Collective bargaining update: Talks continue with faculty association

Contract talks between the University of Windsor and the Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA), have continued throughout the summer, with new negotiation dates scheduled for September 12, 14, 19, 22 and 23. WUFA represents approximately 1,000 faculty, librarians, sessional members and ancillary academic staff.

Shortly after a negotiation session concluded on August 26, the UWindsor bargaining team learned that WUFA filed for conciliation with the Ministry of Labour. As a result, a conciliator appointed by the Ministry will join the bargaining discussions when the scheduled meetings resume.

Bruce Tucker, associate vice-president academic affairs and the chair of the administration’s bargaining team, said, “Although we were unaware at the last bargaining session that WUFA intended to file for conciliation, we are confident this new development will prove to be another step towards reaching a successful agreement that is fiscally responsible for the university.”

The major financial challenges have been outlined to the campus community through regular President’s Update reports over the past three years. Compensation costs, which account for the majority of the university’s operating budget, at approximately $160 million (or 80 percent), remain a challenge and one of the underlying reasons for the realignment efforts the university has undergone in the past three years to successfully balance the operating budget. The costs of supporting our pension plans have become an additional reality. WUFA members are the only employee group that continued to receive base pay increases since the enactment of the provincial wage restraint legislation in March, 2010. As the campus learned in the President’s Update #13, a projected shortfall of $6.2 million in the 2012/13 budget has already signalled the need for further realignment in the months ahead.

Despite the financial challenges, the university has successfully negotiated six collective agreements in the past 12 months without a strike.

“I’m proud of the success the bargaining teams have already had this year, and their ability to negotiate in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner without strike action,” said President Alan Wildeman. “The University of Windsor has generated a tremendous amount of positive momentum over the past few years; our faculty and staff are achieving great successes across campus and doing wonderful things for our students. There is a renewed sense of pride for our university for everything we’ve done, and everything we’re going to do, which has raised our profile in our region and beyond.

“A strike by WUFA would bring these positive efforts to a halt,” he said. “This is why we are focused on reaching a collective agreement that supports our faculty, librarians, sessionals and ancillary academic staff to the best of our ability, and at the same time meets everyone’s aspirations to provide an exceptional experience for our students.”

Dr. Wildeman acknowledged that, like any union negotiation process, one of the next steps WUFA will take will be to hold a strike vote for its membership.

“The University of Windsor’s strategic aspirations and financial reality have been widely communicated. I trust that all WUFA members will take them into account as we continue with our negotiations,” he said.

Kinesiology researcher studying how gripping device lowers blood pressure

While many students were enjoying a break from their studies, Mark Badrov was hard at work in the lab this summer, trying to better understand why a simple hand grip device helps lower blood pressure in some individuals.

“I really like research,” said Badrov, a human kinetics student who will enter the second year of his master’s program this fall. “It’s a lot of fun. It involves a lot of hands-on learning, and you feel like you’re making a difference.”

Under the direction of professor Cheri McGowan, Badrov has been working in the kinesiology department’s Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, trying to figure out how and why using an isometric hand grip device, which requires the user the squeeze it over short, but sustained intervals, seems to help lower blood pressure.

“Previous studies have shown that isometric hand grip training can reduce blood pressure in people with and without high blood pressure, but we don’t really know why,” explained Dr. McGowan. “And some evidence suggests this type of training is more effective in women than in men.”

An Oakville native who earned his undergraduate degree at McMaster University, Badrov has been recruiting participants into a study which requires them to squeeze an isometric handgrip device either three or five times per week for an eight week period. Participants complete four, two minute contractions at 30 per cent of their maximum ability. He records their blood pressure at rest and during the contractions, uses ultrasound equipment to capture visual images of what’s happening in their arteries before and after the exercise, and uses a technique called venous strain-gauge plethysmography to assess forearm resistance vessel blood flow. By the end of the study, he hopes to have tested 36 females and 12 males, and have a better idea of the physiological changes their bodies have gone through by using the device.

McGowan said there are a number of questions Badrov is trying to answer: Why is blood pressure lowered following the training? Is lowered blood pressure the result of better functioning of smaller resistance vessels? Does the training improve heart rate variability and condition the autonomic nervous system to better regulate blood pressure? If women train more often will they experience greater reductions in resting blood pressure? What is happening in the body during an acute bout of isometric handgrip exercise, in terms of the functioning of conduit arteries and resistance vessels, blood pressure, and heart rate, and does it change with training? Does it differ between women and men? Badrov said he hopes to answer these questions and eventually publish his results.

Badrov said he’s excited about the technique’s potential to manage blood pressure and avoid hypertension, which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular heart disease and afflicts more than 4.6 million Canadians.

“High blood pressure is a very serious and growing problem,” said Badrov, who aspires to pursue a PhD and a career in academia. “Isometric handgrip training is a simple and time-efficient form of exercise that effectively reduces resting blood pressure. We’re hoping that it can be used as a tool for the primary and secondary prevention of hypertension.”

Editor's note: this is one of a series of articles about students from across campus who were engaged in cool research projects and other activities during the summer.

Community-building at centre of Windsor Welcome Week

Windsor Welcome Week is a time to begin building community, says Beth Oakley, director of the Educational Development Centre.

“We work hard to help students establish that sense of belonging,” she says. “All our activities, whether social or academic, are geared toward creating networks of support.”

Oakley will be immersing herself in the experience more than usual as she participates in Sunday’s Camp on Campus, staying overnight in the residence quad.

“There will be a big teepee from the Aboriginal Education Centre, and I’ll be sleeping in there with (executive director of student development and support) Brooke White,” she says—adding she’s unsure how restful they can expect the quad to be.

A first for UWindsor, the camp is intended to give first-year students living off-campus a taste of residence togetherness. Oakley says the camp is generating a lot of excitement and registration is already surpassing expectations.

Other highlights of the week’s activities include:

  • Sunday, September 4. Residence move-in day ends with a reception for parents at 3 p.m. Students will hang around for a presentation by Harlan Cohen, author of The Naked Roommate and 107 Other Issues You Might Run into in College, followed by the Graffiti Party in the Thirsty Scholar pub.
  • Monday, September 5. The University of Windsor Students' Alliance is sponsoring a pancake breakfast to lead into the tailgate party and pep rally in preparation for the Lancer football season opener on Alumni Field at 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 6. Adrenaline Rush features a jam-packed afternoon with something for everyone—inflatables for jousting or Twister, a Minute to Win It competition, and some free snacks. From there, head down to the riverfront for a beach party.
  • Wednesday, September 7. Orientation day for all faculties and programs takes place in the morning, with fellow students offering the inside scoop at Turf Talk. At 3 p.m., Welcoming Celebration will explain why their futures are so bright, new students have to wear shades.
  • Thursday, September 8. The first day of classes also offers a Vendor Fair outside the CAW Student Centre, with freebies, fun and friendly faces. The evening performance of Single & Sexy presents trials, tribulations and triumphs of eight students navigating their way through first year of university.
  • Friday, September 9. All comers are invited to participate in the Campus Community Clean-up, with a litter patrol and ceremonial tree planting, before heading out on the taste of Windsor walking tour to explore off-campus restaurants.
  • Saturday, September 10. Shine Day will kick off with a pancake breakfast to energize UWindsor students joining the largest post-secondary fundraiser in Canada, taking their shoe-shining skills to the streets of Windsor to benefit cystic fibrosis charities.

Visit for a full list of events, locations and times, or grab the event guide from the Welcome Tent located between Dillon and Memorial halls.

Buttons invite questions from new arrivals

Ask Me buttonThe Educational Development Centre invites staff and faculty to wear "Ask Me" buttons for the first half of September, making it easier for new students to identify people who can provide them with a welcoming smile, directions or basic campus information.

The buttons are white and sport the university's official logo. To get yours, contact Joanne Gibbs in Student and International Affairs by Tuesday, September 6, at 519-253-3000, ext. 3287, or e-mail

Wherever possible, departments should coordinate their requests so that all of the buttons can be sent to one contact person for distribution.

Move-in day like Christmas for residence elves

Getting ready for Residence Move-in Day is a bit like the elves preparing for Christmas, says Diane Rawlings: “We’ve been gearing up since last spring.”

Her department will help about 1,000 students move into six residence halls on Sunday, September 4, but before that can happen, a lot of work must get done in the background.

Besides routine maintenance work familiar to anyone who has ever moved, three major renovation projects have consumed the summer:

  • The construction of the International Student Centre in Laurier Hall;
  • Improvements to washrooms on five floors of Laurier Hall, involving new showers, sinks, plumbing and electrical upgrades; and
  • A makeover of the concourse on the ground floor of Vanier Hall.

“The changes to Vanier will make it a more inviting space,” says Rawlings. “We’re raising the ceilings, installing new lighting and seating to create more of a lounge feel similar to the second floor of the CAW Student Centre.”

The former Mini-Mart retail location is being transformed to provide overflow seating for patrons of the Crocodile Grill.

“This work to improve the infrastructure and aesthetics of our buildings is all about improving the experience for our students through the year,” Rawlings says.

Residence Life staff and the Windsor InterResidence Council spend many hours through the summer planning events to help newcomers feel at home. Residence assistants have been getting training in everything from community-building to conflict resolution.

“We really believe in the importance of getting students connected to the campus community,” says Rawlings. “We’re focused on having them succeed in university.”

In the meantime, there are a lot of organizational details to making Sunday a success and she says it takes a team to make it happen—housekeeping and maintenance staff preparing the buildings, programming key cards, decorating hallways and lounges, and arranging for volunteers to assist with move-in. The focus then shifts to welcome week activities planned to ease the transition to the new year.

“It’s all about building excitement,” Rawlings says. “Move-in day and welcome week activities are key to creating that excitement.”

Football home opener set for Labour Day

The Lancer football team will open its 2011 campaign at home Monday, September 5, hosting the Toronto Varsity Blues at Alumni Field.

Game time is 1 p.m. Season tickets are still available and can be purchased online at

Windsor has won its last eight decisions over Toronto by a combined score of 351 to 118, with the nine-point margin in last year's 26-17 victory the closest.

Civic engagement focus of Ways of Knowing, Ways of Doing

Citizenship involves more than just paying rent and taxes, says Justin Langlois, the newly-hired civic engagement coordinator in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Langlois, who began his term July 1, is re-vamping the Ways of Knowing course already offered in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and will develop a new follow-up course, Ways of Doing, over the next year.

The new course is being planned to  “connect students to the community and turn the entire community into part of the campus,” Langlois says. “Having those students at the first- and second-year level really get a sense not only of the city of Windsor but also how they can become involved in civic engagement.”

Langlois says Ways of Knowing was established to introduce students to a variety of disciplines within the larger umbrella of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The course looks at the notion of a city and all its complexities—how it was established, how it runs, and how to negotiate in it. Topics are introduced and covered through the views and outlook of a variety of guest speakers in a number of such disciplines as architecture, history and philosophy.

By the end of the semester, students are tasked with presenting a conceptually-driven project that provides a solution to a neighbourhood concern.

“It’s the first semester for most of the students and it’s a great way of getting them to understand that when you’re a University of Windsor student you’re not just a student on the island of campus,” Langlois says. “You can be deeply integrated and involved in this amazing community that we’re in.”

Ways of Doing, currently in development and intended as a follow-up course to Ways of Knowing, will allow students to both plan and execute their ideas within the community.

He says students may be more civic-minded than they realize. While some may not be interested in what they believe to be traditional volunteering, the course encourages them to think broadly and seek a variety of avenues to community service.

“Volunteering is more than handing out pamphlets,” Langlois says. “What I’m interested in is how students can work a little bit outside of the obvious structured roles. For example, one of the campaigns the United Way is doing is Food Matters—so what can happen is a student may say, ‘there is a downtown market but there’s nothing in the west end—I grew up in the county and I know that there’s some amazing food stands out there, so I’m going to try to figure out a way to organize a famers’ market on my front lawn in the west end every weekend.’ ”

He said student plans may also include something they can offer to an existing community organization, or they may choose to offer their input and services to work alongside staff at these organizations.

Langlois says university students have a unique skill set and perspective that can be invaluable to such organizations as the United Way,  Pathways to Potential, the Humane Society, or the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County.

“Organizations are always looking for new ways to communicate, and social media is a really obvious one,” he says. “A student, for example, may have a great idea for guerilla advertising to raise awareness around poverty and all of a sudden they form a team in class, connect with staff at these organizations and put together a really great plan that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

He says problem based learning will be at the heart of Ways of Doing. Projects can be as large as the volunteer work involved in establishing Atkinson Skate Park or as simple as helping a neighbour patch a section of their house.

“In the end, it’s about teaching the students crucial skills like collaboration, like planning, like creating a really tight proposal. In any future jobs these students take on, these skills will be crucial,” Langlois says. “This skill set they are walking away with is about understanding how their city works—its values, and really being involved in a place and contributing to the community.”

Photographer to chronicle one year in University’s life

Richard Bain is looking forward to attending the University of Windsor this year, but he hasn’t registered for a single class yet.

The photographer will spend a year taking pictures of campus life for a book to be published by Binea Press. It will be Bain’s sixth project chronicling an Ontario institution of higher learning, following volumes on Western, McMaster, Guelph, Brock, and Fanshawe College.

“By the time I’m done one of these projects, I almost feel like I went to school there,” he says. “I come to love the schools as much as its students and faculty do.”

He will make about 30 trips to Windsor from his base in London, working to capture day-to-day life on campus as well as the major events like convocation.

Holly Ward, executive director of Public Affairs and Communications, will help to coordinate the book’s publication. It is slated for about 120 pages full of full-colour photography, hardcover bound, printed in Canada using environmentally-friendly inks. She says the project will serve several purposes.

“It’s certainly a celebration of the university and will be available in advance of our 50th anniversary in 2013,” she said. “We hope it will become a keepsake for alumni and stir their memories of their time here, as well as attract new students to our campus. This commemorative book is just one part of a larger plan to celebrate our golden anniversary, but it has the longest lead time so we're excited to get started this fall.”

Bain has already visited Windsor and says he brings a fresh eye to the University.

“I will see things other people walk by and never notice, but by the same token, I may miss some views only an insider can know about,” he says. “If anybody does know a great spot that would make for a super shot, I hope they will let me know.”

He invites students, faculty, staff and grads to suggest photo ideas at

Biologists hope nesting boxes attract swallows to research centre

If you build it, they will come.

That’s the hope of a team from the Department of Biological Sciences who installed 51 nest boxes at the University’s Pelee Environmental Research Centre on Saturday, August 27, to attract tree swallows, a blue-and-white species of songbird that breeds in the area.

“Tree swallows are an important part of our local bird community and they are excellent study animals,” said biology professor Dan Mennill, an ornithologist who helped to organize the project.

The project is the first of its kind for the University of Windsor. It will allow local scientists to contribute to continent-wide research.

“Field biologists across North America study tree swallows,” said biology professor Stéphanie Doucet. “Research on this species has lead to major breakthroughs on topics that range from the breeding behaviour of animals, to the effects of climate change, to the influence of environmental toxins. With our own study population, we will collect local data that will be important at a continental scale.”

In addition to providing new opportunities for research and teaching, the nesting birds will provide direct benefits to humans, Dr. Mennill said.

“Tree swallows have big appetites for mosquitos and other flying insects,” he said. “They fly large distances each day eating the insects that we think of as pests. They fly over streams and small water bodies, but also right through the backyards of Essex County.”

The team that set up the 51 nest boxes included six professors from the Faculty of Science--Daniel Heath, Dennis Higgs, Trevor Pitcher and Kirsten Poling in addition to Mennill and Doucet-- as well as 11 graduate students and helpers.

“Setting up the tree swallow grid was a great learning opportunity,” said Kara-Anne Ward, a graduate student finishing her master’s degree in biology. “I learned about the process of properly designing and establishing this type of research site. It was a fun experience which will be useful in my future career.”

The grid of tree swallow nest boxes is part of a wave of local projects undertaken by UWindsor biologists. Over the coming years, researchers will develop further projects at several locations around Essex County, including Saturday’s site, a 23-acre property donated by the Municipality of Leamington.

“We’re developing a network of interconnected research sites and research projects that, together, we call the Pelee Environmental Research Centre,” said Dr. Heath. “Setting up the tree swallow nest boxes is the first step in this exciting development. The project involves new partnerships between the University of Windsor, the Municipality of Leamington, and many other local groups and stakeholders.”

The research team will not be able to measure the success of Saturday’s work until the arrival of tree swallows during spring migration, said Mennill.

“We’ve built the nest boxes,” he said. “Now we wait for the birds to come.”

See more photos of the installation work on Mennill's Web site.

Contest winner has an eye for art

The University of Windsor boasts a lot of art fans, to judge by the response to Monday's DailyNews quiz. Dozens of readers were able to place each of the sculptures on campus, but only one could claim today's prize, and that winner is Sandeep Bhattacharya, whose name was drawn from all correct entries.

Battacharya, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering and research assistant in the lab of professor Ahmet Alpas, says his four years on campus have familiarized him with its features. He will receive the prize of a pair of UWindsor T-shirts provided by the special events manager in the Office of the President.

For the record, here are the correct answers:

Map of art locations

1. D Rama-lama-ding-dong by Joe DeAngelis, in the Leddy Library

2. A Amara by Siri Hollander, outside Chrysler Hall

3. E Steel Construction Teaching Aid, outside Essex Hall

4. B Neighbours by Joe Rosenthal, outside the Odette Building

5. C Poet's Blox by the Green Corridor Project, outside the LeBel Building


Transit Windsor to provide free shuttle buses for concert-goers

If you need a ride to the UWSA Coming Home Festival on Tuesday, September 6, Transit Windsor is willing to provide one.

The agency will provide free shuttle buses from the Vanier Circle to the Riverfront Festival Plaza. The shuttle will begin service at 3:30 p.m. and the return service will start at 11 p.m.

The festival, presented by the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance in cooperation with the Student Representative Council of St. Clair College, runs 4 to 11 p.m. It will feature performances by DJs Benny Benassi and Richie Hawtins. Admission is free to all UWindsor and St. Clair students with valid student ID.

Learn more on the event’s Facebook page.

Free courses to help graduate students build professional skills

A series of courses offered free on the University of Windsor campus in late September are designed to train graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in essential interpersonal, project management and entrepreneurial skills required for them to succeed in their future careers.

Mitacs Step logoMITACS Step is Canada’s only comprehensive program providing business-ready skills to up and coming researchers. All of the Windsor workshops are offered in McPherson Lounge, Alumni Hall. Attendees are required to sign in 30 minutes prior to the start of each session.

Find more information and register by clicking through the title of each workshop:

Business Conduct Excellence & Dining Etiquette
Monday, September 26, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., lunch provided

How you handle yourself in a meeting says a lot about you.  Learn the elements of etiquette and conduct that will give you the comfort and confidence needed to succeed in any meeting.

The Art of Powerful Conversation
Monday, September 26, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., lunch provided

Although we communicate in many ways every day, few of us are consistently effective. Assumptions, old patterns, and unhealthy paradigms can sabotage our efforts for clear, respectful communication. Learn how to determine your own personal assumptions, to avoid them and to navigate difficult conversations.

Practice Your Presentation Skills
Tuesday, September 27, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., breakfast and lunch provided

People who present well in front of groups are far more likely to succeed at captivating, persuading and inspiring others, and are generally perceived as better leaders. In this one-day workshop, theory is introduced in short bursts, and participants spend the majority of time practicing their presentation skills and receiving onsite feedback.

Effective Networking
Wednesday, September 28, 9 a.m. to noon

This workshop is designed to provide insight and interaction along with the know how to build and stabilize their business relationships through effective networking. Participants will leave with the tools they need to succeed in their research internships.

Proactive & Practical Communication
Wednesday, September 28, 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Fine-tune your ability to work within teams in academia and industry. Take this opportunity to experience first-hand the power of effective communication, whether it be communicating your research through presentation or working within teams.

Foundations of Project Management
Thursday, September 29, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., breakfast and lunch provided

This one-day workshop provides an overview of the full four-day program and allows the students a brief hands-on experience of two key concepts: building productive relationships and an interactive team approach to creating project plans.

Materials will be provided for each of these workshops. A valid credit card is required to complete and secure your registration. There is a $50 charge for no-shows and late cancellations; otherwise, the workshops are free.

Job postings from Human Resources: 2011-PT-05, 2011-FT-12, 2011-13-23

The following union positions are available to internal bargaining unit members only. Bargaining unit members interested in these positions are requested to apply in writing by completing an 'Application for Transfer' form and forwarding it to: Department of Human Resources on or before 4 p.m. on the posting closing date. Please note: Union positions are covered by the union collective agreement, therefore, please be aware that we must allow our qualified unionized staff the first opportunity for transfer or promotion to these positions. This opportunity is not available to external applicants.

CAW 2458 Part-time – Office and Clerical Unit

#2011-PT-05 Shelver ‘2’ (eight months – September to April), Leddy Library

(Hours of work are 20 hours per week – nights: Wednesday – 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.; Thursday – 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.; Saturday – 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.)

The following posting closes on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.

The incumbent contributes to shelving library material in a timely and efficient manner in accordance with Leddy Library filing schemes and to maintaining the physical order of library collections by such activities as re-arranging and weeding material as required. The incumbent contributes to the monitoring and enforcement of library food and noise policies, and to the closing procedures for the library. The incumbent must be able to lift books above shoulders and down to floor level; be able to carry books short distances; be able to push full book trucks as required. The incumbent must be detail-oriented. Preferably the incumbent will have good communication skills and the ability to work in a team environment.

CAW 2458 Full Time Office and Clerical Unit

#2011-FT-12 Institutional Quality Assurance Process Coordinator – Temporary eight month position (September 2011 to April 2011), Faculty of Graduate Studies & Office of Quality Assurance

The following posting closes on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This IQAP Coordinator will assist with the transitioning and opening of the Office of Quality Assurance for a period of eight months. The successful candidate will have undergraduate degree in a discipline where the analysis of quantitative data was required or relevant working experience. Excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as, excellent interpersonal abilities are essential, along with the ability to work with a variety of levels in the University’s administrative structure. Demonstrated strong project-management, organizational skills and attention to detail are also required. The successful candidate will have a proven record of creating and implementing systems (electronic and paper) and policies in order to ensure streamlined processes. Strong computer skills (Microsoft Office Word, Excel) are essential. The incumbent must have the ability to work in a fast-paced, deadline-oriented environment. Typing 40 NWPM.

CUPE 1393

#2011-13-23 Residence Life Coordinator ‘IV’ (substituting for approximately September to December 2011), Residence Services

The following posting closes on Thursday, September 8, 2011.

Residence Services is committed to providing our students with the most memorable and positive residence living experience possible. The successful candidate will possess a university degree in psychology, sociology, social work or related field. Demonstrated experience in mediating conflicts and dealing with confrontational situations is necessary. The successful candidate will have excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to establish effective working relationships with students and staff. Experience with public speaking and the ability to develop and deliver training sessions/workshops is required. Previous supervisory experience, as well as demonstrated exceptional leadership capabilities, including the ability to align, motivate, and engage staff is necessary. A minimum of two years of previous working experience in a residence life environment or related is essential. The successful candidate will also be a strategic thinker with the ability to effectively challenge the status quo and to provide innovative solutions. A demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Excel and Word is also essential.