University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Monday, January 27, 1997
'Building on accomplishment'
That's the title of the
"draft plan for the University of Waterloo's fifth decade",
prepared by the
Commission on Institutional Planning and being presented this morning to the senate
long-range planning committee. Now it goes across campus for "general
review and response".
The report isn't long -- 29 pages in rather large type -- and has 35
recommendations, some of them with several clauses. Mostly it stays
away from suggesting specific changes to the university's programs,
courses and structure, but it says much about "excellence",
"community" and "flexibility" and the kinds of efforts that need to be made.
Here's a key paragraph from the Introduction to the report:
The fundamental and rapid changes occurring in the academic
environment since the commission started work in 1994 reinforce the
need for a coherent strategy to deal with the uncertainties of the
future. This plan outlines UW's heritage and distinctive mission,
identifies challenges and opportunities facing UW, presents some
general recommendations, and makes specific recommendations that
support what the commission sees as three essential priorities for
The report describes UW as "an institution dedicated to using innovative means
to achieve traditional goals: the pursuit of learning through
scholarship, teaching, and research within a spirit of free enquiry
and expression, for the economic, social, and cultural benefit
of society. . . . At the heart of UW's distinctiveness is a culture of
learning by linking to the 'real world' which influences nearly
everything the university does. . . . UW's vibrant and complex culture
is the result, in large measure, of the creative tension arising
from the strong individual identities and autonomous relationships
of the various Faculties and colleges on the one hand, and, on the other,
the forging of a common vision and enterprise."
- 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.
Some of the recommendations
There is more in the report than one Daily Bulletin can summarize, but
here are a few excerpts:
And much more: there are recommendations, for example, about UW's
"commitment to strong graduate programs", about "the commitment
to experiential learning" represented by co-op, about
"the quality and flexibility of distance and continuing
education", and so on. And
I might just say that I was pleased to see a note on page 26 to the
effect that the university "should continue to support the Gazette
and the Daily Bulletin".
- "During this period of rapid change, the internal UW community
needs careful nurturing and attention. Serious workload problems
and stresses resulting from budget reductions over the past four years
threaten the quality of UW's programs and services and its commitment
to research. UW must improve communications, build a greater sense of
community across campus, and improve methods for
handling problems and disputes when they arise."
- [Recommendation 1.1] "Develop a comprehensive and co-ordinated
student recruitment strategy. . . ."
- [Recommendation 2.3] "The University should explore opportunities
for full-cost-recovery programs, for example in continuing education
and professional upgrading."
- [Recommendation 8] "Create a unit with primary responsibility for
promoting, facilitating, and co-ordinating the use of learning
technologies, where appropriate. This responsibility should include
providing pedagogical as well as technical advice to teachers, targeting
efforts where they have the greatest impact, and packaging tools
and techniques to make them accessible to users."
- [Recommendation 11] "Recognize the difficulties of
obtaining research funds in the present fiscal climate when evaluating
an individual's scholarship. . . ."
- [Recommendation 14] "Review programs and course
requirements to ensure that undergraduates systematically acquire the
knowledge and skills to develop their potential, compete successfully
in the changing job market, and contribute productively to society,
including . . . strong interpersonal and communication skills, and
well-honed problem-solving skills."
- [Recommendation 21] "The university and its Faculties, colleges,
departments, and schools should strengthen links with alumni/ae by
communicating with them regularly, offering programs of special
interest, drawing on their expertise, and involving them in the
life of the university as much as possible."
- [Recommendation 22] "Reduce the time spent in committee
meetings, while still providing for appropriate consultation, representation,
and participation in decision making."
- [Recommendation 24.1] "It is critical that UW proceed with
current information systems projects."
- [Recommendation 26] "UW should review the parental leave policy and
other policies that help individuals balance work demands with personal
and family responsibilities."
- "Everyone shares responsibility for knowledge of those
policies and procedures that apply to their situation, for helping to
inform others affected by their work, and for being aware of common
interpretations of policies and procedures to ensure consistency in
- [Recommendation 31] "Promote participation in relevant decision
making for all constituent groups, recognizing that open decision making
is central to the development
and maintenance of high morale, a climate of trust, and a sense of
community. . . ."
What happens next
The full text of the report is being put on UWinfo -- not
ready this morning, but very soon -- and paper copies are being sent
to all departments. Copies will also be on reserve in the library.
Next week's Gazette (not this week's, please note, but next
week's) will have extensive excerpts if not the full report.
Two public meetings to discuss the report are being scheduled:
Tuesday, February 11, at 4 p.m., and Thursday, February 13, at
12 noon. Both meetings will be held in Needles Hall room 3001.
Several regular meetings of governing bodies will also discuss it:
the senate long-range planning committee on February 11, the senate
itself on the evening of February 17, and the board of governors on
Says a memo from the president that's being issued today:
"Members of the commission are willing to
meet with groups, departments, and
Faculties, and would welcome written responses to the draft plan. Please
send written responses by April 15, 1997, to Heather White, Office
of the President and Provost, NH, or by e-mail to
Once the discussions have happened, the commission will "revise the
draft plan and submit a final report for action", the president said. The
commission itself suggests that the final report should be
submitted by the end of June, and that within three months after that,
the president should "present a strategy for implementing the
Phone cutover went smoothly
The change from UW's old telephone switch to the new one, and
from some 130 analog phone lines to five digital T1 cables, went
well on Friday night, says Bruce Uttley of information systems
old switch was taken down at 8:15 rather than the planned 7:00 p.m. at
our request to accommodate an 8:00 event in one of the Arts theatres,"
he writes. "Our
thanks go to the Bell install team for their cooperation."
And Ginny Polai of telephone services -- which is part of IST
now -- takes up the story:
The new switch with its
connections to Bell's telephone exchange was cutover at 8:35 p.m. At
8:18 p.m. the first loop restored service to the phones contained in it,
as well as the security phones (average of 75 phones per loop). Another
loop was cutover every 1 1/2 - 2 minutes from that time until the complete
cutover to megalink at 8:35 or 8:40 p.m.
She also sends word that there's a special help-line for people who
have questions about the new central phone equipment or, more likely,
about the conversion of their own desktop phones to Nortel's new
Meridian equipment. The number to call ought to be easy to remember:
TODAY IN UW HISTORY
January 26, 1978: A major storm hits Kitchener-Waterloo; policy
says that the university never officially closes, but staff are
allowed to go home, and some make it, while others have to sleep
overnight in the Villages. On the same day, Bill Lobban is
fired as UW's director of physical resources.
January 27, 1971: The Gazette publishes a double-page map
showing the "development plan" for the campus. It includes
Optometry and Environmental Studies buildings north of Columbia
Street, and an audio-visual centre and engineering, math and science
library building between Chemistry II and the ring road.
Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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Copyright © 1997 University of Waterloo