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Friday, March 24, 2000

  • A tree for the class of 2000
  • Faculty and staff statistics
  • Corrections, clarifications, chat
  • Events of today and the weekend

[Flowering crabapple]

A tree for the class of 2000

Students in the class of 2000 are being asked by the Student Ambassador Association to leave behind a leafy legacy of their years at UW with a donation to the Alumni Lane project.

A booth in the Student Life Centre today will collect contributions of loonies and toonies to plant a tree representing this year's class. That tree will join its boughs with others along the lane that runs behind the Student Life Centre toward Matthews Hall. They represent graduating classes dating back to 1962, although actual plantings didn't start until the 1980s.

For the class of 1962, a Schwedler maple was planted, which leads off a row of Norway, crimson king, harlequin and sugar maples, followed by a variety of oaks, a tulip tree, amur cork tree and horse chestnut along the east side of the lane. On the west, classes from 1988 to 1998 have contributed locusts and chestnuts, as well as a ginkgo, butternut, London planetree, maple, linden and ash.

Although the tree for 2000 has not yet been selected, the current trend is toward planting native species, which are usually hardier and survive drought conditions better than exotic specimen trees. As well, they support indigenous species of birds and insects. A campus tree inventory was done in 1998, and the WatGreen project has a list of recommended trees for the campus environment.

Students can also contribute to the Alumni Lane project by dropping off donations at offices of student societies, alumni affairs, the Federation of Students or the Student Ambassador Association.

Faculty and staff statistics

[Doughnut graph]
Distribution of professors' positions among the six faculties in the current year. Numbers are rounded, which is why the inner-ring total works out to 692 where it really should be 691. My thanks to Angela Googh of the office of institutional analysis and planning for explaining this stuff to me.
The number of professors at UW, which fell by more than 100 after a massive early retirement program in 1996, has climbed a little but is still well short of the 1995-96 level.

Figures on the number of faculty -- and the number of faculty positions (not the same thing, because of jobs standing vacant) -- were provided to the senate finance committee as part of its budget discussions, which started this week.

As the graph at right shows, UW had a total of 691 "regular" faculty members in 1999-2000, with arts being the largest of the six faculties by a good margin. At the same time, there were 736.1 faculty positions. The largest single academic department continues to be computer science (51 positions), followed by electrical and computer engineering (42), psychology (34) and biology (30.5).

Before the early retirements of 1996, there were 789.6 faculty positions, and in 1995-96 UW had 767 actual professors, whose average salary was $80,390. A year later the number had dropped to 664, and with many of those retiring being at the top end of the salary scale, the average pay was down too, to $77,200.

In the current year, the average salary is $84,510, according to tables provided to the finance committee.

Another chart in the finance committee information shows the number of "academic support" staff members: 1,502.9. That includes vacant positions, but doesn't include staff in "ancillary enterprise" departments such as the bookstore, food services and the residences.

Corrections, clarifications, chat

In Wednesday's Bulletin I mentioned that staff members, who are about to elect a new representative to the UW board of governors, will be voting electronically (except unionized staff, who will be receiving the usual paper ballots next week). More information about how to vote on the Web will be announced shortly. In the course of the description, I wrote that "not even the secretariat will know who voted." That's not quite true, it has now been explained to me: it will at least be possible to keep track of who cast a vote. What no one will know is whom each voter voted for.

Earlier this week, I reported on the results of the recent Putnam mathematics contest, listing UW-based winners and mentioning their fields of study. Several of the department affiliations were wrong or incomplete, I've now been told, because there's only so much room in UWdir to list such information. Interestingly enough, it's the pure mathematics department that seems to get neglected. For the record, then: Joel Kamnitzer is in applied math and pure math (double honours); Donny Cheung is in combinatorics and optimization and pure math (double honours); Derek Kisman and Wai Ling Yee are both in computer science and pure math (double honours).

In Wednesday's Bulletin I reported on Tuesday's meeting of the senate finance committee, at which tuition fee increases and the UW budget were discussed, and I said that Christine Cheng, president of the Federation of Students, had asked whether tuition fees were going up just in order to provide money for salary increases at UW. (No, provost Jim Kalbfleisch had answered, there's more to it than that.) Cheng says she definitely wasn't the person who asked that touchy question; it was some other member of the finance committee.

A "looming crisis" in universities, certainly the local ones, provides the headline story for today's Kitchener-Waterloo Record. Apparently Bob Rosehart, president of Wilfrid Laurier University, is thinking along the same lines as UW provost Jim Kalbfleisch. At that finance committee meeting on Tuesday, Kalbfleisch said the government's recently-announced grant and tuition fee levels cast some doubt on institutions' plans to expand their enrolment. He repeats that concern in the Record story, and Rosehart echoes his comments.

The Federation of Students has issued a revised version of its recent research study about the income backgrounds of UW students, as measured by Statistics Canada data about their home neighbourhoods. The key passage:

According to the 1996 census, average Canadian family income is $54,583. Based on this figure, we have split our results into two categories: students from households with incomes above $55,000 (we call these students upper income) and those with income below this threshold (we call these students lower income). . . . As tuition has increased, the percentage of students from lower income areas has dropped at the University of Waterloo. In 1991 71.6% of the students in the Waterloo entering class were from lower income areas. By 1998, only 61.1% of the students in the Waterloo entering class were from lower income areas.
Meanwhile, yesterday's Star reported pretty much the same findings in a study done at the University of Guelph -- "similar methodology", says Christine Cheng of UW's Federation, "but not related" to the UW study.

The staff association is looking for volunteers to represent staff members on several UW committees. Vacancies now being considered by the association's nominating committee include two positions on the Committee of Inquiry on Staff Grievances, for a three-year term starting May 1; a seat on the personal safety advisory committee; a seat on the president's advisory committee on traffic and parking; one on the staff relations committee; one on the staff training and development committee; and two on the staff association's finance review committee. "We want to encourage all staff members from across campus to consider this opportunity," says Charlene Schumm, past president of the association and chair of its nominating committee. Applications are due by April 7, either on paper or by e-mail to cschumm@uwaterloo.ca.

The information systems and technology department has taken a new step to reduce the heavy use of bandwidth by some users on the Resnet computer network in UW's residences. As of this morning, an IST announcement says, Resnet users will not be able to connect to the web proxy server in the Math Faculty Computing Facility, a connection that some people had been using to circumvent limits on how many megabytes they can download from the Internet into the Resnet system. The change was made at the request of MFCF authorities, IST said.

Volunteers are wanted for many worthwhile works in the community, the local Volunteer Action Centre says. For example: "Waterloo will be competing for a national award this spring which judges communities on city flower displays and business and residential gardens. Many subcommittees need volunteers. . . . Anselma House, a crisis shelter for abused women and their children, is recruiting volunteers for their spring training session. . . . Historic gardeners are needed at Doon Heritage Crossroads. . . . Waterloo Community Arts Centre is inviting volunteers to join their program committee." The VAC can provide more information, at 742-8610.

Computing courses

The information systems and technology department (IST) is offering six computing courses in April to UW faculty, staff and students. There is no charge for these courses.
  • Writing Excel Macros
  • Perl Tutorial
  • Using FrontPage for Web Page Management
  • New Version of Eudora, V4.3
  • Linux Demonstration
  • Keeping Up With Your Research Literature -- Electronically!
More information about the courses, and a registration form, can be found on the web.

Events of today and the weekend

The Arts Formal, "The Magic of the Night", takes place this evening at Federation Hall, a sure sign that love blooms in spring and (more prosaically) that the end of the term is nigh. Other marks on the calendar:

Dalton Camp, who spoke last night in the Humanities Theatre ("How to Wreck a Country"), is still on campus, and will be available for conversation at a brown-bag lunch today at St. Paul's United College (11:30 to 1:00 in the college's library).

An "environmental studies design kaffee" is scheduled for noontime (12:00 to 1:00) today in the Environmental Studies I courtyard. "We will be showing you," says an invitation, "some of the learnware we have found which we thought could address the instructional learning challenge faced by one of FES's faculty. Come and try out the demos for yourself!" The demonstration results from a project sponsored by the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, involving Mieke Delfaauw of environmental studies, Dianne Roberts of environment and resource studies, Margaret Aquan-Yuen and Bill Oldfield of the library, and tom Carey and Vivian Rossner-Merrill of LT3.

An environmental engineering project design seminar takes place from 1:30 to 4:30 today in Davis Centre room 1302. "Ten consulting engineering design teams will present and discuss key aspects of their investigations involving a variety of current environmental engineering problems," including acid mine draining, drinking water filtration, agricultural runoff and groundwater treatment. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The department of computer science will hold a wine and cheese reception with members of its graduating class, today from 4:30 to 6:00 at the University Club.

Electrical power will be shut off on the lower floors of the Dana Porter Library from 6:00 to 11:00 tomorrow morning, the plant operations department reports. Not a problem for staff or library users, since the library doesn't open until 11, but people who work in the building are advised to shut down computer equipment before they leave tonight.

There's a student recruitment fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, this weekend, and UW will be represented there in the person of Georgina Russell -- a former staff member in the mathematics faculty and herself a 1998 graduate of UW. Along with her husband, Ron Russell, who directed UW's audio-visual centre, Russell is living in retirement in Mexico and working for Focus on Mexico, an agency encouraging Canadians to consider Mexico as the warm, cheap, friendly place to live.

The Filipino Students Association has a "cultural show" Saturday evening in the Humanities Theatre, and FASS will be holding its annual general meeting there on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday at 8 p.m., music by Leonard Enns, of the department of music at Conrad Grebel College, will be presented in concert at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre in St. Jacobs, just north of Waterloo. Performers include Stephanie Kramer, George Greer, Boyd McDonald, Willem Moolenbeek and the Da Capo Chamber Choir. Tickets for "The Music of Leonard Enns" are $15; the music department at Grebel (885-0220 ext. 226) has them in advance.

Finally, on Monday there will be a news conference at which the Ontario government -- represented by a local member of the Legislature -- will present some grants from the Ontario Innovation Trust for several research projects at UW. The festivities are scheduled for 10 a.m. in the Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, says an invitation from the vice-president (university research). Grants totalling $5 million from the Ontario Innovation Trust were announced in October.

CAR


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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