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Monday, March 13, 2000

  • Just about ready for Campus Day
  • Québec issues universities policy
  • Today and the rest of the week


'Spring Awakening' was shocking when it was first staged 100 years ago. UW audiences can judge for themselves later this week, as the drama department presents the play in the Theatre of the Arts at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. The Humanities box office has tickets. Erin Brandenburg and Chris Goddard star (photo by Scott Spidell).

Faculty salaries, staff salaries

In Friday's Bulletin I quoted some words from Ian Macdonald, professor of chemical engineering, as published recently in the faculty association's Forum newsletter. It's been suggested that the way I chose sentences from his article might have given the impression that he was setting faculty against staff members over salaries.

Not so, as this passage from the article -- including a sentence I didn't include on Friday -- should make clear:

"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%! Clearly, the decline in faculty salaries was not the result of a shift in resources to staff salaries, as the percentage of University expenditures allocated for total staff salaries also decreased a little."

Just about ready for Campus Day

They've seen the Web site, they've read the brochures. And tomorrow, prospective students can visit UW to see if the reality meets their expectations.

Last year's Campus Day brought more than 5,000 visitors -- students, friends and family members -- to check out the campus. A fall Saturday tour was introduced last October, and though numbers may be down somewhat this spring, organizers are still expecting Campus Day to be a popular event.

A system of colour-coded balloons will guide visitors to events at their faculties -- red for applied health sciences, green for environmental studies, purple for arts, pink (of course) for mathematics, yellow for engineering, and black for science. Faculties and colleges have planned events for the morning, with tours of campus highlights scheduled throughout the day.

South Campus Hall, "the gateway to the campus" -- and home of the visitors centre -- will host displays introducing the services available to students: athletics and recreation, counselling services, food services, distance and continuing education, police, library, WatCard, and others.

In the Student Life Centre, "the living room" of the university, visitors will have a chance to meet representatives of the Federation of Students, health services, the office for persons with disabilities, Student Life 101, the Student Ambassador Association, and even the Conrad Grebel College stage band, which will perform from 12:15 to 12:45.

Special sessions will be offered on "Financing Your University Education" (at the Laurel Room, South Campus Hall at 8:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) and on Co-operative Education and Career Services in the Humanities Theatre at 2:15 p.m.

Finding a coffee or a bite to eat between stops should be easy at one of the eateries around campus, or at the colleges and residences. Maps of the campus are included in the special Campus Day newsletter, which lists activities and events. Visitors with mobility concerns are invited to contact the student acess van at 575-5891 or the office for persons with disabilities at ext. 4853.

The hardest thing to find may be a parking space, and traffic at the beginning of the day is expected to be heavy even though visitors are being divided into two streams, with some entering campus at University Avenue and some at Columbia Street. Staff, faculty and students are encouraged to leave the car at home tomorrow if possible.

Québec issues universities policy
-- by Nilima Gulrajani, reprinted by permission from the McGill Tribune

The Quebec Ministry of Education released its first-ever policy on universities two weeks ago, although it has yet to elaborate on the financial package it will offer universities in order for them to implement the new policies.

The Ministry's report, entitled "To Better Assure Our Collective Future," was the highly anticipated government response to consultations held with Quebec universities. The policy statement addresses some of McGill's funding concerns as expressed the "Tradition and Innovation" document McGill submitted to the government in the fall.

The Ministry's response identified three priority areas for universities, including accessibility, university performance and responding to society and the world. No dollar figure was specified, although administrators anticipate an increase in post-secondary will likely be articulated in the Quebec government's March budget.

"The university setting is ready to pass to action, and we're convinced that together, we can live up to this challenge for excellence and performance," Education Minister Franois Legault is quoted saying in a press release.

The question that university administrators have on their minds, however, is whether the funding increase will be sufficient for successful implementation of the policy statement. "Really, all these [statements] are nice, but the real issues in the end is whether the government will put together the financial effort that will allow us to achieve these goals." said Morty Yalovsky, vice president administration and finance at McGill.

Although not uniquely specific to universities, the Parent Report of the 1960s was the first report issued to orient education in Quebec. The new report reaffirms the government's commitment to the university system, while emphasizing the need for reform given the preeminent place of universities in the future development of Quebec.

The policy asserts that the government must continue to promote access to and success in universities by ensuring that "the economic obstacles to access to higher education are reduced to a minimum." The report specifically addresses the need to support undergraduate students. The document also affirms its commitment to high-quality education, committing itself to the recruitment of high-quality professors, the modernization of equipment, and linking society's needs with program content. The need for regular evaluation reviews and the "concertation and complementarity" with other post-secondary institutions is also highlighted.

According to Yalovsky, the government was not specific enough in its policies and didn't go far enough in addressing the maintenance of high-quality programs. "The principles the Minister is putting forth are very broad...[O]ne could say there isn't a sufficient amount of focus, though this has its positives and negatives." said Yalofsky. "We support access but we want to make sure that the programs [students] have access to are high quality. The Minister doesn't address how to sustain programs of high quality. In that area it has been a bit of a disappointment."

In contrast, Yalovsky was happy that the report seemed to de-emphasize the need for universities to solely prepare students for the requirements of the labour market. "I [was] very worried that the focus [in the draft] was too much on vocational programs. Before, [the draft] was preparing to reinvest only in targeted areas," commented Yalovsky.

University officials have estimated that McGill would need approximately $80 million dollars in additional income per annum in order to make the university financially viable. Quebec universities in total say they need an additional $650 million a year to remain competitive and preserve standards.

Barter table on Thursday

A note from environment and resource studies student Sarah Anderson:

"As part of an ERS project I am organizing a barter table in the great hall of the SLC from 11:00-3:00 next Thursday, March 16. There will be drop off bins set up all next week at the turnkey desk, the WPIRG office and the ES coffee shop. People can bring in any books, CD's, clothes, etc that they no longer want, and trade for someone else's unwanted stuff. People can either drop items off in the designated boxes ahead of time and take one coupon for each item, or bring items in on the day of the event. Each coupon or each item enables the person to take one thing from the table. This promotes sharing, a more affordable way of living, and reusing: all necessary parts of sustainability. It's also lots of fun and a great way to clear out your junk, and find some good stuff."

Today and the rest of the week

While the kids are out of school for March break (which is why Campus Day is tomorrow), life is normal, indeed busy, at UW. Some events and announcements:

The staff association office will be closed for staff vacation this week. Two executive members, Kelly Wilker-Draves (ext. 2796) and Ann Barrett, ext. (5782), will be available to take staff association calls during that time.

The Egyptian Student Association will be holding its 6th annual exhibition about Egypt all this week in the multi-purpose room of the Student Life Centre. Souvenirs, homemade food and drinks will be for sale, organizers say. Along with the exhibition, Egyptian movie nights will be held in Davis Centre room 1302 starting Tuesday evening.

Geoff Hayes of UW's history department will speak at noontime today as the Kitchener Public Library continues its lecture series at the main library downtown. His topic: "Local Government Reform in Waterloo: A Look Backward".

The physics department sponsors a seminar today under hte title "Fullerenes, Fullerides, Fullerites". The speaker is Victor Buntar of Vienna Technical University; the session begins at 2:30 in Physics room 308.

The career development seminar series continues, with sessions today on letter-writing (1:30 p.m.) and résumé writing (2:30), both in Needles Hall room 1020.

Weekly drop-in sessions continue in the Dana Porter Library or the Davis Centre Library. The library asks faculty members to "encourage your students to come with questions related to term papers, assignments and projects when they need instruction such as searching TRELLIS, locating journal articles, how to begin their research etc. While this is similar to the assistance provided at the Information Desk, staff wearing 'Ask Me' buttons in the computer areas are prepared to spend more time with each individual." Hours: Mondays 4 to 5 p.m., Davis Centre; Tuesdays 3 to 4 p.m., Dana Porter.

The Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology -- presents a session today 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". She'll base the presentation on things that surfaced at the recent CNET Builder.com Live 99 conference in New Orleans. The session starts at 12:30 Monday in Math and Computer room 2009.

There's a teaching workshop today 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 today 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 | Friday's Bulletin
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