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Monday, April 12, 2004

  • Province confirms freeze, 'compensation'
  • UW needs efficiency study, board told
  • Stop-smoking prizes presented
  • Notes as exam season continues
Chris Redmond

Easter Monday a holiday? | Wet traditions

  • Ontario compensation to universities for fee freeze (Post)
  • Province paying for freeze (Star)
  • Student group calls UW tuition fee motion 'grandstanding'
  • UW researcher reports gene affects cancer in mice
  • Reform at Peking University
  • New funding through NSERC for math and science education research
  • Research Capacity Development for small universities (NSERC)
  • Warrior runner profiled by her home-town paper
  • Aboriginal health elective at McMaster medical school
  • U of Guelph joins effort to get new public health agency
  • Province confirms freeze, 'compensation'

    The Ontario government told the universities Thursday that it's serious about its tuition fee freeze, and that a lump sum will be available this year to replace some of what the institutions will lose from their budgets by not being able to boost fees.

    A quick calculation suggests that UW's share will be very close to the amount estimated in the provost's draft budget. He had pencilled in $3.1 million, in place of $7.9 million that might have come if the government had allowed tuition fee increases at the usual rates.

    [Chambers mug shot] Waterloo will get a share of $41.7 million in "compensation" funds being provided to universities by the province, says Bob Truman, UW's director of institutional analysis and planning. While the formula for dividing the money isn't known yet, Waterloo makes up about 7 per cent of the Ontario university system, so a grant of about $2.9 million is a fair guess.

    "The McGuinty government is delivering real, positive change for postsecondary students by confirming that it will freeze college and university tuition for two years, effective immediately," said a news release Friday quoting the minister of training, colleges and universities, Mary Anne Chambers (left).

    "As the Premier often says, the key to success in a highly competitive global economy is having the most highly-skilled and educated workforce," said Chambers. "Making sure postsecondary education is accessible and affordable is crucial to building that workforce. That's why despite our fiscal challenges, we are meeting our commitment to freeze tuition to ensure each student can attain the education they need to succeed."

    The government said the freeze will cover both regulated and deregulated programs. The government also announced $48.1 million in funding to colleges and universities to offset loss of revenues from the first year of the freeze. (Colleges will get $6.4 million, universities the rest, Truman said.)

    Said the news release: "Over the next few months, the government will consult with students, parents, industry partners, universities and colleges to develop a long-term plan that ensures a high-quality, accessible and accountable postsecondary education system for future generations. The plan will reflect greater collaboration and cooperation within the postsecondary system and include a sustainable long-term funding framework, improved financial assistance for students and improved accountability.

    "Our government's first and most important priority is excellence in public education. Universities and colleges play a crucial role in helping Ontarians succeed in an innovative economy," Chambers said. "I am confident that by working with the postsecondary community, we can develop a system that is a pillar for the future success of the province, its people and its economy."

    The Council of Ontario Universities said in a news release that the province's universities "welcome" the review and consultation process. "We are confident that the review will point to the need for further investment to ensure that students have access to excellence at strong universities."


    Heather Majaury, station manager of UW's CKMS radio, is featured on a new CD titled "Spoken Words". The CD was put together by the National Campus Radio Association as part of the Canada-wide Dig Your Roots Project. CKMS and other stations did a series of national simulcasts of performing artists in the project last month.

    UW needs efficiency study, board told

    Several of the external members of UW's board of governors said at last week's board meeting that they'd like to see the university use current, statistics-driven management tools to see how to make the place more efficient.

    "I bet nobody's done a value-stream map on a process," said Arthur Church, a UW mechanical engineering graduate whose career in engineering and manufacturing has led him to be president of Mancor Industries.

    A couple of other board members expressed agreement, one of them adding that there probably isn't much knowledge inside UW of the "Six Sigma" standard for process quality.

    The exchange came during the board's discussion of UW's 2004-05 budget, which involves a 2 per cent general spending cut for the sake of funding "strategic" increases in certain areas. The need for a more serious look at how UW operates and spends its money was first suggested by one of the outside board members, Linda Hasenfratz, who is CEO of Linamar Corporation, a major auto parts business with headquarters in Guelph.

    She asked how many faculty members UW has (about 850) and how many staff (about 1,600 full-time), and wondered aloud whether cuts might be possible in the "back-room" work, though not in the "front-line" activity carried on by faculty members.

    Hasenfratz also wanted to know whether UW had considered joint purchasing arrangements with other institutions as a way of saving money, and was told yes, there are longstanding arrangements at the local, provincial and national levels that provide savings in buying everything from janitorial supplies and fuel to library materials.

    There were also some murmurs over the idea that UW has too many staff. One of the staff representatives on the board, Catherine Fry of the ethical behaviour office, says she sometimes sees staff members in tears because they and their colleagues are so overloaded.

    However, board members did urge the university's management to look at using sophisticated techniques to map how UW's work is done and whether it could be handled more efficiently.

    I'll have to admit to being one of the people who didn't know what a "value-stream map" or "Six Sigma analysis" is, but the Internet came to my rescue. Here are brief definitions:

    "Six Sigma is a rigorous and disciplined methodology that uses data and statistical analysis to measure and improve a company's operational performance by identifying and eliminating "defects" in manufacturing and service-related processes. Commonly defined as 3.4 defects per million opportunities, Six Sigma can be defined and understood at three distinct levels: metric, methodology and philosophy." Source.

    "Value Stream Mapping is a method of visually mapping a product's production path (materials and information) from 'door to door'. VSM can serve as a starting point to help management, engineers, production associates, schedulers, suppliers, and customers recognize waste and identify its causes. The process includes physically mapping your 'current state' while also focusing on where you want to be, or your 'future state' blueprint, which can serve as the foundation for other Lean improvement strategies." Source.

    Stop-smoking prizes presented

    Winners for the "Let's Make a Deal" contest sponsored by Leave The Pack Behind were honoured last week at a prize presentation held in the Student Life Centre. A crowd of students, staff, and faculty turned out to congratulate those who were successful in quitting smoking, remaining smoke-free or breaking the alcohol-cigarette pairing for the month of March.

    "The contest was a chance for smokers and nonsmokers to win great prizes and receive valuable information on smoking prevention and cessation," says Jillian Giesler, who's running the local LTPB program for UW's health services. She says there were 54 initial contestants and 14 final winners.

    Linda Jessup of the department of health studies and gerontology addressed the crowd with a talk on tobacco use among young adults. "Although cigarette smoking is declining among Canadians of all ages, young adults aged 20-24 continue to have the highest smoking rates among all age groups (30%)," she said. "And approximately 10% of post-secondary students actually begin smoking after arriving on-campus, while those already smoking when they arrive tend to increase the amount they smoke. Thus, proven programs such as Leave the Pack Behind are vital for on-campus tobacco prevention and cessation."

    The "Let's Make A Deal" contest will run again next week, starting in mid-January, Giesler said.

    Winners in the Quit for Good category were Lisa Ye, Chris Chalk, Caroline Mealin, Alexander Han and Araceli Gonzalez.

    In the "Party Without the Pack" category, winners were [name removed by request, 29 August 2011] and Natalie Leib.

    And in the "Don't Start & Win" category, winners were Melissa Maraj, Bhavna Sharma, James Keung, Kimitra Lovell, Fathiya Ali, Brandie Bevis and Susan Usjak. All the winners went home with prizes ranging from cash and WatCard credits to restaurant gift certificates -- even a UW sweater.

    Environmental studies dean's office "functioning at a minimum level" Monday-Thursday during carpet installation; messages can be left and calls will be returned.

    'Why Re-Invent the Wheel?' Workshop on "generic learning tasks", Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, 10 a.m. April 13 and 28, information ext. 5902.

    'Credit Union Mortgages', Paul O'Reilly, Tuesday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302, sponsored by Education Credit Union.

    'Juggling Multiple Projects', continuing education course, all day Tuesday and Wednesday, information 888-4002.

    'Rate Your Plate' nutrition seminar, Linda Brogden and Megan Lindsay of health services, Wednesday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program.

    Notes as exam season continues

    Serious work should be starting this week on the widening of Columbia Street -- a job that will take all spring, summer and fall, making access to the north side of the campus somewhat awkward. It will be done in stages, with the first phase closing Columbia from Spruce Street (just west of King) to Hazel Street. Work on that stretch by the city of Waterloo, installing underground pipes and then pavement, is expected to run through April, May and June.

    An announcement last week from Doug Payne of the information systems and technology department: "As they've done for several ISPs around the province, ORION will create local peering arrangements with Sentex and Golden Triangle on April 12. This should result in improved connectivity to the campus for customers of those organizations."

    Grades from the recent English Language Proficiency Exam are ready, says Ann Barrett, manager of the English language proficiency program. They can be found "in undergraduate offices and outside the Writing Clinic in PAS 2082," she writes. "Students who did not pass should consult their academic advisors, the UW calendar, or us."

    The elevator in the Optometry building will be out of service starting today, for three weeks, the plant operations department advises.

    A note from Carolyn Vincent in the human resources department: "Staff Training and Development has recently received a few calls from individuals on campus interested in attending a minute-taking seminar. We offered a program a few years ago but have not offered the course recently. We are interested in seeing if there is enough interest on campus to offer an open session in the early part of June." Anybody who has such an interest should call Vincent at ext. 2078, and she'll assess how many people might attend.

    And . . . the discussion of noise in the Davis Centre library (and related issues ranging from security systems to the durability of the Davis carpets) continues on the newsgroup uw.general. Somebody pointed out in the discussion that earplugs are available through the library's circulation desk. "I'm sorry," came one response, "I refuse to wear earplugs in a library. How about taking all the noisy people and making them wear ball gags?"


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