e-COMMUNICATOR December 14, 2006

From the Principal

Another active semester is coming to a close at Bishop’s – it seems only yesterday that we welcomed the 2006 entering class to campus in September. The fall has been filled with notable events. Dr. Lorne Nelson opened a new observatory on the roof of the Nicolls Building. Renovations aimed at making the Library more hospitable to students were completed early this semester. You will read about a national scholarship winner below. Bishop’s hosted a number of conferences on campus this semester, bringing professors from around the world to Bishop’s. Our students continued their outstanding performances in the classroom, on stages, on the playing fields, and in the community.

Last month Bishop’s received mixed “grades” in two annual rankings of Canadian universities. In our first appearance in the Globe and Mail University Report Card we scored top marks in seven out of the 15 grading categories for the Very Small (less than 4000 students) group of Universities. Generally we did well in areas we expect to excel in, such as Quality of Education (A), Quality of Teaching (A), Class Size (A+), Student Faculty Interaction (A+), Most Satisfied Students (A), and Diversity of Extra Curricular Activities (A). The grades for the Report Card are based on a student survey conducted last spring, so it gives us a good idea of what our most important constituent – our students – think.

The Maclean’s University Rankings were released two days after the Globe and Mail Report Card. 26 universities refused to submit the requested data to the magazine, causing some controversy about the accuracy of this year’s rankings. Bishop’s did agree to participate, although we too share the concern of our colleagues across Canada as to the methodology and measures used. Overall Bishop’s fell from fifth to seventh (out of 21) in the Primarily Undergraduate category. We are not satisfied with this result, but when you dissect the rankings there are some positive signs. Our scores in Average Entering Grade, Student Retention, and Proportion Who Graduate all improved this year.

Next semester will be one of paramount importance to Bishop’s. I am confident that negotiations will continue in an environment of respect and collegiality. Of equal importance is the strategic planning process. The landscape of post-secondary education is changing, and it is increasingly competitive to recruit students, faculty and staff to Bishop’s. We will remain true to our past, but change is necessary. That change will not come from the Strategic Planning Committee – it will come from all faculty and staff of the University.

We have already seen examples of departments/areas that have made changes – not always major ones - that have shown great benefit. The English Department, for example, made structural changes to their program, added Film Studies, and changed some of their course titles. The result? The English Department now has the third largest number of course registrations at Bishop’s. Another example – Environmental Science. The Geography Department numbers were dwindling until a program overhaul created the Department of Environmental Studies. The Department has seen stong growth in terms of Honours and Majors as well as course registrations.

Other areas, and not only academic ones, will need to engage in the same sort of intense self-examination, looking for ways in which we might better deliver the Bishop’s experience, or at least differentiate ourselves from other small, liberal, residential universities. I look forward to your collaboration as the planning process unfolds.

The holiday season is a time to give thanks, so please allow me to thank you for your efforts throughout the semester. Bishop’s has many attributes, but our number one asset is the commitment of the men and women employed here who ensure an unparalleled Bishop’s experience for our students. Thank you.

Best wishes for the holidays,
Robert Poupart
Principal and Vice Chancellor

Centre for the Americas

As Bishop’s moves through a strategic planning process, we are exploring possible themes and projects that will help to differentiate Bishop’s from a world of competitors. Claims of “being small” and “providing a sound and liberal education” no longer make our university distinct – although these important characteristics remain central to the Bishop’s experience. An idea being discussed on campus is establishing Bishop’s as a Centre for the Americas.

This idea originated last spring as a result of a speech by former Prime Minister Joe Clark, one of Canada’s most trusted statesmen. “Canada is too small in the world to make a difference,” he said, “but Canada is big enough to bridge differences.” Because of its history, culture, and commitment to human rights, Canada can bridge differences in the world. The same can be said for Bishop’s University.

Most of the world is focused on Asian countries, specifically China and India. However the 35 countries that make up the Americas are home to 14% of the world’s population and all are relatively easy for Canadians to travel to with minimal time zone changes. Many of the Central and South American countries are moving politically and socially towards the left side of the socio-political spectrum. They will need assistance to face the many challenges that lie ahead. Canadian investments in Central and South America are three times the total Canadian investments in all of Asia. Many of these organizations are keen to demonstrate good corporate citizenship through philanthropic investment in projects such as education, health and human services, and environmental issues.

Examining the current activities or interests Bishop’s has in the Americas might surprise some on campus; close to half of the academic departments at Bishop’s have a course, exchange program, or a faculty member with background or interest in Central or South America.

There is an opportunity for Bishop’s to become an education leader with respect to the Americas. Why not take advantage of our culture, our identity, our history, our interests, and our location to build on our existing strengths to enhance our contribution to the world, specifically to all our southern neighbours?

A number of faculty discussion groups and Divisional meetings have touched on the Centre for the Americas topic over the last few months, but much more needs to occur as we investigate opportunities of a Centre for the Americas; for example, new academic programs, expanded exchange opportunities for students and faculty, new student recruitment markets, research symposiums, seminars, academic and/or socio-political conferences, new infrastructure on campus…the possibilities are numerous. Bishop’s faculty and staff will play an instrumental role in determining and creating this Centre.

Discussions will continue – both formally and informally – over the coming months. As part of Professor Hogg’s conference “The Gray Lecture 60 Years Later” a round table discussion will take place on January 21st to discuss Canada’s role in the Americas, as well as a possible role for Bishop’s as a Centre for the Americas. The Canadian Ambassador to the Organization of American States will be participating, along with a number of specialists and academics in the area of the Americas. I invite the entire campus community to take part in this important dialogue.

A Bright Future

Each year, Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year awards program provides scholarships of $5,000 to ten exceptional students from select Business schools across the country to further their educational ambitions. These Future Funds Scholarships encourage and support the next generation of leaders. Scholarship recipients are chosen based on their academic achievements, leadership qualities, and extracurricular activities.

Robb Schaefer, a fourth year Business student from Williamstown ON, is the deserving Bishop’s recipient of the Future Funds Scholarship this year. Robb has been on the Dean’s List for his four years at Bishop’s. In addition to excelling in the classroom, Robb has been involved in a myriad of extra-curricular activities: member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, academic tutor, participant in ICBC (Inter-collegiate Business Competition), Vice President of ACE (Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship), and Vice Chairman of the SEED Portfolio.

“Bishop’s offers an incredible experience,” says Robb. “The opportunities are endless. I would never have achieved the same at another university.” Both of Robb’s parents are Queen’s grads who were disappointed when he did not choose their alma mater; now Robb’s younger sister is enjoying her first year at Bishop’s. “My parents have grown to love Bishop’s as well,” he says.

Robb’s experience has not been confined to the campus. Last year he attended an international conference in Ohio for undergraduate universities with investment programs, participated in the ACE Competition in Toronto (where Bishop’s placed 2nd), and presented at a CEDEC Entrepreneurship Conference in Montreal. Robb also traveled to Toronto for the Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year/Future Funds Scholarship dinner where he met Jim Balsillie, Chairman and Co-CEO of RIM. (pictured above)

“Robb is truly an exceptional student,” states Sylvie Bequet, Dean of the Williams School of Business. “He has a global perspective with a broad focus. Robb has gifted analytical capabilities. He is both qualitative and quantitative, excellent at seeing problems, tackling issues, and making points.”

Last year Robb developed a financial literacy curriculum for high school students. A $1000 grant from HSBC allowed him to develop the course material and test the program at BCS and the Entrepreneurship Conference in Montreal. The program was named one of the top 100 financial literacy programs worldwide. “I hope to develop the program further by bringing it into more schools,” says Robb. “We may develop a university level module as well.”

Robb graduates next Spring with a concentration in Finance and a Major in Economics. He plans to write his CFA exam in June and has already been hired by BMO Nesbitt Burns in Cornwall. “I have known since I was in Grade 7 that I wanted to be a CFA and manage money,” says Schafer. “The SEED Portfolio was a big reason why I chose Bishop’s and was also a factor in BMO hiring me. They could not believe the real world experience I have had as an undergraduate at Bishop’s.”

News from the Research Office

Dr. Valerio Faraoni, Department of Physics, has recently published a book entitled Exercises in Environmental Physics at Springer Press. This texbook covers the essential topics in university courses in environmental physics. It is the first book specifically devoted to exercises in the application of physics to the environment including human impact on it. It is a valuable tool for students to develop skills in the manipulation of physical concepts and methods while learning environmental science. The exercises are drawn from Dr. Faraoni’s teaching experience and the need for stimulating practice problems in various environmental physics courses.

Mr. Jose' Cleriston Campos de Souza (pictured above with Dr. Faraoni), a graduate student from the Department of Mathematical Physics at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is visiting Valerio Faraoni for one year. His research project, funded by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Sientfico e Tecnolgico (CNPq) of Brazil is entitled "Dark energy models: a dynamical approach'". This work aims to explain the present structure and accelerated expansion of the Universe as has been observed in the last few years. Accelerated expansion is driven by a "dark energy" component of the Universe, and Mr. De Souza's goal is to investigate realistic models describing this component with the method of dynamical analysis. Prof. Alberto Saa, Jose's supervisor from the University of Campinas, also visited Bishop's University this past October.

Welcome To Bishop's Jose'!

Community Spirit

One aspect seldom mentioned about Bishop’s is the tremendous impact our students have in Lennoxville and surrounding communities. Although community service is not mandatory for our students, one might think it is when reviewing some volunteer efforts of Bishop’s students.

One of the largest organizations on campus is Big Buddies, a program which matches over 85 Bishop’s students with little buddies from the community. Group events are held during the semester, but the big buddies are also expected to be in contact with or visit their little buddy at least once per week. The Best Buddies program involves 15 to 20 Bishop’s students who develop friendships with community members with intellectual disabilities. Students have also raised close to $3000 to support individuals in the community. In fact, this support covered the travel costs for a buddy to compete in the Special Olympics last summer.

Over 20 students are involved in the Bishop’s University Mentoring and Tutoring group which provides a fun and positive learning environment for local students seeking extra help with school work. Many more coach sports teams in local elementary and high schools. The women’s basketball team also runs a Saturday morning program called Small Ball – basketball for children aged 6 - 11.

Students of the Bishop’s University Environmental Club organize an entire environmental focused weekend each fall. Community clean-ups, awareness programs, and hazardous waste drop-off days make up some of their programs, and each spring the popular Rock for Recycle (or the River) takes place to raise awareness.

Bishop’s students also lend a supportive hand to a number of charities in Lennoxville and abroad. Over the past twelve months student-initiated campaigns or activities have taken place to support United Way/Centraide, Canadian Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrosis Research, the Lennoxville Elementary Christmas Basket Program, the Lennoxville and District Women’s Centre, Operation Shoebox, a food drive for Moisson Estrie, and a blood drive. Students have also raised money to help with efforts following Hurricane Katrina, for child victims of the August flood in Ethiopia and for AIDS victims in Tanzania.

“I often hear the comment that students are apathetic,” says Bruce Stevenson, Dean of Student Affairs. “My experience, especially with our Golden Key International Honor Society, has shown me that students do give back a great deal, supporting each other, local and global communities. The Bishop's Golden Key Chapter was awarded a US$500 Chapter Service Grant (one of ten recipients out of 350 chapters) for their English Conversational Meetings Program with the Sherbrooke Police."

The three Greek organizations are all also involved in community service; in fact as part of their charter each one supports an international philanthropic organization The Alpha Delta Phi sorority raises funds for Ronald McDonald House but is also involved in work with the Lennoxville and District Women’s Centre. The Sigma Chi fraternity supports the Children’s Miracle Network and is also involved with the Lennoxville Youth Centre and the local Meals on Wheels program. The Alpha Phi sorority support Women’s Cardiac Care and a number of other projects in the Lennoxville community.

Some academic courses do include a component of community outreach. An upper year course in the Williams School of Business (The Successful New Venture: Feasibility Analysis and the Management of Risk) involves teams of students providing free consulting services to local entrepreneurs and small businesses. Student teams have worked with Bull’s Head Ginger Ale, a major maple syrup producer, and Quebec Lodge, among others. In the course of a year students will work with between 20 – 30 local companies. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain real life experience,” says the course’s professor (and Bishop’s graduate) Steve Karpenko ‘84. “But it is also great for the community and the economy. The free consulting of our students helps to keep business – and jobs – in the area.”

The Bishop’s mission statement reads “Bishop’s offers students...the opportunity to exercise the rights and responsibilities of good citizenship….” A majority of our students live the mission.

Events

University Holiday Lunch

December 20 @ 11:30 am

Join colleagues and friends in Dewhurst Dining Hall for a holiday lunch to celebrate the end of semester and the holiday season. Please email or call ext. 2727 to RSVP.

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