Monday, February 25, 2008

  • Discipline policy on senate's agenda
  • Graduate Student Association to vote
  • Online survey of students begins
  • On the Monday after reading week . . .
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Liwana Bringelson, who has been associate director of the Centre for Teaching Excellence, left that role February 1, "due to restructuring in the Centre and to pursue her own career interests", an announcement says. She was director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology (LT3) from 2003 until it was folded into CTE last year. Bringelson "was involved in and directed projects supporting teaching and learning through emerging technologies", the announcement notes. She has also been a research associate professor in the department of systems design engineering.

Link of the day

Freedom to Read Week

When and where

RefWorks workshop on managing references and formatting papers, 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Political science professor Sonny Lo speaks on “Infectious Disease in Asia and Its Policy Implications for Canada”, 12:00 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

Joint health and safety committee 2:00, Commissary room 112D.

Senate long-range planning committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Canadian Computing Contest for high school students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, Tuesday, details online.

Random Leaps Book Sale outside UW bookstore, South Campus Hall, Tuesday-Thursday.

Second-year arts students “Are You on Track?” event with dean of arts Ken Coates, information, fun and food, Tuesday 2:00, Graduate House, register by e-mail slcoordinator@artsmail.

Imprint Publications annual general meeting Tuesday 2:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Senate finance committee consideration of 2008-09 operating budget, Tuesday 2:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Student exchange to Germany information session Tuesday 3:00, Modern Languages room 245, information e-mail

Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers group presents Jonathan Witt, department of biology, “Why Intelligent Design Is Not Science”, Tuesday 5:00, Math and Computer room 1085.

Arriscraft Lecture: Burton Hamfelt, S333 Architecture, Amsterdam, “New Urban Ecologies”, Tuesday 7:00, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

Chemical engineering department presents the 2008 Park M. Reilly Lecture: Sirish Shah, University of Alberta, “The New Role of Digital Automation Systems in Process Monitoring”, Wednesday 11:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Café-rencontre du département d’études françaises: Nicole Brossard, poete et romancière, mercredi 27 fevrier 14h30, Tatham Centre salle 2218.

Arts career night with alumni from Research In Motion, Gowlings Law Firm, Joy Apparel and others, Wednesday 6:00 to 8:00, pizza provided, register by e-mail: slcoordinator@artsmail.

Women In Engineering presents Diane Freeman (civil engineering 1992), “Living an Enriched Life Through a Non-Traditional Journey”, Thursday 11:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 305, registration online.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session for future students, Thursday, February 28, 4:00, 295 Hagey Boulevard suite 240.

Inter-Collegiate Peace Fellowship conference February 29 through March 2, Conrad Grebel University College, details online.

St. Jerome’s University presents the 2007-08 Devlin Lecture: Frederick Bird, UW department of political science, “Rethinking the Bottom Line: International Business and Poverty”, Friday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Health and wellness fair at TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, Saturday: organic food, women’s sportswear, blood pressure management, “how to find a great spa”, free fitness classes, speakers, keynote by Chris Crowley, author of Younger Next Year, details online.

Alumni networking workshop offered by Career Services, Tuesday, March 4, 6:00 to 9:00, cost $20, registration online.

[Bricker]Larry Bricker, co-op education and career services, reception to mark retirement after 39 years, Wednesday, March 5, 3:30 to 5:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, RSVP ext. 36624.

March break open house for future students (formerly Campus Day) Tuesday, March 11, details online.

Warrior Women’s Awards Breakfast to support the Women’s Sport Initiative Fund, Wednesday, March 19, 7:15 a.m., University Club, tickets $40, details online.

Good Friday holiday Friday, March 21, classes cancelled, UW offices and most services closed.

Discipline policy on senate's agenda

Nearly 40 pages of principles and procedures about student discipline, petitions, grievances and appeals are on the agenda for today's meeting of the UW senate, after more than a year's work to rewrite two existing policies that were seen as creaky and confusing.

The present Policy 70 (Student Grievance) and Policy 71 (Student Academic Discipline) will be turned into three policies, numbered 70 through 72, if the senate gives its approval today and the university's board of governors follows suit at its April meeting.

Non-academic offences are included in the discipline policy for the first time, says a memo from associate vice-president (academic) Geoff McBoyle, who headed the effort to get the revision together, based on what he learned while serving as chair of the University Committee on Student Appeals. In addition, "penalty guidelines will result in more consistent penalties across Faculties," whether the issue is exam cheating, faked doctor's notes, e-mail threats or violating lab safety regulations.

The associate deans of the faculties, who play the central role in administering discipline and grievance procedures, have been extensively consulted in the rewriting, McBoyle reports, along with other officials, committees, undergraduate and graduate student leaders, the UW police, the colleges and others.

The new Policy 70 will deal with both petitions (student requests for an exception to the rules) and grievances (complaints of unfairness). Policy 71 will deal with discipline: "Students are responsible for demonstrating behaviour that is honest and ethical in their academic work. . . . Students are individually responsible for their actions whether acting alone or in a group." And Policy 72 will deal with appeals against decisions. "The overall result," McBoyle writes, "is a set of policies that are more user-friendly; cover both academic and non-academic discipline; and give timelines for decision-making."

He'll present the policies at today's senate meeting, which starts at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. Also on the agenda are the usual matters, from the president's monthly report to an update on UW's budget, and a proposal for a new interdisciplinary graduate program offered jointly by arts and mathematics, leading to the degree Master of Quantitative Finance.

[Saini]And senate will be asked to discuss a change in the name of one of UW's six faculties, as well as one of the departments within it. The Department of Geography is proposing to take the name "Geography and Environmental Management", reflecting the range of programs it now offers, and the Faculty of Environmental Studies is looking to become just the "Faculty of Environment".

ES dean Deep Saini (left) told UW's board of governors earlier this month that the changes would be coming forward. "We no longer 'study' issues," he told the board — "we do something about them!" He gave the board some of the same briefing that the senate received last fall, about rising enrolment, growth in the number of faculty (from 49 last year to 82 by 2012), new programs and rising quality. "There's been a sea-change in the faculty," he said.

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Graduate Student Association to vote

Graduate students will vote next month to choose a president for the coming year, after the Graduate Student Association received two nominations for a post that most years sees a single candidate acclaimed.

Seeking the GSA leadership, for a term that will begin May 1, are Kelly Itakura (computer science) and Craig Sloss (combinatorics and optimization). Itakura is new to GSA politics; Sloss is the current year’s vice-president (communications and organization).

A contest is also under way for one of the vice-presidencies, in charge of student affairs. Two nominations have been received for that office: Michael Kani (biology) and Alicia Catherine Tomaszczyk (sociology).

There was one nomination for VP (communications and organization), David Pritchard of combinatorics and optimization, so he’s been acclaimed to that position.

Nobody at all was nominated for the final vice-presidency, operations and finance, says GSA chief returning officer Douglas Stebila. As a result, nominations for that position remain open until Tuesday, March 18, at 4:30. The election will then be held at the Annual General Meeting of the GSA on Wednesday, March 19 (date subject to confirmation vote by GSA Council).

For the president and VP (student affairs), a regularly scheduled election is now under way, Stebila said. Campaigning begins this Wednesday (February 27), with a public forum scheduled for Thursday, March 6, 4:30 to 6:00 at the Graduate House. Online voting will take place from Monday, March 10, at 8:30 a.m. to Wednesday, March 12, at 4:30.

Nominations for at-large members of the Board of Directors will be open in March, Stebila said.

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Online survey of students begins

from the office of institutional analysis and planning

Beginning today, all UW undergraduate students in their first year of study or their graduating year will be given an opportunity to provide feedback on the quality of their UW education. How much reading and writing is required? How often do students interact with students from different backgrounds and cultures? How good is the academic advising? How many students work with faculty members on research and other activities? How can UW improve? These questions and dozens more will be presented to students through the National Survey of Student Engagement, an online survey available for completion until June 1. Students will be receiving an e-mail message telling them how they can take part.

NSSE is administered by Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research, and since 1999 has been offered at more than 1,000 Canadian and American institutions. UW is participating in the NSSE survey this year along with all of Ontario’s universities, allowing for comparisons between UW and our peer institutions.

NSSE was developed on a body of research that shows that what students do while in university matters. Measuring activities that students take part in, and the degree to which they are “engaged” in their education and with their institution, tell us about our success as an institution and the success of our students. Measures of engagement have been linked to higher student retention rates, graduation rates and student satisfaction.

Some examples of activities which we know contribute to student success are asking questions in class, working with a professor on a research project, and studying abroad. Consequently UW is interested in knowing how and where students spend their time, the nature and quality of their interactions with faculty members and peers, and what they have gained from their classes and other aspects of their university experience. UW can use the answers to these questions to improve teaching and learning and other aspects of campus life. The survey also allows for students to comment on their experiences, giving insight into the student perspective. The survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete online.

UW last participated in the NSSE survey in 2006, and with responses from 4,448 students was able to learn much about the student experience. We learned, for example, that by their graduating year 41 per cent of UW students reported that their experience at university had contributed “very much” to their job or work-related knowledge and skills, compared to 23 per cent at peer institutions across Ontario. We also learned that 40 per cent of that same graduating year population had “never” discussed career plans with faculty members or advisors. When asked for the biggest obstacles to their progress, both first-year and graduating-year students reported academic performance and financial pressures or work obligations as the largest barriers.

Questions about UW’s participation in the survey can be directed to Institutional Analysis & Planning at

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On the Monday after reading week . . .

As Friday's Daily Bulletin reported briefly, UW staff members in categories USG 1-8 have voted against forming a union through the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation. The official tally, the Returning Officer's Report of Vote Count to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, is now posted on the human resource department's web site, showing 227 votes in favour of unionization and 587 against. That means 243 ballots that were cast at the January 24 poll were "segregated and not counted" — the report doesn't give any indication of why, or say anything about the discussions between OSSTF and UW administration representatives that led to an agreement on which votes would be excluded. Presumably some of the 243 staff who voted but didn't have their ballots counted were judged to be in exempt positions, while others might be temporary rather than full-time employees.

Also now available on the UW website is an easy-to-view version of the video from Bill Gates's Friday talk in the Humanities Theatre . . . and the library has a web page in operation about the impending renovations to the Dana Porter Library . . . and Information Systems and Technology is posting progress reports about upgrades to the campus wireless network.

The UW library has confirmed that John Manley, former deputy prime minister of Canada and a member of UW's board of governors, will be giving this year's Friends of the Library lecture, which is scheduled for April 1. Details are pending, but it's definite that the lecture will be accompanied by the traditional display of books and other creative works produced by UW people in the past year. Cheryl Kieswetter of the library office wrote to academic departments last week inviting involvement: "Each year the campus community is invited to join in celebrating the creative process at the annual Friends of the Library Lecture and Authors Event. . . . We will honour members of the university community who, in 2007, authored a book, composed a musical score, were recognised for their design or photography work, or mounted an art show. Participants are publicly recognized during the event and their work is on display. We would appreciate receiving information about anyone in your department whose achievements should be included in our celebration. Please send this information to my attention in the Dana Porter Library." She can be reached at ckieswet@library.

Dana Evans Laity of UW's marketing and undergraduate recruitment office is heading for the sunny south: off to Buenos Aires and São Paulo this week, Panama City and San Salvador (among other stops) next week, and Caracas and Port-of-Spain by mid-month. "This is our second year participating in recruitment activities (and a Canadian Higher Education Committee tour) in Latin America," she writes. "Our main focus is independent school visits to top schools in each country, and fairs. We have scheduled both types of activities in each of the cities we will be visiting. I have received applicant information and prospective student information and have contacted all students we have contact information for to let them know I will be in town and offering to connect with them. We have a high number of applicants and contacts in Trinidad and Tobago — it is my goal to tag an applicant and parent information session in Port-of-Spain to the end of the tour as well as an alumni event."

Finally, Friday's issue of Imprint had a front-page story about the February 15 Iron Ring ceremony and associated celebrations, including some incidents associated with the informal parades around campus that always take place on the morning of Iron Ring day. "There were a couple acts of vandalism," reports assistant editor-in-chief Michael Davenport, leading to flooding in a washroom and "spraybombs" in Rod Coutts Hall, the CEIT building and the Davis Centre. Bahman Hadji, chair of the engineering grad committee, assured him that the rowdier participants "got the message" to take it easy.


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Friday's Daily Bulletin