Tuesday, February 17, 2009

  • Proposal for Ontario 'open university'
  • Announcements that need to be tolled
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Four young men in shorts and one old man in a suit]

The one wearing pants is former prime minister Paul Martin, who visited the university Friday, met with officials and gave a public talk in the Student Life Centre. He was inveigled into posing with members of the No Pants Group, associated with the Computer Science Club and the Computational Math Club. "The present tradition," says Holden Karau (at right in photo), "is not to wear pants on Friday (although the majority of people wear pants to school and remove their pants there since it is still cold)." Demonstrating the necessary sang-froid with him are, left to right, Qifan Xi, Jake Parker, and Joel Merk.

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Proposal for Ontario 'open university'

from news releases issued by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

HEQCO has released a new research paper, Degrees of Opportunity: Broadening Student Access by Increasing Institutional Differentiation in Ontario Higher Education. Prepared by higher education scholars Glen Jones and Michael Skolnik, this paper was commissioned to determine whether there are significant gaps in Ontario’s postsecondary education system with respect to education and research activities and, if so, how these gaps might be addressed.

“Examining the design of Ontario’s postsecondary system is a key component of HEQCO’s mandate,” said Dr. Ken Norrie, vice-president of research for the Council. “Ontario’s higher education sector faces several significant issues, including growing enrolment demand, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area, and the need to provide educational opportunities that respond to the province’s economic needs. Degrees of Opportunity is an initial attempt to tackle these challenges by examining the current design of the postsecondary system.”

Jones and Skolnik conclude that Ontario’s higher education system could benefit from several new types of postsecondary structures, including teaching-oriented institutions that focus on undergraduate education; collaborative programs; an “open university” that enables learners to combine credits from different institutions and learning experiences; and greater pathways for college students to attain a bachelor’s degree and continue on to graduate study.

“In today’s economy, we can’t rest on our laurels. Our research is aimed at ensuring we know how our system of higher education is working and what needs to be done to keep it working well,” said Norrie. “Our review of the system will look at the full range of opportunities that Ontarians need in order to be competitive in the knowledge economy.”

This paper is the first of a series of research projects and stakeholder consultations that HEQCO plans before developing its advice to the minister on system planning issues. HEQCO is an arm’s-length agency of the Government of Ontario, mandated to conduct research, evaluate the postsecondary education system, and provide policy recommendations to the minister of training, colleges and universities with a view to enhance the quality, access, and accountability of Ontario’s higher education system. President of the council is James Downey, who was president of UW 1993 to 1999.

Earlier last week, the council released its Second Annual Review and Research Plan. This document highlights the Council's research findings over the past year and lays out a comprehensive plan for continuing its research into improving postsecondary education in Ontario.

"Times of economic uncertainty are fertile opportunities for change," said Frank Iacobucci, chair of the Council. "We must ensure that our colleges and universities are able to play their part in ensuring Ontario prospers in the new knowledge economy. With the Second Annual Review and Research Plan, HEQCO has laid out a research program that will help policymakers meet short-term needs while striving towards this long-term goal."

"The Second Annual Research and Review Plan," said Downey, "is issued at a time of considerable uncertainty and challenge for our colleges and universities, including a deepening recession, expected large increases in enrolment (especially in the GTA), and the need for expanded educational pathways. Such challenges necessitate a sound understanding of the system we have in relation to the system we will need in the years ahead. Our report broadens and deepens that understanding."

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Announcements that need to be tolled

[Artist and massive bell inside barn]UW’s north campus is providing a temporary home for the "Waterloo Bell" sculpture that the City of Waterloo has commissioned, until space is ready in the planned new downtown square. The artist, Royden Rabinowitch (left), has completed the manufacturing process for “The Waterloo Bell — Bell for Kepler”. This artwork commission is to be installed at the intended site facing on King Street when the construction on the square is completed this spring. Says Carol Stewart, business manager for UW’s research and technology park: “The artwork is a fitting icon in Waterloo, since so much of our history is founded on the tension between science and faith. Thematically, we believe that a temporary location for the Bell at the Institute for Quantum Computing (RAC building in the Park) is a good fit — to continue to build the understanding and appreciation for the artwork in our community before it is installed in its permanent home.”

Results of the recent undergraduate student election were to be announced Friday, but, well . . . “The Federation of Students regrets to announce that the results of the 2009 Federation of Students’ Executive, Students’ Council and University of Waterloo undergraduate student Senate elections will be delayed,” said John Andersen, the Chief Electoral Officer. “Of the 23,000 full-time undergraduate students eligible to vote, approximately 200 found they were unable to cast their ballots using the Federation of Students’ online ballot web page. These students are registered in the Software Engineering and in the Computing and Financial Management programs and are currently away on a coop term. After voting began, it became apparent that there was an error in the voters list. After investigating, I discovered I made an error when requesting the list from the University regarding these constituencies. As a result of the error, the Election Committee has decided to hold an additional polling period for these students. Since these students could affect the results of the elections, the Election Committee will defer tabulating final results until the remaining students are given their opportunity to participate in voting, and all votes have been counted. Final results are expected after students return from the Reading Week break.”

The DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel University College, is “thrilled” by this week’s news, a memo says: “The piece Notes Towards a Poem That Can Never Be Written by local composer (and former DaCapo singer) Timothy Corlis has been nominated for a Juno, in the category Classical Composition of the Year. The DaCapo Chamber Choir commissioned this piece (with funding from the Ontario Arts Council) and premiered it in March 2006. It is also the central piece on the Notes Toward recording, which is available online at CD Baby and will be on sale at DaCapo’s March 7 concert. This recording of the nominated composition features the DaCapo Chamber Choir, cellist Ben Bolt-Martin, narrator Bruce Dow, and soprano soloist Sheila Dietrich. It was recorded under the Chestnut Hall label. The Junos will be awarded on March 29 and will air on CTV.”

It’s definite now: Saturday, December 5, will be a Monday this year. UW will hold classes on that one Saturday to round off the fall term with the minimum acceptable number of teaching days, the university senate decided at its January meeting. Registrar Ken Lavigne had recommended the unusual arrangement because Labour Day falls as late this year as it ever can, on September 7. The last time the beginning-of-term holiday fell on the 7th was in 1998, but since then, the rules about the number of study days students must enjoy have been tightened — also by senate action. Shortening the term isn’t possible because accreditation for some of UW’s academic programs, as well as longstanding senate rules, require a minimum of 60 class days. Lavigne and his staff worked out various “scenarios” for the term, he said, and some of them included major changes to orientation week, which traditionally starts on Labour Day. “We didn’t want to force a change to orientation without proper analysis.” he says. So classes will begin Monday, September 14, and wind up on December 5, which will be treated as a Monday for scheduling purposes. Says Lavigne: “I am not the only one who faced the challenge presented by a late Labour Day. School boards are having to start the school year before Labour Day to achieve the required number of teaching days.”

And . . . the university secretariat sends word that online voting starts today to fill the regular staff seats on the Dean of Applied Health Sciences and Dean of Mathematics nominating committees. The candidates contesting the positions follow: Applied Health Sciences — Pete Driezen (Population Health Research Group), Meredith McGinnis (Dean's Office); MathematicsLis D'Alessio (Pure Mathematics), Sherryl DiCiccio (Computer Science).


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Link of the day


When and where

Open enrolment on Quest for spring 2009 courses begins this week.

Winter term reading week February 16-20.

Education Credit Union presents Alan Wintrip, “Personal Tax Strategies”, 12:15 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Math alumni in Seattle reception today, cancelled.

Education Credit Union presents Ryan Fitzgerald, “Staying Invested”, Wednesday 6:30 p.m., Waterloo Inn, reservations to julier@ ecusolutions.com.

Chemical engineering seminar: Joost Vlassak, Harvard University, “Fracture in Coatings with Application to Low-k Dielectrics”, Thursday 3:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Math alumni in Palo Alto reception Thursday, cancelled.

Last day for 50 per cent tuition fee refund, February 20.

UWdir partially out of operation February 20-22; new identity management system, WatIAM, available as of February 23. Details.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar, “Multi-Generational Workers”, Friday 7 a.m., Waterloo Inn.

Employer interviews for spring co-op work term resume February 23; rankings open February 27, 1 p.m.

QPR suicide prevention training session February 23, 11:30 to 1:00, Math and Computer room 4068, register with counselling services, ext. 33528.

UW Senate meets Monday, February 23, 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Senate finance committee February 24, 2:30 p.m., and March 12, 11 a.m. Details.

One Waterloo Diversity Campaign auditions for the 2009 “Telling My Story” series (performances in March) February 25, 2:00 to 6:00, Humanities room 344, and February 26, 4:00 to 7:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 208. Details.

The Engineering and Technology Labour Market Study: John O’Grady, Prism Economics and Analysis, presents findings of study for Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy, February 25, 3:30 p.m., Carl Pollock Hall room 2387.

Graduate Student Association deadline for nominations in annual executive elections, February 25, 4:30 p.m. Election, if required, March 10-12. Details.

Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University: Denis Alexander, University of Cambridge, “Rescuing Darwin” February 25, “Is Darwinism Incompatible with Purpose?” February 26, both 8:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall. Details.

Texas Hold’em poker tournament February 26, 6:30 p.m., atrium of TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, tickets $60, proceeds to Food Bank, information 519-746-7416.

Drop (penalty 1) period ends, February 27; last day to receive a WD grade for dropped courses.

Application deadline for spring 2009 undergraduate admission is March 2. Details.

Peter Russell, earth sciences, 65th birthday cocktail reception during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention, March 2, 6:00 to 8:00, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto, RSVP sharonmc@ uwaterloo.ca.

‘Interactive Teaching and Learning Strategies’ three-day workshop sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, March 3, 5 and 10. Details.

Faculty of Arts public lecture: Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapirisat Kanatami, “Inuit and the Canadian Arctic: Sovereignty Begins at Home” March 3, 7:00, MacKirdy Hall, St. Paul’s College. Details.

Engineering Shadow Day for Grade 11 and 12 students, March 4. Details.

Climate change lecture: Mark Serreze, University of Colorado at Boulder, “Cranking Up the Arctic Heat”, March 4, 7:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

International Women’s Day dinner with speaker Yan Li (Confucius Institute, Renison UC), March 5, 5:00 for 6:00, University Club, tickets $32 at Humanities box office.

Staff annual performance appraisals due at human resources department, March 16.

March break open house for applicants and their families, March 17, 9:00 to 3:00. Details.

Winter term classes end Friday, April 3; exams April 8-24. Unofficial winter term grades appear in Quest beginning April 27. Grades become official May 25.

Second annual Staff Conference April 6-7, “2 More Full Days Just for You”, keynote speakers, workshops, “Your Passport to Health”, agenda to be published in mid-February, registration opens March 4.

UW board of governors meets April 7, 2:30 p.m.

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