[University of Waterloo]

December 23

Past days


About the DB

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

  • Universities want parties' attention
  • Prof studies the meaning of monuments
  • Graduate students face PhD orals
Chris Redmond

International Year of Deserts

New in administrative posts -- as announced -- this month

[Saini] [Pankratz] [George] [Fransen]
Deep Saini arrives from the Université de Montréal to become dean of the faculty of environmental studies; he takes over from interim dean Ellsworth LeDrew. James Pankratz comes from the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California, to be dean of Conrad Grebel University College. He succeeds Marlene Epp as dean. Alan George, who is already associate provost (information systems and technology), also becomes interim vice-president (university research) for a one-year term, while a successor to Paul Guild is sought. David Fransen, an assistant deputy minister in Industry Canada, arrives on a secondment to serve in the new post of associate vice-president (strategic relations) and executive director of the Institute for Quantum Computing.

Universities want parties' attention

The government of Canada needs to take "decisive action" to build up the country's universities, says the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, hoping to make higher education an issue in the federal election that's now less than three weeks away.

Federation of Students executive, students' council, and senate representatives election February 14-16; nominations open today, close January 20, at Feds office, Student Life Centre.

UW bookstore, UW Shop, TechWorx (South Campus Hall) open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Thursday; regular hours (8-5) resume Friday. Campus TechShop, Student Life Centre, open 9 to 5. ArtWorx, East Campus Hall, open 11 to 7 today and Wednesday; regular hours (11 to 3) resume Thursday.

Key control office open 8:30 to 4:30 today through Friday; regular hours (8:30 to 12, 1:00 to 4:30) resume next week.

Imaginus poster sale today through Friday, Student Life Centre.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004

New first-year students welcome reception 4:30, Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre.

'Fed 102' beginning-of-term party tonight, Federation Hall, 19-plus, no cover charge.

'Are You Thinking About Optometry?' Career workshop Wednesday 5:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, details online.

Perimeter Institute presents Jay Ingram, Discovery Channel host, "Are You Conscious?" Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 883-4480.

Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference, largely organized by UW students, January 12-14, Sheraton Parkway Toronto North, details online.

Blood donor clinic January 16-20, Student Life Centre, book appointments now at SLC turnkey desk.

AUCC said in mid-December that "in an effort to ensure that all parties' views on the critical issues of higher education and research reach as many voters as possible", it had sent an open letter to the leaders of the four main federal parties, "calling on each party to outline its commitments to higher education". The results will be made public next week.

AUCC asked eight questions about the parties' policies for postsecondary education investments in four areas: capacity and quality; affordability, outreach and support; international education; and graduate studies and research.

"With Canadians seeking access to a high quality, postsecondary education in record numbers, our universities face increasing pressures in these key areas as they work to produce more graduates, more innovative ideas, and more international linkages than ever before," said AUCC board chair Bonnie Patterson, who is president of Trent University in Peterborough. "In today's global race for talent and ideas, a continued commitment by the federal government to increased investments in higher education and research will be critical to the country's future productivity and competitiveness."

AUCC acknowledges "the strides made in the last Parliament in relation to higher education and research". But, it says, the next federal government "must commit to decisive action to ensure that Canada's universities have the necessary resources to compete for talent and ideas in today's knowledge-based, global economy".

Yesterday's Globe: 'VoteSmart'

Candidates' debate at U of Toronto

Student among those added to voters' list

Says AUCC president Claire Morris: "So far, this campaign has focused on the public discussion of ideas and policies, and we welcome the tone of the campaign to this point. We look forward to seeing the answers from the four leaders and hope that this open letter will encourage all parties to engage with voters in a serious dialogue on issues relating to higher education and research."

In a pre-election issue sheet, AUCC argues that Canada needs "a university sector that is internationally competitive. To this end, it is vitally important that the federal government take decisive action to ensure that universities have the capacity to offer high quality education to growing numbers of undergraduate and graduate students."

It says Ottawa should "negotiate with the provinces a dedicated transfer for postsecondary education . . . reimburse indirect costs on federally-sponsored research at a minimum rate of 40 percent of the direct costs so that universities do not have to cover these costs from their operating budgets . . . ensure that postsecondary educational opportunities are affordable, that no qualified individual is denied access because of financial circumstances, and that outreach and support are available to increase the participation and retention of Aboriginal Canadians and other under-represented groups."

It also asks for a review of student aid programs, "to make certain that the money invested in student financial aid is going to those students most in need and it is sufficient", and urges that "more international education opportunities are created to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need as global citizens, and to make Canada a destination of choice for the best and brightest from around the world."

Prof studies the meaning of monuments

UW fine arts professor Joan Coutu is "one of only three or four people in Canada who are currently studying 18th-century British art", says the December issue of the Arts Research Update newsletter, describing some of her analysis of sculptures and monuments and how they were used to make political points.

[Draped figure holds dying man]

Monument in Westminster Abbey to Whig leader Charles James Fox (died 1806)

Her current research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, examines the way political ideologies were expressed and immortalised in commissioned sculpture and monuments of the time. Her particular interest is the Whig party.

"The time frame covered by the research is the second half of the 18th century," she says, "when the Whigs had firmly secured their primacy in the political arena. The people who called themselves Whigs were diverse in their social standing and included aristocratic gentleman politicians, merchants who had made huge new fortunes in the colonial trade, and ardent republicans who revelled in the Cromwellian era," Coutu says.

"Depending on who was the patron, the Whigs referred to either classical antiquity or English history, or both. In their imagery, the monuments often alluded to values of erudition, refinement and virtue and invoked allusions to ancient Greece and Rome as well as to England's gothic and republican past."

Coutu argues that those who adhered to Whig principles deliberately referred to antiquity and England's past to establish legitimacy and authority in the contemporary political environment. In choosing English imagery, the Whigs were seeking in part to legitimate their claims to be the "only true voice of England." She says the Whig commissions are also significant because the patrons were using the sculpture or monuments to "speak to" and "make a claim on" future citizens of the British Empire and create a representation of themselves as noble figures in Britain's history.

"Sculpture is an incredibly permanent medium," Coutu says. "When people commission works of sculpture, or monuments, they are really thinking about the future: about how the work and the person who commissioned it will be remembered.

"In this way we can also see that commissioned sculpture was a vehicle of colonisation. In the West Indies, for instance, many sugar planters would commission a British sculptor to create a funeral monument that would be shipped to the West Indies and erected in a parish church. Nowadays, often the only tangible remains of many of the sugar planter families are these monuments.

"In this sense, monuments can be, and often are, anachronistic: the people who put them up really believe that what they are representing is the way things are, or are meant to be remembered. It's even more interesting when monuments are taken down. For example, we all saw on television the statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq coming down in 2003. It really meant something -- or a lot of different somethings -- to a lot of different people. Monuments are put up for one reason, and taken down for another."

Coutu's first book, Monuments in the 18th Century British Empire: Persuasion and Propaganda, is due to be released through McGill-Queen's University Press this year.

  • Waterloo is one of 21 'smart communities'
  • Geography grad student named a National Parks Science Scholar
  • Folk singer Merrick Jarrett, who taught music at Grebel, dies at 81
  • 'Big names on campus': Toronto's Massey College
  • Calculus changing, but not gone from curriculum, province says
  • CAUT 'review' of Canada Research Chairs program
  • Struggles about Canadianization in anthropology and sociology (in the 1970s)
  • 'Date rape drugs hit home' at Queen's
  • NRC wants student 'energy ambassadors'
  • Graduate students face PhD orals

    Here's the the latest list of students who are about to face the oral defence of their theses -- the last hurdle before that long-awaited PhD.

    Combinatorics and optimization. Aidan Roy, "Complex Lines with Restricted Angles." Supervisor, C. D. Godsil. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, January 19, 10 a.m., Math and Computer room 5136.

    Psychology. Wei Qi Elaine Perunovic, "Feeling Proud and Ashamed: Interdependent Orientation and Reactions to Praiseworthy and Shameful Actions of Liked Others." Supervisor, Michael Ross. On display in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Thursday, January 19, 2 p.m., PAS room 3026.

    Chemistry. Sergey Mitlin, "Studies of Interaction of Small Molecules with Water Condensed Media." Supervisor, K. T. Leung. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, January 20, 9 a.m., Biology I room 266.

    The oral defence for Mojgan Daneshmand of electrical and computer engineering, whose thesis is titled "Multi-Port RF MEMS Switches and Switch Matrices", was rescheduled from December 16 and will now be held tomorrow, January 4, at 10:30 a.m. in CEIT room 3142.

    The faculty of mathematics announces that the thesis of Boza Tasic of pure mathematics, to be defended January 5, was supervised by R. D. Willard (an incorrect name was previously announced).

    The oral defence for Lena Quilty of psychology, scheduled for January 13, has been moved to a new location: Environmental Studies I room 221.


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