Tuesday, June 5, 2007

  • Board asked to raise fees, premiums
  • Reflection on Mennonite-Muslim talks
  • Celebrations to come, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

World Environment Day

When and where

Senate undergraduate council 12 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Valentine O'Donovan Memorial Garden dedication ceremonies 1:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex quadrangle.

Keystone Campaign annual summer event, Wednesday 11:30 to 1:30, rock garden and Biology green, plus evening event 10:00 p.m., South Campus Hall, details online.

Garden dedication at Tatham Centre in honour of A. S. (Bert) Barber, pioneer of co-op education at UW, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, has been postponed until fall.

'Air quality in Ontario' presentation by David Yap, Ontario ministry of the environment, Wednesday 3:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113, presentation for National Environment Week.

Perimeter Institute presents Jay Melosh, University of Arizona, "Death of the Dinos: Giant Impacts and Biological Crises", Wednesday 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information 519-883-4480.

Faculty of Science 50th anniversary picnic and group photo for faculty and staff, Thursday 11:30 to 1:30, Optometry west lawn.

Christine Ledbury, university secretariat, retirement open house Thursday 3:00 p.m., Needles Hall third floor patio, RSVP ext. 3-2749.

Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation annual town hall meeting Thursday 4:30, Waterloo Inn; keynote speaker, Ken Coates, UW dean of arts.

'The Great Homeless Count' film showing sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Thursday 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Annual child care festival involving Early Childhood Education Centre, Hildegard Marsden Day Nursery, Klemmer Farmhouse Day Nursery and Paintin' Place, Friday 9:45, Village green, guest performer Erick Traplin.

Groundbreaking for Optometry building addition Friday 11:15 a.m. on west side of existing building.

Waterloo Symposium in Undergraduate Mathematics (WatSUM) Friday-Saturday, details online.

Class enrolment appointments for continuing students to choose fall term courses on Quest, June 11-23.

Ninety-fourth Convocation in eight sessions June 13-16, Physical Activities Complex, details online.

Bruce Lumsden, former UW administrator, director of co-op education and career services, reception marking his award as Honorary Member of the University, Wednesday 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP ext. 3–3926.

Matthews Golf Classic annual event June 18, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

Staff association annual general meeting June 19, 9:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 2017.

George Dixon, dean of science, reception as his term ends, Tuesday, June 19, 4:00 to 5:30, University Club, RSVP ext. 3-3363; contributions being accepted to Faculty of Science Scholarship Fund.

25-Year Club annual reception and recognition of 25-year and 35-year staff and faculty, June 19, 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, information ext. 3-2078.

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Board asked to raise fees, premiums

The UW board of governors will hold its quarterly meeting this afternoon, with an agenda that includes pension premiums, new construction, student fees for several non-academic services, and a report on trends in co-op education.

The board will also hear an "external relations update" featuring the latest word on Campaign Waterloo, which currently stands at 97 per cent of the $350 million "revised goal" — way beyond its original target of $260 million. A chart included in the board agenda says 40 per cent of Campaign funds have come from alumni, 36 per cent from "organizations", 10 per cent from "friends", 6 per cent from foundations, and 4 per cent each from students (through fees for projects designated as part of the Campaign) and faculty, staff and retirees (through Keystone).

And the board meeting will get an update on planning towards a proposed Stratford campus and a briefing on priorities set by UW's executives at their recent Kempenfelt Bay retreat. The meeting today starts at 2:30 p.m. and will be held in CEIT building room 3142.

A report from the board's pension and benefits committee includes an increase in employee premiums for the UW pension plan, something that's been expected since the committee announced this spring that the plan needed higher contributions "to maintain its viability. Employee contributions have not increased since 1977, while the University’s contributions have continued to increase from 138% of member contributions in 2002 to 172% of member contributions in 2007."

The proposal coming to today's meeting would see employees pay 4.80 per cent of their earnings up to the "YMPE" (yearly maximum pensionable earnings) figure set by the Canada Pension Plan in 2007-08, and 5.05 per cent after July 2008. That's up from the current 4.55 per cent. This year's YMPE is $43,700.

For earnings from YMPE up to twice that level, the current rate of 6.50 per cent would rise to 7.175 per cent in 2007-08 and 7.85 per cent in 2008-09. And for earnings above 2xYMPE ($87,400) there would be a new rate of 7.85 per cent this year and 9.20 per cent starting next year.

The committee is reporting that the new premiums will keep the pension plan healthy, paying out pensions to retired staff and faculty on the traditional "defined benefit" basis. The pension formula involves final average salary and the number of years an individual has been working at UW and contributing to the pension plan.

Student fee changes on the agenda for today's meeting involve the Federation of Students (compulsory fee rising from $33 to $34.67 per term starting in September), the Student Coordinated Plan fee for the Columbia Icefield, Student Life Centre and other projects (rising from $45.48 to $46.05 per term), and the health, dental and bus pass fees (to be set at $197.46 for co-op students, to cover two terms' worth of insurance, and $128.89 per term for regular students).

The board will be asked to approve a construction contract for a total of $8.1 million for the planned "research accelerator" building on Wes Graham Way on the north campus, and a $4.0 million contract for an addition to the PAS building to provide graduate student space.

Many board members will be at the dedication of the Val O'Donovan Memorial Garden, in front of the Physical Activities Complex, before the board meeting, and they've been invited to dinner at president David Johnston's rural home afterwards.

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Reflection on Mennonite-Muslim talks

by Gladys Terichow for the Mennonite Central Committee

Despite the cancellation of three public forums, an interfaith conference to foster dialogue between Mennonite theologians from North America and Shi'ah Muslim theologians from Iran achieved its goals, said the director of MCC Ontario, Arli Klassen.

The conference, co-sponsored by MCC and Conrad Grebel University in Waterloo, took place at the university, May 28-30. Registered participants and invited observers explored different aspects of spirituality presented by seven theologians from the Imam Khomeini Research and Education Institute in Iran and seven theologians from Mennonite colleges in North America.

Probing questions and small group discussions followed each presentation, said Klassen, explaining this lively exchange of opinions "encouraged people to explore concerns that each of us have, to correct misunderstandings and deepen our comprehension of each other's points of view."

This academic conference, the third of its kind, was organized as part of MCC's student exchange program with the educational institution in Iran — a partnership "that strengthens MCC's peace building efforts to build relationships of mutual trust and understanding across dividing walls of religion, culture and politics," explained Klassen.

Public forums were cancelled when protestors from the Iranian community in Ontario — some had fled Iran due to human rights abuses — organized demonstrations that disrupted the opening session.

Interfaith peace building is one of MCC's three key initiatives. Other key initiatives are water and HIV/AIDS.

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Celebrations to come, and more

[Back to the fUWture logo]Here's a reminder — but who really needed reminding? — that the annual Keystone Campaign outdoor celebration will be held at noon hour tomorrow at the rock garden and on the nearby Biology green at the centre of the main campus. Advertising and a memo from the president have put the essentials front and centre for staff, faculty and retirees: 11:30 to 1:30, food, games, words about the continuing success of the campaign. A few additional notes come from Shelley Rudd of UW's development office: "Please remember to fill out the back of your invitation with your thoughts about UW's future and drop your invitation into the drum for a chance to win a prize. Grand prize is two round-trip flights anywhere in Canada plus transportation to and from the airport, courtesy of VIP Travel and WestJet. During the event, 'Voca Mocha', Waterloo Region's young adult show choir, will perform repertoire from classical, musical theatre, pop, spiritual, and jazz traditions. Everyone is asked to dress in outfits that represent any of the university's past decades or what they imagine for UW's future."

And speaking of parties . . . more information is becoming available about the program for the "Saturday night gala" on June 23 that will honour 50 years' worth of UW varsity athletes. "Your host," says an announcement from the athletics department this week, "will be Neil Aitchison, one of the top speakers from across the country. As Master of Ceremonies, Neil will add his unique brand of humour and trademark storytelling to the hundreds of Waterloo alumni in attendance." The Saturday night event is the highlight of a weekend of Warrior reunions, involving athletes from 21 sports. Former baseball Warriors will dine together on Friday and play a family slow-pitch game on Saturday; field hockey alumni will attend a Friday night reception and a Saturday barbecue at the Icefield; and so it goes across the range of Warrior, Athena and associated teams. Details are on a special web site.

Says a note from the UW library: “The early bird gets the worm, or in the Library's case, course readings available on eReserves in time for the 2007 fall term. Instructors wanting to make course readings available digitally to their students in time for September 2007 are advised to get a head start and work with the Library’s eReserves service. This is strongly emphasized in cases when the instructor does not hold the copyright for the readings. Requests should be submitted to the eReserves service at least 8 weeks in advance of when the materials are needed. Please visit the Course Reserves FAQ page for more information,” or call ext. 3-5326. Some technical improvements were made to the eReserves service this past winter: "One concern we heard a number of times from students over the past year is that it is frustrating for them to keep re-authenticating for each assigned reading," says circulation services manager, Alex McCulloch "With some technical changes, we have been able to eliminate this issue.” The eReserves get more than 90,000 web hits each term, the library reports.

There’s also word that the library has extended its public printing service to include laptop users. “Through the Library's new Laptop Printing service and the UW wireless network, you can send print jobs from your laptop to any of the public printers at the Dana Porter or Davis Centre Libraries. With Laptop Printing you have the option to download, , install, and print using the PrintWhere driver (for Windows users only), or access the online (web) printing service (for Mac, Linux, and Windows Vista users). The payment process remains the same: visit any of the print release stations located in the Porter or Davis Libraries, swipe your WatCard (or copy card), and print.”

A reminder comes from the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research that Friday is the registration deadline for the Applied Health Informatics Bootcamp to be held June 14 and 15. •  The UW Stage Band, which rehearses Monday evenings, is short a few players, including two trombonists, a trumpeter, a pianist and a drummer; anyone with jazz inclinations can get information from director Michael Wood, e-mail percwood@orc.ca. • The Record newspaper launched a "Centre Block Challenge", inviting students to help redesign a troublesome section of Kitchener's downtown, with a massive front-page story yesterday.

The UW weather station has issued its usual monthly summary, reporting on a less than usual month: "a warmer than average May with average precipitation. The big weather story of the month was the storm that blew through on the evening of May 15. Most of the damage was caused by the high winds that were combined with 13 mm of precipitation in 15 minutes and a drop in temperature of 10 degrees in 2 hours. The warm temperatures at the end of the month made it an overall above average month for temperature. The last time the temperature went below zero was May 7, pretty close to the average day of last frost which is May 6. The overall amount of precipitation (59.1 mm) was just enough to make it an average month of precipitation. More than half of it came during the storm on May 15 when we got 34.5 mm.”


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