Issuu on Google+



Waterloo | Brantford | Kitchener | Toronto

Photo: Tomasz Adamski

MARCH 2012

Dr. Sparkle performs a science experiment at the Mad Science booth at the 2012 Summer Camp Fair in Laurier’s Science building last month. About 50 camp programs from around the region participated.

Joint athletic facility earns design award New Laurier-YMCA recreation centre in Brantford recognized by Architect Magazine By Lori Chalmers Morrison The design for the future LaurierYMCA athletic facility in Brantford has earned Cannon Design a prestigious Progressive Architecture (p/a) award from Architect Magazine. The facility design was one of 10 selected for its “invention and innovation” from among hundreds of submissions from around the world. The joint Wilfrid Laurier University and YMCA of Hamilton/ Burlington/Brantford facility

is designed to be a community athletics and recreation centre with gyms, pools, meeting rooms and other spaces to be used by students and the broader community. The community partnership involves Nipissing University, Mohawk College, the City of Brantford, Six Nations Elected Council and Six Nations Polytechnic. Cannon Design focused on themes of memory, movement and landscape in its integrated design. The designers describe the facility as an “elongated bar anchored by

A rendering of the new athletic complex by Cannon Design.

subterranean volume” that will offer the public a “unified and cohesive experience that asserts a new identity to the block and city as a whole.” In their commentary, the Progressive Architecture award jurors also recognized the design for its positive urban contributions. Lesley Cooper, acting principal/ vice-president: Laurier Brantford, attended the Progressive Architecture award ceremony in February at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City with Andrew King, project design principal from Cannon Design. “We take great pride that this incredibly unique facility design has been recognized with such a prestigious international award,” said Cooper. “We see the positive impacts the facility will have on Laurier, the City of Brantford and our partners, and believe it will be a landmark in downtown Brantford for years to come.” The design of the project was funded in part through a grant from FedDev Ontario. In July, 2011, the Government of

Ontario announced $16.7 million in infrastructure funding toward the estimated project cost of $58.4 million. Brantford City Council passed a motion on Feb. 6, 2012 approving in principal a contri-

bution of $5.84 million. The municipal funding supports an application for $16.7 million in federal funding, which is currently being reviewed by the Government of Canada.

Women’s curling team wins OUA championship By Jamie Howieson The Wilfrid Laurier women’s curling team successfully defended their OUA championship in February as they defeated the Western Mustangs 8-4 in the final at the Guelph Curling Club. Skip Laura Crocker and her team, consisting of Sarah Wilkes Jenny Gates, Cheryl Kreviazuk, Pamela Feldkamp and Kerilynn Mathers, picked up two critical steals of two points each in the sixth and seventh ends to secure the victory.



Thirty years of data shows that Laurier student-athletes are improving in the classroom.

Meet Sheldon Pereira, project coordinator for Congress 2012, foodie and pilot.

“We feel really excited,” said Crocker following the trophy presentation. “We really hung in there in a lot of our games. We had a ton of close games but we stuck through them and stayed together as a team and it worked out our way.” The final match was no different, as the Hawks found themselves down early after giving up a steal of one to the Mustangs in the opening end. Laurier bounced back and Crocker had an open draw for Curling see page 3

7 Doug Woolford uses statistics and historical data to study forest fires.


MARCH 2012

president’s message

These are unsettled times for universities. The global economic downturn is forcing Canada, and Ontario in particular, to confront hefty deficits and mounting debt loads. This in turn is causing governments to reign in spending and push public institutions to find more efficiencies. At the same time, academic quality has become a focus for public debate as rapidly growing enrolments, new technologies and escalating costs affect how we teach and learn. As a result, post-secondary education is struggling through a period of considerable uncertainty. On the one hand, there is general agreement that universities are a key driver of social, cultural and economic prosperity in the knowledge economy. On the other hand, our provincial government — despite its excellent intentions and significant investments — lags behind other jurisdictions in providing the kind of stable funding needed to sustain and nurture an asset that is so essential to competitiveness and prosperity. In Ontario, these issues have been highlighted in the recently released report of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public

Services, chaired by economist Don Drummond. The report identifies many of the challenges facing universities, from rapid enrolment growth to escalating costs, unstable funding, rising pension obligations, and the need for greater efficiencies. It also highlights the important role that universities play in strengthening the economy and generating prosperity. Drummond calls the post-secondary sector a “vital asset for Ontario,” noting that two-thirds of all new jobs in the province are expected to require post-secondary education. He points out, however, that Ontario’s funding levels for colleges and universities are the lowest in Canada, and that our province provides the lowest per-student operating grants in the country — lower for universities today than in 2007–08. “This reduction has occurred,” Drummond notes, “while the institutions’ costs have been rising by three per cent to five per cent. Just to keep the system operating as it does now, post-secondary institutions will need both more funding and more efficiency.” Most university administrators would agree. What many of us

would debate, however, is how much additional funding is needed, who should provide it, how we measure institutional success, and where operating efficiencies are to be found. In the absence of investment to bring Ontario in line with the rest of Canada, increased efficiency and productivity is the only way forward. The Ontario system is arguably the most efficient in the country already and, as Drummond notes, we have managed to keep quality at a high level. But I am concerned, as are my fellow university presidents, that quality is in jeopardy. Drummond offers a number of recommendations that would apply funding as an incentive to increase efficiencies, improve quality, and reward excellence. Incentives for positive change can be useful. However, significant questions remain about how institutional “success,” “quality” and “excellence” will be defined and measured. As well, there are numerous issues around the notion of “differentiation”, which would seek to decrease the duplication of academic programs across the system so that the “highest-quality” programs are funded to grow.

Photo: Simon Wilson

A clear voice during unsettled times for universities

There is no question that such concepts must be explored in an economic environment that demands long-term unit-cost stabilization. But at the same time they raise serious questions about the potential loss of institutional autonomy, the dampening effect on innovation and risk-taking, and the societal value of providing students at all institutions with a wellrounded selection of high-quality programs. As the Ontario government confronts a substantial deficit and mounting debt, all sectors will have to do their share to build a sustainable foundation for our long-term prosperity.

In this context, the months ahead will no doubt see a vigorous public discussion about the value, the price and the priority of post-secondary education in Ontario’s future. I can assure you that Laurier will have a clear voice in this discussion as we continue to advocate for high-quality education, an effective balance between teaching and research, and an outstanding student experience.

Max Blouw President and Vice-Chancellor

Roll up the rim and help the less fortunate By Mallory O’Brien Start rolling your rims, Laurier! Tim Horton’s “Roll up the Rim” contest is back in action, and for the seventh year in a row, Laurier Development Officer Cec Joyal will be collecting winning coffee and treat rims to distribute to the homeless and working poor.

“With the winning rims, people in the region experiencing homelessness are given the ability to enjoy a coffee and a muffin, a warm place to sit, and the dignity of ordering a meal for themselves,” said Joyal, who has volunteered with St. Louis Church’s Out of the Cold program since its inception in Kitchener-Waterloo 13 years ago.

Joyal collects the winning rims and distributes them to the homeless and working poor as they leave the church after a meal and an overnight stay. In the seven years since Joyal has been collecting the rim tabs, she has received an enthusiastic response and helped hundreds of needy people in the region. This year, Joyal hopes to collect 500 tabs. “It’s an easy thing for people to do. I tell everyone I know and encourage members of the Laurier community to do the same,” she said. The Out of the Cold program runs nightly between November and April and rotates among participating local churches. St. Louis Church in Waterloo accom-

InsideLaurier is published by Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing (CPAM) Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5

InsideLaurier Volume 6, Number 8, April 2012 Editor: Stacey Morrison Assistant Editor: Lori Chalmers Morrison Contributors: Kevin Crowley, Nick Dinka, Jamie Howieson, Sandra Muir, Mallory O’Brien


modates about 75 people overnight and 125 for dinner each Sunday evening. The numbers are even higher for downtown Kitchener churches. “It’s very rewarding work,” said Joyal. “The people in need are so thankful and appreciative that the Laurier community donates so

many tabs every year.” Those wishing to donate their winning Roll up the Rim tabs can send them to Joyal in Alumni Hall or drop them off at the International News store in the Fred Nichols building. For further information, please contact Cec Joyal at or ext. 3864.

Send us your news, events & stories Email: Deadline for submissions: March 16 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 welcomes your comments and suggestions for stories. Tel: (519) 884-0710 ext. 3341 | Fax: (519) 884-8848 Email: 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. Available online at Printed on recycled paper


Next issue of Inside April 2012

MARCH 2012 Inside NEWS

What’s new and notable at Laurier

Laurier celebrates faculty publications Wilfrid Laurier University’s Office of Aboriginal Initiatives recently celebrated the book launches of two Indigenous faculty members. Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies Kim Anderson wrote Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine (University of Manitoba Press) and Associate Professor of Social Work Kathy Absolon wrote Kaandossiwin: How We Come to Know (Fernwood Press). “Laurier’s Aboriginal faculty are making important contributions in the area of scholarly research in Aboriginal communities as they contribute to their communities’ development and wellbeing,” said Jean Becker, senior advisor: Aboriginal Initiatives at Laurier. On March 21 a book launch

will also be held for Communications Studies Professor Paul Heyer. The release of his book, Titanic Century: Media, Myth and the Making of a Cultural Icon will preface the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in April. In other publishing news, Philippa Gates, associate professor of Film Studies, has been nominated for a 2012 Edgar award for her book Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film (SUNY Press). The awards are presented each year by the Mystery Writers of America.

Ray Darling appointed to second term Ray Darling has been reappointed for a second term as registrar and commissioner of oaths for all campuses at Wilfrid Laurier University. Darling — who came to Laurier in 2008 in the registrar’s role — is

responsible for managing records and registration, student awards and scholarships, and exams and scheduling. He also oversees Service Laurier, an integrated, one-stop enrolment services model for students. In addition to his administrative and ceremonial roles, Darling — who holds a Master of Political Science degree from the University of Guelph — will teach a third-year political science class at Laurier in the fall. “I love teaching, and I think it will also make me a better registrar because I’ll understand the student — and faculty — perspective a little bit better,” he said.

WLU Press authors shortlisted for awards Two books published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press have been shortlisted for Canada Prize awards by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Canadian Women in Print, 1750 -1918 by Carole Gerson was shortlisted for the Canada Prize in Humanities. Veronica StrongBoag’s book Fostering Nation? Canada Confronts Its History of Childhood Disadvantage was nominated for the Canada Prize in the Social Sciences. “We are proud to be able to showcase Carole and Veronica,” said Brian Henderson, director of WLU Press.“These are senior authors who are at the top of their scholarship field.” This is the third year in a row a book published by WLU Press has been nominated for the humanities prize and the first time that any of its books have been nominated for both the humanities and social sciences categories in the same year.

Laurier wins School of the Year at JDC business competition

Laurier faculty are celebrating literary achievements. From left are books by Kim Anderson, Kathy Absolon, Philippa Gates and Paul Heyer.

Curling continued

three in the second end, giving the Hawks a 3-1 lead. Western would respond and score two in the third before a steal of one in the fourth gave them the advantage at the break. Coming out of the break, the Hawks slowly began to take over the game. After a single in the fifth end evened the score at four, the Hawks set themselves up nicely for a steal in the sixth end and after a key miss from Western, Laurier walked away with a two point lead. It was the same story in the seventh as Crocker kept

the house wide open and after two misses from Western’s skip, Laurier had an insurmountable 8-4 advantage. The Hawks would simply run the Mustangs out of rocks in the final end as they celebrated Laurier’s sixth OUA curling title. Crocker and her rink are now preparing for the CIS championships, which will be hosted by Brock University at the Welland Curling Club, where they will once again be defending their title. “We’re excited about nationals,” said Crocker. “We’re really happy to be back there and we know what it takes to win based on last

JDC Central 2012, hosted by Carleton University, is one of Canada’s largest business competitions, welcoming 400 students from 10 universities across Canada. Students compete in eight academic cases, parliamentary debate, social challenges, and sports tournaments. Laurier also won the Academic Cup, which is awarded to the business school with the best case competition results. Laurier placed within the top three teams for seven out of the eight functional areas.

Laurier on YouTube Laurier will host more than 70 scholarly associations during Congress 2012 this spring. Learn more about Congress 2012 in this video. LaurierVideo

After a competition packed with energy, tough competition and school spirit, the Laurier delegation at Jeux Du Commerce Central has returned home with the title School of the Year for the third straight year. No school in Canada has pulled off this feat since 2004.

year. We’re just going to prepare really hard for the next couple of weeks leading up to it and hopefully that can bring us backto-back championships.”

Entrepreneurship program relocates to Hub

Women’s hockey team competes for OUA title

By Sandra Muir

The Laurier women’s hockey team defeated the Windsor Lancers to win the best-of-three semifinal series, sending the Hawks to the OUA finals. As of press time, the heavily favoured, No. 1 Laurier team were taking on the No. 6 Western Mustangs.

The women’s curling team sweeps to a second-consecutive OUA title in Guelph last month.

A space at the Communitech Hub, affectionately nicknamed the sandbox, is Laurier’s new playground for innovation and entrepreneurship. In January, Laurier’s long-standing Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (EAP) relcoated to the Hub. The program gives students the opportunity to launch new ventures while earning academic credit. “Relocating the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program to the Hub will enable us to immerse Laurier students in the city’s entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Steve Farlow, executive director of the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship. “Students will be able to easily connect with other entrepreneurs, community partners, corporate partners, investors and the alumni mentors they are assigned.” Laurier is a founding partner of the Hub, which is located in Kitchener’s historic Tannery building. The program is run by Laurier’s Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the School of Business & Economics and the Faculty of Science. Undergraduate students from other academic disciplines may also apply to the program. Laurier has also partnered with Conestoga College to ensure Laurier students

have access to Conestoga student volunteers who can build websites and design logos and marketing materials for start-ups using the space. As Laurier students complete the EAP, they will have the opportunity to graduate directly into Communitech programs offered at the Hub to help them take their venture to the next level. “Entrepreneurship provides knowledge, skills and experience that is fundamental to being an effective contributor in today’s world, whether running one’s own business or working in an established organization.,” said Farlow. “For Laurier students to be leaders, we need to expose them to the discipline of entrepreneurship as a complement to their chosen field of study.” The program is one of many partnerships between Laurier and the Communitech Hub. In January 2011, Laurier and Communitech launched a joint MBA/Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR) program.



MARCH 2012

Wilfrid Laurier University is gearing up to co-host the largest interdisciplinary academic conference in North America from May 26 to June 2, 2012. Known as the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, this annual event draws nearly 7,000 participants from across Canada and abroad. The eight-day conference is organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and will be co-hosted by Laurier and the University of Waterloo this year. Most of the activities will be centred on Laurier’s Waterloo campus, with additional events at the University of Waterloo and in Uptown Waterloo. Congress is a “meeting of meetings” involving more than 70 academic associations whose members come together to share ideas, discuss complex issues and enrich their research. The theme of his year’s conference is “Crossroads: Scholarship for an Uncertain World.” There is a real effort to engage the general public, and Laurier

staff, students and alumni are encouraged to attend the public lectures, enjoy the social and cultural events, and get involved as volunteers. Of particular interest, Congress 2012 will feature a number of

prominent writers and scholars who will deliver free public talks as part of the Big Thinking lecture series. Speakers include writers Margaret Atwood and Jane Urquhart, Pulitzer Prize-

winning journalist Chris Hedges, and respected scholars Thomas Homer-Dixon, Janine Brodie, Sidonie Smith and Mary Eberts. Laurier organizers are also working with the City of Waterloo to create an exciting Evening Festival for delegates and community members. It will be held each evening on May 28, 29 and 30 in the train station parking lot adjacent to the Perimeter Institute and the Clay and Glass Gallery in Uptown Waterloo. The festival will feature live music, a Bavarian fusion cabaret, and regional food and beverages. In addition, there will be a number of cultural and social events on Laurier’s Waterloo campus throughout the conference. For more information about public lectures and events specific to Laurier (including volunteer opportunities), please visit the website at Additional details and updates are also available on the main Congress website at www.

Photo: Mallory O’Brien

Laurier continues preparations for Sir Wilfrid is all heart Congress 2012 conference

Sir Wilfrid Laurier may be made of bronze, but he wore his heart on his lapel for Valentine’s Day.

Joint program builds stronger ties with Africa By Sandra Muir Wilfrid Laurier University is building stronger ties with Africa thanks to a collaborative effort between the Human Rights & Human Diversity program at the Brantford campus and the Global Studies program in Waterloo, with support from Laurier International. The group collaborated on a federal funding proposal for a program that will see courses delivered jointly to students from Laurier and Ghana’s Ashesi University via Skype starting in September 2012. “This is a huge opportunity for Laurier to establish a stronger relationship with Africa,” said Peter Donahue, director of Laurier International. “It also fits within Laurier’s academic plan, in the areas of global citizenship and

social justice, and will allow Laurier students to gain a broader, more diverse perspective.” In addition to the in-class component, 23 Laurier students will receive funding for internships in Ghana, and four graduate students from Ghana’s University of Cape Coast will receive internships to study at Laurier. The first group of Laurier students participating in an internship in Ghana will leave in May 2012. Ghanian students will come to Laurier starting in September 2012. “Students from both campuses will get to be engaged,” said Donahue. “I think there are some really interesting opportunities for growth

and continued collaboration with our African partners on both campuses.” Laurier received a total of $264,000 for the four-year grant, which is part of an updated CIDAfunding program, administered by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) through its Students for Development (SFD) program.

In the media “The federal and provincial governments clearly don’t want anything to do with energy policy, so we don’t really know how big the nuclear waste pile is going to get in the future.” ~ Brenda Murphy, associate professor, Geography and Contemporary Studies, Laurier Brantford From “Closing Pandora’s Box: As radioactive spent fuel piles up, the world seeks a solution,” published in The Ottawa Citizen on Dec. 29, 2011. The article, by Ian MacLeod, discusses the struggle to find a way to permanently dispose of spent civilian fuel Laurier community members are frequently featured in the local and national media. To see more coverage, visit thenews, and find out about our Experts at Laurier program, visit


Name: Jeanette McDonald Job Title: Manager, Educational Development Book Title: Room Author: Emma Donoghue

Told from the perspective of five-year-old Jack, the room is the only world he knows. To his mother though, the 11x11 room has been a prison for the last seven years, a place she struggles to bring up her son with a growing sense of desperation as the sense of normalcy she has tried so hard to create collides with Jack’s curiosity of the world. As a parent, it brings home that the captivity of women and children can happen anywhere in the world. It also reinforces the lengths to which a parent will go to ensure the safety and sanctuary of their children and themselves.

What are you listening to? Name: Christopher Alcantara Job Title: Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science Title: Our First Set Website: John MacLeod & His Rex Hotel Orchestra

This CD, which is the debut album of John MacLeod and his band, contains many of Canada’s finest jazz soloists and lead players, as well as MacLeod’s innovative arrangements and compositions. I particularly liked the opener, The Great Danes, which features MacLeod on the horn, and Laura, featuring Al Kay playing the melody. Great stuff!

MARCH 2012 Inside

Laurier student-athletes are winners in the classroom Research shows athletes’ academic performance has improved over time The average grade at Laurier today for non-athletes is 7.44. A further indication of academic quality is that the current admission average of studentathletes is 81.5 per cent compared to an overall non-athlete admission average of 81.4 per cent. Laurier officials attribute the improvements in part

An analysis of three decades of research on Laurier studentathletes’ academic performance has revealed a significant improvement over time. The study, conducted by Professor William McTeer, shows that student-athletes in the 2000s are on average doing as well or better academically than other students. “Laurier invests extensively in the academic success of our student-athletes, and we insist that they take their studies seriously,” said David McMurray, the university’s vice-president, Student Affairs. “But it wasn’t until Bill compiled this material that we realized the full extent of how well our student-athletes are doing academically, while continuing to excel in intercollegiate competition. I’m proud of them.” The results show that in the 1980s, 87.8 per cent of Laurier student-athletes graduated from their programs. Today, 94 per cent of student-athletes graduate compared to 86.7 per cent of non-athletes. Laurier studentathletes’ average grades on a 12-point scale also increased from 6.76 in the 1980s to 7.48 today.

people at Laurier

Nicole Cuzzi, food services associate Starbucks, Food Services (Waterloo campus). Melissa Dileo, LEAF student services assistant (Brantford campus). Erin Klassen, admissions specialist I, Recruitment & Admissions (Waterloo campus). Melanie Lafrance, administrative assistant II, History (Waterloo campus). Barb Lake, food services associate, Food Services (Waterloo campus).

Changes in staff appointments: Michael Bittle, records and data mangagement coordinator, FGPS (Waterloo campus). Amanda Giacomino, learning and organizational development administrator, Human Resources (Waterloo campus).

Ben Waite, receiver, Food Services (Waterloo campus).

Khal Hossein, manager, admissions and Waterloo recruitment, Recruitment & Admissions (Waterloo campus).

Tamara Quigley, coordinator, marketing and communications, Recruitment & Admissions (Brantford campus).

Robert Kalbfleisch, systems analyst III, Enterprise Solutions (Waterloo campus).

Constance Smelsky, disability consultant, Accessible Learning (Brantford campus).

Rosemary Springett, financial analyst, FGPS (Waterloo campus).

Amanda Gulka, manager, admissons and Waterloo recruitment, Recruitment & Admissions (Waterloo campus).

Amy Neufeld, service advisor, Service Laurier (Waterloo campus).

Christina Kerr, library media and music associate, Library (Waterloo campus). Martin Krawiec, systems analyst II, ITS (Waterloo campus). Emily Middleton, development assistant, University Development (Waterloo campus). Nela Petkovic, director ICT Renewal Project, Enterprise Solutions (Waterloo campus).

Got a question? Send it to

Christie Schellenberger, manager, recruitment and admissions, Recruitment & Admissions (Waterloo campus).

Cameron Terry, area manager, custodial, Physical Resources (Waterloo campus).

Jingjun Ha, systems analyst, Library (Waterloo campus).

campus decoder

leadership, hard work and cooperation, but it’s not the whole picture. The degree is central.” McTeer, a professor in the department of Kinesiology & Physical Education, began collecting the data in the early 1980s, compiled a second set in the 1990s, and recently completed a third set for the 2000s. He says the average student-athlete invests about 20 hours per week in his or her sport. “We seem to have a healthy balance here between academics and athletics,” he said. The university’s studentathletes have received significant recognition. Between 2000 and 2012, the Laurier Golden Hawks won 35 championships, including eight national championships. Between 2000 and 2010, 248 Laurier athletes earned CIS Academic All-Canadian honours. Football’s Dillon Heap was named a CIS Top 8 Academic All-Canadian in 2009-10. The university is continuing to hone its approach to nurturing student-athletes’ academic performance, and McTeer is curious to know the impact of new measures. “If I’m here in another 10 years, I’ll certainly be taking a look,” he said.

Erin Riggin, administrative assistant II, Teaching Support Services (Waterloo campus).

Jane Gohl, administrative manager, Science (Waterloo campus).

Emily Lowther, designer I, Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing (Waterloo campus).

Sarah Shewchuck, special constable, Special Constable Servie (Waterloo campus).

passing average in their academic coursework to continue to play their sports. “We are focusing on developing the whole student-athlete— academically, athletically and personally,” said Peter Baxter, the university’s director of Athletics & Recreation. “Sport itself can teach a number of skills, such as

Laurier encourages academic success through mentorship programs and referrals to tutors. All students must maintain a passing average in their coursework to continue to play sports.

For a complete list of appointments visit

New appointments:

Bonnie Whitlow, aboriginal student support coordinator, Student Services (Brantford campus).

to the university’s holistic approach to student-athlete success. The university places a strong emphasis on academic performance when recruiting athletes. It encourages athlete success in the classroom through academic mentorship programs and referrals to specialist tutors. And students must maintain a

Photo: Thomas Kolodziej

By Nick Dinka

Julie Way, leadhand, Fresh Food Company, Food Services (Waterloo campus). Teresa Wendykier, senior administrative assistant, chemistry, Faculty of Science (Waterloo campus).


Shellbie Wilson, development officer, Development & Alumni Relations (Waterloo campus).


Retirements: Robert Ellsworth, manager, ITS (Waterloo campus). Elaine Frey, archives assistant/ associate cataloguer, Library (Waterloo campus).

: How long has the university’s Faculty of Social Work been located in Kitchener?

: In September 2006, the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work opened its doors in the heart of downtown Kitchener, just four kilometres from the Waterloo campus. The faculty began accepting students in 1966 and 40 years later moved to the historical St. Jerome’s College/High School, a renowned institution of higher learning for over 125 years in Waterloo Region. With support from the City of Kitchener, Wilfrid Laurier University successfully completed a $12-million campaign to transform the historical landmark into a

thriving professional school. Upon completion, the university was awarded the Wagner Heritage Award by the City of Kitchener. The award is bestowed to organizations that have preserved, restored or helped conserve local heritage resources. Located on Duke and College streets, Laurier’s Kitchener location is a 40,000-squarefoot facility, housing seven classrooms (including a unique circular classroom for the MSW Aboriginal Field of Study), two computer labs, a 2,000-squarefoot library, interview-viewing room, a large conference/lecture hall, community meeting space, student lounges, a spiritual room and a spacious café. By Stacey Morrison 5


MARCH 2012 A look at staff and faculty across campus

coffee with a co-worker Name: Sheldon Pereira Title: Project coordinator: Congress 2012 Where you can find him: Congress Planning Office, in the MacDonald House residence on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. Drink of choice: When I need something warm and sweet I prefer a double ristretto espresso. From what I understand, it doesn’t have as much caffeine as a regular coffee. It’s also sweeter and takes less time to drink. Otherwise I drink steeped tea.

Sheldon Pereira is tasked with coordinating Congress 2012, which will draw more than 7,000 participants.

How long have you been at Laurier? I started as a student in 2004 and graduated in 2008. For the next three years I took on various roles within the Residence Life Office, including resource facilitator and area coordinator. In 2011, I was hired as the Congress 2012 project coordinator. I saw the position on the Laurier website and it seemed like a great opportunity to practice my skills on a very complex project. What is your typical workday like? It’s not typical and it really ebbs and flows with the project. On any given day, we’ll receive somewhere between 50-150 emails. In addition to responding to all those emails, most of my time is spent in meetings with campus and community

partners as a way to help them understand what the project is and the ways we need their expertise and involvement. We want to ensure that Congress is as successful as possible, and that it’s the most positive delegate experience that we can offer. What do you love most about your role with Congress? I really love how different the experience is. In my work with Residence Life, my daily interaction was with students and helping them with their transition from secondary school to a post-secondary environment and all the things that come along with that. And now my interactions are mostly with university administrators, campus partners, and faculty members. So it’s a very different demographic that I’m working with. And

coming Events

Heard on Twitter Check out what the Laurier community has been tweeting about at Laurier also has official sites on Facebook at and YouTube at www.

@ChathamHabitat @LaurierNews welcome Wilfrid Laurier students on #CollegiateChallenge 2012! We are so happy to have you all! Feb. 22, 2012 @LaurierNews Laurier women’s curling team wins OUA championship #Laurier Feb. 20, 2012 @BrickBooks “Henderson is both literate and eloquent.” Review of Sharawadji by Brian Henderson… @ brihen @wlupress @clarehitchens Feb. 17, 2012 @fedcan Looking for a job at #Congress12? Visit the the WLU Concourse today from 10 am – 2 pm to learn more #Laurier @LaurierNews Feb. 15, 2012 @570News Laurier Golden Hawks women’s hockey team climb to number one in weekly CIS Top Ten. #570news Jan. 24, 2012


it’s certainly pulling and stretching me in ways that I’m not used to. But I’ve been very thankful and I’m loving the experience of it. What do you love most about working at Laurier? I think the best part of my job is working with people that I enjoy working with. I’ve had a chance to get to know so many people both personally and professionally, and they really have become part of my family. What do you like to do in your spare time? I really enjoy flying. In 2004, I earned my private pilot’s licence through the Air Cadet program. I’ve made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t fly with any passengers

until I have 1,000 hours, and I’m certainly not there yet. I also really love cooking. I’m fortunate to come from a family that is very talented in the kitchen. I enjoy going home at the end of the day and seeing what I can come up with based on the ingredients I have on hand. What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? I only moved to Canada in 1996. My family emigrated from Bahrain because the country was experiencing growing pains, and post-secondary education options were limited for expatriates and their children. I haven’t been back, but I have visited India a few times, which is where my family is from originally. By Sandra Muir

For a complete list of events visit

the cartographer’s mistake: hockey fields and marigold maps by Sarindar Dhaliwal When: March 7 – April 14 Where: Robert Langen Art Gallery Cost: Free

Laurier Open House, Waterloo Campus When: March 16 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Where: Waterloo campus Cost: Free

Outstanding Women of Laurier Luncheon When: March 29 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Where: Waterloo Inn, Waterloo Cost: $90

This multimedia installation takes viewers on a journey through the artist’s personal history of movement from her birthplace in India, to Britain and Canada.

Miriam Toews and the Search for Family: From A Complicated Kindness (2004) to Irma Voth (2011) When: March 21 Noon – 1 p.m. Where: Kitchener Public Library, Forest Heights Branch Cost: Free

Cassie Campbell, two-time Olympic gold medalist in women’s hockey, is the keynote speaker at this event honouring exceptional female student-athletes. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.laurierathletics. com/owl.

Laurier Open House, Brantford Campus When: March 14 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Where: Brantford campus Cost: Free Laurier Milton Lecture Series: The Laurier Singers Chamber Choir When: March 14 Alumni reception: 6:30 p.m. Lecture: 7 p.m. Where: Milton Centre for the Arts, Milton Cost: Free Join Laurier alumni as the Laurier Singers Chamber Choir takes you on a musical journey, demonstrating a variety of composers and styles of choral music. For information, visit First Peoples or Last Nations: The Struggle for Indigenous Rights by Rodolfo Stavenhagen When: March 15 7:30 p.m. Where: Paul Martin Centre, Waterloo campus Cost: Free

Paul Tiessen, professor in the Department of English and Film Studies is the guest speaker at this popular noon-hour lecture series. Teaching Larger Classes: A Community at Large When: March 23 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Where: Hawk’s Nest, Waterloo campus Cost: Free Join this forum where faculty and educators from multiple diciplines come together to share experiences and lessons learned about how to engage and interact with students in a large class. Music at Noon When: March 29 When: Noon – 1 p.m. Where: Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, Waterloo campus Cost: Free Enjoy music by Jacob Braun, cello, and Grace Fong, piano.

The Unforgettable Titanic: From Media Event to Myth When: April 4 Noon – 1 p.m. Where: Kitchener Public Library, Forest Heights Branch Cost: Free Paul Heyer, professor in the Department of Communication Studies, is the guest speaker at this popular noon-hour lecture series. For more information, visit

MARCH 2012 Inside research file

Using statistics to ignite the study of forest fires Doug Woolford uses historical data to research seasonal patterns in lightning-caused fires

Douglas Woolford’s reasearch about lightning-caused forest fires is helping to shape future firefighting efforts.

Woolford’s research is different because it’s based on historical data — specifically, reports that firefighters have been filling out after each shift for 43 years in Alberta and 42 years in Ontario. Typically, research in this area focuses on the future, and the impact that global temperature changes might have on forest fires. “It’s neat to look into the past and see what’s happening in the

“ Forest fires are very complex, random phenomena. ”

The research has garnered actual historical records, when the attention of the American most of the other research in this Association for the Advancement field has focused on what might of Science (AAAS), the world’s happen in the future by looking at largest scientific society, which simulated data.” publishes the prestigious journal The team used what Woolford Science. The association invited calls “flexible statistical models” Woolford to its annual meeting to look at the fire season within in Vancouver last month where years and across years. These he presented his research. helped quantify the probability Woolford participated in a that a fire would occur on a certain seminar titled “Forest Fires in day. One way to do that is using Canada: Impacts of Climate what is called “penalized spline Change and Fire Smoke.” While smoothing,” which is more flexible Woolford’s research on lightning- than traditonal models that caused fires was motivated by employ sine or cosine functions. climate change, he says it’s very “The seasonal nature of forest difficult to find a direct causal fires in Canada doesn’t follow a relationship between the two.

 linear relationship,” says Woolford. “There is some evidence that “We wanted a model that didn’t suggests the systems used to just connect the dots, but rather detect forest fires have been showed a general trend and one improving over time,” he says. that didn’t try to force a specific “So it could be that more fires type of curve.” are now being detected earlier.” Woolford and his team also used

a “mixture model framework” to analyze subcomponents within the seasonal behaviour to answer questions about whether it was changing. “We’re seeing a shift towards observations that are more likely to follow regular or extreme seasonal behaviour, versus zeroheavy behaviour, which again suggests increased fire risk.” Woolford has always been good at math. He is also very interested in stocks and finance, and earned a bachelor degree in Statistics and Actuarial Science. During part of his undergrad, he worked at a financial consulting firm. After receiving his master’s degree in Statistics, he taught a few courses at Laurier before returning to school for his PhD. In 2003, while working on his PhD, Woolford learned about a collaborative study being done in partnership with the Ontario

Ministry of Natural Resources that involved the modelling of large, complex spatial temporal data sets on forest fires, lightning and other fire weather. “A lot of actuarial science focuses on applying risk,” says Woolford. “I’m still looking at risk, but instead of financial risk, I’m looking at risk in the environmental context. And right now, it’s focused on forest fires.” Woolford expects that both fire management agencies and the forestry industry in Alberta and Ontario will be interested in the results of the study. “The forest product industry and forest fire managers need to plan ahead,” says Woolford. “This research can help with resource allocation, budget planning and understanding how to share resources across provinces. It also gives them an idea of how things might be changing over

time, because fire management is interested in forecasting into the future.” As for his future research plans, Woolford and the team are planning to focus their research on certain eco-regions in Alberta and Ontario. “These are both very big provinces,” says Woolford. “Eventually we’re hoping to build a framework on a finer scale. We may look at seasonal behaviour in a certain region — breaking up the provinces into a set of ecologically similar compartments.” Woolford is happy using his stats knowledge for research and teaching. He has no plans on returning to the financial world. “We just had a second baby. I have house and car payments. So there’s not much money to risk on any stocks nowadays, and I need to minimize my exposure to risky investments.”

Photo: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Douglas Woolford remembers taking the dreaded first-year statistics course during his undergrad degree. Today he teaches that same course, and many others like it, as an assistant professor in Laurier’s Department of Mathematics. “I always tell my students — stats gets better,” he says. For Woolford, stats is not only interesting, but can also be applied to many lesser-known aspects of society. Currently, he is part of a team of researchers whose research is helping to answer important questions about lightning-caused fires in Alberta and Ontario that could shape future firefighting efforts. “Forest fires are very complex, random phenomena,” says Woolford. “It is interesting to look into the past and see how the seasonal patterns in these lightning-caused fire ignitions are changing over time.” Woolford and his team have put together a statistical analysis of historical fire data, which suggests the fire season is getting longer in Alberta and more intense in Ontario. The team used various models and analyzed more than 40 years of fire records for both provinces. “We were concerned about changes in peak risk, seeing more fires, seeing a longer fire season, and whether any of these trends are visible in a relatively short period of time,” says Woolford. “And we are seeing trends that suggest these are all happening.”

Photo: Sandra Muir

By Sandra Muir

A forest fire burns near Red Lake, Ontario. Lightning starts about a third of all fires in the province.



MARCH 2012

in the classroom

Hands-on learning Instructor: Renée MacPhee Class: KP431: Aging, Physical Activity and Health

The primary goal of this senior-level course is to help students understand the aging process in relationship to physical activity and health. “The first time I taught the course, I was surprised to see how many students had no first-hand experience with an elderly individual,” said Assistant Professor Renée MacPhee. “I realized students were missing an important piece of the learning puzzle and decided to bring aging into the classroom.” MacPhee’s students experience what it’s like to be a senior with a simulation exercise involving various stations and props. For example, students wear glasses that simulate the effects of cataracts, gloves to reflect changes in hand sensation and earplugs simulating hearing loss. They must then read a prescription medication label and remove a specified number of pills. MacPhee says the exercises are eye-openers. “I think the ‘ah-hah’ moment from students when they truly understand something is the best teaching reward.” By Mallory O’Brien

Photo: Dean Palmer

Description: Examining the effect of physical activity on the aging process, the impact of aging processes on health and fitness, and other healthrelated issues such as medication use and co-morbidity.

Assistant Professor Renée MacPhee uses simulaton exercises that allow students to experience what it’s like to be elderly.

Photo: Mallory O’Brien

Scholar discusses life and decisions of George W. Bush

Dan P. McAdams, a leading expert in personality psychology, visited Laurier as the 2012 Hunsberger Memorial Lecturer. A professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, he delivered his lecture, “George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait,” in February.


March 2012 - InsideLaurier