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Friday, March 17, 2006

  • Faculty get 3.2% scale increase
  • Top co-op students of the year
  • Faith, Irish pubs are less smoky
  • And a little of this and that
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Remembering St. Patrick's College in Ottawa


Faculty get 3.2% scale increase

An announcement came yesterday that negotiators for UW and the faculty association have reached an agreement on salaries for the coming two years. Here's the official word from Bruce Mitchell, associate provost (academic and student affairs):

"The University of Waterloo is pleased to have reached a 2 year salary agreement with the Faculty Association, effective May 1, 2006. The agreement includes a 3.2% scale increase on May 1 of each year, and the introduction of an annual anomalies fund for each Faculty equal in value to 5% of that Faculty's Selective Increase Pool, to correct individual salary anomalies.

"Agreement has also been reached on changes pertaining to the right of a faculty member to convert one week of annual vacation entitlement in each year preceding retirement (to a maximum of three) into a 2% salary increase. These changes have been made in response to the pending elimination of mandatory retirement in Ontario.

"The full details of the Memorandum of Salary Settlement can be found on the website of the UW Faculty Association."

The settlement means the minimum salary for an assistant professor, as of May 1, will be $61,832 annually.

All UW's employee groups -- faculty, unionized staff and non-union staff -- are approaching the end of two-year salary settlements that went into effect in May 2004. May 1 is the effective date each year for individual pay increases based on the agreements, which involve scale increases and "progress through the ranks" increases for individual faculty members, scale increases for union members, and individual merit increases based on a range adjustment for non-union staff.

Top co-op students of the year

Celebrations are scheduled for Monday to honour math student Jit Seng Chen as Canada's Co-op Student of the Year, Kayan Ma of engineering as winner of the corresponding Ontario award, and students from the four other faculties as UW's own Co-op Students of the Year.

The co-op and career services department has proudly announced that Chen, of actuarial science, has won the 2005 national award sponsored by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education. The award to Ma, of systems design engineering, comes from Education at Work Ontario. Both awards are based on "the students' contributions to one or more of their 2005 work term employers, academic achievements, contributions to co-operative education, and commitment to the community as demonstrated through volunteer and extracurricular activities".

Through his own initiative, a citation says, Chen "developed a system for analyzing insurance loss development data that his co-op employer used on a regular basis. The automation of this process saves the employer approximately two hundred hours per period of data, and subsequently a substantial amount of money. Jit Seng was also part of a crucial project involving an important international client, and with his help it resulted in success."

As for Ma, "During her last work term, Kayley elaborated on previous work researching manufacturing technologies to foster economic growth. She took the advancements in tracking human motions developed by the animation and movie industries, then applied them to the manufacturing industry. Kayley achieved a major breakthrough, enabling the system to perform high quality real-time motion capture, and thus earning her sixth and final Outstanding work term performance evaluation."

Within UW, there's an annual winner in each of the six faculties. They include Chen for math and Ma for engineering, and these others:

Arts: Shaneika Bailey, social development studies. "Shaneika spent her last work term with a charitable agency in Guyana where she was instrumental in acquiring funding for building renovations, as well as toy and clothing donations for children. The quest to aid orphans gave her the opportunity to form important relationships with government officials within the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Services, and within the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. Shaneika also assisted in a peer education program about HIV/AIDS awareness."

Applied Health Sciences: Nicole Bradley, health studies. "For the year 2005, Nicole spent her two work terms continuing previous research for clinical trials on the effectiveness of palliative radiotherapy and quality of life for patients in the advanced stages of cancer. All aspects of research were experienced by Nicole including study design and proposal, ethics approval applications, and publications of results. She has co-authored three published papers, and has many in the works."

Environmental Studies: Heather O'Hagan, environment and business. "Heather's initial responsibility during her previous work term involved applying and obtaining approval for a constructed wetland. However, she was also entrusted with managing shoreline surveillance crews after a malfunction with her employer's equipment caused 17,000 gallons of oil to escape into Lake Huron. Once the clean-up commenced, Heather reported her findings to regulators, stakeholders, and investigators."

Science: Tasneem Nakhooda, science and business. "Tasneem's last work term involved interfacing directly with leading clients from financial, wealth management, and telecommunication companies in order to build customized financial statement solutions. Her technical expertise, as well as her ability to multitask and to meet tight deadlines allowed Tasneem to secure a major contract with a key client. She is also active on-campus as an executive member of the UW SCRUBS committee."

Monday's celebration will take place at 2:45 in the lobby of the Tatham Centre.

Faith, Irish pubs are less smoky

A Waterloo researcher who participated in a major international study measuring the impact of smoking on air quality in Irish pubs around the world says the results -- getting a new round of publicity just in time for Patrick's Day -- underscore the need for smoke-free laws to protect public health.

The study on air quality in Irish pubs found, says a release from UW's media relations office, that indoor air pollution in authentic pubs in Ireland, where a smoke-free law has been in effect for two years, is 91 per cent lower than in Irish pubs located in other countries and cities where smoke-free laws do not apply.

[Fong with microphone] Geoffrey Fong (right), a professor of psychology, coordinated the Canadian and Beijing part of the global study on air quality in pubs located in 45 cities in 13 countries. Fifteen of the 45 Irish pubs were in smoke-free communities (including Waterloo), while the other 30 were in smoking-permitted communities.

In March 2004, the Republic of Ireland became the first country to have a nationwide ban on indoor smoking in all public spaces, including restaurants and pubs. The policy provides an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of comprehensive smoke-free laws by comparing Irish indoor public spaces to public spaces elsewhere.

Despite claims that the law could have a negative economic impact, Ireland has seen no decline in business at pubs and restaurants. In fact, business in that sector has improved, according to the Central Statistics Office there. "This study demonstrates so clearly the power of smoke-free laws to reduce and eliminate a source of extreme hazard for the public," Fong says. "Tobacco smoke pollution is a leading cause of premature death."

He also said it has been estimated that for every eight smokers who die of a smoking-related disease, one non-smoker dies of second-hand smoke. "People have very little idea how poisonous tobacco smoke is. It's far more than a mere inconvenience; it is very dangerous." He added that improved ventilation within pubs is not a solution. "The ferocity of the ventilation required to reduce tobacco smoke to non-hazardous levels has been compared to a tornado. So claims that ventilation systems can significantly reduce health hazards of tobacco smoke are not accurate."

On May 31, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act will be implemented in the province, which will prohibit smoking in all enclosed workplaces and public places, including bars, restaurants, bingo halls and private clubs (such as legion halls). Still, smoking will be allowed on outdoor patios that do not have a roof. "This is a significant advance," says Fong. "But the technical definitions of what a roof is will likely be a challenge for regulators and for owners of hospitality establishments. Beyond that challenge, there will still be restaurant and bar staff who will be exposed to significant levels of tobacco smoke."

And a little of this and that

First of all, yesterday I listed the ten winners of Federation of Students Leadership Awards for the current year, who were guests of honour at a dinner last night, and among them was Michael Tersigni. Unfortunately I wrote that he was a student in arts and business. Better not be true, since he's been a busy volunteer in the Mathematics Society for the past several years. In fact, he's a computer science student.

CTRL-A, the Club That Really Likes Anime, and a coalition of other groups will present Watcon, "a mini-convention for anime fans, gamers, and friends", tomorrow in the Arts Lecture Hall. The event, which includes a screening of "Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children", runs from 11:30 to 5:30. Admission is free. Watcon will feature artists, panels, gaming, an all-day showing by CTRL-A of general anime, and a second all-day showing of LGBT-friendly anime by Gays and Lesbians of Waterloo. Guests include science fiction writer Derwin Mak, who will present a reading of his work and a talk entitled "There's Nothing Like a Schoolgirl". Watwars and UW Gamers will provide Warhammer 40K and video gaming demonstrations and events. Panel topics include cosplay, gaming (sponsored by UW Gamers), and "Spirituality and Religion in Anime" (sponsored by Infinite Circle). Details are on the convention Web page.

WHEN AND WHERE
Waterloo Co-operative Residence Inc. open house 2 to 6, 268 Phillip Street.

Master of Forest Conservation program, University of Toronto, information session sponsored by UW Sustainability Project, Monday 4:30, Environmental Studies I courtyard.

'Our Country's Good' drama department production, final performances: Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. ($12, students $10); Saturday 2 p.m. (pay what you can), Theatre of the Arts.

'Footloose' musical presented by Conrad Grebel University College student council, tonight and Saturday 8:00, Saturday 2:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets 888-4908; blog review.

Conrad Grebel University College fund-raising dinner and tribute for Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar, Saturday evening, information 885-0220 ext. 381.

Folklorama 2006: 'Forever in Our Hearts' Sunday 4:30, Humanities Theatre.

'The Apprentice Chef' competition sponsored by Food Services "learn-to-cook" series, Sunday 6:30 p.m., Ron Eydt Village great hall.

Class enrolment appointments for spring term undergraduate classes start Monday on Quest; open enrolment begins April 3.

Teaching workshop: 'Motivation and Enthusiasm' Tuesday, March 21, or Friday, March 24, 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158, details and registration online.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Stephen Clarkson, political economy, University of Toronto, "Does North America Exist?" Tuesday 7 p.m., 57 Erb Street West, free tickets e-mail rsvp@cigionline.org.

'Every Three Children: Responding to the Aids Pandemic in Africa,' benefit concert featuring Carol Ann Weaver, music professor at Conrad Grebel University College, Wednesday 12:30 and 4:30, Grebel chapel.

'The Vagina Monologues' student production as benefit for Mary's Place shelter and V-Day project: Wednesday (March 22) 7:30, Student Life Centre; Thursday 7;30, Bombshelter pub, SLC; Friday 7:30, Humanities Studio 180.

The human resources department sent a memo to department heads recently about sick notes for staff who have been off work. Here's some of what they were told: "The Attending Physician's Form (APF) and Release of Information form can now be printed from the HR website. Both forms must be completed and returned after an absence of 5 working days. However, you may require these forms be completed for any length of absence. . . . Under the Personal Health Information Protection Act of Ontario, all medical information must be handled/filed as private, confidential documents. This is why the direction on the APF form indicates that medical information is to be sent either to the Disability Advisor in Human Resources or the Occupational Health Nurse in Health Services. Any medical information in HR is kept in files separate from employment files, only accessible by the Disability Advisor who is a delegate of the University Physician with respect to this confidential, medical information. . . . Some of your faculty and staff may choose to provide the APF and Release directly to you instead. If this occurs, PHIPA and the University requires that you treat the medical information in a private, confidential way and that medical/release documents be sent either to the Disability Advisor in Human Resources or the Occupational Health Nurse in Health Services."

[March Madness logo] One of the big events of any year in UW's campus recreation program is the March Madness three-on-three basketball tournaments, and this year's is scheduled for next weekend, March 24-25. The registration deadline has been extended, says Kate Shippey of campus rec, so more teams are still welcome. The event will benefit the Livestrong campaign against cancer, but it'll also benefit participants with T-shirts, coupons, raffle tickets and of course a chance to sweat considerably on the basketball court (for a minimum of three games). There's more information online or from the campus rec office in the Physical Activities Complex.

Something special is happening early next week, as Miranda Chen, an accounting student and one of the organizers, explains: "On Monday and Tuesday, families, students and staff of all ages are invited to come together at the Student Life Center and fold 1,000 origami paper cranes to wish for a world at peace. On August 6 and 9, 1945, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, were destroyed by the first atomic bombs used in warfare. The Yume Peace Project is based on the story of Sadako Sasaki. Ten years after peace had returned, Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia (atomic-bomb disease) due to the effects of the radiation, and had to face the reality of death. After hearing of the legend which told that a wish will come true if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, Sadako started to fold for her life. She dreamed of the days when she was once well, and she wanted to live. Friends and classmates raised money and succeeded in creating a monument in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park called the Children's Peace Monument. Sadako stands there, holding a crane above her head, telling us that we cannot forget. The Yume Peace Project is a world peace promotion in memory of not only one girl, or over 200 thousand people who have passed away because of the effects of the atomic bombs, but for everyone who is affected by war. Our goal is to send 1,000 paper cranes, along with donation money we raise, to the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima. The money will aid in educating and ensuring that future generations do not repeat the mistakes made in the past, so no more will suffer from war."

Elaine Wong, a vice-president of the student Mathematics Society, writes: "If you thought you had an awesome math instructor this term, nominate him/her for Instructor of the Year! MathSoc instructor of the year nomination forms are available outside MC room 3038. Nomination period ends March 24."

There's green stuff (including spinach and squash risotto) and Irish stuff (including Guinness beef stew) at the St. Patrick's Day buffet today at the University Club. . . . The UW Recreation Committee continue to have a full program of events, including "introductory knitting" on Monday at noon and a tour of the UW greenhouses on Tuesday. . . . Ross Goodwin, a custodian in the plant operations department since 2000, officially retired March 1. . . .

CAR


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