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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

  • McBoyle winds up term as ES dean
  • Health fee introduced July 1
  • The birds, the Apple and the rainbow
Chris Redmond

Midsummer -- St. John's Eve

[McBoyle in red-and-black gown]

McBoyle winds up term as ES dean

Geoff McBoyle (left) attended his last UW convocation as dean of environmental studies last week. He'll end his seven years as dean on June 30, heading off for research, a sabbatical leave and eventually a full-time return to the department of geography.

Ellsworth LeDrew becomes interim dean July 1 for a one-year term.

McBoyle has just received the Excellence in Teaching Geography Award presented by the Canadian Association of Geographers. It recognizes "exceptional professional service over a period of years" for the university training of geographers and significantly advancing the profession and practice of geography in Canada. The award was presented at CAG's annual meeting in Moncton in late May.

McBoyle will be the guest of honour today at a reception marking the end of his time as dean -- 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Environmental Studies I courtyard.

Health fee introduced July 1

Income tax deductions from staff and faculty paycheques will be higher in July with the introduction of the Ontario Health Premium, announced in the recent provincial budget and introduced in the Legislature this week.

Sandie Hurlburt, assistant director of human resources, notes that the premium goes into effect July 1. "This premium is in addition to the Employer Health Tax that the University pays (1.95% of total salary dollars). The premium will be collected from employees through the income tax system based on annual taxable income.

"For example, an employee with an annual taxable income of $36,000 will have an additional $25 tax deducted monthly ($11.54 for biweekly employees). An employee with an annual taxable income of $48,000 will have an additional $37.50 tax deducted monthly ($17.31 for biweekly employees). An employee with an annual taxable income of $72,000 will have an additional $50 tax deducted monthly ($23.08 for biweekly employees).

"This will not show as a separate item on employee's pay statements, but will be added to the total income tax deducted." The precise figures could change a little, especially for people with incomes around $37,000, because the government made a last-minute adjustment to the formula in response to complaints that it had unexpected effects on tax calculations at that level.

Meanwhile, employees, the university and insurance companies are waiting for definite government action on another proposal from the May budget: to end funding for chiropractic and optometric care. Chiropractic care is likely to produce "a fairly substantive hit on the extended health care plan", says Catharine Scott, associate provost (human resources and student services).

"Currently our employee health plan only reimburses for a chiro charge after the OHIP maximum is met," says David Dietrich of human resources. As things stand now, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan pays roughly $10 for each visit to a chiropractor by somebody with an Ontario health card, to a maximum of $150 a year. That leaves the individual paying typically $20 per visit. Once the OHIP maximum is reached, the UW plan pays 80 per cent of chiropractic costs, up to an annual limit, or 100 per cent once a threshold of individual spending is reached. With the announced change, the plan will pay the 80% or 100% of chiro costs, to the maximum $555 benefit per covered member, from the first visit. Unless the pension and benefits committee decides to address the issue of chiro reimbursement, the impact could be significant."

The student health plan includes chiropractic coverage, to a maximum of $400 a year. "There will be a small cost increase," Dietrich said, "because the plan will see the additional $10 per visit submitted for reimbursement -- the part formerly covered by OHIP."

The employee health plan and the plan for undergraduate students do not include any coverage for optometry. The graduate student plan pays for a vision examination once every four years. "There may be an increase in the cost to grads, but since the overall vision benefit provided is $200 every four years, the impact will be slight."

[Lining up a putt]

Course work: A foursome gets down to serious play at the Grand Valley Golf Course during last week's Matthews Classic event for faculty, staff and retirees. "The emphasis is on fun and participation," says Gail Chopiak of the school of computer science, who provided the photo. "Everyone who participated was a winner. It really was a fun day and people mixed and laughed and touched base with people they hadn't seen in a long time. There are several retirees who attend every year -- and of course, it's always good to meet new people."

Summer garage sale organized by chemistry stores, 10:00 to 1:00, Earth Sciences and Chemistry room 149. Cash, or charge to university accounts.

Career workshops "Letter Writing" 1:30, "Resumé Writing" 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Feminist philosophy lecture, Marilyn Frye, Michigan State, visiting professor at UW, "Category Trouble: Helping Feminist Philosophy out of a Bind", 3:00, Humanities room 373.

'Economic Policy and the World Bank', speaker and documentary, 7 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302, part of series sponsored by UW International Health Development Association.

Health informatics seminar: "Megavoltage Images in Radiation Therapy", Hamid Tizhoosh, systems design engineering, 11:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

David Williams, school of optometry, retirement reception Thursday, 3:30 to 6:00, University Club, information ext. 3177.

Festival of Art and Spirit at St. Jerome's University opens with wine and cheese reception Thursday, 7 p.m., UW art gallery, East Campus Hall, details online.

Mary Anne Jantzi, housing and residences, retirement reception Tuesday, June 29, 4 to 6 p.m., University Club, RSVP ext. 2674 or accombook@uwaterloo.ca.

The birds, the Apple and the rainbow

In yesterday's Daily Bulletin I identified Graham Strong as director of the school of optometry. In fact he's a former director -- the school is currently headed by William R. Bobier.

Also yesterday I mentioned the muddy state of Columbia Lake, as it waits for the dredging equipment to give it a tummy tuck later this year. An observation from Bill Pudifin in the faculty of engineering office: "It appears that because the lake is so shallow it is attracting more blue herons than usual. Almost anytime you drive by you can see several blue herons wading in the lake searching for food."

[Singing, eyes closed]

Elaine Brown of the Village I staff will perform at noontime today. Her concert, "Elaine Sings the Blues", is meant for staff and faculty members, and sponsored by the UW Recreation Committee. It starts at 12:00 in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre.

An announcement from the pension and benefits committee heralds a change in who's managing some of the investments in UW's $600 million pension fund: "At the June 9 Board of Governors meeting, the Board approved a recommendation to make some changes to the Investment Managers. The P&B Committee and the newly constituted Finance & Investment Committee just concluded a review of the Fund's Statement of Investment Policy and Procedures. The results of that review suggested to the Committee that different managers be considered. Following a review of its domestic balanced managers, the Committee chose to terminate the services of Sceptre Investment Counsel Ltd and HSBC Asset Management (Canada) and retain McLean Budden Limited (Growth) for a domestic balanced mandate and Highstreet Asset Management Inc for a Canadian equity mandate."

Tempora mutantur, which is the Latin way of saying that computer systems become obsolete as fast as they're installed. Take AppleTalk, for instance, once the usual way of connecting Macs to other hardware, such as printers. "There's a long-term plan to phase out AppleTalk, since all newer systems are IP-based," I'm told. And so this warning from UW Graphics: "As IST continues to phase out AppleTalk, Mac users' ability to print directly to Graphics production printers may be affected. To update your connection, go to Graphics' web site for complete instructions for setting up your computer (Mac or PC) to print directly to Graphics' production printers."

  • 'Web gallery' includes photos from convocation
  • British study: 'Graduate glut devalues price of a degree'
  • Cambridge considers changes to intellectual property ownership
  • The modern university: 'an intellectual shopping mall'
  • Progress on US monitoring of foreign students
  • Social Class and Higher Education (UK)
  • The Marketing of Higher Education
  • Monsanto court ruling 'hurts innovation', says expert
  • Identifying 'highly cited researchers'
  • UW biologist joins debate on malaria control
  • Slashdot discussion of RIM, jobs, patents
  • Houston professor named to head Fields Institute
  • Jeff Landeen of Gays and Lesbians of Waterloo sends word that GLOW "will once again have the honour of being the official Rainbow Flag bearers during this year's Toronto Pride Parade on June 27. The Rainbow Flag is one of the hallmarks of the Pride Parades and is used to gather donations in support of the pride celebrations. As one of the most visible contingents in the parade, GLOW will have the unique opportunity to highlight the diversity and acceptance of the UW campus community and the community at large. To this end, GLOW encourages all interested members of the on and off-campus communities to join us during the march. The more students, faculty, staff, university administration and members of the local community that we have joining us in bearing the flag, the more we illustrate the supportive community UW offers to both the national and international communities. Regardless of orientation, affiliation or background, you're welcome to come join us and help show our pride in ourselves, our community and everything we do." Anyone interested in participating in the Pride Parade with GLOW can contact Landeen at jrlandeen@hotmail.com or GLOW at gllow@watserv1.

    Here's a note from Tom Galloway of plant operations: "The Region will be doing some drainage work on Thursday, weather permitting, in the railway right-of-way in and around the Parking Lot B and University Plaza crossing across from Engineering III. This will necessitate the closure of the crossing for periods of time that day. Accordingly, individuals may need to use the pedestrian bridge to Parking Lot B in front of the Davis Centre or the crossing to the plaza nearer University Avenue."

    And . . . the water shutdown in the Davis Centre (which means washrooms in that building will be out of operation), previously announced for this morning, has been moved to this afternoon, from 3 to 8 p.m.


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