Thursday, May 20, 2010

  • Staff get merit increases, but zero scale
  • 'Initiatives' to benefit staff receive grants
  • Open house for future students, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Why's everybody looking upward?]

The Waterloo Engineering Endowment Foundation held the first half of its 20th birthday party in March, and the second half is scheduled for today. From 10:00 to 3:30 in the Carl Pollock Hall foyer, "there will be music, games, and maybe even celebrity appearances," not to mention cake, says Graham Stonebridge, WEEF director for Engineering Society B. Since its founding in 1990, WEEF has contributed $4,365,883 to facilities and activities that benefit engineering students; the fund now has a principal of more than $8.5 million.

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Staff get merit increases, but zero scale

Non-union staff members will get the usual merit increases this year, but Ontario law will keep the scale increase to zero this year and next, the provost announced yesterday. His campus-wide memo follows several weeks of uncertainty about how the provincial freeze on public sector salaries affects the USG staff group at Waterloo.

Said provost Feridun Hamdullahpur: “I have received and approved recommendations from the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation regarding salary adjustments for the 2010-11 fiscal year. These recommendations, subject to ratification by the Board of Governors, will come into effect retroactive to May 1, 2010. Human Resources will process individual salary adjustments no later than July 2010.

“The committee specifically stated its understanding that, in the spirit of the provincial government’s budget statement of March 25, there will be a two-year freeze on range adjustments for any agreements signed subsequent to the March 2010 budget.”

He said the committee recommended a one-year staff salary settlement, beginning May 1, 2010, that would include “the regular merit program for all USG staff”. Other provisions: “There will be no regular full- or part-time staff layoffs or mandatory unpaid days as a result of this salary agreement. If the Faculty and/or CUPE settlements include greater than 0% scale adjustment, the committee will reconvene to consider what is equitable treatment for staff and the resulting institutional implications.”

The provost thanked the committee, which includes administration and Staff Association members, for “its conscientious and helpful work under these demanding circumstances”, and also thanked all staff members for “their patience, their understanding, and of course the continued good work that we seek to recognize to the best of our abilities”.

He noted that the Ontario government’s stated objective in enacting the Public Sector Compensation Restraint to Protect Public Services Act is to control costs in one of government's largest spending lines — the compensation of public sector employees, including those in universities. “Basically, this means two things: Our salary structure (pay ranges) is frozen for 2 years to March 2012; we are allowed to provide performance-based increases, albeit with some limitations.

“The adjustments I am announcing today are intended to acknowledge and reward high performance by our USG staff members while complying with government policy.”

Hamdullahpur reiterated that “there will be no changes to our salary ranges for this year or next,” and said that newly hired staff will be offered starting salaries “in line with our 2009-2010 salary structure”.

However, he said, “our Staff Compensation approach has been in place prior to the introduction of the legislation, and therefore we can continue to provide salary increases within the parameters established in our plan and in the new legislation. The fact that we have established pay-for-performance programs enables us to provide increases to most permanent staff members, once approved by the Board of Governors. Performance-based awards, such as our merit component, are still permitted as they were already part of our compensation program prior to the introduction of the new legislation.”

Says his memo: “Unfortunately, a ‘Fully Performing’ staff member at the maximum of the 2009-2010 salary range for his/her role and performance level will not be eligible for a salary increase for the next 2 years. All other permanent staff will be eligible for a pay-for-performance increase as long as the increases in question do not bring anyone's salaries above the maximum level of  their performance target. Contract staff members will not be eligible for increases, should their contracts be renewed.”

Finally, “We cannot enhance any part of our compensation plan for the next two fiscal years. This includes all aspects of a staff member’s compensation such as base pay, merit pay, time off such as vacation, pension, health and other benefits.”

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'Initiatives' to benefit staff receive grants

Fifteen projects, from UW Recreation Committee events to physical improvements in individual departments, will receive financial support from a Special Initiatives Fund set up last year.

The SIF was created by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation for a two-year trial period. With a total budget of approximately $65,000 in annual funding, it is designed to support special projects suggested by staff in the USG categories.

An announcement from Doug Dye, president of the staff association, on behalf of the Staff Excellence Fund subcommittee says the group received 25 applications for a total of more than $293,000 in this initial round of grants. 

“The committee would like to thank all the applicants for the time and effort put into their applications,” says Dye. “Not all applications were approved for funding and not all applications that were approved received full funding.  The committee considered the merits of each application and applied the guiding principles behind the creation of the SIF to each application.”

He issued this list of the successful proposals, the name of the applicant and the amount of funding they have received:

  • Staff lounge enhancements — Sue Oestrich and Susan Key — $1,500
  • Creation of a green space garden bordered by PAS, HH, EV1 and EV2 – campus beautification project — Lynne Jelokhani-Niaraki and Joanne Holzinger — $15,000
  • Staff lounge enhancements — Laurie Jones — $300
  • Enhancement of working environment to improve staff morale for Centre for Extended Learning — Christine Liebig — $5,000
  • Staff lounge upgrades — Carrie Gilmour — $1,500
  • Matthews Golf Classic — Sheila Hurley — $3,000
  • Hagey Curling Fun Day — Betty Bax — $1,800
  • Enhancement of working environment to improve staff morale for Graduate Studies Office  — Christina Treusch and Cathy Jardine — $1,500
  • Signage to promote the UW Recreation Committee — Shirley Chatten — $262
  • Presentation by Theatre on The Edge on National Cherry Popsicle Day — Shirley Chatten — $705
  • Yoga on the Green to enhance staff wellness — Kathy Winter — $1,649
  • Stretching brochure to enhance staff wellness — Lesley Nevills — $2,500
  • Day bus trip for staff – destination to be determined — Shirley Chatten — $1,260
  • Library patio improvements – campus beautification project — Benny Colussi — $15,000
  • Campus networking event to promote cross-campus interaction — Liz Koblyk — $3,000

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Open house for future students, and more

Organizers expect some 3,000 visitors later today as the university hosts You @ Waterloo Day — the first time it's been held on a weekday evening. The event is aimed at high school students who have been offered admission to Waterloo this fall and now are deciding whether to say yes or no. "Our goal," says Kim McKee of the visitors centre, "is to give applicants, along with their families, the opportunity to participate in activities that will increase their level of commitment to the University of Waterloo. Faculty, staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer visitor questions, provide them with an opportunity to see residence, and encourage them to accept their offer." Information booths about student services, admissions and finances will be at the Student Life Centre, "representatives and current students from each faculty will be available to answer your questions," and tours leave from the SLC at 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00. • The bookstore, Waterloo Store, Write Stuff, E-Smart and Campus Tech will all be open until 8:00 tonight. • Some of the high school visitors will take in a 6:30 p.m. lecture by Alan Morgan, award-winning professor in earth and environmental sciences, who will be talking about the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Many staff members look forward to the annual “trade show” hosted by the Procurement and Contract Services office (“the purchasing department” to old-timers), and next week brings this year’s event. Says a memo: "The theme of this year’s show is ‘Go Green’ with our suppliers showcasing their greener alternatives. This year we are hosting the show May 25, 26 and 27 in the Davis Centre fishbowl, DC 1301, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. P&CS will also be raffling off an iPod Shuffle and a digital frame to two lucky winners. Due to the overwhelming success of the computer show in previous years, we’ve invited a number of our suppliers as well as our own Campus Tech Shop to attend. We believe with the ever-changing technology available with computers, this show will offer something new every time we hold it. The Technology and Computer Day will be Tuesday. Staples Advantage will be back by popular demand on Wednesday, bringing with them a number of their suppliers. E-Procurement Day is new this year on Thursday. Suppliers will be providing information on their online ordering procedures. Help make your department purchasing transactions quicker, easier and more efficient! For more detailed information on all of the suppliers, please see the flyer on our website.”

A “call for proposals” has been issued for this year’s LIF and PIF grants — raising the inevitable question, what’s that? The answer comes from Nicola Simmons of the Centre for Teaching Excellence, who's in Calgary today helping to run a "Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Leadership Forum" in which senior university administrators from across Canada discuss support for teaching-and-learning research. By e-mail, she explains: “Learning Initiative Fund grants fund projects that study instructional initiatives and/or the creation of new learning resources at the course level. Program Initiatives Fund grants fund projects about program development or renewal. In each case, the focus is on enhancement of student learning. There will be three levels of project funding: up to $5,000, up to $10,000, and up to $15,000. Both faculty and staff are encouraged to submit proposals, either individually or in teams. Proposals are due on September 1, so applicants will have time to prepare their applications." Details are online, separately for LIF and PIF. More information: ext. 32940.

Mark Lisetto-Smith of the office of Organizational  & Human Development writes that “OHD is pleased to announce registration is now open for our Spring Term workshops. In addition to OHD’s popular returning courses, such Minute Taking and Essential Coaching Skills, which explores a manager’s role in employee mentoring development, OHD is offering the new course Getting Things Done, which will present strategies and tools to assist you with time management challenges and develop plans for getting important tasks completed. As well, OHD is offering three more courses in the Business Communications Certificate program. Visit the OHD website to learn more and review course descriptions. And finally, a reminder that OHD uses new a registration system for our workshops,  which allows attendees to view spaces available in workshops, register online, and receive immediate registration notification via email. The new registration system uses MyHRinfo  to register for courses through the Learning and Development module of the Self Service menu.”

And . . . the UW weather station is still offline, to the sorrow of its many fans. "The necessary repairs are taking longer than we had hoped," says a note on its web site. "It turns out the device that ran everything at the station is the part that died. As that part was over 15 years old we have been forced to upgrade to the current model. Unfortunately this involves a whole new set of programming, so basically it is like starting the station from scratch again. We will hopefully be installing the new device this week (May 17-22). We are very sorry for the delay in getting back to updated readings."


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Link of the day

Weights and measures

When and where

Canadian Student Conference on Biomedical Computing and Engineering hosted by school of computer science, through Saturday, Davis Centre. Details.

Architecture students return-to-campus interviews Thursday at Architecture building.

Library workshop: “Better Searching, Better Marks” 1:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy presents Prabha Kundur of Kundur Power System Solutions, “Sustainable Electric Power Systems in the 21st Century” 5:30, CEIT room 3142.

‘Ash from Iceland’ public lecture by Alan Morgan, department of earth and environmental sciences, 6:30, Math and Computer room 2065.

‘Dancing in the Dark’ fund-raiser for Canadian National Institute for the Blind, sponsored by UW pharmacy students, 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., The Vault lounge, Waterloo.

Drop, no penalty period ends (last day to drop or withdraw from spring term courses with 100 per cent tuition refund) Friday, May 21.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: “Active Directory Consolidation Project” Friday 9:15 a.m., IST seminar room.

‘Chester 2010’ symposium on “Drama and Religion 1555-1575”, including live performance of the Chester Cycle plays, May 21-24, Victoria College, University of Toronto, co-sponsored by UW. Details.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 24, UW offices and most services closed, classes not held.

Winter term grades become official May 25.

Touring Players children’s show: “The Name of the Tree” Tuesday 10:00 and 1:00.

QPR Suicide Prevention training session Tuesday 11:30 to 1:00, Math and Computer room 4068, register ext. 33528.

Engineering exchange programs information session Tuesday 11:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 4306.

Education Credit Union seminar: “Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Wills” Tuesday 12:05, Davis Centre room 1302, reservations janinew@

Computer Science Club presents Gerald Sussman, “Why Programming Is a Good Medium for Expressing Poorly Understood and Sloppily Formatted Ideas” Tuesday 5:00, Math and Computer room 2066. Details.

Laurier Association for Lifelong Learning lecture by Paul Tiessen (WLU) and Hildi Froese Tiessen (Conrad Grebel UC), “The Construction of Kitchener-Waterloo in the Visual Imagination of Woldemar Neufeld” Tuesday 7:00, senate and board chamber, WLU.

Co-op employer interviews begin May 26 (pharmacy), May 27 (main group).

Bob Truman, institutional analysis and planning, retirement reception Wednesday 3:00 to 6:00, University Club, RSVP a2morrow@

Retirees Association spring luncheon May 27, 11:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, tickets $25, information 519-888-0334.

Keystone Campaign annual picnic, “Keystone: Final Answer” June 3, 12:00, Graduate House green. Details.

100th Convocation June 16-19, Physical Activities Complex: AHS and environment, Wednesday 10 a.m.; science Wednesday 2:30 p.m.; arts Thursday 10:00 and 2:30; mathematics Friday 10:00 and 2:30; engineering Saturday 10:00 and 2:30. Details.

Waterloo tweets

• "I'm going to smell like coffee all day — that lid was not on tight. Ouch!"

• "No sympathy for WLU students complaining about $ for parking on Bricker/ Ezra. b thankful you can afford an auto."

• "Running a GPS workshop this afternoon for Waterloo Unlimited, and thankfully the weather has decided to cooperate."

• "Reading the Academic Discipline reports from UW. Some of this stuff is pure gold."

• "The #uwaterloo hawk is doing rounds of V1; what's up rabbits and squirrels?!"

• "1,400 first-year undergrads have submitted their Residence Ranking Form. Have you done yours? Don't forget to submit by May 28th!"

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