Thursday, June 24, 2010

  • Soon, an 'office of student success'
  • Staff salaries, and a few other subjects
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Green lettuce and purple blossoms]

The seasonal farm market organized by food services with the help of student volunteers will be held today (and again July 8, 15 and 22) in the Student Life Centre. Hours are 9:00 to 1:00. "We’re bringing the fresh harvest of local farms, preserves and honeys made in Waterloo County," organizers say, "together with fresh baked goods from our own UW Village Bakery." Here's how last week's opening market looked: photo by Scott Pearson of the SLC staff.

Back to top

Soon, an 'office of student success'

The university plans to establish an “office of student success” that will coordinate programs — some already existing, some new — to provide resources that will help students stay in university, flourish and get the most out of their studies.

That could include everything from career guidance to better electronic tools, as well as the “transition” from high school to first-year success. Such programs are housed in departments from co-op and career services to Waterloo International, the student life office, VeloCity, information systems and technology, the registrar’s office, counselling services and others.

Provost Feridun Hamdullahpur briefed the board of governors about the plan earlier this month and repeated his report at Monday evening’s meeting of the university senate. Creating the new office is one of the specific outcomes of a discussion of student services that took place during the executive retreat at Kempenfelt Bay last month.

From Hamdullahpur’s written report to both governing bodies:

[Begin quotation marks]It was recognized that as further emphasis on students and their success is essential to achieving the Sixth Decade Plan goals, we must further our efforts to establishing a student success culture across the campus. A report prepared by the Student Services committee concluded that for a student success culture, we must achieve increased student satisfaction with the experience at UW, improved student retention rates and effective competitive approaches to attract high quality students; adaptation to changing demographic conditions of a younger and more culturally diverse student body that is in need of support; student success orientation linked to maintenance of life-long connections with alumni; development of the ‘whole student’ from academic, experiential and social/cultural perspectives.

It was agreed that for the next two years priority to be given to New Student Transition Program; Open Data Initiative, Mobile Applications Development and Student Portal; Retention; Early Alert System.

The following decisions were reached:

  • Follow through on the recommendations of the Retention Task Force
  • Change the title of the Associate Provost (Student Services) to Associate Provost (Students)
  • Establish, under the Associate Provost (Students) portfolio, an Office of Student Success with the following responsibilities/ functions: Transition (start-up skills, bridge programs, transition programs, parent programs); Learning Support (supplemental instruction, advising, tutoring, study skills); Student Development (leadership, mentorship, co-curricular record); Career Support (career advising, job centre, placement); Entrepreneurship (centre and programs, VeloCity); Applications Management (student portal, mobile apps, incident/alert system); International Student Support.[End quotation
  • The following two items will be further deliberated before a final decision is made: Separation of Co-op and Career Services offices; Transfer of the international student support function from Waterloo International.

Back to top

Staff salaries, and a few other subjects

Payday comes tomorrow for Waterloo's faculty members and also most staff, those who are paid monthly. So it's a good time to revisit the issue of 2010 salary increases for staff — merit increases, that is, since scale (range) increases are off the table thanks to the provincial "freeze". As I wrote some days ago, the salary structure is complicated, and most people don’t exactly understand the relationship between their performance ratings (done on a 1-to-5 scale) and their merit increases, if any. The starting point is the “ratio” between somebody’s current salary and the “job rate” for their particular position: they could be at anything from 80 per cent to 120 per cent of that rate, depending mostly on their experience. If they then get a 3.0 or “satisfactory” rating, their salary increase is calculated to move them towards the 100 per cent level or “job rate”, reaching it in a few years. If the rating is 4.0, the salary increase is calculated to move them towards a target of 110 per cent; if it’s 4.5, then the target is 115 per cent. The full system is explained in a Support Staff Compensation Program document that’s online. And my thanks to Freddie Swainston and Neil Murray of the human resources department for patiently explaining it to me. Again.

Incidentally, I have apparently written once or twice that scale increases are "forbidden by law" this year thanks to the provincial freeze. A faculty member who follows these things closely has written to correct me: "The Public Sector Compensation Restraint to Protect Public Services Act implements a two-year freeze to compensation (salary, pension, and other benefits) for employees of the broader Ontario Public Service who are not under a collective agreement or who do not belong to an organization that collectively bargains on behalf of its members. Both staff and faculty at UW belong to organisations that collectively bargain. They are thus not covered by the Act. It is true that the Act is accompanied a government 'policy statement' that uses moral suasion to suggest a two-year compensation freeze. But this is not a part of the Act."

On to other matters: We knew last month that Waterloo's pharmacy students had been nominated for an award from the local Volunteer Action Centre. Well, they won. Laura Manning writes from the pharmacy school: "The School of Pharmacy was presented with the Innovative Involvement award at the Volunteer Impact Awards put on by the Kitchener-Waterloo Volunteer Action Centre. This award recognizes an individual or organization that exhibits innovation and creativity in their volunteer engagement. The School was nominated for an aspect of the community service learning program, known as the Pharmacy Innovation Garden or PHiG. Through this program, first-year students are divided into teams and assigned to projects with community agencies. The program citation read: 'Since 2007, the Innovation Garden program has placed 120 first-year students with 21 service agencies each year. Whether the students have helped out with a vitamin drive, organized a joint health fair or mentored a grade nine student from Eastwood Collegiate, the students from the School of Pharmacy have conducted themselves in a professional, caring and enthusiastic way. The harvest of this Innovation Garden enriches the lives of both students and the community.' For 2010, more than 40 nominations were received."

[Clausi]"For research excellence and service to the research community," David Clausi (left) of Waterloo's systems design engineering department has been given this year's Award from the Canadian Image Processing and Pattern Recognition Society. It was presented at the annual Canadian Conference on Computer and Robot Vision, held in Ottawa earlier this month.

The provost noted at Monday's senate meeting that recruitment for the position of director of the institutional analysis and planning office will look at candidates from both inside the university and outside. • The student newspaper Imprint reports that the Federation of Students "will be in charge of the health plan for both graduates and undergraduate students" under a new five-year arrangement with the Graduate Student Association. • The UW weather station reports that overall temperatures in the spring of 2010 were "a full 2 degrees above average, the warmest since 1998".

An event that I think we haven't seen before is scheduled for the main campus this Saturday: the annual Locate Rodeo, sponsored by something called the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance. The organizers explain what that means: "Utility infrastructure provides the foundation for our quality of life and is critical to Ontario’s economic prosperity. This infrastructure is used in manufacturing, to heat and cool our homes, and to run our hospitals. Damage Prevention Technicians accurately locate underground utilities using utility mapping systems and electronic locating equipment, prior to excavation. They are vitally important to public safety. The Locate Rodeo is a win-win for attendees, the industry, and you. All competitors win recognition, the best competitors win prizes and top scorer secures a spot in the National Locate Rodeo in the USA. The public wins too, with higher quality utility locates and a higher level of safety. This competition brings to light the importance of locating underground infrastructure and is a fun-filled day, full of learning and camaraderie." Activities begin at the Student Life Centre at 8 a.m., and red and tan tents around campus will mark specific locations in the "rodeo".


Back to top

Link of the day

Earthquakes in eastern Canada

When and where

Ring road closed between PAS building and Needles Hall, because of Environment 3 construction work, through July 12.

Pre-enrolment for winter 2011 undergraduate courses, June 21-27 on Quest.

‘Healthy You’ barbecue supporting K-W Community Foundation, 11:30 to 1:00, TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Surplus sale of university furnishings and equipment, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall. Details.

International spouses monthly gathering, tour of Brubacher House museum, 12:45 p.m., meet at community centre, Columbia Lake Village. Details.

External relations staff golf and mini-putt day, Merry Hill Golf Course and Max’s Golf Centre.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechology presents Sir Michael Pepper, University College London, “Semiconductor Nanostructures” 3:30, CEIT room 1015.

Female faculty networking opportunity sponsored by faculty association Status of Women and Equity Committee, 4:00 to 6:00, Graduate House upstairs lounge, information ext. 33468.

‘Drop, penalty 1’ period for spring term courses ends June 25.

Staff career workshop: “Trends in Leadership from UW Recruiters” Friday 9:00, Tatham Centre. Details.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: “Highlights from OUCC 2010 and Canheit 2010” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Eco-Eats presents the film “Food Inc.”, with guest speaker Ellen Esjardin, free snacks, Friday 5:30 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

Warrior Weekend with food, activities, crafts, movies, performance by Engineering Jazz Band, scavenger hunt, Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m., Student Life Centre. Details.

Applied Health Informatics Bootcamp sponsored by Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, June 27-29. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “19 Technologies in 89 Minutes” Tuesday 2:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Canada Day holiday Thursday, July 1; UW additional holiday Friday, July 2; offices and most services closed, classes not held. Canada Day celebrations on the north campus, children’s activities, music, arts and crafts fair, fireworks, 2 to 11 p.m. Details.

Ottawa and Montréal long weekend, July 1-4, bus and accommodation $199, tickets at Federation of Students office.

The Queen visits Research In Motion facilities in Waterloo, July 5, 11 a.m. Details.

Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference hosted by Waterloo July 6-10. Details.

‘Be Engaged’ lunch-and-learn presentation for staff about student engagement, July 7, 12:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 208.

Class enrolment on Quest for fall term courses: students enrolling for the first time, July 12-25; open enrolment begins July 26.

Blood donor clinic July 15 (10:00 to 4:00) and July 16 (9:00 to 3:00), Student Life Centre, call 1-888-236-6283 for appointment.

Postdoctoral fellows social gathering in Waterloo Park, July 16, 5:00 to 7:00, vegetarian and halal hot dogs at 5:30, other food welcome. Details.

Waterloo tweets

• "Can only imagine the pride these uWaterloo MSc students felt posing with Stephen Hawking."

• "So far: V1=32%, REV=20%, MVK=20%, UWP= 28% Where do you want to live, incoming students??"

• "Somewhat disappointed President's quarterly address includes three paragraphs on Warriors football and 0 uses of word 'staff'."

• "#uwaterloo has eduroam service? Cool! Now I can be unproductive at #UWO and #UCalgary, too!"

• "Students & staff at Conrad Grebel College raised $28,000 for solar PV system on roof"

• "Which alumnus helped launch The Coryphaeus, the University of Waterloo’s first student newspaper?"

• "After convoking, I wonder when I'll feel it is time to unsubscribe to the @uwdailybulletin rss feed :("

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin