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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Thursday, May 16, 1996

Where do we go from here?

That's the question in the wake of the voting results: UW faculty, librarians and instructors turned down a proposal to have the faculty association certified as a union to represent them. As reported yesterday, the vote was 287 in favour of unionization, 361 opposed.

The vote leaves UW with a status quo that includes the 1985 Memorandum of Agreement under which the faculty association negotiates with the university on behalf of faculty members, but not as a certified union. Other important documents about the relations between professors and their employer include Policy 11 about faculty salaries, Policy 63 about faculty grievances, and Policy 1, which gives the faculty relations committee a good deal of power over changes to university policy.

In a statement issued yesterday as part of a release from the UW news bureau, UW president James Downey said the outcome of the certification vote "represented a vote of confidence in the ability of UW to work out matters collegially".

The president added that, while he and his administrative colleagues were pleased with the result, "this does not mean there aren't important issues of governance and management that need to be addressed. Now that the question of certification has been resolved, I trust we can tackle these issues in a cooperative spirit and find solutions that are suited to Waterloo's unique character and challenges. For our part, the university's administration remain ready to do so."

There hasn't been any comment yet from the executive of the faculty association, which had strongly urged professors to vote in favour of unionization.

Safety training tomorrow

Here's a note from Angelo Graham in UW's safety office:
Government of Ontario legislation requires that all employees of the University be made aware of current Health & Safety legislation and the WHMIS -- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System program. To facilitate this, the Safety Office has prepared a video describing the WHMIS program and requirements of the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

The following times and location have been arranged for faculty and staff to view the video. The presentation, including a brief quiz, runs for approximately 1 hour.

All university employees, volunteers, part-time employees and graduate students who have not previously attended a University of Waterloo WHMIS session are required to attend.
Questions? Graham is at ext. 6359.

British universities eye the future

The Association of University Teachers, the national professors' association in Britain, is holding its summer convention this week in beautiful Weston-super-Mare. The dominant topic under discussion is a national "inquiry into higher education", launched this spring by the minister of education with support from the opposition Labour Party.

The inquiry, headed by Sir Ron Dearing, will make recommendations on "how the purposes, shape, structure, size and funding of higher education should develop to meet the needs of the UK over the next twenty years. It will have a significant influence on future generations of students, on the development of universities and colleges, and on the wider economy, society and culture of this country," said the minister, Gillian Shephard.

Dearing's terms of reference also note that "through scholarship and research, higher education provides a national resource of knowledge and expertise for the benefit of our international competitiveness and quality of life, and provides a basis for responding to social and economic change through innovation and lifelong learning."

A note on computing courses

Bob Hicks of the department of computing services -- which is quickly shifting to the new, broader name of "information systems and technology", IST -- sends a note about courses offered by DCS for staff, faculty and students:
Many of DCS courses are now taught in MC 1078 using the "hands-on" approach. This is working out very well, and the response has been great. But we are having one problem that we would like everyone to be aware of. It involves people coming late to DCS courses.

Being registered for a course reserves a computer for you until the course starts. At that time people waiting at the door will be allowed to take any unoccupied computer. Please be aware that if you show up late there is a good chance you may not be able to take the class. Many of the courses have long waiting lists. People on the waiting list are encouraged to show up in case someone on the registration list fails to attend. Also note that it is important to be on time as it is hard to catch up in a hands-on session. This is a new problem that we hope will disappear once everyone becomes familiar with the situation.

Because of the demand for these courses, it has been decided that effective July 1, 1996, only people currently enrolled or working at the University of Waterloo can take DCS courses. For some time we have not allowed people from off-campus to attend. More recently people taking early retirement have been asking. DCS will try to arrange a separate course for UW retirees when requested by the UW Retirees' Association.

French contest awards today

UW's department of French studies tonight honors the winners of its late-April French contest for Ontario high school students. Some 180 students from 60 schools competed, vying for the first-place prize of a month's stay at the Summer Language Institute of the University of Tours, France.

The grand prize winner, emerging the least unscathed from April 24's full day of grammar testing and oral and written comprehension tests, is John Norquay of Mississauga's Lorne Park Secondary School, which also claimed the second-place finisher, Sharon Bewick. She'll claim a $500 scholarship. Other winners at tonight's dinner at South Campus Hall's Laurel Room will walk away with French/English dictionaries, plaques and book prizes. Carol Hunsbergber, Magdalena Konieczna and Katrine Majewski of Waterloo Collegiate Institute are local winners. The WCI team, coached by Anaheeta Bharucha, finished second to Lorne Park in the team competition.

Other things that are happening

Notes on today's Web-surfing

Ran into something called Parent Soup at http://www.parentsoup.com/, which looks like a congenial place for those of us with kids. Then for anyone who's received the inevitable e-mail messages about the "Good Times" computer virus, there's the Good Times Virus Hoax FAQ at http://www-mcb.ucdavis.edu/info/virus.html, which makes clear that there ain't no such thing.

Closer to home, I see that the faculty association has placed on its web pages the text of the talk on "Feminism in the Media and the '90s Backlash", given in January by Rose Simone of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record.

Chris Redmond -- credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004

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