Wednesday, June 7, 2006

  • No more mandatory retirement at 65
  • CBET joins faculty of engineering
  • Awards for use of computer networks
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Renison calls go right through

A change to UW's phone system tonight will mean that connections between the university and Renison College can be dialed as inside calls. Renison offices currently have three-digit extension numbers in the 600 range; tonight those will be converted to four-digit extension numbers in the 8600 range, and can be called directly from UW extensions. Phone users at Renison can, in turn, dial a four-digit extension number to reach an office at UW. Renison College's switchboard number, 519-884–4400, is unchanged.

Link of the day

ALS Awareness Month

When and where

Annual trade show sponsored by Procurement and Contract Services: Basics Office Supplies (including ergonomic products) 10 to 3, Davis Centre lounge.

Career workshops: "Exploring Your Personality Type" 10:30, Tatham Centre room 1112; "Work Search Strategies" 3:30, Tatham 1208; registration online.

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

Theory Canada 2 Conference organized by Canadian Association of Physicists, today through Saturday at Perimeter Institute.

Wilfrid Laurier University spring convocation Thursday 10 a.m. (graduate studies), WLU athletic complex; Thursday 1:15 p.m. (arts), Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex; Friday 10 a.m. (business) and 2 p.m. (music, science), Recreation Complex; June 14, 3 p.m., Sanderson Centre, Brantford.

'Camp Keystone' annual celebration of the Keystone Campaign, Thursday 11:30 to 1:30, Graduate House green; parade along ring road followed by games, lunch, music; faculty, staff and retirees 'invited to dress in camp gear to show their spirit'.

International Spouses Group "summer stroll" on Mill Race Trail in St. Jacobs (or visit to Conestoga Mall if weather is unsuitable), Thursday 1 p.m. All spouses of international students or professors welcome; contact

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.

Annual child care festival sponsored by all child care centres on campus, Friday 9:45 a.m.,. Village green, with guest performer Erick Traplin.

Employee Assistance Program presents Rebecca DiFilippo, Moods Magazine, "Changing Perceptions: Mental Health at Work", Monday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP to Johan Reis, health services.

Ninety-Second Convocation June 14-18, each day 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, detailed schedule online.

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.

Matthews Golf Classic Monday, June 19, Grand Valley Golf and Country Club, details online.

Robert Kerton, events marking the end of his term as dean of arts, June 21, reception 3:30, dinner 6:00, South Campus Hall, RSVP and dinner reservations to Brenda Smith, dean of arts office, by June 9.

Positions available

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

• Project administrator (Ecoplan China), dean's office, environmental studies, USG 8
• Manager of prospect research, development and alumni affairs, USG 10/11
• Customer relations representative, co-operative education and career services, USG 4
• Technician, physics and astronomy, USG 5
• Web course developer, distance and continuing education, USG 8/9
• Development officer (central), office of development, USG 9-11

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

In case you missed them

Staff role seen in Sixth Decade report
Thai students respond to UW teaching model
Intern leaves for Kenya village
Optometry records going electronic


[New wing at left, linked to existing wing with curved edge]
Vision of the future: UW's board of governors yesterday gave approval to "the conceptual design" for the new wing (left) that will be added to the Optometry building at an estimated cost of $9 million. The 39,000-square-foot addition will "create a public presence" along Columbia street, the board was told, with a new entrance as well as classroom, clinic, museum and library space. It adds about one-third to the size of the existing building. This view from the short-term parking area shows the existing main entrance at right.

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No more mandatory retirement at 65

Automatic retirement at age 65 for UW staff and faculty members ends today, as the university gets a six-month head start on complying with the Ontario law that will ban mandatory retirement starting in December.

The UW board of governors yesterday gave approval to changes in the Memorandum of Agreement between the university and the faculty association, deleting many references to retirement and specifying that a faculty member "has the right to retire at a date of his/her choosing". The same right is being given to staff members starting immediately.

Since the present pension plan was introduced in 1969, retirement date for a staff member has been the end of the month when he or she turns 65. For a faculty member, it can be the end of an academic term anytime up to the April 30 after that 65th birthday. Under the new arrangements, there's still a "normal retirement date" at age 65, but an individual can keep working after that and keep accruing more pension (up to age 69, when a pension has to begin, under federal government rules, even if the person is still employed).

Yesterday's board meeting approved revisions to the pension and benefit plans that result from the end of mandatory retirement. Employees who stay at UW after age 65 will have most of the same benefits they had before: the extended health care plan will continue for those individuals, and so will the dental plan and sick leave coverage.

At age 69, employees who stay on the job will start getting the same benefits as retirees: pretty much the same health plan as they had before, but no dental plan. Long-term disability will end at age 65, and sick leave after 65 will be limited to a total of 120 days. Life insurance will be available on a reduced scale.

There are special provisions for the the few employees who have been at UW so long (since before 1969) that they started here under different pension rules, and already have the right to work past 65, until they turn 68.

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CBET joins faculty of engineering

UW’s freestanding Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology -- the nearest thing this university has to a school of business -- has become part of the faculty of engineering, the provost announced in a memo this week.

The move for CBET, which is housed on the first floor of Needles Hall, officially dates from May 1, provost Amit Chakma said. CBET is the home of UW’s Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, and proposals for an undergraduate degree of the same kind have been discussed since even before the centre opened its doors in 2002.

Says the provost’s memo: “As a result of this restructuring, CBET will become a teaching and research centre in the Faculty of Engineering. CBET will continue to offer its MBET degree and will now have an administrative home within a single Faculty. CBET Director Howard Armitage and the Centre's faculty and staff members are highly supportive of this move and look forward to the opportunities this new structure will bring the Centre and its faculty, staff, and students.

“Dean of Engineering Adel Sedra and the Faculty of Engineering welcome CBET to the Faculty and look forward to capitalizing on the new synergies and collaboration opportunities that CBET will bring to the Faculty.

“The various University academic support units will work with administrators and staff in the Faculty of Engineering and CBET to bring about a smooth transition process aimed at integrating CBET into the Faculty of Engineering.”

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Awards for use of computer networks

Two organizations with major UW participation have won awards from Orion -- the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network, which connects Ontario’s university campuses, colleges and medical research facilities. One of the annual awards, announced Monday night, goes to Sharcnet, the agency for massive parallel computing, and the other to CLOE, the Co-operative Learning Object Exchange, which is based in UW’s Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology.

The awards are given “for innovative use of advanced networks and collaborative technologies”. Says an Orion news release: “Amazing endeavors are taking place that are changing the way we conduct research, the way we teach and how we learn.… The Orion Award recognizes Ontario’s leaders for their outstanding achievements in learning and discovery… innovative use of advanced research and education networks, intelligent infrastructure and collaborative technologies among researchers, learners and educators.”

Winner of Orion’s Discovery Award for the use of computer networks in research was the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, a $100 million international particle astrophysics project in a mine near Sudbury. An Award of merit in that category went to the University of Toronto’s ATLAS Canada Group, part of an international project to search for the origin of mass in the universe.

The Orion Learning Award recognizes “the achievements of faculty, students and/or staff in promoting successful examples of collaborative teaching, learning and training”. Winner in that category was the Advanced Broadband Enabled Learning (ABEL) Program, which uses interactive videoconferencing to bring “high-impact, real-world learning experiences” to students.

It’s in that category also that Orion gave an Award of merit to the UW-based CLOE, which “established an internationally recognized collaboration between Ontario universities and colleges and other partners by making use of new technologies to develop and share multimedia-rich learning resources. CLOE has had a significant impact on the development of high-quality learning resources, enriching the educational experience of thousands of Ontario students.” Through the CLOE learning object repository, each of the 28 institutions involved develops multimedia learning resources to address its instructional challenges, which often turn out to be shared by the other partners.

Among CLOE’s measures of success is the collaboration it has generated among participating institutions, making use of Orion and other networks. CLOE’s most long term collaboration includes the MERLOT organization in the United States, and lately there have been research projects with two European organizations.

Two significant projects currently underway at CLOE are the CLOE Wiki and the CLOE Worktool. The CLOE Wiki, or discussion area, brings together a geographically remote community with seamless connection. The second project, the Worktool, is an on-line team environment that keeps all members up-to-date with project announcements and documentation, information about learning object evaluation and tools that allow interaction with individual project teams.

Finally, the Orion Leadership Award recognizes contributions to advanced networking. That’s the category in which the Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (Sharcnet) is the winner. Sharcnet, based at the University of Western Ontario, is a consortium of academic and research organizations: “Using Orion, Sharcnet delivers the massive computational resources researchers need to advance their work in multiple disciplines, from modelling the movement of pollution, to creating more efficient electronics, to achieving greater understanding of the spread of diseases like SARS.” An array of Sharcnet computers was installed this winter in a new wing of UW’s Physics building.

In the Leadership category, Orion also gave an Award of merit to ABEL’s Program Office Learning Leads Team: “This team has raised and established new standards for best practices in learning and professional development in schools.”


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