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Monday, May 13, 2002

  • Emergency planners gather at UW
  • Government promises more funding
  • Notes on a cold wet morning
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

The month of migration on the Islamic calendar


Emergency planners gather at UW -- from the UW news bureau

[Agents look out at devastation]

Federal agents inspect the damage from inside the US Customs House at 6 World Trade Center in New York. Photo by James Tourtellotte for US Customs.

A gripping documentary about the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York will be screened during a conference of emergency planning experts to be held at UW this week.

The annual conference of the International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) runs Tuesday through Friday, kicking off tomorrow with the showing of "9/11: Camera at Ground Zero", about the World Trade Center attack. Screening begins at 9:30 a.m. in Arts Lecture Hall room 116.

"This conference is about improving response to natural and man-made disasters of all kinds, developing crisis management planning and decision support -- but it's also about finding ways to reduce exposure to disaster risk," says Ross Newkirk, director of UW's school of planning and program chair for the TIEMS conference.

Topics to be discussed at plenary sessions and workshops include: Response to the Terrorism on September 11; Implications of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks; Systems Approaches to Emergency Response and Mitigation; Community Vulnerability Risk Analysis; Crisis Management; Transportation Accident Investigation; and Business Continuity.

Keynote speakers addressing the conference: Tuesday -- Karen Redman, MP for Kitchener Centre; Wednesday -- John Clizbe, vice-president for disaster services, American Red Cross; Thursday -- James Young, assistant deputy minister, public safety division, and Ontario's Chief Coroner.

TIEMS, founded in 1993, aims to develop and harness the benefits of modern emergency management tools and techniques in order to create a safer world. The non-profit organization draws together planners, researchers, managers and response personnel to exchange information on the use of innovative methods and technologies to improve society's ability to avoid, mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural and technological disasters.

TIEMS aims to achieve its mission by "Focusing on the transfer of technology from computers, communication, information technology and social sciences in providing emergency managers with helpful decision support; Providing a forum for policy guidance to governmental bodies concerning the management of emergencies; Addressing emergency management in the context of its implications to the environment and the society; Monitoring the evolution of the best practices in emergency management throughout the world."

The society promotes the use of technologies from fields such as simulation, operations research, knowledge-based systems, decision support systems, information systems, psychology and other behavioural sciences.

QUICK POLL

This question was suggested by the management of the UW Shop in South Campus Hall:

Would knowing that a store has a 'No Sweatshop' policy encourage you to purchase from that store?

  Yes
  Maybe, depending on price and selection
  No

   

Government promises more funding

UW's planned research and technology park got a mention in the Legislature on Thursday, as Ontario lieutenant-governor James Bartleman read the words put in front of him by new premier Ernie Eves.

"Your government continues to promote research and innovation through its Research and Development Challenge Fund," said Thursday's throne speech, in which the government announces its plans and priorities for the new legislative session. "Since 1997, the fund has announced more than $377 million of public-sector funding and leveraged nearly $1 billion in private-sector investments for 88 projects in universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutions around the province.

"It will also expand its investment in the knowledge economy by supporting universities and research institutions in creative ways. For example, it has entered a partnership to help create a Medical and Related Services Discovery District in downtown Toronto, which will help move medical research forward. It has also committed to a research and technology park at the University of Waterloo, which will employ up to 6,000 people."

In general, the throne speech sent "positive signals to Ontario's university-bound students", said a statement Thursday afternoon from the Council of Ontario Universities, which has been concerned about the level of financial support in a year when "double cohort" students will start knocking on university doors.

Said the COU news release: "Ontario universities were encouraged by today's throne speech, which noted that the government will build on previous commitments and provide further resources to postsecondary institutions to meet higher-than-expected student demand."

"This news is particularly welcome given the fact that enrolments are already exceeding the projections on which the government's commitment to full funding for every new student was made in the May 2001 budget," said Mordechai Rozanski, chair of COU and president of the University of Guelph.

"We know that there is a clear awareness, both within and beyond government, of the importance of providing universities with the resources to give growing numbers of students a quality education. Dianne Cunningham, minister of training, colleges and universities, and other government officials have been working very hard with universities and colleges to plan for this dramatic growth. We look forward to the detailed announcement. In the meantime, we are encouraged by the priority being given to education," said Rozanski.

The U of G president figured in the throne speech himself -- he's been named to head a review of the formula for funding public schools.

The COU news release continues: "The announcement that the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund will be enhanced is welcome news for students in need of financial assistance. The Premier has himself often commented that the opportunity to pursue postsecondary education changed the course of his life and that every young person in this province should have that same chance. Equally welcome is the expansion of the Learning Opportunities Program, which helps students with learning disabilities take advantage of postsecondary opportunities."

But what about direct funding for universities to educate those hordes of would-be students? The speech offered a promise but no specifics. "Students and their parents want to know that the dream of a post-secondary education can be pursued right here in Ontario," the lieutenant-governor said. "That is why your government made the single-largest capital investment in colleges and universities in more than 30 years. Standing firmly behind its commitment that willing and qualified Ontario students will have a place in our post-secondary system, your government and its partners provided an additional $1.8 billion to create 73,000 new student spaces across the province.

"Building on these previous commitments, your government will provide further resources to post-secondary institutions to meet the higher-than-projected student demand."

A background paper added: "Ontario has already committed to an additional $293 million for investments in teaching and supplies and it will work with colleges and universities to accommodate more Ontario students in the post-secondary system."

Good, COU responded. "Today's throne speech recognizes that an investment in the students of Ontario is an investment in the future economic and societal well-being of this province. We are encouraged by the news that government will expand investment in the knowledge economy by supporting universities and research institutions in creative ways."

Notes on a cold wet morning

The "special funding announcement and news conference" that was announced for today, at the future site of UW's school of architecture in Cambridge, has been postponed. A new date is expected to be set soon for the event, which features federal government representatives and Cambridge-area supporters of the architecture project.

The pension and benefits committee is meeting this morning, 8:30 a.m. to noon in Needles Hall room 3004.

Two of the faculty councils will be meeting this afternoon. The engineering faculty council meets at 3:00 in Carl Pollock Hall room 3385, with an agenda that emphasizes the curriculum for the planned new mechatronics engineering program. The arts faculty council meets at 3:30 in Needles Hall room 3001.

Coming tomorrow are a couple of events of special interest to staff:

On Thursday, the teaching resources and continuing education office presents another of its "skills-based" workshops about teaching, this one on "Effective Electronic Communication". It will run from noon to 1:30; preregistration is through the TRACE web site.

Advance note: we're getting into alumni reunion season. Math graduates of 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987 and 1992 are scheduled for reunions on May 25. Engineering alumni from 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992 and 1997 will hold reunions June 1 and 2.

And . . . in a sure sign of the season, UW's retail services outlets -- the bookstore, the computer store, TechWorx in two locations, and the UW shop -- have switched to summer hours. They're open 8:30 to 4:30, Monday to Friday, form now on. Saturday hours of noon to 4 p.m. will continue (for the stores in South Campus Hall) until June 15. ArtWorx in East Campus Hall is closed for the season.

CAR

TODAY IN UW HISTORY

May 13, 1987: The "Fourth Decade" planning report for UW is published.

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