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Tuesday, March 28, 2000

  • Staff pay scales rise 1 per cent
  • UW welcomes infrastructure funds
  • Child welfare expert will speak
  • Also happening on a Tuesday

Teaching award winners

This year's winners of the Distinguished Teacher Awards were announced at last night's meeting of the UW senate:
  • Emanuel Carvalho, who teaches regional and community development in the department of economics
  • Al Evans, professor emeritus of religious studies, who still teaches in the Studies in Personality and Religion program at St. Paul's United College
  • Brian Forrest, chair of the department of pure mathematics, renowned for his teaching of calculus
  • Grant Russell, specialist in management accounting, information systems and ethics in the school of accountancy
  • Staff pay scales rise 1 per cent

    Staff members will be getting a memo today announcing the salary recommendation that's going to the UW board of governors on April 11. If the board approves, salary scales will go up by 1 per cent on May 1, with individual pay increases depending on performance evaluations as usual.

    The memo comes from the provost's advisory committee on staff compensation, whose recommendation has been approved by the provost to go to the board of governors.

    The committee finished its discussions March 23 after two months of meetings, the memo says. "The process followed by the Committee was that defined by Policy #5, 'Salary Administration, Non-Union Staff'. In its deliberations, the Committee carefully considered a variety of issues and data (e.g., staff salaries in the local community and among other universities), as well as the University's financial situation in the coming year, in order to ensure that the Committee arrived at an equitable compensation agreement for staff members.

    "The Committee is aware that these recommendations may be viewed by many as disappointing. Members of the Committee are disheartened by the recent announcement about university funding from the Province. The University has to deal with the constraints imposed by the Province and the Committee regrets the current situation."

    The committee says its recommendations are made "reluctantly". Here they are:

    Under the merit increase program, individuals' pay increases won't necessarily be 1 per cent, but may be higher or lower depending on their performance appraisals and on where they are in the salary range. The average pay increase for individuals is expected to be about 2.5 per cent.

    Today's memo to all staff members also notes that the compensation committee spent some time this year on a review of the staff vacation policy, "the results of which was a new set of principles and guidelines which will be referred to the Staff Relations Committee. . . . During its discussion of Policy #6, PACSC discussed at length the issue of personal days for staff. The Committee will refer this issue to the Staff Relations Committee for discussion."

    UW welcomes infrastructure funds

    [OIT logo] Representatives of the federal and provincial governments came to UW yesterday morning to help celebrate $14 million worth of "infrastructure" funding for research, and in particular $5.5 million in grants from the Ontario Innovation Trust.

    "It is a tribute to the innovative spirit of the University of Waterloo and its researchers that such a wide variety of projects has been selected for OIT support," said David Bogart, executive director of the OIT.

    Most of the funding had previously been announced, but yesterday brought an opportunity to sign contracts, hand over cheques, and take government visitors on a tour of one of the labs that will benefit from the money.

    It's all to be spent on "infrastructure", including computer networks and equipment from spectroscopes to a digital image analysis system.

    The largest single portion of the grant, nearly $2.1 million, will be directed to improve data communications across campus. Of that money, $1.4 million is going to the Bell Canada University Labs to provide high-speed connectivity and a state-of-the-art backbone, while "another $700,000 will be used to improve the network and cabling infrastructure of the entire university", a news release explained.

    "This new infrastructure will enable the university to provide a state-of-the-art research facility in information technology, enhancing the University's research and training capacities," said Bogart. "It will improve internal and external communications, and support new and richer forms of research collaboration."

    Jay Black, associate provost (information systems and technology), has more to say about how the OIT money will be used to support research by improving the campus computer network: "The research programs of many of our key personnel require high-bandwidth access to an increasingly rich, internet-based fabric that provides the communications links among researchers' desktop devices, their laboratories and specialized equipment, colleagues on the same or different research teams, large server complexes, and off-campus internet resources in general.

    "The telecommunications industry is also on the verge of providing a number of new enabling technologies such as IP Multicast (and the older 'Mbone'), which will support new and richer forms of research collaboration. For maximal impact, this fabric must be available to all researchers at UW.

    "This project will complete the provision of a modern, sustainable, on-campus communications fabric for research at the University of Waterloo. This will provide us with essential infrastructure that supports our reputation for world-class research in general, and research in information technology in particular. By ensuring that a state-of-the-art communication infrastructure is available to all researchers, we will have a significantly better chance of attracting and retaining the highly qualified personnel Canadian universities need so desperately.

    "This project addresses the 'chicken and egg' problem in enabling qualitatively different research and research collaborations by and among researchers. As a side effect, it also enriches their access to the campus network for administrative and teaching purposes; this should result in an increased synergy between the use of advanced communication for research and the teaching activities of our faculty and graduate students."

    The six major OIT grants, first made known in October, are to match grants announced earlier by the federal government's Canada Foundation for Innovation. In addition, several of the projects are receiving funding from private sector " partners".

    Besides the computer network and the Bell Labs, these projects are receiving CFI and OIT funds:

    Announced for the first time on Monday were OIT grants to five young faculty members who last fall received "New Opportunities" grants from CFI. Receiving amounts between $34,000 and $60,000 apiece from OIT, to match the CFI grant in each case, are Pu Chen of chemical engineering, Tadeusz Górecki of chemistry, Robert Macdonald and Norman Zhou of mechanical engineering, and Ranjini Sivakumar of accountancy.

    Their OIT funding, a news release explained, "will support activities ranging from analyzing and solving environmental challenges, to finance and accounting research, studying the interaction of surfaces, and research into the spot-welding of aluminum".

    Child welfare expert will speak

    Child welfare expert Margaret Norrie McCain will discuss family violence and early child development at a public lecture to be given this afternoon at Renison College.

    McCain, a social work graduate and recipient of five honorary degrees from Canadian universities, will speak at Renison's Chapel Lounge, Luxton Building, at 1:30 p.m. The lecture is sponsored by the social work program at Renison.

    She is currently involved in a number of initiatives that focus on the elimination of family violence and promote social justice for women and children in Canadian society.

    Last year, she co-authored with Fraser Mustard, renowned expert on child development, The Early Years Study, a comprehensive study of early child development in Ontario. As part of their study, the authors consulted with research experts in early child development, participants in successful early childhood initiatives in 15 communities across the province, and representatives of children's groups and organizations.

    The report concludes that a child's brain development in the first six years of life sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behaviour and health. It outlines the necessity for a public policy vision designed to bring together all levels of government, parents, the voluntary sector and professionals working with children. Ontario premier Mike Harris cited the report's findings in his announcement last spring that the province would guarantee funding to all school boards for Junior and Senior Kindergarten, as well as sponsor some demonstration projects to test different approaches to help young children learn.

    Also happening on a Tuesday

    Students in Environment and Resource Studies 285, generally known as the "greening the campus" course, will present their projects this afternoon for anyone interested. Topics this time around focus on building design, in such areas as windows, building materials and "community habitat". (Previous WatGreen projects have deal with everything from vegetation to recycling.) The presentations will run from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Arts Lecture room 124.

    The senate research council will meet at 1:30 this afternoon in Needles Hall room 3001.

    The UW badminton club will lay down its racquets tonight to take up cards and chips . . . it's Monte Carlo Night in the Student Life Centre.

    Later this week, a show of works by fourth-year fine arts students will open in the UW art gallery in the Modern Languages building. A reception Thursday (4 to 6 p.m.) opens the show, titled "Identified by Sight", which will run through June 15.

    And Sunday afternoon will bring the installation ceremonies for Graham Brown, new principal of St. Paul's United College. The event will take place starting at 2:30 Sunday afternoon in MacKirdy Hall at St. Paul's.

    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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