Monday, July 12, 2004
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|Sharing a laugh with Mary Anne Jantzi (left) of the housing and residences office is Liz Vinnicombe of the UW office of research, whose father, Cail Vinnicombe, was director of housing for many years. Jantzi was the guest of honour at the event, a reception marking her July 1 retirement from UW after a long career as a staff member. She sends this thank-you message: "I did so enjoy the lovely time, the visiting with friends and colleagues, and the gift I received, which was a painting of the Commercial Hotel in Maryhill. My 38 years less 2 months at the university were certainly enjoyable, and every one of you made the years good ones."|
He's speaking on "Four Corners of a Web Space", at the "Web Communications and Strategies" conference Monday through Wednesday at Salisbury University. A draft of his talk, with PowerPoint slides of course, got a preview for an audience of about two dozen UW webmasters in the Davis Centre one morning last month.
"What makes a university web space different?" Rodgers asks as he begins his talk. His answer: "They provide business services, marketing, learning materials, other focused information for staff, faculty, students, prospective students, alumni, friends, media, and anyone else really -- it's the web."
There in a nutshell is the "four corners" theory that he will be explaining, and that he and I have been developing in C&PA over the past few months. What it says is that there are four main purposes that have to be balanced on a web site and sometimes on individual pages:
Information: maps, schedules, safety regulations, course listings, directories, bibliographies.
Marketing: public image, accountability, attracting new students, fund-raising, influencing readers' actions.
Learning: course web sites, "learning objects", online courses, detailed research content.
Business systems: the web interface to databases such as Quest, JobMine, Trellis and the financial system.
We argue that it's a mistake to forget information for the sake of marketing, but also a mistake to make a page too narrowly focused -- just providing access to a database, for instance -- and not consider the public relations effect it will have on the people who use it. Especially on high-level pages, such as a department's home page, all four "corners" should be taken into account.
But that can even be true for a highly specialized page -- for example, one with information about upper-year course requirements in an academic department. In a web world that's largely driven by search engines, the visitors to that page can include high school students wondering what they can study at university, not to mention their parents, external assessors, and other kinds of people who will take away an impression of UW and the specific department from what they see there.
"Balancing the corners," says Rodgers in his draft, "involves negotiations among stakeholders . . . and the mind of the single webmaster."
His presentation also includes some background on how UW's web space has evolved, and on what comes next, especially the growing responsibility to make web sites meet "accessibility" requirements for users with physical disabilities or other limitations such as the small screens on hand-held wireless devices.
Downey was a Distinguished Teacher Award winner at UW and served as vice-president of the faculty association before leaving Waterloo for St. Mary's in 1999.
The Alberta government last month authorized St. Mary's College to give bachelor's degrees, and also designated it as a "university college". St. Mary's University College will award its first BA degrees at a fall 2004 convocation.
St. Mary's is the only Catholic liberal arts college in the history of western Canada to grant its own BA, and is currently the only Catholic college west of the Maritimes to grant its own liberal arts BA. (St. Jerome's, which was established almost a century before UW, holds its degree-granting power "in abeyance", and St. Jerome's grads receive a Waterloo degree.)
Downey writes from Calgary: "St. Mary's has built a very successful university transfer program in which students complete up to two years of study at the College before finishing degree programs at other post secondary institutions. The transfer program will continue in conjunction with the new degree programs.
"Enrolment in September is anticipated to be at least 550 students, a dramatic increase in enrolment from only 25 students when the College first opened its doors to full-time students in 1997. St. Mary's now offers university courses in 27 academic disciplines.
"While we are a Catholic college firmly grounded in a centuries-old tradition of Catholic higher education, we warmly welcome students of all faith traditions and cultural backgrounds."
He adds: "The influence of my experience as a professor and department chair at UW is certainly in evidence in the academic and administrative policies that have been adopted by the College," Downey says. "The highly successful UW model provides inspiration for the many complex decisions involved in building a new college."
He said he had been hoping, but wasn't able, to attend UW's convocation this spring, at which one of his daughters was graduating from St. Jerome's. "She is the sixth of our children to receive a UW degree, all through SJU," he wrote. "We will have nine UW undergraduate degrees in our house."
|WHEN AND WHERE|
Blood donor clinic today through Friday, 10 a.m. to
4 p.m., Student Life Centre -- sign-up booklet at turnkey desk.
Psychology colloquium, Ying-yi Hong, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "Static Versus Dynamic Approach to Social Identity and Cultural Processes", Tuesday 2:30, PAS room 1241.
Water Privatization talk and film sponsored by UW International Health Development Association, Tuesday 7 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 116.
The earth-moving machinery roared in recently, and work is under way in earnest on Westmount Road through the north campus, connecting Columbia Street on the south with Bearinger Road and Northfield Drive on the north. The long-awaited link runs west of Columbia Lake and Laurel Creek, and will provide a more direct road access to the graduate student community on the north side of the Columbia Lake Townhouses. It's been a part of road plans for Waterloo Region for many years. Traffic should be able to use the road in October, says Tom Galloway, UW manager of grounds services.
A new album will be coming out in early fall from Critical Mass, a Roman Catholic rock band with close campus connections. (The central figure is David Wang, who when he's not on stage -- or promoting the band's work -- is a professor of electrical and computer engineering.) "The album is entitled Grasping for Hope in the Darkness," he writes, "and is a concept album tracing a man's journey from sin to redemption. It continues the modern rock journey started from the first two albums with an even edgier musical presentation and challenging lyrics." A release party is scheduled for September 11.
Keystone Campaign organizers report that five people were winners in the July round of the monthly donor draw. Collecting such prizes as gift certificates and a Tim Horton's coffee-maker were Alison Pedlar (recreation and leisure studies), Maryanne Rose (Renison College), Kevin Oberle (information systems and technology), Scott Snider (environmental studies), and Ian Williams (kinesiology). Details are on the Keystone web site -- and so is a list of "priorities" for the use of campaign gifts from staff, faculty and retirees, as the Keystone Campaign continues through 2007.
Paul Koop, who has been working with students at St. Paul's United College for more than six years, is now on staff there full-time, as manager of residence and facilities. "Paul has a strong connection with the college and its students," I'm reminded. "His daughter Olivia was born at St. Paul's in June 2000. In his new position, he is responsible for managing all aspects of both the undergrad and the new grad residences and facilities."
The senate undergraduate council had a preliminary discussion in June about a proposed "geography/planning/ERS and aviation" undergraduate program, which would require students to earn a commercial pilot's licence as well as acdemic credits. All sorts of issues were aired, the minutes of the meeting indicate, from co-op procedures to insurance, regulated or deregulated fees, the cost of the flying training at the local airport, and so on. "Although members weren't opposed to the idea, most felt it was premature to vote on the proposal," the minutes note.
Finally . . . as you read this, I'm away for a couple of weeks. Colleagues in the office of communications and public affairs will keep the Daily Bulletin daily until I return. Messages and information for possible use in this space should be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.