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Monday, May 10, 1999
About the ballotsEach voter is getting a ballot (attached to the information sheet), a grey "Voter Verification Sheet", a big envelope and a small envelope. How to vote: Cut the ballot off the information sheet. Mark yes or no. Put the ballot in the small envelope and seal it. Fill out the grey "Voter Verification Sheet". Put the grey sheet and the small envelope into the large envelope, seal the large envelope and put it into the campus mail.
Said Schumm: "It's just that we've had this system for so long, people have grown accustomed to the inconvenience and have reduced their discontent to a low rumble. That rumble, however, is steady and widespread."
So, the staff relations committee discussed the idea. "As part of these discussions," says the information sheet with the ballot, "the Committee considered various pay periods: weekly, bi-weekly, every four weeks, and twice-monthly. Because of financial implications for the University, twice-monthly was determined as the only option other than monthly that could be considered."
The information sheet says it would cost $134,900 a year to switch from monthly to twice-monthly pay. A little more than $50,000 of the cost comes from interest that UW would lose from not keeping money in its bank accounts for as long; the rest are administrative expenses. The costs would have to be deducted from the annual pay increase for staff, the sheet says: "for example, if it had been determined to move to twice-monthly pay periods on May 1, 1999, the 1.5% increase in job value would have been reduced to 1.23%."
It says a majority of all regular full-time and part-time staff will have to vote in favour of the change if anything is to be done. "If the referendum vote is positive, work on conversion would begin no earlier than January 2000 with implementation several months thereafter."
The staff association will hold an open meeting to discuss the subject this Thursday, May 13, at 12 noon in Math and Computer room 4021. Says Schumm: "If you're not sure about any of the issues surrounding the referendum, please wait with your vote until after our discussion May 13th. Hopefully, we can answer all your questions."
"We're very well off here, relative to other institutions," said combinatorics and optimization professor Steve Furino, who's working full-time these days on the admissions part of the Student Information Systems Project.
There are now 24 people working "almost full-time" on SISP, said Dave Mason of IST, who is the project manager. The number will rise to about 30 soon, he said, as more people are borrowed from IST, the registrar's office, the graduate studies office and other departments to work on admissions, records and financial aid, as well as the more technical aspects of SISP.
It's a big job, involving some 240,000 records for students, applicants and alumni, and more all the time. "We have to connect," Mason added, "with all sorts of other systems, like co-op, alumni and the library, before we're ready to go into production." He said some aspects of the system will be running next year -- starting with admissions -- while others, such as student records and possibly "self-service" for students who want to make address and course changes, will come along in 2001.
The other big PeopleSoft project, the Human Resources Management System, went live in November 1998 and has been pretty successful, Connie van Oostveen of IST told the seminar. There have been 33 payroll "cycles" since then, "we've applied four tax updates," T-4 slips were issued to thousands of employees for 1998, and some 2,200 new "employees" (including student scholarship recipients) have been added to the records in the past six months, she said.
"We've built the salary increase program," van Oostveen added, "and it's being run, as we speak." (Faculty and staff salary increases were effective May 1 and should show up in the end-of-May payroll.)
"The general ledger interface is very complex," she added, "and we've had to tweak it lots!" Said Neil Murray of the human resources department: "Every time we run a payroll, something else comes up!" Other speakers also noted that a frequent challenge with PeopleSoft is the number of updates and "fixes" to a complicated, constantly changing piece of software.
The program includes a talk by composer and Conrad Grebel College faculty member Leonard Enns, entitled "Dressing Old Words New: Exploring a Composer's Wardrobe". There will also be an exhibition of the books and other works created by faculty, staff, retirees and students.
Enns is chair of UW's music department and teaches in the areas of music theory, conducting and Canadian music and directs the Chapel Choir. He is the founding director of the newly formed Da Capo Chamber Choir, a community choir specializing in music of the 20th century. Music composition remains the central form of creative expression for Enns. Much of his music has been for choir, and of his 50 or so works to date, many have been commissioned and performed by amateur and professional choirs alike.
In Ontario, Enns's works have been performed by the Iseler Singers, Elora Festival Singers, Kitchener Waterloo Philharmonic Choir, and Renaissance Singers. In recent years, he has also written increasingly for instrumental forces including the K-W Symphony, Symphony Hamilton and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble.
It's the seventh annual event of this kind for the Friends of the Library, a group representing those who contribute, either financially or through gifts of material, to the university library. The Friends are interested in the well-being of the library as well as promoting the central role it plays in scholarly and creative pursuits. The annual early-May event began in 1993 with a talk by James Downey, then in his first month as president of UW, and has continued by hearing from five other faculty and staff members about their writing. It's the first time the Friends have invited a speaker whose art form is not the written word.
Everybody is welcome at Wednesday's event.
The computer store is inviting people to a video presentation this morning from the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference: Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple computers, gives the keynote address. The event runs from 11:30 to 2:00 today in Davis Centre room 1302, and "lunch will be served," says Darin Freitag at the store. He's at ext. 3518 for more information.
An open house this evening will show off plans for downtown Waterloo as presented by First Gulf Development -- and that's of special interest because First Gulf, along with the city and the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, are sponsoring a design contest for UW architecture students. The open house starts at 5:00 at the Waterloo Recreation Complex, with presentations beginning at 7:00.
An "Ecology and Ethology Colloquium" was supposed to have started today, hosted by the Waterloo Biotelemetry Institute in UW's department of biology. Bad news: the event "has been cancelled because of low registration (many regrets were sent because of conflicts with field seasons for research)". About 100 researchers had been expected for the three-day event.
Key Control "will be open Monday to Friday over the lunch hour in addition to our regular hours beginning May 3, 1999 until May 14, 1999," writes Fran Towner. "Hours for this period will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After May 14 we return to regular hours 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday."
|This announcement should say that Master Co-op Records are available, and work reports are due, "tomorrow" (Tuesday, May 11), not "today".|
Chris Harold, who has just become vice-president (internal) of the Federation of Students, sends word that the Feds are looking for volunteers to do all sorts of challenging things on campus this term. For example -- somebody to coordinate the Food Bank, people to work at the Womyn's Centre (still with a Y, it's been decided), a National Affairs Commissioner, a conflict resolution facilitator, someone to do liaison between the Feds and various clubs, focus group participants, and so on. "Volunteering provides great experience for your resume and for one's own personal development," Harold notes. "It is a great way to meet people and gain first-hand knowledge about the university and the Feds. Also, employers look for people who are active in student life on their campus." Positions are listed on display boards in the Student Life Centre, Village I, and Carl Pollock Hall. "People need to fill out a form and hand it in to the office," says Harold. "The deadline is Friday, May 14." More information: ext. 3780.
Finally . . . a letter to staff and faculty members went out late last week from Great-West Life Assurance, the company that took over administration of the extended health plan as of May 1. "Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience," it says, explaining two different system glitches that complicated some people's lives. "Paper claims can be made for any amount that the plan should have covered," it notes.
Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
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