The budget for the renovations is $3,852,007, and the board of governors is expected to approve a contract for the work when it meets February 3. About three-quarters of the money is coming from the food services department, which will get a new central kitchen and bakery, "open concept servery", grill, café and dining room in the Village. Also planned, and to be paid for from the residences budget, are study rooms, a video games room, a multi-purpose and seminar room, and a central elevator, lobby and stairway. The new lobby space will be atop the building, linking the existing Great Hall and office areas.
Phase I of the Village work, finished last summer, included a laundry area, an Internet café, administrative offices and a central information desk.
Jennifer Patterson in the Village I office reports that the housing office ("where all Village I, Ron Eydt Village, Columbia Lake Townhouses, and Minota Hagey Residence applications are accepted and processed") and the off-campus housing office are moving to Tutor House #4, between Village I and REV, as of February 1. They'll move back to their new quarters in Village I by the end of August.
"The federal government has extended the deadline for making 1997 charitable contributions to January 31," she points out. The extension was announced for the benefit of charities that do their fund-raising by mail and were badly hurt by the November postal strike, but it applies equally to donations made by other means -- "gifts made by cash, credit card, cheque, money order and gifts-in-kind", McGinnis says. "Donors will have the option of including eligible gifts made in January 1998 in either their 1997 or 1998 tax returns."
And she offers one other little incentive: "Any new or increased gift received by January 31 is eligible to win one of the silver and star ruby jewelry pieces specially crafted to commemorate UW's 40th anniversary."
By any measure, our universities are underfunded, particularly since the Tories took office in 1995 and proceeded to cut $400 million from their operating grants. Ontario's per capita expenditure on university education is now the lowest in Canada.
Comparisons to the United States are even more stark. Take, for example, the University of Toronto, our leading post-secondary institution. A comparison with two dozen of the top-ranked public universities in the U.S. shows U of T's per-student expenditure is second lowest, ahead of only the University of Nebraska. U of T is more than $20,000 (U.S.) per student behind UCLA and Michigan.
If knowledge is the economic battleground of the 21st century, as it surely is, then Ontario has unilaterally disarmed itself. . . .
Accordingly, the universities are proposing a series of specific measures that would bring immediate results.
It is known as "the Queen's proposal," because it is contained in a Dec. 16 letter to the government from Queen's University principal Bill Leggett. It proposes new spending on: recruitment of outstanding faculty; renovation and repair of existing facilities; rewards for outstanding research performance; support for information technology, including the digitalization of university libraries; and expansion of existing programs in subject areas where universities can't keep up with the demand.
(On this last point, [Rob] Prichard [of the University of Toronto] gave an example: demand has so outstripped supply for electrical engineering at U of T that it now takes a 91 per cent average to get into the program. Last year, he fielded a complaint from an MPP whose daughter was denied entry with an 89 per cent average.)
Prichard and several other university heads pitched the Queen's proposal to Education Minister Dave Johnson at a meeting at Queen`s Park on Dec. 22. Johnson was attentive but noncommittal. They agreed to meet again soon. . . .
While the universities may have Harris on their side, at least rhetorically, they do not have the sort of access to the media that municipalities enjoy. (See Mel Lastman.)
But they do have other powerful allies, including big business, which is usually leery of proposals to increase government spending but has a soft spot for universities. Indeed, the likes of multimillionaire financier Hal Jackman, Scotiabank chairman Peter Godsoe and Royal Bank chairman John Cleghorn are all chancellors of universities (respectively, U of T, Western and Wilfrid Laurier).
The chancellors are currently drafting a joint letter to the Premier that is said to endorse a hike in funding.
Getting in the universities' way, however, is their own disunity. They are roughly divided into two groups: the elite six (U of T, Queen's, Western, McMaster, Waterloo, and Guelph) and the remaining 11 (including York). The two sides are intensely suspicious of each other and often lobby at cross-purposes, with the result that nobody gets anything.
The Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) was established within Human Resources Development Canada to work with partners to expand innovative learning opportunities for Canadians through the use of learning technologies. Its primary focus is to assist adult learners to gain the knowledge and skills needed to meet the demands of an information and knowledge-based economy.
The mission of the Office is "Working with partners to expand innovative learning opportunities through technologies". The main objectives of the Office are to: Promote the effective use of learning technologies; Support assessment, research, and testing related to the use of learning technologies; Increase the availability and sharing of knowledge and quality information about learning technologies.
Job posting #1 will go up by noon today, as co-op students start their search for spring term jobs. Employer interviews begin February 2.
A representative of Mennonite Voluntary Service, based in Winnipeg, will be at Conrad Grebel College today (main foyer of the residence building, starting at 3 p.m.) to talk with students who might be interested in short-term and long-term volunteer assignments through MVS.
The council of the Graduate Student Association will be meeting at 6 tonight in Needles Hall room 3004. "The focus of the meeting is grad student evaluation of President Downey's past term of office," says GSA president Steve Astels. No word on whether there will also be discussion of the Graduate House, which was late in opening for this term, amid confusion over appointment of a house manager and uncertainty over bar finances.
An open meeting about the report of the Provost's Advisory Committee on Orientation is scheduled for tomorrow at 12 noon in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre.
Harry Blizzard of the audio-visual centre sends word that A-V staff have found "one laser pointer" in the Arts Lecture Hall -- an expensive thing for somebody to mislay. "We are used to finding shoes, gloves, umbrellas, even eyeglasses," he writes, "but this one is a little unique and different." The tool is now safe with A-V stores, Engineering II room 2350, where the owner can claim it "with the right description". Blizzard can be reached at ext. 3257.
And finally, I received a note of reproof after the whiny comment about the weather in yesterday's Bulletin. "If you live in Canada and you don't like winter," my correspondent says, "you're going to be unhappy for a significant proportion of your life. Can we not take the obvious negative comments about winter storms as read and try to find something positive to say?"
Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
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