Friday, February 9, 2007

  • Chakma explains budget prospects
  • 'Outstanding' status for 69 profs
  • Record showing for Ontario Scholars
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Man and Mountie bear]

Happy to win a $50 gift card from the UW bookstore is Joseph Sagath, a student in the biomedical sciences program — one of three winners in the first round of the monthly 50th anniversary contest sponsored by Retail Services.

Link of the day

Black History Month

When and where

Imaginus poster sale winds up, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Student Life Centre.

'Justice Through the Generations' lectures by Janna Thompson, La Trobe University, Australia, visiting professor in feminist philosophy: "Giving the Dead Their Due: Justice and Past Generations" 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Warrior sports: Volleyball vs. Laurier, women 6:00 tonight, men 8:00, PAC main gym. • Men's hockey vs. Windsor, tonight 7:30, Columbia Icefield; Saturday at Windsor. • Women's hockey vs. Queen's, Saturday 7:30 and Sunday 2:00, Icefield. • Swimming, OUA championships at Guelph, today and Saturday. • Basketball (men and women) at Brock Saturday. • Nordic skiing, OUA championships at Carleton, Saturday and Sunday. • Squash, OUA championships at McMaster, Saturday.

UpStart festival of innovative theatre, final week: tonight at 7, Saturday at 2 and 7, Studio 180, Humanities building; details online.

[Seljak]St. Jerome's University presents religious studies professor David Seljak (right), "Ethnic Diversity and Christian Unity", 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall: "Can Christians develop an ethic to deal with these potentially destructive social forces?"

Warrior Weekend activities, Friday and Saturday evenings, Student Life Centre. Movies tonight "Borat" 9:00, "Babel" 11:00; Saturday "Marie Antoinette" 11:00; pizza, crafts, "Battle of the Sexes", details online.

Humanities building electrical power and heating shut down Saturday 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Columbia Lake Village dons sponsor bus trip to St. Jacobs Farmers Market, Saturday 9 a.m., paintball Sunday 7 p.m., tickets and information for both events at community centre.

Federation of Students election forum Monday 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

'Enhanced Podcasting' presentation by Alan Kirker, Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, February 14, 11 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

UW Apprentice competition begins February 14, sponsored by Entrepreneurs Association of UW, details online.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day at Warrior men's basketball game vs. Laurier, February 17, 4 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, free ticket information online.

Reading week in all faculties February 19-23, no classes.

Campus Day open house for future students and family members, Tuesday, March 13, programming 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., details online.

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WLU 'statement on Winter Carnival incident'
Maclean's report on cheating 'dubious' (National Post)
Why are youth from lower-income families less likely to attend university? (Stats Canada)

Chakma explains budget prospects

Budget cuts are likely in the cards for UW departments again this year, provost Amit Chakma told the university's board of governors on Tuesday.

He said spending for the 2007-08 fiscal year, which starts May 1, will likely reach $380 million. That's an increase of some $32 million from the current year's total, of which $17 million can be blamed on cost increases and the rest on growth and new activities.

Some of the growth will bring new government grants and new tuition fees, Chakma said, but at this point he sees a gap of around $12 million between expected revenue and expected costs. What to do? Cover expenses with one-time money where possible, and anticipate another general spending reduction. "This year is worse than last year," he predicted, noting that "this will eventually add more stress" for the people who work at UW and have to find ways to make cuts and changes.

A board member asked why UW's cost-of-living increases are higher, at an estimated 4.5 to 5.0 per cent per year, than the rise in the familiar Consumer Price Index. It's partly the structure of UW's salary system, Chakma said, and partly the other costs the university faces, such as spending for specialized equipment and the "outrageous" prices of some materials the library has to buy. (He noted in his presentation that "a big gap is growing" in the library's budget for books and journals, and it's time to introduce a three-year plan to bring spending up to where it needs to be.)

Another cost has been an extra $1 million that the university had to put into the UW pension fund this year, the provost said. Individual employees' premiums to the fund are fixed by a formula, while the employer has to increase its contributions as necessary to keep the fund healthy.

Government funding is concentrated on enrolment growth, he reminded the board, pointing out that UW's undergraduate enrolment is going up even though first-year admissions aren't. However, some other universities have grown more, with the result that government funding has been spread thinner than expected and UW will end up receiving "84-cent dollars" to cover the costs. "This alone," said Chakma, "has cost us slightly more than $2 million."

An anticipated increase in graduate enrolment will bring in millions more, he said, although that won't necessarily help the bottom line in the short term since "if we don't get money, we don't spend it."

In the current year, grants and tuition fee revenue are both down from what was originally predicted. But spending is also down, largely because some enrolment growth didn't materialize, and revenue from short-term investments is up. The result: income of $351.7 million will come close to covering the year's expenditures of $352.2 million. "We have effectively eliminated the structural deficit," Chakma said with some relief.

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'Outstanding' status for 69 profs

"Outstanding performance awards" have been given to 69 professors in the third year of the program, which was first announced as part of the 2004-06 faculty salary settlement.

"I am very pleased to announce the award recipients," provost Amit Chakma says in a memo listing them, "and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for their outstanding contributions to the University of Waterloo."

The awards involve "special permanent salary increases" based on performance ratings for 2006.

Award winners include 4 faculty in applied health sciences, 17 in arts, 18 in engineering, 3 in environmental studies, 15 in mathematics and 12 in science. Last year a total of 71 faculty members received the awards.

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Record showing for Ontario Scholars

For the first time, according to figures from the admissions office, more than 80 per cent of UW's first-year students (the ones who came directly from Ontario high schools) have "Ontario Scholar" status, with Grade 12 averages of 80 or higher. Last year's figure was 75 per cent, the all-time high is 78 per cent in the "double cohort" year of 2003, but this year it hit 83 per cent, says a report from associate registrar Nancy Weiner. (Province-wide, 61 per cent of first-year students were Ontario Scholars last year; a figure for this year isn't available yet.) Representation varies across UW's faculties, from 62 per cent in applied health sciences to 69 per cent in environmental studies, 74 in science, 76 in arts, 94 in mathematics and 97 in engineering. The two niche programs, software engineering and computing and financial management, attracted 99 and 100 per cent Ontario Scholars, respectively.

There's a gala opening tonight at the art gallery at St. Jerome's University. The show is "A-Tribute", with a hyphen, and includes artworks by Allison Pennanen, Andrew Overgaard, Daniel Mathers, Hilary Brunton, Jessie Quinn, Marleny Garcia, Nicole Battista, Rebecca MacDonald, Scott Ireland, Tiffany Tadgell, Whitney Strouth, Nana Bediako. "A-Tribute," an announcement says, "focuses on artwork created by University of Waterloo students from various faculties. A-Tribute is celebrating the University of Waterloo's 50th Anniversary, by showcasing the attributes it has fostered in variety of students. The students' artwork displays their personal and visual attributes that they have developed with the support of an excellent educational environment. The artworks presented are in an array of materials, from wood and textiles to traditional and even technology based." Tonight's reception runs from 5 to 7 p.m., and the St. Jerome's Art Gallery is open every weekend: Saturday 3 to 5 and Sunday noon to 2.

A new bursary at UW is a memorial to a woman who died eight years before the university was born. The 2005-06 donor report published by UW's development office tells the story: "Stella Margaret Callfas gave birth to a son on June 8, 1930, three months short of her 19th birthday. She had been attending business college to become a trained secretary but needed to abandon that dream to provide for her son. For the next 17 years, Stella worked as a rubber cutter at Kaufman Rubber Co. in Kitchener, Ontario. She passed away in early 1949, just four months before her son's 19th birthday. Today, Stella's son, William (Bill) Goetz, has established the Stella Margaret Callfas Bursary through an endowment which will grow through a bequest made in his will. The bursary will provide encouragement and financial assistance to sole-support parents, with preference to female students who wish to further their education at UW. . . . Bill is a retired business executive who worked his way up the corporate ladder at Burns Foods. He started in the Kitchener plant of the company and was transferred to the head office in Calgary where he ultimately became a corporate vice-president."

The new web site featuring Seizing Opportunities, an elegant version of UW's Sixth Decade plan, is now ready for prime time. • The latest issue of the staff association newsletter includes a photo of association president Joe Szalai congratulating Robyn Turk, a staff member in optometry and graduate student in sociology, who was the fall 2006 recipient of the association's $500 graduate award. • Canadian Blood Services reports that 36 units of blood were collected during a one-day blood drive in the Student Life Centre last Friday.

It's hard to believe now, with flurries in the air and windchill warnings a daily event, but it was "another warm January". So says Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station, reporting that the average temperature last month was 2.5 degrees Celsius above normal (and 3.5 degrees above last year's readings). "It was the story of two very different halves of the month," he reminds us, "with the first part continuing the very warm December temperatures and the second being mostly average with a few cold days. We had a slow steady amount of precipitation in January, resulting in an almost perfectly average month. There were only 4 days of the month where we didn't see at least a little bit of precipitation." And, no surprise, the wettest day of the month was January 15, "a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow, enough to cause a holiday for most students." He adds that yes, the weather station's annual contest (predict when it'll get warm again) will be launched shortly.

The professional development seminar this morning for information systems and technology staff deals with "Horizon Wimba Voice Tools". • Wednesday's Waterloo Chronicle had some interesting coverage of the joint UW-Laurier synchronized swim squad that will be competing in the national synchro championships tomorrow (starting at 11:00) at Laurier's pool. • Sandra Gibson of health services, whom I mentioned in yesterday's Daily Bulletin, points out that she is not a nurse, as I said, but a "health educator".


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