Tuesday, January 5, 2010

  • Awards honour 4 'excellent' supervisors
  • Tax changes affect salaries in 2010
  • Elections and beginning-of-term notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Awards honour 4 'excellent' supervisors

Four UW faculty members have been selected to receive the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision for this year, says the associate provost (graduate studies), Sue Horton.

In a December memo, she listed the four winners:

  • James Barker, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Jack Callaghan, Kinesiology
  • Mohamed Kamel, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Alexander Penlidis, Chemical Engineering

Horton noted that her office, “in collaboration with the Graduate Student Association, established this Award to recognize exemplary faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in graduate student supervision. The selection is made by a committee consisting of the Associate Provost, Graduate Studies, or Designate; the President of the GSA, or Designate; one faculty member nominated by the Faculty Association; six Faculty Associate Deans, Graduate Studies & Research, or Designates.

“Recipients will be recognized at Spring 2010 convocation.” She provided citations for the four 2009 winners, based on nominations that were received:

James Barker is said to be the ‘epitome of what a graduate supervisor should be’. Over and over again, graduate students talked about his cheery attitude, smiling face and open-door policy. They talked about how he guided students but left them to make independent decisions about where their research was headed. At research conferences he introduced them to researchers who gave them opportunities to do research or work at their companies. He had excellent networking skills. He was always very timely about getting back to students with comments on their papers or thesis. If he felt there were limits to his own expertise, he would encourage students to reach out to faculty members in other departments.

“Over the past six years he has supervised and co-supervised thirty-six students. He would have social functions in his home so that students would relax and meet one another and new student s would feel included. The chair, Barry Warner, states, “Dr. Barker has been one of the cornerstones of our graduate program.”

Jack Callaghan has graduated nine MSc students and four PhD students, and is currently supervising two MSc students and seven PhD students. He integrates his students into his dynamic research and gives them opportunities to publish and present their findings at prestigious conferences. Many have gone on to be faculty members, post-doctoral fellows and do research jobs in industry.

“A student writes: ‘Dr. Callaghan’s advisory style is to be very open and engaged with his students. He typically has an open door for his graduate students whether to discuss data analysis or a life event. He has been an exemplary role model for his students, pushed them to excel and maximize their potential as individuals, and constantly conveyed his belief in them as well as his desire for their future success.’

“Dr. Callaghan quickly moved through the academic ranks as an assistant professor at the University of Guelph, accepted a Canadian Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, and recently achieved the rank of full professor. Throughout this time, he has continually acknowledged his graduate students, and his relationships with them, as being the source of his success.”

“Mohamed S. Kamel is an excellent role model and mentor, having supervised more than eighty graduate students. All students talk about his international reputation, his passion for teaching and his patience and support for graduate students. They talk about his enthusiasm for research topics, which in turn, carried them through to graduation. His students also discussed his availability and long, insightful discussions with them on research and technical publications. Most of his former students currently occupy prominent positions in industry and academia. He maintains strong relationships with them, and activity collaborates with a number of them through research grants and industrial contracts.”

“The students of Alexander Penlidis write about his passion for teaching and research and how he has instilled this same level of passion in them. Students say that Dr. Penlidis always had a clear research plan when he took them under his supervision. He would help them stay focussed and achieve their target. He always has an open-door policy and gets information back to the students in a timely manner. He teaches his students time management, critical thinking, multi-tasking and problem solving. He is a caring individual who spends time with the students discussing other topics like art and philosophy which has helped the students to be more well-rounded individuals.

“A senior professor writes: ‘One challenge that many supervisors face is to balance pressures to complete a funded project on time with the time required for a student to learn the subject area and become productive. It appears that Alex quickly develops a good insight into student’s capabilities to balance the learning objectives with the requirements of the project.’ He has completed thirty-nine master’s and nineteen doctoral students and is currently supervising six master’s students and one doctoral student. He has also supervised twelve postdoctoral fellows and twenty-eight Research Engineers/Associates.”

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Tax changes affect salaries in 2010

The calendar says 2010 has begun, and besides new year’s resolutions that means a new year’s accounting of tax rates and premiums for government programs coming off the pay of everybody who earns money, including UW’s 3,000-plus faculty and staff.

The Ontario government has promised a reduction in personal income tax rates this year, to make up for higher costs of some items when the provincial sales tax and Goods and Services Tax are combined into a single Harmonized Sales Tax as of July 1. But Sandra Hurlburt, associate director of UW’s human resources department, says the income tax change hasn’t yet shown up in the charts provided to the payroll office by the Canada Revenue Agency, so it’s not clear how much individual taxpayers will save or when the saving will start appearing on paycheques.

The year’s first payday for faculty and monthly-paid staff will be Friday, January 22. Next payday for biweekly-paid staff is January 15.

Hurlburt notes that employee and employer contributions to the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance are based on all eligible earnings beginning with the first pay each January. “Contributions cease during the calendar year once the maximum contributions are reached,” she writes. “Employees who reached their maxima in 2009 are reminded that contributions will begin in January, 2010.” For most full-time employees, that means a drop in take-home pay in the first few paycheques of the year, compared to the bottom line on December’s pay slip.

• CPP contributions will begin January 1 on all eligible earnings, and will continue throughout the year until the maximum contribution levels are reached. The Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings, or YMPE, for 2010 is $47,200 (up from $46,300 in 2009), with a basic exemption of $3,500. The contribution rate remains 4.95 per cent, meaning the maximum annual contribution to the CPP is $2,163.15.

For the majority of employees, a December-to-January change in the amount of CPP contributions will also mean a change in the amount being paid into UW’s pension plan, since the two retirement plans are intertwined.

• For the Employment Insurance program, the annual maximum earnings on which premiums are payable is $43,200 this year. The premium rate is unchanged at 1.73 per cent, making the maximum annual employee premium $747.36. (That amount is then matched by employers, including UW.)

• The basic personal amounts for income tax are increasing slightly for 2010, with the federal amount rising to $10,382 (from last year’s $10,100) and the Ontario amount rising to $8,943 (from last year’s $8,881).

Says Hurlburt: “Human Resources will update your basic personal amounts automatically for 2010. However, if you have a change in personal circumstances (e.g., birth of a child, dependent spouse, revised tuition or education amount, etc.) please complete new TD1 forms (federal and provincial) and forward the completed and signed copies to your Payroll Benefits Assistant so that your total claim amount can be adjusted as of January 1. Hard-copy forms are available in the General Services Complex, Room 115.”

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Elections and beginning-of-term notes

It’s election season, with nominations due by January 14 (a week from this Thursday) for a raft of student leadership positions for the 2010-11 year and beyond. The Daily Bulletin has been emphasizing the election of Federation of Students executive members (a president and three vice-presidents) but, a memo from one student councillor reminds us all, there’s more to it than that: “nominations are open for Executive and Students’ Council positions of FedS, as well as undergraduate positions on the UW Senate.” Details on the Federation elections are available on the Feds’ web site, and the official notice of the senate election, as issued by the university secretariat, is below. In addition, the Arts Student Union has a by-election in progress to choose two vice-presidents.

Nominations are requested for the following undergraduate student seats on Senate:

  • One student elected by and from the full-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts, term May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2012.
  • One student elected by and from the full-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Environment, term May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2012.
  • One student elected by and from the full-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Mathematics, term May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2011.
  • One student elected by and from the full-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science, term May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2012.
  • One student elected by and from the full-time undergraduate students (at large), term May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2012.

The nomination form is online. At least five nominators are required in each case. Completed nomination forms should be submitted to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, NH 3060, no later than 4:00 p.m., Thursday, January 14, 2010. Elections, if necessary, will coincide with the annual Federation of Students elections. Information about Senate and its committees and councils is also online. Undergraduate student senators completing their terms of office as of April 30, 2010 are Reemah Khalid (Arts), Alan Shonfield (Env), Ajnu Jacob (Math), Sam Andrey (Sci) and Aswin Alexander (at large). All are eligible for re-election.

The Student Awards and Financial Aid office has a message for students who are expecting funding from the Ontario Student Assistance Program to support their winter term studies. OSAP funding will be released “by appointment only from Tatham Centre”, says a memo; the service started yesterday. Appointments are available between 8:40 and 4:00 daily. “Representatives from the National Student Loan Service Centre are also on site at Tatham Centre. SAFA has increased the number of appointments available to see as many students as possible during the first three weeks of the term. To pick up OSAP funding, students should review the Important OSAP Pick-up Information and book an appointment for a date and time convenient for them.” And more: “SAFA is also serving students who receive funding from other provinces. These students should report to the lower level of Tatham Centre between 8:40 and 4:00 — no appointment required. All students are reminded that their fees must be arranged and they must present their SIN card and government-issued photo ID at the time of funding pick up. OSAP students also need to provide confirmation/proof of their gross earnings for 2009.”

Campus recreation programs for the winter term will be getting under way shortly; registration runs this week for intramural sports and next week for instructional activities, in the athletics office in the Physical Activities Complex. • The UW bookstore and associated retail services stores in South Campus Hall have beginning-of-term extended hours this week (through Thursday), staying open until 7 p.m. • Here's a reminder that, as announced in December, the office of distance and continuing education is now the Centre for Extended Learning.


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[Excerpt from calendar showing July-August 2010]

It'll be a long weekend for UW staff, faculty and students this summer, as Canada Day (July 1) falls on a Thursday, and the university will also be closed on Friday, July 2. The dates are boldly marked on the cardboard Keystone Campaign calendar that was distributed just before the Christmas break. Holidays sooner than July: Family Day, February 15; Good Friday, April 2; Victoria Day, May 24.

Link of the day

Twelfth Night

When and where

Feds Used Books, Student Life Centre, open Monday-Friday 8:30 to 5:30 this week, Saturday 9 to 5.

Engineering exchange students, welcome for new arrivals, 11:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 3602.

University Choir first rehearsal 7:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall. No formal audition required. Details.

International student orientation Wednesday 12:00 to 3:00, Needles Hall room 1116. Details.

Weight Watchers at Work winter series begins Wednesday 12 noon, Humanities room 373; call ext. 32218 to register.

New student orientation Wednesday 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Return-to-campus interviews for co-op students Wednesday-Friday, Tatham Centre.

Auditions for FASS 2010 Wednesday-Friday 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Hagey Hall room 119. Details.

Warrior basketball (men and women) at Brock, Wednesday.

Math business and accounting programs information session about the CFA, PRM and CFP designations, Thursday 5:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 4020.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo first rehearsal of the term, Thursday 7 p.m., Ron Eydt Village great hall. New players welcome; register online.

Comedian Jon LaJoie at Humanities Theatre, Friday 7:30 p.m.

Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery Bee Keeper’s Ball murder mystery and masked ball, Saturday 8 p.m., 25 Caroline Street, Waterloo, tickets $20. Details.

Work term reports from fall term co-op jobs due January 11, 4 p.m., Tatham Centre.

Application deadline for most Ontario high school students seeking university admission this fall is January 13. Details.

Open class enrolment ends January 15 (online courses, January 8); drop, no penalty period ends January 22 (last day to withdraw with 100 per cent fee refund). Last day to register and pay fees, January 29.

PhD oral defences

Electrical and computer engineering. Amir Ali Khatibzadeh, “Side Channel Information Leakage: Design and Implementation of Hardware Countermeasure.” Supervisor, Catherine H. Gebotys. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, January 13, 1:30 p.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Statistics and actuarial science. Yan Liu, “Pricing and Hedging the Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefits in Variable Annuities.” Supervisors, Adam Kolkiewicz and Phelim Boyle. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Wednesday, January 13, 1:30 p.m., Mathematics and Computer room 6027.

Philosophy. Marica Sokolowski, “An Examination of the Moral Authority of Use of Advance Directives with the Alzheimer’s Dementia Population.” Supervisor, Tim Kenyon. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2434. Oral defence Thursday, January 14, 10:00 a.m., PAS building room 2438.

Civil and environmental engineering. Morteza Bagheri, “Risk-Based Model for Effective Marshalling of Dangerous Goods Railway Cars.” Supervisors, Frank Saccomanno and Liping Fu. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, January 15, 9:00 a.m., Engineering II room 3324.

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