MURANews Winter 2018 issue in PDF format
In this issue:
As I write this, we have finally had a welcome January thaw after the deep freeze of the last few weeks. The 2018 year started off on a positive note for MURA members with a pension increase. You can read details regarding how the increase is determined in the "January 2018 Pension Plan Increases" article by Brian Beckberger and Cliff Andrews.
Our annual Christmas luncheon held December 5th was a great way to finish off 2017. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and see everyone reconnecting. Over 180 members participated with about 22 new retirees attending. Kudos to Gail Britton and everyone on the Christmas Lunch committee on their efforts to make this MURA event a success. Thanks also to the President’s Office for subsidizing some of the cost of the luncheon, and welcoming new retirees by fully covering the cost of their lunches.
You can read about MURA’s new web site. We are indebted to the efforts of Nora Gaskin and members of the Communications Committee for the many, many hours they contributed to the design and content of the new web site. Let us know what your impression or experience is once you have tried it.
The next large MURA gathering will be the Annual General Membership Meeting and Luncheon on June 6th. The AGM will include election of the MURA president, vice-president and four council members. In addition to the executive, you have nine elected representatives on the MURA Council, with each Councillor elected for a three-year term. The terms are staggered so that vacancies are filled every June. Council manages the affairs and projects of the retirees’ association; acts as the official voice of the retirees of the University; and sets MURA’s budget. See more of what we do on our Council Activities web page. In addition to attending Council meetings once a month from September to June, Council members sit on one or more MURA committees. You can find out more on our Council Members web page. If you would like to get involved or know someone who would be a good candidate for Council (or perhaps as a member of a committee), please see the Call for Nominations. All nominations are welcome. MURA especially welcomes individuals who have recently retired.
More details will be announced in the Spring newsletter. Mark the AGM in your calendars now and plan to attend.
Until the spring, best wishes for 2018.
January 2018 Pension Plan Increases
On December 21, 2017 MURA notified members (those who have provided MURA with an email address) of a 1.46% increase in pensions starting January 2018. This increase applies to both the Salaried Pension Plan and the Hourly Pension Plan.
The full increase of 1.46% applies to those who were receiving a pension from either of the Plans on June 30, 2016, and is equivalent to the average monthly increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 2016/17. Those who retired between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 received a pro-rated increase. Those who retired after June 30, 2017 received no increase. There is no supplementary increase this year since the previous three years’ increases were the maximum allowed under the provisions of the Plans.
The annual pension increases, if any, are based on the amount that the 5-year average rate of return on the pension funds, as of the previous June 30th, exceeds 4.5% for the Salaried Plan and 6.0% for the Hourly Plan. Any increase, however, is limited to the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year. The 5-year average rate of return as of June 30, 2017 was 10.07% for the Salaried Plan, and 9.92% for the Hourly Plan. The Consumer Price Index increase for July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 was 1.46%. Since CPI is the limiting factor, both salaried and hourly retirees received a 1.46% increase.
Additional pension plan information can be found on the Human Resources Pension Plans web page.
Cliff Andrews, MURA Representative,
Exercise Programs Can Help Reduce Falls and Prevent Injuries
(The following is an excerpt from a Blog Post featured on the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal)
Many people can relate to the fear of falling. Injuries that occur as a result of slips and falls are common and the consequences can be severe. Preventing these injuries is important in helping older adults experience a high quality of life, including independent living, engaging in healthy activities and enjoying social and recreational pursuits. One promising preventative measure involves exercise programs targeted to seniors.
What the research tells us
Fall prevention exercise programs — delivered either in a group setting or at home — can help prevent falls, and injuries resulting from falls, in older adults living independently. These programs often include several types of beneficial exercises (such as strength and resistance training), but exercises focused on improving balance were deemed the most effective in preventing falls.
Exercise at home to improve your balance
There are many exercises that can be done at home to help prevent falls. Here are a few suggestions:
Well-designed exercise programs may be the key to ensuring older adults have the confidence and the ability to live active, healthy lives and pursue their dreams!
Retirees in the McMaster Online Directory
Retirees may choose to be included in the online McMaster Faculty & Staff Directory. Here’s how to add yourself to the directory, or to update your record as needed:
NOTE: It is acceptable for retirees to use their personal phone number or email address in this directory. As a personal security measure, do not use your home address as the online directory is available publicly.
If you would like to be included in the Online Directory but do not have an email address or access to the internet, please contact Terri Jones by phone at 905-525-9140, extension 23275.
If you need help with using the online form, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 905-525-9140, extension 24357.
**MAC ID is an identifier assigned by University Technology Services (UTS). It is not your employee number. Your MAC ID is the part of your current or former McMaster email address that precedes “@mcmaster.ca”, for example “smithjp”. Retirees are entitled to have a MAC ID for life. If you do not have a MAC ID, you may request one by contacting the UTS Service Desk at 905-525-9140 extension 24357 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about MAC ID see this article from the Summer 2016 MURAnews.
Order of Canada Appointments
Three McMaster retirees were recognized by the Governor General of Canada in December as new recipients of the Order of Canada. One of our country’s highest civilian honours, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.
May Cohen, professor emerita of family medicine, was appointed an Officer of the Order for her exemplary leadership in the establishment and growth of the field of women’s health in Canada.
Mary Law, professor emerita of rehabilitation sciences, was appointed an Officer of the Order for her transformative work in the field of occupational therapy, which has set the standard for research and shaped clinical practice in Canada.
Valerie Tryon, retired associate professor of music, was appointed a Member of the Order for her internationally celebrated career as a pianist and for her contributions as an educator and builder of classical music culture.
For more information, see "McMaster profs, pianist, grad appointed to Order of Canada", McMaster Daily News.
The duly constituted MURA Nominating Committee is now receiving input for the nomination of Council members for the three-year term starting in June 2018, as well as for President and Vice-President for 2018/19.
The Committee comprises: Les King (Chair), Phyllis DeRosa-Koetting, Margaret Jenkins, Kathy McIntosh, and Peter Sutherland.
Please forward expressions of personal interest and/or suggestions for nominees to the Committee Chair, Les King: email@example.com or 905-648-6636 or to any Nominating Committee member.
Submitted by Nora Gaskin, MURA Secretary
Parking Permit Expiry Renewal Reminder
Retiree parking permits are issued on a 12-month basis and must be renewed annually. Renew prior to your expiry date, online or in person at the Parking Office (E.T. Clarke or Campus Store). Your transponder number is on the back of your transponder (see picture).
Parking Services will send email reminders each month to those who have a permit expiring within the next 30 days. To receive an email reminder, ensure that Parking Services has your current email address on file. Update your personal or vehicle information online.
Hamilton Third Age Learning
This past November saw the successful completion of the fifth year of operation of the Hamilton Third Age Learning (HTAL) organization. Founded and run by local volunteers, this organization seeks to promote and encourage life-long learning by Hamilton’s older adults. In this respect it is similar to organizations that exist throughout Canada, the United States and many overseas countries.
The origin of the third age learning movement is acknowledged to have been in Toulouse, France in 1973 in the University’s Faculty of Social Sciences. Its subsequent development in Europe and the UK mainly took the form of courses and programs developed in universities or in association with such institutions. The existing International Association of Universities of the Third Age today promotes and represents these types of programs around the world. This U3A movement was the basis for a broader model of ‘self-help’ teaching and learning that emerged in the UK in the early 1980’s. Local community groups organized and managed by local citizens, and relying upon outside experts to lead and inform the learning, became the preferred model, especially in North America. Today, in Ontario alone there are more than 20 such organizations, associated with one another in the Third Age Network.
The Hamilton group was organized by a small band of local citizens. It was incorporated in 2012 and is governed by a volunteer board of directors. HTAL began operating with a series of six weekly lectures in the spring of 2013, with six more offered later in the year. This has become its operating program, twelve weekly lectures a year with six in the spring and six in the fall. Organized by a small program committee, the lectures address an overall theme of “Understanding the 21st Century” and cover a wide range of topics in the arts, business, humanities, science and health sciences, and politics. A number of faculty members from McMaster, including the President and a President Emeritus, have lectured in the program.
Information on their past series, and on the upcoming one beginning in April 2018, is posted on their website. Most of the lectures given over the past two years can be found on their YouTube channel.
Registration for each series of six lectures is done online through their website. The 220 seats available at their venue, the McMaster Innovation Park on Longwood Avenue, are usually taken up quickly. If seats are available on the day of a lecture they can be purchased at the door.
Requests to be added to their contact list can be sent via the “Comments and Requests” tab on the website.
Les King and Carolyn Rosenthal
Visiting Library Services
Did you know that Hamilton and Halton residents can take advantage of Visiting Library Services, which are free for those who are unable to get to the library on their own due to health or mobility limitations? For more information:
phone: 905-639-3611 ext. 1304
phone: 905-546-3200 ext. 3222
Welcome New Retirees
Susan Birnie, Education Services
Michael Boyle, Psychiatry
Theresa Cooke, Financial Services
Sriyani Dissanayake, DeGroote School of Business
David Feeny, Economics
Bonny Jung, School of Rehabilitation Science
Deborah Maddock, Health Evidence and Impact
Marlene Mastragostino, Library
Dave McFarland, Facility Services
Paul Morin, Housing and Conference Services
David Noble, Security Services
Thanks to all of our generous donors, the contributions to the MURA Endowed Scholarship and Prize Fund totaled $80,905 as of January 9, 2018.
We need only $4,095 to reach the $85,000 goal that will enable MURA to increase the values of the annual awards to students studying gerontology. $85,000 will increase the full-time student scholarship from $2,000 to $2,500, and the part-time student prize from $550 to $750.
Please give generously.
Donate at the McMaster University Retirees Association Endowed Scholarship and Prize Fund web page, or contact Meggie MacDougall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-525-9140, ext. 24667.
Larry Belbeck, Pathology & Molecular Medicine, Oct. 17/17
James B. (Jay) Forrest, Anesthesia, July 27/17
Rose Grillo, Housing and Conference Services, Sept. 18/17
Heather Halabourda, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, Oct. 5/17
Ida Kopac, School of Nursing , Dec. 18/17
Barbara Krick, Central Animal Facility, Nov. 20/17
Marie Lipinski, Library, Oct. 30/17
Stanley Mak, Biology, Dec. 18/17
Johannis (Hans) Mol, Religious Studies, Nov. 26/17
James Michael (Patrick) Murphy, Hospitality Services, July 25/15
Jan Roossien, Facility Services, Oct. 14/17
Veronica Toth, Facility Services, Nov. 19/17
Marjorie Westoby, Office of the Registrar, Jan. 8/18
Diane Williams, Chemistry, Sept. 16/17
Warren Mousley, Financial Services, Oct. 25/17
(College and University Retiree Associations of Canada)
What is CURAC?
CURAC is a not-for-profit federation of retiree organizations at colleges and universities across Canada. CURAC's objectives are:
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McMaster is Ontario’s First Smoke-Free Campus
Beginning January 1, 2018, McMaster University became Ontario’s first 100% tobacco and smoke free campus.
The use of tobacco and all oral smoking devices is prohibited on the Hamilton campus, inside and on the grounds of the Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington, and at all McMaster-owned properties.
By designating the campus tobacco and smoke free the University is creating an environment promoting health and wellness that ensures students, faculty, staff and visitors are not exposed to tobacco and smoking products, including second-hand smoke.
Since the September announcement of the new designation, students, staff and faculty worked together to get ready for the change.
“The community has been highly involved in the preparations,” said Sean Van Koughnett, dean of students and the co-chair of the University’s Smoke-Free implementation committee. “Smoking cessation sessions are underway for students and staff, and there’s been orientation for peer groups and health educators and an opportunity to provide input and feedback on the implementation of the new policy. ”During the first year of the new designation, there will be an informal enforcement that will emphasize an education and awareness approach. Information materials listing smoking cessation supports and other resources will be distributed and shared with those found smoking on campus.
Tobacco and smoke free environments are effective at motivating people towards quitting. When the draft policy was posted and comments were invited, several individuals and groups provided feedback on the implementation plan.
The implementation committee used the feedback to add to already planned communications and training. The University’s student and employee accommodations policies are in place for any member of the community who has been prescribed cannabis for medical purposes and seeks accommodation.
A tobacco and smoke free campus supports McMaster’s commitment as a signatory to the Okanagan Charter, which commits the University to pursuing a healthy and sustainable campus.
More information is available at "Tobacco and Smoke Free Campus", McMaster Daily News.
McMaster University has joined the international Age-Friendly University (AFU) network, a global body of higher education institutions that are committed to being more accessible to older adults. The AFU network was launched in 2012 by Dublin City University (DCU) in Ireland to help address the challenges and opportunities associated with the world’s aging population. It builds on the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Communities Initiative.
The guiding principles of an age-friendly university include:
[Excerpted from "McMaster joins global network of ‘age-friendly’ universities", McMaster Daily News.]
McMaster Community of Distinction Inductees
Retirees Brian Haynes, MD, PhD, a founder of evidence-based medicine and a world leader in health informatics, and Geoff Norman, PhD, a world-renowned expert and researcher on problem-based learning in medical education, have been inducted into the McMaster Health Sciences’ Community of Distinction.
Read the full article, "Three 'giants' welcomed to Community of Distinction" at the FHS web site.
The Peter George Centre for Living and Learning
Arthur Bourns Building - Addition and Renovations
These beautiful note cards were produced to celebrate MURA’s 25th anniversary in 2010.
Stephanie Lisak, a McMaster retiree, very generously gave us permission to reproduce one of her original watercolour paintings, Fall Colours at Mac. The image depicts a particularly lovely view of the oldest part of campus. Pat Vinton, a photographer with Media Services at the University, donated her expertise to produce a very high-quality digital image. We are grateful to both for their support. The cards were printed at McMaster on 80 lb. textured paper, which gives the effect of an original watercolour painting. The 9" x 4" card is blank inside and can be used for special occasions, for saying thank you and for other short notes. It could even be framed.
Cards are available at $1.50 each. All proceeds go toward MURA’s Special Projects Fund.
The cards are for sale at the MURA Christmas lunch and Annual General Meeting. They are also available by mail in packages of five or ten cards. To order cards by mail, please send your name, address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 905-525-9140 ext 23171. We will let you know, based on your address and the number of cards requested, what the total cost including postage will be.
MURA Has a New Website
MURA’s new website is up and running! Powered by Wild Apricot, a Toronto-based web-hosting and membership management company, the new website will be easy for you to navigate and search for the information you want. It will also be simpler for MURA to manage and keep up to date. The site is accessible via desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone.
The site features a wealth of information, including current and past issues of MURAnews; updates on pensions and benefits; information about on- and off-campus member perks and special offers; upcoming events, both MURA and non-MURA; volunteer opportunities, and much more.
We thank our outgoing Webmaster, Marianne Van Der Wel, who managed MURA’s previous website, for 10 years of creative and dedicated work. The new site was designed by the web subgroup of the MURA Communications Committee, with MURA Secretary Nora Gaskin as Webmaster.
We invite you to visit the site regularly to keep up to date on activities and issues that concern our membership, and welcome your comments and feedback.
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