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Daily Bulletin



University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday, May 4, 1998

  • Welcome to the spring term
  • Faculty and UW reach agreement
  • Presidential search is confidential
  • Arts starts a lecture series
  • Of voice mail, and other notes
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* Kent State 1970

Welcome to the spring term

Amazing all those who think that "universities are closed for the summer", the cycle starts again today -- day one for the term in which it never rains till after sundown. Classes began this morning, and registration is under way: Co-op students should plan to attend return-to-campus interviews tomorrow through Friday (check the NH bulletin boards for the schedule of individual interviews), and should take note that the co-op department, although open this morning, will close at 12 noon today. Co-op staff are taking part this afternoon in the professional development day that's held at the beginning of each term.

The library and the food services outlets begin their spring hours today -- I'll list those in some detail in the Bulletin tomorrow or the next day -- and other beginning-of-term services are getting going. Key control, for instance, will be open over the lunch hour in addition to its normal hours, this week and next, to accommodate graduate students and others who need new keys issued for the new term.

Faculty and UW reach agreement

The provost and the president of the faculty association said separately on Friday that an agreement has been reached between the university and the association on the framework document about faculty members' employment, known as the Memorandum of Agreement. The current Memorandum dates from 1985, and negotiations for a replacement have been on the agenda for years.

The faculty association sent this written notice to faculty members late Friday:

"The FAUW and UW Board of Governors negotiating teams have successfully concluded the negotiation of a "special plan" Memorandum of Agreement between the Association and the University. The full text of the proposed Agreement will be available as early next week as possible, both via printed copies posted in each academic departmental office and via the web. A one-page formal announcement will also be issued jointly by the University and the Association early next week. You will also be informed as soon as possible with regard to the date (in the final week of May) by which a ratification vote on the Memorandum of Agreement by all faculty members whom FAUW is to represent will be held."

Presidential search is confidential

A "progress report to the University of Waterloo community" has been issued by the presidential nominating committee:
The Presidential Nominating Committee, a representative body constituted from the Board, faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Colleges, has spent time considering whether to treat the candidate long and/or short list and the final decision process in a confidential or a public manner. Sensitive to strongly held views on the merits of each strategy, and after thorough discussion, the Committee unanimously decided that the presidential candidate search will be conducted in a confidential manner.

It is the Committee's view that its goal is to ensure the development of the largest and strongest "pool" of well qualified candidates from which to recommend an individual for the position of President. Many of the most highly qualified and potential candidates are likely to be holding senior positions and a publicly disclosed interest in the presidency of another institution could damage their own institution, their personal integrity and effectiveness, and the objectives they have been attempting to further. It may well bring into question the issue of loyalty. The Committee believes that a public search would greatly affect the quality and quantity of eligible candidates.

It is, furthermore, the Committee's view that the role of University President has become increasingly more difficult and subject to greater constraints and pressures. The Committee is committed to adopting a comprehensive search process that will enable all suitably qualified individuals to discuss, in confidence with the Committee, matters concerning the needs of the University of Waterloo and their own potential suitability for the position of President. Based on previous searches, the number of actual "applications" for the position of President at the University of Waterloo may be minimal. It will, therefore, become incumbent upon the search committee to establish a process protocol that makes it attractive and feasible for the largest pool of qualified individuals to allow their names to stand in confidence.

The Presidential Nominating Committee remains committed, however, to maintaining the openness of the search process itself by keeping the UW community fully informed at all times regarding the progress of the search. . . .

Arts starts a lecture series

What's the point of research in the humanities, social sciences and other arts disciplines? Why should public funds subsidize this activity? How does it benefit society? These are the key questions to be addressed in a new lecture series being staged by the faculty of arts.

The series, described by its organizers as "provocative", is titled "Arts Talks Back". It will feature arts professors describing their research projects as relevant, important and necessary for a thriving Canadian culture and society. The series is primarily targeted at people in the UW community, but all lectures are open to the public and will be free of charge.

The series kicks off this Wednesday, May 6, when Andrew Cooper of the political science department presents the opening salvo: "Diplomatic Puzzles: Trying to Navigate the Middle Power Coalitions, the Pearson Building, and the 'New South Africa'." Cooper's talk will be at 2 p.m. in room 373 of the Humanities building.

"Arts Talks Back" is being organized by Delbert Russell, associate dean (graduate affairs and research) in arts. Russell says he, along with the Dean's Advisory Committee on Research, thought the series would help address a growing problem in universities and in the larger society: the perception that arts research has little relevance or value. "In a world which places increasing emphasis on technological and economic viewpoints, the inherent values of research in liberal arts disciplines move further from the spotlight," said Russell. "Consequently, many people do not understand or appreciate how important such research is to a healthy society."

He adds that in academic circles, "there is increasing demand for public accountability. We are expected to articulate why arts research is important. The series is partly in response to the current intellectual climate, which is moving away from the 'publish or perish' mentality to a new kind of thinking, 'publicize or perish'." Russell says he intends to stage at least one lecture each month in the series. "I expect it to be an ongoing thing."

Of voice mail, and other notes

[Telephone] It appears that, after several days of electronic chaos, the voice mail system is back in normal operation. The telephone folks in information systems and technology are sending out a reminder, though, that last week's crash wiped out not just messages but everything else. Voice mail users need to create new passwords (in most cases the password has been reset to be the same as the extension number), new greetings ("Hello, this is Simon the Troll") and new "personal verification", the unadorned name that gets stuck on the front of phrases like "is not available to take your call". If the voice mail manual doesn't provide all the help you need, you can turn to a special help desk, phone ext. 5100.

The Faculty Computing User Support Group meets today at 1:30 (Math and Computer room 2009) to converse with Reg Quinton, the new "senior technologist, security" on the staff of information systems and technology.

The senate executive committee meets at 3:30 this afternoon (Needles Hall room 3001) to set the agenda for this month's meeting of the full senate. Major items include UW's 1998-99 budget, establishment of a Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research, and dates for convocation in 1999 (which I understand could get messy, as the traditional end-of-May date falls right in the middle of crunch time for admissions under the new schedule that Ontario universities face).

Novelist and St. Jerome's University professor Eric McCormack will give this year's Friends of the Library lecture at noon on Wednesday, speaking (in the Theatre of the Arts) on "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast". I'll say much more about that event in the Bulletin tomorrow.

Finally, a correction. I said a couple of days ago that the winner of this year's Governor General's Gold Medal, Todd Veldhuizen, was receiving a PhD at spring convocation. In fact it's a master's degree (in systems design engineering).

CAR


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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