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Thursday, May 20, 2004

  • Executives sift year's priorities
  • Ex-dean notes UW's 'winning formula'
  • Pixels in the big picture
Chris Redmond

Ascension Day

[Cheerleader's hand extended]

This photo by Chris Hughes of UW Graphics won a monthly prize from the University Photographers Association of America. He calls it "Helping Hands". The shot was taken for use by the UW library, which has turned it into a bookmark ("Building Knowledge @ Your Library") with a stack of academic-looking volumes on the top cheerleader's outstretched hand.

Executives sift year's priorities

Deans' offices across campus are empty today, as two dozen of the university's top officials are away on their annual planning retreat at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre near Barrie.

The two-day gathering at "K-Bay" is a longstanding tradition: just before the May holiday weekend, deans, vice-presidents, and associate provosts get away from campus for some long-term planning. The event is also an opportunity for some bonding with newer or soon-to-be members of the top administration, and tennis is usually on the agenda too.

"The intention is not to use those two and a half days to deal with business items," UW president David Johnston said on Tuesday. Rather, he said, the university's leaders will "just think about the things you don't think about every day," looking at long-term planning and setting the big priorities for the year ahead.

Last year, Kempenfelt and some follow-up discussion back on campus led to a list of a dozen priorities that executives tried to tackle during the year. This year, Johnston said, he'd like to see "three or four or five" main themes.

"I'm sure that the theme of excellence will continue to be one of them," he said, predicting that another is likely to be "research intensity". We'll also hear much about co-op education and much about student aid in the coming year, the president said, since task forces on those two key issues are expected to report this fall.

This year's Kempenfelt discussions will also feed into the "sixth decade" plan that's soon to emerge from work in departments across campus and in the senate long-range planning committee, he noted.

Participants in this week's retreat are the members of executive council, which meets monthly, chaired by the president. It includes the senior officers responsible for all UW's departments, both academic and non-academic -- a total of 20 people at present, plus one who will become a dean on July 1.


Ex-dean notes UW's 'winning formula'

A faculty member at UW since it was a one-year-old experiment, dean of science 1982-1990, and now "adjunct" and "emeritus" but still active, Don Brodie (left) is the subject of the latest Keystone Campaign profile.

His photo and interview appeared in the May 5 Gazette in the series of free ads that introduce staff, faculty and -- in this case -- retiree supporters of the campaign. It's seeking to raise $4.5 million for UW by 2007 as part of Campaign Waterloo.

"You don't have to spend too much time with Don," the ad said, "before you realize that he's rich with history lessons about the University of Waterloo." He tells about his arrival here: "After completing studies in Physics at McMaster University, I went to Toronto to teach Physics at Humberside Collegiate. A friend of mine from McMaster had been hired at this new university in Waterloo, and convinced me to come and work with him. On June 29, 1958, 1 finished teaching my last high school class, and by July 3, 1 was teaching on the campus of Waterloo Lutheran College (now the location of Wilfrid Laurier University). I actually took two years off from 1959-1961 to get my PhD and returned full-time to the University of Waterloo in September of 1961."

He recalls that on his arrival there was just one completed building on campus -- the ad identifies it as Chemistry, but in fact it was "chemical engineering", now called the Doug Wright Engineering Building. "The second building erected was the Physics building. The building I initially taught in barely had floors and ceilings for some time, but this didn't squash the sense that something great was upon us. Everything was so new that we literally had almost no lab materials and my students spent part of their first year assembling the equipment that would be used in their labs!"

What motivated you personally to give to Waterloo? "I've always liked everything that UW stands for -- it truly had the "winning formula" But if you don't have great students, you can't build a great university and I believe scholarships are one way to attract the best students."

If you could invite three famous people to dinner, who would they be? "The three people I would invite to dinner would be Lord Rutherford, a Nobel Laureate in Physics, Sir John A. Macdonald, our early prime minister, and finally Albert Einstein, a very remarkable person indeed."

Pixels in the big picture

An extensively revised curriculum will go into operation in UW's chemical engineering department next year, assuming that all the needed approvals come from various governing bodies. The overhaul was approved by the chem eng department in March, following a year's detail work. "In recent years," explains department chair Bill Anderson in a memo, "the Chemical Engineering profession and fields of employment have undergone a significant shift. For example, life sciences play an increasing role in chemical engineering as evidenced by major corporate investments in this area. Similarly, increased industrial focus on materials science, quality control and product design have become apparent. This new curriculum continues to provide a strong basis in science, math and engineering, but also gives students good exposure to these new areas." Among the innovations: a first-year course in "engineering biology" will replace one of the current requirements, Physics 125.

Hurt Penguin book sale, South Campus Hall concourse, concludes today, 9 to 4.

Germanic and Slavic studies, second Departmental Conference, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Humanities room 373, program online.

Cultural biology, final lecture by Steven Quartz, CalTech, 3:00, Humanities room 334. Friday afternoon and all day Saturday: symposium on "Evolution, Development and Mind", also HH 334, free except for banquet, details online.

'Are You Prepared to Work Outside of Canada?' Career development workshop, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

UW Sustainability Project general meeting and project launch, 5:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room. Planned projects include climate change education, natural landscaping, Greening Canada Day, environmental journalism.

[Quilt festival logo] The ten-day Waterloo County and Area Quilt Festival begins today, with workshops, tours and other events -- and a major exhibition in the UW art gallery in East Campus Hall. An opening reception for the show begins at 7:00 tonight in the gallery. The exhibition showcases "the best of Ontario's current quilts in individual, group and guild categories", and admission is $6, which goes to the Festival. The gallery will be open 9 to 5 daily from now through May 29, with hours extended to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 28. Final day for the show is Sunday, May 30, when the gallery will be open from 9 to 4. It's the second year the UW gallery has been one of the venues for the quiltfest.

Final approvals have been given to a small change in UW's ethics policy, Policy 33. The proposed change was circulated in March. The revision makes clear that academic freedom is something that exists across the university, and can protect staff members as well as faculty. Says the changed paragraph, under "General Principles" near the beginning of the policy: "The University supports academic freedom for all members of the University community. Academic freedom carries with it the duty to use that freedom in a manner consistent with the scholarly obligation to base teaching and research on an honest and ethical quest for knowledge. In the context of this policy, 'academic freedom' refers to academic activities, including teaching and scholarship, as is articulated in the principles set out in the Memorandum of Agreement between the FAUW and the University of Waterloo, 1998 (Article 6)."

Monday's meeting of the UW senate gave official approval to creation of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, which in fact has been rolling for a while. The senate meeting also approved phasing out the "French cultural studies" undergraduate programs, and was told that the French department "has decided to modify its strategy for teaching cultural studies by reintegrating the topic into the core French Studies program".

The men's hockey team "has been busy this year", says the athletics Black & Gold newsletter, "utilizing Adopt-a-Team funds, since new head coach Karl Taylor took on fulltime responsibilities at the Columbia Icefield. Adopt-a-Team has provided the team with digital video equipment and storage which has provided the team with a coaching preparation tool for years to come. The hockey team has also been busy upgrading their team room including a Warrior Hockey Wall of Honour and providing custom equipment for goaltenders."

And here's a note from the library office: "As a result of work being done to the University's main entrance, the Library book bins located in front of South Campus Hall are being permanently moved to the parking area located to the right (east) of SCH between SCH and the Doug Wright Engineering Building."


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