Reflections on my first two weeks of being President

I am now coming up to two weeks in my official duties as President of the Staff Association.  And I have to say, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind!

As you may know by now, Rose Vogt tendered her resignation from the Board as she was moving on to the greener pastures of retirement.  We all wish her a happy retirement!  But that did leave us with a vacancy in the role of Past President which Michael Herz has agreed to take on – thanks Michael!

And that, in turn, left us with a vacancy in one of the Director positions, so Jane Arnem was welcomed onto the Board.  So now we have our full slate of Board members.

When I moved into the office Friday morning, I found that Rose left it very neat and ready to move in.  I am working very hard to keep it that way! I am also trying to keep alive a few plants that she left in my care :-)

Lawrence in his new office

In the afternoon of my first day, I participated as the UWSA representative in the President’s Community Impact Awards 2019 jury.  We selected two Community Leader winners and two University Champion winners.

I later met with Diana Parry AVP for the Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion office.  I expressed my interest to know about their office and their work.  I was pleased to see their calendar of courses and took several to distribute.

Later still on Friday, I met with HR along with Kathy Becker for her first SRC Re-org Subcommittee to review reorganizations to be approved at SRC.

On Monday, I had my first operations meeting with Gail and Cathy and then moved into our regular Members’ Advisory Committee meeting. 

In the afternoon, we had our PACSC meeting and discussed progress with the Performance Appraisal review.  We also discussed the budget of the Staff Excellence Fund.  We expect to have a full reckoning provided at the next PACSC meeting.  The good news is that we are now allocating our full allotment for the first time in many years!  The downside is that we are not able to take new applications at the moment.  We hope to have a better understanding of where we are with that after the next meeting.

Tuesday November 5th I attended the Excellence Canada Gold awards in Toronto along with Feridun, Marilyn Thompson (AP HR), and several others.  It was a full day with speakers and the awards.  I felt it was a good day and showed our support of the process and the award.  Many staff were key to having Waterloo reach this level of recognition.

Feridun Hamdullahpur at the Excellence Canada Presentations

Wednesday November 6th was “Take Our Kids to Work” day.  I had my two nieces here from Hamilton.  I had these two Grade 9 girls review the draft of Policy 33: is it understandable, and would they know what to do if they needed to address an issue?  We also met with Gail to discuss her role, worked with Kathy to set the agenda, had a campus tour and toured the Games Institute.

Reviewing Policy 33

Thursday Gail, Kathy and I welcomed new staff at the New Staff Orientation session at HR, then had our first Board meeting with the new board. 

This Tuesday November 12th I attended, along with many of you, the President’s Town Hall where he outlined the new Strategic Plan, highlighted the Excellence Canada Gold, discussed the impact of the new Strategic Mandate Agreement (aka SMA3) and took questions from the audience – local and remote. 

On Wednesday November 13th representatives from UWSA and FAUW met with Chris Glover, MPP for Spadina-Fort York and Opposition Critic for Colleges and Universities, to discuss the impacts of recent government policies affecting funding for universities.  We discussed with him the effect of Bill 124 on salaries and the implications of some of the other policies (SMA3, tuition cuts) on funding for the University.  MPP Glover is meeting with staff, faculty, and students from universities all over Ontario to better understand the impacts and will be taking those forward to the government.'

Meeting with Chris Glover

A major topic we are working toward is the review of the new Policy 33 draft with an eye to ensuring that it meets the needs of staff and has the necessary procedures in place to address issues in a timely and respectful manner.  As a Board, we have had numerous discussions about this draft.  We will shortly be reviewing the comments received from consultation with the entire UW community. 

I have had a number of members contact me with a variety of issues and concerns.  I welcome these inquiries and I will do my best to address them in a timely manner and consult with the experts around me.  It certainly keeps me busy! 

We also have a number of committees and working groups to place members on.  We will be sending out calls for those in the near future.

If you have ideas or issues that you would like me to address, please send them along or I would be happy to meet to discuss. 

Also remember that if you would like us to attend a meeting in your area, we are happy to come and give a presentation of our “Road Show”.  We’ll even supply treats :-)

Respectfully submitted,

Lawrence Folland
President, University of Waterloo Staff Association