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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

  • Old and new FAUW presidents review issues
  • SDE student receives $5,000 scholarship
  • Watsa named women's basketball head coach
  • Why people fall short of good intentions
  • Wat's going on here?
Chris Redmond

World Press Freedom Day

Old and new FAUW presidents review issues

FraserCatherine Schryer, English language and literature, finished a three-year term as president of the UW Faculty Association in April and was succeeded by Roydon Fraser (left), Mechanical Engineering. In the April issue of FAUW Forum, Schryer summed up some of the association's achievements over the last three years. It improved its infrastructure and its lines of communication. It raised issues with the administration related to parental leaves, the status of academic librarians, hiring practices, workload, examination timing, and software infrastructure-often, though not always, with positive results.

"We stood our ground on several issues," she said. "We did not back down from the grade changing issue. . . . We stood by our colleagues in the library in their attempts to achieve status as academic librarians. . . . We also continued to maintain our claim that  we deserved competitive salaries if we wanted to be one of the top research universities in Canada. Finally... we assisted many academic colleagues through the Academic Freedom and Tenure committee."

Regrets? That UW has one of the lowest rates of hiring female faculty members of any university in Canada, and that the lot of sessional lecturers remains so dire. "Most are badly paid and experience difficult working conditions-no benefits, sporadic and apparently arbitrary employment, crowded (or no) offices."

In the same issue of FAUW Forum, Roydon Fraser explored his two main areas of interest: faculty workload and fair treatment of faculty. On the first, he referred to "stresses and strains" on the university-larger classes, reduction of support staff, space pressures-that are forcing changes on faculty members. "In adapting to these changes there is a need to remain as diligent as possible as policy and procedures change so that the possibility of institutionalizing undesirable working conditions for faculty is minimized."

On the second focus, he described UW's unique reliance on individual carriage (which means a faculty member initiates and follows through on his or her own grievance) without judgement from the faculty association. "UW's approach favours the individual over the association; an association that prohibits individual carriage can terminate a grievance if the outcome might hurt the association as a whole, even if the individual would see justice." Also, UW also has an external arbitrator option, "a rarity when there is individual carriage." This combination, he says, "means that UW's grievance procedure offers an excellent pathway to justice for the individual faculty member."

Another way UW is unique, Fraser adds, "is that salary negotiations and policy changes are not part of a total collective agreement package negotiation, as is the case for unionized associations. This means that attention and solutions remain focussed on the problem at hand which, in general, leads to better solutions in an environment of collegial diligence."

SDE student receives $5,000 scholarship

Bernice Chan, a student in systems design engineering at Waterloo, has been awarded a Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF) undergraduate scholarship. Five scholarships, each worth $5,000, are awarded annually to women students in first-year engineering programs across Canada. A graduate scholarship is also awarded.

"Scholarships are based on demonstrated leadership, community involvement, and extracurricular activities, with special emphasis on community service," says the CEMF brochure. The winners are expected to be role models and to help attract more women to engineering. Chan, a resident of Mississauga, is a member of Engineers Without Borders as well as several other community-related organizations. She is also an accomplished pianist and is working towards achieving the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The CEMF is administered by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. The foundation was established to "create a world where engineering meets the needs and challenges of society by engaging the skills and talents of both women and men." The scholarship program is a memorial to the 14 women students at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique who were killed December 6, 1989.

The CEMF website provides a link to an online database of information on Canadian resources available for students contemplating a career in engineering. One section of the database lists every scholarship in Canada for women studying engineering at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

Watsa named women's basketball head coach -- from Chris Gilbert, athletics

Former Waterloo All-Canadian Mano Watsa has been hired as the new head coach of the women's basketball program.

Watsa has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the men's program under head coach Tom Kieswetter. "As a player, Mano was one of the most intelligent, dynamic and hard working individuals that I have ever coached," says Kieswetter. "As an assistant, Mano proved he had the leadership, understanding, and skills to become an outstanding coach in the OUA. As the new Warrior women's head coach, I'm extremely confident that with his energy, drive and talent, Mano will produce skilled, competitive players and highly successful teams."

Watsa is a graduate of the UW recreation and leisure program (business option) with electives in psychology, group dynamics and public speaking. Known as a motivator and specialist in player development, he will take over a program built by former head coach Tom O'Brien.

Watsa was a two-time CIS All-Canadian and a four-time OUA All-Star during his playing career at Waterloo (1994-1999). He was a two-time Academic All-Canadian and team captain from 1996-1999. He was a member of the 1998 OUA West championship team. He won the Ken Shields TSN Award for community involvement and was instrumental in developing the athletics department Team Up community outreach program, as well as several community programs that continue to prosper in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and across Ontario. He will continue to be director of his Power To Choose Assembly Program, the Watsa Basketball Camps, and the Point Guard Academy.

Why people fall short of good intentions

Students spend less time studying than they expect to, and planning to save is no substitute for actually putting money away, says a UW professor who's an expert on how people make decisions and why they so often fail to act on their good intentions.

[Koehler] Psychologist Derek Koehler is profiled in a recent research release from UW's media relations office. He notes that people promise to stop smoking, lose weight, donate blood or reduce debt, for example, but don't. In one project, UW students were asked to predict the amount of time they would be devoting to study at the beginning of a term. Their predictions were later compared with the amount they actually did spend as they proceeded through a four-month term -- and they tended to have spent considerably less time studying than they expected.

"We don't seem able to predict, very accurately, how we are going to act in the future," Koehler says. "We buy a treadmill for our home and it stands there, day after day, unused. This is not at all uncommon. Your intentions may be good but you have to be very careful that you don't underestimate how busy you already are with other things -- or how tired you will be when you find yourself at the end of your working day."

He was recently named a recipient of an Ontario "Premier's Research Excellence Award" that will provide $100,000 in funding over the five years, plus $50,000 from UW. This will enable him to apply some of his earlier research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, to how Canadians plan for their financial futures.

The new funding will allow Koehler and his colleagues to expand this research to investigate people's overly optimistic expectations when planning long-range finances. Most have good intentions to save for retirement and avoid going into debt, remaining convinced even as credit card debt mounts and Retirement Savings Plans go unfunded. Optimism that people will act in accordance with their intentions can give a false sense of complacency that prevents them from taking immediate action to cut debt and increase savings.

He says research indicates that people fail to consider "situational factors" sufficiently when they make plans to get more exercise or complete their tax returns well in advance of the filing deadline.

The full news release, written by Bob Whitton, is available on the media relations web site.


UW Bookstore sale of gardening books continues today, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the SCH concourse.

Term loan books from UW libraries, borrowed before early April, are due today.

Panel discussion on being deaf in academia, today, noon to 1 p.m., NH 1132.

The Computer Science Club is holding its elections for the spring 2004 term today, 4:30 p.m., in the Comfy Lounge, third floor MC.

UW Aerial Robotics Group information meeting today, 6 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Carousel Dance Centre performance, Humanities Theatre in Hagey Hall, today and Thursday, May 13, 6:30 p.m.

WIHIR seminar on Patient Safety, Thursday, May 13, 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Math and Computer Building room 5158.

Joint Health & Safety Committee meets Thursday, May 13, 2004, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, NH 3004

Wat's going on here?

Positions available: Effective today, here is a new list from the human resources department. Regular positions:

Temporary positions:

More information is available on the human resources web site.

The Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research is holding a seminar on Thursday, May 13, 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Math and Computer Building room 5158. Dr. David McLeod from Campus Health, McMaster University, will discuss patient safety, errors in the health care system, and how information technology can help. More information from Maher Shinouda, ext. 5942.

"Why do first-year students complain that their grades have gone down since high school? Similarly, why do instructors complain about diminishing quality of students? What can we do as instructors to help maximize learning?" TRACE facilitator Robert Kline will discuss some answers in a workshop on "Building Students' Learning Skills in the Transition to University" on Tuesday, May 18, noon to 1:30 p.m., in Math and Computer Building room 5158. Open to UW instructors and grad students, it can be counted as a credit towards the Certificate in University Teaching if a response paper is submitted and accepted. Register by Friday, May 14, online, or by contacting TRACE at ext. 3132.

What's not going on? In Engineering 3, compressed air and domestic hot and cold water will be shut off throughout the building on Thursday, May 13, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., again to permit the tie-in for the asphalt testing lab.

And, this notice from Health Studies: the Health Studies and Gerontology 25th anniversary reunion celebration that was to be held on May 14 and 15 in BMH has been cancelled.


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