Thursday, January 10, 2008

  • Staff face the annual appraisal
  • A challenge to bleed next week
  • News beyond the comfort zone
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Islamic new year

When and where

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

Return-to-campus interviews for co-op students continue in the Tatham Centre; work reports in most programs due January 14.

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

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

Waterloo Region rapid transit open meetings to discuss ranking of routes and technologies, beginning today 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, 2:30 to 4:00, Environmental Studies II room 286.

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

FASS 2008 auditions continue today and 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.

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

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

Class enrolment for winter term ends January 11 for distance education, January 18 for on-campus courses.

Leadership workshop on "creative activism" sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Friday 1:30 to 3:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Philosophy colloquium: Iris Oved, Rutgers University, "The Mental Coining of Terms", Friday 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Graduate House Welcome Week pub night Friday from 6:00, featuring Genevieve Marchesseau.

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.

IST server upgrade resulting in shutdown of 'admmail' e-mail services, Saturday 10:00 to 2:30.

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).

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

One click away

Math faculty promotional videos in English and Mandarin
Federation president aiming to be future prime minister
Blog reports the latest from architecture library
Spinoff company counting on the future of electric cars
Progress on UW-based restoration of Iraq wetlands (Globe)
Life sentence for 2003 killer of UW graduate student
Waterloo theorists quoted in New York Times
UW's Alternatives Journal on 'The Carbon Tax Tango'
Scientists spur growth in Waterloo Region
UW prof among nanotech speakers at Riverside
American investor buys Northern Digital spinoff firm
'Standardized' interlibrary loan from campuses across Canada
'Champions for Life' program for Ontario university athletics
Poverty-stricken offered a glimpse of academic life
Medical schools urged to get it done in three years
WLU business school launches Master of Science program
Insights on Education — and on taking time off before university (Stats Canada)
'College parties getting hotter, boozier' (ABC News)
Carleton U finds its new president
Benefactors and universities scrap over issues of intent (National Post)
CAUT commentary on St. Thomas U lockout and strike

Positions available

An item was missing from this week’s list, issued by the human resources department, as it appeared yesterday. Here’s what should have been shown:

• Advancement assistant, faculty of arts, USG 5
• Continuing education program coordinator, distance and continuing education, USG 7

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

[From OUAC web site]

Future university students got an extension at
the last minute, when yesterday's deadline for
applications through the Ontario Universities
Application Centre
was adjusted. "OUAC has
experienced some server difficulties over the last
couple of days," says Nancy Weiner, UW's director
of admissions. "The deadline has been extended
until midnight on Friday, January 11."

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 14, 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; and to assess whether or not job descriptions are reflective of the work being done and if the current grade should be reviewed.”

The job descriptions for most UW staff positions were put on the web in 2006, 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 — which hasn't changed from last year — 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. 32950) or Brenda Ciesarik (ext. 36645).

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A challenge to bleed next week

UW students are being called to join a blood donation “challenge” that has been running at campuses across the country for the past couple of years, Canadian Blood Services has announced.

“A UW student contacted us to get involved in it,” says Sharr Cairns, recruitment coordinator for CBS in this part of Ontario. “He's originally from Calgary where it all started, so we're going to join in.” A blood donor clinic will run at UW two days next week and three days the following week.

Says a news release explaining what’s planned and why: “As Canadian students, you are young, optimistic and want to make a difference in the world. One way to share your healthy vitality is to donate blood — an easy and free way to make a powerful impact on the lives of people in need.

“Blood 101 is a challenge spearheaded by students between university, college and technical campuses across the country. This year, students from 13 campuses in 11 Canadian cities — Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Sudbury, Guelph, Kingston, London, Oshawa, Hamilton, Ottawa and Waterloo — will compete to see who can save the most lives by donating blood.

“This year’s challenge runs from January 14 to February 8. Overall, our goal is to collect 2,395 units of blood across the country, with each campus setting an individual goal. At the end of the challenge, the campus that comes closest to or most exceeds its goal will receive a trophy and national glory. Any donations made during this time will also count towards the University's annual goal as a registered member of our Partners for Life program.

“Most importantly, this challenge aims to establish the next generation of blood donors. Many students say they are willing to donate blood but haven’t had the time or are afraid to try it for the first time. Currently, the largest percentage of blood donors in Canada is over the age of 50. As this group ages, there is a growing need for more young Canadians to step up, give blood, and ensure a safe and secure blood supply for their generation.”

The project comes jut as there’s been media attention to a controversy over CBS’s rules on accepting blood donations from males who “have had sex with a man, even once since 1977” and are thus considered to be at high risk for the human immunovirus that causes AIDS. Some student groups have called for a change in the rule and some have even banned blood drives on campuses.

Says Cairns: “This is the first year the University of Waterloo is participating in the challenge! Our goal is set at 325 blood donations.” Anyone who wants to support UW in the challenge, or just wants to help save lives the blood donor way, can come out to the blood donor clinics in the Student Life Centre multipurpose room: January 14-15 and 23-25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except 9:00 to 3:00 on Friday the 25th).

“Book your appointment at the Turnkey Desk or stop by during clinic hours,” says CBS. There’s more information online.

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News beyond the comfort zone

[Mery]Math-and-business student Nicole Mery (left) could be on her way to the title of Miss World, with the first stop being the Miss World Canada contest on March 15 in Toronto. Her goal: “Being a strong and beautiful role model for the many youth who look up to Miss World, and to always be challenging myself and my comfort zone, because that is the only way I will grow!” Mery is hoping to enter the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program next year after finishing her current degree with a finance concentration. Says a biographical summary: “She likes dancing salsa and swing, and running. She loves volunteering with the elderly, and competed in the University of Waterloo Apprentice. She will be joining Big Sisters and the University choir next term. One of her goals is to climb the seven summits: the seven highest peaks on each continent. She loves social entrepreneurship and wants to create a non-profit organization with her friend that will help students select the right university program and bring in top professionals. Her calling is to be a life-coach, where she will help people find their passion.” And right now she has an appeal to make: “Help me turn my visions into reality and help send me to Miss World Canada!” She needs to raise another $1,000 (“which will cover the dresses, food, and week-long duration before the event”) in the next few weeks. She can be reached through her web site.

An announcement from the university secretariat makes it known that "The University of Waterloo is looking for a Chancellor (term from May 1, 2009, to April 30, 2012) to succeed Dr. Mike Lazaridis, whose second term ends April 30, 2009. Candidates must be Canadian citizens. Duties include membership on the Senate and Board of Governors and presiding at Convocation ceremonies. Any member of the University community or UW alumni is invited to send nominations, accompanied by a resumé, if possible, by January 31, 2008, to Lois Claxton, Secretary of the Chancellor Nominating Committee, Secretariat, University of Waterloo. All nominations will be treated in confidence."

[Lazaridis]And speaking of the present chancellor, industrialist Mike Lazaridis (right), he's received a new honour, induction into the Co-op Hall of Fame, which is operated by the National Commission for Cooperative Education and housed at the University of Cincinnati. Lazaridis is among a group of notable co-op employers who were nominated for the Hall this year by the presidents of the universities they're associated with (in this case, UW's David Johnston). "RIM came into being as a co-op project," says a citation, "and today employs almost 1,500 co-op students each year! Mr. Lazaridis is a community leader and passionate advocate for education and scientific research, having made founding contributions to UW’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Now serving as UW Chancellor, Mr. Lazaridis has received numerous honors for his achievements, including Officer of the Order of Canada, Canadian International Executive of the Year Award, Canadian CEO of the Year Award, and TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People."

If you use a Dell computer, you'll want to note this message from the information systems and technology department: "Dell has an extended warranty program for Optiplex SX270 (ultra small chassis) and GX270/GX280 (any form factor chassis) which is terminating on January 31, 2008. The warranty covers replacing the system board due to faulty capacitors which can swell and leak, sometimes resulting in a dead system or intermittent operations. Even if your system appears to be in good working order, it is very likely that the system board is defective as a high majority of the above systems are affected. If you have one of these computers please bring the computer to the CHIP in Math and Computer room 1052 to have it evaluated as soon as possible."


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