Monday, June 12, 2006

  • The rain held off for Camp Keystone
  • Changes proposed to policy on staff
  • Tell your family: a top stats teacher
  • Nortel supports research chair in wireless
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

How to reach the Daily Bulletin

Exam schedule online

The schedule for spring term final exams (July 31 through August 12) is available online from the registrar's office.

Dean of science nominating committee

George Dixon's term as Dean of Science expires on June 30, 2007 and, as required by Policy 45, The Dean of a Faculty, the process for constituting the Nominating Committee is under way.

Nominations are requested for "one staff member elected by and from the regular staff" of the Faculty of Science (at least three nominators are required in each case). Completed nomination forms should be submitted to the Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060 no later than 3:00 p.m., Friday, June 30, 2006. An election will follow if necessary.

When and where

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses begin today on Quest; new student appointments begin July 17; open enrolment, July 31.

Employee Assistance Program presents Rebecca DiFilippo, Moods Magazine, "Changing Perceptions: Mental Health at Work", 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP to Johan Reis, health services.

Staff poll on the value of a recognition program with a monetary component closes online 3 p.m. today.

Alumni in Vancouver after-work reception Tuesday 6 to 8 p.m., Pacific Palisades Hotel, details online.

Alumni in Victoria after-work reception Wednesday 6 p.m., Canoe Pub, details online.

Health informatics seminar: "Training Nurses Using Physiological Simulation", William Malyk (graduate student in computer science) and Jennifer Jewer (grad student in management sciences), Wednesday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

Ninety-Second Convocation Wednesday-Saturday, each day 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, detailed schedule online.

Business breakfast seminar: Margaret Cornish, Canada-China Business Council, Friday, 7:30 a.m., Renison College, tickets $10, 519-884–4404 ext. 657.

PhD oral defences

Physics and astronomy. Eugeniu M. Popescu, "Two Topological Matter Models for (2+1)-Dimensional Gravity." Supervisor, R. B. Mann. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Wednesday, June 28, 10 a.m., Physics room 352.

Electrical and computer engineering. Samar Samir Mohamed, "Integrated Feature Analysis for Prostate Tissue Characterization Using TRUS Images." Supervisor, M. Salama. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Thursday, July 6, 1 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Computer science. Ning Zhang, "Query Processing and Optimization in Native XML Databases." Supervisor, M. Tamer Özsu. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, July 11, 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

In case you missed them

Staff up by 160 since 2001
What a new prof's doing at the rink
Director named for health research
Staff role seen in Sixth Decade report

[Crowd by the Tatham Centre and refreshment tent]
The rain held off for Camp Keystone

The crowds were happy, the dogs were hot and the drinks were cold at Thursday's open-air event celebrating the $5 million (and counting) Keystone Campaign. Hundreds of staff, faculty and retirees filled the area between the Graduate House and the Tatham Centre -- and, indeed, the thunderstorm courteously waited until close to the event's 1:30 end time before breaking loose.

[David Johnston unveils Keystone poster][Little staff member with big stuffed lion]Participants were urged to wear "camp gear", and among those who took the invitation seriously was president David Johnston (left, showing off a large-scale Keystone poster). Pounce de Lion (right) came au naturel; he's seen embracing Sheila Kielbasa of the distance and continuing education office. Volunteers by the hundreds helped make the day a success, says Shelley Rudd of UW's development office. Photos by Jesse Rodgers.

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Changes proposed to policy on staff

a memo from the staff relations committee (shortened)

The Staff Relations Committee is soliciting feedback on proposed changes to the Staff Employment Policy; the policy that deals with staff employment practices, including recruitment, selection, hiring, promotion, transfer, discipline and release. This is an important policy for staff and the Committee encourages you to review the proposed modifications and forward any concerns and/or comments for the Committee’s consideration. Please direct your feedback to Trenny Canning, Secretary of the Committee, Secretariat, Needles Hall or by e-mail to by Wednesday, June 21. The draft may be found online. A copy of the current Policy is also online.

• Training and Development – this is a new section recognizing the importance of training and development in the work life of staff; it includes reminders to supervisors to encourage growth and development of staff and allocates staff up to 30 hours annually to pursue courses offered by Staff Training & Development

• Recruitment – re-ordered to include information previously contained under the heading Promotion & Transfer; it includes a new section on UW’s commitment to excellence, recruiting the best staff possible, maximizing opportunities for advancement and new challenges for staff; encouraging staff to apply for positions for which they appear to be qualified

• Career Path Positions – this is a new section reflecting recent practice, appropriate for some positions, in providing flexibility re recruiting individuals at differing levels of skill and knowledge; position is advertised at various classification levels, e.g., USG 9/11

• Advertising – this section has been clarified for ease of reference and includes the conditions under which external advertising may occur; new to this Policy is the ability to conduct simultaneous internal and external advertising and applicant consideration for positions classified at USG 16 and higher; the current Policy states that for special circumstances or for highly specialized jobs, a request could be made to the Associate Provost, Human Resources & Students Services to conduct a simultaneous search

• Selection Process – this section contains various statements which appeared throughout the Recruitment section and clarifies the process for both internal (to the University) and external applicants

• Probationary Periods – the section on performance reviews has been modified to lay out the expectations re communicating performance expectations and feedback, and giving staff a reasonable period of time to improve if performance is unsatisfactory; new to this section is information on when it might be appropriate to extend a probationary period and limits on how long that extension could be

• Organizational Change – modifications to this section have been made with a view to emphasizing the importance of regular communication and consultation, not just when organizational change is imminent; the need for managers and staff to anticipate future needs as much as possible, and to require supervisors to provide affected staff with a paper copy of the relevant section (7) of Policy 18 and encourage them to seek advice/support from HR and/or the Staff Association

• Reduction in Working Hours – this is a new section which basically states that any reduction in working hours needs to be treated as an organizational change which means the principles of section 7b apply

• Relocation Assistance – the series of sessions on job search techniques, resume writing and preparation, interview skills, etc., will no longer be offered; HR will continue to provide information and refer staff to external agencies upon request; there is no change to the personal support offered to staff through EAP, Counselling Services and HR

• Long-term Disability – this section has been reduced as the majority of information was of a procedural nature and can be found in the Income Continuance Programs for On-going Employees brochure

• Appendix A – modified to clarify and reflect current practice re the initial interview and screening process used for internal applicants (e.g., sometimes the initial interview and screening is conducted by a hiring committee/panel and, sometimes, due to the number of applicants, it is not feasible to interview all qualified candidates)

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Tell your family: a top stats teacher

by Barbara Elve

Keeping his stats class in stitches — a course that traditionally falls at the high end of the stress scale — has endeared psychology professor Erik Woody to countless graduate students over the years.

Second in a series about Distinguished Teacher Award winners to be honoured at convocation


“In addition to Dr. Woody’s uncanny ability to make difficult concepts understandable… the entire Psychology 800 class usually gets a chance to laugh heartily at least a couple of times — a novelty in a statistics class,” says one student. Another even phones siblings back home to share “some of the humorous, insightful issues he brings up in his assignments.”

Aside from his wit and expertise in illuminating the world of statistics, Woody is known for generously giving his time to help both colleagues and students. Letters of support since 1985 attest to the impact he has had in helping others deal with difficult statistical problems.

“I have visited his office on many occasions, completely confused about how to approach a particular issue,” notes one student. “Each time I left with confidence, not only that I had found a solution, but that I could pass this understanding on to others and deal with similar situations independently in the future.”

When not extracting students from stats quandaries, Woody finds time for his research, and at one time was a member of the dissertation committee for 30 graduate students. For the past few years, he has been chair of the psych department’s division of clinical psychology.

Department chair Mike Dixon praised Woody’s “outstanding teaching,” which, he said, “has shaped not just the precision of thinking but often the very careers of students passing through our department. His training of students at both the undergraduate and graduate level is simply superb.”

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Nortel supports research chair in wireless

Officials from Nortel and the university announced Friday that the company is co-sponsoring a Research Chair at UW focused on technologies that will help shape the future of wireless networks. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-Nortel Chair in Advanced Telecommunications Technologies was established at a ceremony with Mike Zafirovski, president of Nortel, Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Industry, Nigel Lloyd, executive vice-president of NSERC, and Waterloo president David Johnston.

Amir Khandani, a professor in electrical and computer engineering, was appointed Senior Chair. Khandani is well-known in the industry for his research in communication systems design. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 refereed articles and several high impact patents, including a patent on symbol-based Turbo-codes, a technique that is incorporated in multiple telecommunication standards. Another notable contribution is the Shell Mapping algorithm that is widely used in commercial wire-line modems. Khandani currently holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Wireless Systems from the federal government.

The research program will focus on third and fourth generation broadband wireless technologies, a news release said, “leveraging Nortel’s wireless innovation leadership, the University of Waterloo’s reputation as one of the world’s top technology research centres and NSERC’s proven track record of supporting Canadian university research in science and engineering.”

Currently deployed by major service providers around the world, third-generation technology (3G) represents an important technical milestone for wireless communications because it extends cellular services beyond voice and text. 3G networks is expected to make possible such services as mobile telehealth, instant Internet applications, new online financial and shopping capabilities, as well as entertainment services that include rapid music downloads, live sports, and mobile gaming.

Right behind that, 4G “will take wireless technology even further, achieving speeds comparable to wireline broadband and allowing for such sophisticated uses as wireless sensors to monitor and manage everything from traffic stress on a bridge, to air pollutants, to personalized environment settings in the home”.

“Moving to 3G and beyond requires a significant increase in speed and bandwidth capabilities for wireless networks. Each step forward requires large technical jumps to push technologies past their existing limitations,” said Zafirovski. “As Canada’s leading innovator, Nortel understands the value of university research partnerships in bringing together the best and brightest to create new technologies that not only greatly improve communications, but that are also commercially viable.”

The NSERC-Nortel Chair is cited as “one example of how Nortel is working with government and academia to drive innovation in Canada by helping to turn academic research into successful, commercial products and services. The program is also intended to provide the necessary support to increase the number of graduate students in advanced telecommunications research at the University and to train future leaders of the telecom industry.”

Said Johnston: “Nortel and the University of Waterloo have partnered since the university's very beginning almost a half century ago to strengthen Nortel’s ties to leading university research, to promote advanced communication research in Canada and to meet the country’s need for high-technology graduates. The Nortel-NSERC Chair strengthens this relationship and will provide a strong talent pool of future leaders for the wireless industry in Canada.”

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