Tuesday, June 6, 2006

  • Pension fund value reported to board
  • Keystone supporters make camp Thursday
  • The talk of the campus
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Notice from (and about) the board of governors

Consistent with the Protocol for the Appointment of External Board Members which was approved by the Board of Governors in 1994, the Board invites the University community to submit, for consideration, nominations of individuals to serve on the Board. Nominations are to be received in the Secretariat by June 26, 2006, and will be put into a pool of candidates for consideration when appointments are made.

Prospective candidates must be Canadian citizens, experienced at governance at a senior level, with expertise in finance/investment, law, marketing, fund-raising or major construction, and with commitment to and knowledge of UW. They must also be able to make the commitment of time necessary to do the job.

The Protocol for the Appointment of External Board Members, information about the Board of Governors and nomination form are available online. Please submit the nomination form to Tracy Dietrich, Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the University, Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, 519–888-4567, ext. 6125, fax 519-888-6337, e-mail tdietric@uwaterloo.ca.

Link of the day

Commuter Challenge

When and where

Annual trade show sponsored by Procurement and Contract Services: computer suppliers for faculty and staff today 10 to 3, Basics Office Supplies (including ergonomic products) Wednesday 10 to 3, Davis Centre lounge.

Career workshop: "Successfully Negotiating Job Offers" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Early Childhood Education Centre family picnic and pizza party, 5:30, Ron Eydt Village.

Perimeter Institute presents Frank Wilczek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nobel winner, "The Origin of Mass and the Feebleness of Gravity", 7 p.m., tickets $15, details online.

Perimeter Institute presents Edward R. Kolb, University of Chicago, "The Quantum and the Cosmos", Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 519-883–4480.

Ground-breaking for TechTown community centre, Research and Technology Park, Thursday 2 p.m., 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Vision 2010 planning exercise in engineering: presentation for students Thursday 5 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 307; e–mail jmcgeoch@engmail for reservation (pizza).

Arriscraft Lecture, school of architecture: John Fernandez, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Material Architecture", Thursday 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall.

Hamilton Harbour boat cruise sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Sunday 3 p.m., details online.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses begin June 12 on Quest. Appointments for new students, July 17-30; open enrolment starts July 31.

Copyright, Software and You: Presentation by Chabriol Colebatch, technology transfer and licensing office, on how to protect software through copyright, June 15, 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302, reservations and information ext. 3300.

One click away

A run with UW's 'extremely fit' president (Imprint)
Volunteers wanted for north campus Canada Day event
Feds survey students on new Bombshelter menu
A Canada-Africa Venture in University-Building
WLU opens centre for 'community service-learning'
U of Toronto offering course in Tamil
Agricultural colleges now carry U of Guelph name
Difficulties in ranking universities internationally
Oxford administration moving ahead with governance changes
C. D. Howe Institute favours income-contingent loan repayment
Post-secondary education an issue in NS election
'Not all degrees are equal', BC student finds
US and Germany lead foreign investment in Waterloo Region
U of Guelph faculty association votes to unionize
Guelph prof to become graduate dean at WLU
Imprint named outstanding campus newspaper in Canada
Alumnus markets drain heat-recovery device

In case you missed them

Thai students respond to UW teaching model
Intern leaves for Kenya village
Optometry records going electronic
The welcomer in the D lot kiosk


[Rough wooden barriers at edge of deck]That's how it looks as the pool in the Physical Activities Complex is stripped down for installation of new tiles and other repairs. It'll be back in operation in the fall term, the athletics department advises.

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Pension fund value reported to board

UW's pension fund had a market value of $858.2 million as the year 2006 began, says a report that's coming to the university's board of governors today.

The board is holding its quarterly meeting starting at 2:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. A lengthy report from its Pension and Benefits Committee is among the agenda items, as there are changes to the "Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures" as well as changes to benefit programs and pension rules that result from the end of mandatory retirement in Ontario.

The market value of the pension fund -- up from $790 million a year earlier -- is noted in a section of the report that deals with the "actuarial valuation" of the fund, which is the main retirement provision for more than 3,100 current staff and faculty members as well as some 1,200 pensioners. The board is being asked to approve the valuation statement for filing with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, something that has to be done periodically for all registered pension plans.

There are multiple ways of calculating the assets and liabilities of a pension plan, the report notes. A valuation conducted on a "going-concern basis" shows the actuarial value of the assets at $786 million and the liabilities at $775 million, for a "funding excess" of $11 million. (Last year, there was an unfunded liability of $4 million.) A valuation conducted on a "solvency basis" uses the market value of the fund and a "solvency liability" of $732 million, for a much larger "excess", but without taking pension indexing into account.

The return on the pension fund's investments during 2005 was 9.65 per cent, the report says.

For the coming year, staff and faculty are estimated to be putting premiums of $11.2 million into the pension fund, and UW will add $1.65 for each $1 of employee premiums, making the employer's total $18.9 million.

Other agenda items for today's board meeting include a report on workplace injuries at UW, a long discussion of progress on the Sixth Decade plan, and a proposal for the long-awaited addition to the Optometry building.

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Keystone supporters make camp Thursday

Staff and faculty members will parade along the ring road just before noontime on Thursday, converging on the green area near the Graduate House for an outdoor Keystone Campaign celebration with a few new twists.

In particular, this year's event features a scavenger hunt that promises to test "collective knowledge of the campus". Six-member teams can register in advance by calling ext. 7747. "Come dressed as a team," organizers urge, noting the "Camp Keystone" theme of this year's celebration -- and promising that the winning team will earn a complimentary lunch at the University Club.

Camp Keystone, featuring games, music and lunch, will launch this year's on-campus fund-raising appeal and will celebrate progress toward the current goal: 2,007 donors from among faculty, staff and retirees by the time Campaign Waterloo winds up in mid-2007.

UW president David Johnston will lead Thursday's parade, which will leave Matthews Hall at 11:40 and head south using both sides of the ring road. It's being marshalled by campaign volunteers in most UW departments -- a total of about 200 of them. In the day or two following Thursday's picnic, they'll be distributing some 3,600 Keystone appeal packages on campus, while another 1,100 packages will be mailed to retirees.

Participants on Thursday are being encouraged to "dress in camp gear to show their spirit", and a memo from the president has let department heads know that if a unit has to remain open over the noon hour that day, it should "try to make arrangements so that everyone may participate".

The Keystone Campaign, which began in June 2002, has raised $5.8 million so far, with the support of 1,950 donors at last count. "I am really pleased with the way that the campus community is throwing their support behind the Keystone Campaign," says manager Jennifer Lorette. "It is inspiring to know that our cumulative participation rate is 43 per cent, up from 15.3 per cent pre-campaign.

"We also have an awesome team of dedicated volunteers who do an exceptional job of organizing this event. Without them, it wouldn't be possible."

The larger Campaign Waterloo was launched publicly in March 2004 with a goal of raising $260 million -- later raised to $350 million. Intent on increasing the concentration of talented people at UW, the campaign is structured around four pillars: "rewarding talent", "enabling talent", "making room for talent" and "creating a culture where talent will flourish".

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The talk of the campus

Gretchen Harris -- one of the reasons the UW department of physics has just been renamed “physics and astronomy” -- was featured in the Record in late May, with a piece about her research in a galaxy far, far away. Harris, the paper said, “has been awarded coveted research time” on the orbiting Hubble telescope “to probe the stars in a galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus”, known to astronomers as NGC 5128. It’s the nearest giant “elliptical” galaxy, as contrasted with the “spiral” galaxy in which Earth is a tiny speck, and Harris is interested in what it can reveal about the early development of stars and the universe itself. The Record article was written by Barbara Aggerholm, whose job as the paper’s higher education reporter has led to many such features about Waterloo research.

Despite some lobbying by leaders of the Federation of Students, the Food Advisory Board decided last week to go ahead with summer operating hours for Tim Horton’s in the Student Life Centre pretty much as they had been proposed. That means Tim’s will generally be open at 7 a.m. on weekdays, closing at midnight Monday to Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday. It’ll be open noon to 5 on Saturdays and noon to 10 on Sundays. Exceptions are some special days (convocation Saturday, Canada Day, and Student Life 101 day on July 22). There will be 24-hour service during exam season, but no service at all on weekends for most of August.

Communications & Public Affairs, working with UW Graphics, has reprinted the recent Globe and Mail "Manufacturing Change" article on the success of Waterloo Region and UW's role in that success. Copies will be available through the Visitors' Centre, and a variety of university leaders will also use copies to promote the success of "the Waterloo Way," as the Globe writers dubbed the synergy between business and education that has driven the region's economy.

With spring convocation coming up next week, the registrar’s office has announced the names of the three undergraduate students who will be receiving Governor General’s Academic Silver Medals. The medals are awarded to the students “who have achieved the highest academic standing in a Bachelor degree program”. This year they are Benjamin Ritsma of kinesiology, Carol Kar Long Wong of accountancy, and Sheena Luu of computer engineering.

The spring issue of the WatTimes newsletter, published by UW’s Retirees Association, includes a long profile of Maurice Green, who was the university’s photographer from 1969 to 1990. Green “has found many creative ways to spend his retirement,” student writer Jennifer Chen reports, noting that he’s still taking pictures — on film, please, none of this digital stuff. He’s also taken up drawing, with an emphasis on detailed pictures of old buildings, particularly in the Flamborough area around his home.

Imprint reported in late spring that two new awards have been created for UW students, to be presented for the first time at next year’s Federation of Students Leadership Awards Banquet: “The Committee of Presidents’ Student Life Award will be given to a faculty student society that has made large contributions to life on campus throughout the year.… The One Waterloo Diversity Award will be awarded to a group or combination of groups that have promoted diversity on the UW campus through events that they have hosted.”

The UW Recreation Committee has named seven staff and faculty members who won draw prizes at the Employee Assistance Program “Wellness Fair” at the end of April.… June 16 is the deadline for nominations for this year’s Awards of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.… The Conflict Resolution Network, based at Conrad Grebel University College, is sponsoring Interaction 2006, “Canada’s largest conflict resolution conference”, this week in Winnipeg.…

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