Thursday, September 19, 2002
|Sheila Fraser, auditor-general of Canada, will speak today on "Accounting and Accountability". Her talk is sponsored by the Accounting Students' Education Contribution, as part of a distinguished guest lecture series. It starts at 4:00 in Davis Centre room 1351. Says accounting student Kelvin Chan, an ASEC master's degree representative: "It sounds like the speech will be pretty interesting, especially when you consider all the financial events recently surrounding Enron and Worldcom."|
In yesterday's Daily Bulletin I got stung, as I mangled the name of Columbia University business professor Paul Glasserman, whose praise was noted in a citation for UW's Phelim Boyle. That's the sort of thing that happens when you rely on a scanner to do your thinking for you.
Also yesterday, I mentioned that a concert of "Forbidden Music of Nazi Germany" would be happening on Sunday. True in a way, but it's not this Sunday, it's next Sunday, September 29 (at 3:00 in the chapel of Conrad Grebel University College).
Now, on to things that really are happening today. In particular, it's Coffee Break Day for the Alzheimer Society of Canada, and people at UW are definitely taking part. Jan Weber writes: "Come on over to Graphics, where we will be hosting a K-W Alzheimer Society fundraiser. At Main Graphics we'll be serving a selection of scrumptious goodies. Donation boxes will also be placed at Davis, Engineering, Graphics Express, and Math copy centres and also the Pixel Pub. Last year over $765,000 was raised across Canada for Alzheimer programs and services. All donations stay in the community to provide support, advocacy and a resource library for families affected by Alzheimer's."
And Beverley Brookes of UW's own Kenneth Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program invites people to "enjoy a coffee and a home-made goodie by the fireplace in the Lyle Hallman Institute, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m."
Now, here's a message from the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology:
"The New Classroom: Engaging Students with Online Activities" workshop series is designed for instructors interested in enhancing student learning with online activities. The new version has an online component as well as two face-to-face workshop sessions. Before each workshop, instructors complete relevant modules and make online submissions. The completed tasks will form the basis of discussions and activities during the face-to-face sessions. If you would like to enhance your course with an online component (without learning complicated technology); to help students come to class better prepared (by providing online resources); to find out how colleagues are rethinking their use of time and space for learning (both class time and student time) -- then register now.I'm told that the first workshop begins in mid-October, but "we are doing a large part of the course online before they even meet." More questions? E-mail dianesalter@LT3 to discuss the workshop.
He was reporting on "externally funded curricular initiatives", which chiefly meant the controversial Microsoft Alliance agreement that may lead to the use of Microsoft's C# programming language to teach some UW engineering students.
"We never really compromised the academic integrity of our programs," said Chakma, noting that although the arrangement was announced early, without the necessary approvals, "it could not be implemented before we took it to our curriculum committees." That is now being done.
"We clearly announced the agreement prematurely," Chakma said, "but that doesn't take away our intention to provide the latest tools to our students," including C# if it turns out that that's what first-year electrical and computer engineering students need to learn.
It's good, he reminded the senate, for faculty members to bring new things into the classroom: "We should not create an environment where our colleagues are so worried that they will not take initiatives." (Or, as he put it later: "We have to take risks. Sometimes mistakes will be made, and then they will be corrected.")
The provost said he had first thought that UW might need a new set of rules to make sure that changes and experiments, propelled by external money, don't happen without approval from everybody whose involvement is needed. But, he said, he has concluded that the existing rules are adequate, as long as they're followed.
"I take full responsibility," he said, "for the academic integrity of everything that we do."
New "sign-off procedures" will be worked out, he added, to avoid the confusion that apparently happened in the Microsoft case, in which some people whose approval should have been sought, including the dean of engineering, didn't get involved until it was too late.
Catherine Schryer, president of the faculty association, said in the discussion that followed that UW "is going to become involved in more and more complex deals . . . I would like to see an elaboration of that formal mechanism of approval."
"Consider that done," the provost replied. "We have to have the paper trail."
In view of the recent controversy over the use of the C# language in E&CE courses, I have reviewed our existing procedures and practices regarding curriculum development and found them to be adequate. In this specific case, we should not have announced our agreement in principle with Microsoft before completing the normal curriculum approval process. This memo is to serve as a reminder of our current practices.
It seems to me that UW has always been an outward looking, innovative institution with strong links to its external communities and distinctive characteristics that set it apart from other postsecondary institutions. A key distinction arises from the commitment of UW founders to link learning to the 'real world'. This linkage, manifested in UW's world-renowned cooperative education program, affects academic activities at all levels throughout the institution.
In my judgment, UW remains committed to preserving and enhancing this distinction -- a key reason why UW is thought of as the most innovative university in Canada. This innovative spirit extends to the classroom where it is important that we continue to experiment with our curriculum and with new concepts, methodologies and pedagogical approaches, within established processes and practices.
To be leaders in curriculum innovation, we must continue to:
We can't be reminded too often about these matters. Looking back in the months ahead, we may very well conclude that the main lesson to be learned from these events is that it is more important to do it right than to do it quick.
- provide the best educational experience for our students, exposing them to the best available methodologies;
- ensure that curriculum decisions are overseen by the appropriate Faculty Councils under the authority of Senate or one of its committees/councils;
- vest responsibility for primary decisions on curriculum matters with academic colleagues in academic units [i.e. UW instructors and Departmental / Faculty curriculum committees];
- experiment with learning tools [e.g. text books, software, equipment] from our own sources or from other academic institutions and commercial entities, including proprietary sources;
- welcome external financial or in-kind support, ensuring that it does not inappropriately influence curriculum development.
Monday's question: Do you think of yourself as an 'entrepreneurial' person?
Yes -- 72
These numbers are relatively consistent across all disciplines. The average incomes are very good and continue to increase, thus reinforcing the findings that found that university graduates are gainfully employed, have the lowest unemployment rates according to Statistics Canada, and make significant contributions to the provincial economy.
Not only do university graduates do extremely well in getting jobs, the majority agree that the skills required in their jobs are related to their university education. Those out of university for six months noted a skills-match level of 77.9%, and those graduates two years out of university reported a skills-match level at 84.4%.
The survey examined the employment experiences of 1999 graduates of undergraduate degree programs in Ontario, six months and two years after graduation. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Council of Ontario Universities co-sponsored the survey, which was conducted by the Ontario Universities' Application Centre.
All Ontario universities will post their respective survey results on their individual web sites in the coming weeks. A brochure highlighting the survey's findings is available on the COU web site.
"The public can learn about the latest issues in tourism and cutting-edge research," said geography professor Geoff Wall (left), chief organizer of the series.
He said there are approximately 700 million international tourists globally each year and many more domestic tourists with tremendous implications for the places that they visit. "Tourism is a major agent of economic, social and cultural change throughout the world, but it is not without its risks," Wall said. "Therefore, we need to pay careful attention to tourism policy and planning issues, and also to the means by which the consequences of tourism might be better understood, which is the theme of this year's series."
The series is linked to the new master's program in tourism policy and planning. "This program adds to the strong leadership role UW can play in promoting a greater awareness of the complex consequences of tourism."
The lectures will be given each Friday at 9:30 a.m., in Environmental Studies I room 132. Tomorrow's speaker is Steve Smith of the recreation department, talking on "Measuring Tourism". He'll be followed on September 27 by Geoff McBoyle, the dean of environmental studies, speaking on "Approaching Tourism through Climate".
Later speakers -- from institutions in the United States and Israel, as well as Canada -- will address such topics as "Development Strategies for Historic Cities" and "Pilgrimage and Tourism in the Holy Land". The series will wind up with a talk by Wall himself on November 29, under the title "Space and Place in Chinese Tourism".
TODAY IN UW HISTORYSeptember 19, 1994: President James Downey makes public the "O'Sullivan report" on reorganization of UW's senior administrative structure.