Monday, June 16, 2008

  • The year's seven-point agenda
  • President lists 'specific priorities'
  • $2 million in auto research funding
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Posing in front of UBC inscription]

Graduate students Tracy Finn, W. Jim Jordan and Derek Kam posed at a Vancouver landmark while attending this year's Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences ("the Learneds"). They were among nine grads from UW's philosophy department who presented papers at the massive gathering; eight philosophy faculty members also took part, as did UW scholars from many other disciplines. The Learneds will be held in Waterloo in 2012. Photo by Andrew Morgan.

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The year's seven-point agenda

Seven bullet points sum up the things we’ll be hearing a lot about in the year ahead, provost Amit Chakma told UW’s board of governors earlier this month.

The annual “Executive Council Priorities” emerged from the Kempenfelt Bay retreat held just before the Victoria Day weekend by UW’s top administrators. No surprise, five of the seven points were also on last year’s list, since top-level priorities often take more than one year to carry out.

Here’s how Chakma listed the 2008-09 priorities for the board:

• Getting ready for raising $100 million/year by 2017.
• Continued efforts on graduate expansion.
• Recruitment of international undergraduate students.
• Expansion of enrolment in professional programs.
• Government funding initiatives.
• Career focused graduate expansions.
• Administrative processes.

Elaborating on that last point, Chakma also showed the board a list of “smart projects” that are under way, managed by small task forces drawn from Exec Council. Each is seen as an area where UW could perhaps work more efficiently if the efforts of related departments were better coordinated and duplication was avoided.

There are eight of those smart projects at present: grad admissions management and operations; undergrad recruitment and admissions; space usage and management; database inventory and management; online learning; student engagement; staff engagement; marketing coordination.

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President lists 'specific priorities'

To go with the provost’s short list of priorities, there’s a longer list from president David Johnston — a two-page document headed “President's Specific Priorities 2008-2009” that he submitted in writing to the June 3 board of governors meeting. Here’s the full text.

1. Excellence

A. Vision

§ Continue to build-out 6th Decade Plan through Faculty plans; ambitious plan cannot be achieved through business as usual.

B. Undergraduate Education

§ Strengthen quality by raising admission standards systematically in every Faculty
§ Diversify base with out-of-province and out-of-country increases
§ Develop new academic plans and modify existing academic plans to respond to new opportunities and core strengths
§ Continue implementation of strategic plan for Cooperative Education and Career Services
§ Nurture the culture of excellence in teaching and learning
§ Support initiatives to enhance academic integrity
§ Enhance students' research experience
§ Continue internationalization enhancement
§ Continue efforts to increase student financial aid

C. Graduate Students and Post Docs

§ Increase domestic and international numbers
§ Develop new grad programs where appropriate with special emphasis on professional and course master's
§ Ensure greater recognition of post-doc presence and importance
§ Continue efforts to increase student financial aid

D. Research

§ Broaden base and increase intensity across university
§ Strengthen clusters especially around 5 core research themes of information technology, health, environment, materials and systems, society and culture and build selected peaks of excellence
§ Increase large multi-partner projects with top priority on building out the Institute for Quantum Computing, increasing links with Perimeter Institute and the Centre for International Governance Innovation
§ Continue emphasis on technology transfer especially through Accelerator Centre and new Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and building out R&T Park

E. Focus on Core Strengths and Careful Choices

§ Implement benchmarking with peer national and international institutions
§ Recruit best faculty and staff, and accelerate their development to achieve excellent performance
§ Ensure strategic resource allocation with emphasis on core quality areas

2. Income Diversification

§ Continue UW Campaign beyond $500m
§ Achieve sustained annual private support towards 6th Decade Plan goal of $100m per year
§ Strengthen ODAA complement and further decentralize into Faculty and Academic Support Departments using External Relations Transition Task Force Report as a guide.
§ Strengthen innovative government support at all levels and particularly re: Kitchener/ Pharmacy/ Health Sciences Campus, IQC/Nanotech, R and T Park North Campus, Stratford, and Abu Dhabi
§ Enhance direct and indirect research income by at least 15% per year for next 5 years and broaden grant, contract, license, royalty sources
§ Continue mix of tuition rates within Board approved policy and work within MTCU 4 year tuition framework
§ Seek innovative ways to manage revenue/expenditures to achieve ambitions in 6th Decade Plan

3. Strengthen Community

§ Continue case for public support for PSE and R&D with focus on new Federal Government, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and initiatives like the proposed Smart Nation Act
§ Focus available resources on core responsibilities
§ Identify and respond to academic and administrative support stress points
§ Expand student housing both on and off campus, continue implementation of the Living Learning Report and prepare for increase from 2,600 to 8,000 grad students over 10 years
§ Use horizontal multi stake holder task forces for continuous improvement efforts
§ Conduct studies/surveys to review performance and inform our benchmarks
§ Build on mutually supportive relationships with the affiliated Colleges and Universities and collaborate on their academic growth initiatives and residence expansion
§ Strengthen external community relations and alumni relationships especially with leadership from Vice-President, External Relations
§ Communicate regularly with external communities and with internal communities to effect information flow and improve morale
§ Strengthen staff development opportunities
§ Provide stable, competitive salaries and benefits with capacity to reward extraordinary merit
§ Strengthen the openness and effectiveness of our collegial culture
§ Focus IT and e-learning initiatives on opportunities to improve service quality and to reinforce culture of innovation
§ Reinforce our culture of civility

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$2 million in auto research funding

a release from the UW media relations office

Automotive researchers at the University of Waterloo will help pave the way in developing greener and safer cars after receiving about $2.4 million in project funding from the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence.

Seven projects led by Waterloo researchers delve into the areas of injury prevention in the automotive industry, improved seat design, advanced automotive materials and manufacturing, fuel cells for automotive applications, automotive design processes, and intelligent systems and sensors for vehicles.

"Waterloo researchers continue to develop the technologies and knowledge needed by the Canadian automotive sector," says George Dixon, UW's vice-president (university research). "The research projects led by Waterloo will benefit Canadians through new technologies and knowledge that make vehicles and the auto industry safer, reduce energy use and increase overall vehicle quality."

The seven lead researchers from Waterloo receiving AUTO21 funding:

Jack Callaghan, professor of kinesiology, heads a project to develop standards to reduce the risk of injury in workers in the automobile industry. The project has received $224,625 in funding.

Jennifer Durkin, professor of kinesiology, co-leads a project with Doug Romilly of the University of British Columbia, to design seats for both comfort and safety. The project has received $42,375 in funding.

Michael Worswick, professor of mechanical engineering, helms a project to develop lighter cars by using high-strength steels in the hydroforming process to build better vehicle structures. The project has received $355,725 in funding.

Norman Zhou, professor of mechanical engineering, leads a project to use high-strength materials in welding processes in order to improve automotive design and manufacturing. The project has received $555,300 in funding.

Xianguo Li, professor of mechanical engineering, heads a project to develop next generation PEM fuel-cell technology as a viable solution for clean vehicles. The project has received $1,057,400 in funding.

Jan Huissoon, professor of mechanical engineering, co-leads a project with François Michaud, Université de Sherbrooke, to test dynamic collaborative driving systems and sensors in order to improve road safety and reduce accidents. The project has received $88,125 in funding.

Stephan Lambert, professor of mechanical engineering, helms a project to develop and demonstrate collaborative design processes for multi-disciplinary automotive design teams. The project has received $121,050 in funding.

The funding was announced at the AUTO 21 national conference held recently in London, Ontario, by Jim Prentice, federal minister of industry. The AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence is investing approximately $20 million dollars to advance automotive research in Canada. The federal government is providing about $10 million of the total.


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Link of the day


When and where

Co-op employer interviews for fall term jobs continue through June 20.

Early Childhood Education Centre closing ceremonies for 2007-08 school year June 16, 18, 19, 20; last day of school June 19 or 20.

Matthews Golf Classic for students, staff, faculty, retirees and friends, today, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

Canadian Mental Health Association, Grand River Branch, “Leading a National Mental Health Strategy” presentation, discussion and annual meeting, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, information 519-766-4450 ext. 371.

UW senate monthly meeting 4:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Needles Hall elevator shut down for maintenance June 17 through July 17.

Environmental Studies II soft water shut down Tuesday 7:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

Tourplay children’s drama: “Jillian Jiggs and the Pirates” Tuesday 10:00 and 1:00, Humanities Theatre.

Lectures in quantum information: Anthony Leggett, Institute for Quantum Computing, “Prospects for Topological Quantum Computing” continuing June 17, 19, 24, 26, July 3, 8, 10, all at 2:00 p.m., Research Advancement Centre, 475 Wes Graham Way, room 2009.

Career workshops: Career Interest Assessment 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112; Business Etiquette and Professionalism 3:30, TC 1208; Working Effectively in Another Culture 5:00, TC 1208; information and registration online.

UW Debate Society meets Tuesdays 5:15, Rod Coutts Hall room 301.

25-Year Club annual reception Tuesday 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, by invitation, information ext. 32078.

myPENSIONinfo information session about self-service pension projection system, Wednesday 12:30 and Monday, June 23, 11:00, Davis Center room 1202.

Zonta Club June dinner meeting, guest speaker Louise Fréchette, former deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, now at Centre for International Governance Innovation, Wednesday 6:00, South Campus Hall, tickets $20, e-mail

Spiritual Heritage Education Network presents the video “Changing from Inside”, about Vipassana meditation program as used at a minimum security prison near Seattle, Wednesday 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015.

UW Alternative Fuels Team recruitment and information meetings: business position Thursday 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room; technical position June 26, 5:00, Doug Wright Engineering room 2536; information e-mail

Dropping courses: last day for 50 per cent fee refund, June 20.

Pre-enrolment for winter 2009 undergraduate courses, June 23-29 on Quest: choose courses now so preferences can be used in preparing the timetable, information online.

Centre for Environment and Business announcement and reception Monday, June 23, 11 a.m., Environmental Studies I courtyard, by invitation, information ext. 38480.

Bill Pudifin, faculty of engineering, retirement reception Wednesday, June 25, 3:00 to 5:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

Gail Cuthbert Brandt, associate vice-president (international), “stepping down reception” Thursday, June 28, 3:00 to 5:00, Needles Hall third-floor patio, RSVP ext. 38350.

Long weekend: UW holidays Monday, June 30, and Tuesday, July 1, for Canada Day; classes cancelled, offices and most services closed.

Canada Day celebrations Tuesday, July 1, on the north campus: children’s fun-fest, arts and crafts fair, food, stage performances and other activities, 2 p.m. until evening; fireworks 10 p.m.; details and volunteer information online.

Rogers Cup men’s tennis tournament, July 19-27 at York University, details available online about UW alumni tickets (also for students, faculty, staff).

Last day of classes for spring term: July 30. Exams August 5-16.

UW alumni day at Toronto Blue Jays Game, Sunday, August 10, 1:00 p.m., details online.

Warrior men’s golf fundraising tournament Tuesday, August 26, Whistle Bear Golf Club, Cambridge, information e-mail

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