Monday, July 20, 2009

  • Fun and citizenship at Microsoft
  • Cheating penalties approved
  • What's going on around here?
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Fun and citizenship at Microsoft

from an article by Adrienne Raw in the Inside Scoop newsletter for co-op students

“Corporate citizenship is basically the idea of how the company gives back to the community in different ways.” This concept governs third-year recreation and leisure student Caitlyn Smith’s ongoing work with Microsoft Canada in the Corporate Communications and Community Affairs team.

Caitlin SmithSmith (left) assisted in all three main areas of her team’s responsibility: corporate imaging, community affairs, and government relations. Smith’s major projects came from all three areas, but primarily concerned community affairs — sponsorship, charity work, developing connections, and giving back to the community.

“When a lot of people think rec and leisure,” says Smith, “they think ‘Okay, gym teacher, camp counselor, working at a rec and parks department,’ but I’m working for a tech company!” She adds that quite a few rec students are moving away from the stereotype and embracing jobs in industries such as computer technology.

Microsoft’s emphasis on giving back to the community meshes perfectly with her outside-of-work activities. When she’s not working, Smith is involved with the Federation Orientation Committee for UW residence and the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Her volunteering has continued throughout her time at Microsoft as part of the 40 hours of paid volunteer time she is given by the company. “They encourage you to be out in the community.”

One of her major projects was the Microsoft annual Holiday Greeting Card Contest. The competition is open to children from the Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada and is how Microsoft provides programs to that organization that empower children through technology. Smith’s role was to organize the contest, make sure all 102 participating clubs across the country received their contest materials, judge the entries, and set up the media launch for the winner of the contest.

Other major projects include initiatives for the Children’s Miracle Network and the Boys and Girls Club, such as the Microsoft Charity Hockey Challenge — where Microsoft’s hockey team faces off against business partners and customers who make contributions to the charity fund — and working on CLICK (Child Life Interactive Computers for Kids). CLICK is a collaboration with hospitals for children across the country to create environments with computers, wireless networks, and xBox games to give children a place to relax and communicate with family and friends.

“That’s one thing Microsoft is very big on,” says Smith, “How do we give back what we’ve created?”

Her opinion of working for Microsoft? “Amazing,” Smith says without hesitation. “The opportunities that they’ve given me on my team have been unbelievable. I knew right from the interview that I wanted to work at Microsoft, and since then it’s been an unbelievable experience.”

Microsoft, she says, is one of those companies where you dread the coming of closing time, because the work and the environment are just so interesting that you want to stay. “If you can give the company something, they’ll definitely give it back.” And Smith has certainly given her all to her work with Microsoft, even extending her eight-month contract to a full year so she could see some major projects from beginning to end.

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Cheating penalties approved

Cheating on an assignment will cost you “zero on the course element; a further five marks off the final course grade”.

Forged admissions documents? Expulsion from the university.

Campus vandalism? “Letter of apology; restitution of costs to replace materials damaged; will include suspension.”

Those are examples from a five-page chart of “Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties”, approved by UW’s senate at its June meeting. “A penalty might be lessened with mitigating circumstances or increased with aggravating circumstances,” a note adds. “Disciplinary probation is imposed on a first-time offender (unless there are extraordinary reasons for not doing so).”

The penalties are an elaboration of the student discipline policy, UW Policy 71, which also requires an annual report to senate about the number of discipline cases that have been dealt with.

That report, from the University Committee on Student Appeals, came to the senate’s May meeting and covers the 2007-08 year.
It says a total of 617 undergraduate students were involved in discipline cases in the course of the year, up just slightly from 612 in 2006-07. Another three graduate students were involved, the same number as the previous year.

The majority of the undergraduate cases (523) are classified as “cheating” and another 74 as “plagiarism”. The rest come under the headings of “misrepresentation” (12) and “harassment, unethical behaviour, non-academic misconduct” (8).

The report then breaks down the statistics by year of study and shows that a little more than half of the cheating cases involve first-year students, while plagiarism cases, some of them involving the use of material from the Internet, are more evenly distributed through all four years.

“As in years past,” said the report, “UCSA stresses that students are responsible members of the University community and that the conduct of the vast majority is exemplary. When considered in light of the total UW student body, few disciplinary actions or instances of misconduct are reported.”

UCSA is also responsible for student grievances, and reports that there were 19 grievances filed during the year, of which eight were successful. Most grievances are asking to have a grade reassessed; a few are classified as involving “unfair practices”.

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What's going on around here?

Jack Millar, Scott Desormeaux and Frank Resch at UWSA golf social July 14 2009Jack Millar (left) and Scott Desormeaux help Frank Esch line up a really great shot at the Staff Association golf social held last Tuesday, July 14, at Conestoga Golf and Country Club. The three are staff members in plant operations' design and construction section.

Fifteen incoming students are staying in residence this week while they take part in Open Doors, a transition program for students starting in the fall, managed by the Office for Persons With Disabilities (OPD). This week's session is to help students with learning disabilities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) make an adjustment to campus life before September's crowds and chaos descend. Among other things, they will be introduced to the university's adaptive technologies and meet with OPD advisors. A second session in August is planned for students with Asperger's Syndrome, a type of autism.

Catch a talk by Robert Kroeger, senior software engineer, Google Canada, on “A General-Purpose Caching Architecture for Offline-Capable Web Applications with HTML 5 Databases or Gears,” this Wednesday, at noon in Davis Center room 1302. “In this talk,” he says, “I present a brief overview of the Gears and HTML5 APIs for browser-local storage and the cache pattern for architecting offline web applications by their analogy with microprocessor-based systems: the DOM and event handlers as microprocessor, the SQL database as cache and the web server as memory subsystem.” Kroeger is a Waterloo grad: MMath ’93, PhD ’05, both degrees in computer science. The talk is part of the Institute for Computer Research seminar series.

Students in the mood for fun and games can catch the “180 Degrees of Change” event hosted by the University of Waterloo's Sustainability Project on Thursday. Starting at 5 p.m. there will be outdoor games on the BMH Green, behind the Student Life Centre, “with activities such as Ultimate Frisbee, Pogo Stick Obstacle Course, Hopscotch, Dodgeball and much more. At this time there will also be Board Games Galore, free snacks and a BBC Planet Earth documentary showing in the SLC Multipurpose Room.” From 9 to 11 p.m. there will be a bonfire and music jam at the EV1 Fire Pit on Seagram Drive. “You bring the mug and hot dog spear, we'll take care of the hot chocolate and marshmallows!”

CPA staff

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footprint in moon dust

Link of the day

40 years ago: First man on moon

When and where

Domestic cold water will be off in parts of the Student Life Centre: Brubaker's, the dental office, and the pharmacy, today, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., during the redesign of Brubaker's walk-in cooler. Chilled water (used for chilling the building) will be shut down throughout the SLC for most of the day as well.

International teaching assistants: “What Successful ITAs Do” workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, today, noon, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Reception for Ursula Thoene, computer sciences, retiring after 28 years at UW. RSVP by today. Event is Thursday, July 30, 4 to 6 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301.

Sprinkler system shut down in Engineering 3, Tuesday, 8 to 4, to allow demolition of a room.

Job information sessions for graduating students, Tuesday, 10:30, and Thursday, 2:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Attend if you are on a work term September-December, for information about on-campus recruitment and career services.

Career workshop: “Successfully Negotiating Job Offers” Tuesday, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Falun Gong Club “Sandstorm” Tuesday, 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Career workshop: “Work Search Strategies” Wednesday, 10:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

PDEng alumni lecture: three recent graduates speak on “Beat the Traffic: from University Avenue to Career Highway” Wednesday, 11:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Farm market operated by UW food services and volunteers, Thursday, 9 to 1, Environment I courtyard.

‘Dealing with Difficult Students’ workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Thursday, 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Shad Valley program open house to show off teenage participants’ achievements, Thursday, 1:30 to 4, Conrad Grebel University College great hall. Details.

Career workshops Thursday: “Success on the Job” 2:30 p.m., location to be announced; “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208; “Getting a US Work Permit” 4:30, Tatham 1208. Details.

Disorderly Conduct: conference on language and concepts in a shifting model of medical and clinical care, UW and WLU, July 24-25. Details and to register.

Student Life 101 open house for students coming to UW this fall, Saturday, July 25, 9 to 4. Details.

Waterloo at the Zoo outing to Metro Toronto Zoo for alumni, family and friends, Saturday, July 25. Details.

Class enrolment for fall term courses: appointments until July 26 for new students; open enrolment begins July 27.

UW Bookstore Read and Relax book sale. July 28 and 29, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., South Campus Hall Concourse.

Spring term classes end Tuesday, July 28. Exams August 4-15; unofficial grades begin appearing on Quest August 17; grades become official September 21.

Civic Holiday Monday, August 3, UW offices and most services closed.

CECS employer interviews (main group) begin August 4 and continue to August 28.

Co-op job postings open August 4 and continue into the first week in October.

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