Monday, January 21, 2008

  • OSSTF applies to unionize some staff
  • Staff recognition program is dropped
  • UW proposes actuarial degree in India
  • Souvenir of a banner year, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Nominating committee for president

David Johnston's term as President of the University expires June 30, 2009, and, as required by Policy 50, The President of the University, the process for constituting the Nominating Committee is underway.

Nominations are requested for the following seats on the Nominating Committee:
• A senator of professorial rank from each Faculty, elected by a vote within the Faculty. The names of individuals who are eligible to stand for nomination are printed on the nomination form.
• Two regular faculty members, elected from and by the faculty-at-large of the University.
• One staff member, elected by and from the regular ongoing staff of the University.

Nomination forms are available from the Secretariat (ext. 36125) and from the Secretariat webpage. At least three nominators are required in each case. Nominations should be sent to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, Needles Hall 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 30, 2008. Elections will follow if necessary.

Link of the day

Martin Luther King Jr.

When and where

Nominations close today for the 2008-09 Federation of Students executive and student positions on the UW senate, details online.

Environmentalist Larry Lohmann, author of Carbon Trading, speaks on greenhouse gas reduction, 7 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 116.

Volunteer/Internship Fair with information about opportunities with local agencies, Tuesday 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Federation of Students referendum on CKMS fee: meeting to form "Yes" and "No" committees Tuesday 3:00, Student Life Centre room 2134.

German film showings, public welcome, Tuesdays 6:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. This week: "Die Ehe der Maria Braun" (Fassbinder 1979), information ext. 33687.

Electrical and computer engineering fourth-year design project symposium, Wednesday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Davis Centre.

Blood donor clinic Wednesday-Friday, Student Life Centre, make appointments at turnkey desk.

Author Tamas Dobozy reads at St. Jerome's University, Wednesday 4:00, SJU room 3012, admission free.

Term abroad in Haifa, Israel, through UW school of computer science, information session Wednesday 4:00, Math and Computer room 5158, all undergraduates welcome.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Andrew Hunt, UW department of history, "A Resilient People: Living with the Legacy of the Vietnam War" Thursday 11:45 a.m., 57 Erb Street West.

Arriscraft Lecture: Kay Bea Jones, Ohio State University, "Suspending Modernity: The Architecture of Franco Albini", Thursday 7:00, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge campus.

'Alice (Experiments) in Wonderland' drama department multi-point telematic performance for children and adults, January 25 and February 1 (10:30 a.m.), January 24-26 and 31 plus February 2 (8 p.m.), January 26-27 and February 2-3 (2:00), Theatre of the Arts, tickets $12 general, $10 students, $5 children, details online.

Rose Cousins, folk musician, live at the Princess Café, 46 King Street North, Thursday, doors open 9 p.m., benefit concert for Alternatives Journal, tickets $15 at the café.

Dropping courses: deadline with no penalty and a 100 per cent tuition fee refund, January 25.

CD release concert: "Every 3 Children", Carol Ann Weaver and other performers from Conrad Grebel University College, January 26, 8:00 p.m., Grebel chapel, tickets $10, call ext. 24226.

Residence applications for fall 2008 from upper-year students due January 28; information sessions continue through Wednesday.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: "Getting the Most out of Multiple-Choice Questions" led by David DiBattista, Brock University, January 28, 9:30 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, registration online.

Texas Hold ‘em Poker tournament, fund-raiser for Food Bank, February 19 at 7:00, TechTown, cash bar available, tickets $50 at Columbia Lake Health Club, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

One click away

UW news release announces opening of pharmacy program
Construction daily notes UW's accountancy building
Drama course prepares for 'Caledonia' production (Imprint)
Library's special collections looking back on year of anniversaries
'Chemistry crook caught' (Imprint)
Johnston visits college in Mangalore, India
Update on Grand House architecture student project (Record)
Math lecturer leads Scrabble team to more victories
Students discuss how to move ahead with refugee program
Photo of Dana Porter Library is 'a bit new'
The merits of cooking your own meals
Occasional UW use of 15-passenger vans
Freed from Iranian prison, scholar returns to U of Toronto
Standing up for winter bicyclists
Canada's brain drain 'is being reversed'
Conestoga gets grant for 'teamwork' in health-care fields
'Our universities could learn' from MIT online
Universities expect record numbers again next fall
Pope vs. university in Rome
Student software spinoff announces new capital funding
A call for private medical schools to fix doctor shortage
Ryerson buys 'a gateway on Yonge Street'

OSSTF applies to unionize some staff

A vote is expected this week on whether a large group of UW staff will form a union.

A memo from the university’s administration Friday morning broke the news. “UW received notification today,” wrote associate provost Catharine Scott, “that the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation has applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for a secret ballot vote to determine whether employees in USG Grades 8 and under, only, wish to become part of the Teachers' Federation union. We expect that this vote will take place on Thursday, January 24th on campus.

“In the next few days we will be communicating with you about this issue but felt it was important for you to know about this as soon as possible. What is certain is that everyone will be affected by the outcome of this vote whether they signed a card or not.

“On Thursday, staff members who are affected by this application for a union will need to exercise their right to vote so that whatever the outcome, it is a true reflection of what UW staff want.” The memo was sent by e-mail to all staff, and managers were asked to post it in their departments.

The OSSTF was active on campus last winter in an attempt to unionize all staff members, but indicated in May that the campaign was over and OSSTF was closing its local office. “We are at approximately 94% of the target goal (50%) of signed cards received,” the union's web site stated at that time.

More recently the union has been saying on its site that “We intend to make an application to include all Housekeeping Staff and Staff in the USG 1-8 groups. The more cards we have signed now, the smoother the process. Thank you very much to the hundreds of UW Staff who signed cards. OSSTF is committed to the university sector, and we look forward to representing UW Staff.”

An application to the OLRB is the key step in becoming a certified union. Typically a union application would require signed union membership cards from at least 40 per cent of the staff who are the target of the proposed unionization. The board then generally orders a vote, in which the yes-or-no decision depends on a majority of those voting.

There are about 1,800 full-time regular staff, currently represented by the UW Staff Association, which is not unionized. Figures aren’t instantly available about how many staff are in USG grades 1 through 8, but the staff association has estimated that 40 per cent are in grades 1-6, 40 per cent in grades 7-10, and 20 per cent in grades 10 and above. So quick arithmetic suggests that about 1,000 full-time staff would be involved.

Jesse Rodgers, president of the staff association, issued a message Friday afternoon: “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that all UWSA members affected by this (USG 1 to 8), participate in the vote. The fact is, whether or not you vote, if the outcome of the vote is to certify and your position is identified as being in the proposed bargaining unit, you will be forced to pay union dues and be represented by OSSTF.”

He added: “For UWSA members that are not in the proposed bargaining unit the UWSA does not plan on going anywhere. We are planning for both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ scenarios. The UWSA Executive firmly believes that together we have the strongest voice.”

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Staff recognition program is dropped

The controversial Staff Recognition Program has been cancelled after four years of operation, staff members were told by e-mail on Friday.

"Since its inception in 2004, the Special Recognition Award Program has received mixed reviews from members of the UW community," said a memo from Jesse Rodgers, president of the UW staff association, on behalf of the staff compensation committee. The program has provided one-time bonuses — originally $1,000, this year increased to $1,500 — to staff members cited for "dedication, hard work and continued commitment to excellence". Winners were nominated by co-workers, managers, students or others, and selected after a review by the university's top executives.

"In 2006," says Friday's memo from Rodgers, "the Staff Compensation Committee spent considerable time reviewing the comments received on the program and made revisions to the program in an attempt to address some of the concerns.

"At a meeting on January 9, 2008, the Staff Compensation Committee, hearing continuing concerns with the program, decided to discontinue the award program, effective immediately.

"The funds set aside for the program ($250K per year) will remain available. Over the next several months, the Committee will consider how to proceed with the establishment of a new program and will consult widely with members of the community.

"On behalf of the Staff Association, and the Staff Compensation Committee, thank you to those who shared their views with the Committee."

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UW proposes actuarial degree in India

by Michael Strickland

UW is hoping the very best students of actuarial science in India will embrace a new international program proposed by the faculty of mathematics. A handful of UW administrators and academics — some in India and others on campus — last week outlined for 40 members of the General Insurance Council of India and the Life Insurance Council of India UW’s very preliminary plans to launch a master of actuarial science.

President David Johnston and Tom Coleman, dean of the faculty of mathematics, introduced UW and plans for the new MActSc during an information session in Mumbai, India, this week. They then asked faculty members Mary Hardy and Ken Seng Ten, who joined the meeting via videoconference from Waterloo, to address specific questions.

The proposed program will offer professionals a one-year elite route to the actuarial accreditation. The material will lead up to mid-level of the UK Actuarial Profession in and the North American-based Society of Actuaries.

While the program will be in no way limited to candidates from India, the country may benefit more than most. “There is an urgent need for university-educated actuaries to advance India’s evolving insurance industry,” explained Hardy, associate chair of actuarial science. “Waterloo’s new program will provide a fast track to create the actuarial talent the industry needs.”

Hardy anticipates the program will launch in fall of 2009 with 30 students. “If we find there’s demand and we can find the resources,” said Coleman, “we’d certainly be willing to expand.” Said Hardy: “We’re taking the elite of the elite. There are 8,000 student actuaries in India. We’re looking for 20 or so of the very best.”

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Souvenir of a banner year, and more

[Black banners on pole]UW's 50th Anniversary might be over, but in its aftermath, there's a chance to own a piece of Waterloo history, at least for anybody who's got plenty of wall space available. The 50th anniversary banners (left) that adorned the campus and streets of Waterloo over the past year are being made available to the campus community at no charge. There's a limit of one banner per person, on a first-come, first-served basis, says a memo from Bob Copeland, associate vice-president (development). "You can pick up your banner at the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, South Campus Hall (if you get there fast enough)," he writes. "Anyone receiving a banner is encouraged to make a donation to the 50th Anniversary Scholarship Endowment, although this is not mandatory." The banners are about five and a half feet (1.7 metres) long and two feet (60 cm) wide.

This Daily Bulletin includes the "When and where" calendar of events every day, but that's not the only one the university provides. For a more extensive calendar, stretching farther into the future and including more information about much of what's happening, you might want to consult — and organizers of events might want to use — the UWevents database, which is operated, as the Daily Bulletin is, by UW's office of Communications and Public Affairs. A note to those who list their lectures, concerts, workshops, seminars, parades, meetings, demonstrations and festivals in UWevents: you can (and should) enter your own listings directly into the database, using the same website. The more people who do so, the more useful the calendar will be.

[UW2TT logo]The UW Underwater Technology Team has sent out a sponsorship brochure inviting support for its continuing work and involvement in the Remotely Operated Submersible Vehicle Competition. "There are two vehicles currently in development," the brochure notes. "Neo I competed in the 2007 ROV Competition and will be modified to compete for 2008. Neo II is currently in the design stages and will compete in 2009. The highlights of Neo I include a six degree of freedom control method, a head-mounted display that reads the head movement of the pilot and moves the pan and tilt camera accordingly, and a hydraulic power unit to control the manipulator." Six members of the student team went to St. John's for last year's competition, it says, and "we look forward to the 2008 competition that will take place in California." UW2TT is looking for corporate sponsors to provide the $15,000 that it estimates will be needed this year.

A "lunch and learn" session for new faculty members is being held today, with a presentation on "New Faculty Identities as Teachers". • Two UW students, Donna Maratey of English and Shujath Khan of biology, are among the 16 members named to this year's "community editorial board" by the Record newspaper. • Members of the federal Liberal caucus are holding a retreat today and tomorrow at a Kitchener hotel, and a group of them are expected to visit campus tomorrow afternoon to meet with VIPs and check out the Institute for Quantum Computing.

And . . . UW's senate, the top academic governing body, will hold its monthly meeting today, starting at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. As always, the agenda includes an "environmental scan" in which president David Johnston will tell senate members what's happening at the federal and provincial level, as well as important developments on campus. The senate will also be asked to approve a revised version of Policy 40, the UW document that defines the work of department chairs and sets out how chairs are selected. (For the first time, under the new policy, there will be an explicit role for students in that selection process.) Other agenda items include proposed guidelines for UW's process of academic program reviews; a briefing from the provost on prospects for the 2008-09 budget; and a report from the registrar on entrance scholarships.


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Friday's Daily Bulletin