Tuesday, March 31, 2009

  • Pension premiums will go up May 1
  • UW lists $100,000 salaries for 2008
  • Things that bloom in the spring, tra-la
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Boom microphone aimed at centre of group]

Talking innovation: Paul Doherty (centre), of UW's Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, was one of nearly 100 people from all walks of life participating in a TVOntario Agenda Camp in the Davis Centre on Sunday. TVO has been taking its flagship public affairs program around the province, visiting various communities that have something to say. Waterloo region was the community of choice to discuss the "'innovation economy". Content from the Camp was used during last night's Agenda, and a great deal more is available online. Photo by Michael Strickland.

Back to top

Pension premiums will go up May 1

UW and its employees are about to start putting more money into the pension plan, says a memo being sent across campus today.

Higher pension premiums will come out of faculty and staff members' pay starting May 1, the same date when this year's salary increases go into effect. At the same time, higher matching payments from the university (the employer) will start going into the fund, putting an extra strain on UW's 2009-10 operating budget.

The current premiums have been in effect since July 1 last year.

Says today's memo: "At its meeting on March 27, the Pension and Benefits Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the Board of Governors that contribution rates for all members of the Pension Plan be increased as of May 1, 2009. The committee made this decision to protect the long term health of the Pension Plan.”

The change in contribution rates will be "at most 0.75% of pensionable earnings", the memo says. It says the after-tax cost will be around $178 annually for someone with a $30,000 salary; $210 for someone at $40,000; $322 for someone at $80,000; $384 for someone at $120,000; and $412 for someone earning $140,000.

The memo doesn't go into the complicated detail of how premiums paid by individual employees are calculated. There are three rate steps based on a figure called YMPE, the Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings figure set by the Canada Pension Plan. This year that number is $46,300. As of May 1, contributions from individual employees will be 5.80 per cent of salary below YMPE (up from the present rate of 5.05 per cent); 8.30 per cent of salary between YMPE and 2xYMPE, or $92,600 (up from the present 7.85 per cent); and 9.65 per cent of salary above 2xYMPE (up from the present 9.20 per cent).

Says the memo: "The university will continue to maintain its current funding ratio of $1.45 for each dollar contributed by the members. The change, if approved, will add an extra $3.7 million annually to the Plan." The university’s contribution will increase from 8.98 per cent to 9.85 per cent of employees' total pensionable earnings.

"It was necessary for the committee to act promptly," says the memo, "so that the increases could be recommended to the Board at its April 7 meeting. The committee will issue a special report on the general state of the Pension Plan within the next few weeks."

Back to top

UW lists $100,000 salaries for 2008

UW is releasing a list this morning of the 774 employees who were each paid more than $100,000 during 2008.

It's something public-sector employers in Ontario have had to do annually in March since the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act was passed in 1996. Other universities, school boards, hospitals, colleges, municipalities, and the government itself have been making similar information for last year public this week.

The majority of UW's professors appear on the list, as the average salary of full-time faculty members in 2008-09 is $117,199, according to the office of institutional analysis and planning.

The $100,000 list also includes a number of senior administrators and some people in staff positions. It includes people employed by St. Jerome's University, Renison University College, Conrad Grebel University College and St. Paul's College as well as by UW itself.

As in past years, president David Johnston receives the highest salary at UW, according to the disclosure list, followed by provost Amit Chakma. The published list identifies some of the deans and other academic administrators simply as "professor". The figures are the amount of salary actually paid during the twelve months of 2008 (which can lead to anomalies when somebody begins or ends a job in the course of the year).

In addition to the salary, a figure is given for taxable benefits received by each individual, for such extras as employer-paid life insurance and tuition benefits for dependants.

Past year's lists are also available online.

Back to top

Things that bloom in the spring, tra-la

“There’s a goose nesting right outside the Hallman Institute, and it’s attacking everybody,” said a message on my voicemail yesterday morning — from which I conclude that, yes, it’s spring at Waterloo. Green shoots are forcing their way out of the ground around the Tatham Centre (not sure how much of a setback they experienced from yesterday’s dusting of snow), students are crowding the libraries at late hours to finish term projects and prepare for exams, and now Branta canadensis is preparing to raise its young!

About those students cramming for exams, by the way: apparently some of them like new “study zone” quiet regulations in the Davis Centre library, and some don’t. “I cannot express how happy I am,” one person wrote on the library’s feedback page, but another calls it “nonsense”, and somebody else elaborated: “You are removing a place for people to meet during exam time, as the SLC is always full, especially during peak hours. If people want a silent study people will go to DP.” (That’s the Dana Porter Library.) I understand there’s even a Facebook group opposed to the new rules.

As for the crowds in the Student Life Centre, they’ll have something special claiming their attention today, with a display of projects done by students who lived over the past term in the VeloCity “mobile and media incubator” residence. The event runs from 10:30 to 2:30, with presentations on stage at noon. Among the projects are CashIn (“transforming the wallet from something used to store financial instruments into a portable, personal financial advisor”); Color the Net (“a social networking application where users interact by drawing together in real time”); NeverBored Studios (“adventure/puzzle game for the iPhone/iPod Touch where players guide their insect-like companions through a mysterious forest”); and Storeneto.com (“gives users the ability to create their own ministores and sell goods from other e-commerce services”).

In a very different student project, senior students in the School of Planning made presentations to community leaders from Blyth, Ontario, last night, arguing that the village should become a Heritage Conservation District. Another group of students from Recreation and Leisure Studies as well as Local Economic Development and Tourism set out a marketing plan. The students are all members of planning professor Robert Shipley’s heritage planning class. Nine people from Blyth, including the municipal CAO and members of North Huron Township council as well as representatives from the Blyth Theatre and business leaders, made the trip to Waterloo to hear the advice from the students. The project began last fall when a North Huron official asked Shipley whether the Heritage Resources Centre, which he directs, could provide some help with "our ambition to present our village as a heritage site". The answer was to make the conservation district and marketing studies a class project. The class visited Blyth in January and many of the students returned afterwards or communicated extensively with the local people leading up to last night’s presentation.

[Parsons]Today means something special for Ian Parsons of the plant operations department (right): it’s his last day of work, winding up a career of almost 42 years wielding a paintbrush and roller at UW. He started work in Village I in May 1967, and ended his career as a lead hand with responsibility for much of the maintenance on buildings across campus. “There isn’t a place on the campus,” a colleague says, “where Ian has not made things look a little more refreshing.”

This last day of March is also the official deadline day for applications to enter first year at UW next fall. That statement is a bit misleading, of course: the majority of Ontario students were actually required to get their applications in months ago (January 14 in most cases); on the other hand, “If a program is not yet full, the application deadline may be extended,” the web site says, and “Applications received after the deadline will be processed only if spaces are available.”

Also today, faculty members and librarians at St. Jerome’s University will vote (poll open 12:30 to 2:30) on whether to be unionized through the recently formed Academic Staff Association. • András Szöllösi-Nagy of Unesco, at UW as the TD Canada Trust/Walter Bean Visiting Professor in the Environment, will speak today on "Water For the 21st Century: Will There Be Any?" (3:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre). • The UW library is warning that one of its sources of scientific articles, CISTI Source, operated by the National Research Council, is going out of business as of today.

Finally, if spring really has begun, maybe it’s safe to look back at the winter of 2008-09 and label it, as Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station says, “a very wet winter with average temperatures . . . we got 128.5 cm of snow this winter compared to the average of 106 cm, above average but not a record or anything. By the way, we usually average about 13 cm for the spring.”


Back to top

Link of the day


When and where

Exchange program information session for systems design engineering students, Tuesday 11:30 a.m., Math and Computer room 4021.

Germanic and Slavic studies presents Paul Bishop, University of Glasgow, “Analytical Psychology and the Project of German Classicism” Tuesday 2:00, Humanities room 373.

Student loan repayment information sessions for graduating students Wednesday 11:00 or 12:30 Tatham Centre room 2218.

Climate change seminar: Stephen Howell, geography and environmental management, “Changing Sea Ice of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago”, Wednesday 12:00, Environment I room 221.

Philosophy colloquium: Michael Fuerstein, Columbia University, “Is Democratic Consensus a Morally Significant Ideal?” Wednesday 3:30, Humanities room 334.

Computer science distinguished lecture: Nancy Leveson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Computers and Trust” Wednesday 4:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1351.

Perimeter Institute presents Patrick Hayden, McGill University, “From Tornadoes to Black Holes: How to Survive an Information Catastrophe” Wednesday 7:00, Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

Technology transfer forum: “Open or Closed? Choosing the Right Software Model” Thursday 8 a.m. to noon, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard, fee $20. Details.

Hallman Lecture: Linda Duxbury, Carleton University, “Work-Life Balance, Rhetoric vs. Reality”, Thursday 4:30, Hallman Institute room 1621. Details.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group annual general meeting Thursday 5:00, Environment I courtyard. Details.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo spring concert, music by Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn, Thursday 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Details.

Winter term classes end Friday, April 3; exams April 8-24. Unofficial winter term grades appear in Quest beginning April 27.

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival shuttle buses from Davis Centre Saturday, April 4, starting 8:30 a.m., tickets $5 at Student Life Centre.

Noel Hynes, retired from UW department of biology, memorial service Saturday 10 a.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel. Guestbook and obituary online.

Engineering Jazz Band “With Respect to Time” end-of-term concert in support of Habitat for Humanity, Saturday 7:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, admission $10.

Second annual Staff Conference April 6-7, “2 More Full Days Just for You”, keynote speakers, workshops, “Your Passport to Health”. Details.

‘Single and Sexy’ auditions for 2009 production, April 6, 4:00 to 8:00, Humanities Theatre, information ext. 36358.

Social work seminar: Frank Wagner, University of Toronto, “Ethics, Schmethics, What’s the Buzz?” April 6, 4:30 p.m., Renison UC chapel lounge.

St. Jerome’s University presents Mary Juergensmeyer, University of California at Santa Barbara, “Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State” April 6, 7:30, Siegfried Hall.

UW board of governors meets April 7, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel UC, full day workshop, “Transition with All Family Members”, April 8, St. Jacobs. Details.

Town hall meeting with the president, provost and vice-president (external relations) for faculty and staff members April 8, 3:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

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

Pharmacy building official opening Friday, April 17, 10 a.m., Kitchener, by invitation. Community open house Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 10 Victoria Street South, all welcome.

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

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.

One click away

Next VP (admin and finance) of the Federation discusses his plans
Ms. Mentor's New and Ever More Impeccable Advice
Michigan State U finds some Emirates students unprepared
York U begins 50th anniversary celebration
MIT faculty to provide 'open access' to their articles
Universities: 'places where people with Asperger's get asylum'
Higher education 'a shelter from the poor economy'
Economics prof quoted on 'competitive' gas prices
Many Ontario universities looking to cut sports teams
WLU sells Russell Peters tickets six months in advance
Latest salvo, Desire2Learn vs. Blackboard
Queen's students concerned at planned program cuts
WLU reports progress on budget planning
Nominations open for Ontario teaching and librarianship awards

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin