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Tuesday, May 6, 2003

  • Call it the Tatham Centre
  • Coming later: the maple artwork
  • Library offers to fetch books and articles
  • A few other notes for today
Chris Redmond

Today is World Asthma Day

[Building's lobby]

Call it the Tatham Centre

UW yesterday officially opened the new building (pictured above) for co-operative education and career services, which has been in use since December, and gave it its name, honouring the man who's helping to pay for it.

The landmark $10.8 million structure near the main entrance to campus will be the William M. Tatham Centre for Co-operative Education & Career Services -- the Tatham Centre, for short. (The abbreviation: TC.)

Politicians, former directors of co-op, other VIPs and the donor himself -- Bill Tatham -- were among the guests yesterday afternoon at the opening ceremonies. Then a dinner was held last night in the Festival Room to honour Tatham, a 1983 systems design engineering graduate who founded his own successful company, XJ Partners. Tatham has contributed $4.1 million to the project, the audience yesterday was told.

Tatham . . . rhymes with say thumb
With that gift, the building is nearly paid for. The Ontario government's SuperBuild infrastructure program provided $2.35 million, and the other major source of funding is UW students, who are collectively providing $4.35 million through a $25-a-term fee.

As it's explained in a UW news release, the 45,500-square-foot building caters to student career-related activities such as employment interviews, career development workshops and vocational research. As well, it houses the administrative staff for co-operative education and career services.

"It's a hit," says Olaf Naese, communications administrator for CECS, adding that both students and employers who participated in the inaugural set of interviews held at the new building in February were happy about the experience. Unlike the former cramped CECS location in Needles Hall, Naese said, students prefer the more comfortable waiting area offered by the new building along with the faster interview process owing to the increased number of rooms. "Employers particularly liked the more pleasant, larger and more private interview rooms as well as the convenience of closer parking facilities."

The co-op program at UW is the largest in the world, with about 11,000 undergraduate students enrolled. Under the program, students alternate four-month terms in class with paid work terms in business, industry and government jobs related to their studies.

More from the news release: "The building was designed to make the interview experience as rewarding as possible for both students and employers. There are 100 interview rooms, seven meeting rooms with space for 15 to 120 people and 55 administrative office spaces, plus a coffee shop and lounges. As well, students will have access to large washrooms -- complete with change rooms and lockers to store belongings -- while taking co-op job interviews. The building's main lobby includes a bright waiting area for students before their interviews, while employers can relax in a lounge of their own."

Since not all employers are able to conduct their interviews in person, the building offers a "call centre:" a grouping of 14 private walled phone booths and a video-conference room. Students waiting for interviews are paged by means of a signalling system using video monitors suspended from the ceiling. Employers, when ready to interview a candidate, can simply press a call button on the wall of their office.

Coming later: the maple artwork

Next fall, visitors to the new Tatham Centre will see a dramatic piece of wooden artwork in its lobby -- a permanent reminder of a mighty maple tree that once stood on that site.

There was distress on campus when the tree, estimated to be as much as 100 years old, was felled as part of work on the building site. Officials pointed out that the tree might not live much longer anyway, and put the wood in storage while the co-op and career services department ran a student contest to do something creative with it. (As I recall, doing something permanent with the maple wood was first suggested by Stephen Markan, then a staff representative on the UW board of governors, during a board discussion of the construction project.)

[Wood on wall] Johnathan Wong, a third-year student of architecture, won the first prize, worth $1,000, and will oversee the fabrication and installation of his art piece. Wong's winning entry, titled "Re-Root", is pictured at right, and can be seen as a poster on an easel in the building's lobby until construction is finished and it can be installed.

Spencer Rand, third-year architecture, and Mike Koutsoulias, fourth-year architecture, received the second prize of $750 with their entry called "In Memory of a Tree." Honourable mention went to Patrick Cull, a third-year fine arts student. More about the contest entries can be found on the CECS web site.

The artwork will be installed in front of the "feature" wall on the ground floor of the building and greet visitors as they enter from the southwest. Prize money for the competition was donated by WoodWORKS!, the Grand Valley Society of Architects and CECS.

Library offers to fetch books and articles

A memo from Jamie Russell of the user services department in UW's library announces that "a pilot project to explore a possible expansion of the book and article retrieval service" began this week.

Library users can already have books -- and copies of articles -- brought to UW from the libraries of Waterloo's two partners in the Tri-Universities Group of libraries, Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier. And now: "Starting on May 5, UW faculty, graduate students, and staff will be able to request books from UW collections and select any of the eight on-campus libraries for pick-up (Dana Porter, Davis Centre, UMD, OPT, REN, CGC, SJU, TRACE).

UW library 'research starting points'
"They will also be able to request photocopies of articles from the UW collections and choose any on-campus address for delivery (some copyright restrictions may apply). Requests will be filled within three business days. There is no charge for this service.

"The pilot will run until December 23, 2003."

Says Russell: "We've had many requests to have materials sent from one location on campus to another purely for convenience. We felt that this would be a service that could greatly enhance the teaching and research done on our campus." The question -- and the reason why the expansion is a pilot project rather than a permanent change -- is how heavy the demand will be, meaning how big a workload it will produce for library staff.

Questions can be directed to Russell at j2russel@library.

A few other notes for today

The senate graduate council and research council are holding a joint meeting today, starting at 9:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. Joint meetings have been the norm lately, since so many issues at UW involve both graduate study and research policy, and a proposal to merge the two into one committee is on its way to the UW senate.

"Welcome week" for graduate students continues. Today there's free breakfast at the Graduate House, 10 to 11 a.m., and tonight there's a five-pin bowling party (presumably not at the Grad House, but that's where participants should sign up in advance). Tomorrow is Burger Day, with free food at lunchtime.

Counselling services is organizing a "support group for individuals impacted by war," including students, staff and faculty "concerned for family or friends in the war region". An organizational meeting will be held May 15 starting at 2:00 in the counselling office in Needles Hall. More information: call Christine Tauer Martin at ext. 5483.

UW's continuing education program is in full swing for spring, with courses being offered almost daily. Today, for instance, it's "Leading People to Effectiveness", a day-long course led by a local human resources consultant. Tomorrow there are several courses, including the first session of "Becoming a More Confident Computer User", to be taught by Bob Hicks of the information systems and technology department. UW staff, faculty and students get a discount on the fees for continuing ed courses.

UW alumni in Seattle are invited to a reception this afternoon at the Bellevue Art Museum, to meet president David Johnston, dean of math Alan George, and Frank Tompa, director of the school of computer science. Tomorrow, the cavalcade moves south for a luncheon in San Francisco and an evening event in Mountain View in the Silicon Valley suburbs. and on Saturday, there will be a UW presence at the "All-Canadian University Alumni Dinner" at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

A PhD thesis from the department of chemistry is currently on display, with the oral examination scheduled for next week. The student is Tiemin Huang, the supervisor is Janusz Pawliszyn, and the thesis topic is "New Career-Ampholytes-Free Isoelectric Focusing Approach to Separate Proteins." The oral will be held Tuesday, May 13, at 9:30 a.m. in Chemistry II room 361.

And . . . how well paid are Waterloo faculty? Metin Renksizbulut of the mechanical engineering department chairs the compensation committee of the UW faculty association, and he provides some data points in the March-April issue of the association's Forum newsletter. Average salary for UW faculty members over 30, according to data from Statistics Canada, was $86,942 last year, a chart indicates. That would put UW third among the Ontario universities listed -- well behind Toronto's $97,810 and slightly behind York's $87,810, but ahead of (in order) Queen's, Guelph, McMaster, Ottawa, Western and Laurier.


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