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Tuesday, April 2, 2002

  • R&T park built around 'Great Circle'
  • UW Innovate Inc. is launched today
  • Catholic presidents discuss church law
  • Pixels in the big picture
Chris Redmond

UW prof sees 'destruction' of Niagara-on-the-Lake


The research and technology park is slated for a section of the north campus that's east of Laurel Creek, with its main entrance facing the UW south campus along what's now North Campus Road but would become the Grand Boulevard. It leads to another entrance on the north side of the park, from Bearinger Road, and a "secondary gateway" at the northeast corner, where Parkside Drive meets Bearinger Road. The "Great Circle" is at the centre, a high point with dramatic views, where four blocks of development and a wedge of open space come together.

R&T park built around 'Great Circle'

UW's board of governors is expected to give approval this afternoon to a "Development Handbook and Guidelines" for the north campus research and technology park -- a document, rich with maps and architect's drawings, that will set out "the objectives, image and scope" of the planned park.

Also coming for board approval are draft legal documents by which UW would agree with "pre-qualified developers" to plan particular segments of the park and lease space, normally for a 49-year term.

The legal documents "are prototypes", says a report from the board's building and properties committee, "allowing Waterloo to present its position, but also subject to adjustments as may be mutually negotiated with developers/tenants.

"The Region and Province are currently negotiating the final documents for SuperBuild funding. These negotiations are expected to conclude within the next several weeks, at which point Waterloo will begin site preparation for the Park: grading the 120 acres and constructing municipal streets."

The research and technology park is to occupy about one-sixth of UW's north campus. Funding from municipal, provincial and federal governments was settled last year, to help build the infrastructure, including roads and utilities. Now UW is ready to make arrangements with developers who will fill in the available space with buildings, mostly for high-tech research.

The park "will consist of approximately 1.2 million square feet of floorspace", says the Guidelines document. "The University of Waterloo, its partners and the community envision an environmentally sustainable research and technology park in a campus like setting overlooking the Laurel Creek valley lands. The quality and character of the UW Research and Technology Park will be consistent with the University's South Campus." Other points from the document:

The guidelines emphasize bicycle and pedestrian facilities all through the park, and stress that buildings are to be "high quality" in design and appearance.

UW Innovate Inc. is launched today

An "official opening and ribbon-cutting" is planned today for UW's new technology transfer agency, UW Innovate Inc..

Stars of the event -- at 1:45 p.m. at Innovate's offices, Carl Pollock Hall room 3381A -- will be Paul Guild, the vice-president (university research), Douglas Sparkes, named to be director of Innovate, and Greg Mumford, a top executive of Nortel Networks and member of UW's board of governors.

[Mumford] Mumford (left), who is chief technology officer of Nortel, said his company "is proud to be a platinum partner in Innovate". The "platinum" status represents Nortel's funding (the amount hasn't been announced) to get Innovate underway. Says Mumford: "Transforming innovation into new products and services and fostering entrepreneurship are key to Canada's future economic prosperity."

And Sparkes calls Innovate "a unique approach to commercializing intellectual property generated with the university community through business 'pre-incubation'". It is a not-for-profit corporation, wholly-owned by the university, the mission of which is "to encourage and facilitate the commercialization of innovative product and service ideas to the benefit of the university's entrepreneurs, the university itself, the community and investors".

An announcement explains that the pre-incubation activities provided by UW Innovate will build upon and reinforce university policy concerning intellectual policy: specifically that it belongs to the individual who has created it. "Together with its affiliates, Enterprise Co-op and the Entrepreneurs' Association of the University of Waterloo, we assist our entrepreneurs within the university community in the development of their venture concept, business case development, building their business venture team and possible introduction to incubators, investors and funding sources."

Catholic presidents discuss church law

"I've been living with Ex corde for twelve years now," says Michael Higgins, president of UW's St. Jerome's University, as he heads off to a meeting this week that may finally settle -- something.

He'll be in Windsor at the end of the week, along with the leaders of 16 other institutions that make up the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada, to talk about how Ex corde ecclesiae will be applied to Canada's universities.

Ex corde is an "apostolic constitution", a church document developed starting in 1978 and finally issued by Pope John Paul II in 1990, that sets out the purpose and value of a Catholic university, and then offers some rules. It's then up to bishops and university leaders in each country to work out the details, applying the general rules to the educational structure and society there.

In a characteristic 81-word sentence in a still unpublished article that he's made available, Higgins (right) gives some background:

[Higgins] Church officials, numberless presidents and rectors of Catholic institutions of higher learning, and anxious faculty of both the theological and non-theological disciplines expressed general consent with the theological sentiments of the Constitution, but this was coupled with genuine fear over the norms or ordinances that would seek to implement the wisdom and character of the document in ways that were universally applicable, juridically defined, and without that sensitivity to nuance so critical to the intellectual life and to enlightened institutional leadership.
Working out "ordinances", or church rules, based on the document has been particularly controversial in the United States, where there is a strong liberal strain in the Catholic church and where Catholic universities are one of many choices in a diverse university system.

"What is really so important in the Canadian context that makes us different from the American," said Higgins in a recent interview, "is that Catholic universities in Canada are federated or affiliated with public universities." St. Jerome's, for example, is not a fully independent institution, but closely attached to UW, and supported by government funding that flows through UW.

Higgins said Canadian bishops and university presidents have been talking for years -- so long, in fact, that most of the people originally involved in the discussions have retired, or moved on to other roles. Formerly dean of St. Jerome's, he himself became president in 1999. Several years ago a draft of the ordinances was agreed on, but discussions were put on hold until the process in the United States was finished, so that Canada could take advantage of what was learned there. Bishops in the United States approved their rules late in 1999, and discussions resumed in Canada, leading to a draft that will be under discussion in Windsor this week, as the university presidents meet the leader of the Canadian bishops, Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast of Halifax.

"We don't see this as a war with Rome," Higgins stressed, calling the protracted negotiations "a classic kind of Roman [Catholic] undertaking". He said the next step is expected to be discussion among faculty and others in the country's Catholic colleges, before the document goes to the Vatican, the church's headquarters in Rome, for final ratification.

While Ex corde has implications for many aspects of life in a Catholic university, its most stringent rules will have to do with the teaching of theology, Higgins said. "It becomes much more complicated," with the possibility of direct conflict between a professor's need for academic freedom and the church's need to be sure of what is being taught under the name of Catholic theology.

That particular issue hasn't affected St. Jerome's much so far, he said, but there are plans to introduce a degree program in theology, and to create a new professorial chair in the field. That's expected to mean two people on the faculty, at least, who will need a mandatum, a church certificate indicating that an individual theologian's teaching is in harmony with the church's doctrine.

Pixels in the big picture

The Graduate Student Research Conference continues today, with talks by some two dozen grad students about their research, from the effect of climate change on ice fishing to language in post-colonial Kingston, Jamaica. And there are two keynote speakers today. One is Greg Mumford of Nortel, who's having a very busy day, what with Innovate Inc., as already mentioned, and the board of governors meeting. He'll talk about "How the Internet Comes Together, at 11:05 in Davis Centre room 1302. After lunch, at 1:00 in the same room, the keynote speaker is Richard Hughson of the kinesiology department, on "Cardiovascular Control in Space and on Earth".

Later today, the International Student Association offers a "country presentation", this time by students from Australia. They'll do their thing -- talk first, food afterwards -- starting at 6:00 in Humanities room 138.

Later this week, namely Thursday, a group of volunteers sponsors "Camp Out for the Cause", a fund-raising good time in the Student Life Centre and elsewhere. "Different UW clubs and societies will be doing fund-raising activities," explains Melissa Alvares, one of the organizers. "From bake sales to raffles, they'll be competing to see who can raise the most money for Amnesty International. During the day there will also be outdoor entertainment provided by our own UW students and alumni. Cultural dancers, bands, singers and even the UW Breakers will be performing. Outdoor entertainment will take place on an extended (non-licensed) Bomber Patio."

And Friday brings a colloquium of some importance in the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology (LT3). The speaker is Jonathan Darby of Oxford University; his topic is "Beyond the Horseless Carriage: Second and Third Generation Models for e-Learning". I'll say a little more about that event later this week, but note that it's scheduled for 10:30 Friday morning and that Peter Goldsworthy (peter@lt3) is accepting reservations.

Finally, just a little more about the over-the-weekend poll asking which is UW's most attractive building. As I reported yesterday, the Davis Centre drew the most votes, with the Student Life Centre second. My own choice, the Dana Porter Library, was a distant third, along with Health Services and Math and Computer. Those were the only options on the ballot. But I received two write-in votes by e-mail, both worth quoting briefly.

It occurs to me that the Graduate House might also have deserved a place on the ballot; and didn't the University Club win an architectural award when it was built? Mackenzie King Village is pretty striking too. The Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall and the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, both being still under construction, don't count.



April 2, 1981: UW holds "Computers in Education Day", as it is estimated that there are "more than 120" microcomputers in the faculty of engineering alone.

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