Tuesday, July 21, 2009

  • Feridun Hamdullahpur is new provost
  • Pension plan is secure, report says
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Feridun Hamdullahpur is new provost

Feridun Hamdullahpur, provost 2009The University of Waterloo has appointed a senior Ontario academic with experience overseeing research and international activities to one of the top positions within the university. Waterloo announced yesterday that Feridun Hamdullahpur (right) has been appointed vice-president, academic and provost. (The stressed syllables are underlined: Feridun Hamdullahpur.)

Hamdullahpur will play a key role in helping the university achieve the ambitious objectives outlined in its sixth-decade strategic plan, Pursuing Global Excellence: Seizing Opportunities for Canada. Covering 2007 to 2017, the plan's goals include expanding Waterloo's global reach and research as well as improving the experience of staff, faculty and all students.

"Dr. Hamdullahpur's experience and skill set are ideally suited to help us continue the work spearheaded by his very able predecessor," said Waterloo president David Johnston. "In the last 20 years, he has accomplished a great deal in several senior posts, including terms as vice-president, research and international as well as interim vice-president, academic and provost at Carleton University. He will bring energy, vitality and vision to his crucial leadership position."

Hamdullahpur joins Waterloo at a time when all universities are facing increased financial pressure. He sees his overall role as helping the university overcome those pressures without compromising quality, while instituting Pursuing Global Excellence.

"The University of Waterloo offers a global example of excellence in academics, research, discovery and scholarship," said Hamdullahpur. "I am honoured to be a part of the team that will advance Waterloo's presence and impact, both nationally and internationally. I look forward to helping provide an environment that promotes the highest standards of achievement for our students, faculty and staff."

Hamdullahpur holds bachelor and master of science degrees in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Istanbul, and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS). Between 1993 and 1997, he served as the associate dean and then dean of graduate studies and research at TUNS.

As associate principal of graduate studies and research at DalTech-Dalhousie University from 1997 to 2000, he led major local, provincial and international initiatives. These included integrating research services to better promote and coordinate research projects; developing a university-industry-government collaborative research program to provide small- and medium-sized industries in Nova Scotia with developmental and research assistance; and establishing collaborative research and graduate study programs with a number of countries.

Hamdullahpur was appointed vice-president, research and international at Carleton University in 2000. His challenge was to ensure that the conduct of research, scholarship and creative activities would be at the core of the enterprise.

During his tenure, external funding for research grew from $28-million to a peak of $101-million, ranking Carleton the third research intensive university among Canada's comprehensive universities. He also served as interim vice-president, academic and provost during a time when Carleton was undergoing dynamic change at the senior administrative level.

Hamdullahpur's first term at Waterloo runs from Sept. 1 of this year to June 30, 2014. As of Sept. 1, he will also be a tenured faculty member in the department of mechanical and mechatronics engineering.

He succeeds Amit Chakma, who joined Waterloo as vice-president and provost in August 2001. Chakma was the principal architect of Pursuing Global Excellence. He was recently appointed president and vice-chancellor of the University of Western Ontario.

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Pension plan is secure, report says

Economic hard times have cut the value of the investments in UW’s pension fund, but pension payments are going out reliably to retired faculty and staff members, including this year’s cost-of-living increase.

“There is enough money in the Pension Plan to cover retiree pensions now and for years into the future,” said a report from the pension and benefits committee this spring. And the committee’s secretary has now announced that pensioners are getting the usual annual increase, calculated at 2.33 per cent based on the change in Canada’s cost of living last year.

A guaranteed COLA (“cost of living adjustment”) is considered an unusual feature in a pension plan. UW pensioners are guaranteed a COLA each year equivalent to the year-to-year rise in the Consumer Price Index, up to 5 per cent. (If the CPI rises by more than that, something which hasn’t happened since 1991, the increase in pension amounts may not keep pace, but there can be extra increases in later years to help make up for any loss.)

In past years the COLA was always applied to pension payments starting July 1. This year the adjustment was moved ahead to May 1, to correspond with UW’s financial year and the date when staff and faculty salary increases take effect. As a result, pensioners are receiving 10/12 of the full indexation this year, and actual monthly pensions went up by 1.94 per cent as of May 1.

The June meeting of UW’s board of governors saw a report on the state of the pension plan, with its actuarial valuation — the expert calculation of how much its investments are worth. The “return on market value” for the plan during 2008 was a negative figure of 16.8 per cent, the first annual drop in investment value since 2002.

As of January 1, 2009, the market value of the pension plan investments was $773 million, down from $938 million a year earlier. The actuarial value — what the investments are expected to be worth over a period of time — saw a less dramatic change and is estimated at $863 million.

The board was reminded that there are two ways of calculating the assets and liabilities of a pension plan, the “going concern basis” (assuming that UW and the pension plan will stay in business forever) and the “solvency basis” (assuming that they might go out of business any day and have to pay out everything in cash). UW’s pension liabilities are $936 million using the “going concern” calculation and $858 million using the “solvency” calculation (not including the projected costs of annual indexation).

That kind of calculation lay behind the May 1 increases in pension premiums paid by both UW and its individual employees, aimed at building up the fund to a healthier level.

As of January 1, there were 1,345 people receiving UW pensions, the report to the board of governors said. Another 395 “deferred” pensioners are gone from UW but not yet collecting their pensions. The plan has 3,455 “active members” (faculty and staff paying premiums into the plan), and 90 members on long-term disability.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Scopes monkey trial

When and where

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

Job information sessions for graduating students, today, 10:30, and Thursday, July 23, 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” today, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Falun Gong Club “Sandstorm” today, 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.

Institute for Computer Research seminar: Robert Kroeger, Google, “A General-Purpose Caching Architecture for Offline-Capable Web Applications” Wednesday, noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

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.

180 Degrees of Change event by UW Sustainability Project. Thursday, 5-7 p.m., outdoor games behind Student life Centre; board games and documentary in SLC. 9-11 p.m., bonfire and music jam at EV1 fire pit on Seagram Drive.

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, 9 to 4. Details.

Student Life 101 special hours for Book store, Waterloo Store, Campus Tech and Write Stuff: Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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

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

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.

Instructional Skills Workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, August 6, 7 and 10, 8:30 to 4:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Architecture co-op employer interviews August 6, 13, 20.

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