Wednesday, January 30, 2008

  • $9 million for campus energy, safety
  • Policy sets role of department chair
  • Some squibs in the daily squall
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Died on this day

When and where

Federation of Students media forum for executive candidates, students' council candidates and referendum questions, 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Islam Awareness Week sponsored by Muslim Students Association, activities in the Student Life Centre great hall include "Islam 101" workshop today 11:30; "Qur'an: The Living Miracle" 1:00.

‘Less Than Par book sale’ for UW bookstore (30 per cent off already reduced prices on selected titles), through Thursday, South Campus Hall concourse.

Employer interviews for spring co-op term begin today, continue through February 29.

[Album cover in red]
Free noon concert:
"For Children of Africa", music by Carol Ann Weaver, reprising Saturday night's concert and CD launch for "Every 3 Children", 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

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

Graduate studies in mathematics information session aimed at third and fourth-year undergraduates, 4:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Career workshop: "Starting Your Own Business, the Basics" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Waterloo Space Society general meeting 5:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 308.

CSI Waterloo, "premier mystery event" tonight 5:00 to 7:00, Mudie's cafeteria and Village I great hall, $10.

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

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Mark Sedra, UW political science, "The Search for Security in Afghanistan", 7:00 p.m., 57 Erb Street West.

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

School of Pharmacy application deadline for January 2009 admission is this Thursday.

Laurel Centre for Social Entrepreneurship presents Paul Born, Tamarack Institute, "Fewer Poor, Not Better Poor", Thursday 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116.

Ottawa alumni networking event Thursday 6:30 to 8:30, Canada Aviation Museum, guest speaker Peter Harder (BA 1975), former federal deputy minister, details online.

'Alice (Experiments) in Wonderland' drama department multi-point telematic performance for children and adults: Friday morning (10:30); 2:00 matinee Saturday and Sunday; evening (8:00) Thursday-Saturday, Theatre of the Arts, tickets $12 general, $10 students, $5 children, details online.

Conrad Grebel University College Benjamin Eby Lecture: James Reimer, Grebel faculty, on the nature and task of Christian theology in the 21st century, Friday 7:30, Grebel chapel, admission free.

Distinguished Teacher Award nomination deadline Friday; Exceptional Teaching by a Student Award nomination deadline February 8; details online.

Gradfest 2008 presentations and exhibitors about services offered to soon-to-be UW graduates, Monday 10:00 to 7:00, Student Life Centre; reception from 4:30 p.m., Bombshelter pub, details online.

'Differ/End: The Caledonia Project' researched and relived by UW drama department students, February 7-9 and 14-16 at 7:00, Studio 180, Humanities building, tickets $12 (students $10) at Humanities box office.

FASS 2008: "Global Warming: Kiss Your FASS Goodbye" February 7 and 9 at 8:00, February 8 at 7:00 and 10:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets $7 Thursday, $9 Friday and Saturday from Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

Class enrolment appointments for spring term undergraduate courses February 11-16; open enrolment begins February 19.

QPR suicide prevention training available February 11 (11:30), March 7 (12:00), April 11 (11:30), call ext. 33528 to register.

Class enrolment for spring term courses: appointments on Quest February 11-16, open enrolment begins February 19.

Loving to Learn Day, "an opportunity for everyone and anyone to share their reflections about their love of learning", February 15, details online.

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 (deadline this Friday).

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:

• Field coordinator, international territories, co-operative education and career services, USG 11
• Director of operations, Institute for Quantum Computing, USG 14

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

[The chaos of packing plastic bags]

'Food Buzz' is a web site operated by UW's food services with information about food shopping, food safety and storage, cooking, nutrition and etiquette. A key audience: the students living in the UW Place complex, where each suite has a kitchen but there's no central cafeteria. Last week food services hooked up with the UW Place dons, providing ingredients for a giveaway goody bag that was then delivered to every resident in the towers and courts. Bags contained "cooking ideas, recipes, ingredients and other cool stuff," all promoting the Food Buzz site, says marketing coordinator Heather Kelly. Pictured: the late-night bag-stuffing bee.

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$9 million for campus energy, safety

The Ontario government yesterday announced grants of $200 million to the province’s colleges and universities — including $9.1 million for Waterloo — to be spent on energy efficiency, “campus safety and security”, and “renewal of existing academic infrastructure”.

The money, the province said in a news release, is “part of the $1.4 billion infrastructure fund announced in the Fall Economic Statement”.

Provost Amit Chakma represented Waterloo at an event held yesterday morning at Conestoga College, featuring Leanna Pendergast, the Liberal MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga riding, who spoke about the grants coming to UW, Conestoga, and Wilfrid Laurier University.

[Aerial view of construction and empty land]“We are in the middle of a building boom,” Chakma told the group, “but the fact remains that the average age of a university building in Ontario is more than 30 years old. In fact our first academic building is 50 years old and is in need of significant repair. . . . This $9 million will support the University of Waterloo’s continuing efforts.” He later told the Record newspaper that UW "could use" not $9 million but $90 million for such purposes. (Left: the Doug Wright Engineering Building under construction, 1957-58.)

"Our government is to be commended for investing in campus renewal," added a statement from president David Johnston, calling the money "an investment that will allow us to better meet Canada's teaching and research needs. This $9 million will greatly support our continuing efforts to make our campus more energy efficient, safer and the type of environment that encourages learning, collaboration and innovation."

The province said the money was being provided for “energy efficiency — to help institutions increase efficiency, conserve energy and address health and safety and environmental concerns; campus safety and security initiatives — to assist institutions to improve safety and security systems and ensure students can complete their studies in safe and secure environments; and renewal of existing infrastructure — to help institutions maintain and repair their existing infrastructure.”

UW officials haven’t announced how they will use Waterloo’s share of the money, but vice-president (administration and finance) Dennis Huber has said in the past that there’s always a list of projects, many of them aimed at reducing energy consumption on campus, to be tackled when funding is available. Chakma commented that some important safety and infrastructure issues aren't visible to the naked eye — air quality in labs, for example — and officials will consult across campus as they plan what to do first.

"Our government's investment will help local communities across Ontario immediately by stimulating construction and creating jobs," said John Milloy, the minister of training, colleges and universities, and MPP for Kitchener Centre. He was speaking yesterday at George Brown College in Toronto. The government’s announcement said the funding “will be allocated to all of Ontario's publicly-funded colleges and universities based on established assessments of each institution's needs. Each institution will determine its spending priorities within these three areas.”

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Policy sets role of department chair

UW’s senate gave approval last week to a new version of UW Policy 40, the document that sets out what department chairs are supposed to do, how they’re appointed, and how they can be removed if necessary. The policy will go to the university’s board of governors for final approval on February 5.

The new policy, recommended by the Faculty Relations Committee, got only brief discussion before senate voted its approval. The main point brought up was a change in the normal length of a chair’s term: previously “normally three or four years, renewable for three or two years”, it’s now “up to four years, renewable for up to four years”, producing a maximum term of eight years rather than six.

“The chair is a first-among-equals,” said David De Vidi of the philosophy department, president of the UW faculty association and therefore co-chair of the Faculty Relations Committee along with the university’s provost. He pointed out another change in the new document: the requirement that a formal nominating committee be set up, and explicitly check opinion on the department, before there’s a recommendation that a chair be reappointed.

Provost Amit Chakma spoke about a new structure for such nominating committees, which include representatives of faculty and staff in the department plus several other members: a faculty member from outside the department, the dean, a delegate of the provost, and graduate and undergraduate students.

For the first time, under the new policy, the students on the committee are definitely voting members. But there’s a new “double majority” provision: “A successful candidate must have majority support from all voting members of the committee as well as majority support from the faculty and staff representatives of the department in the committee.”

The new policy includes some revisions to its section about the “duties and responsibilities” of a department chair (which also means the director of an academic unit that’s labeled “school” rather than “department”). An excerpt from that section: “The Chair has the dual role of representing the particular department's policies and points of view, and, as an officer of the Faculty, making independent judgments on total Faculty matters. The Chair will report directly to the Dean of the Faculty.

“In addition, the Chair is a member of the University’s academic leadership team and as such contributes to the academic mission of the University through formal and informal venues, and interacts with Chairs and other academic and academic support leaders from across the campus.

“Within the department, the Chair is responsible for providing academic and administrative leadership. In providing this leadership the Chair shall consult with the members of the department, providing them with an adequate basis of information concerning its operations, and ascertaining their views and ideas concerning the various aspects of departmental operations. The Chair normally will call regular department meetings, but alternative formal mechanisms of consultation may be developed.

“The principal duties of a Chair shall include the advancement of the academic mission of the unit, the upholding of the highest academic standards, the assignment of equitable responsibilities, the management of the departmental budget, the implementation of the academic program, the oversight of the department's support staff, the allocation of space, the carrying out of annual performance reviews, and recommendations on matters pertaining to promotion and tenure, new appointments and reappointments, and salaries.”

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Some squibs in the daily squall

The front page of this morning’s Record newspaper reports that the football Warriors will abandon University Stadium this fall for a newly built facility on the north campus. “The field is not much to look at right now,” writes reporter Christine Rivet, who’s been covering Warrior sports for years with a combination of timely news stories and perceptive interviews. “But come opening day, it will be up to Canadian Interuniversity Sport standards, featuring a scoreboard, press box and bleachers with seating for about 1,500 people. And if Warriors head coach Dennis McPhee has his way, tents will be set up to give the field a ‘county fair’ atmosphere. The Warriors' new field will be located south of the team's current practice field, near Columbia Street, and adjacent to the team's state-of-the-art dressing room.” There’s been no announcement from UW officials or discussion at any of the university’s governing bodies.

[Sedra]A recently arrived UW faculty member who has written extensively about the political and military importance of Afghanistan will be speaking tonight at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West. He's political scientist Mark Sedra (right), who is also a senior fellow at CIGI, and who "will provide insight into the Afghan security predicament and examine how it can be overcome", according to a CIGI announcement. It goes on: "Canadians have been inundated with news of a Taliban-led insurgency that is steadily gaining momentum, a burgeoning narcotics trade that has bred criminality and obstructed development, and growing government corruption and incompetence that has begun to alienate the local population. By contrast, the Canadian government has painted a picture of a desperate and fading Taliban movement opposed by a unified NATO alliance and an Afghan government that is increasingly capable and assertive. Amidst these contradictory messages, it has been difficult for the Canadian public to gain an accurate picture of what is happening in Afghanistan. The reality on the ground in Afghanistan, as Mark Sedra will show, is far more nuanced and complex than either of these conflicting narratives convey." His free lecture starts at 7:00 tonight.

Peggy Jarvie, head of the co-operative education and career services department, gave a report to the UW senate earlier this month, including a few words about efforts to find jobs for the students who were scheduled to be working this term but were unemployed when January rolled around. Staff are still pursuing employers, she said, and notifying students when something promising comes up. But there's a problem: "We have significant numbers of students who do not respond to e-mails from coordinators." She's thinking that e-mail may be an older-generation technology.

Just for the record, the lecture scheduled for last Friday night at St. Jerome's University was cancelled because the speaker, Ruben Habito of Southern Methodist University, was marooned in Texas thanks to a rare ice storm. • Imprint reports that a group of "Palestinian students and sympathizers" mounted a protest last Wednesday outside an information meeting about UW's recently launched exchange program with the University of Haifa, Israel. • The staff association body that has nixed any further effort to explore the issue of biweekly pay for staff members is not the members' advisory committee, as the association's president said a few days ago, but the area representatives committee.


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