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Friday, December 17, 2010

  • Job requirements for the next president
  • First steps in writing two policies
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Li with Johnston]

Computer science professor Ming Li was one of five Canadian academics presented with the 2010 Killam Prizes by Governor General David Johnston at a ceremony in Ottawa Tuesday. "Our country needs to be a leader in the investment of our future," said Johnston — who was president of Waterloo until three months ago — in his speech. "We need to follow the example of the Killam Prizes, which, along with the Killam Trusts and the Killam Research Fellowships, help to fund research and honour those who have changed—or have the potential to change—both Canada and the world." Photo by MCpl Dany Veillette, Rideau Hall.

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Job requirements for the next president

Wanted: somebody with a sense of humour, strong academic credentials, the ability to raise funds and friends, tireless in building community and finding new opportunities for the University of Waterloo. And that’s not all.

The committee that is seeking Waterloo’s next president yesterday issued a “communiqué” to the university community and published a position specification document that outlines the “challenges and opportunities”, “key responsibilities” and “critical competencies” for the next president.

He or she will take over from interim president Feridun Hamdullahpur “on July 1, 2011, or as soon as possible thereafter”.

Here’s the text of yesterday’s communiqué: "The Presidential Nominating Committee is pleased with its progress to date and wishes to make the following report to the Waterloo community. Consistent with its planned activities, the committee: has concluded its broad-based pre-search consultations; has developed a position specification which speaks to the opportunities which Waterloo presents, the responsibilities the president assumes and competencies the incumbent should manifest; has advertised and promoted the opportunity nationally and internationally; and has actively sought and has reviewed all nominations/ applications/ expressions of interest received to date. It continues to work diligently and actively to recruit an outstanding leader who will serve as Waterloo’s sixth president. The committee anticipates meeting with candidates in the new year."

And here’s some of what that position specification document says:

[Open quote]The Presidential Nominating Committee seeks an inspiring visionary who has successfully led a large and complex institution. The new president will lead in a collegial and collaborative fashion, focused on addressing competing interests to accomplish university objectives. The role will appeal to a forward-thinking individual who is passionate about research and teaching, who enjoys working with a broad range of constituencies, who is energized by people and ideas, and who has successfully built a reputation as a creative and engaging leader, and an individual of high integrity.

The president and vice-chancellor is the chief executive officer of the university and has the responsibility for administering the affairs of the university on behalf of the Board of Governors. The president is expected to provide outstanding academic leadership within a vibrant and complex culture, maintain the intellectual independence and integrity of the university, and promote a visionary approach in all matters both internal and external.

The Presidential Nominating Committee has conducted extensive consultations with the Waterloo community, which is united in its desire to attract an exceptional candidate as its next president. The key challenges and opportunities the new president will be expected to address are:

… To fulfill the thesis of the university’s goals in 18 broad areas of activity as detailed in the Sixth Decade Plan over the next 5-10 years. This includes the academic, organizational, and financial strategies to achieve these objectives and will require consultation, strategic focus, collaboration and decisiveness in order to prioritize short- and long-term objectives.

… To maintain and enhance the institution’s ability to innovate while bringing focus and discipline to key initiatives in the short term, building on the university’s current strengths, and ensuring a solid foundation upon which to pursue longer-term initiatives.

… To maintain, broaden and strengthen the local economy as well as to continue to work effectively with the public and not-for-profit sectors (including other universities and colleges) — nationally, provincially, regionally, and within the local community.

The Presidential Nominating Committee recognizes that no single individual is likely to meet all of the following criteria in equal measure; nevertheless, the experience, abilities, and personal qualities outlined below are seen to be ideal and desirable. The successful candidate will hold strong academic credentials, and a track record of increasing responsibility and successful leadership in an institution that highly values both research and teaching. The Presidential Nominating Committee will also consider candidates who exhibit that rare combination of academic credentials mixed with accomplished leadership of an institution of similar scope and complexity in the business community or the public sector. Personal integrity, a reputation for exceptional relationship skills and an affable, accessible style are sought after personal attributes.

Critical competencies: Ability to motivate. On a campus that is growing and becoming increasingly diverse, inspire the [Close quote]university’s key constituents — faculty, staff, students, and alumni — to invest their talents, energies, and resources to further enhance Waterloo’s institutional strengths.

Other personal characteristics: Amiable, accessible.… Tireless, tenacious, with a good sense of humour.

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First steps in writing two policies

The Faculty Relations Committee started work last week on two issues put on its agenda by the university senate: the guidelines for “donor agreements” — the understandings that are signed when someone gives the university money to start or support a major project — and the governance of “centres, institutes, and schools which are not academic units”.

The two requests, directed to the Faculty Relations Committee, were made at the senate’s November meeting, proposed (moved) by the president of the faculty association.

The Faculty Relations Committee includes representatives of the faculty association and senior administration, and is jointly chaired by provost Geoff McBoyle and faculty association president George Freeman. Part of its work involves preparing or approving university policy documents on issues that affect the work of faculty members; policies then come to senate or other authorities for approval.

McBoyle said yesterday that a meeting of the FRC last Thursday took the first steps in deciding how both issues will be handled. The committee does its work in private, but he said he’d like the university to know that the issues are already being addressed.

The committee was reminded that “there is already a provostial statement” about donor agreements, McBoyle said. “We’ve got a starting point.” The document is posted online with other university “guidelines”, and dates from 2003.

Committee members took a look at the guidelines and tentatively agreed that they meet most of the recent concerns, but may be “not strong enough” and should perhaps be restated as a university policy, he said.

As for the governance of research centres and institutes, the senate meeting had already been reminded that vice-president (university research) George Dixon was asked earlier this year to do a very similar study. The FRC meeting on Thursday was of the opinion that “it didn’t make  much sense to duplicate that,” McBoyle said.

Since the Dixon committee has not fully progressed on the matter, the FRC suggested that Freeman, on behalf of the faculty association, talk with Dixon to raise the association’s concerns and propose members for Dixon’s committee.

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Follow-ups from Wednesday

The December 15 Daily Bulletin described student senator Ian Kasper as calling the recent performance indicators report "awesome". He's asked for space to say that the indicators that show sharply rising undergraduate enrolment are "a cause for alarm; that was definitely not the part of the report I found awesome."

The same day's Daily Bulletin referred to Paul Butler, whose map of Facebook friendship connections has drawn worldwide publicity, as a co-op student. He's not; he is a regular student who, according to Jesse Rodgers of VeloCity, "goes out and finds jobs on his own", currently at Facebook headquarters in California.

Link of the day

Ontario road conditions

When and where

General Services Complex front door to Human Resources blocked because of elevator construction, starting today until early March; look for detour signs.

Fall term examinations December 9-22. Fall term grades begin to appear on Quest December 23; grades become official January 24.

Library exam time extended hours: Dana Porter open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, Davis Centre library open 24 hours (except Sunday 2-8 a.m.), November 28 through December 22. Details.

Christmas lunch buffet at University Club through December 22, 11:30 to 2:00, reservations ext. 33801.

Buffet luncheon 12:00 to 2:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall, $18.50 plus tax, reservations ext. 84700.

Winter term fees due December 17 by certified cheque, money order or promissory note; December 29 by bank transfer. Details.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Mike Patterson, “What You Think You Know about IT Security Is Probably Wrong” 9:00, IST seminar room.

International spouses “walk and talk evening” to see Wonders of Winter in Waterloo Park, 7 p.m., meet at Waterloo Park snack booth. Details.

Engineering 5 hot and cold water shut down Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Federation Used Books open Saturday 9:00 to 5:00, as well as usual Monday-Friday hours.

Carousel Dance recital “The Selfish Giant” Saturday 6 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Engineering Science Quest holiday day camp for children in grades 2 to 5, December 20, 21, 22. Details.

Sharepoint conversion to new server and version, Monday; Sharepoint down from 8 a.m. to late afternoon.

University senate monthly meeting Monday, December 20, cancelled.

Christmas and New Year’s holiday: last day of work Thursday, December 23; UW closed December 24 through January 3; first day of work in 2011 is Tuesday, January 4.

Winter term classes begin Tuesday, January 4.

Return-to-campus interviews for co-op students (except architecture), January 5-7.

Weight Watchers at Work January 6, 13, 20 and 27, 12:15 p.m., Hagey Hall room 373; information ext. 32218.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin