Friday, April 5, 2019

Provost updates campus on operating budget

The University of Waterloo's Board of Governors approved the institution's 2019/2020 Operating Budget at its meeting on Tuesday, and Vice-President, Academic & Provost Jim Rush has circulated a memo to faculty and staff outlining the development of the budget.

"I have shared a series of updates over the last few months offering guidance on the responsible and efficient stewardship of University resources, as well as an update on the Government of Ontario’s announcement to reduce the cost of domestic tuition for university students by 10 per cent in 2019/20 and to freeze domestic tuition for 2020/2021," the provost writes. "This tuition roll-back represents a significant reduction in our projected operating income in the coming years. While we are able to leverage the University’s position of sound financial management and reallocate some University Fund monies to ongoing unit budgets to help us buffer some of the immediate impact of the tuition changes, we need to adopt some additional measures to bridge a remaining $10 million gap between our projected revenues and expenditures for 2019/2020."

"This budget includes the first step in a two-year approach to permanently eliminate the $10 million funding gap," the provost's memo continues. "Executive Council members are fully aware of the proposed measures and indeed have begun planning their unit budgets based on this information."

The budget requires Academic Support Units, Faculties and Ancillary Enterprises to make the following changes:

  • Academic Support Units will reduce their ongoing budgets by three per cent in 2019/20; subject to certain exceptions (including student-funded and co-funded services, scholarships and student aid, and library acquisitions). Department heads and managers are encouraged to find cost savings in the non-salary portions of their budgets and through return of open positions. The Deputy Provost and Associate Vice-President Integrated Planning and Budgeting is working with Executive Council members in planning their 2019/2020 budgets to this end.
  • Faculties will make a one-time contribution equal to one percent of their ongoing budgets, by returning unspent resources available in their recent available budgets, to help fund the deficit in 2019/20. It is important to note that in this budget model, faculties carry the majority of revenue and expenditure risk and thus the contribution to deficit reduction from faculties takes this into account.
  • Ancillary enterprises will contribute additional cost recoveries to the operating budget on an ongoing basis beginning in 2019/2020.

"These measures will reduce the unfunded deficit to approximately $1 million in 2019/20 – an amount I believe is manageable in the short term – and I will resolve this through appropriations or a one-time contribution in 2019/20," the provost writes. "With these changes implemented, our current budget models project an ongoing gap (also referred to as a structural deficit) of $4.5 million at the beginning of 2020/2021 that we will continue to assess and will plan for other ongoing measures to eliminate this in 2020/2021 as necessary."

"The 2019-20 budget fully accounts for our commitments to existing salary agreements with faculty members, staff members, and CUPE employees. 2019/20 is the second year of a three-year agreement with each employee group."

"Additionally, the University continues to support needs- and merit-based financial aid for students; committing to $54 million in student aid in 2019/20. Furthermore, we are committed to building up and maintaining the University Fund to resource and support current priorities and the goals of our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan."  

"I will continue to update our University community as appropriate," the provost's memo concludes. "Thank you for your valued contributions to the University."

Staff work-travel application deadlines approaching

Staff Work Travel Opportunities banner.

Waterloo offers two great opportunities for staff to further their professional development through idea-exchange and learning alongside counterparts at other universities, colleges, research institutions or industry-partner organizations. Attend an upcoming information session, read about the experiences of past winners and be sure to get your application in by the May deadline.

Staff International Experience Fund (SIEF)

In 2018, Monica Vesely, an instructional developer for the Centre for Teaching Excellence, traveled to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to learn more about orientation and training for incoming instructors at institutions that have a large number of international faculty and students.

Learn more about Monica’s trip.           

  • Attend the SIEF Information session on Tuesday April 16.
  • The deadline for SIEF applications is May 24, 2019.
  • For more information, visit the SIEF web page.

For questions about SIEF, please contact Tony Munro, Manager, Special Projects & Initiatives.

Staff Enhancement Experience Grant (SEE)

As one of the 2018 SEE Canada Grant winners, Danielle Jeanneault, editor of the undergraduate calendar in the Registrar’s office, visited several institutions on Canada’s West Coast. Her goal was to learn from various governance structures, schedules for academic curriculum approvals, and processes for publishing the undergraduate academic calendar. 

Learn more about Danielle’s trip.

For questions about SEE, please email

Students will run the numbers at Canadian Team Mathematics Contest

A student mathematics team poses for a group photo.

When people picture a mathematician, they often imagine someone serious and anti-social, working alone in an office.

Not so in the real world of mathematics, and not so at the Canadian Team Mathematics Contest! The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) hosts this challenging, collaboration-based contest on Tuesday, April 9.

Last year, at the 2018 event, Waterloo Collegiate Institute regained its title from Toronto’s Albert Collegiate Institute. Will the title stay in Waterloo Region this year?

A student mathematics team and their coaches.We will find out as over two hundred of this country’s promising high school students will gather to compete at Waterloo, accompanied by their teachers. They will come from as far east as New Brunswick and as far west as Manitoba. Hundreds of other students will be participating at their own schools around their world – including China, Ghana, Bermuda, Slovakia and Turkey.

Each team will be given a set of problems and asked to collaboratively solve them in a short period of time. Since the students range in age and grade, part of a team’s strategy is to assess each team member’s strengths and tackle the problems accordingly.

In the high-energy Relay event, each team member answers a different challenging question in turn. The catch is that the answer to one team member’s question must be received, and correct, in order for the next team member to complete their question. 

The CTMC is organized by the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC), which aims to increase enjoyment, confidence and ability in mathematics and computer science among students and teachers in Canada and internationally. Through contests, face-to-face workshops, online resources, and publications, the CEMC provides curricular and enrichment support to elementary and secondary schools. 

The enthusiasm, friendly competition and drive for excellence at the CTMC are palpable. The model of the CTMC echoes a little-known aspect of careers in mathematics and computer science. Many researchers in these fields collaborate with each other, and with experts in fields such as medicine, forensics, environmental science and the like. The CTMC gives students the experience of working together on challenging mathematics problems: because, after all, there is strength in numbers.

Brain Bee and other weekend wanderings

Brain Bee logo - a hexagon with a bee superimposed on a person's head.More than 100 high-school students will test their knowledge about neuroscience this weekend at the University of Waterloo’s 11th annual Brain Bee competition tomorrow. Students in grades 9 to 12 will compete for prizes by answering multiple-choice questions using clicker technology.

The first-place winner will take home $400 and qualify for the national Canadian Institutes of Health Research Brain Bee, held in the spring at McMaster University. Three years ago, Waterloo student Nooran AbuMazen won second place for Canada at the International Brain Bee in Copenhagen.

The event will also feature a brain exhibit and laboratory demonstrations following the competition. Graduate students from the Department of Kinesiology will showcase several brain specimens, including two full brains and a portion of a brain affected by Alzheimer's disease, and perform three other lab demos, including brain stimulation (transcranial magnetic stimulation).

True North logo.The University of Waterloo will be a sponsor and partner for True North 2019, led by Communitech. Subscribe to the mailing list and follow on social media to see new releases for the June 19-20 program, including University researchers, alumni and partners. Students may register directly online to receive a special student rate. 

As a sponsor, there is a preferred registration rate available for University of Waterloo staff and faculty. Please e-mail Kelly McManus in Community Relations & Events for more information.

Link of the day

25 years ago: genocide in Rwanda

When and where

NEW - Lectures and classes end, Friday, April 5.

Webinar - Careers in Government Series: A Q&A with Colin Spencer James of Employment and Social Development Canada, Friday, April 5, 11:00 a.m.

Office of Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion presents Ela Smith, “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know” Part One, Friday April 5, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., GSC 1151.

Philosophy Colloquium Series presents Dr. Eric Hochstein, “Finding the Right Level,” Friday, April 5, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., HH 373.

Knowledge Integration Senior Research Project Symposium, Friday, April 5, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Environment 3 atrium.

Lectures in Catholic Experience presents Janna Levitt, Cofounder, LGA Architectural Partners, “Architecture for Social Transformation,” Friday, April 5, 7:30 p.m., St. Jerome’s University – Academic Centre, Vanstone Lecture Hall. Free event – everyone welcome.

2019 SMF Research Symposium, Saturday, April 6, St. Jerome's Academic Centre.

NEW - 11th annual Brain Bee, Saturday, April 6, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (competition is 10:30 a.m. to noon), AHS 1689.

NEW - Pre-examination study days, Monday April 8 and Tuesday, April 9. 

2019 Waterloo Staff Conference, Monday, April 8 and Tuesday, April 9, Hagey Hall and Science Teaching Complex. 

The Nature of Experiment: Intelligence, Life and the Human, Monday, April, 8, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Hagey Hall.

Making the Most of Your Mid-career Years, a workshop for recently tenured/continuing faculty, Monday, April 8, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please register.

WaterTalk: Smart Earth: New frontiers in water governance in a wired world, delivered by Prof. Karen Bakker, Monday, April 8, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Coping Skills Seminar - Thriving With Emotions, Monday, April 8, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Planning your research trajectory: Strategies for success (for researchers in the first three years of a tenure-track appointment) Tuesday, April 9, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., DC 1301/DC 1302. Please register to attend.

Canadian Team Mathematics Contest, Tuesday April 9, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., M3 1006 and DC 1351.

FAUW Spring General Meeting, Tuesday, April 9, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., QNC 1502.

NEW - St. Paul's Social Impact Showcase, Tuesday, April 9, 4:00 p.m., St. Paul's University College.

NEW - examination period, Wednesday, April 10 to Saturday, April 27.

Research Ethics drop-in training session, Wednesday, April 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library.

Faculty Networking Event: Clinical Applications of Medical Imaging Technologies, Wednesday, April 10, 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 1301. Please register. Open to faculty and post docs. This event is supported by CBB.

Webinar: Copyright for Teaching, Wednesday, April 10, 10:30 a.m.

NEW - Webinar, Careers in Government Series: A Q&A with Colin Code, Madan Ghosh and Philippe Descheneau, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Wednesday, April 10, 1:00 p.m.  

Single and Sexy Orientation Performance Auditions, Wednesday, April 10, 4:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Wednesday, April 10, 6:00 p.m., HS 2302.

More Feet on the Ground - Mental Health Training, Thursday, April 11, 9:30 a.m., NH 2447.

UWaterloo Intellectual Property Workshop Series - Trademarks, Thursday, April 11, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., DC 1304. Events are open to all UW faculty, staff, and students.

NEW - Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research panel, “microTALK: Microbes at Work,” Thursday, April 11, 3:00 p.m., STC 2002.

NEW - Alleviating Anxiety Seminar, Thursday, April 11, 5:00 p.m., HS 2302.

NEW - WCGS Reading Group – reading Dörte Hansen: Altes Land/This House is Mine, trans. Anne Stokes, Thursday, April 11, 7:00 p.m., Location - TBD. 

NEW - Online examination days, Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13.

NEW - safeTALK Mental Health Training, Monday, April 15, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., NH 2447.

NEW - Research Ethics drop-in training session, Wednesday, April 16, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library.

NEW - Intro to LinkedIn (for employees only), Tuesday, April 16, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC1208.

NEW - Waterloo Symposium on Technology and Society: Disruptive Technology - Do Robots Want Your Job?, Tuesday, April 16, 7:00 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs auditorium.

NEW - LGBTQ+ Making Spaces workshop, Wednesday, April 17, 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., STC 2002.

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