[University of Waterloo]

December 23

Past days


About the DB

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

  • Provost sees one 'difficult' year
  • Visitors centre gets a new look
  • Donor provides artist internships
Chris Redmond

Canada's flags fly at half-staff

[On an expanse of dirty snow]

Alone and alert sits the red-tailed hawk that has been spotted on campus many times over the past few months. Ryan Chen-Wing got the picture as the hawk paused on a snowy lawn just before the Christmas holidays.

Provost sees one 'difficult' year

UW is facing "a difficult year" financially, though longer-term prospects look better, says provost Amit Chakma as he prepares the university's 2005-06 budget.

Shortly before Christmas, he told deans and associate provosts that managers should prepare for a general cut to department's operating budgets. That's a familiar annual procedure: there have been cuts of 2 per cent for 2004-05, 2 per cent for 2003-04, 2 per cent for 2002-03 and 3.5 per cent for 2001-02.

"This year is going to be tougher than last year," the provost said. Recent years' general cuts have been accompanied by selective or "strategic" increases that have pushed total spending higher year by year and allowed UW to hire dozens of new faculty members. "There will be less opportunity to do those sorts of things," Chakma predicted.

Still, UW's total operating budget will go up again and will top $300 million for the first time. Chakma's preliminary figure is about $310 million, up from $298 million in the current year. Much of the new money will go to salary increases: both faculty and staff are due for a 3.3 per cent increase in pay scales as of May 1.

"The advance notice that I have given to the managers is based on a number of assumptions," the provost said. The biggest of those assumptions is that there will be no sudden change in government funding for universities in the coming fiscal year. For several years now, government grants have not included anything for annual cost increases, and the tuition fee "freeze" continues for this year.

What university leaders are hoping is that the government's wallet will open in a dramatic way by 2006, in response to the recommendations that are expected from the Bob Rae review of Ontario post-secondary education. Rae has made no secret of his conviction that government has to spend more as part of his program to bring the college and university systems up to date.

If a sizable grant increase were to come earlier, in the fiscal year that starts this May, "that would be wonderful," Chakma said. But he thinks any change is more likely to come a year from now.

Bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx extended hours, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Thursday.

Imaginus poster sale today through Friday, Student Life Centre.

Key control office open noon hours this week (8:30 to 4:30 daily).

Fully graded date for graduate students -- fall term marks available on Quest as of today. Date for undergraduate students is January 21.

Professional development day for staff in co-operative education and career services, 8:30 to 1:30.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

'Fed 102' new year celebration at Federation Hall tonight.

Ruth Parker, co-op and career services, retirement celebration Wednesday 4:30 to 6;30, University Club.

Auditions for this year's FASS, Wednesday-Friday, 7 to 9 p.m., Humanities room 334.

Perimeter Institute public lecture: David Lindberg, University of Wisconsin at Madison, "Galileo, the Church and the Cosmos", Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 569-7600 ext. 6082.

Teaching and learning colloquium scheduled for Thursday ("What Makes Great Teachers Great?") has been cancelled.

'Let's Make a Deal' stop-smoking contest registration January 10-14, Student Life Centre, details online.

Meanwhile, money is tight because UW can't count on the main source of new revenue that it has enjoyed over the past three years -- extra grants to pay for enrolment increases. Growth is now slowing down, although there continues to be some "follow-through effect" from the notorious double cohort of two years ago.

So departments will be squeezed in the coming year, Chakma said -- a 2 per cent cut is "guaranteed". But he hopes much of the saving can be made through short-term measures such as postponing projects. The goal: "minimize the disruption of our academic plan." He said he's prepared to have UW takes some risks, to avoid interrupting progress and demoralizing the people who are trying to work here.

"Our challenge," he said, "is to manage the enterprise, continue to pursue our overall goals and not retreat because of, hopefully temporary, budgetary pain."

Visitors centre gets a new look

Staff in the UW Visitors Centre in South Campus Hall moved back into renovated space a couple of days before Christmas, and are "really excited about the facelift", according to manager Heather Godelie.

She writes: "Provided with financial support from the Quality Assurance Fund, we've been able to update the look of the Visitors Centre. We have two main priorities for our facelift: putting the visitor first by creating a more welcoming and friendly environment, and projecting to visitors that the University of Waterloo is a forward thinking, technologically advanced University with real world connections.

"To do this, we've created new seating areas, re-organized our space to make it more welcoming to visitors, and most exciting to us is that we'll be replacing our outdated full size campus map with an updated map that will be projected on our back wall. We will also have three iMacs available specifically for visitors to use. This will allow us more opportunities to interact with our visitors and will improve our already outstanding customer service."

Some of the new furnishings won't be arriving until later this month, but Godelie and her colleagues were relieved to be moving back into their high-profile location in the SCH concourse. They had been working in temporary space nearby. The visitors centre, which greets thousands of high school students and their parents annually, is part of the department of marketing and undergraduate recruitment in the registrar's office.


Donor provides artist internships -- from UW's 2003-04 donor report

"It's the reason I came to Waterloo." This explanation shows how attractive the Keith & Winifred Shantz Internship Award in Fine Arts was for student Macksim Grunin.

These special awards provide Master of Fine Arts (MFA) students with funding so they can intern for several weeks with an internationally renowned artist of their choice. The Shantz internships are available because of the generosity of Winifred Shantz (right) of Kitchener, who has supported the awards since 1996. Since then, more than 25 Waterloo students have benefitted from the program, which annually provides $7,000 each to four students to help pay for travel and accommodation.

With his internship funding in 2003, Grunin apprenticed with painter Andreas Jauss in Turbingen, Germany. He was also able to attend the Venice Bienniale -- a renowned international art show featuring the top contemporary artists in the world. Grunin then returned to his studies and graduated with an MFA degree following his thesis exhibition at UW in the spring of 2004.

Establishing this innovative learning opportunity is typical of Winifred Shantz, who has been a driving force for the arts in Waterloo Region for more than 40 years. A successful ceramist and entrepreneur herself, she knows the importance of learning the business side of being an artist.

She is a member of UW's Chancellor's Circle and a charter member of the Laurel Society. Her impact in the local community has also been significant. A founding member of the highly successful Waterloo Potters Workshop, she has been a vigorous supporter of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, where she is a tireless volunteer and board member. In addition, as partner of the Harbinger Gallery in Waterloo, which exhibits and sells a variety of fine arts work in clay, glass, textile, wood, and metal ware from across Canada, she has helped both young and established artists gain a wider audience for their work.

In 2001, she was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the 14th Annual Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Award ceremony, which honours those who have made a significant contribution to the artistic life of the community.


Communications and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
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(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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