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Monday, March 25, 2002

  • Not just business, it's BET
  • Also at tonight's senate meeting
  • UW third in world programming contest
  • A short but busy week
Chris Redmond

My Jayhawks are in the Final Four

And in the wider world

  • Waterloo MPP Witmer named to be deputy premier

  • What mathematicians think of this year's 'best picture'

  • Senate of Canada reports on university maintenance
  • Not just business, it's BET

    UW's senate will be asked to give approval tonight to a structure for studies of "business, entrepreneurship and technology" at UW -- a research centre and a master's degree program that would later expand into an undergraduate degree as well.

    The proposal, which is the first item on the senate's agenda, comes backed by 42 pages of documentation and a joint recommendation from the graduate council and the research council. Here are some excerpts from what's being proposed.


    Accountancy professor Howard Armitage is proposed as the director of the new centre and master's program in business, entrepreneurship and technology.

    "The Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology (CBET) is a response to a widely shared belief that the University of Waterloo is well positioned to advance the state of business education in Canada. By offering unique, niche programs that cater to those who wish to combine skills in specific areas of emerging technology with a solid business background, CBET fills a void that currently exists at UW.

    "The University of Waterloo has already made an impressive entry into the field of business education through its 'X' plus Business programs. The focus of these programs, which exist to varying degrees in most UW Faculties, is to provide students with a limited business overlay to their primary educational interest. However, the demand exists for a stronger, more coordinated business presence. The formation of CBET, and the development of specific educational degree programs combining technology and business, is the next logical step in this evolution process. The mandate of the Centre is to provide a focal point for the development and coordination of UW's business activities, including:

    "The creation of the Centre is timely for UW and is motivated in part by economic events. Interested observers note that contemporary organizational success depends heavily on those very strengths for which the University of Waterloo has made its reputation -- technology driven applications, innovative business models, highly motivated students, close relationships with the corporate community and entrepreneurial spirit.

    "The Centre advances business education and research in Canada by building on these distinctive Waterloo energies. Its unique portfolio of courses that combine business, technology, entrepreneurship and e-business will appeal to those students, employers and faculty members who recognize the importance of acquiring business and management skills that complement the requirements of technology-based and knowledge-intensive new enterprises."

    A background document by Howard Armitage, the accountancy professor who would head the CBET, notes that "a more formal approach to business education" has been under discussion at UW for several years. It even quotes the Daily Bulletin from the spring of 1999, when then president James Downey said he'd like to see Waterloo move forward with "a strong and visible presence in business".

    Later that year, says Armitage, the provost called for "an informal study . . . of Business @ Waterloo". The results of this inquiry were reported back to the Provost in February 2000. Essentially, the study found widespread support for current X + Business initiatives in each of the Faculties. However, there was also a widely shared belief that Waterloo should have a stronger business presence. . . . Some preliminary ideas and approaches were presented to Deans' Council on April 11 and May 23, 2001."

    Work has continued since then, says Armitage, leading to "numerous meetings" in January and February this year to "inform various UW constituents, committees and Councils about the Centre and its mandate".

    He writes: "The document that follows contains two separate but closely linked proposals. The first is to create the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology (CBET). The Centre provides the structure, or home, for the educational, research and outreach programs that make up CBET's interdisciplinary mandate. The second is a description of the initial educational degree program that CBET wishes to offer -- the proposed Master's program leading to the degree of Master of Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology.

    "At meetings on February 28 and March 14, 2002, Senate Research and Senate Graduate Councils, respectively, unanimously agreed to recommend that Senate approve the establishment of the CBET and new MBET. Given that the two proposals are so closely inter-twined, they are presented to Senate as one combined proposal."

    Also at tonight's senate meeting

    The senate meeting starts at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001, and is expected to run later than usual -- until about 7:00.

    Besides the CBET and MBET proposal, here are some of the major items on the agenda:

  • Presentations about "internationalization at Waterloo" and the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, and an annual report from the library.

  • The 2002-03 operating budget for UW.

  • Announcement of this year's winners of the Distinguished Teacher Award and Distinguished Teaching by a Registered Student.

  • The proposed Institute for Quantum Computing.

  • A requirement to give academic credit for co-op work terms.

  • Proposed revisions to Policy 59, on reduced workload.

    [Imprint collage]

    Dana Ellis, who set the Canadian Interuniversity Sport record for the indoor pole-vault this year (4.01 metres), was featured on the front page of Friday's Imprint and in a full-page interview as well.

    UW third in world programming contest

    UW's decade-long run continues, as a three-member team finished among the top ten in the Association for Computing Machinery programming contest again this year.

    This year, the Waterloo team placed third, edged out in Saturday's final competition in Hawaii by China's Shanghai JiaoTong University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Just five teams solved six problems (out of nine provided) in the five-hour contest on Saturday. JiaoTong did it fastest, running up 831 penalty minutes. MIT had 972 minutes and Waterloo had 974. Also solving six problems were China's Tsinghua University and America's Stanford.

    It's an unequalled record for Waterloo. "In the previous nine years, Waterloo has finished no lower than 10th, has been twice World Champion (1994-95 and 1998-99) and four times North American Champion," points out Gordon Cormack, the computer science professor who coaches the team and went to Waikiki Beach with them for the weekend's competition.

    Second place among Canadian entries in the ACM finals went to the University of Toronto team, which solved four problems to tie for 18th place in the contest.

    UW team members -- who earned their trip to Hawaii by finishing first in the east central regional competition late last fall -- were math undergraduate students Graeme Kemkes and Denis Dmitriev, as well as graduate student Ming-Yee Iu.

    Calling all authors

    Here's a note from Mary Stanley in the UW library office: "It's that time of year when the Library wants to hear from campus authors, artists and musicians. As part of the annual Friends of the Library Authors Event, the creative works of the UW community are displayed and celebrated. The Library would like to hear from anyone who in 2001 authored a book, composed a musical score, were recognized for their design or photography work, or mounted an art show."

    Stanley can be reached at ext. 6019, e-mail mstanley@library.

    This year's Authors Event will take place on Wednesday, May 8, at noon in the Theatre of the Arts. "More details to follow," Stanley promises.

    A short but busy week

    The week starts with Stu McGill, kinesiology professor and expert on back injury, speaking to a President's Circle breakfast in South Campus Hall this morning. The event is part of the recognition program for UW's leading individual donors.

    And the week ends with the long Easter weekend -- March 29 is Good Friday and a holiday, when UW offices and most services will be closed, and classes will not be held. (The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, with limited circulation service.) Easter Monday, April 1, is not a UW holiday.

    As exams come nearer, the library will be offering extended building hours (except on the Good Friday holiday, as I've just mentioned). From today through April 19, the Dana Porter Library will be open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. The Davis Centre library will open at the same hour as Dana Porter each day and stay open until 3 a.m.

    An exhibition of work by Selina Siu, a graduate student in the computer graphics lab, will be open this week in the "front gallery" of East Campus Hall. "The project," says Siu, "is an installation that combines painting with computer animation, and is the work of an independent study fine arts course and is also supported by the Computer Graphics Lab." She explains further: "I take fine arts courses, mostly painting, as a way to avoid working on my thesis. This art project combines my interest in both fields." Besides seeing the exhibition -- titled "In the Still of Night" -- visitors to the gallery this week can complete a survey being done by another grad student in the computer graphics lab, Josee Lajoie, "to help her with her research in slow animation".

    The pension and benefits committee holds another of its all-morning meetings today, 8:30 to noon in Needles Hall room 3004.

    Ramesh Kumar of UW's department of economics is the noon-hour speaker today at the main branch of the Kitchener Public Library. Topic: "Free Trade and Democracy".

    The city of Waterloo holds a public meeting today to discuss a by-law amendment that would allow the New Economy Institute to turn the former Seagram Museum building in downtown Kitchener into a centre for peace and international studies. Details about the proposal have been trickling out: it's now understood that the NEI is headed by UW history professor John English (former Member of Parliament for Kitchener), and that the centre would become the home of Project Ploughshares, currently living at Conrad Grebel College. Jim Balsillie, an executive of Research In Motion, is bankrolling the project with an initial $25 million donation. Approval in principle was given recently by Waterloo city council; tonight's meeting to deal with the fine print of the zoning change will start at 7:00 at City Hall.

    Advance note: the annual general meeting of the Graduate Student Association will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3001.



    March 25, 1970: The Gazette publishes a full-page interview with faculty member Philip H. Smith, Jr., about "Bringing together the computer and the arts".

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