Friday, April 30, 2010

  • Old year ends; changes as of May 1
  • Staff member mourned; other notes
  • News from the library, pharmacy, IST
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Oldfield on Dana Porter Library promenade]

Today is the last day before retirement for Bill Oldfield, “Networked Information Research Associate” in the UW library. Oldfield started his career 32 years ago as head of the cataloguing department, moving to the systems department in 1992. “His accomplishments,” says a colleague, “include leading the cataloguing department out of a seemingly insurmountable backlog and later providing the initial impetus for the creation of the library's first online catalogue. The Internet Resource Committee, which Bill chaired, went live with a full-fledged web-based electronic library and won the Innovative Technology award from the Ontario Library Information Technology Association for 1994. Bill has also provided service to the University of Waterloo and library communities — highlights include his role on the organizing committee for the first ever WatITis conference.” At a get-together last week to commemorate his retirement, colleagues described Oldfield's defining characteristics in three words: "enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge." A former co-worker added: "Every organization needs the folks that see things differently. Bill did that for UW."

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Old year ends; changes as of May 1

Happy new year! That’s a greeting that can be used more often at Waterloo than most places. The university marks not only the calendar year, starting January 1, but an “academic cycle” starting in September and — the milestone that we’re reaching now — the fiscal year starting each May 1.

So today is the last day of 2009-10, a year in which the university will have spent somewhere in excess of $700 million, or nearly $2 million a day. The actual figure isn’t available yet, of course, as staff in the finance office are feverishly processing the last transactions as they come in, but in 2008-09 the number was $650 million, and it’s sure to be higher for the current year.

As of May 1, Waterloo moves into a new fiscal year, one for which, because of last-minute government announcements, it still doesn’t have a budget. The senate finance committee is scheduled to meet at noon on Monday, in fact, to continue its work on that issue.

In sync with the beginning of the fiscal or budget year, May 1 is generally the day on which faculty and non-union staff members get their annual pay increases. Those, too, have been thrown into doubt by the government’s announcement of a public sector “pay freeze”. Janet Passmore, the associate provost (human resources), says discussions are going on with the province about what it would be legal and prudent for the university to do about pay increases: "We are continuing to work with the definitions and the government's intentions. We don't have any conclusions yet." So nothing is going to happen in time to be implemented in May. (Today is also the official expiry date for the contract between UW and Canadian Union of Public Employees local 793, representing unionized staff in plant operations and food services.)

[Moggach]Some years new appointments in the university’s senior administration are effective on May 1, but there are none of those this time round. However, it’s the date that the new leadership of the Federation of Students, elected in February, will take office. As of tomorrow, then, Brad Moggach (left) will be president of the Feds; Nikki Best becomes vice-president (internal); Sarah Cook, the 2009-10 VP (internal), moves to a new role as VP (administration and finance); and Nick Soave becomes VP (education). Allan Babor, the 2009-10 president, ends his one-year term today, and will shortly be heading back to the classroom to finish his arts degree.

[Nasir]The Graduate Student Association yesterday announced the results of its executive election. Those new leaders, too, take office as of May 1. Hassan Nasir (right), who was the GSA’s vice-president (operations and finance) over the past year, becomes president. He’s a PhD student in civil and environmental engineering. Umar Shafique of electrical and computer engineering becomes VP (internal); Cristina Ribeiro of computer science becomes VP (communications and events); Allaa Hilal of E&CE becomes VP (student advocacy); and Graeme Turner, who was VP (communications and organization) in 2009-10, moves to be VP (external).

The UW libraries will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; regular spring term hours begin Monday. • The Physical Activities Complex and Columbia Icefield are closed for the weekend. • Sixteen new “attribute” features will be available on the UW web site starting Monday, popping up in rotation on the home page.

And of course the residences will be busy places over the weekend, with students moving in, mostly on Sunday, to be ready for the start of classes on Monday morning. It’ll be the first day of the spring term — a whole extra reason to say happy new year.

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Staff member mourned; other notes

[Goodenough]A funeral service will be held tomorrow for Terry Goodenough (left), who was a staff member in the department of co-op education and career services, as well as a coach for Warrior cross-country and track-and-field runners. Goodenough died Monday, aged 52. “His calm, positive attitude and ready smile combined with his talent and dedication made him a wonderful colleague,” says Peggy Jarvie, director of CECS, the department in which Goodenough had worked for the past two years as a business analyst. As for his role in sports, “Terry was a great supporter of the University of Waterloo XC and TF programs,” says head track coach Jason Dockendorff, “being the head coach of the XC team and long distance coach for the TF team since 1999. He was also very dedicated to coaching at the club level. He has made a significant impact on the sport both as a coach and athlete, and was a great friend and mentor to countless athletes and colleagues. He has a long list of accomplishments.” Visitation will be held today from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at the Turner & Porter funeral chapel, 1981 Dundas Street West, Mississauga; the funeral will take place there tomorrow at 11 a.m.

Now here’s a message that provost Feridun Hamdullahpur has asked the Daily Bulletin to publish: “The installation of a main power supply line to the Quantum Nano Centre necessitated a major utilities shut down for most of the university. Last weekend the Plant Operations in very close cooperation with the  University Police Services and Parking personnel undertook this major task and worked non-stop for the entire weekend to complete it. I am told that the main line has been installed successfully and that no security or operational incidents were encountered. This would not have happened had it not been for the careful, meticulous and dedicated work of all individuals involved in planning and executing this difficult task. On behalf of the entire University of Waterloo community, I would like extend my gratitude to the Plant Operations and Police and Parking Services personnel.”

[Against a blue sky]Multiple cranes have been on duty at the Quantum-Nano Centre construction site for the past couple of days. The "tower crane" that sat literally atop the building is gone, lifted away by the temporary giant crane featured in the photo (right) by a staff member identified just as "Ben". It's the same apparatus (or its twin brother) that put the tower crane in place in January 2009. "The remaining tower will be completely removed by the end of the day Friday," says Byron Murdock of plant operations. "It is a bit of an exercise as there is a crane that is used to build the crane that is used to disassemble the tower crane. The large 500-ton crane currently towering over the site will also be used to lift the exhaust fans to the high roof area."

While it was on site, crews used it to hoist some heavy equipment, including electrical apparatus, onto the QNC's roof, says Daniel Parent, co-director of the plant operations department.

The University of Waterloo Accounting Conference 2010, under way today through Sunday at the St. George Banquet Hall in Waterloo, will draw students from all over Canada, organizers say. “Each year,” an announcement explains, “the conference strives to attract the best and brightest accounting and business students from across Canada in order to foster new learning and growth experiences as well as invaluable relationship building opportunities. UWAC is the first university conference with a unique focus on accounting and on the issues surrounding the financial world. We are committed to the open exchange of ideas, in relation to the accounting profession as well as to accounting students, being brought to the forefront of our discussions, as well as the development of professional relationships amongst students. Every year, UWAC attracts relevant and engaging speakers with a wide variety of accounting experience and perspectives. In addition to inviting prominent speakers and hosting dynamic workshops, UWAC also features a $1,000 case competition, based on a real-world company in order to create a challenging yet applicable case for our delegates. ’Setting the Stage’, the theme of this year’s conference, encompasses our belief that accounting is fundamental in driving corporate strategy. The focus will be to highlight the strong foundation an accounting background provides to professionals to help them effectively manage a company.”

Canada's top high school students in computer science will attend a training camp at UW next week in preparation for the International Olympiad in Informatics to be held here August 14-21. The top 21 were chosen after writing the Canadian Computing Competition, run by Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. Close to 2,300 students wrote the exam in February. A UW media release says the training camp “involves workshops to sharpen the students' skills and abilities, extracurricular activities and a six-hour contest. The top eight students will represent the country at the IOI, which comes to Canada for the first time. As host, Canada can enter one official team of 4 competitors, and an unofficial team of 4 competitors.” It quotes CS professor Troy Vasiga, chair of IOI 2010: “The participants are truly amongst the best young computer scientists in the world and they are all keen to capture a gold medal at the International Olympiad in Informatics. The IOI will challenge them to stretch their math and computing abilities to their highest level." From the 21 contenders, the organizing committee will select the official and unofficial Canadian teams for IOI 2010. They will join students from more than 80 countries around the world who will gather in Waterloo in August.

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News from the library, pharmacy, IST

The Dana Porter Library is “in the midst of installing wayfinding signage that will better help you locate resources and key services,” says the UW library’s e-newsletter. “All signage is expected to be in place by the end of April. Changes you may notice include directories beside the elevators on each floor that lists the main services and collections by floor; stairwell signage on each floor that lists the services and collections on the floor; floor directories with maps on each floor; main floor design for service points extended to other areas such as the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room, the FLEX Lab, the InterLibrary Loan Office; updated washroom signage; updated range end signs for the reference collection on the Main floor; the use of Braille in strategic locations. We hope that you enjoy the new signage throughout Porter.”

The Record  newspaper’s latest coverage of the controversy over prescription drug pricing in Ontario included some words about how government policy changes may have an impact on the pharmacy schools at UW and the University of Toronto. It reported that Jake Thiessen, director of the Waterloo school, “said in a statement Tuesday that three co-op placements have been lost for the term starting in May and the impact is uncertain for students looking for spots in the fall. ‘The school is in discussions with multiple partners in order to ensure that our students’ experience is not compromised,’ he said. Thiessen said a co-op program at the pharmacy school — one of only two in Ontario — was strongly supported by the industry before it opened just over two years ago. ‘We are confident that employers will continue to see the value in hiring our students and contributing to the development of their future colleagues,’ he said.”

Security experts in the information systems and technology department sent out yet another warning this week. “Students,” IST’s Mike Patterson said through Twitter, “please do not ever send identifying information through email, particularly not copies of ID cards. UW faculty and staff who might have need to see your ID will have actual offices and will give you on-campus phone numbers.” He explains that a student who was trying to rent accommodation somewhere in Europe for this summer “got phished” by a scammer on Craigslist, “and actually emailed the scammer a scanned copy of her student ID. Thankfully this student seemed to realize something was wrong almost immediately, and she googled the email address of the phisher, found other people had been burned, and reacted fairly quickly. She had her WatCard disabled at the library and talked to the WatCard office. She may be encouraged to file a police report as well.” Patterson says such things “seem to happen a couple of times a year, that we hear of. At least this student realized something was wrong, and followed up.”


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Link of the day

Lag b'Omer

When and where

Graduate Student Research Conference, last day, Davis Centre. Details.

Advances in Health Informatics Conference 2010 hosted by NIHI, WIHIR, and schools of optometry and pharmacy, last day, Health Sciences Campus, Kitchener. Details.

Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference last day, Ryerson University, Toronto. Details.

Bookstore and other retail services outlets in South Campus Hall and Student Life Centre closed today for inventory. Graphics copy centres will close at 11:30 a.m.

‘European Integration: Past, Present and Future’ conference at Wilfrid Laurier University, Friday-Saturday. Details.

Accounting Conference 2010, “Setting the Stage”, Friday-Sunday, St. George Banquet Hall, Waterloo. Details.

Ontario University Athletics “Women of Influence” luncheon honouring top female student athletes, 12 noon, Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Details.

Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry annual meeting 1:00, CEIT room 1015; seminar, Marcel Schlaf, U of Guelph, “Transition-Metal Catalyzed Deoxygenation” 3:00; poster session and awards presentations follow. Details.

Bookstore and other retail outlets in South Campus Hall open Saturday 12 noon to 4 p.m. for beginning-of-term purchases. Next week: Monday-Friday 9 to 5, Saturday (May 8) 12 to 4.

East Campus Hall electrical power shut down Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

Jane’s Walk tours of neighbourhoods in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge, Saturday and Sunday. Details.

Strive Dance Challenge Saturday-Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

Gourmet Trail 2010 tour of local restaurants in support of KidsLink, beginning with champagne reception at Federation Hall, Saturday, tickets $100. Details.

Florence Li Tim-Oi, first woman priest in the Anglican Church, commemorated in worship service Saturday 4 p.m., All Saints’ Chinese Anglican Church, Markham, information from Renison University College, ext. 28605.

OUA women’s basketball all-star game Saturday 7:30 p.m., WLU athletic complex, admission free.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel University College, spring concert Saturday 8:00, St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener.

Term loan books due back to UW libraries Wednesday, or renew online.

Weight Watchers at Work spring series begins May 6, 12:00, Humanities room 373; call ext. 32218 to register.

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