Monday, August 31, 2009

  • How $250,000 will support 'staff excellence'
  • UW centre endorses heritage districts
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Work on overpass, ring road, August 31 2009

Here's a slice of the action at 7:15 this morning, as part of the overpass between Engineering 3 and the new Engineering 5 building is raised by Bondfield Construction. Both parts are expected to be in place by later today. Meanwhile, the ring road between the Davis Centre roadway and the Carl Pollock Hall loading dock will be closed for the day, and Grand River Transit buses will be re-routed to the west (Needles Hall) side of the ring road all day. Photo by Michael Strickland.

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How $250,000 will support 'staff excellence'

a memo issued to staff late last week by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation

In response to concerns expressed by the UW community, PACSC discontinued the Special Recognition Award Program for University Support Staff on January 9, 2008. The money set aside for the program ($250,000 per year) has been renamed the “Staff Excellence Fund.”

The committee would like to thank staff members and managers for their ideas, suggestions and feedback on new directions for the fund. Over the past year, the committee carefully considered all of the submissions received in light of the basic principles developed to guide use of the fund: 1. The program should enhance the working environment for all staff, either individually or as a group. 2. The program should promote excellence through cooperation, collaboration and innovation, resulting in effective client service to students, staff, faculty, alumni and the university. 3. The mechanism for distribution of the fund must be transparent and fair. 4. The equity of the program will be measured by access (i.e., some staff members may choose not to use the program, but all should have the opportunity to use it if they desire).

The committee is now pleased to present the plan for the Staff Excellence Fund. The following allocations will be implemented for a two­year trial period (except service recognition, which requires a five­year cycle to determine effectiveness).

High-Quality Speakers. The fund will sponsor high-calibre speakers coordinated by the Office of Organizational & Human Development on topics relating to staff training and development, both within and independent of the annual staff conference. Estimated cost: $50,000/year.

Service Recognition. The university will centrally recognize USG staff for their service at 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 and 45 year milestones with a $100 gift redeemable on campus and a celebratory event, beginning November 2009. This recognition is independent of 25- and 35-year club celebrations. Estimated cost: $50,000/year.

Staff Career Advisor. This new position operating out of Career Services will enhance resources available to foster staff career development at UW. Services may include individual advising, customized workshops and online resources for self-service. Estimated cost: $85,000/year.

Special Initiatives Fund. Remaining funds each year will be used to support projects that enhance staff morale, such as departmental or university-wide events, renovation projects, volunteer or community service, wellness, recreational outings, or any other undertaking that would enrich the working environment for staff. Projects will be solicited from staff members and selected by a subcommittee of PACSC whose members are nominated by the Staff Association. Estimated cost: $65,000/year.

Accumulated funds. Over the past year, the Staff Excellence Fund accumulated a balance of approximately $250,000. This amount will be used to make a one-time capital contribution on behalf of USG staff to enhance child care facilities on campus.

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UW centre endorses heritage districts

A year-long study by UW’s Heritage Resources Centre, which examined a third of Ontario’s more than 90 Heritage Conservation Districts, concludes that they’re working well as “a planning tool to manage change in our most historic neighbourhoods”.

A news release from the HRC, based in UW’s Faculty of Environment, explains that Conservation Districts are created by municipalities under the Ontario Heritage Act “as a way to direct development in ways that saves the best qualities of the Province’s character areas while allowing for appropriate growth and change. The 32 Districts that have been in existence since before 1992 were included in the study because it takes a number of years for the results of District designation to become evident.”

Funded by a grant from the Trillium Foundation, the project was a joint effort by the Architectural Conservation of Ontario, Community Heritage Ontario and a number of local historical societies in places such as Ottawa and Huron County. The research was coordinated at Waterloo.

It’s had some positive publicity already, the news release notes: “I've always preferred to get my facts straight from the horse's mouth,” wrote Globe and Mail columnist Dave LeBlanc on July 18, “especially in areas involving doubt or controversy, such as the idea that (shocker alert) Heritage Conservation Districts can actually be good for neighbourhoods, owner morale and real estate values.” LeBlanc went on to say, “I'm happy to have in my hands a recently released report titled Heritage Districts Work. Admittedly, the report is a bunch of statistical data. But it's based on a straightforward questionnaire delivered to property owners in 32 HCDs.”

In spite of being seen by many planners as the preferred way to manage character areas in both urban and rural areas, “HCDs are still opposed by some people,” says the release. “The study set out to answer their concerns. Are HCDs overly restrictive and bureaucratic? Apparently not, since most applications for alterations were allowed and the process usually took less than a month to complete. Are people happy with living and owning properties in Districts? It seems that most are. Of the 681 people interviewed, 318 were very satisfied and 193 were satisfied. That’s a 75% approval rating. Only 9 individuals were very dissatisfied.”

One of the big, perennial questions about heritage Conservation Districts is property values. The study used GeoWarehouse software, which records all real estate transactions. Comparing 2,500 properties within the HCDs to their surrounding neighbourhoods, “a number of interesting fact emerged. For one thing, only 481 properties had more than two sales. Of those 190 had sales histories that were above the average trend while 175 had histories that matched the average. Only 94 were below average. That means that 75% of properties with HCDs perform at or above the average of the market. Many of the properties with districts also resisted downturns in the ambient market, rising in value when the average sale price was falling.”


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Link of the day

Moldova's language

When and where

Fee payment deadline for fall term is today (certified cheques, fee arrangements) or September 9 (bank payment). Details.

Warrior tennis (men and women) team meeting, walk-ons welcome, Tuesday 3:30 p.m., Waterloo Tennis Club. Details.

Surplus sale of furnishings and equipment Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall.

‘Single & Sexy’ preview performance, open to all, Friday 11:00 a.m., Humanities Theatre. Performances for first-year students September 8-10 at various hours.

Labour Day holiday Monday, September 7, UW offices and services closed, except those involved in welcoming new students.

Orientation week September 7-12. Details.

School of Accounting and Finance grand opening of new wing at Hagey Hall, September 8, events 9:30 to 2:30. Details.

‘Research Tools and Library Services’ workshop for new faculty and graduate students, September 9 at 1:30, Davis Centre library conference room; September 10, 1:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter library; September 11, 10:30, Davis; September 14, 1:30, Porter; September 15, 1:30, Porter. Details.

Accelerator Centre ‘graduation’ for Energent Inc., September 10, 9:30 a.m., 295 Hagey Boulevard, information info@

Weight Watchers information session about on-campus program September 10, 12:00, PAS (Psychology) building rom 2438, information ext. 32218, e-mail amcharet@

New faculty workshop with briefings about office of research and graduate studies office (established faculty and administrative staff also welcome) September 11, 11:30 to 1:30, Math and Computer room 2017, with lunch and trade show. Optional 10:30 workshops on research ethics and research finance. Information and details e-mail kdsnell@

Fall term classes begin Monday, September 14. Open class enrolment ends September 25.

Graduate House open house Monday, September 14, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Alumni networking workshop: “Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk” September 14, 6 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Return-to-campus interviews for co-op students September 15-17, Tatham Centre.

PhD oral defences

Biology. Mangaliso J. G. S. Gondwe, “Environmental Impacts of Cage Culture in the Southeast Arm of Lake Malawi: Water and Sediment Quality and Food Web Changes.” Supervisors, Stephanie J. Guildford and William D. Taylor. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, September 14, 8:30 a.m., Biology I room 266.

Physics and astronomy. Mohaddesseh Azimlu Shanjani, “A Study of Molecular Clouds Associated with H 11 Regions.” Supervisor, Michel Fich. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, September 14, 9:30 a.m., Physics room 352.

Computer science. Nabeel Ahmed, “Interference Management in Dense 802.11 Networks.” Supervisor, Srinivasan Keshav. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Wednesday, September 16, 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 2314.

Electrical and computer engineering. Hemantkumar Barot, “New Paradigms in Medium Term Operations and Planning of Power Systems in Deregulation.” Supervisor, Kankar Bhattacharya. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, September 17, 9:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

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