Tuesday, March 30, 2010

  • Budget statistics show annual growth
  • Research chair, tuition fees, other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Geese against melting snow]

Canada geese, that's what they are. "We are getting more reports of aggressive behaviour," says UW safety director Kevin Stewart, and I think he means the behaviour of the nesting birds, not the behaviour of the sometimes intimidated humans who share the campus with them. "Especially new residents of Canada may be unfamiliar with the potential actions of these birds," he adds, and recommends a warning leaflet produced by the Ohio state government as background on how to avoid an unequal battle. (Photo by Benjamin Ries, 2006.)

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Budget statistics show annual growth

As enrolment goes up, the number of people working at Waterloo also goes up, in spite of hard times and a “mission-critical only” hiring policy.

That’s clear from the sheaf of “supplementary data” attached to the university’s 2010-11 operating budget, which was endorsed by the senate last week and is on its way to the board of governors for final approval on April 6.

It shows that “full-time equivalent” (FTE) enrolment of undergraduate students stands at 24,576 this year, up from 21,759 four years ago. Arts is the largest faculty, followed by mathematics, engineering and science.

FTE enrolment of graduate students, which stood at 2,595 four years ago, is now 3,566, with engineering the largest faculty in graduate teaching by far.

But students take different amounts of teaching effort depending on their program, so several pages of the document are taken up with charts of “BIU teaching units”, an attempt to calculate how much work each faculty is doing. By that measure, arts is again the biggest faculty, with 12,473 BIUs in the current year, closely followed by engineering with 11,993. Later, the budget documents present a chart of “Budget dollars per BIU teaching unit”, with optometry getting the largest amount of money and environment the least.

The number of faculty members has been going up steadily, both as professors are hired to teach the additional students, and as UW acquires “chairs” for faculty members whose primary work will be research. In September 2005, the “complement” of faculty positions, including those that stood vacant, was 840.5. Three years later, it reached 951.5, and in September 2009 it hit 986.7.

That included 272.5 positions in engineering; 251.5 in arts; 190.5 in math; 162.6 in science; 58.6 in environment; and 51.0 in applied health sciences. The largest academic departments are electrical and computer engineering (82.0 faculty), computer science (71.0), mechanical and mechatronics engineering (51.0), and psychology (40.6).

The “average nominal salary” of regular faculty members this year is $122,109, another page of the budget data says. That’s up from $117,199 last year.

There’s also a chart of staff positions, with a total of 1,900.5 shown as of October 2009, up from 1,851.9 a year earlier.

About one-third of the year-to-year growth was in the faculties (six new staff in arts, five in science, four in environment) and two-thirds in non-academic departments. Among those adding positions from 2008 to 2009 were plant operations (7 new hourly positions), co-op education and career services (7 new staff), the research office (5), and Waterloo International (3).

Plant operations continues to be the biggest department, with 365 staff members, followed by information systems and technology, with 139, and the library, with 127.8.

The staff figures don’t include people employed in the “ancillary enterprises” — the departments that operate as self-supporting businesses — including food services, retail services and the residences.

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Research chair, tuition fees, other notes

The federal government announced yesterday some $165 million worth of Canada Research Chairs — 187 positions across the country, including seven at Waterloo. One chairholder is new: [Ren]Carolyn Ren of the department of mechanical and mechatronics engineering becomes Canada Research Chair in Lab-on-a-Chip Technology. Ren (left) heads the Waterloo Microfluidics Laboratory, which “is interested in the development of design and optimization tools, advanced microfabrication techniques for rapid prototyping, characterization methodologies for Lab-on-a-Chip or BioChip devices. . . . A typical Lab-on-a-Chip device is a piece of palm-sized glass or plastic plate with a network of microchannels etched onto its surface. It is able to perform  integrated chemical and biomedical processes on a single chip by employing electrokinetic methods to transport liquids in micro and nanochannels.” Canada Research Chairs were renewed for Perry Chou (chemical engineering), Janusz Pawliszyn (chemistry), Richard Staines (kinesiology), Cameron Stewart (pure math), Susan Tighe (civil and environmental engineering), and Nicholas Wormald (combinatorics and optimization). A news release describing the work of all these researchers will be coming out from the university’s media relations office later this week.

The Ontario government made an announcement about university tuition fees yesterday: meet the new policy, same as the old policy. “The current tuition fee framework is being extended for two more years,” the announcement says, “limiting tuition fee increases to an average of five per cent annually. Colleges and universities will be required to contribute 10 per cent of additional revenue from tuition fee increases to bursaries and other student assistance programs that provide financial aid to students most in need.” Students were promised “greater access to financial aid and more flexibility on loan repayments”, with changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program: “Providing more assistance for tuition, living costs, books, supplies and equipment; Allowing students to keep more of the money they earn from part-time jobs; Providing a no-interest period on student loans for six months after graduation; Introducing 1,000 new graduate scholarships; Providing additional support for married students and students with children; Introducing a new grant for part-time students; Offering students more flexibility on repayment. The Ontario Student Opportunity Grant threshold, which caps annual student debt, will increase from $7,000 to $7,300 for a two-term academic year. This will be the first increase to the cap in 12 years.” In early response to the announcement, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance told the Toronto Star that “These improvements represent a huge step forward for students relying on government aid.”

A memo yesterday from Janet Passmore, associate provost (human resources): “As you are aware from the provost's memo of last Friday, the Ontario budget was made public last Thursday afternoon (March 25) and it has the potential to change the understandings that underpinned our recent staff salary discussions. The budget imposed a two-year ‘freeze’ on salaries and other compensation for those who work in the broader public sector, including education. The precise way this policy will apply is not yet clear. The Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation (PACSC) met first thing this morning and will continue to monitor the proposed Bill. It is the committee's understanding that a two-year salary ‘freeze‘ would occur immediately or at the end of any agreement. Once we have clarification about what the provincial budget really means for compensation at universities, the committee will meet to consider the implications.”

Here's a reminder of the "town hall meeting" for faculty and staff members on Thursday, April 8; it'll start at 3:00, and this meeting will be held in the Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages building, rather than the Humanities Theatre where the last few town hall meetings have been held. The emphasis is expected to be on budget issues, but the president and vice-presidents who will be on stage for the event are prepared to talk about other matters too. Questions are being taken in advance, and can be e-mailed to townhall@ uwaterloo.ca.

[Artist at easel]Alfred Spector, vice-president for research and special initiatives at Google Inc., is speaking at the Accelerator Centre today (see the "When and where" column for details) and earlier will meet with UW researchers and have lunch with vice-president (university research) George Dixon. • Carmen Peters (right) is among the fourth-year fine arts students whose work is displayed in the show "Relative Proximity", through April 11 in East Campus Hall. • The plant operations department warns that the parking lot and loading dock at the Pharmacy building will be less than accessible starting April 1, as work is done to put up a big tent for next week's official opening of the "medical" building across the courtyard.

And . . . Lillian Woolford, a retired teacher who subsequently worked from 1984 to 1991 in the university bookstore and then the library's user services department, died on February 25, the human resources department reports. She is survived by her husband, Graham Woolford, who is retired from the department of chemistry.


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Link of the day

Inventions on this date

When and where

Extended library hours through April 23: Davis Centre library open 24 hours a day, except Sunday 2 to 8 a.m.; Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Details.

‘Rethink Modern Leadership and Innovation’ presentations by corporate executives, sponsored by Waterloo chapter of IEEE, Tuesday-Thursday. Details.

Teaching-Based Research Group drop-in session for faculty and staff interested in research about teaching and learning, 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Feng Shui discussion group sponsored by UW Recreation Committee 12:00, Math and Computer room 5136.

Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Cooperative Education seminar: Nancy Waite, school of pharmacy, “Curricular Integration of Co-op: the Right Prescription for Pharmacy”, 12:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Using Twitter to Increase Student Engagement” 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research presents “eHealth: Refurbishing a Tarnished Brand” 3:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

WatRISQ presents “The Role of Mortgage Brokers in the Subprime Crisis” 4:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Computer Science Club: Sam Pasupalak, “The Future of Robotics and Automated Systems” 4:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

Google Waterloo event: Alfred Spector, vice-president (research and special initiatives) of Google, speaks 4:30, 295 Hagey Boulevard, north campus. Details.

Engineers Without Borders co-CEO Parker Mitchell speaks on the development of EWB, 5:00, Math and Computer room 2066.

Application deadline for September admission is March 31, with some exceptions; Ontario secondary school student deadline was January 13, later if spaces still available. Details.

Blood donor clinic Wednesday 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room, appointments call 888-236-6283.

Systems design engineering fourth-year symposium and project display Wednesday 10:00 to 5:00, Davis Centre foyer.

Free noon concert: Toronto Percussion Ensemble, Wednesday 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

School of Planning presents Sean Doherty, Wilfrid Laurier University, “Personal Geographies and Health” Wednesday 12:30, Environment I room 354.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo concert Thursday 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, admission free.

Good Friday holiday Friday, April 2. Classes not held; UW offices and most services closed.

Last day of classes for winter term Monday, April 5 (Friday class schedule). Examinations April 9-23 (distance courses, April 9-10). Schedule.

Ken Dryden, MP, gives Waterloo’s Last Lecture: “It’s Time for Canada”, April 5, 4:30, Theatre of the Arts. Details.

UW staff conference annual event; keynote speakers will discuss work-life balance, emotional intelligence, “Sparking Innovation and Change”, other sessions, April 6-7; registration opens March 15. Details.

Faculty association annual general meeting April 6, 2:00, Math and Computer room 4020.

UW board of governors April 6, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Health sciences campus: grand opening of second building, 10B Victoria Street South, with officials of UW and McMaster University, April 7, 1:00, by invitation.

Weight Watchers at Work information session and sign-up April 8, 12:15, Humanities room 373, information ext. 32218.

Fee payment deadline for spring term is April 26 (promissory note) or April 29 (bank transfer). Details.

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