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Tuesday, April 20, 1999

  • Convocation awards are announced
  • Disability and sick leave changes
  • What visitors can see at UW
  • Today's events and announcements

Convocation awards are announced

The consultant who helped bring James Downey to the president's office at UW will receive an honorary degree here in June, and so will the president of television's Discovery Channel and prominent academics from Israel, Poland and the United States.

Also to be honoured at UW's 78th Convocation are lawyer Peter Sims, a former chair of the UW board of governors, as well as two retired staff members and five retired faculty. Honorary degrees and other convocation honours were made public at last night's meeting of the UW senate.

Also at senate

As expected, last night's senate meeting gave approval to UW's 1999-2000 budget as proposed by provost Jim Kalbfleisch. Student senators voted against the budget, which incorporates a level of tuition fee hikes that student representatives had earlier opposed when the board of governors approved them. The full budget now goes to the board's June meeting for final approval.

The senate also gave its OK to the revision of Policy 33 on "ethical behaviour".

The consultant is Janet Wright, who heads her own executive search firm. The TV executive is Trina McQueen, whose community service includes a term on the UW board of governors.

Special events at convocation will begin with the installation of UW's fifth president, David Johnston, at the ceremony on June 16. Applied health sciences, environmental studies and independent studies students will receive their degrees that day, a Wednesday. Convocation begins at 2 p.m. in the Physical Activities Complex.

The next day, June 17, Wright, the first person in Canada to provide executive recruitment services for universities, will receive a Doctor of Laws degree at convocation for arts graduates. She will address convocation; again the ceremony starts at 2 p.m. Peter Sims, who is managing partner of Sims Clement Eastman in Kitchener, will receive a Doctor of Laws degree that afternoon.

McQueen, president and general manager of the Discovery Channel, one of Canada's top-ranked television specialty channels, will receive a Doctor of Laws degree at convocation for science graduates to be held Friday, June 18. She will deliver the convocation address at 2 p.m. At the ceremony, Marvin Edelman, a pioneering researcher in plant molecular biology and bioinformatics at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, will receive a Doctor of Science degree.

On Saturday, June 19, John Tukey of Princeton, who pioneered developments in fields that intersect with every department in mathematics faculties, will receive a Doctor of Mathematics degree at convocation for math graduates. He will address convocation at 10 a.m. Dianne McGarry, a former chief executive officer of Xerox Canada Inc., will receive a Doctor of Laws degree at the same ceremony.

Later on Saturday, Claudine Simson, one of the key scientists behind Nortel's successful high-voltage process technology, will receive a Doctor of Laws degree at convocation for engineering graduates. She will address convocation at 2 p.m. Zenon Mróz, an international expert in the field of continuum and damage mechanics of metallic and geological materials, will receive a Doctor of Engineering degree at that afternoon's ceremony.

Also during the convocation ceremonies, the title "Honorary Member of the University" will be awarded to two retired UW staff members: Helen Kilbride, former associate registrar (graduate studies), and Peter Russell, curator of the Earth Sciences and Biology Museum.

The title of "Distinguished Professor Emeritus" will be presented to these retired UW faculty members: Savvas Chamberlain (electrical and computer engineering); Donald Cowan (computer science); Michael Craton (history); Herbert Fernando (biology); and Raj Pathria (physics).

Disability and sick leave changes

Look for a memo within the next few days about proposed changes to the sick leave and long-term disability benefits offered to staff and faculty members at UW. The pension and benefits committee is meeting this morning to give final approval to a message from the provost that will set out what's being considered.

"We are not proposing any radical change or reductions," says provost Jim Kalbfleisch, who chairs the P&B committee.

A report by freelance writer Bob Whitton gives some background to the issue -- one that's of keen interest to me as I (pardon the jargon) "ramp up" to full-time work after my surgery this winter:

The pension and benefits committee has spent many months reviewing sick leave/LTD programs, comparing those of the university with similar programs in other universities and in private sector companies. Feedback from individual members and groups may in turn influence the eventual recommendations presented to the Board of Governors. The committee is also supporting increased awareness of a return-to-work partnership approach that UW has been using successfully for the past few years.

This approach embodies practices intended to expedite the return to work of faculty and staff who have been incapacitated by illness or injury. They are being encouraged to come back before their recoveries are absolutely complete, providing suitable arrangements can be made so that they are able to perform, and their continued full recovery will not be jeopardized.

According to David Dietrich, director, pension and benefits, human resources, a "ramp up" to full duties and hours will permit an earlier return. Dietrich feels everyone benefits when this happens since the shorter the absence, the easier it is for an individual to ramp up again to full workload. . . .

Both the university and its employees benefit when time-off from work is reduced because the cost of any fill-in staff will be lower, as will the employee-paid premium for disability insurance. In most situations on campus there is no budget for replacements and therefore earlier returns benefit faculty and staff who otherwise would be carrying an extra workload for longer periods of time.

At the same time, it is folly to return too soon! "We all realize that trying to do too much too soon is unwise," Dietrich notes, "so what human resources is doing is working with the employee, with his or her doctor, and as well as with the employee's manager and others including the university physician and the safety coordinator."

Special arrangements that have helped in these situations include permitting a returnee to park close to the building in which he or she works. As well, some ergonomic accommodation may be helpful (provision of a special chair or desk). Hours of work may have to be modified or some duties (e.g., heavy lifting) may have to be removed temporarily from the job or substituted for with lighter tasks. . . .

The new Workplace Safety Insurance Board, which has replaced the Workers' Compensation Board, takes the position that when an employee is injured on the job it is the responsibility of the employer to provide rehabilitation in order to get her or him back to work within a "reasonable" period of time and indeed, to provide "suitable" work when the injured employee is ready to return. . . .

He notes that one consequence of the recent early retirement program at Waterloo (SERP) has been the loss of many competent, experienced faculty and staff, not all of whom have been replaced. The fewer faculty and staff remaining have as much, or possibly more, work to do than before SERP. This reality can be accompanied by an increase in the stress/workload among continuing staff and faculty when illness or an injury forces someone to be absent.

What visitors can see at UW -- reported by Barbara Elve

An attractive new brochure highlights visitor attractions at UW, all open to the public, and most free of charge.

The new publication, produced by the UW community relations department, describes the museums, gardens, art galleries and the observatory on campus, with updated hours of operation, and a map that identifies each site with a number code for easy location.

The only museum in the world dedicated to the study of games -- the Museum and Archive of Games -- has hands-on displays. Visitors to the Museum of Visual Science can view Inuit sun protectors, as well as celebrity spectacles. The collection of the Biology and Earth Sciences Museum features fossils from around the world, as well as real dinosaur eggs. And the Brubacher House offers a time capsule of life as a Pennsylvania German Mennonite settler in a home built in 1850.

Works by UW fine arts students are displayed in the Artspace Gallery in East Campus Hall, while a collection of contemporary art is housed in the UW Art Gallery in the Modern Languages Building.

Stargazers are welcome on the first Wednesday of each month at the Gustav Bakos Observatory, and a more down-to-earth experience is provided by the UW gardens -- the Geological Garden, the Robert Starbird Dorney Ecology Garden, and the UW Nature Trails on the North Campus.

Copies of the "Visitor Attractions" brochure are available from Nancy Heide at ext. 3276.

Today's events and announcements

The Centre for Advanced Studies in Finance has a visitor today, Dietmar Leisen of Stanford University, who will speak on "Building a Consistent Pricing Model from Observed Option Prices" (4 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304).

Linda Norton, director of graphics, notes that she'll be meeting shortly with people from Ikon, the firm that has a contract to supply UW's photocopiers, "to review the fleet copier program". Norton says she would be glad to receive any comments -- they can be sent to her by e-mail, lcnorton@mc1adm.

Also from graphics: "Pixel Pub will be closed for staff training and network upgrades Wednesday and Thursday."

Imprint, the UW student newspaper, received the General Excellence Award (university and colleges) from the Ontario Community Newspapers Association at the 1998 Better Newspapers Competition Awards in Toronto a few days ago. Competition judges noted the "fabulous front pages -- may not be traditional but very effective". The OCNA also noted that Imprint has an identity and an interesting personality.

And from the human resources department, this note about the staff and faculty health plan: "The University has a new insurance carrier effective May 1, 1999 -- Great West Life Assurance purchased our current carrier, London Life/Prudential Life. Our extended health care coverage will remain the same. Full- and part-time faculty and staff were recently issued new extended health care cards and out-of-Canada travel cards. If you or your family require additional out-of-Canada travel cards, please call Shirley Mercer at 3134 (e-mail smercer@mc1adm), or Rosanne Atwater-Hallatt at 6120 (e-mail atwater@mc1adm)."


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Bulletin
Copyright © 1999 University of Waterloo