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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Monday, May 1, 2000

  • A new term and a new year
  • Other events as the term gets going
  • It's a whole new post-secondary world
  • Staff forum set for next week
  • Computing courses are scheduled

A new term and a new year

The spring term is under way this morning, with classes starting at 8:30 sharp under a greyish sky -- but wasn't that a remarkable summery weekend to welcome back those who have been away?

It's not like the fall term, where a few days are provided for getting organized and oriented; in the spring the plan is down to work on day one. Still, there's definitely paperwork to be done. So here's a note from the registrar's office:

Students should look for posted signs in Needles Hall to determine when their fee receipts will be available for pick-up. Date payment received will determine pick-up date.

The Registrar's Office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. the week of May 1, and will return to normal business hours (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) the week of May 8.

I note that students who need to pick up Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) documents will be doing that on the third floor of NH. The registrar's office is on the second floor.

The bookstore will be busy today, reopened after inventory and ready to sell spring term textbooks. And most food services outlets are back to normal hours, though the Ron Eydt Village cafeteria and the Festival Room in South Campus Hall won't be open during the spring term.

A new fiscal year begins May 1 along with the new term. In the 365 days that lie ahead, UW is expected to spend about $207 million . . . which works out, if my calculator is right, to about $394 a minute, around the clock.

Staff and faculty members are enjoying salary increases today, though they don't exactly know how much. Non-union staff salary scales went up by 1 per cent as of May 1, and notification of individual increases can presumably be expected sometime before the end-of-May pay slips arrive. Faculty salary adjustments are also due May 1 each year, but the last I heard, negotiations between management and the faculty association were still in progress.

Other events as the term gets going

The Graduate Student Association will hold information days today and tomorrow, says GSA president Bill Bishop: "Graduate students (new and old) may drop by the Graduate House anytime on these days to pickup information pamphlets on campus services and regional services. We have attempted to compile a wide range of valuable information. Our staff will also be available to answer any questions new graduate students may have about graduate student life. We will also be giving away pizza coupons to new graduate students for a $1 discount on a slice of pizza. Wednesday is Meet the Exec Day. Graduate students will have an opportunity to meet their student leaders and ask any questions they may have about life at UW. Free snacks and soft drinks will be provided from 1:00 to 3:00. New graduate students who attend one of the Info Days may redeem their pizza coupons on Thursday between noon and 2:00 during our Welcome Week Pizza Day. Coupons may be redeemed for a $1 slice of pizza. Friday is our Welcome Week Party. Starting at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, all GSA members are invited to rock 'n' roll the night away at the Graduate House. The night will feature live entertainment by The Panty Daddys."

The conference season is under way at Ron Eydt Village, and today brings the arrival of some dozens of chemists interested in extraction technology. First comes a two-day conference, ExTech, and then a short course on the more specialized topic of solid phase microextraction. Heather Lord in UW's chemistry department notes that ExTech was also offered at UW last year, but after 2000 it's going travelling: to Barcelona in 2001, Paris in 2002, Florida in 2003 and Belgium in 2004. The SPME course that follows the conference "is full to overflowing", Lord adds, although UW has offered it several times before. "There is particular interest this time as people are coming for the symposium anyway." She notes that SPME is a new method for chemical analysis, developed a decade ago by UW's Janusz Pawliszyn and "now used worldwide, for a variety of applications. It is marketed by Supelco, who will have a booth in the corporate exhibition in the Davis Centre lounge on Wednesday."

The executive committee of UW's senate will meet at 3:30 today in Needles Hall room 3004, to set the agenda for the senate meeting itself (May 15). Agenda items include a discussion of whether and how to revive the senate long-range planning committee, which has not been meeting since before the Fifth Decade planning process that began in 1994.

The physics department presents a seminar at 3:30 p.m. (Physics room 308) by James Polson of McGill University, who will speak on "Simulation of Tracer Diffusion in Lipid-Sterol Bilayers".

The key control office will be open over the lunch hour Monday to Friday this week and next, to help with the usual beginning-of-term demand for keys. After May 12 it's back to regular hours, 8:30 to noon and 1:00 to 4:30.

It's a whole new post-secondary world

Students will have more choices -- and, perhaps, a more rapidly changing set of choices -- as the provincial government says it will allow private universities in Ontario and will let community colleges apply to grant degrees in some fields.

  • Background paper, March 2000
  • Profs' group: 'Decoys instead of dollars'
  • The announcement came in a "consultation paper" Friday from the minister of training, colleges and universities, Dianne Cunningham. It looks as though the consultation will be about details, as the principles are definite. They'll lead to "an exciting new range of top-quality education opportunities", Cunningham said.

    An Ontario government news release summarizes the "consultation paper", entitled "Increasing Degree Opportunities for Ontarians". Said Cunningham: "By increasing the range of options in Ontario, we are promoting excellence from our degree-granting institutions and making Ontario's education system the envy of the world. This transformation will give students more opportunities for a top-quality education and ensure the postsecondary system will provide them with innovative and flexible choices."

    She continued: "Ontario's prosperity and the future prosperity of our students depends on them having access to high-quality and relevant education and training programs where and when they need them. This ground-breaking announcement today will stimulate our postsecondary system to keep pace with the changing needs of our students and the world."

    Some examples of what can be expected:

    The government said a Quality Assessment Board will assess new degree programs offered by Ontario colleges, out-of-province institutions, and new institutions located in Ontario.

    Cunningham and her parliamentary assistant, Tina Molinari, will also be holding stakeholder consultations across the province on the implementation of the exciting new changes. "We are committed to finding better ways of delivering high-quality, postsecondary education that meets the needs of Ontario students, and we want to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide their best advice on how these new initiatives can serve Ontario's students," said Molinari.

    It will be interesting to see whether there's any new funding for the public university system in the provincial budget to be brought down tomorrow by treasurer Ernie Eves.

    Staff forum set for next week

    Details have been announced for the forum next week in which the two candidates for president of UW's staff association will give their views and answer questions. And I blush to disclose that I have been asked to moderate the noon-hour session.

    Here's the announcement, from staff association president Paul McKone:

    The Executive Committee of the University of Waterloo Staff Association invite all staff to attend a forum to meet, hear, and ask questions of your two candidates for the position of President-elect with the incoming executive committee.

    The forum will take place on Wednesday, May 10, between noon and 1:00 p.m., in the Davis Centre, room 1302. Your moderator for the event will be Chris Redmond, director of internal communications, Information and Public Affairs.

    It's the first time that I can recall that there has been an election for the position; as such, it's an excellent opportunity for staff to set future directions for the Association. One of the issues certain to be discussed are the pros and cons of union certification for the UWSA. I'm sure that all will agree that this is not a subject to be approached or dismissed lightly, and best decided by a informed, full complement of voters.

    It promises to be a interesting, lively hour, so join us, ask questions, give it some thought and, when your ballots arrive, vote!

    Computing courses are scheduled

    The information systems and technology department (IST) is offering several computing courses in May to UW faculty, staff and students. There is no charge for these courses. Here's what's on offer: The following courses are part of the Skills for the Academic e-Workplace, and are intended for faculty, grad students, and staff with instructional responsibilities: Full information and a course registration form can be found on the web.


    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
    Copyright © 2000 University of Waterloo