posted on Jan. 9: New learning, wellness and workplace initiatives for staff, faculty funded


The Board of Governors has approved recommendations for the allocation of more than $1 million from the McMaster University Futures Fund (MUFF) for 2000-01.

A total of $1,167,650 will be spent on a variety of initiatives as submitted by members of the McMaster community. The three broad categories that will receive funds are: education and learning, workplace environment enhancement, and total wellness/quality of life.

“The committee received over 50 requests this year, totalling in excess of $4 million,” notes Karen Belaire, vice-president administration. “The recommendations made best reflect the principles of the MUFF fund.”

More than $300,000 has been allocated for initiatives that promote wellness, fitness and quality of life, in response to the high number of requests received that focused on these areas.

Proposals include:

  • improvements to the Ivor Wynne Centre (equipment and lockers) and the Henderson site, and maintenance of the baseball diamonds
  • a pilot project to expand Student Health Services to employees
  • a wellness profile study to provide information to guide the further development of wellness programs
  • support for several lecture series, including the McMaster Campus Ministries Council for relaxation and stress management retreats for staff and faculty
  • funds to support various social activities for staff and faculty

Almost $700,000 is being allocated to the education and learning category, and will support:

  • faculty or staff members attending conferences, to a maximum of $650 per person
  • the highly successful InfoTech Leaders Program, which offers staff the opportunity to enhance skills in the software/technology areas
  • a Multimedia Training Program, focusing on skills for the development of educational software
  • additional funding of the scholarships program for children of McMaster University employees
  • The workplace environment enhancement category will receive about $160,000 to support:

  • additional staff lounges
  • improvements to University Hall
  • enhancements to the McMaster University Retirees office
  • additional outdoor seating, bicycle racks and tree planting
  • restoration and maintenance on a number of pieces of art owned by the University
  • The McMaster University Futures Fund was established in 1996 by the Board of Governors. The source of the fund is the interest earned by the University on cash that cannot be remitted to the pension plan trustee as a result of limitations imposed by Revenue Canada.

    Each year a committee accepts proposals from faculty and staff for the distribution of the money available.

    The committee is comprised of four members named by the President and five named by employee and retiree associations. Iin selecting suitable projects, the committee applied two broad rules: proposals should enhance the activities of the University in a way consistent with the University mission, and they should serve more than one constituency on campus.

    “The committee has tried to support initiatives which will improve the working conditions for faculty, staff and other members of the McMaster community, and which will support the academic and professional development of faculty and staff,” Belaire says.