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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

  • Five-year contract for unionized staff
  • 'Living cities' colloquium this week
  • What profs are doing on their sabbaticals
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Five-year contract for unionized staff

A new contract between the university and its unionized staff — approximately 300 members of Canadian Union of Public Employees working in food services and plant operations — has been officially approved by the union, the workers and the employer.

It’s a five-year agreement, retroactive to May 1, 2010, and running through April 2015. CUPE members voted approval on January 7, and the university secretariat said yesterday that employer ratification had been given through an e-mail vote by the board of governors executive committee.

The settlement means all the university’s major employee groups are in the first year of five-year pay agreements. Faculty members and non-union staff entered similar agreements in 2010.

The CUPE agreement also matches the faculty and staff agreements in the way its pay increases are structured: 0 per cent as of May 2010, 0 per cent again on May 1, 2011, and 3 per cent in each of 2012, 2013 and 2014. That’s understood to keep them in conformity with the Ontario government’s two-year “freeze” on the pay of employees in the broader public sector.

Neil Murray, director of staff and labour relations for the university, said the CUPE agreement also includes a $500-per-person signing bonus as of the ratification date (January 7) and another $500 on May 1, 2011.

Other features of the agreement: increases in shift premiums of 10 cents in 2012, 10 cents in 2013 and a final 10 cents in 2014; an increase in the allowances for safety boots and safety glasses; “some anomaly adjustments to some wage rates” in 2012; and “some revisions to current language” typical in a labour agreement.

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'Living cities' colloquium this week

A two-day event about “emerging design strategies for tomorrow’s cities” will be held Thursday and Friday at Waterloo’s Architecture building in Cambridge. "Living Cities: Vision and Method" is jointly sponsored by the school of architecture, Environment Canada, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development, British Columbia’s Okanagan College, and an Okanagan-linked group called Resource Positive Envelope Design.

[Living Cities graphic]A colloquium tomorrow in the Architecture lecture hall, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., will be followed by a day of workshops. Presenters come from across North America and well beyond, including Roger Bayley, associated with China’s Tianjin Eco-city, and Alexander Rieck of the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture in Stuttgart, Germany.

“The event,” says a news release, “will be of wide interest to urban designers, architects, technologists, and members of the public interested in the future of sustainable built environments. International designers and critics will present lectures and workshops focusing on design of sustainable future cities. The colloquium examines experimental and visionary projections of future urban forms that pursue social and environmental viability.

“Speakers will present real and theoretical projects based in North America, Asia, and Europe, including next-generation building technologies and design tools.

“Day 1 of the colloquium will include a series of lectures and discussions. Day 2 will be devoted to smaller in-depth, specialized sessions for skill building and demonstration of detailed material. The colloquium will be open to students and the public free of charge. Presentations will be recorded and made publicly available as podcasts.”

Among the speakers’ topics: “Engaging Innovation and Leading Edge Design”; “Relationships To District Energy Management: Cogeneration, Energy Storage and Demand/Load Coupling”; “Architecture Between Research and the Challenge of the Future”. The architecture school’s involvement in the colloquium is “in conjunction with the Arch 392 Design studio”, its web site says.

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[All seats filled]

Last year it was the Theatre of the Arts, but this year the venue will be the Humanities Theatre, as Waterloo holds its "Grade 10 Family Night" tomorrow (Thursday 6:30 p.m.). The event is meant for high schoolers and their parents who want a briefing on what lies ahead for those choosing a university and eventually applying. Current Waterloo students will talk about what they wish they had known while they were still in high school, and several staff members will speak about admission requirements, budgeting and "choosing the right program for future success". Details and registration are online.

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What profs are doing on their sabbaticals

Here’s another list of Waterloo faculty members who are currently on sabbatical leave. All these leaves began January 1, 2011, and are for six months. In each case the plans for the sabbatical are quoted from material submitted to the university’s board of governors, which has to give approval for all leaves.

Winifried Siemerling, English language and literature: “Work on book under contract with McGill-Queen’s UP; working title, The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past.”

Ajit Singh, electrical and computer engineering: “For the past two years, I have been working in the area of battery power conservation techniques on various types of handheld communication devices. I believe I have some very valuable leads in this area. I would like to devote all my energy to pursuing this topic further. Even though my last sabbatical was only about a year ago, I believe I must work on this topic while it is timely and also immensely important to cell-phone and smart-phone industries.”

Ireneusz Szarycz, Germanic and Slavic studies: “This leave will allow me to complete my SSHRC-supported book project on Aleksandr Grin (1880-1932), which I started during my 2006-07 sabbatical leave. My second project is to write an article on The Maya Indian Prophecy in Dmitrii Glukhovskii’s novel Sumerki (Twilight), which will pilot another book project on the Apocalypse in Contemporary Russian Literature.”

Xiaowu (Shirley) Tang, chemistry: “The purposes of this sabbatical leave are to accelerate research activities, publish results, apply for research funding, establish collaborations, advance knowledge through short-term stays in world-class laboratories.”

Thomas Vance, accounting and finance: “I will remain here on campus and focus on three tasks: Ensuring that my completed projects do not languish in the review process (i.e. promptly respond to review feedback); Converting the results of planned fall 2010 data collection into a new working paper; Collecting data on new project currently under design.”

Zhou Wang, electrical and computer engineering: “The main purposes of this sabbatical leave are to enhance external research collaborations, and to attend top conferences and exchange research ideas with peers in the field. Targeted institutions for visit include University of Ottawa, CRC, New York University, University of Texas, Peking University, Microsoft Research and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Targeted conferences include SPIE Electronic Imaging and IEEE-ICASSP.”

Francis Poulin, applied mathematics: “First, I plan to travel to visit Peter Franks at UCSD. Second, I will visit with Xavier Carton from l’Université de Bretagne Occidental. Third, while in France I will visit Alex Stegner and Guillaume Lapeyre of École Normale Supérieure to work on two different projects. Fourth, I will visit my doctoral advisor, Glenn Flierl, at MIT.”

Robert Prus, sociology and legal studies: “I will use this leave time primarily to continue studies on a project that traces the study of human knowing and acting in Western social thought from the classical Greek era to the present time. This project is part of a much larger sociological study of community life that has characterized my career as a scholar.”

Kevin Purbhoo, combinatorics and optimization: “I will be working on ongoing research projects in enumerative geometry and algebraic combinatorics, and finishing partially written papers. Research topics include geometry of Orthogonal Grassmannians, the Belkale-Kumar product, negative correlations for spanning forests. The majority of my time will be spent in Waterloo, with some travel to visit with collaborators.”


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Link of the day

Naval college, 100 years ago today

When and where

Used book sale continuing through Thursday, Renison University College, hallway outside Lusi Wong Library, proceeds to library accessibility enhancement.

Diversity photos submitted in student contest, final day of showcase 10:00 to 5:00, Student Life Centre.

Career workshops today: “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” 10:30, Tatham Centre room 1208; “The Big Guide to Working and Living Overseas” 12:30,  Tatham 1208; “Exploring Your Personality Type”, first session, 2:30, Tatham room 1112 (second session January 26). Details.

UWRC Book Club: Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

[San Agustin Duo]Free noon concert: San Agustin Duo, Emma Banfield (violin) and Diana Dumlavwalla (piano), 12:30, Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Engineering exchange programs student panel 4:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 208.

Political hip-hop trio Rebel Diaz, presented by Students for Palestinian Rights and other groups, from 8:00, Federation Hall.

Housing information sessions focusing on fall term residence for upper-year students: tonight 10 p.m., REV east quad lunge; V1 great hall; UW Place Wellesley Court south lounge. Thursday 8 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre; 10 p.m., REV east quad lounge; CLV community centre.

‘Reading Scripture Through Other Eyes’ online lectures co-sponsored by Conrad Grebel University College, Thursday-Friday, lectures 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day, discussion following, lunch available, information ext. 24249.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council announcement of  Strategic Grants Program recipients, Thursday 9:30, Earth Sciences and Chemistry room 316, by invitation.

Education Credit Union brown bag lunch: “RRSP, Evaluating Your Options” Thursday 12:10, Davis Centre room 1302, information janinew@

Weight Watchers at Work January 20 and 27, 12:15 p.m., PAS building room 2438; information ext. 32218.

Career workshops Thursday: “Career Exploration and Decision Making” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112; “Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions” 2:30, Tatham room 2218. Details.

City of Waterloo rental housing licensing review, open house session Thursday 3 to 5, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. Details.

Neuroscience Journal Club Thursday 4:00, PAS building room 2464.

Stratford campus lecture: François Paré, French studies, “Threatened Languages of the World” Thursday 7 p.m., Stratford Public Library.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Enjoying Your Large Class” Friday 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘CIDA: The Story of a Successful International Internship’ by Robert Rankin, former intern in Grenadines, Friday 2:00, St. Paul’s U College.

Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville, Ontario, grand opening Friday 4:00, reception 6:00, panel discussion 7:00, by invitation.

Adoptee panel: international and transracial adult adoptees from Vietnam and Korea, Friday 6:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Precedes showing of the film "Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam” Saturday 10:30, Princess Twin Cinema, Waterloo. Details.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association Spring Festival Gala, Friday 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

St. Jerome’s University lecture: Bishop Remi De Roo and Gregory Baum, “The Promises of Vatican II” Friday 7:30, Siegfried Hall.

PhD oral defences

English language and literature. Diana Lobb, previously announced, oral defence rescheduled to Friday, February 4, 1:00 p.m., Hagey Hall room 232.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department:

• Freight and mail delivery assistant, central stores, USG 4 (two positions)
• Online technologies consultant, Centre for Extended Learning, USG 9
• Online technologies consultant, CEL, USG 8
• Online learning consultant, CEL, USG 10
• Industrial liaison officer, office of research, USG 14
• Manager, graduate financial aid and awards, graduate studies office, USG 9
• Financial aid customer service assistant, office of the registrar, USG 5 (15-month secondment or contract)

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