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Friday, April 15, 2011

  • Lots of change in the executive suite
  • Between the exams, a few other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Conversation in the kitchen]

Carbonara noodles and some good company — a pasta-making afternoon was the last event held by the International Spouses group, on April 1. Elena Cecchetto, "intercultural advisor" for the group and clearly a natural in the kitchen, explains her technique. The group will be heading for Kitchener's The Museum this Sunday, starting at 1:30, in an outing to which family members are invited; details are online.

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Lots of change in the executive suite

It’s a year of change in Waterloo’s top management, with some positions changing hands according to long-established procedures and others offering an opportunity to rethink structure and the way the university manages its business.

And then there are the islands of stability, such as the position of vice-president (administration and finance), held by Dennis Huber since January 2001. Even so, he’s not the administrator with the longest continuous service (that would be Bud Walker, director of business operations since 1996 and more recently doubling as associate provost, students) or the one with the longest, though not unbroken, service at the top (Alan George, with almost 29 years, on and off, in various roles).

Waterloo’s senior administration is usually defined as the members of the Executive Council — 21 people by current count, of whom 15 also serve on Deans’ Council. Either EC or DC meets just about every Wednesday morning to advise the president and provost, work out consensus and generally manage the business of the university.

Here’s a rundown of the positions and people, both current and soon-to-be:

President: As of March 11, Feridun Hamdullahpur is the university’s sixth president. A mechanical engineer who came to Waterloo in 2009 initially to serve as provost, he had been interim president since October. Hamdullahpur faced faculty and staff members in a “town hall” meeting this past Monday, and said administrative structure is one of the things he’s looking hard at: “We will need to look inward and say, do we have the right structure to enable us? I cannot answer this question right now, but I think it’s a question that needs to be asked.”

Provost: Since Hamdullahpur moved into the president’s office six months ago, the university’s chief administrative officer has been Geoff McBoyle, who became “vice-president (academic) and provost”) on an interim basis while continuing to do his previous job as associate vice-president (academic programs). McBoyle is a professor of geography and former dean of the environment faculty. The president told this week’s town hall meeting that work is starting to set up the formal nominating committee for the VP-and-provost position that’s required under university Policy 48.

Two deans staying for a while: Susan Elliott of applied health sciences and Ian Goulden of mathematics were new appointees in 2010 and are still early in their five-year terms.

Two deans leaving shortly: Ken Coates of arts will finish his term this summer, to be replaced by Douglas Peers, currently of York University, arriving in the dean’s office July 1. Mark Seasons of the environment faculty is ending his time as interim dean, with the new dean, André Roy, arriving from the Université de Montréal as of August 1.

Two deans under review: Deans’ nominating committees, a requirement of university Policy 45, are getting to work in the faculty of science, where dean Terry McMahon is nearing the end of his first term, and the faculty of engineering, where dean Adel Sedra will finish his second term — usually the limit — next year.

Vice-president (university research): Biology professor George Dixon has held this post since 2007. A nominating committee will be in order, under university Policy 68, and Hamdullahpur has joked at two meetings in recent days that he’s twisting Dixon’s arm to persuade him to be a candidate for a second term.

Vice-president (external relations): Meg Beckel, vice-president for the past four years, is leaving in June to become director of the Canadian Museum of Nature. The president said this week that he's hearing advice on whether or how to restructure the job, perhaps into two separate vice-presidencies, and meanwhile an interim VP will be appointed. (Charlie Sheen is not considered a likely candidate.)

Vice-president (administration and finance): That’s Dennis Huber, formerly an executive in the plant operations department, whose reputation is for filling his Needles Hall office with so much paper, from financial printouts to architectural drawings, that there’s hardly room for him.

Secretary of the university: Huber is doubling in this position on an interim basis, since the departure of long-time university secretary for the glamour of Ottawa earlier this year. Hamdullahpur told the town hall meeting that a committee is being set up to search for the new secretary, but only after there’s time to reassess some of the administrative responsibilities that traditionally go with the job.

Associate provost (resources): The modest title belongs to geography professor Bruce Mitchell, who was called “associate provost (academic and student affairs” until a modest shuffle last year, and who’s recognized as the number three official in the administration, behind the president and provost.

Associate provost (graduate studies): Sue Horton came to Waterloo from Wilfrid Laurier University, where she had served as vice-president (academic), to take this job in 2009. Previous administrators in charge of graduate studies had had the title “dean”. She’s appointed as a faculty member in health studies and gerontology, specializing in health economics.

Associate provost (information systems and technology): Retired computer science professor J. Alan George has held this role since 2003. He’s the undisputed champion of long service in Waterloo’s top ranks, which he first entered as dean of math in 1980; he was provost from 1988 to 1993 and has held several other positions as well.

Associate provost (human resources): Janet Passmore, formerly an insurance executive, came to Waterloo in 2009 to take this position, which had formerly been combined with “student services” in a single portfolio.

Associate vice-president (international): Leo Rothenburg, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and former acting dean of engineering, holds this office.

Director of business operations: Bud Walker, who had previously served for decades as the university’s director of data processing, holds this position. He’s been doubling for a year and a half now as associate provost (students), formerly “associate provost (student services)”, since the retirement of veteran executive Catharine Scott. A search for someone to take the latter job permanently will be starting soon, Hamdullahpur told the town hall meeting this week, referring to it under yet another title, “associate vice-president (students)”.

Director, institutional analysis and planning: That’s Mary Jane Jennings, appointed last year to succeed long-time director Bob Truman on his retirement.

Registrar: Ken Lavigne has held this office since 1996, and is only the third registrar in the university’s history. His position was added to the roster of Executive Council just a few months ago, reflecting a new emphasis on the university’s “enrolment management”.

Chair, federated and affiliated college heads: Each year one leader of the colleges (St. Jerome’s, Renison, Conrad Grebel and St. Paul’s) represents them on Executive Council; in 2011-12 it’s Glenn Cartwright, principal of Renison University College.

Secretary: Serving both Executive Council and Deans’ Council is associate university secretary Marie Armstrong.

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Between the exams, a few other notes

[Recycling box]Here's a reminder that tomorrow is "free electronic equipment recycling day" at central stores in East Campus Hall, 263 Phillip Street. "Bring us your unwanted electronics," a flyer tells the campus and the public, "and we'll safely and responsibly recycle it for free!" Welcome are such items as computers, MP3 players, cellphones, printer cartridges, VCRs, speakers, photocopiers and so on. "Staff will be available to assist in the unloading of e-waste from vehicles," the flyer promises. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is supported by Greentec Recycling Solutions, based in Cambridge.

More than 250 high school students from Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Brantford and the Greater Toronto Area will participate in hands-on activities and discover intriguing opportunities in the health sciences and related disciplines at Waterloo on Tuesday. The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame/TD Discovery Days in Health Sciences program is offered annually at 11 Canadian universities. Waterloo’s event features a full day of 16 interactive workshops, a keynote lecture and a career panel discussion. At 9 a.m. in the Humanities Theatre, Stephen Scherer, senior scientist at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, will start the program with a presentation on applied genomics entitled Treasure the Rarities for They Reveal the Most. An expert in how human genes interact to cause disease, Scherer has received international acclaim for his discovery of the regions of the human chromosome that contain genes linked to autism. Afterwards, students will visit research labs and teaching rooms where they can synthesize acetaminophen, stain cells using state-of-the-art 3D microscopes and analyze vitamin C, among other activities. "Discovery day gives students an idea of what it’s like to be a health professional by interacting with educators and clinicians in a practical, hands-on setting," says Janet Tufts, executive director of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. "We hope the activities offered at Waterloo will inspire students about the fascinating world of health."

A new version of the university’s Policy 17, Quotations and Tenders, was approved by the president as of April 1, the university secretariat says. “Changes have been made to the policy to reflect Ontario’s Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010. This is ‘an Act to increase the financial accountability of organizations in the broader public sector’. Key changes made to the policy reflect the legislation and cabinet directives. Changes made include addition of a requirement that all transactions which exceed $5,000 be formally executed by purchase order or written contract; addition of consulting services under part 4 ‘Requirements’; revisions in part 5 ‘Exceptions’; addition of Procurement Code of Ethics.”

And . . . voting is under way in the election of a staff representative to the university's board of governors — one of the two staff voices on the 36-member board. Voting continues (online for non-union staff, paper ballots for Canadian Union of Public Employees members) until April 21, next Thursday.


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Link of the day

Creativity and innovation

When and where

Library extended hours during exam season: to April 21, Davis Centre library open 24 hours (except Sunday 2 to 8 a.m.), Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Winter term examinations April 8-21; unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest, April 22; grades become official, May 24.

Dance Canada competition Friday-Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

‘Let Newton Be!’ play by Craig Baxter, life of Sir Isaac Newton, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $15.

Birding hike on the Healthy Valley Trail, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee , Sunday 2:00.

Chemical engineering seminar: Panagiotis Christofides, University of California at Los Angeles, “Optimal Operation and Control of Reverse Osmosis Desalination Systems” Monday 3:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

University senate Monday 4:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

Teaching Excellence Academy for faculty members April 19-21 and 25. Details.

Learning Management System open house with representatives of Desire2Learn (planned replacement for UW-ACE) as well as university officials, Tuesday 10:30, CEIT building room 1015.

Retirees Association spring luncheon, speaker Ken Coates, dean of arts, Tuesday, Luther Village great hall, cash bar 11:30, meal 12:00, tickets $25, phone 519-888-0334.

Book launch for Ecclesiastical Repentance by Jeremy Bergen, Tuesday 4:00, Conrad Grebel UC.

UWRC Book Club: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Lunchtime walking meditation sponsored by UW Recreation Committee , Wednesday, meet 12:05 in front of Needles Hall.

Education Credit Union lunch-and-learn session: “Purchasing a Vehicle” Thursday 12:10, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP by today to janinew@

QPR suicide prevention training session Thursday 1 p.m., Math and Computer room 4068, registration required, information ext. 32797.

Good Friday, April 22, university closed.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 25-28; keynote speaker, cartoonist Jorge Cham, Monday 3:00, Davis Centre. Details.

Opportunities and New Directions teaching and learning conference sponsored by Teaching Based Research Group, keynote addresses and workshop sessions, April 27-28, Hagey Hall. Details.

Federal election debate for local candidates, hosted by Federation of Students, April 27, 10:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Engineering alumni affairs reception, “Designing the Future”, guest speaker John Baker of Desire2Learn, April 27, 5:30, Engineering 5, tickets $10. Details.

Spring term fees due April 25 (certified cheque, money order, promissory note), April 28 (bank transfer).

Germanic and Slavic studies day and evening of 50th anniversary celebrations, April 28, alumni invited. Details.

Annual used book sale sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, April 29 (9:00 to 9:00) and 30 (9:00 to 1:00), First United Church, Waterloo. Details.

Spring term classes begin Monday, May 2.

Canada 3.0, “Canada’s premier digital media forum” May 2-4, Stratford campus. Details.

Retirees Association bus trip to Niagara River wineries, May 3, tickets $98, information 519-744-3246.

Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of “Princess Ida” May 19 and 21 at 2:00, May 19, 20 and 21 at 8:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets $35 (students $20) at Humanities box office.

You @ Waterloo Day open house for future students, May 28. Details.

Keystone Campaign picnic, Tuesday, June 7.

Matthews Golf Classic (21st annual), Monday, June 13, Grand Valley Golf Club. Details.

Spring Convocation: Wednesday, June 15, 10 a.m. (AHS and environment) and 2:30 p.m. (science). Thursday, June 16, 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (arts). Friday, June 17, 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (mathematics); Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (engineering), all ceremonies in Physical Activities Complex. Details.

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