UWindsor president calls for a campus facelift to repair change perceptions
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR
University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman has his sights set on changing public perception of the university.
Last Thursday, at the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance’s first council meeting of 2012, Wildeman laid out what he calls his “master plan” for a better campus in preparation for Thursday morning’s ‘Building on the Common Ground’ campus and community address.
Addressing council, Wildeman said that while he finds the province’s focus on health and education promising, he “doubts they are looking at a tuition freeze” in 2012.
Wildeman addressed a number of New Year’s resolutions pertaining to the status of the university and the direction the administration foresees the campus heading in the coming year.
One area Wildeman seeks to improve is the perception of the university throughout the province.
“It’s incumbent upon us to hope and do what we can. When you have the University of Windsor degree behind your name we want you to be proud of it,” he said.
Wildeman was quick to point out that he has yet to meet a student that had participated in a recent Globe and Mail survey that ranked the university second last in student satisfaction among the nations medium sized schools.
While he made it clear that the quality of education at the University of Windsor is no lower than other schools in the country, he does see room for improvement on campus.
“I think there is a recognition that we have to rebuild the campus … a lot of it is not where we want it to be,” said Wildeman. “There needs to be a master plan to look at how to change the look of the campus.”
Wildeman identified positives, such as the Odette School of Business, the Medical Education Building and the soon to be completed Centre for Engineering and Innovation. He stated the ideal situation would see campus parking consolidated, with multi-storey structures like the Innovation Centre parking structure planned for 2013, freeing up more green space where the present parking sprawl exists.
“We need to look at how to make the campus more attractive to walk through,” he said.
Another key piece to Wildeman’s puzzle is centralizing services that are currently spread throughout campus under one roof at, “some point in the near future,” an idea he alluded to during an Nov. 9 interview with The Lance.
Wildeman was drawn into some off campus issues as well, addressing questions about the ongoing bridge debate of which Wildeman admits he isn’t completely up to speed.
“It’s a huge issue. I will say, because it’s a complicated issue … all I can do is echo the concerns of everyone,” he said in regards to the boarded up housing on Indian Road. “The situation, however, is really not helping anybody.”
Wildeman’s community address, Building on the Common Ground, begins at 10 a.m. in Vanier Hall’s Winclare A room on Thursday, Jan. 12. To view the president’s complete annual report, please visit uwindsor.ca/annualreport2010-11.
UWSA lay out New Year’s resolutions
The initiatives foreshadowed by the president weren’t the only issues to come about this new year.
UWSA president Andre Capaldi expressed interest in overhauling the executive transition protocol after a series of issues were raised last semester.
Capaldi also said, the UWSA will be looking into ways to better use student space or possibly expanding the amount of student space with the help of the Strategic Planning Fund.
UWSA execs are looking to help streamline the tuition rebate process by setting up computers near the Ambassador Auditorium from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27. Finished forms will be processed and mailed out by the UWSA free of charge.
Concerns were raised over two-thirds of students not qualifying for the 30 per cent rebate, but vice president university affairs Kimberly Orr said those estimates are high.
Orr said she is working with the Ontario University Student Alliance and the Canadian Federation of Students about getting the tuition grant expanded to more students while still lobbying for inflation relative tuition increases.