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Friday, January 14, 2011

  • Master of Digital Innovation program to begin
  • Selling Waterloo in New York; more notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Master of Digital Innovation program to begin

The flagship academic program for Waterloo’s new Stratford campus — a one-year Master of Digital Innovation — has received all the necessary approvals from university governing bodies, and the first students will arrive this September.

Final university approval for the program was given in December by the senate executive committee, acting on behalf of the university senate. The MDI will be Waterloo’s newest “professional” (non-thesis) graduate program.

Jodi Szimanski, marketing manager for the Stratford campus, notes that approval is still being awaited from the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies, which has to review all new graduate programs across the province before their students can be counted for government funding.

She said 15 to 25 full-time students are expected to start the MDI program this fall, working toward a degree that will give them “a superior advantage in the digital media industry. The MDI combines creativity, technology and business. There will be instruction in theory, but this program emphasizes applied, career-oriented training.”

Szimanski goes on: “This program is completely interdisciplinary. The program is administered through the anthropology department in the Faculty of Arts, but you could have an arts degree, business degree, engineering degree or a computer science degree. This professional degree will help round out any undergraduate degree.”

Said the material presented for senate approval: “While the program will provide students with an appreciation for and experience with the basic technical skills of digital production and implementation, this is not its primary focus. Rather, the MDI program will focus on developing broader capabilities in the areas of team, project, and product management and leadership in the digital media context.

“Working in teams throughout the program, and developing core projects in close consultation with both faculty and industry partners, students in the MDI program will graduate with an adaptable, transferable, and highly marketable set of skills. Training in both the theory and practice of team building, business modelling, marketing strategy, critical/ cultural analysis, and design thinking will position MDI graduates to be able navigators in the complex and fast-moving digital media industry.”

It notes that the program “complements well two other graduate programs at Waterloo”, the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (based in the faculty of engineering) and a proposed Master of Arts in “English, Experimental Digital Media” based in the English department. “It also builds upon offerings in Anthropology, including special attention to business anthropology, design anthropology, visual anthropology, and the anthropology of globalization and digital media as they relate to strategic business praxis.”

Faculty members expected to be involved in the program come from the departments of anthropology, psychology, drama and speech communication, history, political science, English, French and fine arts, the documentation says. It adds that the program could also draw on faculty members in engineering and math.

The graduate program will bring the first students to the Stratford location, four years after a campus was first proposed for the community best known for its summer-long Shakespeare festival. An undergraduate program in the same field is expected to follow, and work is starting on a permanent building, while the Stratford campus is temporarily housed in downtown office space.

The university’s Stratford branch is already involved in making connections between academe and industry through the Open Text Centre for Digital Media Research, announced in 2008, and the federally funded Canadian Digital Media Network, which links Stratford to Waterloo Region’s Communitech consortium. Some of the work is being done under the umbrella of the Stratford Institute, which involves the University of Western Ontario as well as Waterloo.

This spring, Stratford will play host to the third annual Canada 3.0 event, a three-day gathering of professionals and high-profile leaders “to spark creativity, foster innovation and drive productivity” in the digital sphere.

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[Five people posing in hotel lounge]
Selling Waterloo in New York; more notes

Photos have arrived from a November excursion that took several staff from the co-op education and career services department to New York for a "Toronto Financial Services Day" promotion. High-profile officials including Ontario trade minister Sandra Pupatello were among the day's speakers, introducing Ontario resources to the American business community. "CECS recognized the gathering of these leaders," says Olaf Naese from the Tatham Centre, "as a perfect opportunity to diversify its recruiting techniques by showcasing to hiring managers . . . to begin a positioning of Waterloo as a top choice for New York City employers." Cathy Lac-Brisley of CECS reports that "we brought back strong leads and received excellent exposure." The group pictured here includes two co-op students working for Morgan Stanley in New York, Jethro Ma and Amr Karim; Lac-Brisley; and CECS colleagues Lisa ter Woort and Karina Graf.

Waterloo's newest out-of-town foothold will be having its official opening a week from today: the Huntsville Summit Centre, a landmark in a small city 300 kilometres northeast of Kitchener-Waterloo. The new building is to be used chiefly as a base for environmental training, conferences and fieldwork, and invitations went out recently for tours and ceremonies on Friday, January 21. The response has been great, says Dheana Ramsay, advancement officer in the environment faculty: "We've had to close registration early as we have more than 250 registered to attend." Political leaders will be on hand, she says, along with "Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur, vice-president Geoff McBoyle, faculty members and researchers, alumni, students and staff, representatives from environmental and educational institutions, area residents and members of the local business community."

Today's the deadline day for paperwork from those who hope to be part of the Federation of Students leadership for 2011-12. Four executive positions (president and three vice-presidents) are coming open, as well as many seats on students' council. Nominations are due at the Fed office, in the Student Life Centre, by 4:00 today. Campaigning will run from January 24 to February 7, a Federation announcement says, with two public debates on the schedule: "Then it's decision time.  Voting will start on February 8 at 9 a.m. and run through to February 10 at 9 p.m. Voting gives you a chance to have your say, be counted and have a hand in choosing your student government." Full information is, of course, on the Federation web site.

Coming up on March 3 is something called TEDxWaterloo, which will be held at the Centre in the Square in Kitchener but is expected to have a substantial university presence. TED events are — well, it's a bit difficult to explain. "In the spirit of ideas worth spreading," says the web site, "TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group." (Faculty members Ray Laflamme and Philip Beesley were among last year's speakers.) Biochemistry student James Cerar is one of the organizers for the March event, and is seeking "to drum up interest" on campus; he notes that applications to be part of the afternoon event will be welcome until February 1.

A number of retired staff members have died in recent days: Edith Jamieson, who worked in health services from 1981 to her retirement in 1990, died December 5. Gerhard Winkler, a technician in the engineering machine shop from 1967 to his retirement in 1990, died December 19. Clarence Blain, who was a duty attendant in Village II (now Ron Eydt Village) from 1980 to his retirement in 1987, died December 31. Elmer Johnson, who was a coordinator in the co-operative education and career services department from 1970 to his retirement in 1987, died January 1. Winifred Pallas, a food services assistant in Village I from 1981 to her retirement in 1993, died January 8.

And . . . I'm happy to report that as of yesterday, the number of "followers" for the Daily Bulletin on Twitter (@uwdailybulletin) has passed 800. The volume of tweets is low, usually one or two a day, but it's a way to get urgent news about the university fast, as well as morning alerts to what that day's Daily Bulletin will be reporting on.


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[Magazine cover]

A beach scene occupies the cover on the January-February issue of Alternatives, published in Waterloo's faculty of environment. The cover story, "Repopulating Our Public Beaches", is part of a theme issue on water. Authors for this issue include environment student Isabel Slone.

Link of the day

World Religion Day

When and where

Science alumni and friends Ski Day at Osler Bluff near Collingwood, today. Details.

Clubs, Services and Societies Days final day, 10:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre.

John Morton, department of biology, memorial service 11:00, Erb & Good Funeral Home, 171 King Street South.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Tania Cheng, “Two Months on Two Wheels with the Otesha Project” 2:30, Environment 2 room 2002.

Waterloo International Spouses “walk and talk evening” in uptown Waterloo: meet at the bell sculpture in the public square 7 p.m., short walk, move to  Symposium Café. Confirmation necessary by Thursday (e-mail intlspouses@

Library books borrowed on term loan before mid-December are due January 15; return or renew online.

Co-op job postings for spring work term begin on JobMine Saturday 7:00 a.m.

Banff Festival of Mountain Films Sunday 7:30 p.m., Monday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Open class enrolment for winter term ends January 17.

Used book sale Monday 10:00 to 2:00, continuing through Thursday, Renison University College, hallway outside Lusi Wong Library, proceeds to library accessibility enhancement.

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

VeloCity barbecue for students and supporters, Monday 6:00, University Club, by invitation.

Architecture co-op student return-to-campus interviews in Cambridge, Tuesday.

Library workshop: “New Faculty and Grad Students Research Tools and Library Services” Tuesday 10:00, Davis Centre room 1568. Details.

‘Reading Scripture Through Other Eyes’ online lectures co-sponsored by Conrad Grebel University College, January 20-21, lectures 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day, discussion following, lunch available, information ext. 24249.

Grade 10 family night for parents and university-bound students, information about application process, finances and choices, January 20, 6:30, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Student health and dental plan change-of-coverage period for the winter term ends January 21. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Enjoying Your Large Class” January 21, 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

24-Hour Code-a-thon to create mobile apps for Windows Phone 7, starting Friday, January 21, 6 p.m., VeloCity (Minota Hagey Residence). Details.

Drop, no penalty period for winter term courses ends January 24; deadline for 100 per cent tuition fee refund.

Employer interviews for spring term co-op jobs (“main” group of students) January 25 through February 16; pharmacy students, January 28. Details.

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