Tuesday, January 8, 2008

  • 93 students in the first pharmacy class
  • Prof reports on benefits discussion
  • A few notes, and all about libraries
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

Foucault's pendulum, 1851

When and where

Bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx open until 7 p.m. today through Thursday; usual closing time of 5 p.m. returns Friday.

Campus recreation registration for leagues this week, for instructional programs starting January 14, details online.

Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Application deadline for Ontario secondary school students entering UW in September 2008 is January 9 (exceptions and details listed online).

Return-to-campus interviews for co-op students scheduled Wednesday through Friday, Tatham Centre. Work reports are due January 14 in most cases.

Web clinic for "people of all skill levels and experiences to work on their websites", Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:00 starting tomorrow, Chemistry II room 160, information e-mail mfagan@uwaterloo.ca.

Women in Mathematics Committee welcome-back supper party Wednesday 5:00, Math and Computer room 5158, open to women faculty and students in math, RSVP n3clarke@uwaterloo.ca.

FASS 2008 auditions Wednesday-Friday 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Humanities room 334; Faculty, Alumni, Students and Staff welcome; this year's show, "Global Warming: Kiss Your FASS Goodbye", hits stage February 7-9.

Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference Thursday-Saturday, Hilton Hotel, Toronto, details online.

International student orientation session Thursday 1:00 to 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Waterloo Region rapid transit open meetings to discuss ranking of routes and technologies, beginning Thursday at locations around the Region, including January 10 and 13 in Cambridge, January 12 and 15 in Kitchener, January 17 and 19 in Waterloo, details online.

Environmental studies open house and information session about graduate studies, Thursday 2:30 to 4:00, Environmental Studies II room 286.

Orchestra@UWaterloo open rehearsal Thursday 7:00 to 9:30 p.m., Ron Eydt Village great hall, information online.

St. Jerome's University dean Myroslaw Tataryn gives the Waterloo Catholic District School Board Lecture: "God Keep Our Land", Friday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Blood donor clinic January 14-15 and 23-25, Student Life Centre, make appointments now at turnkey desk.

Fall term marks for undergraduate courses now appearing on Quest; marks become official January 28.

Montréal alumni networking event January 30, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Ecomusée du fier monde, register online by January 25.

Family Day holiday Monday, February 18, UW offices and services closed (Monday of reading week).

37th annual Hagey Bonspiel for faculty, staff, retirees and friends, Saturday, February 23, Ayr Curling Club, registration online.

PhD oral defences

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Mohammed Mujtaba Hussain, “Multi-Component and Multi-Dimensional Mathematical Modelling of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.” Supervisors, Xianguo Li and Ibrahim Dincer. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, January 15, 1:30 p.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Electrical and computer engineering. Xiang Yu, “Image and Video Coding/Transcoding: A Rate Distortion Approach.” Supervisor, En-Hui Yang. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, January 15, 2:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Combinatorics and optimization. Carlos Hoppen, “Properties of Graphs with Large Girth.” Supervisor, Nicholas Wormald. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, January 18, 10:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 5158.

Electrical and computer engineering. Brian Keats, “Bimetal Temperature Compensation for Waveguide Microwave Filters.” Supervisors, Robert B. Gorbet and Raafat R. Mansour. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, January 18, 1:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Physics and astronomy. Sarah E. Guthrie, “Physical Properties of Shear Oriented Cocoa Butter.” Supervisors, S. H. J. Idziak and A. G. Marangoni. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, January 21, 1:30 p.m., Physics room 352.

[Workers and equipment seen at an upper level]

The pharmacy building continues to rise at the site of the new health sciences campus in downtown Kitchener. This photo, taken just before the Christmas holiday, shows how the building's windows are laminated with designs of medicinal plants, to complement the herb garden that's planned in the quadrangle. Photo by Chris Hughes, UW Graphics.

93 students in the first pharmacy class

The students who filled lecture halls and labs on the first day of the winter term yesterday included 93 who are the pioneers of a brand-new program: the Bachelor of Pharmacy program to be offered by UW’s fledgling pharmacy school. The students — who must have had a minimum of two years’ university study, generally in science, before entering first-year pharmacy — began the term with a morning of orientation, says Laura Manning, director of advancement for the new school.

“All first semester classes are being held here on the main campus,” says Manning, “and we plan to have partial occupancy of the new building for the spring semester. The students will embark on their first co-op terms in September. It's the only co-op pharmacy program in Canada. More than 800 potential employers have expressed interest in hiring pharmacy co-op students to date.”

The pharmacists-to-be were admitted based on more than just their chemistry marks. “Applicants go through a personal interview process before being offered admission,” says Manning, “and those interviews were conducted by practicing pharmacists. There is significant focus on the breadth of careers graduates can pursue with a Pharmacy degree; professional courses are included right in first year.”

The emphasis on professionalism will be emphasized tomorrow afternoon when the 93 students take part in a White Coat Ceremony, to be held in a lecture hall in the CEIT building. “The White Coat Ceremony is a tradition in many health profession programs, particularly pharmacy and medicine,” Manning explains. “The white lab coat is symbolic of the tremendous responsibility that pharmacists have as health care providers.

"As our students embark on their professional journey, this ceremony marks their commitment to ethics and integrity, and serves as a formal welcome into the professional community. Speakers will include representatives from UW, the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, the Ontario College of Pharmacists, and the Region of Waterloo Pharmacists' Association. It is an invitation-only event, due to space constraints.”

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Prof reports on benefits discussion

by Jock MacKay of the department of statistics and actuarial science, first published in the faculty association's Forum newsletter

The University currently funds our benefit plans (Extended Health, Dental, Life Insurance) on a year-by-year basis and, over time, has absorbed significant increases in costs. There have been no major additions to these benefits in the last ten years despite requests from the employee groups, largely, I believe, because of the increased costs of existing plans.

The University recently proposed a change in the way the amount of money available for benefits would be determined. You can find a detailed explanation of their proposal by consulting the Minutes of the October 5 P&B Committee meeting on the Secretariat's web site.

An obvious benefit of the proposal from the Administration's point of view is that it would be very useful for budget planning. The basic idea was that the University would commit to an increase of x% in benefit funding per year, where x would be decided for the next 5 years. The University would also establish a reserve fund that could be used for smoothing cost increases. If benefit costs rose by less than x%, then the reserve would grow and, at some point, the P&B Committee could use the accumulated funds to purchase extra benefits. On the other hand, if there were insufficient funds, the University would lend the Committee money for at most two consecutive years, At that point, if there were a shortfall, the P&B Committee would need to cut benefits or raise extra cash from the members.

The employee group committee members rejected the proposal. We did so mainly because we felt that another effect of the change would be that all of the risk of large cost increases would be transferred to the employees. There was also a general feeling that the suggested values of x were too small, making benefit cuts before long extremely likely; and, certainly, the preliminary proposal did not come with enough long-term data to allow an accurate estimate of what value of x could be considered reasonable, even if the proposal was judged reasonable in principle.

Shortly after the meeting, the P&B representatives and presidents of the various employee groups on campus had a meeting to discuss how to proceed from here. We agreed that we would be willing to consider revised versions of the proposal if they came with much more detail, or at any alternative plans that might come forward. The employee groups will also be working cooperatively to try to generate proposals that we might take to the committee, rather than merely reacting to proposals from the administration. We recognize the interests of the University, as an employer, in issues of cost control and budget planning, but also know that if it is to be successful at attracting and retaining employees the University has an interest in protecting existing benefits, and, perhaps, providing for improvements.

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A few notes, and all about libraries

Tours and workshops in the UW libraries will be starting next week and running from time to time through much of the winter term. Several sessions deal with the RefWorks software that’s available to UW users at no charge; others are aimed at introducing new graduate students to library services at Waterloo, or assisting researchers in keeping up with data “during these times of information overload”. There’s also a “Smart Searching” workshop, scheduled for January 22 and again February 11: “Avoid the frustration of either finding too many references or absolutely nothing on your topic, and i9mprove your research skills. In this hands-on session you will learn search strategies and techniques that can be used when looking for books, journal articles, or searching the Internet.”

A memo from the UW library: “Library books that were signed out by faculty, graduate students, and staff before the beginning of December are due on January 9, 2008. Users should return or renew their books if they haven’t already done so. If they are renewing on-line, they can link directly to ‘your account’ using Trellis. On-line help for renewing is available. Patrons should not try to renew more than 50 books at a time if they are renewing individually, or, there is now a ‘renew all items’ option available through a dropdown menu.”

[Rourke]There’s a new face smiling out from the glass-walled office on the first floor of the St. Jerome’s library,” says a note from St. Jerome’s University. “It belongs to SJU’s new librarian, Lorna Rourke (left), who took on the position December 3. Lorna comes to St. Jerome’s from the University of Guelph, where she spent 23 years in a variety of positions. Most recently, she was the academic liaison librarian responsible for liaison with students and faculty in the departments of English and drama and in the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences program. Lorna has also served as a part-time instructor in the Master of Library and Information Science program at the University of Western Ontario, teaching the course on Academic Libraries. She has also taught at Mohawk College in the Library Techniques program. Lorna has served as the President of the Ontario College & University Library Association and as Vice-Chair of the Guelph Public Library Board.”

From the newsletter of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies: “Under the leadership of UW librarians Helena Calogeridis and Jane Forgay, the Centre continues its involvement in the national ‘Multicultural Canada’ project to digitize important works on German-Canadian history. The Canadian West is far ahead of Ontario in its contribution to the project, but the Centre’s research group is determined to close the gap. Calogeridis and Forgay are also creating an internet portal to access materials of value for German-Canadian history, and they continue a project to compile a bibliography of publications on the subject of Ontario Germans. The manuscript transcription of the Breithaupt diaries also progresses in the UW Porter Library’s Special Collections with Centre support.”


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