Wednesday, May 19, 2010

  • Executive retreat welcomes new deans
  • A guide to telling 'the Waterloo story'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Executive retreat welcomes new deans

Deans' offices across campus will be deanless for two and a half days, this afternoon through Friday, as the members of Executive Council go away on their planning retreat at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre near Barrie.

The gathering at "K-Bay" is a longstanding UW tradition: each May deans, vice-presidents, and associate provosts get away from campus — far enough away that nobody's tempted to dash back to the office for a few minutes — and immerse themselves in major issues and priorities for the year ahead.

Exec council includes the senior officers responsible for all UW's departments, both academic and non-academic, and is chaired by the president.

The Kempenfelt retreat traditionally provides an opportunity for the university’s executives to say hellos and goodbyes as positions change, and they’ll have an important chance to do that this year. Bob Truman, director of institutional analysis and planning, is retiring this spring, and three deans — Roger Mannell of applied health sciences, Tom Coleman of math, and Deep Saini of environment — are leaving office. All their successors are expected to be part of the group at K-Bay: Mary Jane Jennings, interim director of IAP, new AHS dean Susan Elliott, new math dean Ian Goulden, and interim environment dean Mark Seasons.

It’ll also be the first K-Bay weekend for provost Feridun Hamdullahpur, who wasn’t named to that leadership position until mid-summer last year.

The agenda for the event starts with an hour and a half of opening remarks before dinner tonight, including “an overview of the rapidly evolving landscape of higher education in Ontario, Canada and the world” by Johnston and Hamdullahpur.

Over the next two days, discussion will be organized around four main agenda items:

• “Internationalization: What Is Our Understanding? How Do We Move Forward?” — with presentations led by Graham Brown, principal of St. Paul’s University College; dean of arts Ken Coates; associate vice-president (international) Leo Rothenburg; and dean of math Tom Coleman.

• “Total Enrolment Management" — dean of engineering Adel Sedra, IAP director Bob Truman, and associate vice-president (academic) Geoff McBoyle.

• “Sixth Decade Plan Revisited” — Sedra, Hamdullahpur, vice-president (external relations) Meg Beckel, associate provost (graduate studies) Sue Horton, and dean of science Terry McMahon. Questions on the agenda: "Are we on target with our objectives? Are these objectives still pertinent? Do we need other objectives/targets? What do we need to do to stay on target where gaps are identified?"

• “Student Services: New Developments” — associate provost (human resources) Janet Passmore, interim associate provost (student services) Bud Walker, associate provost (academic and student affairs) Bruce Mitchell, and AHS dean Roger Mannell.

If things work this week the way they have in past years, the retreat will wind up with development of a list of “priorities” for 2010-11. A year ago (and well before the current economic crisis was on most people’s radar), then provost Amit Chakma reported that the 2009 K-Bay event had listed seven such issues: income diversification, international student recruitment, major research initiatives, professional master’s programs, jobs for co-op students, an improved faculty merit review system, and responding to government initiatives.

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[Four in gold T-shirts]

After circling the ring road, these participants in last night's President David Johnston Run for Mental Health had enough energy left for big smiles. All students in the school of planning, they are Will Patch, Natasha O'Neill, Erica Springate and Janet Mader. Jenny Mackay of the athletics department, who took the photo, says the event drew 84 runners and walkers, and raised $2,000 for Health Services suicide prevention programs and the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council.

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A guide to telling 'the Waterloo story'

“Every one of us has a say in how we see ourselves,” says a manual that’s now online to explain how this university presents itself in words and images. And to emphasize that everybody plays a part, it’s not “the style manual”, it’s “Your Waterloo Positioning Guide”.

A first version of the guide has been on the Graphics website for a few weeks, some updates have been made, and it’s now ready for everybody to use, says Meg Beckel, vice-president (external relations). “This is more than a how-to guide on visuals,” she says. “It also gives background about Waterloo, examples of the kinds of stories that show who we are, and sets the tone for how we present ourselves when we are talking to our most important audiences.”

Material about web design is coming later this year when the big web redesign project is finished.

For the most part, this guide is aimed at people who are preparing material for publications of any kind. It “tells the story of Waterloo’s promise,” an introduction explains. “It also shows how, when we deliver on that promise — boldly and with purpose — we strengthen our position as a top-tier university, in Canada and around the world. This guide gives you the direction you need to tell the Waterloo story with visuals and words so that everyone we touch — our students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, co-op employers, and the community — knows who we are, what we represent, how we differ from other universities, and how we’re working together to make the future a better future.

“Waterloo’s positioning guide helps you think through your next project and create communication pieces that lead readers, listeners, and users to sit up and take notice of who we truly are.”

An early section emphasizes the “attributes” that have been used in the university’s marketing for the past couple of years: “Waterloo is innovative, creative, courageous, connected, critical thinking, collaborative, unconventional and risk-taking. Our university was founded on these eight attributes and they still apply today. Focus on the first four key attributes first (innovative, unconventional, collaborative, and risk-taking) when developing communications and marketing material.”

More advice: “If we know who we are — a top-ranking university at the frontier of innovation in learning, discovery, collaboration, and experience — we can express what we can truthfully deliver. It’s not about being all things to all people, not that we have to go there anyway. Waterloo is an amazing place — a university chock full of innovative, creative, risk-taking people who study, work, and teach here.”

There’s specific advice about communicating with various audiences (be “authentic and honest” in talking to students, “remember to explain as much as excite” in something intended for the mass media, avoid Canadianisms if the audience is international).

And there’s a 72-word chunk of “boilerplate” that summarizes the university and can be dropped into news releases, research proposals and many other kinds of documents. Here’s how it goes:

The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, is one of Canada’s leading comprehensive universities. We’re home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post-secondary co-operative education program of its kind in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit us at

The positioning guide goes into detail about use of the university seal (a circular symbol with a version of the familiar lions-and-chevrons shield), the newly introduced “system of wordmarks”, the Gotham typeface that’s being made available across campus, letterhead and business card designs that are now available from Graphics, and other ways the university’s style will be applied. Watch the Daily Bulletin over the days ahead for elaborations on some of the things the positioning guide addresses.


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Link of the day


When and where

Communitech and Accelerator Centre present lunch-and-learn with Innosphere Mobile, 11:00, 295 Hagey Boulevard, north campus, RSVP bmuise@

R&T Park charity barbecue 11:30 to 1:00, patio of TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, lunch $6.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Critical Thinking” 12:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

UWRC Book Club discusses Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Fair trade olive oil briefing by Robert Massoud of the Palestinian organization Zatoun (oil available for purchase) 2:00 to 3:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 105.

Career workshops: “Thinking about an International Experience?” 2:00, “International Work Term Procedures” 3:30, both in Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Waterloo Space Society lecture: Eric Choi, Com Dev, “Adventures in the Canadian Space Industry” 5:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 305.

Innovators in Action speaker series sponsored by Social Innovation Generation: Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, 7:00, The Museum, 10 King Street West, Kitchener. Details.

Canadian Student Conference on Biomedical Computing and Engineering hosted by school of computer science, Thursday-Saturday, Davis Centre. Details.

Architecture students return-to-campus interviews Thursday at Architecture building.

Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund 20th anniversary celebration (music, games, cake) Thursday 10:00 to 3:30, Carl Pollock Hall foyer.

Library workshop: “Better Searching, Better Marks” Thursday 1:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type” Thursday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

You @ Waterloo Day for applicants considering offers of admission, Thursday 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., headquarters at Student Life Centre. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy presents Prabha Kundur of Kundur Power System Solutions, “Sustainable Electric Power Systems in the 21st Century” Thursday 5:30, CEIT room 3142.

‘Ash from Iceland’ public lecture by Alan Morgan, department of earth and environmental sciences, Thursday 6:30, Math and Computer room 2065.

Drop, no penalty period ends (last day to drop or withdraw from spring term courses with 100 per cent tuition refund) Friday.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 24, UW offices and most services closed, classes not held.

Procurement and contract services annual trade show in Davis Centre lounge: technology and computers, May 25; Staples, May 26; e-procurement, May 27. Details.

QPR Suicide Prevention training session Tuesday 11:30 to 1:00, Math and Computer room 4068, register ext. 33528.

Positions available

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

• Manager, grants and government research contracts, office of research, USG 10
• Pension coordinator, human resources, USG 8-10
• Senior lab demonstrator, kinesiology, USG 9
• Manager, Ontario Research Fund Automotive Programs, Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research, USG 8 (18-month secondment or contract)

One click away

Waterloo researchers will consult on transit for Mecca
Canada 3.0 looking for feedback on wrap-up session
‘Students call for measures to improve the experience’
Warrior golfers golden at Humber Invitational
TD Economics sees ‘no clear strategy’ for post-secondary education
Architecture award for retired professor
Bitter dispute over Kitchener nature reserve
Poll shows Canadians value higher education
U of T introduces ‘civility’ guideline
Waterloo-based journal launches ‘green book reviews’
International students not ‘cash cows’, says faculty leader
Controversy over Dalhousie medical school is settled
More drug testing coming for university athletes
WLU creates ‘Order’ to recognize contributions
U of Victoria moves to ‘cull’ its rabbits
RIM installs bike rental system
‘Who’s going to lead our digital strategy?’ (Geist, Star)

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