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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

  • The speakers just keep coming
  • Staff face the annual appraisal
  • Classroom gets environmental carpet
Chris Redmond

Australia Day | India's Republic Day

[Buildings popping into bloom]

The new issue of Alternatives Journal, published from UW's faculty of environmental studies, includes articles on such topics as "the ecovillage movement", "turning brownfields green" and the new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for buildings. The magazine appears six times a year.

The speakers just keep coming

It's a value-added day of big-name speakers at Waterloo, as environmentalist David Suzuki, sex-and-the-media star Josey Vogels and noted evangelist Ravi Zacharias will all be on campus within a few hours.

Suzuki is visiting to help kick off the federal government's One-Tonne Challenge in Waterloo Region. Organizers say his lecture "will not only help motivate citizens to reduce their personal greenhouse gas emissions, but also champion the cause to others in the community".

The One-Tonne Challenge, an initiative of Environment Canada, calls on each Canadian to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne, or 20 per cent of the five-tonne average for an individual annually. A local web site will highlight local programs in K-W.

Suzuki will speak at 8 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts, in a lecture that was sold out within days of its being announced. He'll also hold a student symposium at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Life Centre -- re-enacting an appearance he made there in 1972. The format is a casual question and answer about his latest book, Tree: A Life Story, and related topics. Admission is free.

"This event will be the initial spark to get our project out into the community," says Jessica Kwik, coordinator of the One-Tonne Challenge for Waterloo Region.

Between the afternoon and evening Suzuki events comes a talk by Josey Vogels, billed as "Canada's Carrie Bradshaw" in reference to the hot-to-trot character in "Sex and the City". Vogels -- best known for her columns "My Messy Bedroom" and "Dating Girl" -- will give what's promised to be "a revealing and fun presentation", under the title "The Mysteries and Pleasures of Modern Love and Courtship".

She'll be speaking at 5:30 in Arts Lecture Hall 113. The event, sponsored by the Arts Student Union, is free to students.

Then this evening, the campus hears from Ravi Zacharias -- author, evangelist and radio preacher, who's brought to campus by the Campus Crusade for Christ. Title of his talk: "Absolute Truth in a Relativistic Age". The lecture starts at 7 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre, and organizers say the $2 tickets are already sold out.

More major lectures are just over the horizon:

On this week's list from the human resources department:

  • Non-OSS admissions specialist, office of the registrar, USG 6/7
  • Buyer, procurement and contract services, USG 7
  • Mechanical repairperson, plant operations
  • Institutional analyst, institutional analysis and planning, USG 10/11
  • Assistant director, Sociobehavioural Cancer Research Network, Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, USG 11

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Staff face the annual appraisal

    Managers have been told that it's time to do the annual performance appraisal for UW's staff members -- and advised to check the appraisal form carefully for some wording that has changed since last year.

    "At a recent meeting of the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation," says a memo from Alfrieda Swainston of the human resources department, "committee members discussed the performance appraisal process and would like to remind managers to sit down with employees to discuss the content of the appraisal as well as to provide the employee an opportunity for discussion with their manager.

    "The goal of the performance evaluation exercise is to provide confidential, constructive feedback to staff members regarding their performance in relation to the requirements of their job description and the appraisal rating interpretations. The exercise serves to identify areas of success, areas that need improvement if necessary which have been raised over the past year, opportunities for job enhancement and a discussion of the working environment.

    "The Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation recently reviewed the appraisal rating interpretations to ensure that they are still meaningful and are asking managers to re-acquaint themselves with the interpretations, especially at the 5 level and to remember that this rating is reserved for those employees with 'exceptional performance in all areas of the job requirements which is recognized throughout the staff member's unit or broadly throughout the University'."

    Jewish Student Association bagel brunch 11:30, Student Life Centre.

    K-W Software Quality Association 11:30, Davis Centre room 1302, information online.

    Noon-hour concert: Joanne Bender and Tim Corlis, "New music for piano, violin and cello", 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

    Smarter Health seminar: William Hersh, Oregon Health and Science University, "Grand Challenges for Biomedical Information Retrieval", 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

    Career workshop: "Interview Skills: Selling Your Skills", 3:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

    Computational mathematics seminar: Jean-Charles Fougere, Université de Paris VI, "Solving Grobner Bases of Polynomial Systems and an Application in Cryptography", 4:00, Math and Computer room 5136B.

    Engineers Without Borders seminar: "Information Communication Technologies for Development", 5:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

    Warrior volleyball vs. Laurier, women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m., Physical Activities Complex. Women's hockey at Laurier, 7:30, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Centre. Basketball teams play at Western tonight.

    'Fitting Punctuation' workshop by Judi Jewinski of Renison College, 7 p.m., Kitchener Public Library main branch.

    'Greening the ES2 building' presentation by students from Environment and Resource Studies 250, Thursday 10 a.m., ES2 south studio.

    Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Murray Gamble, C3 Group of Companies, "Managing Multiple Priorities and Business Units", Thursday 12 noon, Needles Hall room 1101.

    Employee Assistance Program presents Diana Denton, department of drama and speech communication, "Communicating Effectively: Managing Conflict in the Workplace", 12:30 Thursday, Davis Centre room 1302.

    Lorraine Beattie, UW library, retirement reception Thursday 3:30 to 5:30, University Club.

    'Green Buildings: What Can UW Learn from Other Universities?' Speakers from U of Toronto and York U, Thursday 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 211.

    Alumni career planning workshop Saturday, Tatham Centre, details online.

    Job fair Wednesday, February 2, 10:00 to 3:30, RIM Park, Waterloo, buses from campus.

    Appraisal is done on a 1-to-5 scale. The resulting merit rating is a factor in determining an individual staff member's annual May 1 pay increase.

    Swainston's memo notes that there's new wording on the appraisal from under the "Working Environment" heading.

    She says the change is a result of a proposal that came to the compensation committee from UW's staff relations committee: "The committee members agreed that it was important for all contributions to UW to be recognized including those outside of one's regular responsibilities, such as Staff Association, United Way and Campaign Waterloo and the skills that are acquired as a result of the extracurricular activities."

    The performance appraisal form can be downloaded from the human resources web site.

    Classroom gets environmental carpet -- from the UW media relations office

    An environmentally friendly carpet adhering to strict European standards has been installed in a systems design engineering classroom.

    "This action demonstrates key values associated with the engineering program -- concern for the environment and the well-being of its students," said Kevin Krauel, laboratory director for the SDE department.

    He said that when the department decided to replace the carpet in one classroom, the search focused on products that would minimize irritation of people who are hyper-sensitive to airborne pollutants such as chemicals and organic compounds. The study was conducted with the help of one undergraduate student.

    A product was found that not only passes tests to certify it as emitting low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC), but is also manufactured in compliance with the ban-of-use of certain substances known as carcinogens. The carpet was installed at the beginning of the recent holiday break using a low-VOC adhesive, and was allowed to off-gas during a time when the room and surrounding area were not in use.

    Krauel said that as carpets in other classrooms require replacement, a similar approach will be taken.


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