Wednesday, January 9, 2008

  • Comes the moment to decide
  • ‘Workplace savvy’ for a co-op term
  • Other notes during the January thaw
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Library books due

Library books that were signed out by faculty, graduate students, and staff before the beginning of December are due today. Users should return their books or renew them using Trellis. On-line help for renewing is available.

E-mail outage Saturday

E-mail will be unavailable for several hours on Saturday for most users in UW administrative departments. A memo from the information systems and technology department announces “a major upgrade to the primary network file server used by the Academic Support Units of the University. This upgrade is required to increase system performance (450% performance improvement). This upgrade is scheduled for Saturday, January 12, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. During this time, staff in the Academic Support units of the University will not have access to network drives (typically named N, R, T) or directory space on email servers (admmail and mailservices). IST recognizes that this is a significant but necessary disruption in services.” Inquiries should go to mtimm@ist.

Link of the day

Simone de Beauvoir, 100 years

When and where

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

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

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.

Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre auditions for "Romeo and Juliet", 7:00 to 10:00, Student Life Centre room 1115.

Gays and Lesbians of Waterloo weekly discussion group, Wednesdays 7:15 to 8:30, PAS building room 3005, information online.

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

International spouses group: "Staying Healthy in Canada" with Ruth Kropf, UW health services, Thursday 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre. Children welcome; information e-mail

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.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group volunteer meeting Thursday 5:45 to 7:15, Student Life Centre multipurpose room, information online.

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.

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).

Graduate Student Research Conference April 21-24; submissions welcome now for oral or poster presentations, deadline for abstracts February 8, details online.

Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Continuing education program coordinator, distance and continuing education, USG 7

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

[Happily holding green glass plaque]

'Leader of the Year' at the Impact Leadership Conference, held late in 2007, was Salima Gilani, a student in UW's Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program. The award recipient was chosen based on achievements, teamwork, community involvement, leadership and "making a difference". In 2006, she implemented the Integrating Technology in Education Project, which promotes interactive learning at the American School of Bangkok; she's also active in plans for the World Universities Debating Championship for this year.

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Comes the moment to decide

"It's major decision time!" says the sign outside the Modern Languages building this first week of the winter term. And for many students and students-to-be, the decisions are big ones, all right, even though it'll be mid-February before the arts faculty calls on its students to apply for majors or make other changes in their programs.

"It is not yet time for first year students to declare their majors," says arts advisor Betsy Zanna, "although they will be expected to do so considerably earlier in the Winter term than in previous years due to pre-enrollment." For brand-new UW students in arts, meanwhile, there's an academic orientation session today, 5:00 to 7:00 in Humanities room 334.

Students in all faculties may find themselves needing to make decisions quickly about their courses for the current term. Class enrolment (with the option to add courses) ends January 11 for distance education, January 18 for on-campus classes. And the option to drop courses with no penalty, and a 100 per cent tuition fee refund, has a January 25 deadline.

Today's an even bigger deadline, meanwhile, for tens of thousands of high school students across Ontario: it's the last day they can apply through the Ontario Universities Application Centre for admission to a university next September. UW's admissions web site does add that "If a program is not yet full, the application deadline may be extended." But applications have been coming in for months, and offers of admission going out from UW, many of them accompanied by offers of scholarships for high-achieving students.

As UW's first-ever pharmacy class takes part in the White Coat Ceremony at 5:00 this afternoon, their successors are being chosen, the students who will be admitted to start BScPhm studies in January 2009. The application deadline for that group is January 31, 2008.

• The student awards and financial aid office is open 8:30 to 4:30 to distribute winter term OSAP student funding. "In an effort to decrease waiting times," a memo notes, "the office will continue to use a time ticket system. To better serve students, tickets will be given out throughout the day and will be released for more than one day at a time. Students from other provinces may come at any time. Students are reminded that they must have their Social Insurance card and WatCard, or government issued photo ID, to pick up their student funding."

• The writing clinic sends word that results from December's English Language Proficiency Examination are now posted in all undergraduate offices and outside the Writing Centre in PAS 2082. "Congratulations to all students who passed. Students who were not successful can visit our web site to explore their options."

• "Counselling Services and the English Language Proficiency Program would like to remind undergraduate and graduate students of the winter '08 workshop schedule. Topics range from Stress Management, Study Skills, Writing Skills, and QPR (Suicide Prevention Program)." There's a complete listing online.

Campus Recreation has scheduled registration for its leagues for this week, and for instructional programs next week. • The bookstore, TechWorx and the UW Shop will be open until 7 p.m. today and Thursday, returning to the usual 5 p.m. closing on Friday. • Feds Used Books also has extended hours (8:30 to 5:30) this week, and will be open Saturday from 10 to 5.

• Return-to-campus interviews for co-op students start today in the Tatham Centre, and in most programs work reports will be due January 14. • Fall term marks for undergraduate courses are now appearing on Quest, and marks become official January 28. • Nominations close January 21 for the 2008-09 executive of the Federation of Students, and for six student seats that are coming vacant on the university senate.

• Students who didn't get their flu shots during the fall term, but are now back on campus, can drop by the Health Services clinic to get them any time between 9:00 and 4:00, Monday to Friday.

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‘Workplace savvy’ for a co-op term

Jayne Hayden of the career services department writes in the Inside Scoop e-newsletter for co-op students

Succeeding in a co-op job means committing to the standards of your employer’s workplace. Each will have its own views regarding attendance, dress and behaviour. It is your responsibility to learn what these are — as quickly as possible — and then to adapt and act accordingly.

First impressions about others often turn into long-term perceptions. So, there’s a lot riding on those first few days when your supervisor and coworkers are making assessments about your “typical” behaviour — the type of person you are. Your appearance is fundamental to this impression. Never underestimate the importance of dressing professionally in your new job. Know the dress code and dress on the high end of this for the first few weeks. Even if it is a casual dress environment, always project yourself professionally. Don’t wear provocative or otherwise distracting clothing and remove excess jewelry. Be well-groomed and avoid unusual hairstyles and unnatural hair colours.

In addition to a professional appearance, it is also important to behave professionally at all times. Think about how you would like to be perceived, then set yourself up for success by behaving in a manner that reflects well on you and on the organization. Think before speaking and acting, and consider the implications both of your words and actions.

Always be pleasant and smile — no matter what kind of mood you’re really in. People wish to be in the company of those who exude a cheerful disposition, and would rather avoid those who are moody or who regularly complain. Leave your personal problems outside the door and strive for an unwavering positive attitude.

Don’t get involved with office politics and gossip. Take your time sizing up other staff before deciding who you wish to ally yourself with. Notice who spends time with whom, who has a lot of people visiting their office, who visits the boss’s office the most. This will help to distinguish who to gravitate to and who to steer clear of. You do not want to be associated with the office troublemakers and you do want to be associated with the office leaders.

No one expects you to know all the answers on your first days on the job, so there is often an unofficial grace period while you settle in. Observe and listen carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This shows an interest in the work and a desire to successfully carry out the requirements of your position. Remember that it’s better to ask before you’ve completed the task the wrong way and wasted all that time. That said, rather than potentially asking too many questions, it may help to take notes as you are instructed in the tasks associated with your job. Learn all you can about your own job, as much as possible about others’ jobs, and what it takes to succeed in this organization.

Go above and beyond what is expected of you. This is, without fail, a winning personal attribute that employers always look for in their employees. If you have completed your required tasks, ask for additional work. Or, if you see something beyond the scope of your position but within the realm of your skills and knowledge and that would benefit the organization, seek permission to undertake it — provided it does not compromise your specified responsibilities.

Above all, be patient with yourself and accept that you will make mistakes. It is also likely that others will show you what you have done wrong. Don’t take it personally; rather, receive it gracefully and learn from it. When you do make mistakes, take responsibility for them immediately — denial will only prolong and intensify the error. Acknowledge you were wrong and move on. And don't make the same mistake again.

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Other notes during the January thaw

Laurel Creek through the main campus is looking more like the muddy Mississippi this morning, three times its normal width and running fast. "It's just volume," says grounds supervisor Les Van Dongen, who says the area got at least an inch of rain in the small hours of this morning. The extra stream water hasn't created any known flooding or other problems on campus, he said. I'll be interested to hear a report on how the Grand River looks where it flows past UW's Architecture building in Cambridge, 30 kilometres downstream of Needles Hall.

The Centre for Teaching Excellence and Waterloo International have selected this year’s winners of Course Internationalization Grants — described as “UW faculty who found creative ways to bring international perspectives into their courses”. Says a memo from the CTE: “This year, proposals from UW faculty displayed diversity of approaches to course internationalization. Examples of the funded projects include creating digital videos of interviews with international researchers in the field of biogeochemical microbiology; creating multi-media presentations of South African music and culture, and developing online tutorials on Ecuadorian Andes.” The list of winners: Jane Buyers, fine arts ("Contemporary Art"); Scott Campbell and Karl Griffiths-Fulton, Centre for Society, Technology and Values ("Society, Technology and Values: Introduction"); Yulia Gel, statistics and actuarial science ("Forecasting"); Alexander Brenning, geography ("Spatial Analysis Using GIS"); Carol Ann Weaver, music ("Music and Culture in South Africa," "Intro to Jazz," and "World Music"); Josh Neufeld, biology (course "Advanced Biogeochemical Microbiology").

Norman Klassen, English professor at St. Jerome’s University, is the co-author (with Jens Zimmermann of Trinity Western University) of a recent book, The Passionate Intellect: Incarnational Humanism and the Future of the University, published by Baker Academic. The volume, an announcement says, “takes up the theme of humanism and puts it into the context of changing commitments in the institution of the university from the Middle Ages through the Enlightenment to postmodernity. Citing evidence and discussion of an institution in crisis, this book argues for the relevance of faith commitment as part of the life of the mind and of a viable humanism. The Passionate Intellect is written in the first instance for Christian students who may be uncertain how to affirm intellectual endeavour in general and how to negotiate the ideological terrain of the contemporary university. Other students, particularly those in the humanities or with a humanistic outlook, will also find that The Passionate Intellect provides a means of contextualizing disciplinary issues within a broader framework.”

The UW bookstore is offering a $25 gift card to somebody — the winner will be drawn from those who submit an entry to the “Who’s Reading What on Campus” collection by January 31. • A Vietnamese dinner will be available from 4:30 to 7:00, Monday through Thursday, at Bon Appetit in the Davis Centre over the weeks ahead. • The biology department has someone new in charge: for eight months that began January 1, William Taylor will serve as acting chair, as Bernard Glick’s term as chair ended in December and a search for the new chair is still under way.


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