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It isn't logical! Stephen tells you why not

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Friday, January 19, 2001

  • Casual payroll will stay biweekly
  • In case of injury at work
  • Review of the architecture program
  • A lecture on 'God the slob'
  • Notes for today and the weekend

[Fantastic graphic]
Fantastic for fans: that's the idea of "alumni and staff day" in the main gym tomorrow, as the basketball Warriors play Laurier (women at 12 noon, men at 2 p.m.). Free family tickets are available from the athletics department (phone ext. 5694), and there will be children's activities and prizes. The day is partly sponsored by TLC Laser Eye Centers.

The other main sports event of the weekend is the Waterloo Invitational figure skating tournament, which started bright and early and runs all day today. And several Warrior teams are competing away from home: hockey tonight at Western and Sunday afternoon at Windsor; men's volleyball tonight at Brock; women's volleyball all weekend at the Dalhousie tournament; squash at Ryerson for a crossover tournament; track and field at Windsor for the Can-Am Classic; curling at Brock for the west division sectional; swimming at Guelph this evening; indoor hockey at York for a weekend tournament.

Casual payroll will stay biweekly

The human resources department has cancelled its plan, announced in November, to start running the "casual" payroll only once a month. That payroll, which produces cheques for hundreds of students and other people who work a few hours a week, will continue to be run every two weeks.

A letter from Catharine Scott, associate provost (human resources and student services), announcing the change of heart, is going to departments across campus today.

"We have been working to find ways to streamline our systems and business practices in order to continue to provide our community with the service to which it has become accustomed," says Scott's letter. "Unfortunately, our good intentions do not serve the needs and the interests of our students -- many of whom have let us know about the negative impact of our plans on their financial situations."

Students had complained that a monthly payroll could mean waiting as long as six weeks after working a shift before getting paid for it. Among those who expressed concern about the plan was Shannon Willis, vice-president (administration and finance) of the Federation of Students, who notified Feds employees at the end of November that the change was coming, but added that Federation leaders "will be strongly advocating for keeping a biweekly payroll cycle". Earlier this week, before Scott's announcement, Willis said she was still hoping for a chance to meet with UW administrators.

The Feds hire scores of students on a "casual" basis to work in pubs, stores and other services. There are also large numbers of students in "casual" jobs in the library, the campus recreation program, the Student Life Centre and other departments across campus.

Scott's letter today says the idea of changing to a once-a-month payroll was "a direct result of the dramatic increase in the number of casual earnings payments in the past three years (more than double), the continuing complexities of the payroll system and the account management required for these payments".

Keeping the every-two-weeks schedule is going to pose problems for the HR department, the letter also says. "Our hope is that with the support of the departments who employ these students, we will be able to find a way to pay our students and other casual staff in a timely and efficient manner. It will take some changes and some movement of responsibility to the departments."

She's announcing a meeting for department representatives on February 2 to talk about the procedures used for the casual payroll. "We want to work with you to improve our processes and our service and regret that our initial plans have caused distress among our student population. Our hope is that we can improve our service with your help."

In case of injury at work

There are four steps to follow if somebody's hurt on the job, says a bright poster distributed by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board that should be hanging on bulletin boards across campus by now.

"By law, this poster must be prominently displayed in the workplace," says a memo from UW's safety office. "Suggested locations in your department would be first aid station locations and employee common areas."

According to the WSIB, here are the four steps:

  1. Get first aid immediately, if needed.
  2. Worker: Tell your employer about the injury. Employer: Arrange and pay for transportation to get medical care, if needed.
  3. Employer: Pay worker's wages for day of injury.
  4. Employer: Report injury to WSIB within 3 days if it involves health care treatment, or time away from work, or lost wages.
And there's a further note from the UW safety office, attached to the poster on a green sticker: "Supervisor/Department, Report injury to Safety Office by next business day (UW Policy #34), ext. 3587."

More copies of the WSIB poster are available from the safety office.

Review of the architecture program

UW's school of architecture offers "a high quality program, one of the best in Canada", is the conclusion of an academic program review reported to UW's senate this week.

It's one of the first four programs to be studied under a procedure adopted by UW in 1977, and came out with many strengths despite "serious space shortages", the senate was told.

"The School of Architecture received a full 5-year accreditation from the Canadian Architectural Certification Board as a result of the review process," the report also says. "The School met 53 of 53 criteria regarding fundamental knowledge areas, design, communications, and practice."

The visiting review team -- a mix of academics and architects drawn from as far afield as Halifax, Colorado and Mexico -- found that "the student body is thoughtful, dedicated and articulate", the admissions process is rigorous and several faculty members are involved in "a number of significant research projects of world stature". They also reported that "facilities for digital imaging, digital videos and the design and modeling centre offer extraordinary design opportunities."

Opportunities for improvement:

The Visiting Team noted that the School has "serious space shortages in design studios, offices, instructional, library facilities and support facilities". It also noted that the student/faculty ratios in the design studios are "a serious concern", and that the School needed 3 full-time design faculty. They concluded that some faculty were significantly exceeding recommended weekly contact hours because of faculty shortages.

While some research in the School was recognized as being world class, the Visiting Team also expressed concern about minimal publication output of a number of younger faculty members. . . .

The Visiting Team suggested that the School should strive to achieve better diversity in its faculty regarding "gender, race and physical disabilities".

The Visiting Team also recommended that the School should provide more coverage of non-Western architectural and cultural traditions.

The director of the school and the dean of environmental studies say these issues will be worked on this year, the report says.

"In addition, the School started the process of changing its BArch degree to a MArch. Every other architectural school in Canada has made this change, leaving Waterloo as the only school to offer a Bachelor's rather than a Master's degree in Architecture. . . .

"The Director and Dean have indicated that the School cannot rectify the space and faculty shortages, and deficiencies in support facilities and staff, without new funding."

A lecture on 'God the slob'

When faith collides with popular culture, the image of the faithful often takes a beating. Are Christians capable of creating, or even debating, mainstream art? Kathy Shaidle, poet and award-winning essayist, will tackle that question tonight at St. Jerome's University.

Her talk, "When Worlds Collide: Faith vs. Popular Culture", will deal with the rocky relationship between these two disparate realities. The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Siegfried Hall, free of charge.

"Some people have reacted to our posters," says David Seljak, director of the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience, which is sponsoring Shaidle's visit. He says reaction has come especially to "the images that Shaidle will be commenting on: gay Teletubbies, God the Slob, and dung-splattered Virgins".

Says Seljak: "All three involved recent controversies that pitted Christians against performers in mainstream culture. Naturally, the St. Jerome's Centre is not 'promoting' these images or ideas. We are simply providing a forum in which intelligent Christians can debate how we will react to pop culture."

Says Shaidle herself, a poet, essayist and media columnist: "When Christians protest portrayals of themselves, and their faith, in the media, too often their complaints are based on third- or fourth-hand information, and merely serve to garner more publicity for the object of their disdain. More importantly, they demonstrate a profound naivete about just how media and culture actually work."

Is media bias the only reason Christians so often come across as humourless, hysterical, naive, or parochial? Why are Christian attempts to produce popular culture often so clumsy and sentimental? Shaidle's treatment of such questions "is guaranteed to stimulate debate", says Seljak.

"Kathy Shaidle possesses a marvellous talent for making sublime sense of a world off its rocker," reported the Governor General's Award jury, when her first poetry collection, Lobotomy Magnificat, was shortlisted for the 1998 award. Her series of trenchant, often hilarious columns for the Catholic New Times won four Canadian Church Press awards, including the award for humour in 1995, and were published in 1998 under the title God Rides a Yamaha.

Notes for today and the weekend

The advisory board for health informatics at UW will try again today to hold its first meeting. The board -- consisting of hospital executives and others interested in more efficient management of masses of medical data -- was originally scheduled to meet on December 12, the day UW was closed by a winter storm. Nick Cercone, chair of the computer science department, said it was created to advise on the development of several programs in health informatics, starting with a "professional" certification program. A master's degree and an undergraduate option are somewhere down the road.

The Chinese new year doesn't actually come until next week -- the year of the snake begins January 24 -- but folks are getting into the mood. The Bon Appetit cafeteria in the Davis Centre will offer a Chinese new year lunch: today.

As posting #2 goes up in the co-op department, listing more jobs that will be available during the spring term, co-op students who will be going through interviews this term are advised that they should hand in a résumé package to the drop-off slot in Needles Hall by 8 p.m. today.

Coming tonight to the Humanities Theatre is Rick Rosefield, talking about San Francisco -- not its rolling blackouts, presumably, but its scenic and cultural attractions. The talk, at 8:00 tonight, is part of the Twin Cities Kiwanis Club "travel and adventure series", and single tickets are $6, children $3.50, at the door.

And on Saturday night "the best of the Banff Mountain Film Festival" comes to the Humanities Theatre, starting at 7:00 -- sorry, that's all the information I have about this event, save that the Outers Club strongly recommends it.

Yet another note from Humanities: there are a few tickets left, but not a lot, for the Hagey Lecture to be given next Wednesday night by Michael Ignatieff. Besides the tickets available at the box office, the faculty association and organizing committee members likely still have some tickets, theatre manager Peter Houston adds. "As always," he says, "when these events sell out, we ask people to hand back any extra tickets they have, and these are redistributed to people waiting. If there are still people waiting, and no more spares coming in, at around 8 we check to see if the theatre is full or not. If not, we let everyone in. Many times in the past we have sold out, but I don't remember ever turning people away. Somehow or other, we get them in." "Sold" is a figure of speech, by the way: Hagey Lecture tickets are free.

The campus recreation program's Black Knight Squash Tournament -- "A Knight to Remember" -- will be held this weekend, with round-robin play all day tomorrow and the finals Sunday in the Physical Activities Complex squash courts. Entries were collected earlier this week.

And finally . . . it looks as though things are back to normal in a crucial part of the campus computer network. Starting Wednesday, "problems occurred with UWdir, which also affected the Student Access system," says Pat Lafranier of the client services division in information systems and technology. "You may have experienced bounced e-mails." Mail addressed to me (for example) at "credmond@uwaterloo.ca" would have bounced back to the sender, because UWdir wasn't finding the right address to deliver it to. "I believe we have found the problem," IST security technologist Reg Quinton said late yesterday, "and we've put up enough fail-safe mechanisms to detect the problem should it recur."


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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Copyright © 2001 University of Waterloo