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Monday, June 18, 2001

  • Award for accessible housing
  • Johnston's broadband report is due
  • Innovation white paper planned
  • Tenure report on senate agenda

[On her left clavicle]
Faculty of AHS, and don't you forget it: that's the commitment made by (temporary?) tattoos sported by some graduates at last week's convocation ceremonies.

More honours on Saturday

Friday's Bulletin was written before full information was available about the awards to be given at the Saturday afternoon convocation ceremony, for the engineering faculty. So here are a few other details.

The alumni association gold medal, for the highest standing in the BASc program this year, was won by Alok Aggarwal (computer engineering). The Albert Sherwood Barber Medal, for "best overall work term and academic performance", went to Mark Warriner (computer engineering).

The Distinguished Teaching by a Registered Student award was presented to William Rosehart, graduating with a PhD in electrical and computer engineering.

Valedictorian on behalf of the graduating engineering class was David Dobney (chemical engineering). The "Plummer's Pledge" gift to UW from the graduating class came to more than $200,000, engineering dean Sujeet Chaudhuri told convocation.

Award for accessible housing

UW's housing and residence program was honoured last week at an awards ceremony sponsored by the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region, an agency that "encourages people with disabilities to lead the most productive and fulfilling lives possible".

The award to UW, in the category of "community partners", was for a program in Village I that promotes what the ILC likes to call "freedom through access and choice".

Rose Padacz of the disabled services office was among the UW people who attended the awards ceremony, held Thursday night at the Country Hills Community Centre in Kitchener. Wendy Cooper of the housing office was also there and accepted the award, consisting of a Peter Etril Snyder framed print that will hang in various housing department offices.

Says Padacz: "The competition was quite stiff and the calibre of nominations was very high." Other UW people especially involved were Bud Walker (director of university business operations), Gail Clarke and Patty Koebel.

George Michaels of ILC read a summary of the nomination that brought the award to UW: "In 1988, the ILCWR University Project was established in residence to provide students with physical challenges an opportunity to live on campus and receive attendant services while working towards their degree. Since that time, the Housing Department, under the direction of Gail Clarke and Bud Walker, has dedicated funds, developed community partnerships and accessed money from the student residence community to renovate and improve every area of the residence.

"Their efforts, to remove both physical and attitudinal barriers and promote accessible housing for students, have been acknowledged and appreciated by the campus, the community and most importantly, by physically challenged students who are applying to and living in residence. This has been an inclusive process that continues to result in greater access to higher education."

Johnston's broadband report is due

The National Broadband Task Force, chaired by UW president David Johnston, will issue its final report this morning, telling Canada what has to be done to provide high-speed Internet connections to everybody across this country's nine million square kilometres.

The launch of the report is scheduled for 11:00 this morning, and can be watched live over the web, at least by those who access is broadband enough. The full text of the report should also be on the web this morning.

The task force was set up last fall "to advise the Government of Canada on how best make high-speed broadband Internet services available to businesses and residents in all Canadian communities by the year 2004". John Manley, who was industry minister at that time, described broadband Internet networks as "the necessary tools which will allow all Canadian communities to reap the rewards of the 21st Century economy". A Canadian Press article last week and one in the Globe and Mail this morning both predict that "it could cost about $4 billion" to do what the government has promised.

[Lined up at table; red flag] Task force members mostly come from the high-tech industry, but there are also representatives of education, public libraries and even Native bands. (In the photo at right, Johnston and other task force members listen while the new industry minister, Brian Tobin, speaks at a meeting of the task force in January.)

Johnston has also been chair of the federal Information Highway Advisory Council, which worked from 1994 to 1997, and such other committees as one that produced a study of on-line learning earlier this spring. And much of his academic work has been in similar fields; one of his books is titled Getting Canada Online: Understanding the Information Highway.

Innovation white paper planned

A federal "white paper" is expected this fall dealing with the steps Canada might take to give this country's science, innovation and economy a boost.

"I've had a modest part in some of the streams of it," UW president David Johnston told the university's board of governors early in June. He serves as "special advisor" to federal industry minister Brian Tobin and is involved in various task forces and committees on issues involving the Internet, technology and innovation.

Johnston reminded the board that the federal government has set a goal of making Canada fifth in the world in the percentage of its economy that's devoted to research and development. Currently, Canada ranks 15th.

"The knowledge infrastructure, the commercial environment, the human capital and the marketing of knowledge are elements that we must strengthen together to ensure Canada's leadership in innovation," Gilbert Norman, the secretary of state for science, said in a speech last month.

The National Post reported June 6 that the white paper this fall will offer "a four-part productivity program" including "reviewing regulations and taxes"; improved funding for universities through "overhead" support for research; public funds for moving technology from universities to the marketplace; and a huge program to link Canadian communities by broadband Internet, along the lines Johnston and his task force are recommending today.

Notes for this week

We're beginning the last week of Summer Active, a promotion in the campus recreation program. "Being active has its rewards," organizers remind us -- and those rewards can include a $500 first prize.

Co-op students are getting psyched: they'll pick up their ranking forms tomorrow morning (after 10:00), decide which jobs they'd prefer for the fall work term, and return the forms by 4 p.m.

Cooling will be shut down in Biology I, Biology II, and Earth Sciences and Chemistry tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the plant operations department advises. "New branch lines" in ESC are being connected to the system.

Tenure report on senate agenda

As the UW senate meets tonight, one agenda item is the annual report of the University Tenure and Promotion Advisory Committee, which includes a chart of what's happened during the past year. It shows 30 faculty members awarded tenure, 5 newcomers to UW who were appointed with tenure, 14 faculty with probationary terms who were reappointed, and 37 promotions (16 to the level of professor, 21 to associate professor).

"In March," says a paragraph of the report, "three tribunals were formed in response to appeals to the UTPAC Chair against the decision of the President not to promote (two from Assistant to Associate Professor, one from Associate to Professor)." It's the first year for a new appeal procedure, under UW's revised Policies 76 and 77 about faculty appointments, which calls for bodies "with appropriate disciplinary expertise" to deal with such appeals.

Says the report: "Each tribunal heard opening statements from the candidate and the President, serial testimony from the department Chair, Faculty Dean, and the Vice-President, Academic & Provost, and a closing statement from the candidate. The unanimous decision of each tribunal was that the candidate be promoted."

The report also notes another complicated case, in which a professor applied for tenure, then withdrew the request, and is now asking to have the application considered again. Proceedings are still going on.

And it includes some discussion of how tenure committees at the department and faculty level are supposed to judge whether candidates live up to the university-wide standards set out in the policies.

"There is only one standard," says a memo from the provost that's quoted in the report. "It is the responsibility of the various committees to interpret the policy and make judgements accordingly."

Tonight's senate meeting starts at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. Also on the agenda will be reports from the president and vice-presidents, and an update on UW's various capital projects and the proposed north campus research and technology park.


[UW logo] Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Friday's Bulletin
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