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Thursday, June 3, 1999

  • Yesterday, today and forever
  • 'Leadership' courses for staff
  • Reception honours four faculty
  • Ethanol car wins awards
  • Company apologizes to UW

Yesterday, today and forever

"Have you seen the president's car?" people were asking each other yesterday. David Johnston, on his second day as chief executive of UW, parked his sporty yellow Rabbit in the lot under Needles Hall, and it didn't take passers-by long to notice its "vanity" licence plate honouring McGill University, where Johnston was formerly principal. Well, that won't do, and by early afternoon somebody had given the car a makeover with paper "University of Waterloo" signs, banners and even a flag.

Today sees co-op job interviews continuing, and preregistration for winter term courses also continuing. Academically, the day brings a talk by Jack Kalbfleisch, former dean of mathematics, now back from a sabbatical leave in Singapore and taking up duties again as a professor of statistics. He'll speak at 2:30 (Math and Computer room 5158) on "Estimating Functions and the Bootstrap". And tonight at 6:00, in the Theatre of the Arts, "Playing on the Moon", a local theatre school for children, offers a performance that's mostly for the families of the performers.

And forever, at least four years or thereabouts, is the future that Ontario voters contemplate as they go to the ballot box. Polls in the provincial election are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Word to the wise: party names don't appear on the ballot, so you should know the name of your preferred local candidate, not just your party choice.

'Leadership' courses for staff

A new staff training and development program being launched this summer at UW is designed to cultivate leadership skills of staff who don't occupy managerial positions.

The Leadership 2000 program reflects something of a change in management philosophy, as well as the economic necessity of doing more with less, says Katrina Di Gravio of the human resources department (perhaps better known on campus by her former name, Katrina Maugham). "UW has always had a collaborative culture," she adds. "We're just enhancing that."

The basic leadership principles of the Frontline Leadership program -- offered to UW managers for the past eight years -- are still relevant, she said, but instead of applying them in a top-down organizational model, Leadership 2000 fosters a collaborative workplace. It also replaces the previous umbrella program for non-management staff, dubbed Working.

While Frontline offered the module "Giving Constructive Feedback", Leadership 2000 applies the same principles to "Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback". Rather than "Dealing with Emotional Behaviour", the new collaborative approach is "Handling Emotions Under Pressure". Implicit in the collaborative model, said Di Gravio, is "being able to deal with our own, as well as others' emotions."

A series of six Leadership 2000 modules are being offered on half-days this summer from June 17 to July 20. Staff who have previously taken Frontline Leadership or Working programs were invited to attend any of the modules to "brush up their leadership skills" and discover new ways to apply those skills. Interested staff who had not participated in those leadership programs could only sign up for the series of six modules.

Already, with a limit of 20 participants per session, registration targets for the program have been reached. Although no more spaces are available for the summer series, another is planned for the fall.

Besides feedback and emotions, modules will explore "The Leader in Each of Us", "Basic Principles of the Collaborative Workplace", "Proactive Listening", and "Giving Recognition".

The Leadership 2000 program is provided by Achieve Global, a US company with Canadian offices, which has provided training and development programs to the university in the past. "The programs are used by many Canadian universities, which pay a licence fee to run them," said Di Gravio.

Reception honours four faculty

A wine and cheese event this afternoon will honour four UW faculty members who have won Premier's Research Excellence Awards this year. The awards, designed to help "gifted" young researchers attract graduate students and colleagues, are being given for the first time this year.

Their funding, from the government, UW and the private sector, will total more than $600,000 over the next five years.

The four UW award winners, announced earlier this spring:

Today's reception will begin at 4:00 in the Davis Centre lounge.

Ethanol car wins awards

The UW Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) captured the Best Presentation Award and Best Engine Out Emissions Award at the 1999 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge held at the GM Proving Grounds in Michigan in May.

See solar car tomorrow

Midnight Sun V, UW's solar-powered car for this year's Sunrayce, will be unveiled at 1 p.m. tomorrow, along the ring road in the vicinity of Needles Hall. Check tomorrow morning's Bulletin for more about the car and the race.
Overall, the 12-member team ranked fourth, bringing home a total of $3,500 US in prize money. Taking top marks for presentation were Nicole Dufour (mechanical engineering) and Doug Suerich (systems design engineering).

It's the second year UW has participated in the ethanol competition. Last year, working with a Malibu, the team placed second overall. This year, the vehicle donated by GM was a Silverado truck, for which the team performed a number of modifications, changing the computer programming, and altering the cold-start strategy.

That change proved costly, according to mechanical engineering professor Royden Fraser, faculty advisor to the team. "A second, and perhaps even first place finish was within UWAFT's grasp," he reported. "Unfortunately the vehicle stalled (for unknown reasons; such stalls are uncommon but not rare even for regular production vehicles) during the cold start drivability test. After emissions tests, cold start tests contribute most to competition points."

Despite that disappointment, "the team still managed to meet its primary objective of reducing emissions." Fraser noted that the year 2000 team will have the advantage of working on the same vehicle used this year, rather than starting with a new model.

Company apologizes to UW

Trellis, the computer system shared by the libraries of UW and two neighbouring universities, was out of operation for all of last week; and any annoyance felt by library users was nothing compared with the exasperation of systems staff in the library. As a result, here's a message from Linda Teather, coordinator of library systems support services:

"After almost a week of downtime for our upgrade to version 98.1, TRELLIS was restored to version 97.2.2 on the weekend and is again running in full production mode. We have not yet determined how and when the 98.1 upgrade will proceed but we'll be talking about that a great deal both within TUG and with Endeavor in the coming days. We'll be working together for a plan to proceed with the upgrade which will have the least possible impact on our users. "

She sends along a message from Jane Burke, president of Endeavor, the company that provides the Trellis software:

"Endeavor regrets deeply the extended downtime for and, ultimately, the failure of, the upgrade of the Voyager application. Endeavor has worked very hard over the past nine months to assure that this release would go smoothly for all of our customers. As you know, the TRELLIS system was not the first large system to undergo this upgrade, and all of us thought that it was 'good to go'. . . .

"At this point we do not know what went wrong. This problem has not occurred at any other site. We have asked for a copy of the data at the point of failure, and we will continue diagnosis at our site. We will also be working closely with the TRELLIS staff in the next few weeks in order to plan how to move forward successfully.

"Endeavor truly regrets this extended downtime and the lack of progress. We understand the frustration and inconvenience this has caused, and we sincerely apologize."


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