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Tuesday, March 4, 2003

  • 'Incredible interest' in informatics
  • Profs' average salary past $90,000
  • Computer store, graphics trade space
  • Happening in the winter gloom
Chris Redmond

It's National Engineering Week

[At microphone]

Dominic Covvey at the launch of his research chair in November.

Students pleased by council vote

Federation of Students leaders said they were pleased last night after Waterloo city council voted 3-2 not to impose a one-year "moratorium" on new licences for lodging-houses -- a major form of off-campus student housing. "Tonight's decision is a victory for students," said Chris Edey, government affairs commissioner and president-elect of the Feds.

Of interest on the web

  • Federation of Students issues 'chronology' of talks on closed pubs
  • 'Numbers game' that admissions officers play (Star)
  • High tuition fees no barrier to law school, study says
  • Refugees now eligible for student loans (Varsity)
  • Québec universities claim funding shortfall
  • Late-night hours for Scoops snacks may resume (Imprint)
  • Accreditation for US 'virtual' institution
  • Steves who don't doubt evolution
  • Academic freedom conference at Simon Fraser U
  • 'Incredible interest' in informatics

    Dominic Covvey, who last year became "Agfa chair in health informatics" at UW, has called two meetings later this month to bring together researchers from across campus, with an eye to starting "a university-wide initiative" in the field.

    Better use of information -- from patient records to real-time monitoring of the body -- has been a common theme in recent studies of the Canadian health system, says Covvey. "Waterloo, with its excellent reputation for basic and applied research in information technology in many areas, seemed well positioned to make a difference in this key area."

    So he has talked to faculty members across UW -- about 100 of them -- about their interest in health informatics. "The results have been incredible," he says. "We are probably all familiar with the outstanding research in health informatics in applied health sciences by John Hirdes and Jose Arocha, work in the school of computer science with Chrysanne DiMarco, and the advances that have emerged from systems design engineering, but interest in health informatics across the university is much broader. There are interested faculty from all six faculties and a large percentage of the departments on campus."

    Health Informatics, Covvey notes, is the discipline dedicated to addressing information-related problems in the health system. It researches matters like the nature of health information, its structure and management, and technologies that facilitate its efficient use.

    He says he was able to locate so many individuals because of "the comprehensive list of health researchers developed by the office of research, and the guidance of UW deans and department heads".

    Says Covvey: "The breadth and depth of relevant research is amazing. Almost no discipline is exempt." He suggests that there is "an excellent opportunity" to start a university-wide initiative in health informatics, and says the target should be an Institute of Advanced Health Informatics, "because the ideas of contributing faculty emphasize the importance of building an institute on the basic disciplines that are UW's strengths. There is complete consensus that such a project could provide real value to the university, its researchers, and the health system."

    A first meeting will be March 14 (Friday of next week) and a second one March 18, both at 9 a.m. in Davis Centre room 1302. Based on these meetings, he says, he expects to "bring together a core group of individuals to define a further initiative in health informatics" at a third meeting on March 26).

    He has directly invited the researchers he interviewed, but adds that anyone in the UW community interested in health informatics is welcome to attend. For more information, Covvey can be reached at ext. 5996, e-mail dcovvey@uwaterloo.ca.

    Profs' average salary past $90,000

    The average salary of UW's full-time faculty members this year is $92,650, according to a chart prepared as background for work on the annual budget.

    The number is based on the 2002-03 salaries of 563 tenured professors, 161 on probationary terms, and 49 on definite-term appointments -- a total of 773.

    The average salary is up by 4.1 per cent from last year's figure of $89,020. (Faculty members received a 2.6 per cent scale increase on May 1, 2002, plus "progress through the ranks" increases and a special "excellence award" valued at 0.4 per cent.)

    Professors in math are paid the highest, on average: $96,990. Environmental studies comes in second, at $92,680. The average is lowest in science, at $90,230.

    Computer store, graphics trade space

    The computer store will move into the Student Life Centre, and major changes are planned to UW's central photography service. Those are among plans announced yesterday in a joint memo by the directors of graphic services and retail services.

    Linda Norton of graphics and May Yan of retail said the changes were happening "in an effort to streamline our operations and provide better overall service to the university community". They'll be coming gradually over the next several months.

    The computer store -- currently on the second floor of the Math and Computer building -- will move to space on the lower level of the Student Life Centre that's currently occupied by the Pixel Pub graphics outlet. That's next door to the SLC branch of Techworx. The computer store and Techworx "will merge their operations into one unit", the directors' memo said: "The benefits to the campus will be enhanced computer product offerings and better customer service."

    The memo adds that "It will be business as usual with minimal disruption of service at the Computer Store for the next three months until renovations are completed in the Student Life Centre. Temporary disruption of service is expected at Techworx SLC in April 2003. We will inform the campus of final moving dates in the next few months."

    Meanwhile, the operations of the Pixel Pub will move to the computer store's space in Math and Computer, where they will be joined by the Mathematics copy centre, currently three floors higher on the fifth level of MC. "After renovations are complete," said the memo, "the remainder of the space will be turned over to other uses by the University. Pixel Pub will continue to offer its existing services when it is relocated to its new space. . . . The benefits to the campus will be better customer service and increased service offerings with the amalgamation of the Math Copy Centre services with Pixel Pub services."

    A third change doesn't affect storefront locations: "As of May 1, 2003, the Photo Imaging department of Graphics will be reorganizing the way that it provides photographic services to the University. Photographic services will be restricted to studio-based photography (portraiture and product)."

    Coverage of events will be limited to a few major university events. "For coverage of other events (banquets, award ceremonies, etc.), Graphics Photo Imaging will hire freelance photographers on behalf of the requesting department, or direct customer requests to our sources.

    "In the upcoming months Graphics will be reviewing some of the other Photo Imaging services. We will keep you posted on further developments."

    Fat day before Lent begins

    Today is Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Tuesday, the last day before the Christian season of Lent. Since it's customary to eat pancakes on this day, that's what'll be on the menu at Ground Zero restaurant in the Student Life Centre today, and perhaps elsewhere on campus as well. (Later this week, Ground Zero is offering Lenten seafood with a Mardi Gras flavour: Creole crab cakes tomorrow, Jambalaya Thursday, Cajun catfish on Friday.)

    Ash Wednesday tomorrow will be marked at St. Jerome's University (Roman Catholic services at 12:00, 5:00 and 7:00) and Renison College (Anglican services at 12:00 and 7:00).

    Happening in the winter gloom

    The president of the World Association for Cooperative Education is at UW today, and will take part in a symposium about co-op involving some 30 people from across campus. The visitor is Olaf Blomqvist, former president of Sweden's University of Trollhättan/Uddevalla and now director of an institute there for research about co-op. His host at Waterloo: James Downey, also former president, who's now director of the Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Cooperative Education. Downey said some key people in the co-op business from the Detroit area are also making a trip to Waterloo for today's symposium, which will touch on key issues such as academic credit for co-op work -- and, of course, funding.

    You can find out about everything from mah-jongg to the West Kowloon Reclamation Concept Competition Project in the Student Life Centre today. It's the second day of a "Hong Kong Expo" sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and brought to campus by the Chinese Students Association. The show continues through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

    Tours of the new Co-op Education and Career Services building will be offered at 12:00 and 12:30 today (meet in the main lobby). . . . The career services workshop series today presents "Selling Your Skills" (registration is online). . . . Russell Smith, author of two novels and widely published journalist, will read from his work today at 1:00 in the common room, St. Jerome's University. . . .

    Get a good rest tonight, for here are some of the things happening on campus tomorrow: Drop-in nutrition display in the engineering coffee-and-doughnut stand in Carl Pollock Hall, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. . . . "Iraq and Hope: Stories, Photos and Reflections" by Matthew Bailey-Dick, 12 noon in the Conrad Grebel University College great hall. . . . Noon-hour concert (Grebel chapel) by saxophonist Daniel Rubinoff and pianist Gloria Saarinen. . . . Income tax seminar for international students, 2 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001. . . .

    And more: Staff "orientation" session, 3 p.m., South Campus Hall (registrations, ext. 2078). . . . Visitation by the Ontario Smart Growth Panel, 3:00 to 8:30 p.m., CECS building. . . . Open house at the contact lens clinic in the school of optometry, 4 to 8 p.m. . . .

    And just off campus tomorrow night: "Can Science Journalism Be Entertaining and Responsible?" panel discussion, sponsored by the Perimeter Institute, 7 p.m., Waterloo Recreation Complex.


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