The "fifth decade report" was published in January after more than two years of work by a 12-member Commission on Institutional Planning. Comments were invited, and the commission promised to take them into account in preparing a final report this summer. The report will then go to the UW senate and board of governors for approval.
"We've been getting lots of e-mail messages and memos," said UW provost Jim Kalbfleisch, talking about the report at the April 1 meeting of the board of governors. Kalbfleisch is chair of the planning commission. "We're expecting lots more during the next couple of weeks," he added. "We've set a deadline of mid-April." Late comments will still be taken into consideration if possible.
Many of the comments received so far have told the commission that it paid too little attention to the importance of research, Kalbfleisch said. And that theme was taken up at the board meeting, especially in remarks by John Hepburn of the chemistry department. "The role of a university in society is the creation and dissemination of knowledge," Hepburn said. But the "creation" half of the job is in danger at UW, he warned, pointing out that the number of graduate students, who are key figures in research, has dropped by 20 per cent in the past three years, and research funding is falling sharply.
"The fifth decade report has to address the question of what we're going to do about this problem," Hepburn said. Otherwise, he added, UW might as well give up any claim to be "world class".
The plan lists three "essential priorities" for the university: "to enhance academic excellence in teaching and research, to strengthen the relevance of teaching and research, and to provide an enabling and supportive work/study environment".
There's an information meeting this afternoon for people interested in hearing about the new Canadian Science and Technology Growth Fund, a "labour-sponsored" venture capital investment fund, "with unique cooperation agreements" with several federal science agencies. The meeting, hosted by UW's office of research, starts at 2:00 in Needles Hall room 3001.
The Institute for Computer Research sponsors a seminar today on "Automatic Monitoring and Noise Reduction in Cable Television Pictures". Says an abstract provided by the speaker, Rabab Ward of the University of British Columbia:
Some of the problems cable TV operators presently face are: (i) They only know about impairments in TV picture reception from subscribers' complaints. (ii) The measurements of some signal-to-noise ratios are intrusive. . . . Noise and impairment reduction, and even cancellation, are possible but cost dependent.And here I thought noise reduction in cable television had something to do with getting the next-door neighbours to turn down Oprah.
The health services department sends word that there will be no nursing services available from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. "Health services will remain open at these times, with limited staff. A physician will be available for emergencies, but allergy injections will commence at 1:00 p.m. on these days."
Many of those thousands of people are from UW, of course. I understand that in the Community Report that's being prepared this spring, to tell the people of Kitchener-Waterloo more about UW on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, there's going to be an emphasis on university people who volunteer in the community, doing everything from coaching minor sports to serving on the board of the symphony orchestra.
Perhaps you'd like to join the ranks of the volunteers. The VAC has a number of opportunities available this week, including these:
April 14, 1994: University librarian Murray Shepherd announces that 150,000 books will be removed to storage because the Dana Porter Library is overcrowded.
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