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Thursday, January 3, 2013



  • Tending an indoor paradise
  • Revised Policy 18 now in effect


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


The Biology 1 greenhouse, photographed against a clear blue sky with plants in the foreground.
Tending an indoor paradise

by Dave Pink

Our lives, Lynn Hoyles points out, depend on the interaction of plants and insects.

“It is the basis for the world in which we live,” she says.

She has watched it happen for more than 30 years from inside the greenhouse in Biology 1, the glass structure just north of the Dana Porter Library.

Hoyles is the university’s plant growth facility manager, responsible for the greenhouse and the adjacent controlled environment growth chambers. The greenhouse produces all of the plant material needed for the biology courses, while the chambers, which can simulate just about any growing conditions on the planet, are needed for the plant science research done by faculty and graduate students.

The working environment can’t be beat, says Hoyles, as she walks through a lush green indoor environment on a cold, rainy day. “I manage the space, look after the materials, and I will maintain the plants, but I don’t do any research or experimentation. That’s not my role.”

Lynn Hoyles.Hoyles (left) arrived at the University of Waterloo in 1973 to pursue a passion for sports and begin work on her honours B.Sc. degree in kinesiology, but it was her part-time job at the now-decommissioned greenhouse on the north campus that led to what would become her career. She grew up on a farm in the Dresden area, where her father grew cash crops and her mother was an accomplished gardener, so Hoyles knew a thing or two about plants. That greenhouse job seemed like a perfect fit, and one thing led to another, and then another.

Now she shares her working space with an African mgambo tree, an Hawaiian bird of paradise tree and a couple of other exotic bloomers, while see sees to the cultivation and nurturing of the geraniums, coleus and pea plants that will end up being crushed, dissected an analysed in biology class.

“I have the best job in the world,” she says. 

Top photograph by Richard F. Wintle.


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Revised Policy 18 now in effect

After months of consultation and deliberation, revisions to Policy 18 - Staff Employment have been approved by the President and a revised version is now online with an effective date of January 1, 2013.

A subcommittee of the Staff Relations Committee has been working on revisions throughout 2012 based on feedback received from staff members through a survey conducted in March, roundtable discussions held in April, and information sessions held in September.

"What emerged was a clearly identified need for greater mobility and flexibility for Staff, while at the same time improving flexibility and responsiveness for the University," reads a memo written by Karen Jack of the Secretariat that was distributed to non-union staff members on December 18. "There was also an understanding of the key needs and concerns of Staff and the University and a need to develop a Policy that balanced the needs of all stakeholders."

"The resulting revised policy will mutually benefit the University and staff as it will help to ensure that the university has the appropriate skills, expertise, and human resources to fulfill its mission, while helping to ensure that staff has every opportunity to advance and develop both professionally and personally. In addition, the policy strives to be more accessible to all parties, by separating policy from process, considering the lifecycle of an employee, clarifying language and structure, and clearly outlining individual and institutional accountabilities."

Changes include a new organization of the policy and its appendices - the amended policy now contains principles, rights, and obligations, and the appendices describe process and practical operating procedures - clearer language, a more transparent process, an expansion of the former "progressive discipline" section into a broader "performance management" section, clarity about process when organizational change is taking place, and the inclusion of staff secondments as an official part of the policy, where before they were governed by guidelines.

There are some new additions to the policy as well: the role of the university's leadership is highlighted, staff appointments can be made as part of a documented succession plan, to provide workplace accommodation, or to mitigate job loss, the existing practice of termination for "other reasons", that is, reasons other than organizational change or performance, is now included, improved treatment of contract staff, with contract staff members considered "internal" after 12 months in the event that the contract position becomes a regular position, better security for staff members who move to contract positions to encourage internal mobility, seconded individuals will now receive a salary supplement instead of a permanent salary increase, and a new requirement that all new managers receive performance management training.

"The subcommittee is mindful that there will be questions about the application of the policy and its interpretation," writes Jack. "Staff who have questions about the policy are asked first to seek guidance from their managers. Managers who have questions are asked to contact their Human Resources advisor for guidance. The subcommittee has agreed to remain available to the Staff Relations Committee and Human Resources to provide guidance and assistance in responding to questions about the policy."


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41st annual Hagey Funspiel approaches

On Saturday, February 23, the annual UW Hagey Curling Bonspiel will take place at the Ayr Curling Club in Ayr.

The event, now in its 41st year, is named for Gerry Hagey, the University of Waterloo's first president, and has been held on a mostly-annual basis since 1969.

"Whether you are an experience curler or have never curled before, you will enjoy the fun and frolics of this non-competitive event," reads the promotional material." Brooms, sliders are supplied all you need is soft-soled shoes (running shoes)."

Registration, which includes two curling games, a morning and afternoon snack, sit-down lunch and prizes, is $35.

More information about the event is available online.

Link of the day

125 years of drinking straws

When and where

Feds Used Books extended hours for January 2013: Opening Wednesday, January 2, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, January 3 to Saturday January 5, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday, January 7 to Wednesday, January 9, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, January 10 to Saturday, January 12, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Regular hours resume Monday, January 14, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The Book Store, Waterloo Store, and Write Stuff extended hours for January 2013: Wednesday, January 2 to Friday, January 4 9:00 – 5:00 p.m., Saturday, January 5 and Sunday January 6 12:00 – 4:00 p.m., Monday, January 7 to Thursday, January 10 8:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, January 11 9:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Winter orientation events begin Sunday, January 6 to Friday, January 11. Details.

International Student Orientation, Sunday, January 6, 9:30 a.m., SLC Multipurpose Room.

U Start Here event, Sunday, January 6, 11:00 a.m., Student Life Centre Multipurpose Room.

Winter term classes begin Monday, January 7.

Winter orientation campus tours, Monday, January 7. Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Exchange Student Information Session, Monday, January 7, NH 3001.

Interstate Relations in Antiquity Study Day, Tuesday, January 8, 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., ML 245. Details.

University of Waterloo and McMaster University Collaboration Event, Tuesday, January 8, 4:00 p.m., Waterloo Regional Campus of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, Downtown Kitchener Health Sciences Campus.

Athletics Open House, Wednesday January 9, 10:00 a.m., SLC Great Hall.

Nethermind Art Exhibition, Thursday, January 10 to Wednesday, March 13, University of Waterloo Art Gallery. Details.

Open online class enrolment ends, Friday, January 11.

Frost Week 2013, Monday, January 14 to Friday, January 18. Details.

Feds Get Involved Fair, Tuesday, January 15, 11:00 a.m., SLC Great Hall.

Leadership Lunch event, Wednesday, January 16, Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Grade 10 Family Night, Wednesday, January 16, 6:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts. Details.


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