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Monday, January 17, 2000

  • UW aims for 'internationalization'
  • VP (research) under review
  • Prof explores 'wealth creation'
  • The talk of the campus

Senate meets today

The "internationalization" report is one agenda item for today's meeting of the UW senate, which starts at 4:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3001.

Also on today's agenda: draft policies on tenure and faculty promotion; a report from the university librarian; information on enrolment and possibilities for the growth of UW in coming years; a "specialization in survey methodology" in the graduate program in sociology.

UW aims for 'internationalization'

What's likely to be a long-lasting campus wide discussion of UW's international links, and whether and how to improve them, will start today with a report to the university senate.

The agenda for today's meeting includes a four-page summary and backgrounder about a much longer report, titled Beyond Borders, that was presented to the provost last fall by an "advisory committee for international connections" chaired by associate vice-president (academic) Bruce Mitchell. The actual report will be made available after the senate discussion, Mitchell says in today's summary.

He says Beyond Borders was submitted in September, the provost consulted with deans' council, and in mid-December he issued a response "indicating which aspects of the report he believed should be given priority. . . . He indicated that he would try to provide additional financial support so that progress can be made."

A key issue is the number of foreign students at UW. Mitchell says the provost said in his response that "priority should be given to recruiting graduate students", with a possible goal of "a 50% increase in the number of international graduate students over the next 5 years". The provost said that "given the anticipated growing demand from domestic students for university places due to demographic trends and the impending double cohort, this is not an appropriate time to consider a major expansion in the enrolment of international undergraduate students."

Beyond Borders lists eight major benefits from more international activity, Mitchell says:

  1. diversify and enhance the learning environment for the benefit of domestic students, the University, and the nation;
  2. ensure that research and scholarship are informed by international, as well as national, provincial and local considerations and issues;
  3. produce graduates who are internationally knowledgeable and cross-culturally sensitive;
  4. address through scholarship the increasingly interdependent nature of the world, and thereby contribute to improved understanding among nations;
  5. generate resources to enhance other international activities;
  6. help to maintain the economic, scientific and technological competitiveness of Canada, and promote the export of Canadian educational products and services abroad;
  7. raise the international profile of the University.
"Recommendations," says Mitchell, "focus on standards for English language requirements, undergraduate and graduate international student targets, making co-op programs accessible to international students through pilot programs with nonmandatory co-op programs, improving capability to draw on alumni in recruitment and finding overseas co-op work term opportunities, identifying needs related to internationalization for the next fund-raising campaign (such as for endowments to support scholarships for international student exchanges), creating more systematic pre-departure briefing for all students going overseas to study or work, resolving the needs for accommodation for international students, establishing a target for more internationally-funded research activity, creating a new and enhanced Web site regarding internationalization, creating recruitment publications designed specifically for international students, increasing attendance at overseas educational fairs, relocating the International Student Office, providing seed funding for internationalization of the curriculum and development of research applications to be funded by international organizations, establishing a UW Ambassador program, and creating scholarships for UW students to study abroad and for international students to attend UW."

Says the associate vice-president: "ACIC concluded that maintaining a 'status quo' approach to internationalization will result in UW falling further behind other Ontario and Canadian universities with which we compete for international projects and students, given that UW already lags significantly in internationalization relative to most of our counterpart universities."

VP (research) under review

Carolyn Hansson's term as vice-president (university research) of UW expires on December 31, 2000, and so a nominating committee has been set up, as required by UW's Policy 68.

[Hansson] "The committee is in place and has held its first meeting," says a memo from Jim Kalbfleisch, UW's provost, who chairs the committee under the rules of Policy 68.

Says the policy: "The first charge to the nominating committee will be to solicit, with the prior knowledge of the incumbent and by whatever means it may decide, the opinion of the Senate Research Council, the Faculty Deans and other persons affected, with respect to the reappointment of the incumbent. If the incumbent is found to be generally acceptable, the committee shall then determine the incumbent's willingness to accept reappointment. If the incumbent indicates willingness to accept, the committee shall recommend reappointment to the President without considering other candidates.

"Upon receiving the report of the nominating committee and the recommendation of the Senate, the President shall recommend an appointment to the Board of Governors."

Hansson (pictured above) was named vice-president (university research) as of January 1, 1996; she was previously a mechanical engineering professor at Queen's.

Kalbfleisch's memo, addressed to "all faculty, staff and graduate students", asks for comments:

You are invited to discuss any questions concerning the reappointment of the Vice-President, University Research with any member of the Nominating Committee. If you prefer to respond in writing, your submission should be directed to Emily Barnes, the Committee Secretary (by mail, c/o University Secretariat, Needles Hall; via e-mail: ebarnes@secretariat.uwaterloo.ca; or fax 888-6337) not later than Friday, January 28, 2000. In either case, your comments will be held in confidence within the Committee.
The members of the nominating committee and their phone numbers and e-mail addresses:

Prof explores 'wealth creation'

The three main keys to business success are managerial leadership and vision, customer service, and skilled and motivated employees, says Howard Armitage of UW's school of accountancy after a study of 32 top Canadian companies.

Overall, those three factors outrank pricing, quality, distribution of products, operational capability, efficiency, technology, information systems and the ability to attract capital, Armitage reports. His study is described in a recent release from the UW news bureau.

His questions were aimed at finding out what 136 senior executives think is critical to "wealth creation", which they defined as total shareholder return -- the annual change in share price, plus dividends, received by their shareholders.

It is particularly important that a company's performance meets or exceeds expectations. The ability of a company to exceed expectations not only pleases shareholders, it also makes it easier for a firm to raise additional funds in the financial markets (to pay for such things as expansion and modernization), as well as to attract and retain good employees.

What Armitage learned is that wealth creation is not particularly dependent on understanding of the marketplace, finding a niche, smart management, employee motivation, technological leadership, ability to attract capital or even intra-company communications. He says the principal components of managerial leadership and vision include "clarity of purpose; ability to communicate the company's purpose; encouragement of management diversity; leveraging core strengths; creation of a positive working environment; and the careful measurement of results".

Customer service, he says, is built on management commitment, relationship development (working closely with customers), customer service training, "walking the walk" (the ability to accept responsibility when something goes wrong), and measuring results (e.g., through customer surveys, customer retention rates, word-of-mouth referrals, average problem response time and competitor comparisons). As for employee skill set/motivation, this is related to the "organizational culture" which involves such factors as management vision, teamwork (keeping employees connected to the organization's mission), measuring results including performance and rewarding performance. "Thus the battle lies in such things as providing leadership and vision, mapping effective strategies, growing and retaining the existing customer base and ensuring that employees are equipped to manage change," Armitage summarizes.

When he looked more closely into the actual "wealth-creating" performance of the 32 firms studied, he found that top performers not only listed "management leadership/vision" as the most important factor, they indicated they feel they have achieved it. They also tended to express a high level of satisfaction with their performance in the "customer service" and "employee skill set/motivation" areas.

He says one of the biggest problems facing organizations is that their messages are typically under-communicated. So "getting out important messages" is considered to be a major management challenge. Armitage notes that successful firms appear to be taking this message to heart. In these organizations executives are "consciously trying to ensure that employees (and other stakeholders) receive, understand and internalize their organization's purpose, goals and objectives."

Respondents reported they were "most dissatisfied" with their organization's performance in three areas: information systems; marketing ability and leadership; and operational capability and efficiency.

The talk of the campus

Marks from undergraduate fall term courses will be available this week. Students who are now away on co-op work terms, and all part-time students, should be getting their marks in the mail. Full-time students who are on campus again this term can pick up their marks in person, starting Wednesday. (Where? Engineering students, in their department offices; those in other faculties, on the second floor of Needles Hall, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Marks that have not been picked up by 2:30 on Friday will go into the mail to students' home addresses.

The career development seminar series is rolling along. Today at 1:30: "Job/Work Search and Network Strategies". Tuesday: "Letter Writing" at 10:30 and "Résumé Writing" at 11:30. All the seminars are held in Needles Hall room 1020.

Kenneth Giuliani, graduate student in the department of combinatorics and optimization, will give a talk at 3:30 this afternoon (Math and Computer room 5136) on "Virtual Private Networks" as an aspect of cryptography. He notes that "networks" no longer necessarily have wires, but may include cell phones, laptop computers and other wandering devices. "However, as one still wishes this network to be 'private', this technology presents new challenges from a security point of view," and he'll discuss work he has done on the problem.

The applied mathematics and physics departments will jointly present a colloquium at 4 p.m. in Physics room 145: George Ellis of the University of Cape Town will speak on "Cosmology Today: Emerging Questions and Uncertainties".

Chris Harold, vice-president of the Federation of Students, has some money to give away. Since the spring of 1992," he explains, "undergraduate students have contributed to the Endowment Fund which was initiated as part of the Coordinated Plan to Improve the Quality of student life at UW." The fund stands at more than $1 million, he says, with the interest used each year to fund various projects: increasing accessibility and safety, improving lounge and study space, renovating student services. Applications for funding are now available at the Federation of Students office (Student Life Centre room 1102). They are due Monday, January 31. Questions? Harold can be reached at ext. 3780 or e-mail fedvpin@feds.uwaterloo.ca.

An expert from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council will be on campus tomorrow to talk about NSERC's Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships program. David Bowen of NSERC will give his talk starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow in Needles Hall room 3001. More about IPS, from Elaine Garner in UW's graduate studies office: "This program allows graduate students in the natural sciences and engineering to gain valuable research experience in an industrial setting while completing their graduate degree. You do most of your research on campus as usual, but also spend at least twenty percent of your time working at the company on research related to your thesis. . . . There are a large number of awards available immediately. . . . NSERC pays $13,800 per year, the company pays $5,500."

And finally, a correction: my fingers got out of control on Friday morning and typed the name of Alan McLachlin in a list of former principals of Renison College. In fact, as I know perfectly well -- he's a friend of mine, at least until he hears about this blunder -- McLachlin was principal of St. Paul's United College in the 1970s, and didn't belong on the Renison list.


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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