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Friday, January 21, 2000

  • UW, the 'family-friendly' employer
  • Universities review school curriculum
  • Sex, violence and the church
  • And more on a winter weekend
  • Student seats on UW's senate

[Touch football]
The family-friendly campus: children at one of UW's summer camps.

UW, the 'family-friendly' employer

What do maternity leave, dental benefits, flu shots, day care centres, reduced-load appointments, the chaplains' office, the Matthews Golf Classic, financial planning workshops, vegetarian food and an on-campus travel agency have in common?

All are possible examples of "family-friendly policies, programs and practices" at UW, as listed in a booklet just produced by UW's human resources department. The same information is available on the HR web site.

"University of Waterloo faculty and staff," an introduction notes, "deal with a number of competing demands for their time and attention; among them, the requirements of their ever-increasing workloads, the needs of their nuclear and extended families, care for aging parents, community involvement and volunteer work and a need to maintain their health while dealing with the stresses of everyday life.

"Through the Faculty and Staff Relations, Union Management, and Pension and Benefits Committees and various governing councils, the University is committed to providing policies, programs and practices that establish and maintain a supportive environment for the many and diverse needs of its employees.

"Over the past few years, the University has developed a number of family-friendly policies, programs and practices. These are provided in order to help faculty and staff balance job and family care responsibilities in today's complex and very busy world."

The brochure and the web site organize them under various headings: Child Care and Family Support; Benefits for Employees and Their Families; Education Support/Tuition Benefit; Flexible Work Schedules; Leave Provisions; Support Services and Resources; Safety and Security; Counselling Services; Health, Recreation and Lifestyle; Annual Events/Festivities/Sports and Games; Disabled Services; Death Benefits for Active Employees; Housing Services; Retirement; Associations/Organizations/Clubs; Other Amenities.

There's a summary of maternity and parental leave benefits, both what the law requires and extra provisions offered by UW. There's a note about health and dental benefits, a summary of tuition fee benefits, a reminder that some departments work with flextime and that UW has a reduced load policy, a rundown on recreational and counselling services, a summary of services for disabled people and those coming up to retirement, and so on and on. Lists and charts indicate which UW policies give the details on various benefits.

Universities review school curriculum
-- as reported by the Council of Ontario Universities

The Curriculum Validation Project completed its last round of meetings in November and December. The project allowed representatives of Ontario universities to review the proposed new Grade 11 and 12 courses to help ensure that they are designed to prepare students for study at a university level.

The program began over a year ago with the circulation of draft secondary school curriculum documents among the appropriate departments and committees of COU's member institutions. The views expressed were reported to subject committees composed of faculty members nominated by their universities. The subject committees consulted among their own members and with other colleagues, then presented their recommendations about the new courses in written submissions to the Ministry of Education and in meetings held to review the curriculum material with the writing teams and representatives of the Ministry and community colleges.

This project represents the most extensive engagement, to date, of the Ontario university community with the secondary school program of studies. More than 400 faculty members and academic administrators participated, by submitting written comments on the curriculum documents, or by serving as local co-ordinators at their universities or as members of the provincial subject committees. COU has stressed that the success of the new program depends heavily upon the adequacy of resources, the in-service education of teachers in disciplines where additional qualifications may be necessary, and the measures employed for implementing and monitoring the courses.

Ontario universities have expressed their willingness and desire to participate in the next phases of curriculum and to extend the relation between secondary education and postsecondary education institutions that was successfully established during the Curriculum Validation Project.

Sex, violence and the church

Abuse by clerics of churchgoers or children in their charge is the extreme betrayal of trust, says Nancy Nason-Clark, who will speak on this issue tonight at Jerome's University. Her talk, entitled "Betrayed Trust: Sex, Violence, and the Christian Church", will start at 7:30 p.m. in Siegfried Hall. Everyone is welcome; admission is free.

Betrayal can also take the form of silence, Nason-Clark says, when members of the clergy are aware of violence within parish families and fail to respond openly, either by condemning family violence from the pulpit or by raising the question in individual counselling. "The tendency to look the other way has led to a widening circle of victims and accomplices."

This story of betrayed trust will be anchored in Nason-Clark's studies of Catholic and Protestant communities in Atlantic Canada. "My research at present," she says, "includes exploration of the position of women in contemporary Christianity, of the issues surrounding the abuse of clerical power, of the violence directed toward women and children, and of the feminist dialogue within the Judaeo-Christian tradition." She has received more than $800,000 in research grants from governments, foundations, and other bodies.

Nason-Clark has been invited to lecture and lead workshops in both Canada and the United States. A professor of sociology at the University of New Brunswick, she founded and co-directs the Religion and Violence Research Team at the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research at UNB. Her publishing credits include The Battered Wife: How Christians Confront Family Violence (1997) and nearly three dozen scholarly journal articles and book chapters. A book called Congregations and Family Crisis is in preparation.

Nason-Clark holds an MA from UW and a PhD from the London School of Economics. She is the president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, serves on the council of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and is an editor for the journals Sociology of Religion and Review of Religious Research.

"Betrayed Trust" is part of the 1999-2000 season of the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience.

And more on a winter weekend

Yes, Hector, it is startlingly nippy this morning -- the UW weather station reports minus 23.5 Celsius as of 8 a.m. -- and it's the perfect day for a cup of hot chocolate. The Math Society will oblige, says Stephen Skrzydlo ("Snuggles"), social director of MathSoc. "We will be giving out hot chocolate on the third floor of Math and Computer, right outside the C&D, between classes." (That means the stand will be open 8:20 to 8:40, 9:20 to 9:40, 10:20 to 10:40, 11:20 to 11:40 and 12:20 to 12:40.) "It is free if you have your own cup, otherwise 10 cents."

The career services folks in Needles Hall are offering a seminar today under the title "Job Fair Tips: Making Job Fair Work for You". The argument is that the winter job fair -- scheduled for February 2, which is coming up fast -- is an "excellent networking and work search opportunity", and students will want to make the most of it. Today's session runs from 1:30 to 2:30 in NH room 1020.

Actor Bruce Kuhn, who spoke from the Biblical book of Luke last night in the Theatre of the Arts, will be back tonight telling the story of the early Christian church, from the "The Message" paraphrase of the Bible. The event, sponsored by the Waterloo Christian Fellowship, starts at 7:30; tickets are $10, students $7.

Still chilly? The band "I Mother Earth" will heat things up at Federation Hall on Saturday night. Tickets are $12.50 in advance at the Federation of Students office in the Student Life Centre, if any are left.

Something called "The Banff Festival of Mountain Films" has the Humanities Theatre booked for 7:00 on Sunday night.

"A 10 per cent decrease in body weight has a significant impact on your health," writes Anne Fullerton of the Davis Centre library staff. "It's not too late to join the UW Weight Watchers at Work program and invest in your health. First meeting is set for Monday, January 24, 12 noon in Math and Computer room 5158A." Fullerton (affuller@library) can provide more information.

Sports this weekend: both volleyball and basketball Warriors will host Wilfrid Laurier's Golden Hawks this weekend in the Physical Activities Complex. Tonight it's volleyball (women at 6:00, men at 8:00) and Saturday it's basketball (women at 12 noon, men at 2 p.m.). Sunday, Laurier turns up at the Columbia Icefield to face the hockey Warriors (2 p.m.). In other sports, the badminton Warriors are at Western for a weekend tournament, the curling teams are at Windsor, figure skaters are at Western, and the indoor track and field team is at McGill.

Student seats on UW's senate

The university secretariat sends word that nominations for several student seats on the senate closed on January 12, and some new members will be joining the university's academic governing body: There will be elections for three seats: A list of the candidates, along with their statements to voters, is available on the secretariat's web site, and will be published in next week's Gazette.

Ballots are being mailed to off-campus co-op students today (to be returned by 4:30 p.m, February 16); on-campus voting will coincide with the annual Federation of Students elections on February 15 and 16.


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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