Monday, October 5, 2009

  • Plan calls for combined day care centre
  • Sexuality student projects include film
  • Advice on calendars: stick to Bookit
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Plan calls for combined day care centre

The plans for a new child care centre at UW, replacing three existing smaller centres, became official Friday as Catharine Scott, associate provost (student services), issued a one-page statement summarizing what's on the way.

Three separately incorporated day care facilities — Paintin’ Place, Klemmer and Hildegard Marsden — operate on UW’s campus and provide child care primarily for staff, faculty and students. In addition there is an Early Childhood Education Centre in UW's psychology department, and the commercially operated Kids and Company chain has a branch in TechTown on the north campus, but those two centres are not part of the project that Scott announced on Friday.

Says her memo: "For some time the University has been concerned about the need for more day care spaces and for the challenges under which these centres operate. Paintin’ Place is in a student centric space, utilizing what should otherwise be a communal space for first year students; Hildegard Marsden was originally built with used portables which long ago passed their optimum usage timeline; Klemmer is in an old and unsuitable building which was converted to day care space.

"UW administration has been working with the three day cares for some time to find a way to enhance these facilities. Early in 2009, the Provost approved a capital request to provide $1.6 million from the University as well as a loan for $1.4 million to the centres so that a new and larger facility could be built. This new facility will combine all three day care centre operations under one roof with one operating board. The centre will provide more spaces for a total of approximately 190 in total and will likely be situated on the north campus. Capital funds have also been requested from government granting agencies but the success of this is unknown at present. If received, these funds will ensure that the facility envisioned can be achieved.

"The three day care facilities have run excellent operations that have served the needs of our university community for many years under very trying and challenging conditions. UW Plant Operations has been an enormous help in keeping their facilities operational but the time has come to address our growing need for more space as well as one that is modern and without the challenges of retrofitting and constant repairs. This new facility is anticipated to be ready in 2011.

"Operating this new facility will be financially challenging because of the low margin in which day care facilities operate — there is absolutely no room for an empty spot since every space needs to be filled in order to meet their financial commitments. The aim is always to respond to the needs of staff, students and faculty, but in the event there are none of these on a waiting list, the practice of giving preference to alumni and then other community members will continue so that the new day care can meet its financial obligations and pay off its loan to the university.

"An extremely generous contribution on behalf of the Staff of University of Waterloo will go a long way to helping achieve this. Funds previously not used by the Staff Recognition Fund have been committed to the day care centres to assist them in the construction and operation of this new facility. This gesture by staff at the University of Waterloo says a lot about the commitment and vision of our staff to UW excellence and its future."

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Sexuality student projects include film

a news release from the SMF program at St. Jerome’s University

One of the most innovative of UW’s interdisciplinary programs is the Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies program, housed at St. Jerome’s. Offering students the opportunity to delve into aspects of relationships from an interdisciplinary perspective, SMF has recently become an honours major.

Two new faculty appointments have broadened the interdisciplinarity of the offerings. Tracy Penny Light is an historian whose research focuses on how medical science plays a key role in constructing gender and sexuality. Her teaching brings the historical method to areas like Couples, Marriages and Families, as well as new core courses in the History of Sexuality. There are also special topics that explore areas like men and masculinities and gender, sex and history in film. In addition, Penny Light brings her experience in educational technology and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Toni Serafini is the most recent addition to the program. Her area of expertise is family studies and her research explores identity construction across the lifespan: how we construct our sense of self and how experiences, relationships, and life transitions impact our identity. She is also a practising Couple and Family Therapist and brings her clinical experience to courses that cover parent, child, and family relationships; the formation and maintenance of close relationships; and crisis, conflict and sexuality.

SMF students are challenged to conduct their own research and present it in a variety of ways. For instance, students have constructed ePortfolios of their work in sexual ethics, and have completed presentations on he use and abuse of power in intimate relationships, how human sexuality is portrayed in children’s books and teen magazines, parent-child conflict and child abuse, the relationship between online dating and relationship formation, and the exploration of sexual desire and intimacy across the lifespan. Students have even explored the ways in which Disney films construct gender roles.

Such projects — even including poster studies about inclusivity on campus — were shown off at the first annual SMF Student Symposium, held at St. Jerome’s on Friday afternoon, which also celebrated the launching of the new SMF Student Society. Kevin Nixon, a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Toronto, spoke on “Drag Queens and Anthropology: Considering Anthropological Perspectives on Sex and Gender”, and a student panel commented on the paper from different disciplinary perspectives. “Understanding the different perspectives that shape our understanding of sexuality, marriage, and family, is an important focus of the program,” notes Penny Light.

A new research methods course, a key feature of the new major, is taught by Serafini and will introduce the philosophy and methods of social science and humanities research, with a focus on how research in the areas of sexuality, relationships, and families is conducted. “This is an exciting time for both faculty and students,” says Serafini. “Never before have our students had an opportunity to really sink their teeth into unpacking process of conducting research specific to sexuality, relationships, and families.”

BJ Rye, director of the SMF program, has been working for many years to see SMF grow into a full honours program. “I am really excited,” she says. “The SMF symposium will be an excellent opportunity to celebrate the exciting projects and initiatives of our students. I am very proud of the calibre of work that is coming out of the SMF program.”

A group of students in SMF 310, “Sexual Ethics”, recently completed a project on “The Eroticization of Lesbians in the Media.” The project, culminating in a short documentary film, exposed the discomfort that many UW students, faculty, and staff had with identities that were not strictly heterosexual. Despite an active gay and lesbian community on campus, this project (and others) has revealed that UW could be a more inclusive campus. To further their work, the students, Jenn Wunder, Kayla Orr, Alexandra Wendel, Jestine Hammer, and Courtney Hanley, applied to the Arts Endowment Fund and were awarded $12,000 to complete a full-length documentary exploring inclusivity on campus. The film, which will be completed in early 2010, will be donated back to UW for orientation activities and to promote inclusivity on campus. It will also be used in various SMF courses.

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Advice on calendars: stick to Bookit

"Many people have been asking about the future of Bookit (Oracle Calendar)," writes Bob Hicks, director of client services in the information systems and technology department, in an update aimed at faculty and staff who use the Bookit system for their appointments. "Those that use Bookit, use it often," he says, "and depend on it to book meetings, meeting rooms, and other resources. While Bookit has served us well, it is no longer supported by Oracle. That means Bookit will no longer be enhanced with new features.

"An IST project was started in November of 2008 to determine if Exchange Calendar was a suitable replacement for Bookit. Computing support staff from across the campus were invited to participate in the project, and many did. The project team conducted a survey to find out what UW faculty and staff wanted in an electronic calendaring system. To make a long story short, people want their electronic calendaring system to do everything!

"Those using Exchange and Outlook for electronic mail will eventually use the desktop client for Exchange Calendar. Others will use the web client for Exchange Calendar. The problem is the current web client for Exchange Calendar is too light on features (i.e. it can’t do what Bookit can do). A new version of Exchange Server, Version 2010, will be available sometime during the Fall term. The information we have read about this new version of Exchange Server sounds promising in that the Exchange Calendar web client is enhanced. Once this new version is in place, we will need time to learn about the new features, develop training materials, and offer training. We hope that will be in the Spring 2010 term, but we’ll have to see. In the meantime we will continue to use Bookit.

"People that have migrated to Outlook/Exchange for email have been asking if they can use Exchange Calendar now. The short answer is yes, but only for scheduling their own groups. It is important to know that those that need to book meetings with others outside their group need to continue using Bookit to do that. Also, people will continue to invite you to meetings in Bookit. Keeping two agendas up-to-date (in Bookit and in Exchange Calendar) is not ideal. The other issue is we don’t have enough experience with booking resources (e.g. rooms) in Exchange Calendar, so we have minimal ability to help with problems.

"My suggestion is to continue to use Bookit. The project team will reconvene once the new Exchange Server 2010 is in place."


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[Group on the floor]

A million dollars: that's how much money has come to UW thanks to phone calls placed by Nicole Deckert. She's at the front in this group of "student development associates" who reach alumni and friends of UW from the call centre in South Campus Hall. Deckert becomes the fifth student caller to reach the million-dollar level. She has been working in the call centre since the fall of 2005, and just finished her BA in psychology and social development studies.

Link of the day

World Teachers' Day

When and where

Employer interviews for winter term co-op jobs (main group) October 2-29; ranking opens October 30, 1:00 p.m. Details.

Imaginus poster sale in the Student Life Centre, Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Warrior golf Guelph Invitational today at Cutten Club, Guelph.

Faculty of Education Talks by representatives of eight Ontario institutions today, sessions at 10:30, 12:30 and 2:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Career workshop: “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

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

Embassy Church, 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

Retail Services open house and grand opening for new and renovated stores (Bookstore, Waterloo Store, Write Stuff, and E-Smart, all in South Campus Hall; Campus Tech, Student Life Centre), Tuesday and Wednesday. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Making Sense of Your Course Evaluations” Tuesday 9:30 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Keystone Campaign Run/Walk for Excellence Wednesday 11:45, around ring road starting at Davis Centre. Details.

‘Navigating Through the University Application Process’ brown-bag seminar aimed at faculty and staff who know future students, Wednesday 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116.

‘How Green Is UW?’ discussion with UW Sustainability Project, Wednesday 5 to 7 p.m., Environment I courtyard.

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

Jake Sivak, recently retired from school of optometry, reception celebration Friday 4 to 6 p.m., University Club.

Thanksgiving Day holiday Monday, October 12, UW offices and most services closed, classes cancelled.

Niagara Falls and winery tour organized by Federation of Students and International Student Connection, October 16, buses leave UW 9 a.m., tickets at Fed office, Student Life Centre.

Faculty of Mathematics building project ground-breaking October 16, 1:00, site north of existing Math and Computer building.

Town Hall meeting for faculty and staff with UW president and vice-presidents, October 20, 3:00 to 4:30, Humanities Theatre; e-mail questions to townhall@

Hagey Lecture: Vandana Shiva, “Earth Democracy: Beyond Dead Democracy and Killing Economies” October 21, 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Free, register online. Student colloquium, “Soil Not Oil: Food Security in Times of Climate Change” October 22, 9:30 a.m., Environment I room 221.

Ninety-Ninth Convocation Saturday, October 24, ceremonies at 10:00 (applied health sciences, arts) and 2:30 (other faculties), Physical Activities Complex. Details.

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