Monday, March 16, 2009

  • 'Challenge' ahead for co-op positions
  • Lecture today on leisure in hard times
  • Shut up! and other sounds of spring
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Five in hallway]

Live actors and film are both part of the drama department's big spring production, "Mad Forest", a story of the Romanian revolution of 1989. After a by-invitation performance for arts alumni and other guests tomorrow, the play runs Wednesday through Saturday nights, with a Saturday matinee, in the Theatre of the Arts. Playing multiple roles are (left to right in this scene) Aimee Villapando, David Lam, Jessica Smith, Chai Lavie and Derek Cvitkovic.

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'Challenge' ahead for co-op positions

The impact of Canada's economic conditions on jobs for UW students is — so far — "lower than might be expected", says Peggy Jarvie, executive director of co-op education and career services, reporting on how things are going for the winter and spring terms.

People across campus "are concerned, as are CECS staff, about the impact of the economic situation on student hiring," she said in a memo last week. "So far, the impact is lower than might be expected; however, we are seeing a greater challenge as we approach the Spring term."

Some details for the winter work term, now more than half over: "The final Winter 2009 employment rate, all in, is 97.3%, with 134 participating students left unemployed. Most are junior (first or second work term) students, who comprised just under half the participating students. Employment rates for intermediate and senior students are close to 99%. The employment rate for Winter ’09 compares favourably with last year’s rate of 98.1%, when about the same number of students were participating.

"This employment rate is a significant accomplishment in today’s economy. Over 1,100 students were still seeking employment at the beginning of Fall term exams, compared to about 750 at the same time last year. Students’ hard work — and the exceptional efforts of CECS staff — have resulted in a very positive outcome for Winter 2009."

As for the spring (May-to-August) term, "The current employment statistics show 4,681 students scheduled for co-op work terms. This is an increase over Spring 2008 of about 600 students, spread across all Faculties. As of March 4, following last week’s main match, 2,266 (51%) were employed. Compared to this time last year, 35 more students are employed, although the employment rate is lower due to the larger number of students scheduled. The continuous round of interviews begins this week.

"The number of employed students at this time is driven, partly, by a substantial increase in the number of students returning to work terms with previous employers. About 800 students, compared to fewer than 700 this time last year, are returning. This term’s match, after the main round of job interviews, was more efficient than in previous years. (There were offers made for a higher proportion of openings available.)

"However, the number of openings available had decreased by 28% this year over last. Job openings for the continuous round are also lower than anticipated. Continued hard work on the parts of both co-op students and CECS staff will be required to secure as much co-op employment as possible for the Spring term. New marketing programs, co-ordinators focusing on job retention and development, and additional support for students are included in the initiatives CECS has underway."

Jarvie notes that UW itself "continues to be our largest co-op employer. Additional funding is available for 2009 for Undergraduate Research Internships, available to both co-op and regular students. Students in their first co-op work terms are eligible for up to $2,500 support; all other students may receive up to $1,500. More details will be communicated this week. Faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of this additional funding to support their research and co-op employment."

And she added a note about job postings for graduating students, which are handled through Career Services, also in the Tatham Centre, "and had been steadily growing over the past few years. Not surprisingly, job postings have fallen off in this area as well, although numbers of postings for 2009 grads are still increasing weekly."

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Lecture today on leisure in hard times

based on a release from the UW media relations office

In a public talk today, an American expert will make a plea for more leisure time in order to improve the quality of life during a weakened economy. Benjamin Hunnicutt, professor of leisure studies at University of Iowa, will speak on "Time to Live: The Forgotten Dream of Progress, the Healthy Alternative to Work Without End". The talk is part of UW's Hallman Visiting Professorship Lecture Series on Work and Health and starts at 4:30 p.m.

It will be given in room 1621 of the Hallman Institute building (the west wing of Matthews Hall). That room was originally known as the Mutual Life Auditorium, honouring the corporation that helped fund its construction, and in recent years has been the Clarica Auditorium after Mutual Life adopted the Clarica name. A few weeks ago new signs went up marking it as the Sun Life Auditorium, reflecting the merger of Clarica with the venerable insurance firm of Sun Life Financial.

"As the leading expert on shorter working hours and a champion of social progress, Ben Hunnicutt's public lecture is a must-see for policy makers, elected officials and plain old-fashioned citizens who genuinely care about the civilized future of work and leisure," said Troy Glover, director of the Healthy Communities Research Network at UW.

"His message is timely as we struggle to find our way forward in the current economic crisis. Ben challenges us to revisit and reconsider our collective values as a society bent on unfettered consumerism."

For most of his academic career, Hunnicutt researched the end of shorter working hours. He addresses the question: Why did Americans stop reducing their work time, a process they had enthusiastically supported for a century, and begin desperately creating more work for more people around 70 years ago?

He has explored the rise of the world of total work — the unique modern, progressive glorification of work and trivializing of leisure. Rather than a time to be with family and to spend on community, spiritual, and artistic pursuits, leisure has become a time to be fully passive. Today, people watch sporting events and consume, with leisure seen as down time.

Hunnicutt is the author of Kellogg's Six-Hour Day, which examines the cereal company's 30-hour work week during the Great Depression. The shorter work week proved so popular that vestiges of it lasted until the mid-1980s. Morale improved and 85 per cent of workers liked the change despite the lower pay.

He also is the author of Work Without End: Abandoning Shorter Hours for the Right to Work as well as Western History of Leisure: Handbook of Leisure Studies. And he is past co-director of the Society for the Reduction of Human Labor.

Future lectures in the work and health series, hosted by UW's faculty of applied health sciences: April 2 — "Work-Life Balance: Rhetoric versus Reality", Linda Duxbury, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University. April 22 — "Pressure Zone or Pleasure Zone? How Family Life Impacts Work-Life Balance", Tess Kay, Institute of Youth Sport, Loughborough University, England. May 13 — "Occupational Health: Research to Practice to Policy and Back Again", Barbara Silverstein, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Because space is limited in the auditorium, reservations are advised; call ext. 32010.

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Shut up! and other sounds of spring

Noise is an eternal issue in the Davis Centre library, but changes are coming, the library has announced: “Exam time is just around the corner and things will be getting quieter — much quieter. In response to student demand, DC staff will be taking a firm stance on noise, transforming the Library into a quiet Exam Study Zone for the exam period of March 29 to April 24.” The Davis Centre Library will be divided into two zones, an announcement explains. Colour-coded Red are “Silent Study Zones. No talking. Headphones must be used with any device that could be heard by others.” Coded Yellow are “Quiet Study Zones. Quiet talking is allowed. Headphones must be used with any device that could be heard by others.” And more: “Students will be required to turn their cell phones to silent prior to entering the Library and hot or aromatic food will not be allowed (although covered drinks like coffee will still be permitted). Students disregarding these guidelines will be asked to leave the Library. The Exam Study Zone is being created in direct response to students’ many requests for reduced noise and increased quiet study space in Davis. Students have provided feedback to this effect through comments cards, discussion groups, and numerous surveys. The ultimate goal of the Exam Study Zone is to support students’ exam preparation by providing an environment that is pro-study and anti-disruption.”

[Working at whiteboard]The faculty of math, which spreads the word about the wonders of numbers through its Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, has expanded its list of outreach activities to include featured video clips in the mainstream media. The front page of Friday's Record featured an article about the CEMC, complete with a large photo of instructor Troy Vasiga. There's also a companion item on the Record's website: an eight-minute video clip of Vasiga (right) solving the sort of problem that’s designed to make math fun for youth.

Fifty grade 11 students will being spending their March Break at UW as part of the Waterloo Unlimited enrichment program. Students arrived yesterday — including 10 from out of province — and immediately began exploring the theme of Design in the context of fine arts, biology, psychology, engineering, math and more. Lectures all week will feature design approaches by various disciplines, student panels will give perspectives on university life, and evening sessions will inspire with local design success stories such as Engineers Without Borders. “Students will be fully immersed each day from 8:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night,” says Rae Crossman, program director for Unlimited. “Skills sessions and hands-on workshops will introduce the visiting students to the Design Process, Oral Presentations, Idea Generation and Creativity. They will apply learned design principles in a day-long collaborative exercise, called a charrette, planning the ideal 21st century high school.” Several of the week’s talks and an open house on Friday night are open to the public (details are online).

Friday’s issue of Imprint announced that Michael L. Davenport has been named the student newspaper’s new editor-in-chief, to succeed Maggie Clark, editor since the fall of 2007. • Maryanne Rose, who has worked on campus since 1995, originally at Renison University College and most recently as assistant to the registrar at St. Jerome’s University, will officially retire April 1. • The staff association has had to return the $21 fees paid by some of its members to cover a discount group membership at the retailer Sam’s Club, after the announcement that Sam’s Club stores across Canada are going out of business.


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Link of the day

Brain Awareness Week

When and where

Staff annual performance appraisals due at human resources department today.

Earth Sciences and Chemistry building elevator out of service March 16 through April 20 for modernization.

Teaching workshop: “Teaching Philosophy Statement” 10:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Management sciences seminar: “Current Status and Future Prospects for Semidefinite Programming” 12:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 4333.

‘Can reading gay history make you gay? On thinking about sex historically,’ Elise Chenier, Simon Fraser University, 3:30, St. Jerome’s University room 2017.

Fantasy author K. V. Johansen reads at St. Jerome’s University, 4:00 p.m., room 3027.

Hallman Lecture: Benjamin Hunnicutt, University of Iowa, “The Forgotten Dream of Progress, the Healthy Alternative to Work Without End” 4:30, Hallman Institute room 1621. Details.

Head shaving and dyeing event to raise funds for ROOF, agency for homeless youth in Kitchener, 4:45, Renison UC great hall.

Free the Children presents the film “Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars” 5:30, Biology I room 271.

Soirée Ciné: “Astérix et Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre” (2005) 18h00, St. Jerome’s University salle 3027.

St. Patrick’s Day at the Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre, Tuesday, breakfast special, then free after 11:00.

March break open house for applicants and their families, Tuesday 9:00 to 3:00. Details.

St. Patrick’s Day lunch at University Club, Tuesday 11:30 to 2:00, reservations ext. 33801.

Chemistry in society lecture: John Honek and Elisabeth Daub, “How Chemists Are in a Fight for Your Life: The Impact of Chemistry on Antibiotic Drug Discovery” Tuesday 3:00 p.m., Biology I room 271.

Techno Tuesday: “Personal Brain” workshop sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Tuesday 3:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions” Tuesday 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Schnitzel anyone? Join other UW employees at the Metro Restaurant, 164 Victoria Street North, Kitchener. Tuesday 5:30 p.m. Email to register.

Jewish Studies lecture: Linda Safran, University of Toronto, “The Arts of Passover from Antiquity to Today” Tuesday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s University.

Brown Bag Lunch session from Staff Association and Credit Union: “Let's Talk Mortgages” Wednesday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Greenpeace Climate Solutions Tour, free lecture by Bruce Cox, executive director of Greenpeace, presented by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Wednesday 5:30 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 302.

‘Dragons’ Den’ series on CBC television visits in search of aspiring entrepreneurs to appear during the new season: auditions Thursday 11:00 to 6:00, Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Ontario Centres of Excellence overview seminar and “Characteristics of a Great Research Project” Thursday 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Graduate Student Association annual general meeting Thursday 6:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. Details.

Engineering play (details to be announced) March 19-21 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students, March 20-22, Physical Activities Complex; public competitions Friday 9:30 to 4:00, Saturday 9:30 to 4:15, admission free. Details.

Executive Awards Gala with presentation of 2008-09 Federation of Students awards, Friday 6:30 p.m., Federation Hall, dinner and dance tickets $15 at Federation office, Student Life Centre.

Science and Business Students Association presents "Fusion: The Economy of the Future” Saturday 8:00 to 5:00, Rod Coutts Hall. Details.

Systems design engineering student project showcase, Wednesday, March 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Davis Centre foyer.

QPR suicide prevention presentations Wednesday, March 25, and Monday, April 20, 11:30 to 1:00, Math and Computer room 4068, register ext. 33528.

TVO's AgendaCamp with Steve Paikin, Sunday, March 29, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Davis Centre. Live broadcast Monday, March 30, 8 p.m. Details.

Application deadlines for September 2009 undergraduate admission: general deadline, March 31 (some exceptions). Details.

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Friday's Daily Bulletin