Friday, February 26, 2010

  • Grad students to vote on two proposals
  • Library adds 250,000 electronic books
  • Other notes on a snowy Friday
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Grad students to vote on two proposals

Graduate students will be asked to vote next week on two proposals that have already been adopted by UW's undergraduates: a "universal bus pass" and a fee to support expansion of the university's health services.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. Monday to midnight Thursday night, says the chief returning officer for the Graduate Student Association, David Wheatley. Voting is online, and official information about the two referenda is on the GSA web site.

Full-time grad students will be asked to vote on the first question: "Do you support a universal bus pass for full-time graduate students registered at Waterloo Region campuses of the University of Waterloo with a non-refundable cost of not more than $52.94 per term subject to inflation, provided there is a review of the fee in 1 year? The fee would be implemented beginning on May 1, 2010."

Grads are being offered the same fee that was recently accepted by graduate and undergraduate students at Wilfrid Laurier University. UW undergraduates, who have had the so-called U-Pass since 2007, are currently paying $49.75 a term.

Both full-time and part-time grads will be asked to vote on the second question: "Do you support the proposed Health Services expansion through the addition of a non-refundable $10.00 per term fee, to a new Student Coordinated Plan fee, provided that the expanded facility allows for improved care for students as well as care for families and dependents of registered students? This fee would be paid with tuition each term, implemented once the expansion opens to students (estimated 2011-12), would be terminated upon completed payment of the graduate portion of the capital costs (estimated at 20 years), would be indexed for inflation by up to 2.0% per year, and would be paid by each full-time graduate student on Kitchener-Waterloo campuses of the University of Waterloo; part-time graduate students that attend Kitchener-Waterloo campuses of the University of Waterloo will pay 30% of this fee."

A similar proposal was approved by undergraduate students in a referendum in November. Graduate students voted on it at that time as well, and there were 554 Yes votes and 152 No votes — not enough total votes for the result to be binding and allow the fee and project to go ahead.

Unless grads give the okay this time, the GSA web site says, "new expansion will be constructed within the financing permitted by the endorsement of the undergrad population and the medical clinic will be moved into the new space. The present Health Services building will not be renovated and the space required for children and families will not be created — the clinic for dependents of students will not open. An understanding will need to be negotiated with the undergrads to permit the grad student population to access the medical clinic in the new facility."

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Library adds 250,000 electronic books

The UW library doubled its stock of “e-books” the other day, adding some 250,000 books scanned from the collections of a research library in the United States through a consortium called the Hathi Trust.

The acquisition means about half a million books are now available online through the Primo search tool. That’s about one-third of the size of the library’s physical book collection, kept on the shelves of the Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries and several smaller facilities.

“There really has been a digital revolution in research libraries,” says the head of the UW library, Mark Haslett — though he quickly adds that hard-copy books are still flowing onto the shelves, some 15,000 new ones every year, and “the physical library has never been busier.”

[Haslett]The Hathi Trust announcement came shortly after Haslett (left)gave a briefing to the UW senate, at its January meeting, about “transformations” in the library and what the university’s Sixth Decade Plan says needs to lie ahead.

“A strong and vibrant library is a vital component of an excellent teaching and research intensive university,” he said, quoting the plan, which also promises that “The UW Library will rank among the top research libraries in Canada.”

Haslett told the senate that “digital and print scholarly resources continue to grow.” He showed PowerPoint graphs demonstrating a dramatic shift in the number of journals available to students and researchers at Waterloo, dating back to 1998, when the library had fewer than 14,000 journal subscriptions, nearly all of them on paper.

By 2002, the total had increased a little, approaching 16,000, with half of the journals still in hard copy while the other half were available digitally online. By 2008, the total figure was close to 25,000 subscriptions, four-fifths of them digital, and it’s now past 30,000.

How did such a change happen? “The power of collaboration!” said Haslett, pointing especially to the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, a federally funded consortium of 73 universities that’s able to negotiate for online subscriptions at bargain rates. The goal: “to increase the quantity, breadth and depth of scholarly information.” There’s also much collaboration at the Ontario level, leading to more e-resources for the province’s libraries.

Although researchers can access much of this electronic material from their own computers, it’s far from lonely in the library buildings, Haslett said. He said the “turnstile count” on a typical day in the fall term, which stood at 8,000 six years ago, is now more like 15,000, and the pressure for study space is intense.

In the Davis Centre library, “the only way we’ve been able to cope,” the librarian said, is by moving many shelves’ worth of paper journals into storage or getting rid of them altogether. In the Dana Porter Library, where books take most of the space rather than journals, a “last copy agreement” with the University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University is similarly allowing material to be removed.

The world’s big research libraries hang onto their physical books on principle, Haslett said, but “we at Waterloo can’t do that,” simply for lack of space.

The latest e-book arrivals from the Hathi Trust are out-of-copyright books from the collections of the University of Michigan, the library says in its e-newsletter. “Hundreds of subject areas are covered — including physics, speculative philosophy, literature, history, electrical engineering, just to name a small handful. The Hathi Trust collection currently contains over 5 million volumes, of which 750,000 are in the public domain.”

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[Hundreds of containers laid out on big table]

Cookies and more cookies: This year’s Keystone Campaign treat-a-grams were "a roaring success", says Emily Huxley of the development office. "Consisting of five scrumptious chocolate chip cookies (with the added bonus of a heart-shaped chocolate), the treat-a-grams were delivered to eager recipients on Thursday, February 11. In total, 1,686 treat-a-grams were purchased, raising some $2,900 for campus-wide undergraduate and graduate senate scholarships. A new addition to this year’s program was the random inclusion of a ‘Golden Ticket'. The lucky winners, Linda MacKay and the anonymous recipient of her treat-a-gram, each received a gift certificate valid at any of the Charcoal Group restaurants."

Other notes on a snowy Friday

A "multi-million-dollar announcement" is expected today as Leeanna Pendergast, Liberal MPP for the nearby Kitchener-Conestoga riding, visits the university. She'll attend "an event o celebrate the newest recipients of research funding from the Ontario Research Fund", a media advisory says. Pendergast "will announce the names of six recipients from the University of Waterloo and discuss the impact of this multi-million-dollar announcement". The by-invitation event starts at 1 p.m. in one of the laboratories where ORF-supported work will be carried out, Engineering III room 1704.

[Fiss]Staff Sergeant Greg Fiss has replaced Chris Goss in the leadership of the UW Police, says the director of police and parking services, Dan Anderson. He writes: "Greg’s 25 year career with Waterloo Regional Police gives us the benefit of his experience as a traffic officer, detective with the Waterloo Division, time spent in Human Resources, a patrol supervisor, as the officer in charge of the communications 911 call centre. Greg is eager to take on new challenges and we greatly look forward to him having a positive influence with UW Police and our campus." Fiss (left) is the second officer to come to the university in a secondment from the Regionals; Goss, his predecessor, has been serving at the Vancouver Olympics and will be back in Waterloo Region for a new assignment shortly.

And speaking of the Olympics . . . one campus figure who's been out there is Frank Seglenieks, who recently completed his PhD in civil engineering and continues to manage the UW weather station. His trip out west delayed, but didn't derail, something that's now a fixture at this time of year: the contest for weather station fans to predict what day and hour the temperature will hit 20 Celsius for the first time in 2010. "I'm getting started a bit late this year. "The entry period for the contest is going to start this afternoon," he wrote yesterday, "and go until next Thursday."


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Link of the day

HoliMawlid al-NabiPurim

When and where

Religion and Public Life Conference at Wilfrid Laurier University, 9:00 to 4:30, Paul Martin Centre. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Classroom Communication Strategies” 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Co-op job ranking (main group) opens today 1:00 p.m.; job match results for spring term Monday 4 p.m. on JobMine.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Stacy Wakeford, Canada Science and Technology Museum, “Free-Choice Learning in the Museum” 1:30, Math and Computer room 4061.

Philosophy colloquium: Thomas Lennon, University of Western Ontario, “Descartes and Indifference” 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Warrior sports this weekend: Track and field championships at York, Friday-Saturday • Men’s volleyball quarterfinal game at Western, Saturday 4 p.m.

CASA Charity Fashion Show 7:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Warrior Weekend activities in the Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m., including dance lessons, fruit, crafts, movies, Black History Month Gala. Details.

[Brain Bee logo]Brain Bee for high school students, sponsored by department of kinesiology, Saturday 10 a.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 1621. Details.

Grebel alumni in Ottawa, family day, starts at noon, Saturday. Details.

Career workshop: “Medical School Interviews” Saturday 12:30, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

‘Extreme Ice Racing’ show at Kitchener Auditorium, outing sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Saturday 7:00 p.m., discount ticket information e-mail schatten@

Black History Month Gala: music, poetry, fashion show, Saturday from 8 p.m., Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel University College, winter concert Saturday 8:00 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener. Details.

Chapel Choir takes part in worship service Sunday 11 a.m., Rockway Mennonite Church, 32 Weber Street West.

Let’s Dance recital Sunday 1:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Pre-enrolment for fall term undergraduate courses, March 1-7 on Quest.

‘Find books and more’ workshop on doing research in the UW library, Monday 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

UW Recreation Committee presents Giles Malet, information systems and technology, “Ensuring E-mail Does (or Doesn’t) Get into Your Inbox” Monday 12:00, Math and Computer room 2009.

Library workshop: “Conference Proceedings” Monday 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ events organized by Students for Palestinian Rights: march leaves from Dana Porter Library Monday 1:30 p.m.; film “Britain and the Struggle for the Holy Land” Tuesday 1:30, Student Life Centre great hall; human rights advocate Suzanne Weiss speaks Tuesday 6 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 307.

Career workshops Monday: “Career Interest Assessment” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112; “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 4:30, Tatham room 1208. Details.

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

Cultural Encounters, Encountering Cultures series: Mario  Boido, Spanish and Latin American studies, “Politics, Identity, and the Latin American Avant Garde” Monday 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Student Climate Change Colloquium (second annual) sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, March 3-4, South Campus Hall. Details. Keynote speakers: George Kaser, University of Innsbrück, “Tropical Glaciers and Climate” Wednesday 4:00, Festival Room; Jason J. Blackstock, Centre for International Governance Innovation, “The Science and Politics of Geoengineering Research” Thursday 12:20, Laurel Room.

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