Monday, March 3, 2008

  • 'Pretty cool' studying water treatment
  • Agenda for staff association meeting
  • Events of March, march of events
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

National Engineering Week

When and where

Social Work Week event: “World Café on Social Justice” luncheon 11:30 to 1:15, Renison College dining hall, information e-mail mreid@artsmail.

Co-op spring work term job rankings close 2:00; match results available 4:00 p.m. on JobMine.

English Society spelling bee 2:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Sexual health talk with UW health services, sponsored by Women’s Centre, 2:00, Student Life Centre room 2134.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Women in Mathematics Committee presents Julia Knight, Notre Dame University, “Comparing Classes of Structures”, 4:00, Math and Computer room 5158 (refreshments at 3:30).

International Women’s Week speaker: Judy Rebick, former president of National Action Committee on the Status of Women, presented by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group and Women’s Centre, 7:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116, admission free.

'Our Town: Kitchener-Waterloo' featured on WNED (Buffalo-Toronto PBS), 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Career workshop: “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” Tuesday 10:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Waterloo International open house for staff, faculty and students Tuesday 1:00 to 3:00, first floor of Needles Hall: hors d'oeuvres and desserts from around the world, information about international exchanges and volunteer opportunities.

‘Can men be feminist?’ panel marking International Women’s Week, Tuesday 1:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre room 2134.

Institute for Computer Research presents Eric Sutherland, TD Securities, “An Insider’s Perspective on TD Bank Financial Group”, Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Alumni networking workshop offered by Career Services, Tuesday 6:00 to 9:00, cost $20, registration online.

Cultural Caravan with performances from Hindu, Bengali, Iranian, Caribbean, Polish and other student clubs, plus ethnic food and displays, Tuesday 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Student Life Centre.

German film showings, public welcome, Tuesdays 6:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. This week: "The Ninth Day " (2004), information ext. 33687.

Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival March 5-9 at King Street Theatre Centre, sponsors include Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, schedule online.

Larry Bricker, co-op education and career services, reception to mark retirement after 39 years, Wednesday 3:30 to 5:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, RSVP ext. 36624.

Apple’s new iMac lunch-and-learn session sponsored by Campus TechShop, Thursday 12:00 noon, Math and Computer room 2066, RSVP ext. 36143.

10th annual Financial Econometrics Conference hosted by Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance, Friday, details online.

UW-DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) invitational competition and conference in marketing and management Friday-Saturday, details online.

UW alumni night at Toronto Raptors game Friday 7:00 p.m., details online.

March break open house for future students (formerly Campus Day) Tuesday, March 11, details online.

‘Tartuffe’ drama department major production, March 11 at 7:00 (preview by invitation), March 12-15 at 8:00, March 15 at 2:00, Theatre of the Arts, tickets $12 (students $10) 519-888-4908.

National curling championships for Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Canadian Curling Association, hosted by UW at Guelph and Elora Curling Clubs, March 12-16, details online.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “You-biquity: What Every Instructor Needs to Know about Social Software,” Tuesday, March 18, 3:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library, details online.

Warrior Women’s Awards Breakfast to support the Women’s Sport Initiative Fund, Wednesday, March 19, 7:15 a.m., University Club, tickets $40, details online.

FIRST Robotics tournament for high school students March 20-22, Physical Activities Complex, information online.

Good Friday holiday Friday, March 21, classes cancelled, UW offices and most services closed (libraries open 12:00 to 6:00).

Victoria, BC, alumni networking reception Tuesday, April 1, 6:00 to 8:00, EFB Esquimalt wardroom, details online.

Vancouver alumni networking reception Thursday, April 3, 6:30 to 8:30, H. R. MacMillan Space Centre, details online.

44th annual used book sale sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, April 18 (9:00 to 9:00) and 19 (9:00 to 1:00), First United Church, King and William Streets; book dropoff information online.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses: continuing students, June 2-14; new students, July 14-27; open enrolment begins July 28.

[Two women with smiles]'Pretty cool' studying water treatment

one of half a dozen features in UW’s new graduate student recruitment brochure

There must be something in the water at University of Waterloo’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Take Susan Andrews (at left in photo), associate professor, and Erin Moffat, a first-year master’s student studying under Andrews’s tutelage. Their CVs reveal a surprising number of similarities. Launch academic undergraduate career in science. Check. Specialize in analytical chemistry. Check. Get a job in a research lab working on projects related to water treatment. Check. Fall in love with the drinking water industry and decide to stay put. Check.

“Drinking water is something everybody can relate to. But I get to learn about what isn’t known about drinking water — and how much of it is chemically related,” says Andrews.

Moffat, who has been working with Andrews since she was an undergrad student in environmental science, admits it’s been a happy accident that she’s ended up where she is, spending a quarter of her time at the Region of Waterloo’s Mannheim biofiltration plant as part of her studies.

“When I graduated I really didn’t see myself working with engineers or getting any sort of engineering post-graduate degree. But it’s pretty cool being here in the plant. It’s different than being in the lab all day,” she says.

The women work closely together, but often on different projects that focus on organic contaminants in drinking water, including by-products created as a consequence of introducing chlorine and other disinfectants. Moffat is currently helping out on a project that tests different filter media to determine which best removes particles and bacteria.

“To be honest, most research these days is more about tweaking than pure eureka moments, but it’s still very important,” says Andrews. “Even a tweak of one per cent in the cost of running a plant can mean millions of dollars.” Moffat agrees seemingly small gains in the industry are fascinating, but it’s the community of Kitchener-Waterloo, the friends she’s made, and the inspiring professors that make her want to stay. “We have really great faculty here,” she says. “They’re excited by what they do and they teach great classes.”

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Agenda for staff association meeting

Jesse Rodgers, president of the UW staff association, gives some background to the general meeting scheduled for tomorrow

The UW Staff Association is an organization with approximately 1,300 members and an annual operating budget of $115,000. It currently collects a members monthly fee of $5 to cover its operational costs. These costs include one part-time staff person, legal and other consulting fees, event costs, a newsletter, office equipment, COUSA membership and participation, awards, and other miscellaneous costs.

UWSA day-to-day business is largely focused on member advocacy with staff relations issues on campus. The organization does not currently have the resources to meet expectations of many staff or provide valuable services to its members. This lack of resources puts immense strain on its executive members.

An organization needs a clear direction and reference point to aim for. The tool to develop that reference point has been a Constitution and By-Laws reform that simplifies the organizations core reference and sets out a general set of values to build upon. The proposed changes include: a mission, vision, and value statement; two years for executive members; no president-elect, President has two year term, two years as past president; introduces new roles: Privacy Officer, Exec Manager (advocate); Exec Manager is a new full-time employee.

In order to meet the needs of UWSA members that require assistance with disputes, as well as focus on other enhanced services, a new role needs to be created. This role will largely be based on the University's Ombudsperson position (USG 11) and report to the UWSA President. The Executive Manager will initially take on the role of Staff Advocate as described under the newly revised Policy 36 (Dispute Resolution) for UWSA members that request an advocate be present.

One of the biggest concerns many staff have expressed is that they want the UWSA to be able to support someone who is a victim of poor management, harassment, bullying, etc. To do this the UWSA needs to not provide an advocate but be able to support a member that may need to take legal action once all recourse allowed under UW Policy (dispute resolution tribunal) has been exhausted. To do that the UWSA may need to cover the costs of legal council for members. In order for that to happen a fund needs to exist to cover that. The amount suggested at the Town Hall was $250,000. This may be high, it may be low. A committee of members can provide the UWSA Executive with advice on that over the coming months. The proposed fee increase is not for the creation of this fund.

Finally, the UWSA needs to provide more relevant and better services to its members. What these are exactly is unclear; however, some suggestions include ensuring interest free loans for members seeking education, help with day care, larger community presence through events or sponsorships, etc. This to needs to be explored in the coming months.

In order to achieve these things, a Special General Meeting is called for March 4, 2008, in Math and Computer building room 1085. The UWSA Executive proposes the following:
• Introduction and procedural notes (start promptly at 8:40 a.m.)
• UWSA By-Law change (Draft Dated February 8, 2008)
• Membership dues: Resolved, (a) The UWSA membership monthly fee for members in USG 1-6 and Housekeeping Staff is $7; (b) The UWSA membership monthly fee for members in USG 7-10 is $11; (c) The UWSA membership monthly fee for members in USG 11 and above is $15.
• Adjournment: 9:30 a.m.

An agenda is posted on the UWSA web site. If the vote is proven successful the UWSA Executive will immediately begin to follow the steps outlined in the UWSA Town Hall (December 11, 2007): A hiring committee of two Executive members and three members-at-large will determine hiring criteria and be in place to handle the interviewing of an Executive Manager. An Executive Manager position will be posted and a successful candidate recruited and in place no later than May 1, 2008.

A committee of nine members will be recruited that will develop a terms of reference for a ?members fund? to fund legal assistance for members. This committee?s draft report to the UWSA Executive will be expected by May 15 with a final report by June 15. This report should include the size of the fund and the requirements for its use. A committee of nine members will be recruited to look at additional services the UWSA can offer its members. A draft report to the UWSA Executive will be expected by May 15. A final report on services and costs would be completed by June 30.

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Events of March, march of events

[International Celebration Week logo]It's going to be a busy week for student-oriented activities on campus, as International Women's Week coincides with UW's own International Celebration Week. The Women's Centre in the Student Life Centre has a number of special events taking place — see the "When and where" column for details on some of them — while the schedule for ICW was still growing and changing late last week. It's "the opportunity of the year," says Darcy Higgins of the Federation of Students, "to check out what's happening on campus, organized by students and with many partnerships, representing our diversity and keen interest in equality. Staff are especially invited to check out all the events. . . . Highlights of this week include Judy Rebick on Monday evening, Cultural Caravan on Tuesday evening, EWB's Be Orange Thursday, and the Cultural Fusion Fashion Show on Friday night. Staff can come out to meet students on Monday for the Sikh Langar Day and Aboriginal Soup & Fried Bread in the SLC." I don't have details for a number of those events, but "Soup and Fried Bread" happens in the Student Life Centre great hall from 2:00 to 4:00 today ("bring your drum to participate in a drum circle"). Food services is getting into the international act, by the way, with European delicacies today at Festival Fare in South Campus Hall, South American food on Tuesday at REVelation in Ron Eydt Village, and so on.

A new version of the UW logo was introduced a couple of weeks ago, and Dianne Keller of UW Graphics has some eagerly awaited news about how people can use it: "Graphics would like to notify Faculties and Departments that we are ready to begin printing their letterhead and business card requests. The UW envelopes are supplied by Central Stores; they have an inventory of stock that will be depleted before a new printing is issued and stocked. Also a reminder — for UW logos and Wordmarks (print, web and Microsoft Office files) please go to the Graphics download site. There is also a link from this page to the UW Visual Identity Guide that answers any questions you may have regarding UW's visual identity."

[The conventional team pic, until you look closely]
Don't call them old-timers: just call them the Worriers, UW's trophy-winning entry in the 31st annual Faculty and Staff Hockey Tournament, held weekend before last at the University of Guelph. "We went a perfect 5-0 in defeating Lakehead, WLU, Western, York and Guelph," reports Bill Eickmeier of the psychology department, third from left in the back row.

It was a few weeks ago that the most recent issue of the faculty association’s Forum newsletter went out, but it’s not yet available on the association web site. Here are a few sentences from its lead article, by association president David DeVidi, which may still be of some interest: “The ‘Waterloo Way’ is often touted as a real advantage for this university. While the details of what the Waterloo Way is have never been particularly clear to me, in part it involves being flexible and able to react quickly to changes in circumstances, and part of that flexibility is a history of rational cooperation between the administration and the faculty. In the long run rational cooperation is sustainable only if all parties can trust one another; and trust can be eroded by people trying to do the right thing, especially if they’re in a rush. Even a right decision, if reached in the wrong way, can have unfortunate consequences. UW faculty have no desire to put in place rigid procedures that will prevent productive changes in the way things are done. But if the appropriate level of trust is to be maintained, it seems pretty clear that decisions about what counts as a productive change need to be collegial decisions, not administrative fiats.”

And . . . Ontario University Athletics has announced all-star teams in more of its sports, as the seasons one by one come to an end. Honoured from Waterloo lately were Gillian Maxwell, an all-star in women's basketball; Jenna Bell, track and field; and Bojana Josipovic and Gaby Lesniak, women's volleyball.


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