Tuesday, April 7, 2009

  • Board to approve new research building
  • Faculty association gets salary report
  • High scores in the Putnam, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[A mountie and two players in loud uniforms]

The kinesiology department raised nearly $5,000 towards an endowment fund at the Aftab Patla Memorial Cup hockey game on March 26. Guilda Patla, widow of the well-known faculty member who inspired the annual event, presents a trophy to David Edgeworth, captain of the victorious undergraduate student team. Stephen Prentice of the not-so-victorious faculty and staff team, looks on along with Sgt. Cam Croal of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which didn't put a team on the ice.

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Board to approve new research building

The UW Board of Governors will meet this afternoon with an agenda that includes not just the 2009-10 budget but also a proposed new building on the north campus.

It's "Phase 2" of the Research Advancement Centre, a second building to go up beside the one that opened a year ago at 475 Wes Graham Way. Phase 1 is serving as the temporary home of the Institute for Quantum Computing, as well as other research groups — and it's not big enough, the board is being told.

Hence the second building, which is being financed in an unusual way, according to a one-page report to the board from its building and properties committee. It says: “'Project Co,’ established by certain principals from RIM, is providing all capital funding.

“The RAC Phase 1 building was constructed through the Board-approved design/build process by Cooper Construction and Akitt, Swanson + Pearce Architects Inc. based on a competitive selection process in the spring of 2007. The Design Build Stipulated Price Contract with Cooper was $8,150,500 (plus GST). The site plan approved by the City of Waterloo contemplated twin buildings on a single 6-acre site with the RAC Phase 2 building to be sited just west and slightly south of RAC Phase 1 to enhance the visual impact of the curtain wall system.

“To meet the pressing need for interim space until the Quantum-Nano Centre is completed (together with other UW research needs), Project Co is prepared to fund the construction of RAC Phase 2 up to the maximum budget approved by them (which may include improvements which exceed the original RAC Phase 1 specification). It is currently anticipated that this budget amount is approximately $10.5 million.

“UW will have use of the majority of the building space for the first six years following substantial completion and Project Co (or its affiliate) would occupy one-half of a floor for years 1-3 and one full floor for years 4-6. Following UW's use period, Project Co would have a 49-year land lease of the site (approx. 3 acres) including the building. In lieu of land rent (which would normally be paid by a R+T Park developer throughout the term of the land lease), UW's use during the initial six-year period would be rent free (equivalent net present value).”

Also on the agenda for today's board meeting:

  • A "Memorandum of Agreement between the Graduate Student Association and the University of Waterloo", which hasn't been made public in advance.
  • Changes in student incidental fees for 2009-10, including a hike in the student services fee from $126 to $135 per term for full-time undergraduate students
  • Approval of the planned new School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, and of the May 1 increase in pension plan premiums.

The board meeting starts at 2:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3001.

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Faculty association gets salary report

The UW faculty association will hold its annual general meeting this afternoon (2:00, Math and Computer room 4020) with an agenda that ranges from finances to academic freedom issues.

There will be an update from the faculty’s chief salary negotiator, the chair of the compensation committee, says a memo from association president David DeVidi, who also told members that he would report on “the status of discussions of the class-size memo and the new regulations from the Finance office; the situation for our members at St Jerome's University; FAUW's attempts to encourage a culture of appropriate consultation on important matters, including preserving the quality control role of faculty committees and the Senate; attempts to revitalize FAUW; and more.”

He adds: “We try to keep these meetings as brisk and informative as we can, while still getting done what democratic process requires us to do.”

A usual feature of faculty association meetings is a report from the academic freedom and tenure committee. DeVidi is filling in as acting chair of that body, and in his written report as part of the agenda for today, he pays tribute to long-time chair Frank Reynolds, now retired.

“In my time at FAUW,” he writes, “I have met many faculty members who had high praise for the often invisible work he had done for them; many mentioned especially the emotional support he provided to them through some difficult times. FAUW can have had few more devoted or harder working members in its decades of existence.”

Some excerpts from the AF&T report: “Winter terms are usually the busiest time of year for the AF&T committee. When a tenure or promotion case has been through the departmental, faculty and university levels and a member decides to exercise the right to appeal the decision of the university committee, a tribunal is struck by the University Tenure and Promotion Appeals Committee. Each year there are a number of such appeals; the process begins in the winter term, and carries on through the spring. In such cases the AF&T Committee assigns an experienced member to help people through the process. As usual, there are a handful of cases underway right now. . . .

“While tenure and promotion cases are the most obvious business of the AF&T Committee, they in fact only amount to a small fraction of the matters that reach us. Sometimes cases result from, for instance, inadvertent violations of policy by chairs or associate chairs who, when approached in a suitably collegial way, recognize the mistake, and a resolution is readily worked out. Often, people are looking for information or advice in advance of meetings with their chairs, deans, Human Resources, or the Campus Police Service. Only a small percentage of such cases ever reach the stage of becoming formal disputes.

“Other cases, of course, are harder to give an innocent explanation, because they seem to be the result of someone holding the view that policies and the Memorandum of Agreement are merely helpful suggestions, rather than rules to be followed. The AF&T Committee has to pursue such cases vigorously to be of any use at all. . . . Sometimes, despite our best efforts, informal resolution is not possible, and formal grievances must be filed. Eventually, some of those reach external arbitration. Right now, there is one case at arbitration. FAUW is paying part of the costs; CAUT, on seeing the details, regarded it as of sufficient national significance that it is paying the costs of legal counsel. . . .

“The mechanisms and policies around accommodation for faculty with a disability or serious illness are not adequate. This shows up as AF&T business in various ways. The Association and the Administration are currently discussing language that addresses the absence of policy that adjusts the tenure clock for people who encounter a serious illness that prevents their performing all aspects of the job to their potential while on the tenure stream.

“Even if that policy problem is fixed, a remaining problem is that the policies and resources for accommodating disabilities for faculty are not nearly as good as what is available to students, e.g., through the Office for Persons with Disabilities. Moreover, perhaps due to limitations on the training they get, some chairs and administrators do not have a clear understanding of the duty the university, as an employer, has to accommodate employees with disabilities.”

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High scores in the Putnam, and more

A UW team has placed 7th — out of 545 entries — in this year’s William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, which draws on teams from across the United States and Canada. Winner of the 2008 Putnam, announced this week, was Harvard University, followed by Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Toronto and then UW. “Congratulations,” writes Stephen New of the department of pure mathematics, “to the University of Waterloo team members: Dong Uk (David) Rhee, Steven Karp, Yin (Jack) Zhao and Elyot Grant.” Alas, there was an administrative complication: “Jack Zhou’s score was not counted by the contest administrators (he wrote the contest while in New York and was given the wrong ID number) so Steven Karp’s score was used in his stead.” And there’s more to boast about, as New lists all these UW students who placed in the top 400, among 3,627 contestants: Ian Charlesworth, Oleg Chterental, Kael Dixon, Michael Druker, Alexander Festeryga, Jie Ning (William) Fu, Elyot Grant, Matthew Harrison-Trainor, Steven Karp, Boyu Li, Wei (Will) Ma, Simon Parent, Jennifer Park, Dong Uk (David) Rhee, Malcolm Sharpe, Paul Skoufranis, Yi Su, Wesley Sy, Meng Ye, Robert Xiao, Jingyao Zhang, Yin (Jack) Zhao.

The Ontario University Students Chinese Contest will be held at UW’s Renison University College this year, and is scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, April 24. “The winners will go to China this summer on behalf of Canada,” says Yan Li of Renison’s Confucius Institute, “to participate in the final round of competition with candidates from all over the world. Last year, a UW student won the first prize in Ontario and the third prize in China, and for that reason, the Chinese Consulate General in Toronto decided to have the competition at UW this year.” Competition is in various specialties — reading, writing, speaking, knowledge of Chinese culture, artistic skills. Details are available online or from the Confucius Institute at Renison.

[Ondaatje and Urquhart]A long-time UW fine arts professor is one of nine winners of the Governor General’s visual arts awards for 2009. He is Tony Urquhart, who retired from the faculty in 1999 but is still active as a painter. Urquhart and another noted artist, Kim Ondaatje, shared the “outstanding contribution” award for their work in establishing CARFAC, which describes itself as “a national network which later won rights for visual artists in Canadian law”. They’re pictured together (right).

Here’s a note from the co-op education and career services department: “Recognized for his technical writing skills, Ivan Merrow, a 3B Arts and Business Psychology student, has recently received the first place honour for the Heidi Thiessen Memorial Award. This student writing award, open to applicants from the Universities of Waterloo, Guelph, Western Ontario, and Wilfrid Laurier University, is granted to a candidate exhibiting strong technical writing abilities in combination with a solid academic background.”

And: “Amanda Hird, recipient of this year's Co-op Student of the Year Award from the University of Waterloo, has been additionally honoured with provincial and national recognition. Education at Work Ontario has named her their University Co-op Student of the Year and she has received an honourable mention from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education for her exceptional achievements as a research assistant in oncology.”

The faculty of engineering is inviting nominations for this year’s Alumni Achievement Medals and Friend of the Faculty Award. “Anyone familiar with the work, character and/or achievements of Waterloo Engineering alumni is welcome to submit a nomination. Nominees must hold one or more Waterloo Engineering undergraduate or graduate degree(s), including Architecture, CBET, and/or Engineering.” New this year is the Young Alumni Achievement Medal, for “an alumnus who has graduated within the last 10 years, is 35 years of age or younger, has demonstrated a notable level of success and has been an inspiration to others”. The traditional achievement medals — up to three in a year — will also be awarded, along with a Team Alumni Achievement Medal and a “Friend of the Faculty Award” for a person or organization who doesn’t qualify as an alumnus. Details are online.


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Minister at UW for IQC announcement

Federal science minister Gary Goodyear is scheduled to be on campus this morning to make "a celebratory announcement involving the Institute for Quantum Computing" — just possibly a follow-up to the announcement of $50 million for the Quantum-Nano Centre that was included in the January 27 federal budget. Friends and VIPs have been invited to a 9:00 event at the IQC's temporary home, 475 Wes Graham Way on the north campus.

Link of the day

World Health Day

When and where

Second annual Staff Conference final day, “2 More Full Days Just for You”, keynote speakers, workshops, “Your Passport to Health”. Details.

Columbia Lake Health Club open house Tuesday-Thursday, 340 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing competitions: Euclid Contest for grade 12 students, Tuesday; Fryer (grade 9), Galois (grade 10) and Hypatia (grade 11) contests, Wednesday. Details.

English Language Proficiency Examination for students due to write this term, 12:30, 2:30, 4:30 and 6:30, Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Techno Tuesday: Mark Morton, Centre for Teaching Excellence, “eBook Readers”, 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Live and Learn Lecture: Tim Kenyon, department of philosophy, “Saying Uncle: Speaking Under Torture or Coercion” 7:00, Waterloo Public Library main branch.

K-W Little Theatre auditions for “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (performances in July) continue today and Wednesday 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Details.

Winter term examinations April 8-24. Unofficial winter term grades appear in Quest beginning April 27. Grades become official May 25.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel UC, full day workshop, “Transition with All Family Members”, Wednesday, St. Jacobs. Details.

Easter luncheon buffet at University Club April 8 and 9, 11:30 to 2:00, reservations ext. 33801.

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn series: Kayla Jonas, Heritage Conservation District Study, and Martha Fallis, Historic Places Initiative Team, “Exploring the Link Between Heritage and Sustainability”, Wednesday 12:00 noon, Environment I room 354.

German-Russian author Alina Bronsky reads from her novel Scherbenpark in German and English, Wednesday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Town hall meeting with the president, provost and vice-president (external relations) for faculty and staff members Wednesday 3:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

T’art technology art exhibition: end-of-term show of technology-mediated sculptural works from Fine ARts 392. Public opening Wednesday 4:00 to 7:00, show continues Thursday and Friday 12:00 to 7:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Waterloo YMCA unveiling of plans for new building on Fischer-Hallman Road and recognition of major gift, Wednesday 5:00, University Club, by invitation.

Beyond Borders education and service experience program at St. Jerome’s University, information night, Wednesday 7:00, St. Jerome’s cafeteria.

Good Friday holiday April 10: UW offices and most services will be closed.

UW-ACE instructor user group Thursday, April 16, 1:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Pharmacy building community open house Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 10 Victoria Street South, all welcome. (Official opening ceremony, by invitation, April 17.)

Warrior rugby clinic for boys and girls grades 9 to 12, Saturday, April 18, 10:00 to 3:00, Columbia fields, cost $45. Details.

Friends of the Library Lecture by Prem Watsa, chancellor-designate of the university, Monday, April 20, 12:00 noon, Theatre of the Arts.

UW Senate meets Monday, April 20, 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

UW Retirees Association spring luncheon Wednesday, April 22, 11:30 a.m., Luther Village, speaker Mike Sharratt (department of kinesiology) on “Optimal Aging for Older Adults”, tickets $25, information 519-885-4758.

‘Your American Income Taxes’ new faculty lunch-and-learn session with Ken Klasen and Stan Laiken, school of accounting and finance, for US citizens on the UW faculty, Wednesday, April 22, 11:45 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004. Details.

Public forum on the Middle East Wednesday, April 22, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC great hall.

Used book sale sponsored by local chapter of Canadian Federation of University Women, April 24 (9:00 to 9:000 and 25 (9:00 to 1:00), First United Church, King and William Streets; drop off books at the church April 22 or 23, or call 519-740-5249.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 27-30, Davis Centre. Details.

Fee payment deadline for the spring term: April 27 (cheque, money order or fee arrangements), April 30 (bank transfer). Details. Classes begin May 4.

UW-ACE system will be down Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 a.m., to Wednesday, April 29, 12:00 noon.

Presidents’ Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, speaker Gary Poole, University of British Columbia, “But Will That Be on the Test? Encouraging Deeper Learning” Monday, May 4, 2:00, Humanities Theatre, reception follows.

Faculty workshops on teaching with Gary Poole, University of British Columbia, Tuesday, May 5: “Using Door-Opening Concepts in Our Teaching” 9:00, “We Can Promote Deeper Learning” 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

A Research Conference on Teaching and Learning, sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Wednesday, May 6. Details.

David Johnston Run for Health (fourth annual) around the ring road, walk or run, Wednesday, May 6, 4:15 p.m., starts at Needles Hall, participation free, register ext. 84830.

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