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Friday, March 10, 2000

  • Prof calls for higher salaries
  • Banks pull out of student loans
  • The talk of the campus
  • Notes and events for a March weekend

Network will be down

On Sunday, March 12, between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., "links to most campus-wide services will be down," the information systems and technology department warns. "Networking links completely within other campus buildings will remain operational. The external campus Internet connection and the campus dialup servers will also be unavailable during this time.

"This down time will allow us to relocate, rewire and perform preventative maintenance on core networking equipment in the Math and Computer building, and is part of the ongoing renovation of the main computer room."

* Campus networks web page

Prof calls for higher salaries

UW "needs to improve faculty salaries for competitive and equity reasons", says Ian Macdonald, a former president of the faculty association, writing in the latest issue of its Forum newsletter.

"All the data concerning faculty remuneration and the University's treatment are negative," he charges.

"First, from at least the mid-1970s until 1994/95, total faculty salaries were fairly steady at 36-38% of University expenditures, and total staff salaries were about 0.5-1.5% lower than total faculty salaries. In 1997/98, total faculty salaries had dropped precipitously to only 31.8% of University expenditures. Total staff salaries at 33.9% of University expenditures were 2.1% higher than total faculty salaries.

"Second, 1992/93 to 1997/98 was a bad period for the University but a worse one for its employees. UW Operating income decreased by 6.2% and UW Operating expenditures decreased by 6.6%. However, UW staff salaries decreased by an additional 4% -- a total decrease of 10.3%, and UW faculty salaries decreased by an additional 11% -- a total decrease of 17.5%. . . .

"Much of the current decline is a consequence of the fact that the University cut expenditures on faculty salaries much more severely than its income was cut. . . .

"UW faculty have also lost ground relative to faculty at other Ontario universities. From 1991/92 to 1998/99, the scale increases for our comparison group and for all Ontario universities were about 1.8% and 2.6% greater on average respectively than those at UW."

Macdonald notes that in the next few years "it is going to be crucial for the health of universities that they be able to compete effectively in retaining existing faculty and hiring new faculty." He suggests an "immediate" increase from $40,310 to $45,000 in the value of "F", the minimum salary for new assistant professors. That would move the value of 2.2 times F -- the level that a faculty member reaches in twenty years of "average" annual salary increases -- from the present $88,680 to $99,000.

Negotiations between the faculty association and UW management are going on now, with an eye to the annual May 1 pay increases. Negotiators for management are headed by statistics professor Harry Panjer; faculty association negotiators are headed by Mohamed Elmasry of electrical and computer engineering.

Banks pull out of student loans

News yesterday that the major banks will end their involvement with the Canada Student Loan program is "an opportunity", not a crisis, says the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.

And the federal government said it would provide "alternate arrangements to ensure the uninterrupted delivery" of the loans, after negotiations with the Scotiabank, CIBC and the Royal Bank broke down. Those three banks have been providing the loans since 1995, and collecting a fee, or "risk premium", from the government.

Said the ministry of human resources:

The Government of Canada requested responses from financial institutions for a new agreement on the delivery and administration of the Canada Student Loans Program. Too few financial institutions indicated an interest in continuing to participate in the Canada Student Loans Program to ensure viable delivery of the program.

Newspaper coverage

  • Globe and Mail
  • National Post
  • Kingston Whig-Standard
  • To ensure that students can continue to get financial help under the Program, the Government of Canada will ensure that money is available to student borrowers. There will be no interruption in service.

    The intention is to have student loans administered by Service Bureaus, which are commonly used by financial institutions. Service Bureaus would establish loan accounts, maintain contact with the borrowers and administer the loan once the borrower begins repayment. . . .

    The Canada Student Loans Program represents the cornerstone of the Government of Canada's commitment to accessible education. Since 1964, the Canada Student Loans Program has assisted over 2.7 million full-time students with the costs of their post-secondary education by providing more than $15 billion in subsidized loans. . . . The Canada Student Loans Program currently provides subsidized loans to over 350,000 students per year.

    Now Ottawa will have to borrow the funds, an estimated $1.5 billion annually, to provide the loans directly.

    Default rates on loans have been going up -- reaching a peak of some 30 per cent in 1996 -- and the banks have said they can't afford to stay in the student loan business under Ottawa's rules. "The Government of Canada extended a fair and equitable offer of compensation," yesterday's announcement said. "Financial institutions made a business decision whether or not to participate. In the end, too few institutions indicated an interest to ensure viable delivery of the program."

    Not to worry, said a statement from CASA, which represents student leaders from many Canadian institutions, including UW's Federation of Students. "The door is now open for stakeholders and governments to define the future of the program."

    Said Jason Aebig, national director of CASA: "I want to assure students that here will still be a Canada Student Loans program to assist them. . . . Students applying for student loans for the next school year will not feel the effects of this development directly. The process for applying, qualifying and acquiring student financial assistance will remain unchanged." In Ontario the loans are provided as part of the Ontario Student Assistance Program.

    The Canadian Federation of Students, CASA's rival, was similarly happy. "Under the banks," a CFS statement said, "the program became much more about profit and greed than it did about opportunity and access to education."

    The talk of the campus

    A few more UW classrooms should have computers and data projection equipment by this fall, says Gary Griffin, director of teaching resources. He said yesterday that he's been asked to head a small committee to look at the needs and produce "a list of classrooms, in priority order, in which to introduce this technology" as the budget permits. The committee, to report to associate provost Gary Waller, will include people from the audio-visual centre, information systems and technology, the registrar's office, plant operations and the faculties, Griffin said. He'd welcome suggestions about rooms where such equipment would be valuable for teaching.

    "When it comes to exercising," says a note in the alumni newsletter from UW's faculty of applied health sciences, "people who are positive thinkers fare better than those who are negative thinkers." The item reports on research by Larry Brawley of kinesiology and former graduate student Nancy Gyurcsik. "They discovered that all the participants in a structured seven-week fitness program had both negative and positive thoughts toward exercise. Coping with negative thoughts, such as being too tired, not motivated or too busy, was the key to adhering to the program."

    UW president David Johnston is away on a three-week trip to several south Asian countries, visiting educational institutions, corporations and alumni. Along with Gwen Graper, UW's manager of alumni affairs, he'll spend some time in Hong Kong connecting with the hundreds of UW graduates who make that crossroads city their home.

    Rediña Caracaz, long-time secretary to UW's deans of mathematics, will wind up her 30-year career as she retires at the end of March. A reception to wish her well is scheduled for Thursday, March 30, at 3:30 at the University Club; RSVPs should go to Wendy Zehr (wazehr@math) by March 23.

    A credit course on "The Quest for Meaning in Modern Judaism", based on a dozen television programs that were first aired on Vision TV last year, will be ready for its first students this summer. The programs were put together with support from UW, and Elliott Malamet, the Toronto scholar who created them, has been named an adjunct professor in UW's fledgling Jewish studies program. "How," asks the newsletter distributed to UW distance education students, "does an ancient religious tradition remain relevant in the face of shifting cultural morals and beliefs, and especially in light of the West's emphasis on relativism and freedom of choice? This course will explore the major themes and challenges that face Judaism and the Jewish people at the start of the 21st century. We will compare the insights of an extremely diverse group of Jewish thinkers on the place of tradition in the modern world. and examine the perpetual quest for meaning at the core of Judaism." Jewish studies doesn't yet have its own course numbers, so the Quest will go out as Arts 150A.

    The next piece of "public art" to be installed in Waterloo will be the work of Jane Buyers, a faculty member in UW's fine arts department. The city of Waterloo has announced that it has commissioned Buyers to create a steel-and-copper sculpture titled "John Labatt Barley Field", to be placed on Park Street near Norman Street. "The sculpture represents a field of barley," a news release explains. "Barley is one of the main ingredients in making beer and is therefore an appropriate reference to the former Labatt brewery on the site." The artist's fee of $15,000 will come from a gift to the city from Labatts, the last company in a succession of breweries that occupied the site for 140 years.

    [At the bulletin board]
    Snakes and Ladders on the wall in a Physical Activities Complex display case offers prizes for players who increase their activity levels. Campus recreation staff member Rebecca White moves players through the game based on their hours of activity. "We just want to get people active," she says. "That doesn't necessarily mean structured activities, either. If it takes a half-hour to walk to school, that's an hour of activity per day." At last count, 202 participants had logged 3,964.5 hours. The game continues to the end of the term, with new participants welcome at any time. To sign up, visit the main office on the second floor of the Physical Activities Complex.

    Notes and events for a March weekend

    The Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference continues. A highlight today will be the "exposition" in Federation Hall, showing off the latest technologies -- and introducing real live representatives -- from at least 15 high-tech companies. Two keynote addresses are on the program today: one by William Hawe, chief technology officer of Nortel Networks, at 12 noon, and one by Brian Vink of Sybase Canada at 7 p.m. Both visitors will speak in the Humanities Theatre. Workshop sessions that are open to droppers-in will include one by Terry Stuart of Deloitte Consulting (9 a.m., Math and Computer room 5158); one by Andre Boyson of 724 Solutions (2:45 p.m., Student Life Centre multi-purpose room); and one by Michael Serbinis of DocSpace Canada (2:45 p.m., Math and Computer room 4045).

    Lihua Wang, a former graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, has been found not guilty of attempted murder in a stabbing incident in the Engineering II building in January 1999. She pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault, and will be sentenced April 26. As the trial unfolded over the past few days, the crown attorney told the court that Wang attacked another woman -- herself a grad student, recently arrived in Canada from China -- because of "an imagined relationship" between her and Wang's husband. The judge concluded that Wang's behaviour in attacking the other woman was "bizarre and illogical" and she had had no intention of killing her.

    Co-op work reports from the fall term that were marked by coordinators will be available for pickup at the Needles Hall reception desk today.

    International Women's Week continues. The major event today is a concert in Ground Zero in the Student Life Centre, starting at 9 p.m. and headlining Corduroy Leda and Erica Knight. Tickets are $5 in advance at the Federation of Students office, $6 at the door.

    The Waterloo Public Interest Research Group hosts a conference this weekend under the title "Food Not Bombs". An introductory session on "globalization" takes place in the Humanities building tonight; tomorrow, events will be held at the Kitchener-Waterloo Labour Hall on King Street East; and Sunday it's back to the Humanities building for "Cooking for FNB", "Militarism", lunch, and "regional action planning and network organizing". WPIRG at 888-4882 can provide more information.

    The traditional Black Forest Coffee House comes this weekend at St. Paul's United College. Doors open at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow night, and tickets (available in advance at the turnkey desk in the Student Life Centre) are $4 for one night or $6 for both.

    Also happening tonight is the Math Grad Ball at the Waterloo Inn, under the title "The Secret Garden".

    No hot air in Needles Hall: heating and ventilation in NH will be shut off from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow for maintenance.

    Looking ahead to Monday, LT3 -- that's the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology -- presents a session on "What's Coming to the Web?" Cynthia Poremba of LT3 says the talk "will discuss some of the new technologies that are being developed for the web, plus speculate as to some possible directions of the medium". The session starts at 12:30 Monday in Math and Computer room 2009.

    Also Monday, there's a teaching workshop on "Supervisory Relationships", starting at 12 noon in Davis Centre room 1302. Moderator will be Tracy Light of the teaching resource office, and panelists will be Bruce Mitchell (associate vice-president, academic, and geography professor), Wendy Mitchinson (history), Mary Thompson (statistics and actuarial science), and Mike Yovanovich (mechanical engineering).

    And Kingston author Helen Humphreys, winner of the 1998 Toronto Book Award for Leaving Earth, will read from her work Monday at St. Jerome's University (4 p.m. in the common room).


    Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
    Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
    credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
    http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Bulletin
    Copyright © 2000 University of Waterloo
    Yesterday's Bulletin
    Copyright © 2000 University of Waterloo