It's performance evaluation time
"Staff Performance Appraisal season is now upon us," says a memo from Human Resources circulated to employees earlier this week, "and you share the responsibility with your manager to review, document and discuss your performance for 2015."
"This Performance Appraisal should include a meaningful discussion highlighting your accomplishments aligned to desired goals."
Human Resources sent the memo to ensure that staff and managers are aware of the performance evaluation process and their accountabilities within the set timeline.
As for the venerable performance evaluation form, there are no changes to the document for the 2015 appraisal.
The Support for Employees Compensation section of the Human Resources website contains resources about upcoming appraisals. This site contains all the necessary forms, guides and tools for completing an employee performance appraisal. "Appraisals involve a two-way conversation," says the memo, "and this is a good time for you to identify your areas of success, areas that you would like to further develop and interest in future career opportunities."
Staff and their managers will start to meet to discuss performance and review the performance appraisal form this week, and the final date for performance appraisal forms to be submitted to Human Resources is March 18.
Boosting industry connections with case studies
by Lyndia Stacey.
A close relationship between industry and academia is often mutually beneficial but can be difficult to achieve. Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering (WCDE), a group on campus that develops and supports the implementation of case studies, has over 140 industry and academic partners based on case study development. The majority of these cases are sourced from work term reports as a means for students and instructors to benefit from co-op experiences in the classroom.
Jeff Chambers, a Principal Engineer at Amec Foster Wheeler, has been part of WCDE’s industry advisor committee for ten years and says that “It's a natural, logical and obvious connection between case-based learning and co-op experience”. Thanks to the partnering of WCDE and Cooperative Education and Career Action (CECA), students are learning from their peers’ real world experiences in various industries through cases (see the above video for more details).
According to Bill Kovessy, a Business Developer at CECA whose role is to engage new employers in the co-op program, the case studies “give [students] an appreciation for what a career working at that organization might be like”. Since these case studies are potentially implemented around the world, this means co-op employers are able to showcase their business to more students than just those they have hired.
Industry supports case study use to increase awareness to the next generation of employees, hire co-op students who have more exposure to the complexities of real life, and receive feedback from the classroom. For Darrin Wiegard, a Manufacturing Engineer at Nahanni Steel Products “now with WCDE, we're able to get more ideas from the classroom and apply multiple concepts on what will make things better on the floor”. WCDE case studies are a great example of the efforts at the University of Waterloo to more effectively collaborate with industry to benefit student learning.
A community discussion about COP21
This is the latest in a series of #UWCommunity stories that feature Waterloo in the community.
In December of 2015, 12 students, faculty and staff from UWaterloo travelled to Paris, France as delegates to the “COP21” United Nations Climate Summit. The University of Waterloo had a delegation of 7 people under its own name, while 5 of our students participated as party delegates in support of the Republic of Kiribati and the Seychelles.
After witnessing the events that culminated in 195 countries coming to an international agreement to act on climate change, the delegates were left with a great desire to advocate for stronger political action and to facilitate positive dialogue about steps we can take in our local communities.
As part of this effort, on Monday, February 1, 2016, a panel discussion was held at St. Paul’s University College Alumni Hall on The COP21 Climate Summit: What happened in Paris, and what’s next for Canada? The event was organized and supported by the Faculty of Environment, the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, Climate Students, and the Waterloo Environment Students Endowment Fund (WESEF).
The panel was moderated by Jean Andrey, Dean of Environment, and featured five speakers who travelled from Waterloo Region to participate in COP21: Berry Vrbanovic (Mayor of Kitchener), Laura Maxwell (Master of Development Practice Candidate), Ian Rowlands (Professor, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability), Erik Davies (Manager of Strategic Initiatives, CIGI), and Alexandra Graham (Master of Planning Candidate).
Although the panelists shared some sobering thoughts, such as the likelihood of the entire country of Kiribati becoming completely submersed due to projected sea level rise, they also reflected on many feelings of hope and encouragement, including the “alignment” of effort at the local, provincial and national scales that is happening in Canada right now. There was consensus that continued dialogue is needed as well as a significant and rapid transition towards reducing our reliance on carbon on local, national and international scales.
Read the rest of the story on the Community Relations and Events blog.
Engineers undertake their obligation this weekend
More than 1,120 students will have taken an important symbolic step towards becoming full-fledged engineers before tomorrow is over, as graduating students from the faculty of engineering take part in the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer (otherwise known as the Iron Ring Ceremony) and put on the Iron Ring, the symbol of an engineer's professional commitment, for the first time.
Four ceremonies will take place in the Theatre of the Arts on Saturday, February 6 beginning at 12:00 p.m.
Engineering students will be celebrating today on campus in boisterous fashion as the ceremony approaches.
Approximately 1,122 engineering students are expected to file an Intent to Graduate form to the Registrar's Office by March 1, and almost all graduating students usually attend the ceremony to receive their Iron Ring. In preparation for this event, graduating students have been attending introductory talks and have participated in ring fittings.
In helping to stage the uniquely Canadian ceremony, the Faculty of Engineering works with an independent agency, Camp 15 of the Corporation of the Seven Wardens, which will be conducting the Ritual.
The wardens’ web site gives this background on the event: “The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer has a history dating back to 1922, when seven past-presidents of the Engineering Institute of Canada attended a meeting in Montreal with other engineers. One of the speakers was civil engineer Professor [Herbert] Haultain of the University of Toronto. He felt that an organization was needed to bind all members of the engineering profession in Canada more closely together. He also felt that an obligation or statement of ethics to which a young graduate in engineering could subscribe should be developed.
“Haultain wrote to Rudyard Kipling, who had made reference to the work of engineers in some of his poems and writings. He asked Kipling for his assistance in developing a suitably dignified obligation and ceremony for its undertaking. Kipling was very enthusiastic in his response and shortly produced both an obligation and a ceremony formally entitled 'The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer.'
“The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer has been instituted with the simple end of directing the newly qualified engineer toward a consciousness of the profession and its social significance and indicating to the more experienced engineer their responsibilities in welcoming and supporting the newer engineers when they are ready to enter the profession."
Worn on the little finger of the working hand by any engineer who has completed the Ritual, the ring "symbolizes the pride which engineers have in their profession, while simultaneously reminding them of their humility. The ring serves as a reminder to the engineer and others of the engineer's obligation to live by a high standard of professional conduct.”
(It should be pointed out that the wearing of the iron ring doesn't convey any magical properties on the wearer, nor does it confer the title of "engineer" on the one who wears it. That would be the Professional Engineer licence granted by Engineers Canada, the co-ordinating body of provincial and territorial organizations that regulates Canada's engineering profession. The rings sure look cool though.)
The first Iron Ring ceremony at the University was held in the spring of 1963. Waterloo’s graduating engineers have typically shown their joy by dressing up in exuberant outfits and parading on campus before the ceremonies. With the ritual now held on a Saturday, such celebrations are focused on today, as part of a week of social events organized by GradComm, an offshoot of the Engineering Society.
After the ceremony comes the Iron Ring Stag. The ticketed event, open only to graduating students with their iron rings, has a strictly-enforced all-black dress code, which signifies the transition from a "colourful" university life into a more solemn, professional one. Amid the merriment, the Tool, mascot of Waterloo engineers, will be introduced — and the newly ringed ones permitted to touch its metal surface for the first time.