Tuesday, May 14, 2002
It's called voice recognition technology -- a new feature in the UW phone system that lets you find the person you want even if you don't know the number. Judie Lankowski of information systems and technology explains:
"In the winter of 2002 UW acquired a voice recognition system to reduce heavy call demands on our telephony infrastructure and allow students, faculty and staff access to a current telephone directory 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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"Our next step is to give the campus access to the Liaison system. Effective immediately, faculty, staff and students can call ext. 7777. You will hear a recording asking what party you wish to contact. Simply speak the name and you will be connected to your party.
"If more than one person on campus has the same name, Liaison will ask the caller which individual you are calling, e.g. 'Do you wish to talk to John Smith in Biology?' If the caller replies 'No', the system will ask, 'Do you wish to talk to John Smith in Food Services?' and will continue until the caller replies 'Yes.'
"During regular business hours, if Liaison cannot identify your party, you will be transferred to a Telephone Services operator."
It's just an on-campus service for now, but Lankowski says that plans are to have it available this summer for people calling UW's switchboard from outside the university.
Should you have difficulty using the system, she says, "please report any problems." Lankowski can be reached at ext. 6448 or email@example.com. "Some names may be problematic; IST will be glad to adjust Liaison with your assistance."
Scene from 1977: Alfred Kunz, UW's director of music, leads a parade to drum up enthusiasm for his ensembles.
Guests of honour this year are the dozens of staff and faculty members who started work at UW in 1977 and thus are reaching their silver anniversary. The list includes the dean of engineering, the director of Campaign Waterloo, the director of admissions, and others well known across campus, as well as people whose 25 years of service have been without so much fanfare -- librarians, clerks, professors, a sergeant of police, technicians, a housekeeper, and on and on.
They can remember 1977, the year they started work at UW, as a time of much earnest talk about finances, and teaching, and the need for new academic space -- a lot like 2002, in fact.
Also to be honoured tonight are dozens of staff and faculty who joined the 25-Year Club in 1992 and thus are marking their 35th year at UW, including both the dean of arts and his secretary.
They'll all be joined at this evening's event by hundreds of other 25-Year Club members, current and retired. Previous years' members pay a fee for tickets to the buffet supper and evening of reminiscence, while the newcomers to the group are invited at no charge. The party starts at 6:00.
And while some of the talk will be about the seafood, the salads and the ice sculptures rolled out by food services for the occasion, much of it will be about the good old days. Ah yes, 1977: when Pierre Trudeau was enjoying his second majority government, Jimmy Carter became president of the United States, the library put bar codes on a million books for the first time, a "teaching resource" office was created, and UW stopped growing.
Until that year, the university had gotten bigger every year since its creation, but by October, as enrolment figures trickled in, it was clear that there had been a drop of some 2 per cent in the number of students, not just at Waterloo but across Ontario. Budget retrenchment naturally followed, and a hiring freeze (but, the president promised, no layoffs). Of course the drop wasn't permanent, as students soon started returning to the universities in droves, but 1977 created the "declining enrolment" myth that's been part of the universities' public image right up to the double cohort crisis. And it all started 25 years ago.
Would you like
help [career services asks] with your resumé or cover
letter? Simply drop by Career Services, located in Needles Hall room 1115,
or call 888-4047, and staff can set up an individual appointment for you.
If you would like assistance with a job search or employer research, come by Career Services and staff can show you resources to send you in the right direction. Or, if you prefer, sign up on the Career Services bulletin board (by the elevator on the main floor of NH) for one of the many workshops offered each term.
International students can attend a special career development workshop today, at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 1020. This session will provide information for non-Canadian students who wish to work in Canada for up to a year following their graduation from UW.
Career Services has long been hindered by the misconception that it is only available to co-op students. In fact, Career Services is available to all undergraduate and graduate students and even university alumni. Students may also be surprised to learn that they help fund Career Services through the Student Services fee they pay each term.
Next week, the cart will make its debut on campus. Locations have not yet been announced but it will hard to miss that bright yellow cart. Copies of Career Services' award-winning Career Development Manual will be on hand, as well as brochures detailing the many workshops offered by Career Services each term. The goal is to visit all faculties by summer's end. All students are encouraged to visit the cart and see what Career Services has to offer.
Meanwhile, a session on "Sick Leave and Return to Work" is also running at noontime today, the first event in the continuing "Know Your Workplace" series planned by the human resources department. Today's session, starting at 12 noon in Davis Centre room 1302, will be repeated tomorrow at 9 a.m., same location. Sign-up is through the human resources web site.
Postings for fall work term jobs continue, for students who are about to go through the co-op placement process. For students in most programs, posting #3 goes up today; there will also be posting #1 for students in the teaching option. And for students in architecture, today's the day to pick up the "master copy co-op record" in Needles Hall, in preparation for the marathon.
Senate undergraduate council will meet at 1:30 today in Needles Hall room 3004, with an inch-thick agenda, including the planned mechatronics program, academic credit for co-op work terms, the Bachelor of Computer Science degree, major changes to the physics course requirements, reorganization of the environmental engineering degree, an honours degree in speech communication, the principles of service teaching, . . .
About 50 people are arriving at the conference centre today for a meeting sponsored by the Canadian Society for Chemistry, today and tomorrow.
Reminder: the Federation of Students will hold a general meeting on Thursday, May 16, at 4:30 p.m. in the great hall of the Student Life Centre.
Beets, beans, peppermint, spinach, onions, tomato, radishes and lettuce -- not any part of today's menu, but a partial list of seeds and seedlings that will be available on Thursday at Garden Start, from noon to 5:30 in the Student Life Centre. "Thanks to donations we are offering flowers as well as vegetable seeds for this year's gardeners," writes the organizer, Jason Rochon of the UW computer store. "Get an early start with some of our seedlings. There's no charge for anything. Participants are encouraged to bring in extra seeds or plants of their own but it's not necessary. We're not limited to plants. Old gardening magazines, spare peat pots, extra mulch, etc. are all welcome. Please do not bring manure as we are indoors."
Finally, here's a note from Ann Barrett, manager of the writing clinic:
Want to gain more confidence writing academic essays? The UW Writing Clinic and Counselling Services are co-sponsoring a two-part essay writing workshop designed for students in the humanities. The first part of the workshop will cover issues like assessing an assignment, designing an effective thesis, writing the introduction, and providing persuasive evidence. The second part will deal with solving common stylistic and grammatical problems. The workshops will be held on Wednesday, May 22, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Thursday, June 13, 9:30-11:30 a.m., and Thursday, July 4, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Call Counselling Services at ext. 2655 to register.
TODAY IN UW HISTORYMay 14, 1996: The Ontario Labour Relations Board announces that a proposal for unionization of UW faculty has been defeated, by 361 votes to 287.