Objectives, scope defined for mid-term breaks
The University’s Senate has clarified the objectives and scope for mid-term breaks such as the annual Reading Week held each February.
Prior to the guidelines, which were approved at the September 2015 Senate meeting, the University had no specific terms that defined either the purpose of a mid-term break or any general approach to the treatment of studies during such a break. Mention of the Winter Reading Week was limited to a line item in the Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines with a footnote describing how co-operative employment interviews may continue during the period.
The objectives and scope are listed as follows:
“A mid-term break (e.g., Winter Reading Week) is intended to act as a pause for students in an academic term, to reflect upon and catch up on their term’s work to date and, as necessary, prepare for any upcoming mid-term assignments and assessments.
During this pause, there are to be no scheduled meetings or assignments for students (e.g., classes, labs, tutorials, seminars, exams, TA-related work). While exceptions may exist (e.g., co- operative employment interviews, clinical rotations, PhD comprehensive exams, graduate thesis defenses), the pause applies to meetings involving both undergraduate and graduate students.
Deadlines for student submissions will not be scheduled during the break. Student services such as student advising support, Health Services, Counselling Services, the library and residences are expected to continue to provide service.”
The objectives and scope are “not meant to include responsibilities associated with graduate students in their roles as research assistants or in any other employment capacity (excluding TA- related work as mentioned above) with the university. In these situations, students and employers should clarify their mutual expectations concerning work-related responsibilities during the mid-term break.”
Mario Coniglio, the associate vice-president, academic, brought the motion forward for approval, noting that one of the recommendations of the 2014 Fall Break Task Force had been to “settle on a terms of reference” for mid-term breaks that would apply to the existing Winter Reading Week and to any mid-term break that might be adopted in the future, serving to clarify the expectations and responsibilities of students, including graduate students, and instructors.
Senators debated a number of issues relating to the scheduling of midterms prior to Reading Week, the treatment of graduate students as students as opposed to employees (with regard to obligations as Teaching Assistants), the impact on the timeliness of assignment grading, and how residence dons might be affected before voting to approve the guidelines.
Ray Darling, the University Registrar, noted that the new objectives and scope would be included in the academic calendar.
The objectives and scope were reviewed and were endorsed by Senate Undergraduate Council in February 2015 and by Senate Graduate & Research Council in June 2015. They immediately apply to the upcoming Winter Reading Week, scheduled for February 15 to 19, 2016.
Understanding co-operative education analytics
by Lauren Cormier and David Drewery, WatCACE
Last week, the Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education (WatCACE) hosted Department of Management Sciences’ Masters student Yuheng (Helen) Jiang and associate professor Dr. Lukasz Golab. Their presentation included highlights from two recent studies: a paper published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, and Helen’s Masters thesis.
The studies used data mining and graphing techniques to investigate the relationships between student and employer evaluations, and competition for co-op positions amongst Waterloo programs. Jiang and Golab argue that the Waterloo co-op population provides a unique dataset conducive to data mining techniques.
Many aspects of the design of the co-op program were examined. For example, differences in the performance evaluations of students completing 8-month work terms. Students working four months in two different positions were evaluated by employers as being more creative and having higher problem solving skills relative to students in one position over the full eight months. On the other hand, students working in one position over the eight months received higher ratings on goal-setting and leadership skills.
Results also showed that some programs have higher levels of competition (defined by the amount of students coming from different disciplines being selected for interviews in related jobs) than do other programs. Most academic programs were found to have 50 per cent or more of their corresponding jobs interviewing students from multiple programs, while 16 academic programs do not have any jobs that interviewed students exclusively from that specific program.
Implications drawn from the study include the potential benefits of seeking new employers or jobs more specific to those 16 programs, as well as a co-op “recommender” system for better matching between students and employers.
If you were unable to attend this WatCACE research seminar, you can find the recorded version online here.
United Way workplace campaign goal is $260,000
Tuesday, September 29 signaled the launch of the University of Waterloo’s 2015 United Way workplace campaign. An annual tradition, students, staff and faculty supported the initiative by wearing red and decorating their workplaces to celebrate the wellbeing of our community.
This year, our fundraising goal is $260,000, and will include funds raised through individual donations, campus events, and various activities led by departments and groups at UWaterloo.
Our workplace campaign is just one of the many ways that Waterloo gives back to the Kitchener-Waterloo community. Collections from our campaign go directly to the United Way of Kitchener Waterloo & Area to support local organizations that are working to improve access to mental health and wellness support services, while expanding our community’s awareness of these issues. Additionally, our donations help to support local initiatives providing programming that breaks down gender barriers, empowering women on a path to equity.
Students get a glimpse of their professional futures
What better way to prepare for your first co-op job than to attend a two day co-op preparatory conference?
The School of Accounting and Finance held its annual Professional Futures Conference (PFC) on September 9th and 10th, which was a grand success with 300 2A students in attendance.
“Our aspiration is that all of our students become complete professionals," said SAF Director Thomas W. Scott, director. "The Professional Futures Conference is a useful step on this journey.”
The two-day conference provided an industry focused experiential learning and professional development experience. Sessions included motivational speakers and professional experts, mock interviews, opportunities for networking, an employer panel, and more.
"Thank you to all staff, faculty, speakers, and volunteers involved in the 2015 Professional Futures Conference," says a note from the SAF. "The Experiential Learning and Career Development team looks forward to re-hosting the event next year for all of our incoming 2A SAF students."
Notes as September gives way
Eastbound lanes of Columbia Street West between Hagey Boulevard and Phillip Street will be closed until 6:00 p.m. as repairs are carried out. According to the City of Waterloo, one lane will be closed at a time.
"Thank you to those who worked, visited or otherwise supported us at the Ontario Universities Fair (OUF) this past weekend," says a note from Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment. "Fair attendance was at a record high with more than 132,000 visitors over the 3-day weekend. The Waterloo presentation room almost 5000 students and their families view our presentation and we handed out more than 25,000 admissions viewbooks and countless Ideas Start Here buttons. Recruitment efforts included the collection of 5,000+ names and e-mails of prospective students using kiosks and tablets. And, we sent each of them faculty or program-specific, personalized e-mails to follow up and thank students for visiting us at the fair. Special thanks to the more than 600 volunteer students, professors, staff, and alumni, on the show floor and behind the scenes, who represented Waterloo. Your hard work, passion, and dedication to Waterloo is greatly appreciated!"
The Staff Relations Committee wants all staff to know that it has opened up the first portion of its meetings to members of the university community and regularly has agenda items of interest to staff members in all units of the university. At the meeting this Friday October 2nd starting at 12:30 p.m., there will be discussion on draft amendments to Policy 34 – Health, Safety and Environment and Policy 60 – Emergency Response. The meeting will be in Needles Hall, Room 3001, and the committee invites you to bring your lunch and join us in learning more about this issue.
The Office of Research will be holding its annual United Way Bake Sale from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 1 in front of the Office of Research at NH 1043. The cost is a goodwill donation to the United Way 2015 campaign.
Employers on campus next week hosting employer information sessions include: PagerDuty, Amazon, Kik Interactive, eSentire, Digital Extremes, Arista Networks, Protiviti, Yelp, Zynga, Infusion, Adventec Manufacturing Inc, Snapchat, CI Investments, IBM Canada (Consulting by Degree), Apple, A9, Tim Hortons (Restaurant Brands International), and Vena Solutions.