Friday, May 25, 2007

  • Future students see campus tomorrow
  • Founder of the math faculty remembers
  • Workplace conference set for October
  • May 1 changes in benefit costs
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Doors Open Toronto

Notes on a smoggy Friday

Two dozen students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have been spending the week at UW on an international field trip aimed at learning about Canadian work in resource management. They're led by Tung Fung, who earned his PhD at Waterloo and is now chair of the department of geography and resource management at CUHK. Several faculty members in environmental studies have met with the Hong Kong group and taken them to sites ranging from the Toyota plant in Cambridge to the Grand River and Elora Gorge. The visitors are staying in Ron Eydt Village.

The conflict management program at Conrad Grebel University College is offering a workshop on "Communication in Creative Leadership" this weekend. • Electrical power will be turned off in parts of Matthews Hall all day Saturday (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) to allow renovation work. • Interviews for fall term co-op jobs will start Monday in the Tatham Centre.

When and where

Monthly book sale of UW bookstore merchandise, final day, South Campus Hall concourse.

Conrad Grebel University College sleepover for alumni from the first decade, Friday-Saturday, evening reception, then single or shared rooms available, information ext. 2–4381.

Dance Dance Dance recital tonight, Saturday and Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

Warrior Weekend with free activities in the Student Life Centre, tonight and Saturday evening, including movies (Friday " Catch and Release", "Perfume", Saturday "Wild Hogs"), crafts, pizza, cotton candy, face painting, details online.

Mennonite Relief Sale in New Hamburg, outing from Columbia Lake Village, bus leaves 9 a.m. Saturday, $3 per person, tickets at CLV community centre.

The Mongoose Diaries by Erin Noteboom (Erin Bow, UW faculty of engineering) book launch Saturday 2:00 to 4:00, Waterloo Public Library main branch.

[150th anniversary logo]
City of Waterloo 150th anniversary parade Sunday 1:00 p.m., King Street from William to Central, followed by afternoon picnic in Waterloo Park, details online. Family activities at Centre for International Governance Innovation, 1:00 to 5:00.

CanHEIT 2007: Canadian Higher Education and Information Technology conference, May 27-30, organized by UW and held on the Wilfrid Laurier University campus, details online.

Tourplay children's theatre: "Charlotte's Web", Monday 10:00, 11:45 and 1:30, Humanities Theatre.

Procurement and Contract Services annual trade show for faculty and staff: VWR scientific supplies Monday, computer suppliers Tuesday, Basics Office Supplies Wednesday, all in Davis Centre room 1301.

Computer science information session on third-year and fourth-year courses, Tuesday 4:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 1085.

Keystone Campaign annual summer event, Wednesday, June 6, 11:30 to 1:30, rock garden and Biology green, plus evening event 10:00 p.m., South Campus Hall, details online.

Faculty of Science 50th anniversary picnic and group photo for faculty and staff, Thursday, June 7, 11:30 to 1:30, Optometry west lawn.

Christine Ledbury, university secretariat, retirement open house Thursday, June 7, 3:00 p.m., Needles Hall third floor patio, RSVP ext. 3-2749.

PhD oral defences

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Chenggang Li, “Surface Design for Flank Milling.” Supervisors, Sanjeev Bedi and Steve Mann. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, June 8, 1:30 p.m., Engineering III room 4117.

Biology. Amélie Gravel, “Impact of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs on the Adaptive Responses to Stress in Rainbow Trout.” Supervisor, M. Vijayan. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, June 14, 2;00 p.m., Biology I room 266.

Accountancy. Devan Mescall, “The Effect of Tax and Financial Reporting Policies on Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions.” Supervisor, Ken Klassen. On display in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Friday, June 15, 9:00 a.m., Humanities room 334.

Health studies and gerontology. Nancy Pearce, “Older Adults Living with Cancer: Supportive Care Needs and Utilization of Peer Support Services.” Supervisors, Sharon Campbell and Anita Myers. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Monday, June 18, 10:00 a.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 3701.

Future students see campus tomorrow

More than 2,500 visitors are registered for tomorrow's You @ Waterloo Day open house, and attendance is likely to pass 3,000, says Kim McKee of the UW visitors' centre. The event is aimed at students who are considering offers of admission to UW for September, as well as their parents.

"Approximately 400 UW staff, faculty and volunteers will be part of this amazing day!" McKee said yesterday.

The day begins with a welcome session at 10:30 in the Physical Activities Complex. Information about academics, co-op and financing will be available in the Student Life Centre, and campus and residence tours will continue until the day winds up at 2:30. Tours will also be offered (10:00 to 4:00 at the Architecture building in Cambridge. The Campus Techshop, usually closed on Saturdays, will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

President David Johnston will host two receptions tomorrow for students who have been offered major entrance scholarships if they come to UW. The latest report from the associate registrar (admissions) says UW has made 19,562 offers of admission for this fall, aimed at filling a first-year class of a little more than 5,000 students. Of those students, 11,525 have been offered scholarships.

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Founder of the math faculty remembers

Ralph Stanton, founder of the UW faculty of mathematics, told a largely student audience some anecdotes of the olden days yesterday, and was recognized with honorary life membership in the student Mathematics Society. "I'm one of the fast dwindling group of people who were around in 1957," said Stanton, now 84, recalling his arrival as one of the first faculty members for Waterloo College Associate Faculties in that year, and the emergence of the University of Waterloo a little later.

"When we had a party there was no difficulty in inviting the entire faculty of the university," said Stanton, indicating how small the institution originally was. But he went on to reveal that there were conflicts, including a rivalry between founding president Gerry Hagey and the pioneer of co-op programs, Les Emery, who "went away to do a PhD, and when he returned he found that there wasn't any place for him in Hagey's organization".

Stanton told his audience in a Davis Centre amphitheatre that he was one of five faculty who served on an Academic Advisory Committee in 1958. "We took it upon ourselves actually to advise — not only to advise, but to urge," he said. He described the historic meeting at which the committee pressed the board of governors to buy the "Schweitzer farm" on the outskirts of Waterloo. The mood was against such a venture until at last industrialist A. R. Kaufman spoke up in favour, and the board quickly swung to his side. "He was the only person in the city of Waterloo with a lot of cash," Stanton said dryly, explaining Kaufman's influence. The Schweitzer farm became today's main campus, and Stanton suggested that UW really could have been called A. R. Kaufman University, since "he was the person who granted its existence."

He gave backhanded credit to Lloyd Schaus, dean of Waterloo College in the 1950s, whose dislike of Hagey helped to push the Associate Faculties toward independence (leaving Waterloo College to become Wilfrid Laurier University in the 1970s) and to Herbert Axford, Hagey's successor at Waterloo College, whose prickly personality only spurred Hagey's ambitions for the fledgling university.

Stanton became chair of the department of mathematics, then in the faculty of arts, and in the late 1960s led the effort to establish it as a separate faculty. Eventually the question came to the UW senate. The senate would likely have approved it anyway, he told yesterday's audience, but eventually gave decisive support in reaction to an over-long speech against the proposal by biology professor Noel Hynes.

Math became an independent faculty July 1, 1967, just as Stanton left on sabbatical, and statistics professor David Sprott became the first dean. In the end Stanton never returned to Waterloo, and has spent most of his ensuing career at the University of Manitoba, winding up as distinguished professor of computer science. He will be the guest speaker tonight at a banquet in Federation Hall marking the 40th anniversary of the mathematics faculty.

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Workplace conference set for October

Three days of serious talk about work — one for researchers, one for "leaders" and one for employers and human resources experts — is the promise of "2017: The Workplace", a major conference to be held in October as part of UW's 50th anniversary celebrations.

The conference, under discussion for the past several months, is announced to the world in the spring issue of UW's alumni magazine, which is about to hit the mail, and details are on a web site that went live this week.

"As the country’s leading practitioner of work-integrated learning through the world’s largest co-operative education program," says the site, "UW is uniquely positioned to host 2017: The Workplace. The conference, celebrating the 50th anniversary of both the University of Waterloo and Cooperative Education in Canada, will bring thought leaders together to investigate issues which will affect the workplace over the next decade.

"The event will facilitate an examination of topics such as: the movement of knowledge out of the country, the impact of technology adoption in the workplace, the role of education and the rapid pace of change anticipated in Canada over the next 10 years, globalization of the economy, and a myriad of other issues of interest to an audience tasked with developing and preparing tomorrow’s workforce."

Some big names are involved, including Blink author Malcolm Gladwell, futurist Richard Florida of George Mason University, and "serial entrepreneur" Leonard Brody. UW itself is providing Ken Coates, the dean of arts, and Frances Westley, chairholder in the new Social Innovation Generation Initiative.

The conference will open Sunday, October 14, with a session that "will bring together the world’s leading researchers centering on the topic of work and the workplace. This multidisciplinary conference will provide a forum where participants and presenters can share ideas and discuss opportunities with an emphasis on the application or ability to apply research and knowledge in the workplace. The future will be represented by a graduate student poster session, inviting entries from across the day’s four themes: Society and Culture, Technology, Education, and Health."

Day two on Monday offers "an opportunity for business decision-makers to come together and take part in a ‘think tank’ with their peers. Interactive sessions will consist of informal chats with 'expert interviewing expert', kitchen table discussions and facilitated panel discussions, inspiring thoughts and ideas that would likely not emerge in the usual ‘talking heads’ conference format."

And day three on Tuesday promises "the event of the decade for co-operative education, bringing together HR professionals, co-op employers, organizations who recruit from UW as well as other co-op professionals. The program will provide ample opportunity to examine, discuss, and think about workplace issues impacting you for the next ten years including recruitment, demographics and hiring practices."

The web site says registration information will be available "soon", along with details on a gala banquet on the Monday evening in the Physical Activities Complex.

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May 1 changes in benefit costs

a memo from the human resources department, timed for payday today

The Pension and Benefits Committee has approved premium increases for our employee group insurance effective on May 1, 2007, the insurance contracts’ renewal date, because benefit payment costs incurred in these plans have increased.

Health and dental plan premiums are paid entirely by UW for eligible full time employees and are prorated for eligible part time employees. Both plans are non taxable benefits. The current annual health premium is about $6.2 million, and it is increasing by 10% resulting in new monthly single/family premium rates of $53.02/$168.66 respectively. The current annual dental premium is about $2.7 million, and it is increasing by 5% resulting in new monthly single/family premium rates of $29.88/$89.88 respectively.

Long-term disability premiums are paid entirely by eligible employees to keep any LTD benefit paid tax free. The current annual LTD premium is about $1.5 million and is increasing by 18.9% resulting in a new premium of 1.07% of base pay. The actual rate paid by faculty and staff will increase to 0.82% of base pay with the difference paid to the carrier from a surplus reserve fund in the plan. When the surplus is used up in the next few years, employees will be paying the contract rate, and therefore it is important for the paid rate to be gradually moved toward the contract rate.

UW pays the entire cost of a group life insurance choice of 1 x salary. If an employee has 2 or 3 times salary in group life insurance coverage, UW pays two thirds of the amount beyond 1 x salary with the employee paying the balance. The premium on any individual age related insurance amount held beyond 3 x salary is entirely employee paid. Any premiums paid by the UW are taxable benefits to employees under the Income Tax Act.

The current annual group life insurance premium is about $1.4 million, and it is increasing by 10%, resulting in a new rate of $.32 per month per thousand dollars of group insurance held. This means an employee at a $40,000 per year salary with 3 x salary in life insurance will pay $8.26 per month compared to $7.52 previously.

There is no change in the premiums for life insurance held beyond 3 x salary. These term insurance premiums are based on age related, smoking/non smoking rates.


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