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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

  • 'Inspiring' community in a crowded school
  • Prof's sculpture going to Olympics
  • Trivia and more . . .
Chris Redmond

Information and submissions: bulletin@info.uwaterloo.ca

'Inspiring' community in a crowded school

Desperately short of space -- that was UW's school of architecture three years ago, and it's still the architecture school now, says a program review submitted to UW's senate. But things will change when the school moves into its new home (below) in Cambridge, south of Kitchener, this fall.

[Riverside silk mills] A report has come to the senate as part of the academic program review process, following a visitation to UW by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board late in 2002.

Says the report: "The professional program in Architecture is in the last stages of transformation from an undergraduate to a graduate professional degree. The first MArch students graduated in the Spring of 2002. The visit also took place against the backdrop of the forthcoming relocation of the School of Architecture to Cambridge. . . . Previous visiting teams had made very critical comments on the amount and quality of space available to the School. While the 2002 team remarked on the prospect of an improvement once the School relocated, it had no option but to assess the present conditions."

But the review did comment that the new facility in Cambridge "will provide a completely new facility with over 80,000 square feet. This compares with a total of 27,000 square feet attributed to Architecture in ESI and ESII at the present time. Plans for the Cambridge facility address the review team's criticisms relating to the overcrowding of design studios, the shortage of proper space for design juries, health and safety issues related to insufficient assembly space for models and prototypes, and inadequate faculty offices."

More excerpts: "The undergraduate program is based on four streams: culture, ecology, technology, and design. The heavy emphasis on culture is unique to Waterloo, and the ecology stream reflects the School's location in a Faculty of Environmental Studies. . . .

"The sense of community, collegial respect and commitment in Architecture is extraordinary and inspiring. Also, the School enjoys visionary and energetic leadership from the Director. Notable strengths are viewed to be a commitment to humanistic underpinnings for the academic plan, the sustained commitment to the Rome program, participation in coop education, and the initiative to establish the new Master's program.

"The students are of very high quality, and produce vigorous and accomplished work. . . . The creative and scholarly activity in the School is recognized both nationally and internationally."

The school has made some progress since it was last reviewed, the report says. "Four other goals have been partially or fully implemented: increase faculty research; establish two collaborative research centres; create a professional advisory committee; and fund raising for a new building. . . . One goal, to increase the faculty complement, has not been realized due to budget pressure in the University. . . .

"Shortages in design studios, offices, instructional space, and library facilities still exist but will be addressed by the new building in Cambridge; a shortage of studio instructors has become worse and has resulted in full-time faculty teaching more courses and more students; and, additional funds to support faculty research and travel are gradually increasing through growth in research funding."

The review team commented on what it viewed as "a pattern of prolonged institutional neglect" that "now threatens to undermine the considerable historical and present accomplishments of the School." It said the number of full-time faculty (17, four with PhDs, compared to 21 in 1993) "is insufficient to deliver the programs at a high level of quality, the provision of administrative staff is inadequate, the faculty/student ratios in design studios are unacceptably high, a gender and ethnic imbalance continues in the faculty complement, the space for studio instruction is wholly inadequate, and, while there is evidence of increased capacity to attract external research and development funding, the ability to use these resources remains unreasonably modest. . . .

"Concerns related to the institutional context and support for the professional program, especially issues of faculty complement, must be addressed with a sense of urgency prior to the move to Cambridge. . . . A review should examine current and short-term enrolment strategies, and consider extending the Master's program from 12 to 16 months. Further, both the School and UW should consider options for ongoing financial support for the School, including tuition increases for students in the Master's program and at-source service fees related to IT infrastructure and support. . . .

"The School, the Faculty and the University have developed a plan to deal with the School's pressing financial and human resource needs. The University and the Faculty have provided financial support through the enrolment management plan. Additional funds will come from the operating endowment associated with the Cambridge project. Finally, the School of Architecture has begun to admit international students in order to enhance its program and expand its financial base. . . .

"The plan for faculty renewal calls for the appointment of three full-time faculty in 2004-05 and one additional appointment in 2005-06. The School will use the hiring process to attempt to address the need for a more diverse faculty. . . . It is also a priority of the School to increase the amount and quality of funded research by faculty and graduate students."

[Sitting in studio]

Prof's sculpture going to Olympics -- by Kany Doski, for @UWaterloo, the alumni e-newsletter

A sculpture created by fine arts professor Bruce Taylor has been selected to represent Canada at the Olympic Games in Greece. Taylor is the only Canadian to have his work featured at the Olympic park in Amaroussion, Greece, where ceramics and sculptures from around the world will be displayed.

[White, red, blue] Recommended by a Toronto museum curator, Taylor's Olympic design was inspired by the piles of toys seen around his own home. A father of 2-year-old twins and daughters aged 6 and 8; Taylor is no stranger to the world of dolls, toy cars and blocks. His children's colourful foam blocks grabbed Taylor's attention, acting as a basis for his design.

"The piece (left) resembles a runner in a runner's block," as Taylor describes it, and is made up of three separate components. Each of the three sections is a different colour: black, red and white.

The 1,700-pound creation is made entirely of clay and took approximately three months to complete. Each piece had to be individually fired at 1,200 degrees Celsius in UW's computer-controlled kiln. Each piece was shipped separately by air freight and will be assembled in Greece.

Says the artist: "I'm really excited to have my work featured at the Olympics" He hopes to attend the ceremonies later this summer. Some of Taylor's other works are displayed on the fine arts web site.

Trivia and more . . .

The first ever Genius Bowl -- an inter-class trivia competition for engineering students -- will be held tomorrow at 5:30 in RCH 101. Says Matt Strickland, VP Internal of the Engineering Society, which is organizing the event, "The contest will finally put to rest the debate of which year and department truly is the smartest class in UW Engineering." Contestants will be asked questions in geography, history, entertainment, literature, sports, and the natural sciences, among other categories. Today is the last day to register a team. The EngSoc office is in CPH 1327.

A blood donor clinic continues today through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. Donors are asked to sign up at the turnkey desk.

A psychology colloquium is scheduled for 2:30 this afternoon in PAS 1241. Ying-yi Hong of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will deliver a talk entitled: "Static Versus Dynamic Approach to Social Identity and Cultural Processes."

This evening at 7 p.m. in AL 116 there will be a water privatization talk and film sponsored by the UW International Health Development Association.

"Everyone seems to have an opinion on what is best for Iraq's future, but no-one seems to ask the Iraqis themselves," says a press release from the Waterloo Public Interest Group. Tomorrow, at 7 p.m. in DC 1302, WPIRG sponsors Iraq: The View from here, a question-and-answer session with local Iraqis, including UW students. "Come hear passionate, personal stories of what it's like on the inside and what it's like to watch from the outside. Escaping Saddam, sneaking back in, witnessing terrorism, dreaming of a better future -- find out what it's like to be both Canadian and Iraqi." The event was organized in cooperation with the Arab Students Association and the Muslim Students Association at UW.

And today is the last chance to register for Freeing Your Voice: a TRACE workshop for instructors and grad students on enhancing quality of the speaking voice. The workshop will be held on July 21, at 1:30 p.m. in MC 5158.


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