Friday, August 28, 2009

  • The logo: looking back, looking forward
  • Things that are hanging over us
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

The logo: looking back, looking forward

a statement issued yesterday by Meg Beckel, UW's vice-president (external relations)

Our visual identity system plays a critical role in telling our story. It helps to interest people in our story and say, “That’s Waterloo, Canada’s most innovative and unconventional university.” It needs to tell the world that we are the university to watch because we are on the move.

We now have the story that has been generated by the prototype of a symbol that could anchor our visual identity system. It has fuelled debate and discussion and those discussions have again reinforced the attributes of our institution. As the identity task force considers the next steps, let us all recognize that this is about telling the Waterloo story, about being an exceptional academic university that is also different, unconventional and risk-taking. It is about standing out in a crowd and being a leader. It is about being distinct, unconventional, bold and daring when compared to other universities in Canada. Personal taste aside, the visual identity system must convey our story and strengthen our positioning so that we can achieve our Sixth Decade goals and get people asking “What is happening at Waterloo and can I be part of it?”

Due to the premature leak of the prototype of a new Waterloo marketing logo, we are now dealing with impressions of the logo without any context or rationale. Planning, process and consultation aside, it is unlikely we can bring enough people on board to be successful. Some have asked if the negative reaction would have happened even with the rationale and the context? We will never know. The marketing, communications, fundraising, recruitment, alumni and stakeholder activities of this organization are too important to push something through that could continue to create such negative responses.

Waterloo aims to be among the top five universities in Canada by 2017. Our Sixth Decade Plan set this goal in motion two years ago. Currently, Waterloo ranks 10th in terms of “top-of-mind awareness” among Canadians from coast to coast, according to an Ipsos Reid survey conducted last year.

Waterloo must be recognized across Canada and beyond as among the country’s most respected institutions, one of highest quality, outstanding in academics and research, and a key producer of tomorrow's leaders. To do that it must also "differentiate" itself from the marketplace of universities, demonstrating how it is unique and exceptional.

Waterloo must be number one in its own category: a university that does education differently, emphasizing unconventional approaches, innovation, connections to industry and collaboration while promoting creativity and risk-taking.

A visual identity system is only one part of the strategy that helps to tell the Waterloo story. What we do and how we do it will continue to be the proof of our positioning. Visual identity simply provides the anchor and common visual to the overall story that is Waterloo. It needs to reinforce not only quality, but our distinctiveness and our differentiation from the other universities in that top 10 group.

Our history is anchored in “innovation, experimentation and adventurousness” as noted in Of Mud and Dreams by James Scott, an early history of Waterloo published in 1967.

Our future calls for bold and daring approaches. The Sixth Decade Plan states “Bold and daring is in Waterloo’s DNA. From the earliest days in the 1950s, when community leaders in Southwestern Ontario created a university that would combine work experience with classroom learning, Waterloo has been bold in its approach, and has not been tethered by tradition.”

David Johnston reinforced this message earlier this year: “The University of Waterloo has a unique opportunity to stake out uncharted territory at the frontiers of 21st century innovation . . . looking ahead, we plan to fundamentally reinvent what a university can be, mean and do — with benefits accruing to our students, to the region, to Canada and to the world.”

With this bold and daring direction, we must now tell our ambitious and unconventional story to the world. Our story will help position the university as a distinct and different kind of university in Canada: A university that should be considered among the top five universities in Canada by virtue of our unconventional approach to achieving highest quality, excellence and relevance.

We understand that the bold coloured lines within the W symbol do not resonate with enough of our stakeholders at this point in our process. We believe we should reconsider the symbol and engage our stakeholders in the process more broadly, since they have made it clear they are keenly interested in how we market this institution.

In the coming weeks we will seek online feedback from stakeholders interested in participating in our identity project. We will outline our task, the criteria for consideration and some options to consider. The feedback generated and ongoing face-to-face discussions across campus, will guide our final decision making.

The passion and interest demonstrated by students, staff, faculty and alumni has been tremendous and we thank you for your honesty, creativity and pride.

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Things that are hanging over us

Up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s — well, on Monday it’ll be the overpass between Engineering 3 and the new Engineering 5 building, being hoisted into place by a mighty crane. Bondfield Construction will start setting up the equipment about 5:30 Monday morning, a project that involves “several tractor-trailer loads of parts” and is expected to jam the east side of the ring road. Trucks may also sit on Hagey Boulevard, north of Columbia Street near parking lot X, which is the staging area for the project. Later in the day the two sections of the overpass, which will bridge both the ring road and the railway tracks, will be lifted into position. The plant operations department says a length of the ring road, between the Davis Centre roadway and the Carl Pollock Hall loading dock, will be closed for the day, and Grand River Transit buses will be re-routed to the west (Needles Hall) side of the ring road all day.

Another construction and road announcement: work on Columbia Street West, from the railway tracks up to Westmount Road, is scheduled to start September 8, the day after Labour Day. A crew from the City of Waterloo (or rather from a construction company that has a contract from the city to do the job) will be widening the road to allow for bicycle lanes, mostly by reducing the size of the grassed median. “Traffic is to be maintained with lane reductions,” a memo notes. The job is expected to take about two months. At the same time or right afterwards, the city plans to do paving work on the other side of UW’s north campus: on Bearinger Road, between Albert Street and Westmount Road.

A memo went out to departments the other day explaining the opportunity that's presented by the International Undergraduate Work-Study Program for the fall term. "You could employ an international student on a part-time basis for one-quarter the normal cost," writes Linda Jajko of the student awards and financial aid office. "International students are not eligible for provincial government financial aid (OSAP)," she explains, and "obtaining other financing or part-time employment that fits the student's schedule is very difficult." Hence the program, financed 75 per cent from "a central university fund", to subsidize up to 25 part-time jobs (up to 10 hours a week) in UW departments. "Jobs that tend to receive the most interest are those that create meaningful work experience for the students," Jajko notes, inviting faculty or staff members to submit job proposals by September 15 for the coming term. More information: ext. 35726.

“Information Systems and Technology and Organizational & Human Development,” a memo says, “are pleased to announce that the Skills for the Electronic Workplace registration brochure for the September and October fall courses is now available online. The electronic brochure is a PDF that can be filled out and submitted for registration via email. In addition to SEW’s popular core programming for electronic workplace applications, highlights of this early autumn brochure include courses on Purchasing a Lenovo Computer, Windows 7 Demo, and Securing Data Using TrueCrypt. Hard copies of the brochure have been mailed out to those staff that do not have access to e-mail. As well, hard copies of the brochure are available upon request. More information about IST and its SEW course offerings can be found on our website.”

Application forms are now available for next year’s Rhodes Scholarships, maybe the most famous academic honours in the world. “The scholarships are tenable at the University of Oxford,” says a memo from the UW graduate studies office. “Rhodes Scholars normally receive full support for two years with a possible renewal for a third year. The candidates are Canadian citizens or persons domiciled in Canada and are born between October 2, 1985, and October 1, 1991. Candidates may apply either in the province in which they are ordinarily resident or in the province in which they have attended university. Proven intellectual and academic attainment of a high standard is the first quality required of applicants, but they will also be required to show integrity of character, sympathy for and protection of the weak, the ability to lead and the energy to use their talents to the full.” Forms are available online; the application process involves letters of reference and other documents, all of which should eventually be submitted to the graduate studies office no later than September 11. “Applicants will be interviewed by a University committee, which will select applications to be forwarded to the Rhodes Committee.” More information: e-mail egarner@


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Raymond J. Wieser, who headed UW's co-op department from 1971 to 1983, died Monday, survived by his wife, Joan, and children and grandchildren. Wieser, an engineer with a degree from the University of Saskatchewan, came to UW in 1966 as a coordinator in what was then the "department of coordination and placement" (now co-op education and career services). He became assistant director in 1969 and director of the department two years later. From 1983 to his retirement he served as director of career planning. Visitation is scheduled for tomorrow at 1:00 at the Erb & Good Funeral Home on King Street, with a memorial service at 2:00 in the chapel and then a reception from 3:00 to 5:30 at Wildcraft Grill.

Link of the day

The Ex

When and where

Library hours: Through September 13, Davis Centre and Dana Porter libraries open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Both closed September 7.

Athletics hours: Physical Activities Complex closed through September 7. Columbia Icefield open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 9:00 to 5:30, during this period.

Warrior field hockey team meeting, walk-ons welcome, Saturday 10 a.m., Physical Activities Complex room 2021. Details.

Warrior baseball team meeting, walk-ons welcome, Saturday 1:00 p.m., Columbia Icefield diamonds. Details.

Warrior football scrimmage vs. Concordia Stingers, Sunday 10 a.m., University Stadium, Seagram Drive.

Fee payment deadline for fall term is August 31 (certified cheques, fee arrangements) or September 9 (bank payment). Details.

Warrior men’s rugby team meeting and first practice Monday 9 a.m., Columbia Fields, walk-ons welcome. Details.

Warrior tennis (men and women) team meeting, walk-ons welcome, Tuesday 3:30 p.m., Waterloo Tennis Club. Details.

Surplus sale of furnishings and equipment Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall.

‘Single & Sexy’ preview performance, open to all, September 4, 11:00 a.m., Humanities Theatre. Performances for first-year students September 8-10 at various hours.

Labour Day holiday Monday, September 7, UW offices and services closed, except those involved in welcoming new students.

Orientation week September 7-12. Details.

School of Accounting and Finance grand opening of new wing at Hagey Hall, September 8, events 9:30 to 2:30. Details.

‘Research Tools and Library Services’ workshop for new faculty and graduate students, September 9 at 1:30, Davis Centre library conference room; September 10, 1:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter library; September 11, 10:30, Davis; September 14, 1:30, Porter; September 15, 1:30, Porter. Details.

Fall term classes begin Monday, September 14. Open class enrolment ends September 25.

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