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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

  • Board decides today on fee increases
  • Storm preparations; candidates' hot air
  • Staff face the annual appraisal
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Little boxes of cookies]

Sweet! This year's "treat-a-gram" from the Keystone Campaign involves chocolate chip cookies "packed in environmentally friendly containers". The price is $3, including delivery on February 14 (Valentine's Day) anywhere on Waterloo's Ontario campuses, including residences and the colleges. Proceeds go to the campaign, which supports scholarships and other fund-raising projects; the calories just melt into the air, I'm sure; and the love radiates right back to the colleague or friend who sent the treat-a-gram in the first place. Order deadline is February 8.

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Board decides today on fee increases

Increases that range from 3 per cent to 6.5 per cent to most Waterloo tuition fees are on the agenda for approval by the university’s board of governors today. The majority of the increases would go into effect for the spring term.

There are scores of different fee levels, depending on what program a student is taking and when he or she started. But the annual increases fall into a few categories:

  • Canadian students already in undergraduate programs, fees up 4.0 per cent.
  • “Regulated” programs, such as most BA, BSc and BMath programs: fees up 4.5 per cent for newly admitted Canadian students.
  • “Deregulated” programs, such as engineering, computer science, architecture, optometry and pharmacy: fees up 6.5 per cent for newly admitted Canadian students. (Exception: only 4.5 per cent in several financial management and accountancy programs.)
  • Canadian graduate students, fees up 3.0 per cent.
  • International students in undergraduate and most graduate programs, fees up 3.0 per cent. (Exception: up 8.0 per cent in the nuclear engineering MEng program.)

The changes will put the per-term fee for first-year arts students up to $2,733; first-year engineering, $5,439. The documentation being presented to the board for approval today also quotes the fee for undergraduates at the United Arab Emirates campus as “72,000 dirhams for 2 terms”, or about $13,000 Canadian per term, around the same fee an international student on the Waterloo campus would pay.

Approval of tuition fees for 2011-12 is a step towards preparation of the university’s budget for the new fiscal year, which will start May 1. A progress report on the 2010-11 year tells the board that income has gone up by some $13 million since the last estimate was presented in October, mostly because of higher-than-expected fall term enrolment.

Most of that money has been transferred to faculties and departments and spent, or will be spent before the year ends, but the year’s surplus is now expected to be about $3.2 million, up from the original forecast of $600,000. In addition, officials have set aside $3 million from this year’s budget to cushion the effect of a likely campus-wide budget cut next year.

Also on the agenda for today’s board of governors meeting:

• Residence fees for 2011-12: up by 3 per cent in the Villages, UW Place, Minota Hagey and Columbia Lake. The one exception is the family-style townhouses at Columbia Lake Village, where rents will go up by 0.7 per cent.

• A construction contract for the planned Stratford campus building: Bondfield Construction will get the job, worth $11.6 million plus tax.

• A “project budget” of $45 million for a “science expansion building attached to the south side of Biology 2 and west side of Biology 1”. The project would be built in two phases, finishing in 2013-14.

• A decision to “wind up” the “flexible pension plan”, an extra savings vehicle for faculty and staff members that has not been widely used.

The board meeting starts at 2:30 today in Needles Hall room 3001.

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Storm preparations; candidates' hot air

It's snowing out there, barely — no blizzard, but maybe a sign of things to come, as Environment Canada is forecasting a sizeable winter storm for much of Ontario by Wednesday morning. So here's a reminder about the possibility of the university closing tomorrow, or any other bad-weather day. A decision no longer hangs on the actions of the local public school board, as was formerly the case. (Besides, tomorrow is a professional development day for Waterloo Region schools, so kids won't be in the classroom anyway.) If it's necessary to close, the provost will make the university's decision in the early morning hours, based on advice from police and plant operations officials. Word will be passed to local radio stations, which go into full "storm centre" mode on snowstorm days. An announcement about closing of the university (including Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and Stratford locations) will also be posted on the university's home page and announced through the main telephone switchboard. There will also be an updated recording on the "InfoLine" that has lately been introduced for emergency situations, phone 1-866-470-0910.

The first of two candidates’ debates was held in the Student Life Centre yesterday, as the Federation of Students election moves into high gear, and the second debate runs from 12 to 3 today at the same location. (Voting is scheduled for February 8-10.) A feature of the Feds election for 2011 is a slate of Team Rhino candidates, with a Rhinoceros-Party-style platform: “If elected, will invest entire FedS surplus in lottery tickets.” Running under that banner are Ian Charlesworth for president, Marc Burns for VP (administration and finance), John Stevenson for VP (internal), and Edgar Bering for VP (education). The other full slate of candidates represents Team Real (“Realistic Experienced Accessible Leaders”): Matt Colphon for president, Prashant Patel for VP (AF), Rob Fry for VP (internal), and Natalie Cockburn for VP (education). The race also includes three unaffiliated candidates: Luke Burke for VP (internal), André Magalhães and Brian Maloney for VP (education), and everybody’s platform is reproduced on the Feds web site. Five seats on students’ council and three on the university senate are also to be filled in next week’s voting.

Retired entrepreneur and active philanthropist James Beingessner has been announced as the next chancellor of St. Jerome’s University, succeeding retired faculty member Peter Naus. “For decades,” says a news release, “Jim Beingessner has been actively involved in community affairs, sharing his business expertise and personal passion to assist organizations in their development. Former president of B&W Heat Treating, which when sold in 2002 was Canada’s largest commercial heat treater, Jim has served on many community boards, most often in leadership roles.” He was the founding chair of the Waterloo Region Catholic Community Foundation, the Waterloo Wellington Community Development Foundation, and Canada’s Technology Triangle, and has received many awards. “With connections to St. Jerome’s University which go back to the 1950s,” the release continues, “his natural leadership abilities, personal passion, and connections to various Catholic organizations at the local, national and international levels, make him an ideal titular head of St. Jerome’s University.” In making this announcement, board of governors chair Maureen O’Donoghue Rich said, “We look forward to welcoming Jim to St. Jerome’s University as our next Chancellor and express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Dr. Peter Naus for his generous and exemplary service to St. Jerome’s University as Chancellor since February 2007.” A date for Beingessner’s installation is to be announced.

How does a co-op job in the Swiss Alps sound? Six Waterloo students can tell you all about it, says a report in the new issue of the online Inside Scoop newsletter. The six — from math, kinesiology, environment, chemistry and arts — all worked at the Leysin American School, an international boarding school in the ski resort of Leysin near Lake Geneva. “As a Student Life Assistant,” says the newsletter’s lines about one of the Waterloo participants, “Vanessa Diaconu not only helped supervise students in the dormitories, but also co-ordinated events, ran the student lounge and led some after-school activities.” Julia Lubczynski, meanwhile, worked as a lab technician (and did some hiking and travelling) and Craig Mutch did information technology support work. All six are interviewed for the newsletter by Avneet Dhillon.

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Staff face the annual appraisal

It's that time of year again, for staff members across campus and the managers they report to. Annual performance appraisals are to be completed and filed with the human resources department by March 14, says a memo from Alfrieda Swainston, manager of salary administration.

There are “no changes to the appraisal documentation” this year, Swainston said last week.

Appraisal is done on a 1-to-5 scale, on a form that assesses such "work performance factors" as client service, working relationships, communication, job knowledge, "taking the initiative to make things better", problem-solving and time management. A rating of 3 says a staff member’s performance “was fully satisfactory in all key areas”; a performance worth a 4 rating “significantly exceeded the requirements of the job in one or more key areas”.

The resulting merit rating is a factor in determining an individual staff member's annual May 1 pay increase. (Under the current five-year salary settlement, there’s no adjustment to salary scales in 2011, but individual merit increases are still a possibility.)

Says Swainston's memo, sent to managers and administrative assistants a few days ago: "The Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation committee members would like to remind managers to meet with employees to discuss the content, as well as to provide the employee an opportunity for discussion and input.

“Performance Appraisals completed with care and understanding help staff to see how their jobs and contributions fit within the bigger picture of the University’s goals as outlined in the 6th Decade Report. Focusing on performance feedback, coaching, developing opportunities for continued growth and skill development, and goal setting for the year ahead ensure open lines of communication and shared expectations.

“The goal of performance evaluation is to provide confidential, constructive feedback to staff members regarding their performance in relation to the requirements of their job as outlined by their job description and the appraisal rating interpretations. The exercise serves to identify areas of success, areas that need improvement which have been raised over the past year, opportunities for job enhancement, training and further development and a discussion of the working environment.

“Please use this opportunity to review changes which may have occurred in job content; to review safety practices in the workplace, and to assess if job descriptions are reflective of the work being done, or if the current grade should be reviewed.” The job descriptions for most UW staff positions were put on the web in 2006.

Other sections of the appraisal form ask whether the staff member has "the tools and equipment to do your job" and whether communication and feedback from the manager are adequate. The form ends with "mutually agreed upon goals and objectives" for the year ahead. The staff member is expected to sign the form to indicate that he or she has seen the paperwork and heard the supervisor’s opinions, and is encouraged to make comments, especially if he or she disagrees with anything in the appraisal.

Copies of the appraisal form, as well as instructions for how to fill it out and rate staff members, are available on the HR web site.


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[W]Warrior sports

Weekly report, January 31

Warrior leads Canada to hockey victory in Universiade

Link of the day

Born 200 years ago

When and where

Employer interviews for spring term co-op jobs (“main” group of students) through February 16. Ranking opens February 16 at 1 p.m., closes February 18 2 p.m., results available 4 p.m.. Details.

Reception to honour faculty winners of Robert Harding and Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Awards, 9:30, Hagey Hall room 3106, by invitation, information ext. 35108.

Library workshop: “SciFinder, Web Version” 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘What Is Chinese New Year?’ food,music, arts demonstration, 12:00 to 1:00, international student office, Needles Hall room 1101.

Pharmacy students co-op job ranking opens today 1 p.m., closes Wednesday 1 p.m., results available Wednesday 4 p.m.

Career workshops today: “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1208; “Choosing a Major” 3:30, Tatham room 2218. Details.

WatRISQ presents  Brian Hartman, statistics and actuarial science, “A Bayesian Hierarchical Model for Multi-Population Mortality Forecasting” 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Classical studies lecture: Margriet Haagsma, University of Alberta, “The Archaeology of Daily Life” 4:00, Hagey Hall room 227.

Imaginus Poster Sale Wednesday-Thursday 9 to 8, Friday 9 to 5, Student Life Centre.

Job Fair Wednesday 10:00 to 3:00, RIM Park, Waterloo. Details.

Librarians’ Association presents Linda Hecht, author of Women in Early Austrian Anabaptism, Wednesday 11:30, Dana Porter Library room 428.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Grading Groups and Teams” Wednesday 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Computer science information session on upper-year courses Wednesday 3:30, Math and Computer room 1085.

Chinese New Year dinner at Mudie’s cafeteria, Village I, Wednesday 4:30 to 7:00.

Stratford Campus update event, remarks from president Feridun Hamdullahpur and others, Wednesday 5:00, Stratford Rotary Complex, registration online.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology information session Wednesday 5:00, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Development Social Night hosted by Engineers Without Borders: networking, collaboration, refreshments, Wednesday 5:00 to 10:00, Graduate House. Details.

Canadian Association of Planning Students annual national conference will be held at Waterloo February 3-5. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Teaching-Based Research” Thursday 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

FASS of the Titans annual musical comedy, Thursday-Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30, Humanities Theatre, tickets at Humanities box office 519-888-4908.

‘Fourth Natures: Mediated Landscapes’ conference at Architecture building, Cambridge, Friday-Saturday, public welcome. Details.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin