- UW still ranked 'most innovative'
- History prof tells the Trudeau story
- And a little of this and that
- Chris Redmond
- Communications and Public Affairs
Link of the day
When and where
Education Credit Union presents investment advisor Lisa Kersey speaking on RESPs, 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.
Climate change lecture: Ralph Torrie, writer and partner in Torrie Smith Associates, "The Eye of the Storm", as part of Environmental Studies 195, 5:30 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 116.
Ontario Citizens' Assembly on electoral reform: insights by political science professor Bob Williams (right), 7 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 208.
Arriscraft Lecture, school of architecture: Charles Walker, Arup Associates, London, "Managing Complexity," scheduled for tonight, postponed to November 9.
Alumni in London, Ontario networking event tonight, details online.
Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Highlights from the Oracle OpenWorld conference and Educause conference, Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.
Laurier Day open house for future students at Wilfrid Laurier University, Friday.
Sandford Fleming Foundation debates for engineering students, finals Friday 12 noon, Carl Pollock Hall foyer.
'Theory of a Deadman' plays Federation Hall, Friday, advance tickets at Federation of Students office, Student Life Centre.
UW Day open house for future students and parents, Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., welcome session 9 a.m., Physical Activities Complex, tours from Student Life Centre, academic sessions in various locations, details online.
Science open house Saturday, 10 to 4, including chemistry magic show and children's activities. Gem and mineral show, Saturday and Sunday 10 to 5, CEIT building, admission free. Details online.
Black Knight squash tournament Saturday, details on campus recreation web site.
Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program presents "A Changing Melody", forum for persons with early-stage dementia and their partners in care, Sunday, Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, details online.
International Education Week November 6-10, detailed schedule online.
Safety training for employees: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System and safety orientation, Tuesday, November 7, 10 a.m., or Thursday, November 9, 2 p.m. Safety orientation only, November 7 at 2 p.m. or November 9 at 10 a.m. All sessions in Commissary room 112D. Registration online.
Town hall meeting for faculty and staff with president David Johnston and provost Amit Chakma, Tuesday, 4 to 5 pm., Humanities Theatre.
Retirees Association fall luncheon November 8, 11:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, details online.
Hagey Lecture: journalist Seymour Hersh, "US Foreign Policy in the Middle East", Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, no tickets required. Student colloquium, "National Security and Investigative Journalism", November 8 at 1:30, Davis Centre room 1301 or 1302.
Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada, speaks about her new book, Heart Matters, November 9 at 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Tickets $5 for students, faculty and staff from UW bookstore, $10 general admission from Humanities box office.
Darfur genocide conference sponsored by UW Genocide Action Group and Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Sunday, November 12, 1 to 6 p.m., Davis Centre room 1350.
Art sale and silent auction in support of Fine Arts Endowment Fund, this year moved to Modern Languages building: preview November 21-223, sale Friday, November 24, 5 to 9 p.m., details online.
WatITis colloquium for information technology staff, December 6 in Rod Coutts Hall, registration begins today online.
One click away
• UW biocomposites research helps create Guelph bridge
• Math blogger in the midst of midterms
• Bloggers comment on the Stratford proposal
• Accounting prof quoted on income trust tax controversy
• Guelph professor's study of cheating to be published
• Students not interested in municipal election?
• Executives become deans, describe culture change
• Four universities honoured for 'excellence in internationalization'
• Quebec minister calls for more federal funding
• Conestoga College eyeing Cambridge, not Guelph
• 'Universities adopting different strategies to cut high dropout rates'
• Ontario government boasts of improved accessibility
• Concordia president says system is eroding
• New rules to govern private colleges in Ontario
• Universities closed in Kenya
• Symphony rescued with $2.3 million in gifts
UW still ranked 'most innovative'
The "University Rankings" issue of Maclean's magazine is out this morning, and UW officials are poring over the listings to see where Waterloo stands and how it got there.
UW was one of the universities that provided the magazine with up-to-date statistics on student averages, class sizes, budgets and a host of other factors. However, almost half of Canada's universities declined to cooperate as they have in the past, and Maclean's apparently used data from other sources or from last year. So comparisons aren't as straightforward as they formerly were.
The bottom line is, there's been some realignment in the top ranks, with UW now standing second among 47 institutions across Canada in the much-admired "Best Overall" column, behind the University of Alberta. Waterloo had been in first place there for 13 of the past 14 years. UW is still first as "Most Innovative", but came second (also to Alberta) in "Leaders of Tomorrow", and third (behind McGill and Queen's) in "Highest Quality", both categories where first place is familiar territory.
In the numerical ranking of 11 "comprehensive" universities — big institutions that don't have medical schools — UW is second this year, behind Guelph. Victoria comes third. A breakdown shows UW ranking first in reputation and in alumni support among the comprehensive institutions, and first also in the budget devoted to scholarships and bursaries. Waterloo is second in the percentage of the budget that goes to student services (likely because of co-op education and career services), in the percentage of faculty members who have PhDs, and in the percentage of classes that are taught by tenured faculty. But UW ranks last of the 11 in the average class size at the third- and fourth-year level.
The Maclean's issue, which is on the newsstands today, tells readers that university education is "the best investment money can buy", as a degree "spells a lifetime of better job prospects and higher income. It has also become the minimum qualification for many jobs. So just go already."
The Maclean's issue comes just three days after the Globe and Mail issued its "University Report Card" for this year, which ranked UW in the "large university" category for the first time. In that group, UW tied with the University of Western Ontario for top position in "quality of education", the first measure in the issue, with an A grade. In the next most important category, Academic reputation, Waterloo tied for first place again, this time sharing A-plus ratings with Western and McGill.
There are 14 other measures in the Globe ratings, which are based on surveys of current students. Among UW's grades: B-plus (tied for second) in "quality of teaching", B (tied for third) in "student-faculty interaction", A-minus (second behind Western) in "most satisfied students", and B-plus (tied for first with Ryerson) for "quality of career preparation".
Some rankings that UW has received lately from other sources:
• 201st to 300th in the world (and 9th to 16th in Canada) in Shanghai Jiao Tong University's "Academic Ranking of World Universities".
• 84th on Newsweek's list of "the top 100 global universities".
• Not in the world's top 200 universities as listed in the World University Rankings produced by The Times Higher Education Supplement.
History prof tells the Trudeau story
UW will hold a local book launch today for UW history professor John English's first instalment of a two-volume look at the life and times of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The by-invitation launch runs from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University Club.
English, an acclaimed biographer, is the author of Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume One: 1919-1968. A former Member of Parliament for Kitchener, English is also the author of an acclaimed two-volume biography of Lester Pearson and executive director of the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
Today's launch will be followed by a public event November 30 at which English will speak about his new work and sign copies for members of the UW and off-campus community. That event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts; tickets are $2 each from the sponsor, the UW bookstore.
The book was written with exclusive, extensive access to Trudeau's personal letters and journals, and through interviews with friends, family and colleagues. In Volume One, English takes readers from Trudeau's birth in 1919 to his election as prime minister in 1968. It is the story of a man who departs from his conservative, nationalist and traditional Catholic views to become a socialist in his politics, sympathetic to labour and a friend to activists and writers in radical causes. Trudeau's story is well known, but the details that English has uncovered from this exhaustive research offers an extraordinary portrait of a complicated man — one that, at times, even contradicts Trudeau's own 1993 memoir.
Until 1940, Trudeau attends Collège Brébeuf, described as "the educational jewel of French education in Montréal." A Jesuit institution and nationalist in its views, it shelters Trudeau until he leaves the school at 21, but not before he displays his characteristically spirited and somewhat restless personality, challenging his peers and his superiors with his intellectual curiosities.
English describes Trudeau's early desires at Brébeuf to do great things for his country with traces of the doubt that would vex him politically for years: "I wonder whether I will be able to do something for my God and my country. I would like so much to be a great politician and to guide my nation." Then as he travels the world, meeting with dignitaries, professors, monks and the public, his political philosophies shift. English explores Trudeau's complexity during these years and how he strives to understand society and his place within it.
In 1949, at a time where Québec is undergoing rampant political change, Trudeau surprises many as he heads to Ottawa to become a civil servant. Working on diverse subjects within the Privy Council Office, he becomes fascinated with federalism and its relationship to Canada. His education in law and philosophy are a novelty among officials, drawing the attention of many people, especially as television penetrates Canadian living rooms.
English provides a play-by-play of events in the decade leading up to Trudeau's election from winning his first seat in Parliament to the historic amendments to Canada's Criminal Code that include the first divorce reforms in 100 years. Volume One ends with the exciting events of the 1968 election where Trudeau runs for office among what is said to be the "finest group of politicians ever to contest a party leadership in Canada" and is elected as leader of the Liberal Party.
And a little of this and that
This week's e-newsletter from the faculty of engineering announces the names of three Faculty of Engineering teaching award winners for this year. They are Catherine Burns of systems design engineering, George Davidson of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, and Don Grierson of civil and environmental engineering, are this year's winners. The teaching excellence awards, presented annually by the Sandford Fleming Foundation, recognize "an exemplary record of outstanding teaching, concern for students and a commitment to the development and enrichment of engineering education at Waterloo."
"Hungry?" asks a note from Jason Dockendorff, head coach of the track and field Warriors, and it's hard not to answer yes. He goes on: "Like fruit? Help support the track and field team by purchasing some amazing oranges and grapefruits straight from the citrus trees of Florida! Proceeds from this fundraiser will help fund equipment purchases, improved competition, and training camps. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Brent McFarlane Track & Field Endowment Fund." And he adds: "I'm telling you, the fruit (especially the grapefruit) is unbelievable, so I want to get the word out there." Details are online, or Dockendorff can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian McNamara, a new UW professor of physics and astronomy, helped explained black holes in a documentary called "Monster of the Milky Way" that aired Tuesday night on PBS's "Nova". McNamara, who studies galaxy clusters, was one of 11 top physicists and astronomers who tackled the question 'What exactly is a black hole, anyway?' How he and the others tried to answer the question in about a minute each is now online for the curious.
UW's department of Spanish and Latin American studies is joining in the mourning for Laura López Kok, a local Spanish teacher who died October 26 at the age of 33. A teacher at Forest Heights Collegiate, she was a UW graduate and had been an instructor in the UW department between 2000 and 2003 — "a very determined and accomplished individual," a note from the department says. Memorial donations to the Canadian Cancer Society are suggested.
Navtech Inc., which produces flight software for airlines, has finished moving its 90 staff into quarters in the Accelerator Centre building on UW's north campus. . . . A "standard first aid with CPR" course will be offered by the campus recreation program on three Mondays, starting November 6, rather than the usual weekend scheduling. . . . It wasn't certain last time I checked, but the new electronic security system may be going into effect as of today at the Davis Centre library. . . .
Finally, there's a name to add to the list, which I published several days ago, of people who work at UW and are seeking office in the municipal elections to be held November 13. Raj Gill of the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group office is running for a seat on Kitchener city council representing ward 6.