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Tuesday, March 1, 2005

  • Pope-watchers turn to UW for comment
  • Registrar presents the new Quest
  • Global issues talk is tonight
Chris Redmond

March 'like a lion', and other cliches

[Pope John Paul II]

Pope-watchers turn to UW for comment

As Pope John Paul II moves toward the end of his life, and the world watches medical bulletins from Rome, Michael Higgins is on the alert.

Already he's in demand, and he's braced for a media onslaught when the Pope (right), who is 84 and has reigned for 27 years, finally dies. The Pope has been hospitalized twice this winter, and speculation has been rampant.

"I work as a papal affairs analyst for four outlets," says Higgins, who says his role as president of St. Jerome's University becomes "my day job" when the CBC, CTV, Maclean's and the Globe and Mail all call for his comments. "I get bombarded with calls," he said yesterday, reporting that one day last week, when the Pope's illness and surgery made worldwide headlines, "both my CTV pager and my CBC cellphone went off at the same time in the car!"

Higgins is author or co-author of several books about Roman Catholic church affairs, but acknowledges that there are other authorities on the papacy in Canada, and of course in other countries. However, he says, he may be the one who's most comfortable in the soundbite world of the media (he writes a column on media affairs for the local newspaper, the Record) and he's known to reporters and editors as a reliable commentator, available to explain the doings of the church and willing to speak plainly but fairly. He prides himself on providing a "measured", not extreme, analysis of personalities and events. "I'm very comfortable being a Roman Catholic intellectual and a Roman Catholic lay leader," he said, "and being critical of the Pontificate."

Says Higgins: "The academy has a responsibility for dealing with the media -- we have an obligation as university professors to help communicate our research and educate the populace. We're educators -- this is our job!"

[Alone at the microphone]

Michael Higgins recording commentary for his CBC "Ideas" series on theologian Thomas Merton in 1998 (CBC photo).

As the Pope has been in and out of hospital in recent weeks, media interest has been so intense that "it's really rather alarming," Higgins said. He's done a number of interviews, including a two-hour CBC conversation that is "on hold" until the inevitable burst of publicity at the time of the Pope's funeral and the election of his successor.

"When he does die, it will be the news event of the century," the St. Jerome's leader said, citing John Paul's longevity, the "complex" nature of his legacy as a Pope in dramatically changing times, and the public fascination with the process by which cardinals choose a new Pope.

  • Federation of Students 'extremely disappointed' with federal budget
  • Documentary looks at life of UNBC students
  • 'Workplace savvy': making a good impression in a new job (from CECS)
  • High-tech resources for ancient library reborn
  • Founder of Stratford Festival is mourned
  • 'No limousines,' New Zealand college insists
  • First woman president for Royal Society of Canada
  • High school graduation rates dropping
  • Biography of Nobel-winning biochemist Michael Smith
  • UBC to offer engineering degrees in Kelowna
  • 'The rising profile of women academics' (Stats Canada)
  • CAUT panel investigating faculty of medicine at Memorial U
  • Britain's 'bold vision' for European science | Plan to make UK 'the best place'
  • Innovation found lacking in federal budget (Crane, Star)
  • Principal of Queen's U defends herself | Newspaper story
  • "I will not need to go to Rome," he said, pointing out that in an electronic age, comments can be made from anywhere. He did, however, spend some time thinking about the Pope during a recent visit to Poland on other business; he got away from the main agenda to visit the Pope's birthplace, Wadowice, and other sites associated with him, "to understand his culture and the values that shape him."

    Registrar presents the new Quest

    Links to online banking institutions to make fee payment easier, and "a grid-based format" to show a student's weekly schedule, are among the features in the new version of Quest, the student information system, which went live yesterday.

    Pick Your Plan Week continues for undergraduate students who need to select or change a major, minor or option.

    Canadian Computing Contest for high school students, sponsored by UW Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, today in Canada, Wednesday in Hong Kong.

    Engineering shadow days bring high school visitors to classrooms, today and Wednesday.

    Health informatics information sessions for students, faculty and staff: 12:30, Optometry room 309; 5:30, Physics room 145; Thursday 12:30, Coutts Hall room 308. More information online.

    Career workshop: "Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills", 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Co-op student meetings for students heading for first work term: southern Ontario except Toronto, today 4:30, Tatham Centre room 2218; Toronto and eastern Canada, Wednesday 4:30, same room. Acceptance of employment meetings, all students with spring term jobs, details online.

    David Orchard, former candidate for Progressive Conservative Party leadership, speaks 8 p.m., CEIT room 1015, on "What Kind of Canada Does the World Need?" Sponsored by UW Campus Greens.

    Student Team Electronic Resource (STeamER): electronic environment for student design project management, presentation in the Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, Wednesday 10 a.m.

    Café-rencontre, département d'études françaises, Dany Laferrière, romancier d'origine haitienne, "De la littérature au cinéma et vice versa", mercredi 11h30, Rod Coutts Hall salle 309.

    Stress relaxation series sponsored by Employee Assistance Program continues: "Cortical Relaxation", Wednesday 12:00, Math and Computer room 5158.

    'Professionalism in the Classroom' workshop scheduled for Wednesday noon hour has been postponed to March 16.

    Poet Goran Simic reads from Immigrant Blues, Wednesday 4:00, St. Jerome's University room 3027.

    Women in Mathematics Committee presents Kate Larson, school of computer science, "Game Theory Meets Computer Science", Wednesday 4:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

    Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics public lecture, Anton Zeilinger, University of Vienna, "From Einstein to Quantum Information", Wednesday 7 p.m. at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 883-4480.

    Hagey Lecture: Ursula Franklin, University of Toronto metallurgist and feminist, "Thinking about Technology: Defining Technology as Practice", Wednesday 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre, free tickets 888-4908. Student colloquium Thursday 10:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

    Engineers Without Borders Day presentations Thursday, great hall, Student Life Centre.

    Dalsa Corporation: "A Brief History" by founder (and former UW faculty member) Savvas Chamberlain, sponsored by Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, Thursday 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 305, RSVP to ext. 7167.

    Copyright in Canada information session by Amber Lyons, McMaster University intellectual property office, including discussion of copyright on learning materials Thursday 1 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302, reservations required (ext. 3300 or zadilsky@uwaterloo.ca).

    Health mentorship afternoon: alumni of the health studies program talk about their careers, Thursday 3 to 5 p.m., Clarica Auditorium, Lyle Hallman Institute, Matthews Hall.

    Christian Dufournaud, department of geography, memorial gathering Thursday, 4 to 6 p.m., University Club.

    Bioengineering symposium:"Role of the Bioengineer in the 21st Century", Thursday 8 p.m., Davis Centre lounge, details online.

    Pinball Clemons, head coach of Toronto Argonauts, speaks on "Youth, Leadership and Community", Monday, March 7, 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $8 (free for undergrad students) at Humanities box office.

    Bigger changes in the software behind the system will have advantages for the people who operate it, but shouldn't even be visible to students, according to explanations from the registrar's office as the new system comes into use.

    "We thank you for your patience during the upgrade process," said an e-mail sent automatically to thousands of students and signed by UW registrar Ken Lavigne. "The Quest website has also been updated and a new help section and website feedback form have been created," he told them.

    The familiar uses of the system are still there -- students can update their contact information, add or drop courses, see financial aid information, check their grades and schedules, and so on. "We look forward to adding even more features to serve you better," the registrar wrote.

    An e-mail message to academic departments concentrated on the things for which staff and faculty use Quest: looking at class lists, for example, and checking "undergraduate and graduate student academic and application information" through Waterloo Inquiry, successor to the old WINQ utility.

    "In addition, instructors can use Quest to view their weekly course schedule and view the UW course catalog and class schedule."

    "Thank you to everyone who was involved in this project," writes Jennifer Johnson, coordinator of web and e-communications for the registrar's office. She mentioned a few of those people: Carmen Roecker in scheduling, Audrey Sloboda in the graduate studies office, Fred Widall and Kevin Oberle in information systems and technology, and Ian Read in undergraduate recruitment.

    Demonstrations of Quest and Waterloo Inquiry are scheduled for Friday. A session for graduate studies academic and administrative users will take place at 9:30 a.m. in Davis Centre room 1304. For undergraduate studies academic and administrative users, a 9:30 session (Coutts Hall room 309) will be repeated at 1:30 p.m. (Arts Lecture room 113).

    Global issues talk is tonight

    Journalist and filmmaker Avi Lewis will discuss student influence and responsibility on global issues during a visit to UW tonight as part of the third annual International Celebration Week. His topic is "Students of the World Unite: You've got nothing to lose but everything," and the lecture starts at 8:00 in Coutts Hall room 101.

    "Avi Lewis will come to campus to reflect on the opportunities and challenges of the global economy for young people around the world, and especially for Canadian university students," says Ryan Chen-Wing of the student life office. "Although student life on Canadian campuses is increasingly filled with challenges, it is also a very exciting time and opportunities for international experiences have never been greater."

    Lewis has worked as a broadcast journalist for MuchMusic, Citytv and CBC. At MuchMusic, he hosted the New Music and engaged Canadian youth in the political process with extensive coverage of the Canadian federal election in 1993 and the Québec referendum in 1995. Lewis later hosted "counterSpin" on CBC, where he facilitated discussions of current affairs among newsmakers, analysts and reporters.

    Most recently, Lewis has collaborated with his wife, writer Naomi Klein, on a documentary film called "The Take". In it, they examine labour activism and direct democracy amidst globalization and the economic turmoil of Argentina.

    The talk is sponsored through various organizations and UW offices, including the associate vice-president (academic), the Federation of Students, the science faculty, Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Conrad Grebel University College, Renison College, St. Jerome's University, St. Paul's United College, the faculty of applied health sciences, the faculty of engineering, the faculty of arts and the faculty of environmental studies.

    International Celebration Week is organized "to celebrate international diversity on campus by exploring concepts of internationalism by highlighting global education opportunities as well as cultural and social events".

    Other events today include "Around the World in 180 Minutes", in which students from various countries will present information and pictures about their home countries, starting at noon in the Student Life Centre, and an "International Quiz Bowl" in the SLC later in the day. Tomorrow, noontime activities in the SLC include a "peace mandala" and paper-crane making as part of the Yume Peace Project.


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