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Thursday, May 17, 2001

  • A three-day look at the big issues
  • Film society starts German series
  • Oxford and Princeton alliance
  • Pixels in the big picture

[Dana Porter, Grad House, SCH]
A panoramic view from the roof of the Humanities building shows the Dana Porter Library at left and the construction site for the new co-op and career services building at lower right. Several people from the plant operations department had occasion to be on the roof earlier this week, and photographer Barb Elve was able to go along.

A three-day look at the big issues

UW's deans and other top officials began their annual "retreat" yesterday with hours of talk about the planned major fund-raising campaign, how much the university will try to raise and what projects are the top priorities.

President David Johnston said the first big item on the agenda was the campaign "feasibility study" that's been done by consultants from Ketchum Canada Inc. Ketchum was hired earlier this year to advise on the size of the campaign, UW's reputation among potential givers, and campaign strategy.

The group will also look at proposed projects for the campaign, but won't make a definite decision about the list to be brought to the UW senate and board of governors for approval. "We'll try to do that by the end of June," Johnston said.

Later in the three-day retreat, the vice-presidents, deans and associate provosts will talk about other major issues facing the university -- particularly enrolment expansion in time for the "double cohort" in 2003 and the problems of recruiting and retaining faculty members.

And, Johnston said, there will be "a strategic planning exercise to look a little further down the road", starting from the existing Fifth Decade planning report. To help with that exercise, Gerry Sullivan (a former UW faculty member and now member of the board of governors) and Dan Pringle, the principals of the consulting firm Open Options, have donated their time as facilitators, the president noted.

In preparation with the discussion, each of the top UW officials has been asked to write a brief essay from the vantage-point of July 1, 2007 -- UW's fiftieth anniversary -- looking back on the "achievements and disappointments" of the years between 2000 and 2007.

The annual executive council retreat is held at "K-Bay", the Kempenfelt Conference Centre near Barrie. A traditional part of the event is a barbecue and social evening. This year, the president said, colleagues will be "toasting and roasting" John Thompson, the dean of science, who will leave that post June 30 after eleven years of service.

[Ring graph]

The faculties' relative size

A doughnut graph shows how the faculty of mathematics is becoming a bigger part of the university, as measured by how much teaching it does. In 1994-95 (centre ring) it was 17.3 per cent of UW's total; in the current year (two rings further out) it's up to 21.5 per cent, and projections for 2003-04 are that math will reach 22.7 per cent of the total. The faculty of science was larger than mathematics until 1998-99 but now trails: it has fallen from 18.5 per cent six years ago to 16.8 per cent this year (and a projected 15.6 per cent three years in the future).

As for the two largest faculties, arts has been almost steady (this year 28.6 per cent) but will shrink a little, and engineering, which has contracted slightly, is now in line for some growth. Percentages are calculated from "BIU teaching units" as reported by the office of institutional analysis and planning as background to UW's budget.

Film society starts German series

The UW Fine Arts Film Society celebrates German cinema this spring with a festival of flicks by famed director Werner Herzog. The first showing is set for tonight.

A series of Herzog's best known movies will be screened at 7 p.m. at the Princess Cinema on Princess Street in Waterloo, with admission only for members of the Princess or the Film Society. Memberships will be available at the door.

The Princess Film Guide describes Herzog as "the most German of German directors. Despite the exotic locales of many of his films, Herzog is continually fascinated with German mythology, and the themes of his films are usually of a Wagnerian or Nietzschian nature. Whether they are over-achievers or underdogs, Herzog's heroes are almost always outsiders, extreme individuals living in an impossible world."

The series of films -- provided by the German embassy in Ottawa -- starts with "Woyzeck" tonight. The 1979 film stars Klaus Kinski as a soldier put upon by his superiors and cuckolded by his wife Marie (Eva Mattes). Finally, the indignities and humiliations drive him to madness and murder.

Future showings include "Stroszek" (May 31), "Fitzcarraldo" (June 14), and "Cobra Verde" (June 28).

In the past, the Film Society has featured the work of Romanian, Cuban, Russian, British, Bulgarian, Polish, Korean, Belgian, Turkish, German, Chinese, Australian, Taiwanese and Czech film makers. This is the first time Film Society movies have been screened at the Princess as a cooperative venture.

Oxford and Princeton alliance

Two of the world's most famous universities have announced "a major collaboration that will create new research partnerships, increase faculty and student exchanges, and provide opportunities to share resources required for cutting-edge, scientific ventures".

Partners in the new arrangement are Princeton University, in northern New Jersey, and Oxford University in England. Says Princeton's president, Harold Shapiro: "Research and learning increasingly are global endeavors, involving collaboration among faculty members and students from around the world. This new program will create important new opportunities and synergies by drawing on the complementary strengths and perspectives of faculty and students at two of the world's leading universities."

A news release says that in addition to identifying and encouraging specific research partnerships, the universities are planning to establish "a significant exchange of students, including undergraduates. The universities will make special efforts to include in this exchange students in the sciences, mathematics and engineering -- areas in which study abroad generally has been more difficult to arrange."

A joint committee will designate research projects that take advantage of complementary intellectual and physical resources at Oxford and Princeton. Participating researchers will include "some of the most senior scholars on both sides of the Atlantic".

Says the news release: "While the agreement marks a unique collaboration of significant scope, the connections between Oxford and Princeton already are extensive and growing. Numerous Princeton faculty members and research scientists have studied or spent time at Oxford, and vice versa. Active research collaborations between the two universities already are under way."

Last year, Oxford and Princeton were among the founders of a $12 million Web-based learning venture that will provide on-line courses, interactive seminars, multi-media programs, topical Web sites with links to research information, and live and taped coverage of campus speakers and events.

Twelve collaborative research projects are currently planned, including work in astrophysics, stone conservation, environmental technology, culture and religions of the eastern Mediterranean, the history of the book, transmission of infectious diseases, and genomics and bioinformatics.

Pixels in the big picture

Winners of UW's 28th annual French Contest for high school students will be on campus tonight for the awards banquet, being held in the Laurel Room of South Campus Hall (5:30). Hugues Goisbault, consul-general of France in Toronto, will be at the banquet to present some of the prizes. Beforehand, at 4 p.m., the consul will meet with faculty members and graduate students from the history and French studies departments (in Humanities room 373) "to explore establishing exchange and research projects with France", a memo from French studies says.

What makes a good story or a fine poem? "Do you ever wonder," a flyer asks, "how editors make decisions about what to publish?" The answer comes tonight, as editors of the UW-based New Quarterly will read from stories and poems they have selected for publication, and give reasons for their choices. "Style? Theme? Character? You can ask questions and enter into dialogue too." The event will be held at the Kitchener Public Library main branch on Queen Street, starting at 7 p.m.

It's movie night for the Math Society: "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch" will be shown starting at 7 p.m., in Davis Centre room 1302. Admission is $2.

The spring performance from Carousel Dance Centre, repeated from last night, is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre.

And . . . Gordon Cormack in the computer science department sends word of a programming contest to be held Friday, June 1. "UW holds contests every term for practice," he notes, "and, in the fall, to determine who will represent Waterloo at the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest." Details are available on his web site.

CAR


[UW logo] 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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