Monday, April 30, 2007

  • Lo, the winter term is over
  • Staff relations committee gives update
  • Alumni 'library' is now online
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Library 'close' to Kresge target

"The Library is very close to meeting the Kresge Challenge — so close that our deadline was extended to June 1," an announcement on Friday said.

The Kresge Foundation awarded the UW library a "challenge grant" of $750,000 to help transform the Davis Centre and Dana Porter Libraries. Renovation plans include creating new individual and group study areas, enhancing the computing equipment, creating a flexible learning lab in Davis, and redesigning the main floor of Porter to provide "an open service area that encourages teaching, learning, and collaboration".

This grant was made on a challenge basis: if the library could raise $2.8 million, then the grant funds from Kresge would be received. "We have approximately $250,000 left to raise," said Friday's news. "Every contribution will help us meet the goal!"

Link of the day

Walpurgis Night

When and where

Fiscal year 2006-07 ends today; requests for payment and accounting transactions should be submitted to finance office as soon as possible, last transactions must be received by May 11.

President David Johnston Run for Health 12:00, around the ring road starting at Needles Hall, register with Johan Reis, ext. 3-5418, pledge forms available, T-shirts $20.

BFG building (195 Columbia Street) water supply shut off Tuesday 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Optometry building ventilation and air conditioning shutoff, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. daily May 1-8, all day Saturday.

'E-Merging Learning Workshop' introduction to professional development for instructors in online learning, to be followed by online modules and face-to-face coaching, Wednesday 10:30 to 11:15, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, details and registration online.

Perimeter Institute presents Marc Abraham, author and columnist, "What's the Big Idea?" Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information 519-883–4480.

Confucius Institute, Renison College, official opening Thursday 11 a.m.

Arts alumni gathering at Grad House to meet dean Ken Coates, Thursday 1:30 to 3:30, register by e-mail allipper@watarts.

Alternatives Journal presents the "Before the End of the World Tour" with "pop, rock and stories", Thursday, doors open 9 p.m., Princess Cinema, ticket information online.

UW Accounting Conference (second annual) Friday-Sunday, details online.

Counselling workshop: Canadian University and College Counselling Association presents Jonathan Robison, Michigan State University, "Towards a New Science of Health and Wellness", Friday all day, fee $85 (students $50), information and registration e-mail

Dance: UW's 50th anniversary and Lutherwood fundraising dance, Friday evening, Federation Hall, admission $10 (replaces previously scheduled Saturday night dance).

DaCapo Chamber Choir concert, "Daybreak", Saturday 8 p.m., St. John's Anglican Church, Kitchener, admission $20 (students and seniors $15).

Winter term grades become official for undergraduate students May 22 on Quest.

You @ Waterloo Day open house for future students Saturday, May 26, details online.

PhD oral defences

Philosophy. Neil Haddow, “Individual Human Rights: Reconciling Rights with Value Pluralism.” Supervisor, Jan Narveson. On display in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Friday, May 11, 2:30 p.m., Humanities room 373.

Chemistry. Bushra Siddique, “Design, Synthesis and Characterization of a Series of Self-assembling Polypeptides. Supervisor, J. Duhamel. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, May 14, 2:00 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Electrical and computer engineering. Muhammad Nummer, “Precise Timing of Digital Signals: Circuits and Applications.” Supervisor, Manoj Sachdev. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Wednesday, May 23, 1:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Electrical and computer engineering. Mohamed Ali Basha, “Optical MEMS Switches: Theory, Design and Fabrication of a New Architecture.” Supervisors, Safieddin Safavi-Naeini and Sujeet Chaudhuri. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Thursday, May 24, 2:00 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Statistics and actuarial science. Sofia A. Mosesova, “Flexible Mixed-Effect Modeling of Functional Data, with Applications to Process Monitoring.” Supervisors, Hugh Chipman and Stefan Steiner. On display in the faulty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, May 29, 12:00 noon, Davis Centre room 1331.

[Giant green ball on her knees]Lo, the winter term is over

Take a deep breath: the spring term begins tomorrow. That means today's a day for moving into residence, buying textbooks (the bookstore will be open from 8 to 5 daily this week), and getting the inevitable paperwork done. Most undergraduate students taking courses this term are returning from co-op work terms, though there are always some students taking an extra term for one reason or another. And a small number of new entrants and exchange students are altogether new to Waterloo; for them, a welcome reception is scheduled Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Life Centre multi-purpose room, to provide information about UW services and a chance to meet other newcomers.

Meanwhile, the brief period between terms has been an eventful one, with happenings that included the "Passport to Health" fair for employees on Thursday. "We had an excellent turnout," says Linda Brogden of health services, "and many asked that this program be repeated in the future." She notes that five winners were drawn for door prizes: Celica McGill, Janet Coulter, Sandy DeVisser, Edie Cardwell and Sue Steffler. Now, about the photo? "Lori Kraemer from Applied Health Sciences, Fitness Unit, is a professional fitness and lifestyle consultant as well as an advanced personal trainer who is dedicated to motivating people to get in shape. She is showing someone how to use the ball properly to gain strength and core stability. This was just one of many exercises that people attending got to try with Lori's supervision."

[Bain]Today brings a major talk about teaching: Ken Bain (left) of Montclair State University, author of a well-known book about a 15-year study of "the best college teachers", will speak in the Humanities Theatre on "What Makes Great Teachers Great". "Many universities and colleges around the world have adopted his findings as the foundation for their faculty development programs," says Catherine Schryer, who will head UW's Centre for Teaching Excellence when it comes into existence May 1 as successor to three existing offices. Bain's talk starts at 2:00 today, and everyone is welcome. He'll also be on campus tomorrow for two workshops (registration limited) that are part of a three-day Learning About Teaching symposium.

The conference season is under way in the UW residences, with a couple of groups moving in today. About 40 people will be staying in Ron Eydt Village as part of a Skills Canada workshop being held today through Wednesday. And 13 visitors are arriving today, to stay the whole summer, from the Indian Institutes of Technology. They'll be living in four houses in Columbia Lake Village South. Pulling in tomorrow: 75 participants in the Rotary Club's three-day "Camp Enterprise", a program for "young leaders of tomorrow".

Engineering students Benjamin Sanders and Eric Vieth are expected to pull into Kelowna today as their cross-Canada bicycle trip is a week old. •  Waterloo Region council has voted to continue its financial support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Industrial Research Chair on Water Treatment, held by Peter Huck of UW's civil engineering department, which is up for renewal. •  Here's a reminder that faculty members and departments have until May 15 to apply for funds from the Learning Initiatives Fund and Program Initiatives Fund, aimed at improved instructional methods and learning resources.

Back to top

Staff relations committee gives update

A memo that summarizes the recent work of the Staff Relations Committee went to staff members across campus on Friday, covering the period from April 2005 through the end of 2006 and including a brief explanation of what the committee is and does.

“In general terms,” it said, “the Staff Relations Committee serves as a mechanism for communication between those responsible for the staff relations functions of the University and University Support Staff. The Committee discusses issues/concerns that affect staff working conditions and forwards suggestions arising from these discussions to the appropriate University deliberative body or administrative unit, usually the Provost. . . . The Committee operates by consensus and meets as often as necessary, usually once a month. The Associate Provost, Human Resources & Student Services and the Past-President of the Staff Association serve as co-Chairs, alternating meeting to meeting.”

The report notes that over the last two years, “much of the Committee’s time was spent reviewing and improving Policy 18, the policy that deals with staff employment practices, including recruitment, selection, hiring, promotion, transfer, discipline and release. In keeping with the Committee’s practice, modifications to this Policy were shared with UW staff prior to it being approved by the President.

“Modifications to the Policy ranged from those intended to improve its usefulness and readability (such as clarifying when an appointment can go external, expectations re communicating performance expectations when a staff is on probationary period, and the selection process for internal applicants), to significant improvements in staff working conditions (allocation of up to 30 hours annually to pursue courses offered by the newly created office, Organizational & Human Development, reminders to supervisors to promote the growth and development of staff, and to encourage them to apply for positions for which they appear qualified).”

Other work done by the committee has included an overhaul of Policy 14 on pregnancy and parental leave; a discussion of “the threshold, currently USG 6, at which positions are required to be advertised outside the hiring department”; creation of the Workplace Support Network; and a discussion of how anonymous ethics complaints (“whistleblowing”) should be handled.

And more: “In 2003, the Committee decided that all USG job descriptions should be made available to members of the University. The project went live in Fall 2006, with approximately 85% of descriptions now on line and available for viewing. Enhancements to the site (e.g., links to descriptions from job postings, links to organization charts) will be rolled out gradually as will modifications to the template used to format the descriptions. . . .

“Acknowledging the importance of staff, particularly those in professional positions, having degrees, concerns have arisen when degrees are required for positions for which they have never been called for. It was suggested that, in addition to staff being informed that UW is moving toward degree-based qualifications, when positions are advertised that have never required a degree, consideration be given to adding “or equivalent work experience” to deal with the transition (staff aspire to a position that hasn’t required a degree not realizing that a degree will become a requirement when the incumbent is replaced). It should then come as no surprise to staff the next time that position is advertised. . . .

“In November 2005, Human Resources embarked on a self study with a view to improving the quality of its services to the UW community and identifying areas and services which were not meeting the community’s expectations and needs of the organization. The report was submitted to the Provost in Fall 2006 and has been shared with the Staff Relations Committee. The Committee understands that the Provost will issue the Report, in some form (possibly an executive summary), in the near future.”

Back to top

Alumni 'library' is now online

by Jude Doble, office of alumni affairs

UW alumni have many talents, including writing, and the Office of Alumni Affairs has launched an online showcase of books written by UW alumni, called Write on UW! There are currently more than 400 titles listed, including fiction and poetry by celebrated author and poet, George Elliot Clarke (BA '84, DLitt '06), children's books by the prolific Tim Wynne Jones (BA '74), and science fiction by writer James Alan Gardner (BMath '76, MMath '78).

[Write On UW logo]Each listing includes the alumnus's degree and graduation year, faculty and college (where applicable), book title, publication date, image of the book (where possible), links to an online retailer (again, where possible) and mentions if it is currently in the UW Bookstore or the UW library.

We have partnered with the library so that any author listed on the web site was invited to submit their books to the library for inclusion in the Friends of the Library “authors’ event” last week (usually it is only alumni who have published a book in the previous year) and to donate their books to the library's permanent collection. We have also partnered with the bookstore, who currently has a window display of alumni authors. They will purchase books written by alumni as budget allows.


Back to top

Friday's Daily Bulletin