Friday, February 6, 2009

  • Marketing UW: 8 words tell the story
  • Notes from the board of governors
  • Here and there in the university's life
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Marketing UW: 8 words tell the story

by Kelley Teahen, communications and public affairs

Vice-president (external relations) Meg Beckel recently issued a challenge to Waterloo staff involved in promoting the university to a wide range of audiences: “How do we cut through the clutter and make noise?”

Beckel was speaking to 30 people gathered in January for a marketing retreat organized by Tina Roberts, director of Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment. Roberts set up the first of these retreats five years ago and recalls it was a chance for different departments working centrally to be briefed on each other’s projects: that first year brought together representatives from MUR, Communications and Public Affairs, Alumni Affairs and Student Life.

Over the years, the number of retreat participants has grown and the agenda has become more structured. The 2009 meeting also included representatives from Athletics and Recreational Services, Distance and Continuing Education, Co-operative Education and Career Services, Graduate Studies, and UW Graphics.

Highlights of reports and surveys undertaken by different groups in during 2008 were presented:

  • A national reputation survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid, overseen by CPA;
  • First-year student transition survey, overseen by Student Life;
  • Learning to Work survey, which covers several universities, overseen by CECS;
  • Applicant, incoming and non-confirmed surveys, overseen by MUR;
  • An alumni engagement survey, overseen by Alumni Affairs.

Heather FitzGerald, director of Student Life, said her office is working on a Campus Climate Study to gauge levels of tolerance (or intolerance) on campus, and Athletics is launching a study of first-year students in residence and their participation in athletics and recreation, with a particular view to identifying constraints to participation.

But the primary focus of the meeting was to discuss the continued work on the UW Identity exercise, which began in spring 2008. Beckel revealed that the process has identified eight “attributes”, or characteristics, that define Waterloo: innovative, collaborative, connected, creative, risk-taking, courageous, critical-thinking, and unconventional.

The “brand promise”, she emphasized, is not a slogan or tagline, but is the university’s “promise of what it will do: at Waterloo, we are building ... through innovation and experience.” The identity exercise involved wide consultation, guided by Ove Design and Communications, and the results thus far have been approved by the university’s Executive Council.

Beckel also shared a “boilerplate”, or standard description of Waterloo, that’s suitable for use in things such as external job advertising or any place where someone needs a short piece of text to introduce the university: “In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada’s leading comprehensive universities with 28,000 full and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. Waterloo, as home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and discovery.”

[Shield in ring]The next step in this process is creating a visual identity — logo, typefaces — for the university that will align with its characteristics and brand promise. UW Graphics is working with Ove Design and Communications on those visuals, and director Sean Van Koughnett gave an update at the marketing retreat on progress so far.

The university’s official seal (right) would remain the standard for all official documents within the university, under the proposal, but a new marketing look would be used for promotional purposes, he said. “You see this throughout North America: MIT, Stanford, Cornell, all use their official university seal but then a different visual identity for marketing.”

The visuals will be refined and tested with focus groups in the months ahead and then presented for consideration to the university’s senior leadership, Beckel said. Given the economic circumstances, rollout of any new visual identity would be incremental, adding the new look to items as they need replacing or refilling.

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Notes from the board of governors

Some of UW's lowest-paid staff will have a bigger allocation of sick leave days, following a decision by the board of governors on Tuesday. The board approved a recommendation by its pension and benefits committee to give a minimum 90 days' sick leave to staff in Canadian Union of Public Employees local 793 and those in grades 1-4 of the USG non-union staff group. Until now — in a provision that dates back decades — someone in that group wouldn't reach 90 days of sick leave allowance until they've worked at UW for more than five years. The result, in case of a catastrophic illness, could be a period of time without income before long-term disability payments would start. Staff in higher USG classifications start with 180 days of sick leave and can move straight into LTD after that. "The committee has felt for some time that this is just simply unfair," associate provost Catharine Scott said as she asked the board to okay the change.

Also at Tuesday's board meeting, registrar Ken Lavigne reported on September admissions. "Our goal has risen above the goal we had last year, but slightly below what we achieved," said Lavigne, noting that [PowerPoint chart]UW had 6,046 first-year students in September 2008 and is aiming for 5,911 this fall. He had PowerPoint slides including the one pictured at left, showing faculty-by-faculty targets; the difference between "New" and "Total" is 418 students who are already at UW but are still expected to be classed as in first year in the fall term. Applications are up in most categories, especially from the "non-OSS" category that includes international students and those from outside Ontario, the registrar said, adding that the admission process is under way, with at least some offers of admission now sent out by all the faculties except engineering.

President David Johnston said Dennis Huber, the vice-president (administration and finance), is hard at work on getting UW in position to snag its fair share of the money for university maintenance, repairs and construction that was announced in last year's federal budget. Waterloo officials hope the eventual rules will require universities to provide some matching funds along with federal and provincial contributions, Johnston said, because that will keep the projects realistic, and UW should be in a good position to find the money. He added that university leaders saw nothing in the budget about money for the Green Automotive Research Centre in which UW intends to have a major role, but there's always hope. When funding for such work does appear, "it will help us with respect to Engineering VI building," the president added.

The board approved increases in residence fees for 2009-10 that will take the price of a room in a Columbia Lake townhouse to $595 a month, up 3 per cent from the current figure. The planned increases were "received very favourably" when they were presented to representatives of students in residence, university housing officer Chris Read told the board. "We think it's very competitive," he said about the fee schedule as a whole, adding that student rents in Waterloo seem to be going up noticeably this year in spite of the Columbia Street building boom.

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Here and there in the university's life

Recipe of the week on the UW food services website is the tuna noodle casserole that chef Trevor Moreland makes for Mudie’s cafeteria in Village I. [Two TV stars, one chef]But that’s the way the casserole went together before Janet and Greta Podleski of the Food Network’s “Eat, Shrink and Be Merry” got involved on Monday. They served up a “healthier” version, which reportedly was well received by students and staff. Just how well? “For the results of the taste test,” says Heather Kelly of food services, “you’ll have to tuna in to the Food Network in September.” The exact date will be announced.

UW researcher Jatin Nathwani was one of the ten members of the Ontario Smart Grid Forum that issued a challenge to the province yesterday about its future electricity supplies. Nathwani, of the civil engineering department, is director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy and served on the task force that prepared "Enabling Tomorrow's Electricity System” calling for “a smarter, more integrated electricity grid . . . a more flexible and resilient power system to support the rapid growth of renewable generation and conservation”. Smart grids, a news release explained, “refer to the integration of advanced information and communications technologies to manage an increasingly complex and diverse provincial electrical system. They can accommodate a wide range of activities — from consumers charging up their electric cars to wind turbines and solar panels producing energy within city boundaries.” Yesterday’s report calls on the provincial government to “facilitate the development of Ontario's smart grid through legislation and regulation to clarify roles, set standards and promote investment.”

FASS opened last night in the Humanities Theatre, and there are no reports of any resulting injuries or property damage. The home-grown university musical continues with two performances tonight and one tomorrow, after which cast members will party through the night and go home to soak their feet in brine. Word is that celebrity cameo appearances will be made by Heather FitzGerald of UW’s student life office at tonight’s 7:00 performance and a couple of Federation of Students vice-presidents, Andrew Falcao and Andres Agustin Fuentes-Martinez, at the late show. The premise of this year’s FASS, in case you haven’t heard: “A new Bachelor of Spy program offered by UW has set all of the other faculties on edge and reignited tensions with Wilfrid Laurier University, which has just started up its own Bachelor of Villainy program.” It’s the kiss of death. . . .

This weekend is a Warrior Weekend, which means a number of special activities in the Student Life Centre and farther afield (in fact a Warrior Weekend wristband can provide discount admission to FASS as well). Other highlights include movies (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and “Quarantine” tonight, “My Best Friend’s Girl” tomorrow); crafts (picture frames, sock puppets, scarves); salsa and speed dating (Friday); euchre and the Engineering Jazz Band (Saturday); and, it perhaps goes without saying, food. Subject to change, the free menu includes pizza and pop tonight, ice cream sundaes and a coffee bar tomorrow. The whole thing is sponsored by the student life office and a crew of volunteers, and the details are online.

The special collections department on the ground floor of the Dana Porter Library has been displaying some of its collection of vintage children’s books and facsimiles, acquired from the Toronto-based Osborne Collection to support the study of children’s literature in the UW English department. • The Sandford Fleming Foundation in UW’s engineering faculty is collecting nominations for the annual Teaching Assistant Awards, to be presented in March. • Karin McMillan, who works at the local Heartwood Place affordable housing complex, is hoping to raise $50,000 for the project by running 500 kilometres, and is accepting pledges at a kiosk in the Columbia Lake Health Club on Hagey Boulevard.


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Candidates meet media today

The public "media forum" for hopefuls in next week's student elections takes place today in the Student Life Centre great hall, with candidates answering questions from Imprint, Iron Warrior and MathNews. Del Pereira, acting president of the Federation of Students (a vice-president filling in at the top job because current president Justin Williams is himself a candidate), will serve as moderator. The schedule of appearances today:

11 a.m. Candidates for at-large senate seat, math senate seat, Federation VP (education).

12:00 Candidates for AHS senate seat, engineering senate seat, Federation president.

1:40 Candidates for arts, math, science and St. Jerome's seats on students' council.

2:30 Candidates for Federation VP (internal). Closing remarks, 3:00.

Link of the day


When and where

Distinguished Teacher Awards nomination deadline for 2009 is today. Details.

Graduate Student Research Conference (April 27-30), deadline for submission of abstracts is February 6. Details.

Blood donor clinic 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre.

Storyteller Dan Yashinsky presents “The Listener’s Tale” in Knowledge Integration seminar series, 2:30 p.m., Environment II room 2002.

Wilfrid Laurier University presents James Youniss, Catholic University of America, “Youth Political Engagement: Forging Healthy Identities” 2:30, Bricker building room BA201.

Warrior sports this weekend: Volleyball vs. Windsor Friday, vs. Western Saturday, both days women’s game at 6:00, men’s 8:00, PAC. • Men’s hockey at Western Friday night; vs. Windsor Sunday 7:30, Icefield. (Bus to London leaves PAC 5:15 today, return tickets $15.) • Women’s hockey vs. Brock Saturday, vs. Guelph Sunday, both days 2:00, Icefield. • Women’s basketball at Guelph, Saturday. • Track and field at York Classic, Saturday. • Nordic skiing at Laurentian, Saturday and Sunday.

Engineering Jazz Band (“With Respect to Time”) music exchange concert featuring U of Toronto’s Skule Stage Band, 6:30 p.m., Student Life Centre.

'UpStart Women' festival presented by department of drama continues: three plays ("The Hair Affair", "Clothture", "The Red Tent") Friday at 7:00, Saturday at 2:00, three other plays ("Cliques That Click", "Surface Tension", "Bittergirl") Saturday at 7:00 p.m. General admission $12 ($20 for both shows), students $10 ($16).

Render (UW art gallery) touring exhibition “Dominion”, by artist Seth, opens at Dundas Museum and Archives, reception 7 p.m., show continues through March 31. Details.

Fine Arts Film Society Malaysian cinema series: “Mukhsin” (2007), 7:00, East Campus Hall room 1220.

Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre, presents Jeremy Fisher, doors open 9:00.

Chilly Dog Run (or walk) around the ring road, sponsored by Moods Assistance Through Educational Support, Saturday, depart from Student Life Centre 10:30 a.m. Chili follows.

ACM-style programming contest Sunday 1:00 to 4:00, preceded by practice contest, Math and Computer room 2037. Details.

Class enrolment appointments on Quest for spring 2009 courses, February 9 to 14; open enrolment begins February 16.

Careers in academia: “Writing CVs and Cover Letters” Monday 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Senate long-range planning committee Monday 3:00, Needles Hall room 3004.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group workshop for activists on dealing with the media, Monday 5:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 4041.

Amazon “mix and mingle” employer session for co-op and graduating students, Monday 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

Institute for Computer Research presents Uwe Assmann, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany, “Collaboration-Based Composition of Languages”, Tuesday 11:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Applied Complexity and Innovation seminar: Frances Westley, Social Innovation Generation, on “disruptive” social innovations, Tuesday 12:00 noon, University Club.

Heart Health nutrition seminar sponsored by Healthy Active Promotion Network, with jump rope contest, carbon monoxide test, information on healthy eating, admission $6, Tuesday 5:00 to 7:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 308.

Loving to Learn Day sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, February 13. (Deadline for “education quotation” contest, Thursday 7 p.m.) Details.

Black History month event: Afri-Can Connection “Celebration of African Culture and Music” February 13, 8:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, tickets $10.

Winter term reading week February 16-20. Family Day holiday Monday, February 16: UW offices and most services will be closed.

Engineering Shadow Day for Grade 11 and 12 students, March 4. Details.

International Women’s Day dinner with speaker Yan Li (Confucius Institute, Renison UC), March 5, 5:00 for 6:00, University Club, tickets $32 at Humanities box office.

Niagara Region wine tour organized by UW staff association, May 23. Details.

One click away

Love story between environment students
'Universities are vast credentialing factories' (Wente, Globe)'Ivory towers in freefall' (Sun)
'Living and learning' feature on student life in UW Magazine fall issue
'Is grade inflation affecting how our students choose their courses?'
Researchers now pleased with federal budget (Post)
Opera Kitchener is in business
'The New Invisible College' — global scientific research
Notorious 'K-W University' is going out of business
Montréal massacre film 'brings up too many memories'
Book collecting contest for young Canadians
'Economic vision for Ontario: foster ideas over industry''Abandon the outmoded vision'

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