looked at students’ results in Grade 6 and then Grade 9 or 10. Students who attended middle school were systematically weaker. “Economists are always interested in trying to understand if resources are being well used,” says Johnson. “We want to look at the allocation of resources and ask, ‘How can we rearrange resources to get a better outcome?’ “The middle school project is a good example. The next question someone should ask is, ‘Does running a middle school cost us more?’ If we get a poorer outcome and it costs us more, surely we don’t want to do that. Even if it costs us the same we shouldn’t do standardized test results to compare Catholic and public schools. In Ontario, on average, Catholic schools do slightly better on Grade 3 and Grade 6 test scores. “It’s a curious effect, but I speculate that it’s because Catholic schools have to try harder,” says Johnson. “If you’re a dissatisfied parent of a Catholic school student you have an automatic entry into a public school, but it’s not as straightforward the other way around. At the high-school level it is, but not at the elementary level.” There is much interest in school competition and its effect on the education system. Johnson is currently looking at the differences in schools in Calgary and Edmonton because Edmonton schools perform better than Calgary schools with the same resources and funding. Johnson says it might be because Edmonton strongly encourages choice in schools, even at the “ Economists are always interested in infection rates and understand that it is costly.” The middle school phenomenon is another deduction that Johnson has drawn from standardized test results. Simply, middle school weakens a student’s high-school performance, no matter what measures are used (in addition to test results, high-school drop-out rates, for example). Johnson says he needed to show that middle schools in Ontario were no different than middle schools in other places where the it. It has to cost us less, in which case we should perhaps keep middle schools if we’re willing to accept the detriment to test scores.” In this case, Johnson says that because there are going to be a shrinking number of elementary students in Ontario, closing middle school would be a sensible place to start. On the other hand, if new schools are being built, people should consider building an elementary school instead of a middle school. Johnson has also used trying to understand if resources are being well used. ” elementary level. For example, Edmonton school websites often give reasons why parents should choose one school over another. “We know that good teaching matters and it’s a matter of convincing people of that,” says Johnson. “When I started this, I went to a fair number of places where they say the good school is always the school where kids have lots of advantages. While it is an on-average correct statement, there are enough important exceptions that we should care about those exceptions.” The C.D. Howe Institute presents Johnson’s data as an imaginary group of 100 comparator schools, each given a percentile placement. A school with a percentile rate of 90 means it is better than 90 percent of the schools with the same kids, and worse than 10. “That school is more than a standard deviation better than other schools, and that’s interesting,” says Johnson. “Where things are going badly, we should have a discussion about why, and whether there are ways to change it,” he says. “And if they’re going well, we ought to understand what it is the school is doing and how we might implement those things in other schools.” Johnson is often accused of only looking at a snapshot of students’ work. “People have to let go of the idea that the test instrument has to be perfect to be useful,” he says. “Nobody claims these things are perfect. We all bake in our ovens. The recipe says 350, but I guarantee you that your oven is not 350. It might be 349 or 351, but it doesn’t have to be that exact to be useful. We’re really interested in a signal — a useful signal. We don’t need a perfect signal. “When people ask why I do this, I say education is the secondbiggest industry in this country and that we ought to be interested in quality measures. We ought to be thinking hard about where resources and funds are well spent, and where they are poorly spent. It is absolutely clear that some groups of teachers at some schools do better jobs with students than other groups of teachers. The variation in teaching quality as measured by academic outcome is significantly large enough that we would care about it.” 7 Inside FEBRUARY 2013 in the classroom Mapping their own direction Instructor: Margaret WaltonRoberts Class: GG625, Qualitative Methods in Geography Description: This graduate course provides a broad survey of the various qualitative methods (tools) geographers employ in their research, and the methodology for employing them. Associate Professor of Geography Margaret Walton-Roberts is keen to give students autonomy over aspects of their learning process. In GG625, it’s her students who create the research project they will work on for the whole term in small teams. Students collectively decide on the topic, but each team uses a different research method, including interviews, discourse analysis, focus groups and archival research. “At the end of the term, when the research has been completed and analyzed, the students discuss their different findings and experiences,” she says. This allows students to compare different methods and consider what results mixed methods might provide. “In this way students direct their own learning and engage in peer learning. They also get excellent hands on knowledge of research methods, and this is indispensable for them as they develop their own thesis research.” By Mallory O’Brien Associate Professor Margaret Walton-Roberts allows students to create their own term research project. Stacey Mowbray is inauguaral CEO in Residence Stacey Mowbray, president and CEO of The Second Cup coffee company, is Laurier’s inaugural CEO in Residence. The Laurier alumna helped officially open the coffee chain’s location in the Library on the Waterloo campus. In her new role at Laurier, Mowbray will inspire students by delivering a perspective beyond their studies and research in the classroom. 8 Photo: Tomasz Adamski Photo: Mallory O’Brien