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Monday, March 11, 2002

  • $6 million for 'vibrant environment'
  • Visitors flood in tomorrow
  • Collaborative music heard at Grebel
  • BC closes its new university
  • As we begin a whole new week
Chris Redmond

Student group's double cohort web site

$6 million for 'vibrant environment'

UW's share of federal funding for "indirect costs of research" will be $6,136,832, junior cabinet minister Andy Mitchell announced in the Davis Centre on Friday.

That's about what university officials were expecting -- a little more than 3 per cent of the $200 million being handed out across Canada as one-time support for libraries, maintenance and other costs that make research possible.

A news release, issued Friday, says the grant, first announced in the federal budget in December, delivers on a commitment made in "Canada's Innovation Strategy", a pair of white papers released last month. Says the news release:

Canada's Innovation Strategy outlines specific actions to ensure that Canada will become globally competitive in the knowledge economy, particularly by supporting a vibrant research and development community and ensuring that Canadian research is brought to market more quickly.

"Our universities play a pivotal role in encouraging and promoting innovative ideas and research," said [Industry] Minister [Allan] Rock. "This investment will ensure that Canada's universities and research hospitals can maintain a vibrant research environment and that all Canadians will continue to benefit from new ideas and discoveries from our researchers."

"This new investment to support the full costs of federally sponsored research will go a long way in our efforts to remain internationally competitive," said David Johnston, President, University of Waterloo. "It will help lessen the need to divert significant sums of money from teaching and maintenance to finance the growing research enterprise."

The Government of Canada will work with the universities, research hospitals and provinces on ways to provide ongoing research support that is predictable, affordable and incremental.

The other elements of Canada's Innovation Strategy include support for skills development across the country, improving the business and regulatory climate for innovation in Canada and strengthening the innovative capacity of communities across the country.

Each university's share of the $200 million is calculated from its share of federal research funding through the three granting councils.

Visitors flood in tomorrow

The campus is getting ready to welcome thousands of prospective students and their parents at the annual Campus Day tomorrow. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about academic programs, campus life and student services.

"We've planned an exciting day with lots of information to help students decide which university is best for them," says Heather MacKenzie, Visitors Centre coordinator. "Our students tell us that visiting the campus was the best way to see for themselves what the University of Waterloo has to offer."

She said university-bound students will find Campus Day to be an information-packed event that showcases life at UW. Most activities begin around 9 a.m. and some continue until 4 p.m.

Students and their parents can pick up a Campus Day newspaper when they arrive at the Visitors Centre in South Campus Hall, or at the Student Life Centre. The publication provides information on the day's activities. At both locations, they can also visit information booths before taking a walking tour of the campus. Residences and other student services departments are offering tours or drop-in visits all day.

Special presentations will answer questions about financing a university education, as well as co-operative education and career services. Also, a presentation will be held on the ways Waterloo is preparing for the double cohort.

UW's six faculties will each hold program-specific activities, tours and information sessions, and the colleges -- Conrad Grebel, Renison, St. Jerome's, and St. Paul's United -- are also hosting tours and special events.

Collaborative music heard at Grebel

Five events this week involve a new "collaboratively constructed performance piece" with words by two Canadian poets and music by a Waterloo music professor and a Canadian vocalist-songwriter.

The piece is titled "Awakenings". The professor involved is Carol Ann Weaver of Conrad Grebel University College. "The reason I feel this is a significant performance," says Weaver, "is that I am again involved in a collaborative project with a leading Canadian singer/songwriter, this time with Canada's treasured Rebecca Campbell. And this time I am again working collaboratively with one of Canada's leading poets, Di Brandt, on her text and that of the late Dorothy Livesay."

Brandt -- one of Canada's leading poets and a professor at the University of Windsor -- plans to be present at the Waterloo performances. Here's the schedule:

[Weaver] The work began with a limited edition publication by Livesay, "Awakenings", written late in her life and published in 1991, on which poet Di Brandt wrote her own poetry, "Waking Up". The combined poetry emerged as a literary work that was then given to Weaver (right) and Campbell for musical settings. Coming from varied musical traditions and styles, these two musicians emerged with a co-composed work, commissioned by and premiered at the Wider Boundaries of Daring Conference/Festival on Canadian Modernist Poetry, hosted by the University of Windsor and York University in October.

Says a news release: "The work was received with warm enthusiasm, especially as the music and poetry led the listeners down rare paths dealing with transitions between life and death. The music ranges from folk to avant garde, jazz to natural soundscapes, groove to meditative."

Other performances have occurred at January's Ottawa Festival of Music sponsored Association of Canadian Women Composers/Ottawa Chamber Music Society, and at the University of Toronto just last week.

Says a biographical note: "Carol Ann Weaver is an eclectic composer/pianist whose work has been performed and aired throughout Canada, USA, South Africa, and parts of Europe. Her genre-bending music ranges in style from classical to jazz, avant garde to folk, creating new fusions of roots and art music, much of it colored by her long standing passion for African music.

"As former Chair of Association of Canadian Women Composers, she is dedicated to promoting the work of women composers and performers. Her most recent CD, 'Dancing Rivers -- from South Africa to Canada', features compositions she composed while on sabbatical leave in South Africa (where she was visiting professor of music at the University of Natal) and performed and recorded with her band of leading South African jazz musicians. Her previous CD 'Journey Begun' features well known Canadian vocalist Cate Friesen, and contains Carol Ann's imaginative musical settings of Mennonite poetry. Her first CD, 'Daughter of Olapa', features music she wrote while in Kenya as well as settings of Canadian poet Di Brandt."

BC closes its new university

Canada's newest university is going out of business, as the government of British Columbia has announced that the Technical University of British Columbia will be folded into an established institution, Simon Fraser University.

Jean Watters, president of TechBC, said the announcement ends "a lengthy period of uncertainty" for her institution. "Starting today, we're looking forward to working with SFU to ensure that TechBC maintains its unique culture of thinking, designing and managing with technology. We're also pleased that we can contribute our considerable experience in the growing field of e-learning to SFU."

Shirley Bond, minister of advanced education in the BC government, said TechBC "was facing significant financial challenges, and its costs were not sustainable." The institution's budget is about $23 million this year. Said Bond: "The proposal we have adopted will increase spaces, provide certainty for students completing their degrees, and allow TechBC's programs to remain on site in Surrey. It's a win for the community and good news for students."

Under the new plan, the government said, SFU will take on responsibility for TechBC students and assets. The announcement didn't specifically refer to the future of staff and faculty jobs, although Watters noted that "TechBC has attracted faculty from all over the world, and we hope today's decision allows us to keep those top minds here in BC." The student newspaper at SFU reports that "Some TechBC administrative and technical staff are expecting to be laid off as a result of the takeover."

The province asked for "proposals" from public institutions and the private sector about the future of TechBC, and assessed them "on the basis of their proposed academic programs, costs, transition plans for students, and contribution to the government's New Era commitment to double the annual number of graduates in computer science and electrical and computer engineering within five years. Based on those criteria, SFU's proposal was deemed the best able to accommodate students, and will see student spaces increase to 800 from the current level of less than 400."

TechBC was created just four years ago; its first students arrived in the fall of 1999. It's housed in a former department store in a mall in Surrey, south of Vancouver on the American border. SFU said Surrey will become a third campus, joining the main campus on Burnaby Mountain and a branch campus in downtown Vancouver.

Said a news release: "SFU proposes to continue the TechBC programs in interactive arts and information technology for third and fourth year students, and possibly integrate them with regular degree offerings in the future. For all other students, including those enrolled in the TechBC business and technology programs, SFU proposes to offer access to degree completion opportunities in established SFU programs. In addition to accommodating existing TechBC students, SFU will expand access for all students in areas of needed growth both in the Fraser Valley and on its other campuses."

Here's how the TechBC web site describes the institution: "TechBC is the only university/industry hybrid in Canada. It combines the best practices of both in teaching, corporate education, co-op placement and as a high-tech incubator. TechBC Corp, a subsidiary of the university, is our 'open for business' partner with industry. TechBC offers a blend of academic studies and applied skills, so TechBC graduates are uniquely poised to navigate the 21st century. . . . TechBC offers a new learning approach, combining multimedia online learning with face to face coaching. TechBC employs a team-based approach to both teaching and learning, sharing and increasing knowledge on both sides of the equation."

As we begin a whole new week

The student Engineering Society is about to hold its elections -- voting is scheduled for Wednesday. A candidates' forum will be held today at 11:30 in the Carl Pollock Hall foyer, the same place where polls will open Wednesday morning. Candidates for president are Christopher Deck (3A computer) and Leanne Whitely (3A civil); for vice-president (education), Laura Mooney (2A systems) and Maria Simoes (3A computer). Jeff Henry (3A computer) has been acclaimed to be vice-president (external). Candidates for vice-president (finance) are Kristen Farn (2A chemical) and Michael Henheffer (3A computer). For vice-president (internal): Dan Foong (3A civil) and Ryan Walker (2A chemical). For WEEF director: Marc Joly (3A computer) and Ian Miller (3A civil).

The teaching resources and continuing education office presents a workshop today on Writing CVs and Cover Letters. It runs from 12:00 to 1:30 in RCH room 112 (that's the Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall). Registrations were due last week, but last-minute information might be available from TRACE at ext. 3132.

Joseph Novak of UW's philosophy department is the noon-hour speaker today at the main branch of the Kitchener Public Library. Topic: "Science Fiction and the Future of Man: Emergence or Demise".

On-line voting continues, as faculty members are asked to say yea or nay to three proposed articles for the Memorandum of Agreement. (Voting, which was to close last Friday, has been extended through March 15.)

A crowd of students from grades 6, 7 and 8 at various local schools will converge on the Davis Centre tonight (5 to 9 p.m.) for "Explorations 2002". Says the Iron Warrior: "The Engineering Faculty will showcase a variety of research and design projects as well as several other cool engineering experiments. The aim here is to both show the kids what fun engineering can be while at the same time impressing their parents."

Tomorrow, students currently at UW through the exchange program with the Technical University of Braunschweig will give a presentation about their home institution and opportunities for Waterloo students to go there. The session will start at 4:30 tomorrow in Davis Centre room 1304.

Wednesday brings the annual meeting of the Federation of Students, at 6 p.m. in the great hall of the Student Life Centre.

Friday, the LT3 technology centre has a special event in its series of "LTFI Design Café" sessions. This one is a videoconference centred at the University of Alberta, where Martin Beaudoin of Faculté St.-Jean will demonstrate "Pomme", a French grammar database that can be used as an online resource. Anyone at UW interested in joining the "café" can get in touch with Diane Salter at LT3, phone ext. 6832.

I mentioned the other day that UW Graphics has new business hours at its central site in "the General Services Complex". I've been asked to note that officially the building where graphics makes its home is COM, which is short for Commissary on account of the food services commissary used to be there. COM is the wing of GSC that faces the ring road, next door to the UW police.



March 11, 1957: Accountant Bruce Gellatly -- later to be vice-president (finance and administration) of UW -- joins the staff of Waterloo College Associate Faculties. March 11, 1971: The UW senate approves a "compromise" grading system for use across campus, listing numerical equivalents for letter grades.

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