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Wednesday, May 19, 1999

  • Meeting the new president
  • Credit union moves to the edge
  • Eight out of nine have jobs
  • Happenings, after the rain

Meeting the new president

David Johnston, who becomes president of UW on June 1, will give a major public speech at noontime today, and then head off on a "retreat" with deans and other top management of the university.

[Johnston photo] The speech today will be given at a luncheon in Federation Hall, sponsored by UW's Infranet Project and the Communitech organization of local high-tech businesses. Johnston will speak about the future of high-tech "Smart Communities" in Canada, the theme of a major study for the federal government which he headed over the past year. Tickets for the event (lunch at noon, speech at 12:45) are $40 at the door.

According to the "blue ribbon panel" that Johnston headed, "smart" communities will showcase and promote information and communication technologies so they benefit all Canadians. The smart community initiative is seen as a promising vision, one of excellence, innovation and lifelong learning. Smart communities seek to ensure that their citizens are able to participate in the constantly evolving knowledge society.

In his remarks today, Johnston will also explore the changing role of broadband community networks, connectivity, and services as they relate to smart communities. And he's expected to say something about UW, Kitchener-Waterloo and his official arrival in less than two weeks to become the university's fifth president.

Legal scholar, computer expert and former principal of McGill University, Johnston has made several visits to campus since his UW appointment was announced in October. But the "retreat" that begins this afternoon is the serious beginning of his involvement in the management of the university.

Members of the executive council, including vice-presidents, deans and associate provosts, head for Kempenfelt Bay resort for two days just before Victoria Day each spring to think, talk and plan. Says John Bullen of the university secretariat, who will act as secretary for the working sessions: "With a new president about to take office, this year's retreat will provide an opportunity for him to take stock and to hear first hand from UW's senior administration not only about the issues they have been dealing with but also about the opportunities and threats they see on the horizon.

"It will also provide an opportunity for him to share his own early perspectives with EC as a group and to get to know the people with whom he'll be working closely."

Credit union moves to the edge -- reported by Barbara Elve

The University Faculty and Staff Credit Union has relocated from the General Services Complex to East Campus Hall, offering the same friendly service, says treasurer-manager Peter Robson.

Taking up residence in ECH rooms 1108 and 1110 may mean a few extra steps for members, Robson admits, but they still have the benefit of the Credit Union's "personal touch." That is something the 34-year old organization -- now with 750 members -- is very proud of. "We've had people move over from banks because they're not being treated as they like," he says. Members of the Credit Union will always have the "convenience of payroll deduction, as well as a smile from someone when they drop in."

Although most members, like Robson himself, deal with a bank as well, the Credit Union offers a number of distinct advantages. Members own shares in the organization, and have a voice in how it is run. "They're not treated as numbers," he adds. "We have rules, but flexibility as well."

"It's basically a no-frills savings and loan service," says Robson, talking about an institution with an asset base of $2.2 million. Payroll deduction is a popular feature. Members can have as little as $50 per month deducted from their pay and deposited in savings accounts, RRSPs or term deposits. Terms of up to one year are offered for deposits, and "rates are competitive."

Two years ago, when UW stopped selling Canada Savings Bonds through payroll deduction, the Credit Union took up the slack, providing a special savings plan through payroll deduction which, after 12 months, can be withdrawn with interest accumulated at the same rate as that paid by CSBs. Regular loans of up to $17,000 are offered at a current rate of 11.5 per cent, and an unsecured line of credit of up to $5,000 is available at 12 per cent, designed to compete with credit card rates.

Although the Credit Union doesn't keep cash on hand, "we gladly write cheques," which can be picked up by members or sent across campus. Transactions can often be completed by phone, with the necessary paperwork done by mail.

A board of directors consisting of seven members, along with credit and audit committees, runs the Credit Union, which is audited twice a year and is a member of the Credit Union Central of Ontario.

Eight out of nine have jobs

As the spring term began -- as of May 7, to be exact -- there were 3,212 co-op students with May-to-August jobs, and 422 who were scheduled to work this term but still unemployed. That works out to an 88.39 per cent employment rate, co-op director Bruce Lumsden notes in a memo about the situation.

"The overall percentages are somewhat better than last year," Lumsden notes. At the same point in 1998, there were 3,174 students with jobs and 433 without, a placement rate of 88.0 per cent.

Unemployment is zero this term for accounting students, but a little more than 20 per cent for environmental studies students. Most of those without jobs are from engineering (158, giving engineering a employment rate of 89.05 per cent) and mathematics (132, making the employment rate there 87.62 per cent).

"All these students," says Lumsden, "have been or will be contacted by a co-op Coordinator to ensure everything is being done to secure employment for the winter term." It's also possible that some of them will still find spring term jobs, although they'll be starting a bit late.

Happenings, after the rain

The personal safety advisory committee will meet at 10:30 this morning in Needles Hall room 3043.

A forum on "Intellectual Property Rights and Ownership Arising from Sponsored Research" starts at 12 noon in Math and Computer room 5158. Leading the event: Jerry Gray, director of the UW technology transfer and licensing office.

A teaching assistants' workshop on "Question Strategies" starts at 12:00 in Math and Computer room 5158.

Graduate students in the department of recreation and leisure studies will hold their annual Leisure Research Symposium today and tomorrow in the Matthews Hall auditorium. Keynote speakers for the event are Ed Jackson of the University of Alberta and Val Freysinger of Miami University, Ohio. More information about the leisure research event: ext. 3894.

The Computer Store holds its second annual Customer Appreciation Luncheon today at the University Club.

The UW Retirees Association holds its annual general meeting at 1:30 this afternoon at Ron Eydt Village (formerly Village II).

And off campus -- at various locations in downtown Kitchener -- today sees the beginning of the Open Ears Festival, which promises "Kitchener's church bells, music and fireworks, and concerts by some of K-W's finest ensembles", now through Victoria Day.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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