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Wednesday, April 25, 2001

  • Grants support teaching and learning projects
  • This week's staff positions
  • Pixels in the big picture

Campaign director: Linda Kieswetter, director of individual giving in UW's development and alumni affairs office, has been named to the new position of "campaign director" for the coming multi-million-dollar UW fund-raising campaign. "We are very fortunate," said a memo yesterday from Laura Talbot-Allan, vice-president (university relations), "to be able to call upon Linda's valuable fund development experience, management and team skills, and devotion to UW, her alma mater."

Grants support teaching and learning projects

A group of professors in the engineering faculty are taking first steps toward creating a "virtual lab" for the study of process control systems with the help of a teaching assistantship funded by the Learning Technology Innovation (or LTI) grants program in UW's LT3 learning centre.

"The virtual lab will allow students to study and solve process control problems by interacting with software-based simulations, rather than directly with hardware-based systems," John Thompson of LT3 explains. The faculty members most actively involved at present are Hector Budman of chemical engineering, Farid Golnaraghi of mechanical engineering, and Bill Wilson of electrical and computer engineering.

"We would not be able to do this otherwise," Budman says about the grant. "We do not have a budget, and I would not be able to get a TA to do this."

LT3 has offered LTI grants since 1999. Among past recipients are Alan Werker of civil engineering and Robert Mann of physics, and in addition to the process control project, LT3 funded four other projects that started during the winter 2001 term.

Two graduate students in Germanic and Slavic studies (Jane Buckingham and Nathan Saliwonchyk) have been creating an online version of Business Russian for use in distance education. The faculty involved are Ireneusz Szarycz and David John. The LTI grant has been "a big, big help" to the department, Szarycz says. It has allowed them to provide graduate students with both money and practical experience. The grant has also "opened the door" for other learning technology projects, he said. In future endeavours, the department may develop online courses in Croatian, German, and Polish.

In computer science, an LTI grant is supporting the efforts of Vivian Rossner-Merrill and course instructor Jack Rehder (with matching funds from the CS budget) to redesign CS 130 so as to improve the ability of students to transfer knowledge across related domains.

LT3 gave an LTI grant to Ranjini Sivakumar and Ken Vetzal of the school of accountancy to develop learnware on portfolio theory from prototype to usable software. And Roger Suffling of the school of planning has a grant to help bring a prototype on landscape ecology forward to the stage of being "operational learnware", says Thompson.

Two more LTI grants were approved for startup in the spring 2001 term, he added. These grants will support explorations into the use of MathCAD to improve algebra instruction. The faculty involved are Keith Hipel of systems design engineering, and Francis Tang and Ross Willard of pure math. Colin Campbell, an academic computing specialist in IST, will also be actively involved.

Graduate students employed with LTI grants are expected to take part in the Grad Huddle meetings held by LT3, Thompson said. "These meetings bring the students from diverse disciplines together to compare notes, provide practical support, and discuss some of the common pedagogical issues involved in these projects. The meetings are facilitated by Tracy Light, LT3's teaching fellow."

LTI grants are awarded on an ongoing "as received" basis, he said. Faculty members interested in knowing more can call him at ext. 6652 or e-mail LT3 at centre@lt3.

This week's staff positions

There's no Gazette issue this week (the Gazette will be back as of May 2, when the new term is under way). So here is a summary of the weekly Positions Available list issued by the human resources department.

"University Policy 18," says HR, "provides maximum opportunity for promotion of regular, internal staff members. Those interested in applying for an available position are invited to call Human Resources at ext. 2524 for more information or are welcome to visit during regular working hours to view a detailed job description. Human Resources is located in the General Services Complex, Room 130. A current resume is required with your application.

"Due to the number of applications received, we regret that we can not respond to external applicants who apply to the vacancies listed below unless an interview is scheduled.

"If there are no qualified internal applications, a decision may be made, no earlier than seven working days from the job posting, to seek external candidates. All applications received after this decision will be treated on an equal basis, without consideration of the internal status of the candidate."

Full job descriptions are available on the human resources web site.

And more from HR: "The university welcomes and encourages applications from the designated employment equity groups: visible minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and aboriginal people. For more information call ext. 2524."

Fiscal year-end brings closings

The end of the 2000-01 fiscal year, on April 30, brings drop-everything time for some of UW's departments as they take inventory. In particular:

The bookstore, UW Shop and Techworx in South Campus Hall will be closed Thursday and Friday, reopening Saturday. The computer store and Techworx in the Student Life Centre will be closed Friday, reopening Monday. Departments needing to make purchases from the current year's budget can do so until the close of business on Monday, April 30.

Several copy centres will be closed Friday morning (until 12 noon): Humanities, Engineering II, Math and Computer, the Pixel Pub., and main graphics in the General Services Complex.

Copy centres closed from 12 noon on Monday will be Humanities, Davis Centre, Engineering II, Graphics Express (Dana Porter Library), Math and Computer, and the Pixel Pub. Other graphics outlets will remain open Monday afternoon, but jobs received after noon will not be processed until the next business day.

Pixels in the big picture

The position of supervisor of health services is in the Positions Available list because the person who has held that job for a good many years now, Carole Hea, will be taking early retirement next fall. "These days Carole wears a very broad smile," one of her colleagues tells me. "While the rest of us celebrate her early retirement with her, we wonder what we will do without her."

I don't know what got into me when I said, in Monday's Bulletin, that the first of the staff association's Niagara wine tours was going to be held this Saturday. Wrong month: the event is actually scheduled for May 26, with the second tour coming on the following Saturday, June 2. Sorry 'bout that.

UW's 28th annual French contest for high school students will be held today in the Arts Lecture Hall and Modern Languages building. Contest organizer Pat Aplevich of the French studies department says 57 high schools are registered, from Markham in the east to Windsor in the west. First prize in the contest is a two-week course near Paris, including airfare to France; the prizes will be presented at a banquet on May 17.

Some other events today:

The seminar on "The Rise of the Network as the Basis of Competition", by Dean Hopkins of Cyberplex Inc., that was scheduled for this afternoon, sponsored by the Infranet Project, has been postponed to May 23.

The health services clinic will be closed all day today.

An information and registration meeting for the Weight Watchers at Work program will be held Monday, April 30, at 12 noon in Humanities room 373. More information is available from Susan Baumbach in the registrar's office (sebaumba@admmail).

Here's a memo from the staff relations committee about a sometimes significant detail:

On the recommendation of the Staff Relations Committee, Human Resources has changed the current practice regarding the availability of job descriptions for advertised positions. Previously, job descriptions were deemed to belong to the hiring department and were not made available through Human Resources. The new practice provides for copies of job descriptions to be made available upon request and is as follows:

"Job descriptions for all advertised vacancies are on view in Human Resources for staff members who wish to research the full details of a position. After reading a job description in Human Resources, staff members who indicated their interest will be provided with a personal copy. Job descriptions will only be provided for positions where there is active recruitment."

Also from the direction of HR comes a reminder that the Skills for the Electronic Workplace brochure for May and June is out. "New courses," writes Carolyn Vincent, "include Dreamweaver Advanced Features and Dreamweaver Advanced Site Management." Registration forms, from the brochure, should be sent to Vincent in the HR department, General Services Complex; she's at ext. 2078 for more information.

Here's a reminder that an election is pending for members of a nominating committee for the position of dean of environmental studies. One staff member from within the ES faculty is to be elected to the committee, and two faculty members -- previously the call was for one faculty position, but there will now be two elected slots, says a memo from the university secretariat. Nominations are due by May 11; details are on the secretariat web site.

Kudos was given the other night (yes, "kudos" is singular) to some 59 people who have done yeoman service to the city of Waterloo minor sports program. Glancing over the list, I notice the name of track coach Brent McFarlane and also Steve Breen of UW's information systems and technology department, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if there were other UW people on the honours list.


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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