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Tuesday, May 14, 2013



  • Rate changes for benefit premiums
  • The Daily Bulletin Turns 20: Part Three
  • Volunteers sought for Day of Caring


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Rate changes for benefit premiums

Employee health, dental, life insurance, and Long Term Disability (LTD) contracts are renewed every May 1, and Human Resources issued a memo yesterday outlining the changes to benefit premiums for the current fiscal year.

On the health plan: "Health premiums increase by 12.9%; resulting in monthly single/family rates of $64.68/$206.44. These premiums are paid entirely by the University for full-time employees with part-time employees paying a pro-rated amount. The Health plan is a non-taxable benefit."

For the dental plan: "Dental premiums increased by 4.6%; resulting in monthly single/family rates of $33.68/$101.32. These premiums are paid entirely by the University for full time employees with part-time employees paying a pro-rated amount. The Dental plan is a non-taxable benefit."

For group life insurance: "Group life premiums reduced by 10%; resulting in basic group life premiums of $0.2290 per month per thousand dollars of group insurance held effective May 1, 2013. However; due to exceptionally good claims experience a large surplus was generated last year.
Therefore, basic group life rates will be subsidized by the surplus for a one-year period May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014; resulting in paid rates reduced to $0.1382 per month per thousand dollars of group insurance held. Rates will return to normal rate of $0.2290 once the surplus has been depleted.

The memo explains how the group life insurance premiums are paid:

"The University pays 100% of the group premium on 1X salary in life insurance. If an employee has 2X or 3X salary in group life insurance, UW pays two thirds of the amount with the employee paying the balance. Any premium paid by the University is a taxable benefit to the employee. Premiums for optional employee insurance held beyond 3X salary and spousal life insurance are based on gender, age and smoking rates and are paid entirely by the employee. Premium rates for optional insurance for ages 45 to 69 are decreased by 10%."

Changes to Long Term Disability (LTD) premiums: "Long-term disability premiums charged by Great-West Life (contract rate) required to fund the plan are set annually by our insurer. The actual rate employees pay from their salary (paid rate) is currently being subsidized by a surplus reserve within the LTD plan. This surplus is expected to be depleted over the next year and we need to increase the employee paid rate closer to the level of the contract rate. Effective May 1, 2013, the employee paid rate increased by 1.5% to 1.302% of base salary to a maximum insured salary of $163,690."

"Employees paid premiums and surplus reserve used from the LTD plan to cover the entire premium cost allows for a tax free LTD benefit."

"Should you have questions about our premium rates, please contact your Payroll Benefits Assistant in Human Resources," concludes the memo.


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A collage of Daily Bulletins from 1993 to 2006 showing major format changes.The Daily Bulletin Turns 20: Part Three

The Daily Bulletin turned 20 years old on May 11, 2013. To mark the occasion, here is part two of a three-part history of the Daily Bulletin, which will continue on Tuesday. Bring yourself up to speed by checking out part one and part two.

Chris Redmond continued to work as editor of The Gazette as well as the Daily Bulletin. He says balancing his editorial duties wasn’t too difficult in the beginning because initially the Daily Bulletin just wasn’t that big. “It wasn’t designed as a substitute, it was updating – a supplement,” he says. “And a lot of what was in the Daily Bulletin was along the lines of ‘there will be more details in this Wednesday’s Gazette.’”

A Daily Bulletin from 1999.However, as the Daily Bulletin continued to grow in size and breadth of coverage, the situation couldn’t continue. When Redmond returned after a 3-month medical leave in 1999, editorial duties for the Gazette were shifted to Barb Elve, another staff member in Communications & Public Affairs, and Redmond began editing the Daily Bulletin full time.

A subtle shift in balance occurred as the Gazette and the Daily Bulletin continued their parallel publication. The Daily Bulletin began to emerge as the primary communications vehicle for Information & Public Affairs (which would change its name to Communications & Public Affairs in 2003).

A screenshot of a Daily Bulletin from May 2001.“At first the Daily Bulletin continued to be pretty terse, but it grew longer and more elaborate, and I began to find that instead of the Daily Bulletin repeating and updating stories that had been in the Gazette, the Gazette was starting to fill its columns with reprints of news and chatter from the previous week’s Daily Bulletins,” Redmond said in a speech to an audience of university news editors at Rutgers University in 2011. “However, it wasn’t until 2004, when a key staff member went on long-term sick leave and we couldn’t figure out how to replace her, that we bowed to the inevitable and announced that the print Gazette had appeared for the last time. From now on it was the Daily Bulletin, which got longer and more elaborate, and eventually was put in the hands of a graphic designer.”

A screenshot of a Daily Bulletin from 2001.The look and feel of the Daily Bulletin now ebbed and flowed with overall updates to the university’s online identity. Redmond continued to tweak the layout and offerings on the Daily Bulletin as time went on, introducing the “Link of the Day” in 1998 and including digital photos around the 1999 mark.

The Daily Bulletin also grew to absorb the sort of content that had exclusively appeared in the pages of the Gazette, including the listings of available positions from Human Resources, and notices of PhD oral defences.

A screenshot of a Daily Bulletin from 2002.In 2003 Redmond began to publish intermittent listings of campus events in a box that would appear periodically on the Bulletin’s page. The “When and Where” events listing would grow to occupy the right sidebar by 2006, which is when the Daily Bulletin underwent its last sweeping layout change.

“The right hand column became the major list of events,” says Redmond. “And the top right corner was suddenly prime real estate.”

The Daily Bulletin had to walk a fine line between being comprehensive and being too long or dense to be readable. “There was always a limit to what you could inflict on people,” Redmond says.

A screenshot of a Daily Bulletin from 2006.The Daily Bulletin underwent another transition in late 2011, when Redmond set aside his editorial duties to work on the historical project that would turn into Lions & Chevrons before his retirement in February 2012. Into his long shadow stepped Brandon Sweet, who worked as a communications specialist in Communications & Public Affairs and had occupied the office next to Redmond’s since 2007.

Plans are in the works for enhancements to the Daily Bulletin that will take place over the course of this anniversary year, starting with a reader (and non-reader) survey to be conducted in the near future that will help shape the redesign.

Asked to sum up his thoughts on the Daily Bulletin’s first two decades, Redmond puts it this way: “I’m very proud that it came out on time and it contained mostly useful and accurate information,” he says. “It’s easy for something to think ‘what do we want them to know?’ but it’s really about ‘what will they find useful?’ If you want people to be able to do their jobs, you need them to have information that’s useful.”

And so for two decades, the Daily Bulletin has attempted to be just that – a chronicle of mostly useful information, even on days when “there is simply no news.”


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Waterloo volunteers at the Food Bank.
Volunteers sought for Day of Caring

by Kirsty Budd.

The United Way’s Day of Caring is a way to make a difference in your community and give back with more than just dollars.

You’re invited to join the University of Waterloo’s United Way team for the 2013 Day of Caring as they head into the community on Wednesday, June 12 to donate their time and help start change in Kitchener Waterloo.

Pictured above at the Food Bank of Waterloo Region are (l-r) Sharon Lamont, Melissa McNown-Smith, Marina Selioukova, Donna Sutherland, Richard Wells, and Alex Lippert.

“A donation of your time is just as valuable as a monetary contribution,” said Melissa McNown-Smith, volunteer coordinator. “We have such a supportive campus community and we look forward to a strong uWaterloo presence at this year’s Day of Caring.”

Held annually since 2010, the Day of Caring matches volunteers from local organizations with different non-profit groups. In the past, uWaterloo volunteers have donated their time at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Yog Fellowship Temple. 

Please contact Melissa McNown-Smith by Wednesday, May 15 to find out more about volunteering.


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Tiles upon tiles at RCH

Beginning Wednesday, May 15, work will begin on the first and second floors of the J.R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall as the ceramic tile floors undergo replacement.

The second floor will be worked on first. Caution tape will be in place clearing marking the areas that are being re-tiled, and there will be no access during the renovation.

Link of the day

40 years ago today: NASA launches Skylab

When and where

Feds Welcome Week 2013, Monday, May 13 to Friday, May 17.

Canada 3.0 conference, Tuesday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 15, all day, Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Details.

ePortfolio Drop-In session, Tuesday, May 14, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., EV1-242. Details.

Senate Undergraduate Council meeting, Tuesday, May 14, 12:00 p.m., NH 3001.

LabVIEW User Group Meeting, Tuesday, May 14, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., E5 4106-4128. Details.

uWaterloo Blooms, Wednesday, May 15, 10:00 am to 3:00 p.m., SLC Multi-Purpose Room.

Feds Get Involved Fair, Wednesday, May 15, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., SLC Great Hall.

UWRC Book Club featuring "419: A Novel" by Will Ferguson, Wednesday, May 15, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

The Balsillie School of International Affairs presents The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, "Can values be transformative in international affairs?" Wednesday, May 15, 12:00 p.m., Seagram Room, CIGI. RSVP via email.

Environment Lecture Series featuring David Phillips, climatologist, "What Is Up With Our Weather", Wednesday, May 15, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville. Details.

Federation of Students Club Days, Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., SLC Great Hall.

Victoria Day long weekend, Monday, May 20 university closed.

Campus Walk 2013, Tuesday, May 21 to Friday, June 14. Details.

Student Consultation Group - uWaterloo Student Portal, Tuesday, May 21, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., SCH multipurpose room.

Education Credit Union Lunch ‘n Learn session, "Why prepare a Will/Power of Attorney" featuring guest speaker Don Travers, Lawyer Paquette Travers & Deutschmann, Tuesday, May 21, 12:05 p.m., DC 1302. RSVP to Nancy Hogan, 519-742-3500 ext. 2243 or by email.

Senate meeting, Tuesday, May 21, 3:30 p.m., NH 3001.

WISE Lecture Series featuring Dr. Jiujun Zhang, Principle Research Officer, National Research Council Canada, Vancouver, BC, "PEM Fuel Cell Catalysis and Supercapacitors at National Research Council of Canada," Thursday, May 23, 2:00 p.m., DC 1302.

The Library presents Services for New Faculty and Grad Students, Friday, May 24, 10:30 a.m., FLEX Lab. Details.

Lessons Learned: Working Towards Effective Lake Stewardship, Saturday, May 25, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment. Details.

Toyota High School Electric Vehicle Challenge, Saturday, May 25, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Engineering 5. Details.

You @ Waterloo Day, Saturday, May 25, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., various locations on campus. Details.

Random Walks: Music of Xenakis and Beyond, Saturday, May 25, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Institute for Quantum Computing. Details.

Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Networking Training Course, Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29, Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville. Details.

CTE presents Instructional Skills Workshop, Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., location TBA. Details.

Retirement celebration for Martin van Nierop, Wednesday, May 29, 4:00 p.m., University Club.

Environment Lecture Series featuring Mike Commito, Department of History, McMaster University, "Winnie-the-Pooh to Spring Hunting: the history of Ontario's black bears," Wednesday, May 29, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville. Details.

The Library presents Keep Current with Research Alerts, Tuesday, June 4, 10:00 a.m., FLEX Lab. Details.

Board of Governors Meeting, Tuesday, June 4, 1:30 p.m., Location TBA.

The Library presents Find Books and More, Thursday, June 6, 2:00 p.m., FLEX Lab. Details.

Keystone Picnic, Friday, June 7.

Daycare centres' annual outdoor concert, Friday, June 7, 9:30 a.m., BMH Green.

23rd Annual Matthews Golf Classic, Monday, June 10. Details.

Spring 2013 convocation, Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15. Details.

Child Vision Research Society Conference 2013, Monday, June 17 and Tuesday, June 18, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., School of Optometry and Vision Science. Details.

Senate meeting, Monday, June 17, 3:30 p.m., NH 3001.


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