Thursday, March 26, 2009

  • Town hall will address UW's finances
  • Artist speaks about 'crisis' and his Bell
  • Grebel presents its premier lectures
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Table has everything from a laptop to a basketball]

The UW Sustainability Project, a student-led movement, has had a booth in the Student Life Centre this week drawing attention to "Earth Hour" on Saturday night. Environment student Tania Cheng, one of UWSP's coordinators, promotes the 60 minutes, starting at 8:30 p.m., when organizers around the world hope a billion people will turn off their lights to support conservation. Events leading up to Earth Hour will include promotions at Warrior Weekend in the SLC on Friday and Saturday nights. "Retail Services have confirmed their participation," Cheng reports, "and we have been in talks with some residences to promote the event." Anybody who signs up in advance on UWSP's Facebook site "is automatically entered into a draw to win prizes including Raptors tickets, Klean Kanteens, gift certificates, movie passes and more." Supporters can also enter the raffle by signing up at the booth.

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Town hall will address UW's finances

UW president David Johnston and provost Amit Chakma will comment on the university’s financial situation, and answer questions, at a “town hall” meeting to be held April 8, aimed at staff and faculty members.

The event will come the day after the spring meeting of UW’s board of governors, which is expected to approve the 2009-10 operating budget and a 3 per cent cut in most spending. The budget was drafted with a further cut of 5 per cent in mind for the following year, Chakma told UW’s senate as it discussed the budget on Monday of this week.

“We have a difficult task ahead of us,” Chakma told the senate, although “Waterloo is going into this period in a relatively advantageous position,” relative to other universities.

We’ll know more about one aspect of the university’s finances a few hours from now, if the Ontario spring budget, to be presented this afternoon by finance minister Dwight Duncan, says anything definite about college and university grants for the year ahead. Chakma’s budget is built on the assumption that there will be no new money, but no actual cuts to the current level of grants.

As Johnston told the senate at Monday’s meeting, universities are under pressure from multiple directions. Enrolment growth has been “nearly double” what was expected; endowments and pension funds have dropped; costs keep going up at around 5 per cent a year. A recent report from the Council of Ontario Universities says the 19 institutions across the province have a total cumulative deficit of $511 million.

How does UW respond? Chakma called it a three-part program: expenditure control (being “even more conservative in filling positions” and starting projects); expenditure reduction (the 3 per cent cut); and revenue generation (new sources of income, such as full-fee programs and more international students).

One example of the austerity UW will see in the coming year: the rollover project, designed to replace out-of-date computing equipment in academic support areas, won’t get the $200,000 that would have been budgeted for this year. “That is not, at this stage, mission-critical.”

Said the provost: “We believe that we can manage without any layoffs, but I cannot guarantee it. . . . Laying off people is the last thing you want to do in dealing with this kind of crisis. We don’t want to lose people and wonder what happened, four or five years down the road.”

The 2009-10 budget, as approved by the senate finance committee earlier this month, involves spending of about $435 million in the twelve months that begin May 1. That’s up from $405 million in the current year — the 3 per cent cut to departmental budgets is more than outweighed by spending increases elsewhere, including money for salary increases and new activities as the university grows.

But that new spending is narrowly targeted, Chakma reminded the senate. “Apart from an investment in the library and an investment in student support,” he said, “we are really not making any increases.”

The town hall meeting, 13 days from now, will give an opportunity for more discussion of budget prospects and the university’s position in hard times. It’s scheduled to run from 3:00 to 4:30 on Wednesday the 8th, in the Humanities Theatre.

As with the last such meeting, held in November, staff and faculty are invited to submit their questions ahead of time by e-mail, to keep the meeting moving along and to make sure the meaty issues get raised. Questions should be sent to townhall@ by April 2.

I’ve been asked to help by collecting the questions that are submitted, screening out anything irrelevant (so please keep the topic to UW and its affairs), combining related questions, and arranging the questions in priority order. There’s no guarantee that every question will get asked publicly, but we’ll try, and if there are too many questions for the available time, I’ll ask the top executives to provide answers through the Daily Bulletin over the days that follow.

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Artist speaks about 'crisis' and his Bell

a news release from the Institute for Quantum Computing

Internationally renowned artist, Royden Rabinowitch, OC, will deliver a public speech on the artist’s response to humanity’s ongoing “crisis of being” caused by the ongoing scientific revolution and on his recent sculpture, "The Waterloo Bell – Bell for Kepler", at the Institute for Quantum Computing tonight at 7:00.

IQC director Raymond Laflamme says: “IQC is very pleased that the sculptor and the City of Waterloo wanted the 10-foot high steel sculpture to oxidize and 'marinate' in the intellectual ferment of experimental and scientific activities at IQC until the end of May 2009, when it will be placed in its permanent location in the new Civic Square at King Street and Willis Way.” IQC is in the Research Advancement Centre building at 475 Wes Graham Way on UW's north campus.

Using the scientific and artistic influences on his own works of art and referring to works by other major artists, Rabinowitch will address art's obligation to create powerful metaphors to facilitate comprehension of the continuing societal disruption caused by the truths discovered by the ongoing scientific revolution, including truths discovered by Waterloo’s theoretical physicists.

In that context he will talk about his own "Waterloo Bell – Bell for Kepler", commissioned by the City as a tribute to Waterloo’s past, present and future ability to juggle scientific analysis and faith, as did mathematician and astronomer, Johannes Kepler.

[Bell for Kepler]Said Laflamme: “The Bell is also an appropriate symbol of Rabinowitch’s talk at IQC on this important subject, as bells are a traditional call to community for discussion, alarm, worship and celebration. Appropriately, some may also think that in addition to looking like it is made of barrel parts, the Bell for Kepler sculpture (left) looks like an observatory or meridian lines. Coincidentally, the Kepler space telescope looking for other earths was launched last week.”

Rabinowitch has often said that in spite of his success that he would rather have been a theoretical physicist. His works are in major public and private collections around the world. The prestigious Stedelijk Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Amsterdam owns 44 of his major works, more than any other artist including Picasso, Judd, and Smith. More than 20 of his works constituted the largest single permanent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary in Geneva, Switzerland. They are also in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Watari Museum in Tokyo, and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. The National Gallery of Canada has more than 35 of his works in its permanent collection, and the Art Gallery of Ontario has 88.

Limited space is available. More information and registration are on the IQC web site.

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Grebel presents its premier lectures

a news release from Conrad Grebel University College

Ched Myers and Elaine Enns from Oak View, California, are a couple who have spent decades working in the fields of restorative justice, conflict transformation, and faith-based witness for justice. Enns is a mediator, consultant, educator, and trainer who provides mediation and consultation services for individuals, churches, schools and businesses. Myers focuses on building capacity for biblical literacy, church renewal and faith-based witness for justice. He has worked with many peace and justice organizations and movements, including the American Friends Service Committee, the Pacific Concerns Resource Center and the Pacific Life Community. The couple has recently finished writing a book together, entitled Ambassadors of Reconciliation: A Theology and Diverse Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.

Conrad Grebel University College is please to host Ched Myers and Elaine Enns as speakers for the 2009 Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist Mennonite Studies on Thursday and Friday. The Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. and are held in the great hall at Grebel.

“Ched and Elaine have a wealth of experience with peace research and restorative justice work,” said Ron Mathies, Grebel’s acting president. “Their commitment and passion for peacebuilding are inspirational and challenging.”

The overall theme for this year’s lectures is "Ambassadors of Reconciliation: Biblical and Contemporary Witnesses". Tonight the lecture title is "Ambassadors in Chains: Evangelizing the Powers." This lecture will looks at Ephesians 3 through the lens of Martin Luther King’s 1963 Letter from Birmingham City Jail. On Friday, the lecture title is "Women Clothed with the Sun: Facing the Beast." This lecture will use the evocative images in Revelation 12:1-6 to examine four different aspects of the “beast” of violence in our world: war, the death penalty, nuclear weapons, and murder. A reception will follow the Thursday evening lecture.

The Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies at Conrad Grebel were established in 2000 by Waterloo County businessman and farmer Lester Bechtel. The purpose of the lectureship is to foster interest in and understanding of Anabaptist/Mennonite faith and its relevance today by seeing it projected through the eyes of experts from a range of disciplines.


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Teaching award winners announced

Winners of two major UW awards were announced at Monday's meeting of the UW senate.

The Distinguished Teacher Award for 2009:
• Kerry Lappin-Fortin, French studies, St. Jerome's University
• François Paré, French studies
• Ian Rowlands, environment and resource studies
• Gordon Stubley, mechanical and mechatronics engineering

The Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student:
• Sara Ashpole, planning
• Kaitlyn Lankin, Germanic and Slavic studies
• Richelle Monaghan, biology
• David Takacs, architecture

Watch for citations for these winners in the Daily Bulletin later this spring.

Link of the day

Liver Health Month

When and where

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group 35th Birthday Bash 11:00 to 3:00, great hall, Student Life Centre.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Career workshops today: “Career Exploration and Decision Making” 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1112; “Law School Bound” 12:30, TC 1208; “Preparing for the LSAT” 1:30, TC 1208; “Teaching English Abroad” 2:30, TC 1208; “Getting a US Work Permit” 4:30, TC 1208. Details.

Chemical engineering seminar: Julia Greer, Caltech, “Mechanical Properties of Materials at Nano-Scale”, 3:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 307.

Philosophy colloquium: Penelope Maddy, University of California at Irvine, “Naturalism, Transcendentalism and Therapy”, 3:30, Humanities room 373. Also, “Thin Realism”, Friday 2:00, Perimeter Institute.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session 4:00, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Fundamental analysis seminar on investments in the current environment, organized by Wirex, 4:30, Math and Computer room 4021.

Fine arts graduating student exhibition, “As the Crow Flies”, opening reception 5:00 to 8:00, East Campus Hall; exhibition continues through April 10 in Render art gallery.

[Jersey with Patla's face]
Aftab Patla Memorial Cup recreational hockey game and kinesiology department fund-raiser 5:00 p.m., Columbia Icefield; get-together at Bombshelter pub follows. Details.

German film series: “A Little Bit of Freedom” (2003), 6:00, East Campus Hall room 1220.

Afghan charity talent show co-sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, 7:00, Eastwood Collegiate Institute, Kitchener, $10 at the door.

Yo' Couch Magic Show. Drama student and magician Shawn DeSouza-Coelho hosts magic show to raise funds for cultural/ academic exchange with Calabria, Italy, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, admission $5.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar: “Communication in a Family Business” Friday 7 a.m., Waterloo Inn.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Derek Kirkland, Graduate Admissions Project and document management system, Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

11th Annual Financial Econometrics Conference sponsored by Centre for Advanced Studies in Finance, Friday, Davis Centre rooms 1301 and 1302. Details.

Travel slide show: Don Duff-McCracken on Algonquin Provincial Park, Friday 12:15, Environment I room 221.

Federation of Students general meeting Friday 1:00, Student Life Centre great hall. Details.

International Year of Astronomy lecture: William E. Harris, McMaster University, “Galileo, Shakespeare and Van Gogh: Creative Reactions to the End of the World” Friday 7:00 p.m., CEIT room 1015.

UW Choir spring concert “Voices of Light” Friday 8 p.m., St. Louis Church, Allen Street East, tickets $10 (students $8).

Sugar and Spice party sponsored by Graduate Student Association to support K-W Outreach Program for children in need, Friday 8 p.m., Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery. Details and tickets.

Warrior Weekend activities in the Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday evenings: movies, food, crafts, dance show, UW Idol. Details.

‘Temptation’ sponsored by Association of Caribbean Students, Friday, Federation Hall, doors open 9:30 p.m., $14 at the door.

Environment and Business Conference (third annual) Saturday 8:00 to 4:00, South Campus Hall and other buildings. Details.

Music department open house and early entrance auditions for future students, Saturday, Conrad Grebel UC. Details.

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

UW Stage Band spring concert “Early Thaw” Sunday 2:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, tickets $8 (students $5).

UW Chamber Choir “Love Songs for Springtime” Sunday 7:00 p.m., Waterloo North Mennonite Church, Benjamin Road, tickets $10 (students $8).

TD Canada Trust Walter Bean Visiting Professorship: András Szöllösi-Nagy, Unesco, “Water for the 21st Century: Will There Be Any?” Tuesday 3:30, Humanities Theatre.

‘Single and Sexy’ auditions for 2009 production, April 6, 4:00 to 8:00, Humanities Theatre, information ext. 36358.

Pharmacy building official opening Friday, April 17, 10 a.m., by invitation. Community open house Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 10 Victoria Street South, all welcome.

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