Tuesday, December 18, 2007

  • New cards combine health, dental plan
  • 'Creation, cognition, teaching, learning'
  • Notes as the days grow shorter
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Winter OSAP available January 2

Students who are counting on Ontario Student Assistance Program funds for the winter term will want this information: "The Student Awards and Financial Aid office will distribute Winter 2008 OSAP student funding beginning Wednesday, January 2. The office is located on the second floor, Needles Hall. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. In an effort to decrease waiting times, time tickets will be given out each day at the SAFA office. To better serve students, tickets will be given out throughout the day and will be released for more than one day at a time. Students from other provinces may come at any time, beginning January 2. Students are reminded that they must have their Social Insurance card and WatCard, or government issued photo ID."

Grebel taking January days off

Conrad Grebel University College has announced that it will remain closed for two additional days after the end of the Christmas break on January 1, namely Wednesday, January 2, and Thursday, January 3, 2008. The College will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, January 4, 2008. Conrad Grebel will follow the UW schedule and close for
the Christmas holiday at the end of the regular working day on Friday, December 21, 2007.

Link of the day

The patron of the lonely

When and where

Health services will be closed today 11:00 to 2:00; otherwise open 8:30 to 5:00 daily this week.

Trellis library system downtime scheduled to end today, details online.

Library extended hours continue: Davis Centre library open 24 hours a day, Dana Porter Library 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Exam hours end Thursday, with Dana Porter closing 11 p.m. and Davis at midnight. Libraries open Friday 8:00 to 5:00, then closed for the holiday, reopening January 2.

Federation used book store open this week Monday-Friday 9:00 to 5:00; reopening January 2 with extended hours (through January 11), 8:30 to 5:30; also open Saturdays, January 5 and 12 (10:00 to 5:00).

'Lose calories watching TV:' lunch-and-learn session Thursday 12:10, boardroom at TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Surplus sale of UW furniture and other items, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall (off Phillip Street).

University closed Saturday, December 22, through Tuesday, January 1; university police and Student Life Centre continue without interruption. Offices reopen Wednesday, January 2, 2008; winter term classes begin Monday, January 7.

Federation of Students nomination period for 2008-09 executive January 7 through 21, information ext. 36781.

Application deadline for Ontario secondary school students entering UW in September 2008 is January 9 (exceptions and details listed online).

FASS 2008 auditions January 9-11, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Humanities room 180 (studio theatre); Faculty, Alumni, Students and Staff welcome; this year's show, "Global Warming: Kiss Your FASS Goodbye", hits stage February 7-9.

Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference January 10-12, Hilton Hotel, Toronto, details online.

One click away

News release gives latest Campaign total: $423 million
Thank-you to Keystone Campaign volunteers
Province adds $125,000 to Accelerator Centre funding
'Engineering for a Changing World' from U of Michigan
Analytical balance stolen from chemistry lab (Imprint)
UW English professor explains why people like apocalyptic movies
Photos of 'The Birds at St. Paul's'
Who writes books by Harvard professors?
'Canada, a land of great potential' (especially Waterloo)
Ontario students 'applaud' partnership to reduce barriers
Provincial auditor looked at three universities
Education Indicators in Canada, 2007 (Stats Canada)
Federal government spending on science and technology (Stats Canada)

New cards combine health, dental plan

Staff and faculty members are being sent new benefit cards that go into effect January 1, when the employee dental plan will be operated by the same insurance company — Great-West Life — that already handles the supplementary health plan.

We are pleased to provide you with the convenience of a new combination benefit card with one policy number for your extended health, dental and travel insurance benefits,” says a memo from the human resources department. The cards “can be used effective January 1, 2008, for purchasing pay-direct drugs at the pharmacy, submitting electronic dental claims at the dental office, and contacting our insurer when a medical emergency occurs outside your province of residence.

“Please continue to use your existing benefit cards until January 1, 2008 and after January 1, 2008 destroy any of your old benefit cards and replace them with the new benefit card.

“Please ensure you show your new benefit card to your pharmacy and dental office to update your record on their electronic claim systems with the new plan number for claim submissions incurred after January 1, 2008.That way you can be sure to avoid any problems processing your claims because of incorrect information.It is also a good idea to confirm that your dentist has your correct mailing address on file.”

Although a new company is involved, there is no change to the coverage, the HR department notes.

Says a Frequently Asked Questions site: “As of January 1, 2008, our health and dental plan number is 57130. Please ensure your claim submissions to Great-West Life reflect our new number after January 1, 2008. Your employee ID remains the same. Our new policy number and your ID number are identified on your new card.

“All dental claims incurred prior to January 1, 2008, must be submitted to Manulife using your current policy number (10888) and ID number and following the current claims submission procedure. All dental claims incurred on or after January 1, 2008, must be submitted to Great-West Life.

“We strongly encourage employees and their dependents to submit all dental claims incurred prior to January 1, 2008 to Manulife prior to January 1, 2008. Manulife will, however, accept and process dental claims from UW employees and their dependents up to April 30, 2008.”

The FAQ also has information about pre-approvals for major dental work (Great-West Life will honour pre-approvals received from Manulife) and claims for continuing orthodontic work.

And it provides contact information that will now apply for both the health plan and the dental plan: “Great-West Life Customer Services Representatives are available to assist you, Monday to Friday, excluding holidays, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Great-West Life’s toll free number 1-800-263-5742. To register for direct deposit of claim payments, review claim status, benefits coverage information and access their extensive wellness information visit their website.” The mailing address: London Benefit Claims Office, Great-West Life Assurance Company, 255 Dufferin Avenue, London, Ontario N6A 4K1.

One other note from HR: “This fall, you received a form to verify your personal benefit information and if applicable, to confirm your spouse’s coverage under another plan.

“If you have returned your form, thank you. If not, please return the form to Human Resources, as soon as possible.If you do not return your form and you have family coverage, effective January 1, 2008, Great-West Life’s system will assume you also have other benefit coverage for your family members and claims for your family will be impacted. It is critical that you return your form to Human Resources before January 1, 2008 to update your record.” Questions: call ext. 37599.

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'Creation, cognition, teaching, learning'

by Jude Doble, from the fall issue of the UW Magazine

[Carson]Teacher, mentor, artist, playwright, business owner, and student are but a few of the hats Linda Carson (BMath ’85, BA ’92, MSc ’04) dons each day. (Photo, left, by Alison Boyd.)

She is one of the creative minds behind the development of the high school enrichment program, Waterloo Unlimited, and the new UW undergraduate degree program, Bachelor of Knowledge Integration, which will offer students a unique trans-disciplinary degree beginning next fall.

At her Big Black Pig art studio in Waterloo, she is the Person Behind the Pig, where her guiding studio principle is “There are fewer rules than you think.” In 2005, Carson opened an art supply store called State of the Art Supplies. Here she is known as both the Artist-in-Charge and as Charlie. She laughingly adds, “My staff call me Charlie as in Charlie’s Angels since they never see me in person.”

She also teaches in UW’s Department of Fine Arts and spends every July as a live-in teacher at Shad Valley Waterloo, a student enrichment program. And somewhere in between all this, she is working on a PhD in behavioural and cognitive neuropsychology at UW.

All of these jobs, more accurately called passions, are finely connected by themes of creation, cognition, teaching, and learning. “I am always a student. I want to know things and throw myself into them, but I never bother to predict which enthusiasms will last.” While Carson admits there is a danger of flitting from project to project, she says she prefers “to plunge deeply into things” even if she’s not going to stay long.

While her schedule would exhaust most people, Carson jokes she doesn’t sleep or do laundry, and is saved by her greatest strength: vision. “I want the big picture and if a task doesn’t serve the bigger picture, I ask myself how I can get it off my to-do list.”

Cramming all this into each day is only possible, she says, because of her “amazing support system” at the studio, at the store, at the office and in her personal life, including Carson’s science-fiction writer husband, James Alan Gardner (BMath ’76, MMath ’78). And she has learned to say no to things that aren’t important enough to give up sleep for.

As the first-generation university student in her family, her parents could offer little academic advice other than to read voraciously and dive into things with her whole heart. “That’s the best preparation for education and life I could’ve asked for.”

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Notes as the days grow shorter

Nancy Weiner, the associate registrar (admissions), reports that UW has issued 671 offers of first-year admission for September 2008 so far. “All 671 admits have been sent an offer email,” she says, adding that more students will get similar offers this week. “Out of the 671 offers for fall 2008, 187 have current grades that indicate 90% or higher and 363 have grades between 85 and 89.9%. Last year at this time for fall 2007 entry, UW sent 391 offers.” She estimates that the offers made so far are 4.5 per cent of the total that will go out this year: “UW will continue to make rolling offers of admission at the end of January and early February.”

A note in the new issue of the Forum newsletter from UW's faculty association says the organization has "received a number of calls from professors concerned that they might be pressured to spend time teaching at proposed campuses in the United Arab Emirates, Stratford, or elsewhere. When we asked at FRC specifically about professors being pressured to spend time at the proposed UAE campus, we received verbal assurances that no professor would ever be forced to go to the UAE, and a prediction that there would be competition for the opportunity to go there. It is FAUW's view that this is the sort of thing that the university ought to be willing to put into writing. We are confident in the sincerity of present administrators when they give their word that nobody will be forced, because we have good reason to trust their commitments; but we suspect that some of the worried faculty members we have heard from might, for instance, wonder whether future administrators would take a different approach if the predicted popularity of postings to the UAE does not materialize. Our opinion is of course similar for other proposed campuses. We urge anyone who feels they are being forced to go to the UAE to be in touch with us about it."

The engineering faculty's e-newsletter reports that Keith Hipel of the systems design engineering department has been honoured with the the title of “Docteur Honoris Causa” by France's École Centrale de Lille at a ceremony which took place in Lille on December 6. École Centrale de Lille is one of the Grandes Écoles with which the engineering faculty recently established an official exchange program.

The Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology announced this week that it has received “substantial” funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, which operates research and development programs in a range of specialized fields. "We are very pleased that OCE has such confidence in the staff, resources and students at CBET to provide this level of funding," says CBET director Paul Doherty. "With these funds, we can continue with our goals to become a catalyst for change in the field of entrepreneurship.” This funding is described as “a strategic boost to assist entrepreneurial students to commercialize innovative ideas”. “We are thrilled to offer the key elements of OCE’s Talent Program to MBET OCE scholar students,” says Marc Nantel, director of business development for OCE. “The program is designed to help leverage the skills and knowledge capacity of the next-generation of innovators and entrepreneurs by exposing them to real life situations.” The funding includes money for international scholarships, business skill training, and the First Job program, which “allows companies to improve their ability to innovate by recruiting talented young students with significant academic experience”.

And . . . I said yesterday that the vacant space in the Student Life Centre was the former Aussies variety store, but it seems I was wrong. "The space in question," says Steve Cook of the procurement and contract services department, "is actually the remaining half of what used to be the Campus Cove games room. They have vacated, and a dentist will soon be opening shop in one half, and soon we will find out who's best suited to occupy the other half."


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