Monday, January 22, 2007

  • Staff face the annual appraisal
  • $400,000 from Ontario for research
  • JobMine is down, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

200 years of curling

When and where

Used book sale outside Renison College library, 10:00 to 2:00, proceeds to library enhancements; hard-covers $2, paperbacks $1 or 50 cents.

Know Your Workplace sessions for staff on "Delivering Performance Appraisals", today at 11:30 and 12:30, Wednesday at 11:30 and 12:30, all in Davis Centre room 1302, no preregistration required.

Joint Health and Safety Committee 1:30, Commissary room 112D.

Fit Blitz series of four free sessions with a personal trainer starts today, 5 to 6 p.m., Columbia Icefield fitness centre, with upper-body exercises.

Winter book sale of UW bookstore merchandise in the South Campus Hall concourse, Tuesday-Thursday 8:30 to 4:00.

Classical studies lecture series on ancient Greece continues: Sheila Ager, "The Oracle of Delphi", Tuesday 12 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

Seminar on RRSPs sponsored by Education Credit Union, Tuesday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

Japan video series resumes at Renison College "Link Lounge", Wednesday 12:10, with "The Family Life of a Salaryman", "Kendo", and others, all welcome.

Asia-Pacific studies seminar: Scott Harrison, history, "The Indigenous Ainu and the Northern Territories Dispute", Wednesday 2 p.m., Renison College chapel lounge.

Smarter Health lecture: Jake Thiessen, school of pharmacy, "Why Not Bring Medications and Their Uses Out of the Dark Ages?" Wednesday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Knowledge Mobilization lectures: Rick Haldenby, school of architecture, "New Public Space", Wednesday 6 p.m.; David Moorman, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, "Building a Knowledge Council", 7 p.m.; both in PAS room 3026.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session Thursday 4:00 p.m., Needles Hall room 1101, reservations ext. 3-7167.

Mathematics Faculty Awards Banquet Thursday 5:30, South Campus Hall, details ext. 3–6757.

Nobel Prize winner Tony Leggett, professor of physics, "Does the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?" Friday 2 p.m., CEIT room 1015, reception to follow; for free reservations e-mail

[Polar Jam logo]
Polar Jam
outdoor concert beside Federation Hall, "six bands in six hours", Friday 5 to 11 p.m., details online.

Volunteer/internship fair with representatives from non-profit agencies, Tuesday, January 30, 11:00 to 2:30, Student Life Centre great hall.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 23-26; deadline for submission of abstracts is February 2, details online.

[Examining stitching on golden yellow surface]

Gold, black, white and red are the colours of the UW quilt, being shown off to UW president David Johnston by its creator, Emily Hunsberger. Commissioned to do the quilt as a 50th anniversary project, she is the daughter of Norman High, sociology professor and UW's dean of arts 1961-67. The artwork was shown off at the recent launch celebration, where some 1,000 members of the university community signed it. It will be available for more signatures at anniversary events all this year, and will eventually hang in the Dana Porter Library.

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Staff face the annual appraisal

It's that time of year again, for staff members across campus and the managers they report to. Annual performance appraisals are to be completed and filed with the human resources department by March 16, says a memo from Alfrieda Swainston, manager of salary administration.

Appraisal is done on a 1-to-5 scale, on a form that assesses such "work performance factors" as client service, working relationships, communication, job knowledge, "taking the initiative to make things better", problem-solving and time management. The resulting merit rating is a factor in determining an individual staff member's annual May 1 pay increase.

Says Swainston's memo, sent to managers and administrative assistants a few days ago: "The Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation committee members would like to remind managers to sit down with employees to discuss the content of the appraisal as well as to provide the employee an opportunity for discussion with their manager. This is also an opportunity to review changes which may have occurred in job content; to review safety practices in the workplace, (note: new language has been added for this purpose in the Working Environment section); and to assess whether or not job descriptions are reflective of the work being done and if the current grade should be reviewed.”

It’s the first round of performance appraisals since the job descriptions for most UW staff positions were put on the web last summer and fall, and Swainston’s memo tells managers: “If you do not find your staff member's job descriptions on the site Human Resources does not have a current document in a usable format. In this instance please forward an electronic version.”

It goes on: "The goal of the performance evaluation exercise is to provide confidential, constructive feedback to staff members regarding their performance in relation to the requirements of their job description and the appraisal rating interpretations. The exercise serves to identify areas of success, areas that need improvement which have been raised over the past year, opportunities for job enhancement and a discussion of the working environment."

Other sections of the appraisal form ask whether the staff member has "the tools and equipment to do your job" and whether communication and feedback from the manager are adequate.

The form ends with "mutually agreed upon goals and objectives" for the year ahead.

Copies of the appraisal form, as well as instructions for how to fill it out and rate staff members, are available on the HR web site. Swainston says anyone who didn't receive the memo and instructions, but should have, can get in touch with her (ext. 3-2950) or Brenda Ciesarik (ext. 3-6645).

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$400,000 from Ontario for research

from the UW media relations office

UW researchers have received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation to perform work on such pressing health issues as high blood pressure, osteoporosis and workplace injuries. David Spafford, professor of biology, along with Lora Giangregorio and Clark Dickerson, both professors of kinesiology, have been awarded grants totalling $393,541 from the province's research infrastructure program. The awards match previously announced funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

The program supports the modernization, development or acquisition of new research infrastructure at Ontario universities, colleges and hospitals. "This investment at Waterloo will help ensure that Drs. Spafford, Giangregorio and Dickerson and their students will have access to a world-class research and training environment," says Alan George, UW's vice-president (university research).

Spafford's project is entitled State-of-the-Art Facility for the Development of New Biopharmaceuticals and Biomarkers for Stress Detection. Ministry of Research and Innovation funding: $120,000. Total project budget: $402,461, including funding from federal and industry sources.

Spafford will receive infrastructure support for advanced electrophysiology to measure the activities of voltage-gated calcium channels in brain functions. The infrastructure is key in his discovery of calcium channel pharmaceuticals that can be used to treat high blood pressure, angina and arrhythmias, migraines, chronic pain and epilepsy.

Giangregorio's project is entitled Optimizing Osteoporosis Diagnosis and Management: A Multi-Faceted Osteoporosis Research Centre. Ministry of Research and Innovation funding: $95,506. Total project budget: $238,800.

The award will provide infrastructure for research aimed at understanding changes in bone geometry and structure with aging and immobility. As well, the research aims to improve physical function and preventing future fracture in individuals at risk. Giangregorio's research interests include osteoporosis and rehabilitation, along with promoting health in chronic conditions and disabilities. Her research endeavours to improve physical function, as well as preventing fractures and rehabilitating individuals with impaired mobility.

Dickerson's project is entitled Enabling Advanced Digital Ergonomics and Shoulder Biomechanics Research. Ministry of Research and Innovation funding: $178,035. Total project budget: $470,630.

The award will advance ergonomics and shoulder research at Waterloo. With the help of digital ergonomics, Dickerson's research team will be able to eliminate risky or stressful jobs even before workplaces or stations are built. As a result, the work will lead to lower injury compensation costs.

Dickerson's research interests embrace ergonomics and work-related musculoskeletal disorders, especially those of the shoulder. His research seeks to reduce the frequency and severity of occupational shoulder injuries.

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JobMine is down, and other notes

The JobMine system that handles postings and job applications for UW's thousands of co-op students developed problems last week and shut down altogether on Friday. "This is a bad time," says Olaf Naese of the co-op and career services department, in a bit of understatement: the first big postings of spring term jobs were going up on Thursday and Friday, some 3,000 of them altogether, and students should have had the weekend to read, ponder and apply, before deadlines last night and tonight. Staff both from UW and from Oracle, the company that provides the JobMine software, "have been working 24 hours a day trying to isolate the problem and get it fixed," says Naese. "They're hoping to have it up this morning." CECS has already announced that the application deadlines will be extended by a day, and the extension could be longer than that, says Naese, promising updates on the CECS web site.

[Baker]A new Aboriginal Services Coordinator starts work today at St. Paul's College, where UW's aboriginal program is based. Says college principal Graham Brown: "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Emerance Baker (right) . . . on the basis of a national search by a committee of staff, students and faculty representing both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals within the University, College and the broader community. Ms. Baker has roots in the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Her father’s family is both Upper Cayuga and Mohawk from Six Nations. Emerance holds a BA Honours in Social Sciences from the University of Guelph (2000) and an MA in Social Sciences from the Memorial University of Newfoundland (2004). She began a PhD in Community Health at Memorial but decided to return to Southwest Ontario to work in the field of Aboriginal health (cancer prevention). She is an articulate university teacher, gifted counselor, and successful project coordinator and grant writer. She is very knowledgeable of Aboriginal culture, highly familiar with university institutional arrangements and successful at capacity building in Aboriginal contexts. The Selection Committee was unanimous and enthusiastic that Ms. Baker has the abilities to address the key priorities of this position: Support the University’s Aboriginal students for academic success; Support the College’s Aboriginal high school enrichment program operated in partnership with Waterloo Unlimited; Lead the College and University to increase capacity for Aboriginal services."

"The School of Accountancy's 2006 MAcc and Diploma graduates did well on the latest UFEs," says the accountancy alumni newsletter, talking to an audience for whom UFEs are very familiar: they're the Uniform Final Exams that stand between new accounting graduates in Canada and the right to call themselves accountants. In 2006, says the newsletter, Waterloo grads achieved "an overall first-time writer pass rate of 87%. The Ontario average is 79.1%. Four of the School's MAcc graduates were named to the National Honour Roll (out of 10 Ontario writers): Cherry Chan, Krysta Chapman, Anilisa Ramchandani and Colin Reitsma. To honour the new CAs, the UW Accounting Alumni Association will hold its traditional hospitality suite at the ICAO convocation ceremony in February."

“If one of your new year’s resolutions is to lose weight,” writes Gayle Goodfellow of the mathematics faculty, “this program may be of interest to you. An on-campus Weight Watchers program will begin in February.” She explains what typically goes on: “The meetings are less than an hour. The first 15 minutes are for weighing in (which is private), picking up training materials, and for socializing. The next 20 to 30 minutes are for learning about weight loss strategies. The last part of the hour is for late weigh-ins and packing up. People bring their lunches with them to the meetings (and eat them after weighing in, of course).” The 12-week program will start February 2, she says, with a fee of $199, cheque or credit card. An information and registration meeting will take place on Friday at noon in Math and Computer room 5136. Anybody interested can get in touch with Goodfellow ahead of time, e-mail ggoodfel@math.

Carrie Murphy of the distance education office and Jesse Rodgers of communications and public affair are parents, with the birth of Addison Murphy-Rogers on Friday morning at Grand River Hospital. • The central stores mailroom is proudly applying a special 50th anniversary postage meter impression to UW's outgoing mail, something that will continue all through 2007. • Continuing education will offer its perennially popular four-day course on "Project Management Tools and Techniques" February 5 to 8, with a fee of $975 (or half that for full-time UW staff members).


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