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Tuesday, January 25, 2000

  • The future of co-op Access
  • Exiled Belarus leader speaks here
  • Staff training courses announced
  • The events of Robbie Burns day

The future of co-op Access

There's hope for reducing the congestion on the Access computer system for co-op students, even though the CECSonline project crashed and burned last fall, co-op students are being told.

Here's the official word from the department of co-operative education and career services, as found in the newsletter Inside SCo-op:

"In a surprise move, Academic Software Inc. announced in November that it would be withdrawing from the University of Waterloo's CECSonline project. The company, recently acquired by the Chicago Tribune conglomerate, told CECS that it has decided to abandon software projects related to co-operative education.

"This unexpected announcement by ASI comes after two years of developing CECSonline to the point of near completion.

"CECSonline was the proposed new Internet web-based system that would replace the existing system used by students and the Department. The features of the new system would allow students to submit, and employers to view résumés online. In addition, CECSonline would facilitate the management of the employment scheduling process for students, employers, and staff.

"While this announcement is extremely disappointing, CECS and the University of Waterloo remain committed to building the next generation of CECS computer support systems. CECS and the University are now investigating how this recent change of events will set the course for future developments of a new system.

"At present, the existing system, Student ACCESS, will be maintained and improved wherever possible. With the addition of a new server, ACCESS will be able to support a greater number of users.

"In addition, Information Systems & Technology (IST) is also looking at making ACCESS web-based. This would mean that students could use the Internet to view job postings, rather than having to dial in to use a telnet session. This will eliminate the problem of the limited number of users that ACCESS currently supports. IST is looking at moving the complete set of query functions, including application status and interviews to the web.

"CECS and IST are currently assessing the specifications for the original CECSonline system and considering new additions to it, based on the changing needs of students and employers as they have evolved over the years. CECS and IST hope to maximize what ASI has so far produced in the development of this system. UW will consider who is most appropriate to take on the project, and has not eliminated any interested parties.

"Students and employers will continue to be involved as CECS develops long-range plans for the new system. Your patience and support while CECS deals with this temporary setback is appreciated."

The comment about "interested parties" presumably applies to students as well as companies. There have been a number of suggestions that students could be involved in designing the new system, and the Federation of Students sponsored a forum last Thursday to bring together students with ideas on how to proceed.

Exiled Belarus leader speaks here -- from the UW news bureau

A leader of the political opposition in the Republic of Belarus will speak at UW today on the latest developments in his country, one of the 15 republics to emerge from the former Soviet Union.

Semion Sharetski's visit to campus is being organized by UW's department of Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures. His speech, "The Political Situation in Belarus and Its Danger for Peace", begins at 1:30 p.m. in Humanities room 373. He will speak in Russian; Charles Ruud, a University of Western Ontario professor, will provide an English translation. Members of the audience will be provided with copies of his text in English. Questions will be put to and answered by Sharetski through an interpreter.

Sharetski and his wife Galina are visiting Canada from Vilnius, Lithuania, where they are now in self-imposed exile because of concerns about their personal security in their native country of Belarus. The Sharetskis are also planning talks in London, Toronto, Ottawa and New York.

Belarusans opposing the current regime of president Alexander Lukashenka now recognize Sharetski as "Acting President of the Republic of Belarus". Sharetski was elected Speaker of the Supreme Soviet, the country's parliament, under the constitution of 1994, which was set aside and replaced with the constitution of 1996 and with a new parliament. Along with those changes, Lukashenka extended his own term from 1996 to 2001. Although these changes were ratified in a referendum, many both in Belarus and abroad have challenged the legality of the president's acts and the authenticity of the popular vote.

Under the constitution of 1994, Lukashenka's term ran out on July 20, 1999 -- from the next day Sharetski dates his acting presidency. He and his wife crossed the border with Lithuania shortly thereafter, alarmed because several other opposition figures in Belarus had already disappeared.

Sharetski is a one-time Belarusan Communist who in 1970 graduated from the Higher Party School in Minsk where he taught subsequently for a number of years, including eight years as head of the faculty of economics and agricultural production. He also served as chairman of the Agrarian Party of Belarus and now considers himself "non-party".

He received his PhD in agricultural economics from the Belarusan Agricultural Academy and is a former deputy chairman and chairman of a collective farm near his native village of Lauryshova. He has written written textbooks on economics and the organization of agricultural production and also a book in Russian on the Lukashenka regime, The Tragedy of Belarus or What the True Lukashism Is.

Staff training courses announced

Staff members should be getting a brochure this week to tell them about winter courses offered in the staff training and development program. Carolyn Vincent, of the human resources department, sends a preview:

Leadership 2000: Six sessions -- each session is 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.:

True Colors: Thursday, February 17, 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. or Tuesday, April 11, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Moving From Conflict to Collaboration: Wednesday, March 15, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Error-Free Grammar & Proofreading: Thursday, April 6, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or Tuesday, April 25, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Developing Effective Presentation Skills: Two full days, Monday, April 17 and Thursday, April 20, 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Vincent notes that "we have offered all of the above programs before" and registration information will be found in the brochure.

The events of Robbie Burns day (eat haggis)

The pension and benefits committee is meeting this morning in Needles Hall. Agenda items include a continuing discussion of health care costs -- the bill for the staff and faculty health benefit went up from $2.7 million in 1998 to $3.2 million in 1999, which is a cause for some concern.

The "Go high-tech, stay local" career fair will run from 10:00 to 4:00 today, and again tomorrow, in Federation Hall. Local high-technology firms are, an ad says, "recruiting for both full-time and co-op positions in the areas of software development, computer engineering, sales & marketing, technical support, electrical/electronic engineering. . . . Tremendous career opportunities are here for talented individuals. This job fair will give you the chance to explore these opportunities with worldwide leaders in the high-tech field." It's organized by the likes of MKS, ComDev and RIM through their Communitech organization.

The student branch of IEEE -- that's the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -- will meet today at 11:30 in Engineering II room 3356. Among the topics to be discussed: robotics, car rallies, amateur radio.

The teaching resource office (TRACE) offers a presentation today by Liwana Bringelson, who's based partly in UW's systems design engineering department and partly in LT3, the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology. Topic: "TeleCHI, an On-Line Venue for Knowledge Leaders". Bringelson says the new "online community" will provide a place "for experts and knowledge apprentices to network, practice and critique the tools and resources" of human-computer interaction. The session runs for about half an hour, starting at 1:00 in Math and Computer room 5158.

A feminist reading group will hold its first meeting today at 1:30 in PAS (Psychology) room 2030. "Individuals interested in starting a feminist book club are invited," says Alicja Muszynski in the sociology department. "We will discuss Susan Faludi's book Stiffed. Future books will be selected at this organisational meeting." For more information, Muszynski can be reached at ext. 5187.

The faculty association will hold a special general meeting starting at 3:30 today in Math and Computer room 4059. "The FAUW Salary Negotiating Team," a flyer explains, "has just entered into direct salary negotiations with the Board of Governors' team. General parameters only have been discussed at this stage, but first offers will likely be presented in the very near future. Your team members have requested an opportunity to meet with those whom they represent in these negotiations, both to explain their views of the relevant salary-type issues and their mandate, as they see it, as negotiators on your behalf, and to receive feedback and input from you with respect to the various salary-type issues and their relative importance to faculty members."

Allan Nadler of the Jewish studies program at Drew University (Madison, New Jersey) will speak tonight in the "distinguished guest lecture series" of UW's fledgling Jewish studies program. The lecture begins at 8 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3001. Topic: "From Elisha to Spinoza: A Brief History of Heresy in Jewish Thought". Nadler notes that "The test of religious faithfulness for Jews is based upon the practice of Judaism in accordance with the Jewish Law. In this lecture, we will look at a few of Jewish history's most notorious heretics -- from the Mishnaic Sage, Elisha ben Avuyah, to the 17th century philosopher, Barukh Spinoza. Through an analysis of their deviations from traditional belief the lecture will clarify the parameters of faith and heresy in Jewish theology."

Now, looking ahead to tomorrow:

Oh, and the east entrance to the Davis Centre (facing the ring road) will be closed tomorrow for repairs, the plant operations department says. Other buildings entrances will be open as usual.


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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