Thursday, October 23, 2008

  • President and provost invite questions
  • Two more days for staff to vote
  • Lectures tonight on elections, hymns
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

President and provost invite questions

UW president David Johnston and provost Amit Chakma will answer questions from the campus community at a “town hall meeting” two weeks from now, they announced yesterday. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, November 5, at 3:00 p.m., in the Humanities Theatre.

It’s aimed at staff and faculty members, though anyone can attend, and it will emphasize UW's financial situation, the apparent economic downturn and the recent announcement that most hiring and discretionary spending are to be postponed for the rest of the current fiscal year. The two top executives say they will keep their remarks very short so the meeting can concentrate on questions and answers.

To keep the meeting moving along, and to make sure that the meaty questions get asked, staff and faculty are invited to submit their questions ahead of time by e-mail. They should be sent to before the end of next week.

I’ve been asked to help by collecting the questions that are submitted, screening out anything irrelevant (so please keep the topic to UW and its affairs), combining related questions, and if necessary arranging the questions in priority order. There’s no guarantee that every question will get asked publicly, but we’ll try, and if there are too many questions for the available time, I’ll ask the top executives to provide answers through the Daily Bulletin over the days that follow.

When the big day comes, the questions will be put to the president and provost, without any mention of who originally suggested each one. Meg Beckel, UW’s vice-president (external relations), will act as moderator to guide the meeting, and will invite oral questions as well, if time allows.

The town hall meeting will end by 4:30 p.m. Department heads are being asked to allow staff to get to the event if at all possible, and the period is to be treated as paid work time for those who do choose to attend. Parking for staff and faculty from UW's satellite campuses will be available in lot H.

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Two more days for staff to vote

Voting winds up this Friday as members of the UW staff association fill three positions on its board of directors for the 2008-10 term.

Most members will vote online, although paper ballots are also available from the staff association office in Davis Centre room 3603. The poll opened on November 9.

Under the association's newly adopted constitution, the board includes six elected directors as well as the president, the past president and the full-time executive manager. Three directors are elected each year. One of the directors becomes secretary of the association and one becomes treasurer.

Seven candidates are seeking this year's three seats. In reverse alphabetical order they are Darlene Ryan (Waterloo International), Paul Miskovsky (Science Computing), Carlos Mendes (Psychology), Karen Hamilton (Finance), Jason Gorrie (Information Systems and Technology), Chantel Franklin (Alumni Affairs), and Marta Bailey (Centre for Teaching Excellence).

[Dye]Continuing on the board are three directors who were elected last year: Trevor Grove (IST), Jean Zadilsky (Office of Research), and Dawn McCutcheon (Health Studies and Gerontology).

Acclaimed as the 2008-10 president of the association is Doug Dye (left) of the Safety Office, who will succeed Jesse Rodgers (Information Systems and Technology) when the association holds its annual general meeting on October 30. Dye provided this introductory message as he prepares to take on leadership of the association:

"I have been employed with the University since January 1999, although it wasn't until September 2001 that I became a permanent full time employee. I first started in the Chemistry Department as a casual employee helping install lab equipment. Within six months I received a contract position working in the Environmental Safety Facility which eventually turned into a permanent position. For the last four years I have been employed in the Safety Office. My current position has greatly expanded my knowledge of the physical operation of the University through working closely with Plant Operations and other Departments.

"I decided to throw my name in the hat for the presidency because I enjoyed being part of something that is making a difference. Also, there have been a number of changes in the basic structure of the SA, changes that I think make the organization more efficient and better able to help staff members. My main goal as president will be to strengthen the changes that are working and to examine and modify the changes that are not working. The framework has been laid with the re-structuring; now it is time to begin the finish work. One issue that I would like to address is our lack of eye care, so I will be exploring options in that regard.

"I'm excited to see that so many staff members decided to run for the three directors' positions and I'm looking forward to working with the new exec."

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Lectures tonight on elections, hymns

Two major lectures are scheduled on campus tonight, one linking the current United States presidential election with historical events, the other addressing beloved church music.

UW history professor Andrew Hunt will deliver a Faculty of Arts public lecture, “African Americans in American Presidential Politics”, at 7 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre. Admission is free but reservations are suggested.

"Since the 19th century, the role of African Americans in presidential elections has changed dramatically," said Hunt. "My talk will explore the evolution of black participation in presidential elections, from the post-Civil War years to the post-Civil Rights era." It will begin with African Americans who were enfranchised for the first time after years of enslavement and conclude with the candidacy of the first African American presidential nominee of a major political party, Senator Barack Obama.

Hunt teaches a wide range of courses about U.S. history. Topics include the Vietnam War, the American West, Conspiracies in Modern America, America in the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement, America Until 1877, the U.S. Since 1877 and The United States at War: 1861-1945. He is the author of The Turning: A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and is working on a book about the United States in the Reagan era.

At Conrad Grebel University College, musician Mary Oyer will give the 2008 Rodney and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar Lectures tonight and tomorrow. This evening’s talk, at 7:30 in the Grebel great hall, is “Hymns That Have Endured”. A reception will follow. A second event, a talk and workshop on “Enlivening Congregational Song”, is scheduled for tomorrow, also at 7:00.

“Mary Oyer is one of the most remarkable church musicians alive today,” says Ken Hull, professor and department chair of music at Grebel.“Her reputation as a leader of song and an enlivener of worship is world-wide. She was a pioneer in studying and introducing African music to the English-speaking church, and she continues to teach and inspire wherever she goes.”

Born in 1923, Mary Oyer spent four decades of her career teaching at Goshen College (Indiana) in art and music, another decade at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and five years at Tainan Theological College and Seminary (Taiwan). She was a major contributor to the last two Mennonite hymnals, serving as chair of the Hymnal project from 1984 to 1986. Her emphasis has expanded to include traditional music and hymnody of other cultures, especially sub-Saharan Africa and the Far East after she began studying African hymns and culture in 1968. She studied African musical traditions in 22 countries on a series of Fulbright grants.

She comes to Grebel as a Sawatsky Visiting Scholar, an award given to “scholars, practitioners and performers whose expertise in their field represents a wide range of interests to the Grebel community”. She’ll return to speak at the Sound in the Lands conference and festival being held June 4-8, 2009. The lectureship honours the leadership and contributions of Rod Sawatsky and his wife, Lorna, to Grebel, UW, the Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada, and the Kitchener-Waterloo community during his years as faculty, academic dean and president of the college.


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Link of the day

Mole Day

When and where

Grand River Film Festival 2008 screenings of 15 films continues through Saturday, including some at UW Architecture building, Cambridge. Details.

Earth and environmental sciences seminar: Bill Martindale, Calgary, “Exploration and Development of Western Canadian Devonian Reservoirs”, 10:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Blood donor clinic today (10:00 to 4:00) and Friday (9:00 to 3:00), Student Life Centre, book appointments at turnkey desk or call 1-888-236-6283.

China Week literary symposium, “The Nature of Fiction”, 12:00 to 4:00, Renison UC chapel lounge, by invitation.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment, 12:30 to 2:00 p.m., East Campus Hall.

Federation of Students annual general meeting 12:30 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

Pi Day sponsored by Math Society (free pie), 1:25 to 4:25 p.m., Math and Computer third floor.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Ellen Laipson, Henry L. Stimpson Center, Washington, “US Policy Toward Iraq: The End of an Exceptional Era”, 4:00, 57 Erb Street West.

Global Queer Cinema film series in conjunction with Fine Arts 290: “Trembling Before G-d”, 2001, 6:30 p.m., East Campus Hall room 1220.

Bombshelter pub presents Mudmen, doors open 9 p.m.., students $5 cover.

Last day for 50 per cent tuition fee refund for fall courses, October 24.

United Way formal dress day (academic regalia or other fancy dress) Friday. Details.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel UC, breakfast seminar, “Managing Generational Differences”, Friday 7 a.m., Waterloo Inn.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: “iClickers at UW” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Chinese ambassador to Canada Lijun Lan, “China After the Olympics”, Friday 11:45 a.m., Renison UC room 2106.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Amit Chakma, UW provost, “Education for a Global Village”, Friday 2:30, Environment II room 2002. Details.

Department of English presents Eric Friesen, UW alumnus and former host on CBC Radio 2, “Life Lessons from an English Degree”, Friday 3:00, Humanities room 150.

Waterloo Space Society presents the film “The Right Stuff”, Friday 7:30 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

Queer Pride Week bonfire sponsored by GLOW, “the queer and questioning community”, Friday 8 p.m., Columbia Lake firepits.

Goethe’s ‘Faust’ Part I presented in German and English by Shadow Puppet Theatre of Kitchener-Waterloo and the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m., Studio 180, Humanities building, tickets $12 (students $8) 519-888-4908.

Fall Convocation Saturday, Physical Activities Complex: arts and applied health sciences, 10 a.m.; engineering, environment, math and science, 2:30 p.m. Details.

Annual Gem and Mineral Show (theme: International Year of Planet Earth), October 25 and 26, 10:00 to 5:00, earth sciences museum, CEIT building. Details.

World Religions Conference with remarks from representatives of nine faiths: “Founders of Religion, Model for Humanity” Sunday 10:00 to 6:00, Humanities Theatre, admission free. Details.

Toronto alumni networking event Monday 6:00 to 8:00, Atlantis at Ontario Place, hosted by president David Johnston, UW deans, Alumni Council chair Bill Watson and others. Details.

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