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Tuesday, June 26, 2001

  • CECS Building groundbreaking today
  • Pension and benefits committee meets
  • UW athletes make the grade
  • Notes for a Tuesday

Smog advisory issued for Waterloo Region

CECS Building groundbreaking today

A groundbreaking ceremony for the $10-million Co-operative Education and Career Services building will take place this afternoon at 1:30. Though the work has already begun in earnest, university officials, students, and members of the local business community will officially commemorate the construction project by digging in their shovels.

The new centre is being constructed near South Campus Hall and will comprise 5,200 square metres. It will enable Co-operative Education and Career Services to move out of cramped quarters at Needles Hall. The project is scheduled to be ready by September 2002.

The CECS building is one of four projects approved at UW by the Ontario government's SuperBuild program. Provincial funding is to be matched by contributions from the university, students and private donors.

Pension and benefits committee meets

Nobody ever accused the members of UW's pension and benefits committee of not talking enough, and they've got another five hours of it scheduled today. The committee will meet from 8:30 to 1:30 in Needles Hall room 3004.

Half-day meetings, and longer, are traditional for the P&B committee, which struggles with the detail issues surrounding UW's extended health plan, dental plan, and pension fund, as well as more minor employee benefits. Today's meeting will centre on the annual "valuation presentation" of the pension fund -- the companies that manage the investments are reporting on how much they were worth at year's end.

The figures for 2001 aren't public yet. At January 1, 2000, the market value of the pension fund, also as of January 1, was $692.1 million, and the more conservative "actuarial value" was $644.8 million. The committee will hear how this year's value compares with the liabilities of the fund, and will approve an annual cost-of-living increase for pensioners. Unlike many pension plans, UW's plan includes a guaranteed increase that matches the inflation rate up to 5 per cent annually.

If there's time left on the agenda after scheduled items of business like that, the committee will likely continue the "benefits review" discussion that has been going on for some months now. The last time it spent time on that project, at a meeting in early May, the committee talked about the possibility of establishing a "model" that would be a long-term guideline for how much UW spends on its health and dental plans.

[At the bus shelter]
This photo won an award for UW Graphics photographer Chris Hughes from the University Photographers Association of America this year. Titled "Fall Day", it was given the FujiFilm Professional New Approach Award, intended "to encourage photographers to gauge new trends as they surface and gain popularity and make photographs that will appeal to an ever more style conscious society". Two other people from the graphics department received UPAA awards this year: Mike Christie, second place in the "photo features" category for a series of pictures of engineering orientation, and Sherri Bowen, second place in "personal vision" for a haunting black-and-white of two little girls in overalls.

In the fall of 2000 a series of open meetings brought benefits cost issues into campus-wide discussion. At that time, staff and faculty were told that the bill for the health and dental plans had been rising sharply and was now almost $7 million a year.

"From an institutional point of view," says the minutes of the committee's early May meeting, "it is essential to have a mechanism to protect the budget from any one part overcoming it."

The pension and benefits committee is chaired by Catharine Scott, associate provost (human resources and student services). It includes senior administrators, people from the human resources department, board of governors members, and representatives from the faculty association, the staff association, Canadian Union of Public Employees local 793, and the retirees association.

UW athletes make the grade

UW varsity athletes are academic achievers as well, with 143 of a total of 550 student athletes named as CIAU (Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union) Academic All-Canadians for the 2000-2001 school year.

To qualify as an Academic All-Canadian, athletes must achieve an overall school average of 80 per cent or higher while competing on a varsity team.

"There is exceptional academic and athletic talent here at the UW," said athletic director Judy McCrae. "We are very proud of the accomplishments of our student athletes and their willingness to contribute to the campus. We take pride that our athletes are excelling in the classroom as well as in their sport."

UW, although not the largest CIAU or OUA program, is 6th overall across the country in the number of Academic All-Canadians. Some 26 per cent of varsity athletes at Waterloo are Academic All-Canadians, ranking UW in the top five in Canada. The numbers are up from the previous two years of 124 and 125 Academic All-Canadians at UW.

The faculty numbers break down as follows: applied health sciences, 44; arts, 16; engineering, 39; science: 23; math, 14; environmental studies, 7.

Notes for a Tuesday

Co-operative education and career services is having a busy day in addition to today's groundbreaking ceremony. Job posting #1 expires at 8 p.m., and there are two career development workshops taking place this morning:

The Volunteer Action Centre has the following opportunities available:

And finally, in commemoration of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the UW Amnesty International group will be presenting "an information session on human rights abuses concerning the Falun Gong in China" this evening, followed by a presentation of the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The event starts at 7 p.m. in MC 2066.

Avvey Peters

[UW logo] 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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