[University of Waterloo]


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Wednesday, November 2, 2005

  • To be 'one of the great universities'
  • Graduate expansion; other comments
  • Staff recognition winners announced
Chris Redmond

National Down Syndrome Awareness Week

[Each with a plexiglass trophy]

Supervisors: Frank Tompa (computer science), Mark Zanna (psychology), and Richard Hughson (kinesiology) show off their Awards for Excellence in Graduate Supervision, after a recent reception at the University Club honouring this year's winners of the award. A fourth 2005 winner, Arokia Nathan (electrical and computer engineering), was not able to attend.

To be 'one of the great universities'

"Please join us in the dreaming process," provost Amit Chakma urged a "town hall meeting" of staff and faculty members last night, calling on them to be part of the adventure he foresees for the next ten years: "We'll make UW one of the great universities of the world."

The provost set "global excellence" as the target: "The time has come for us to graduate from the Canadian league," he said. meaning that Waterloo can now compete at world levels.

The crowd of about 300 in the Humanities Theatre heard president David Johnston itemize some of UW's achievements and sketch out the context in which the university is working, before Chakma told them where he hopes to take Waterloo during its coming "sixth decade".

He said a preliminary version of the Sixth Decade plan, which will be the fourth in a series of ten-year plans for Waterloo, will be tabled at this month's meeting of the UW senate. Chakma, who chairs the senate's long-range planning committee, has been heading the planning process for the past two years.

[Hagey with map] He showed a photo of UW's empty campus in the late 1950s, and one of president Gerry Hagey, one of UW's founders, gazing at ambitious building plans (right). "Their courage and their dreams remain a source of inspiration," the provost said.

  • Globe and Mail's University Report Card out today
  • 'Ontario won't extend tuition freeze'
  • 'Students want tuition freeze extended'
  • UW kinesiology researcher keeps women lying in bed
  • UW's mountain bikers third in competition (Imprint)
  • Davis library 'silent study' area a big hit
  • UW student at Harvard entrepreneurship 'startup school' (Imprint)
  • CNN profile of Mike Lazaridis
  • Memorial U libel case going to the Supreme Court
  • Momentum: Canadian universities' progress in research and knowledge transfer
  • Ontario will need 11,000 new professors (Queen's U)
  • Etudes sans frontières -- aiding students from war-torn lands
  • Queen's says wild party wasn't Homecoming
  • Universities dropped from Ontario 'transparency' bill
  • Brock U offering a BEd in adult education in Kitchener
  • Week promotes 'equity' for part-time faculty members
  • Guelph prof contributes to UW quantum computing research
  • Backpack to Briefcase: WLU students get financial advice
  • After 48 years, Waterloo is internationally recognized "in some areas", Chakma said. "We would like to join the ranks of the top universities in the world . . . we must create a culture of excellence throughout our institution," not just in "pockets".

    Why? "Canadians must compete internationally," he said. "We really do not have any choice. But to do that, we need top universities." And UW is already -- he cited the familiar Maclean's rankings -- "the best overall university in Canada", and the most innovative. (Columnist Paul Wells had more good thing to say about UW in the October 18 issue of Maclean's, the provost noted.)

    "We will take Waterloo to the world and bring the world to Waterloo," said Chakma, stressing that a big part of the plan for the next decade is to increase the number of international students on campus -- to perhaps 15 per cent of undergraduates, double today's level -- and send more Canadian students to get a taste of life and work overseas. The long-discussed doubling of graduate enrolment is also a big part of the dream. Other specifics will start to appear as the senate works on the draft plan he will be presenting.

    Measures of quality? The provost said he wants to see perhaps 12 of UW's academic departments recognized in "the top ten in North America" and every program in the university "at least in the top third in Canada". Along the way, there would be a growth in the number of faculty (cutting the professor-student ratio from 26:1 down to 20:1 or better) and a proportionate incrase in the number of staff working to support them.

    "I personally am very proud to be affiliated with this great institution," said Chakma. "I'm pretty sure that the dreams that I have outlined are achievable, if we work together."

    On this week's list from the human resources department:

  • Undergraduate student services co-ordinator, school of architecture, USG 5
  • Records assistant II, development and alumni affairs, USG 4
  • Administrative receptionist, development and alumni affairs, USG 3
  • Office assistant, dean of science office, USG 4
  • Financial officer, biology, USG 7
  • Senior data analyst, Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, USG 9
  • Manager, computing and financial management progarm, school of accountancy and school of computer science, USG 8

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Graduate expansion; other comments

    Expansion of UW's graduate programs got much attention in yesterday's town hall meeting, both in the presentations from Johnston and Chakma and in the question period afterwards.

    The president was specific: he wants to see the number of grads grow from the present 2,500 to about 5,000 over the next five years. Chakma added that such a jump seems achievable now that the Ontario government has promised funding for a growth in graduate enrolment province-wide, with UW's share likely to be enough to provide for 2,000 new students, if that's what the university chooses.

    (About funding in general, "there is never enough money," said Johnston, "but we are in a somewhat better period," with both provincial and federal governments currently interested in supporting higher education. Still, he added, Ontario funding and faculty numbers are half or a quarter or a tenth of those at comparable institutions in the United States.)

    The province has even promised some capital funding to help make room for those new grad students, Chakma said, and "we're adding some space," from the new "Sharcnet" building between Physics and Engineering II to the recent expansion of Matthews Hall to make room for applied health sciences labs.

    Someone asked what it will do to workloads and quality if the ratio of graduate students to faculty members goes up from the present 3:1 to 6:1. Can't be done, the president and provost agreed, but they reminded the questioner that the number of faculty is going to be growing too. And, Johnston said, a significant amount of the growth in graduate students will be in "professional master's" programs, which don't require thesis supervision by professors. (A Master of Public Health program is on the drawing board, for example.)

    Johnston included a slide in his PowerPoint presentation listing six "challenges" for UW: "Funding; Co-operative education; Establishing and articulating our competitive advantage; Research; Recruitment of students, staff, faculty; Internationalization."

    Another slide had a six-point "quality agenda": "Bright students; World-class faculty; Talented staff; Best facilities; High quality programs and services; Adequate funding and resources."

    Both speakers noted that staff and "academic support" departmetns are vital to UW's success right along with faculty and academic departments. "Thank you for being the outstanding community that you are," said the president. Chakma cited the department of co-operative education and career services, "which operates the world's largest co-op program", as one example of staff accomplishment, and plant operations, running the most energy-efficient cmapus in Ontario, as another.

    The PowerPoint presentation from yesterday's meeting is available online in PDF format. Tomorrow's Daily Bulletin will have a few other notes from the meeting.

    Engineering Shadow Days welcome high school students again today.

    Education fair in Tokyo, today and tomorrow, with UW represented.

    Winter term job match for accounting students (rankings close 10:00, results 11:00). Information session for students in all programs working in theUS this winter, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

    Arts research seminar month begins: panel on "Art in the Academy", 11:00, Humanities room 373.

    Sandford Fleming Foundation Debates for engineering students, faculty-wide competition continues, 11:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2534; finals Friday, Carl Pollock Hall.

    'Creative Strategies for Funding Your Research' workshop for new faculty members, by invitation, 11:45, Davis Centre room 1302.

    'Make Poverty History' aerial photograph: Students and others join an "MPH" formation for an aerial photograph, field north of Math and Computer building, 12 noon. Barbecue (burgers $1) starts 11:30. Sponsored by Engineers Without Borders.

    Noon-hour concert: "Sounds of Vietnam", Khac Chi "and friends", 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

    Career workshop: "Work Search Strategies" 3;30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Perimeter Institute public lecture: Simon Singh, BBC journalist and author, "The Big Bang," 7:00 at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 883-4480.

    Warrior basketball at Brock tonight (men's and women's teams).

    Tanzania team of UW students talk about their work on HIV/AIDS issues, Thursday 5:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room, sponsored by UW International Health Development Association and other groups.

    Issues in Native Communities series: Drew Hayden Taylor, author and filmmaker, "Aboriginal Humour and Other Things", Thursday 7 p.m., St. Paul's College.

    Arriscraft Lecture: Lieven De Cauter, Brussels, "Indifferent Places, Heterotopia and Camp as Spatial Paradigms for the 21st Century," Thursday 7 p.m. (not Wednesday as previously announced), Architecture lecture hall.

    'Current Indigenous Movements in Mexico', Jorge Torres, director, CETLALIC, Cuernavaca, Mexico, Thursday 7:30, Renison College chapel lounge.

    Pancake breakfast fund-raiser for Breakfast for Learning, sponsored by Engineernig Society, Friday 8 to 10 a.m., Carl Pollock Hall foyer (also November 11 and 18).

    Jim Lepock, former faculty member in physics, memorial reception Friday 3:30 to 5:00, University Club, RSVP ext. 6831.

    UW Day open house for future students and their parents, Saturday, November 5, 9:00 to 3:00, details online.

    Staff recognition winners announced

    A total of 246 staff members are receiving awards in the second year of a program that honours those "who make UW a great place to work every day". Names of the winners were announced online yesterday.

    The Staff Recognition Program, which was introduced as part of the staff salary settlement for 2003-04, rewards staff members with a $1,000 one-time bonus (reduced in the case of part-time staff).

    Nominations were invited from last fall through until June, and could come from anyone on campus. They were then reviewed by the university's senior executives, who approved the winners. The award winners will be guests at a reception Thursday in South Campus Hall, hosted by Executive Council and the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation, the committee that devised the program.

    Trenny Canning of the university secretariat, who handled the administration of the program, says the Exec Council members who looked through the nominations were "looking for a sense that the staff member consistently goes above and beyond what would be expected of her/him (i.e., sustained contributions)."

    The "Reasons for Nominating" section on the nomination form was expanded last year "in an effort to encourage nominators to be more thorough in citing reasons for the nomination and to relate those reasons back to the basic principles". That's a reference to the so-called Five Basic Principles for the UW Workplace: "Focus on the situation, issue, or behaviour, not the person; maintain the self-confidence and self-esteem of others; maintain constructive relationships, take initiative to make things better; lead by example."

    One nomination from a co-worker included these comments (names were deleted before they were made public): "I am very fortunate to be able to work with XX. XX is committed to providing the best possible service to our students and faculty. XX performs at a high competence level and then regularly goes the extra mile to initiate improvements."

    Another one: "Not only does XX tackle the impossible with little resources, XX does so with a cheery disposition that infects the rest of the staff, which greatly enhances the work environment."

    Such generalizations had to be backed up with examples, she stresses. "The selection committee bases its decision on the information provided on the nomination form. Simply stating, for example, that someone 'goes the extra mile' without providing clear examples of situations where this occurred isn't enough. Eloquence isn't necessary, but detail is."

    Winners were notified Monday, and Canning passed along some quotations from the messages that were received in reply (after deleting the names, of course). "I was thrilled to receive the letter informing me of the award," one staff member wrote. "It is such an extra special bonus for coming in to the University each morning to a job that I love. I am a little overwhelmed and excited." Another winner wrote: "The award is greatly appreciated and will be put towards my education savings fund as I plan to go back to school in the near future."

    Nominations for 2006 awards are set to open this week. Canning's advice: "Don't assume that someone else has or will nominate someone you believe warrants consideration. Take the time and submit a nomination."

    She added: "In order to make the program the best it can be, please take the time to send us your thoughts on what's working, what isn't, and suggestions for improvement. The Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation will be examining the program, in detail, over the next few months. Comments may be directed to the Committee at staffrecognition@uwaterloo.ca." (The staff association also held a well-attended meeting of representatives yesterday to discuss its attitude to the program.)


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