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Tuesday, May 1, 2001

  • What's new on the first day of May
  • After the Toronto school strike
  • Computing courses offered in May
  • Just a few other notes today

[Six shovels in a row]
Earth movers: The dirt flew yesterday, as VIPs took turns with spades marking the site where the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology will soon rise. David Mitchell of Shore Tilbe Irwin architects, far right, supervises as UW president David Johnston (third from left), political leaders and architect Stephen Teeple pose as skilled labour. Johnston said the new building "will reinforce some of Waterloo's strengths and concentrate more expertise in these areas of study than anywhere else in the country. It will build a bridge, figuratively speaking, over the mathematics, engineering, science and environmental studies faculties, and several other key departments across campus. This will allow an opportunity to put these disciplines together."

What's new on the first day of May

The spring term begins this magnificent morning -- new classes, new routines, new ambitions and new vistas, all under the kind of blue summer sky that makes spring term almost everybody's favourite time of year. New paperwork too, of course, as Needles Hall is crowded this morning with students collecting OSAP loan documents or getting new schedules.

Much of what's being done today is being done for the last time. By September, the new Student Information System will be in much fuller operation -- it's already being used for fall admissions -- and some things that demand paper now will happen on-line instead. It can't come a moment too soon.

Co-op students begin return-to-campus interviews today, also in Needles Hall -- check the bulletin boards for details. And it won't be many weeks before, believe it or not, fall term jobs are being posted in preparation for interviews.

With the beginning of a new term, most food services outlets are open again today, apart from the three that take the whole summer off: the Ron Eydt Village cafeteria, Tim Horton's in the Optometry building, and the Festival Fare cafeteria in South Campus Hall.

And the library resumes regular hours. For the spring term, the Dana Porter Library will be open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Davis Centre library will open at the same time each day but stay open an hour later at night. (A full schedule of library services and hours is available on the web.)

May 1 is also the beginning of UW's new fiscal year, and the date when salary increases go into effect for most faculty and staff. For faculty, there's a 2.65 per cent scale increase, plus "progress through the ranks" individual increases. For non-union staff, the job rates are raised by 2.65 per cent, and in addition there are individual merit increases. Unionized staff, members of Canadian Union of Public Employees local 793, are getting a 1 per cent increase, as the third year of a three-year collective agreement begins.

Bob Harding, chief executive of Brascan Ltd., becomes chair of the UW board of governors as of today. Elected to that post last fall by the board, he has been serving as vice-chairman. As chair, he succeeds Guelph business executive Paul Mitchell. And it was mentioned at the board's meeting early in April that Harding has also agreed to take an honorary leadership post for the coming Fiftieth Anniversary Fund campaign.

And as of today, Yaacov Iland becomes president of the Federation of Students, succeeding Chris Farley.

After the Toronto school strike

Director of admissions

Registrar Ken Lavigne announced yesterday that Peter Burroughs, who has been filling in as director of admissions for the past four years, has been named to the job on an ongoing basis. "Please join me in congratulating Peter," Lavigne said in a memo. "He is providing excellent leadership within the office and the Faculties and has distinguished himself provincially through his work with the Ontario Universities Council on Admissions."
UW's admissions office issued a statement yesterday aimed at reassuring would-be students whose marks and other documents have been held up by the school strike in Toronto and other high school disruptions.

The statement is "in line with policy established in similar situations in the past by the Council of Ontario Universities", said admissions director Peter Burroughs.

Here's the statement:

The University of Waterloo recognizes that the current disruption of services may present serious difficulties with respect to the admissions process -- however, all reasonable action will be taken to minimize any disadvantage to affected students. For example, in the event that some Ontario secondary schools may be unable to meet established grade submission deadlines, selection procedures will be based on whatever marks and other academic information are submitted. In the absence of full information, the University of Waterloo will consider applicants for admission on an individual basis.

With regard to the effects of school closures on the academic progress of students, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, the school boards and the schools to ensure that students complete a regular program of academic work in accordance with the standards specified by the Ministry of Education. Where service has been disrupted for an extended period, the University of Waterloo expects that the schools and students will make every effort to rectify any academic deficiencies that may result. Otherwise, students may be inadequately prepared, particularly in subjects which are specific prerequisites for university courses. The universities also expect the appropriate authorities to certify that the requirements for the OSSD have been satisfactorily met.

The Toronto disruption, a month-long strike by school support workers employed by the Toronto District School Board, ended yesterday after the Ontario government passed back-to-work legislation. Burroughs said 20 to 25 per cent of all UW's first-year applicants come from high schools in that one district.

Similar difficulties have happened elsewhere in Ontario this spring, including a strike in the Roman Catholic school system in Windsor, and the same principles apply there, Burroughs added.

Computing courses offered in May

The information systems and technology department (IST) is offering computing courses in May to UW faculty, staff and students. The following courses are being offered this month: The following courses are part of the Skills for the Academic e-Workplace program, and are offered to faculty, grad students, and staff with instructional responsibilities: Information about the courses, and a registration form, can be found on the web. New courses will be taught every month, and advertised at the same Web location.

Just a few other notes today

The Institute for Computer Research presents a talk today on "Large-Scale Discrete Optimization in Airline Scheduling", by George Nemhauser of Georgia Tech. He'll speak at 3:00 in Davis Centre room 1302.

Last month in Seattle, the CHI (Computer-Human Interaction) conference included sessions that touched on the variety of human experience with computing, from web usability to mobile computing. Tonight the Southwestern Ontario chapter of the Society for Technical Communication welcomes Deb Maskens, vice-president for interaction design at Quarry Integrated Communications, sharing highlights of the conference. The meeting starts at 7:00 this evening in Davis Centre room 1302. Everyone is welcome and admission is free.

Some 20 members of Canada's junior national field hockey team arrive in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre today and will stay through Sunday. The team is coached by Sharon Creelman of UW's athletics department.

Dave Mason of the Student Information Systems Project reminds people who already use the new computerized system that "The SISP production computing environment will not be available from midnight on Tuesday, May 1, until approximately noon on Wednesday, May 2. We are undertaking some technical activities in preparation for the next major cutover in June. Users of the PeopleSoft Student Administration System and the Cognos queries (WINQ) will not be able to access the system during this period."

Scheduled for tomorrow: a surplus sale at central stores, from 11:30 to 1:30 at East Campus Hall; a seminar on "Primary Prevention of Environmental Cancer" at 12:30 in Matthews Hall room 3119.

As a nominating committee for the position of dean of environmental studies is formed, one of the staff representatives is to be chosen by the UW staff association. The association's nominating committee is inviting applications for that seat, with a deadline of April 9. Paul McKone in engineering computing, e-mail pdmckone@engmail, can provide more information.

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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