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Friday, June 9, 2000

  • Take your holidays, policy will say
  • Renison shows prints and their makers
  • Social psych conference today
  • More for today and the weekend

Take your holidays, policy will say

Staff at UW are working so hard these days that it's "not unusual" for people to postpone their holidays, says a draft revision of the university's policy statement on staff vacations. But it's a "responsibility" to take vacation time, the new policy also says.

The draft document would replace the existing Policy 6. It's been worked on by the staff compensation committee and staff relations committee, and is now officially being placed on view for comments. A version should be available on the web some time today.)

There is no change to the amount of vacation staff are entitled to take -- three weeks a year at the beginning, gradually increasing to six weeks a year for 30-year employees.

The proposed new Policy 6 has two main changes: an introductory section about the philosophy of vacation time for staff, and an appendix listing "Principles and Guidelines" for taking vacations. Some excerpts from the draft policy:

Because the workplace has become so busy and demanding, it is not unusual for staff members to want to postpone their vacations. Managers, too, may find it difficult to spare people from their jobs. However, vacation is an entitlement, not a privilege, and it is the responsibility of both the staff member and manager to ensure that all Vacation Credits are taken within the appropriate Vacation Credit Year. Work assignments should be managed so that staff members can take their vacation entitlement without unduly affecting the ongoing operation of their departments.

The positive effects of a refreshed and rested staff member can reduce the possible tension and stress that can arise from extended periods of hard work with no break. . . .

Managers and staff members should work to ensure that -- where possible, practical, and desirable -- the staff member's work load is covered during the time that the staff member is away. . . .

In general (and where Vacation Credits exist), staff members are encouraged to take at least one, two-week holiday per year. . . .

Although it is possible to carry over a portion of Vacation Credits from one year to the next, it is not recommended. If such a need persists, it could be viewed as an indicator of a problem that needs to be addressed. . . .

Because of sickness, sudden staffing changes, or other unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary for a manager to request a staff member to reschedule a previously approved vacation. It is appropriate to consider reimbursement of any direct expenses caused by the rescheduling (e.g., non-refundable deposits, tickets) that the staff member may have incurred.

There are other, smaller revisions in the draft policy as well.

Comments on the draft revision should be directed to Dianne Scheifele in the university secretariat (dscheif@uwaterloo.ca, phone ext. 3183) with a deadline of Friday, June 23.

Renison shows prints and their makers -- from the UW news bureau

The inspiration of Bach (whose 250th anniversary is being celebrated this year), the performance genius of cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the arresting art of Rudolf Bikkers come together in an exhibition entitled "Johann Sebastian Bach: From Cello to Stone" associated with a special event at Renison College tomorrow.

This three-way meeting of the great German composer, the brilliant musical interpreter and one of Canada's foremost printmakers is part of the Printmakers' Fair, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at Renison.

"Performing Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suites for my own pleasure over the years, and listening to them performed by Yo-Yo Ma, I discovered abstract images forming in my mind," Bikkers said. He then laid down the music's emotionally charged character into striking forms and colours that became a further interpretation of Bach's musical ethos.

Says writer Robert Fulford, who wrote the booklet for the exhibition: "Interpretation is the way we honour art, absorb it, make it ours. Interpretation builds bridges between then and now, between them and us. Interpretation is as essential to culture as original art itself." The booklet -- a work of art in itself -- will be on sale during the event.

Included in the show are nine lithographs that are works on paper produced by a flat specially prepared stone or plate. "Of all the fine art printmaking media," Bikkers said. "I prefer to use lithography because of its sensitivity, versatility and technical challenges."

Three of the lithographs are limited-edition portraits of Bach, Yo-Yo Ma and Bikkers himself. The remaining are originals, which form part of a larger collection that depict Bach's six suites for unaccompanied cello. The lithographs are currently hanging in the Chapel Gallery at Renison.

Besides Bikkers's exhibition, a wide range of activities is planned for the Printmakers' Fair tomorrow. Local print artists will showcase their talents, including Nicholas Rees and Gloria Kagawa, award-winning printmakers who studied fine arts at UW under the guidance of Virgil Burnett, now retired.

As well, printmaking demonstrations are scheduled throughout the day from lithographs to the silk-screen processes of David Hunsberger, and the personal techniques of the participating artists.

Papermakers and suppliers will be selling their merchandise from booths. An information stand will offer timetables for printmaking classes, guides to open studios and papermakers, printmaking facilities and art suppliers.

The Printmakers' Fair is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the techniques, texture and colour of the fine art of printmaking, said English professor Judith Miller of Renison, who helped organize the event along with Margaret Mallory-Smyth. Admission to all events is free.

Social psych conference today

Graduate students in social psychology from UW and the University of Western Ontario get together today for an annual event, the Waterloo-Western Social Psychology Conference, says UW grad student Dan Dolderman.

It will be held in Davis Centre room 1304, he says. "Talks will begin at 10:00, and will run all day until the last talk begins at 4:15. There will be a lunch break between 12:15 and 1:15, where lunch will be provided for the attendees from Waterloo and Western. Unfortunately, our budget only allows us to provide lunch for members of the social psychology departments who are attending the conference.

"Talks are half an hour in length. Four students from each school will present some of their own research. There is an additional talk being given by a guest speaker, James Olson from the University of Western Ontario. The title of his talk is 'Things would be different if . . . Research on counterfactual thinking". His talk will begin at 1:15."

He notes that today's conference "is completely unrelated" to the Ontario Symposium on Social Psychology, which was held two weekends ago and also involved UW and Western as sponsors. That's an event for prominent invited speakers, while today's conference gives graduate students a chance to shine. "The purpose is to encourage communication between the social psych departments of Waterloo and Western, and to give grad students the opportunity to give a formal presentation on their own research in a conference environment."

More for today and the weekend

Preregistration for winter term courses winds up today, for co-op students who will be back on campus starting in January 2001.

Interviews for fall term jobs continue for most co-op students, but things are a little different for students in the teaching option: the interview period is at an end, and today's the day for ranking forms to be picked up (10 a.m.), filled out and returned (by 4 p.m.), the co-op department says.

Staff of the information systems and technology department, and other interested folks, are getting a briefing this morning about the network authorization project being carried on in IST. The talk, led by IST's Dawn Whiteside, is part of the department's regular professional development seminar series, and starts at 8:45 this morning in the IST seminar room. The project, an abstract says, "addresses a need for controlled-access network ports to be available at various locations throughout the campus. These ports will permit authenticated use by a variety of portable and desktop computers, allowing UW to identify the person responsible for use of a connection to the campus network and also making the network environment consistent for computers which move from one location to another. This seminar will review the design of the prototype system, demonstrate it in use, and provide information on the current project status and future plans."

Bill Tutte of the department of combinatorics and optimization, possibly UW's most famous mathematician (the author, for example, of Graph Theory as I Have Known It), is still active in research and in reporting on his thoughts. He'll speak in a colloquium today, at 3:30 p.m. in Math and Computer room 5158. Topic: the classic "four-colour problem". In particular, says an abstract, "How much of Graph Theory has arisen out of attempts to clarify the Four Colour Problem? The speaker discusses this question, especially in connection with his own work."

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is holding its annual general meeting in Toronto this weekend -- much business to do, and time to break at noon today for a reception and lunch honouring this year's winners of the OCUFA teaching and academic librarianship awards. (It's been some years since there was an OCUFA award winner from Waterloo, I believe.)

"The largest Canadian conflict resolution event" gets going today in Vancouver, organized by the UW-based The Network: Interaction for Conflict Resolution. The four-day event will include discussion of such topics as restorative justice, mediation, classroom discipline, labour-management relations and international peace, with a strong First Nations theme. Beverley McLachlin, chief justice of Canada, will be the keynote speaker at the opening plenary session on Sunday

Alumni from UW and several other Ontario universities are holding a joint picnic at Vancouver's Jericho Beach tomorrow, with barbecue, volleyball, a sand castle competition and a raffle. Last-minute information should be available at 822-3721 in Vancouver, or from UW's alumni office (ext. 5310). Meanwhile, I'm sorry to report that the environmental studies alumni event in Ottawa, which was to be held last night and which I mentioned in yesterday's Bulletin, had to be cancelled for lack of registrations. "I guess they're just too busy for our receptions," someone in the ES faculty told me in reporting the cancellation.

A conference begins on campus tomorrow, running through June 15, under the rubric -- puzzling to a non-physicist -- of "Highly Frustrated Magnetism". I'm indebted to the web site of Michel Gingras, in UW's physics department, for this note:

Frustration arises when a magnetic system cannot minimize its total classical ground state energy by minimizing the energy of each pair of spin-spin interaction individually. For example, this arises for antiferromagnetically coupled spins on triangular and face-centered cubic lattices. The phenomenon of frustration is an ubiquitous one in condensed matter physics. It arises in magnetic systems, molecular crystals, superconducting Josephson junction arrays. There is an enormous amount of current research devoted to the study of strongly frustrated antiferromagnets since it has been suggested that these could exhibit novel non-Neel ground states with zero staggered sublattice magnetization. However, intriguing experimental results find that a large portion of the materials studied show a magnetic spin-freezing transition similar to what is found in highly disordered magnetic materials, The origin of this spin-freezing constitutes a major puzzle in this field: is the freezing intrinsic to the idealized pure material, or is it driven by the weak amount of random impurities at the 1% level? Also, what is the combined effect of random disorder and quantum fluctuations in these systems? Which one of random disorder or quantum fluctuations "wins"? These are some of the questions that I am interested in in this exciting topical research area.
Some 70 participants in the conference are expected.

The Centre Stage Dance Studio, based in New Hamburg, has the Humanities Theatre booked for this weekend, with rehearsals tonight and tomorrow morning, and performances at 7:00 Saturday night and 2:00 Sunday afternoon.

Michael Higgins, president of St. Jerome's University, will be narrator, and his wife, Krystyna Higgins, will be piano accompanist, at a "once in a lifetime concert" by the Millennium Concert Choir at Kitchener's Centre in the Square on Saturday night. The choir was assembled, and the event organized, by Alfred Kunz, who was UW's director of music in the 1970s and is still prominent in local choral circles. Ticket information: 578-1570.

The Jewish Students Associations of UW and Wilfrid Laurier University will get together for a bagel brunch on Sunday in room 2134 of the Student Life Centre. "There will be bagels, lox, cream cheese, blintzes, Ben and Jerry's ice cream and other special treats," I'm told, starting at noon.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
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