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Daily Bulletin

Tuesday, September 16, 1997

University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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An outward-looking perspective

That's the special characteristic of Waterloo, says the final "Plan for the University of Waterloo's Fifth Decade". The document was made public last night, as provost Jim Kalbfleisch presented it to the UW senate three years after the president set up a commission to write it.

It has 38 recommendations, mostly the same ones that appeared in the commission's draft plan last February. And now comes the hard part: doing something about them. Says the report:

The Commission on Institutional Planning submits this plan to the President with the suggestion that, within three months, he develop a timetable and strategy for implementing the recommendations. The plan and implementation strategy should be presented to Senate and the Board of Governors, and made generally available to the university community. We suggest that the Senate Long Range Planning Committee, augmented by two members of staff, be asked to monitor implementation progress as well as plan modifications that may be required to accommodate changing conditions, needs, and opportunities.
"We are delighted to be finished," Kalbfleisch told the senate with what sounds like understatement. He chaired the body for dozens of meetings over its three years. The other members were a dozen people from across the university -- staff, faculty, students, alumni.

The planning document, "Building on Accomplishment", sets out "three essential goals" for the university:

The "outward-looking" phrase comes in a section that describes UW's "distinctive characteristics", mostly in very positive language: "a culture of learning by linking to the 'real world' . . . a culture of mutual respect for each other's interests that is implicit in co-operative education . . . the creative tension arising from the strong individual identities and autonomous relationships of the various Faculties and colleges on the one hand, and, on the other, the forging of a common vision and enterprise".

So, what's the common vision?

The University of Waterloo's mission is to advance learning and knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarship, nationally and internationally, in an environment of free inquiry and expression. . . . What makes UW distinctive is the innovative approach it takes to achieving its mission. . . . An outward-looking perspective orients UW to the challenges that face our society and economy.

More emphasis on research

When the draft report came out last winter, the criticism heard most often was that it said too little about the importance of research and what steps UW might take to support it. In the final report, the section on research has been beefed up, and previous recommendations about pressing for more research funding from government and industry have been joined by a couple of new ones:
11. Establish a program to recognize faculty members with outstanding research accomplishments . . . a grant of $1,500 and recognition at convocation to four recipients annually.

12. In determining equitable teaching and administrative assignments for their faculty members, department chairs should take into account graduate student supervision and exceptional levels of activity in research.

Says the report, in a sentence that also appeared in the earlier version: "The primary factors determining the quality of research at UW are the excellence and motivation of UW's researchers and the infrastructure and level of support provided."

Some other new recommendations

Briefly quoted:
15. Over the next several years, UW should increase overall graduate student enrolment to at least its former maximum 1993 level. More attention to the requirement of high-quality domestic and international students will be required, as well as more competitive admission scholarships. . . .

19. [UW should] Review the multiplicity of undergraduate programs offered with a view to streamlining and simplifying the structure through greater use of modular programs (components that can be put together to create individual programs). . . .

24. [UW should] Second a senior academic, on a half-time basis initially and reporting to the Vice-President, Academic and Provost, to oversee and co-ordinate activities related to international students . . . and to develop strategies to enhance and facilitate international connections for faculty and students.

Pretty much unchanged from the draft report are dozens of other recommendations, on topics from workload ("reduce the time spent in committee meetings") to UW's public image ("provide a more balanced institutional profile by drawing attention to achievements in the humanities and social sciences as well as in the more technical areas").

The report calls for "equitable access to the electronic workplace for all faculty, students, and staff", and "the elimination of unnecessary work and duplication of effort".

Students crowding to Waterloo

At last night's senate meeting, provost Jim Kalbfleisch also reported that first-year enrolment this term is expected to settle around 4,000 students, well above the target of 3,730. That's about a 7.2-per-cent increase from last year's figure.

Registrar Ken Lavigne said the "heightened effort" to court students and meet enrolment targets was "very successful." There had been some concern over a decline in applications to UW (and other universities) this year. "Admissions is a crap shoot, and this year we won in spades," Lavigne said with an interesting mixed metaphor. He said the growth has created some challenges with larger classes and the need for additional co-op job placements.

Lavigne said his department plans to do a sampling of first-year students to see why they chose Waterloo and their feelings now that they're here. There will also be a study of students who decided not to come to Waterloo.

And here's today's other news

Hiroshi Haruki, who retired from the pure mathematics department in 1986, died Saturday. He was a faculty member from 1966 until his retirement, and continued active work as an adjunct professor after that: "Professor Haruki was a world-renowned expert in the field of functional equations," says Will Gilbert, chair of the pure math department. "He continued publishing papers in that field after he retired, up to and including one in 1997." The funeral will be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Edward R. Good Funeral Home in Waterloo.

The staff association, through its nominating committee, is looking for a staff representative on the presidential nominating committee, which will soon be considering the reappointment of James Downey, UW's fourth president. "We want to encourage all staff members to consider this opportunity and submit their application," writes Mark Walker of biology (mwalker@sciborg), who chairs the staff association committee. Applications for the post are due by September 26, and then the staff association nominating committee will recommend one or two candidates to the board of governors, which actually chooses the committee members.

Co-op students who will soon be taking job interviews for winter term jobs should pick up the Master Copy of their Co-op Record today, the co-op department advises. "It is available after 10 a.m. in Needles Hall." Further: "Most work reports are due by 4:30 p.m. If the faculty is marking your report, check with the undergrad office for the correct deadline date."

Clubs are getting active for the fall term; just to pick one, the Vietnamese Student Association has its fall organizational meeting this evening at 6:00 in Math and Computer room 4041.

A visitation from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council is taking place this week, and includes a pair of open meetings tomorrow. At 9 a.m. there will be a general session on NSERC affairs ("working towards the future", grant reallocations and general questions); at 10:45 there will be a workshop, mostly for new faculty members, about the actual grant application process. Both of tomorrow's meetings take place in Needles Hall room 3001.

John Ousterhout of Sun Microsystems comes to campus tomorrow as part of the "celebrity lecture series" sponsored by computer science graduate students. Ousterhout will speak at 1:30 (in Davis Centre room 1302) on "Scripting: Higher Level Programming for the 21st Century".


September 16, 1968: New in their league, the football Warriors play an exhibition game against the Alberta Golden Bears at Seagram Stadium.

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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