By Natalie Sit
The University of Calgary has announced its new President for the next five years.
Dr. Harvey Weingarten will replace President Terry White effective Sept. 1, 2001. Weingarten is currently McMaster University’s Vice-President Academic and Provost.
Weingarten attended McGill University and received his PhD in psychology from Yale University. According to McMaster Students’ Union officials, Weingarten has changed McMaster’s view on education.
"Under Weigerten’s tenure, we’ve seen the creation of our first academic plan and then the revision of [that] academic plan as well," said MSU Vice-President Education Bryce Rudyk. "What it really does is put undergraduates at the center of our education mission. I think any sort of research university always has a problem including undergraduates in their research and bringing that research back into the classroom. I think under Weingerten we’ve seen progress towards that."
Rudyk has few criticisms of Weingarten other then his intimidating intellectual prowess and finds his open-door policy helpful for students.
"[He’s] always helped us on things that we needed do, like teacher evaluations [and] online registration," said Rudyk. "Anything that we felt was a priority and [he] thought were good ideas he has worked [on] fairly actively."
The U of C faculty deans are also excited about Weingarten and how he will affect the university.
"I’m very hopeful," said Dean of Fine Arts Ann Calvert. "I hope he has lots of energy and patience and that he’s a proponent of the fine arts. I have no idea if that’s true but I’m making that assumption."
Dean of Engineering Dr. Chan Wirasinghe is also excited about Weingarten’s appointment.
"I think it’s a superb appointment because he came from an excellent institution and has a background in research," said Wirasinghe. "McMaster has an excellent Faculty of Engineering. Certainly he’ll understand the needs of engineering and engineering’s importance to society."
Although Weingarten is excited about the new position, he’s sad to leave friends at McMaster. However he’s eager to learn more about U of C and Calgary itself.
"The challenge for most universities is to produce the highest quality of education or educational experience for our students," said Weingarten from Hamilton.
"The province and students have a big investment in the university," said Weingarten. "They’re looking to us for leadership and to educate the next generation of leaders of the country. They’re looking to us to do cutting edge research that will benefit people and the economy of the country and that’s a challenge."
Weingarten said he will ensure the liberal arts at the U of C are not left behind in society’s shift towards information technology.
"Even in those areas such as high-tech, what industry is asking for are things like communication skills, the ability to think critically, the ability to form ideas and communicate them [and the] ability to work in teams to solve difficult problems," said Weingarten. "If you look at the education of someone in business, there’s a liberal arts component to that education. Those critical employability skills are products of liberal arts and sciences education as much as the details of engineering or management. I don’t see these two things as opposing; I see them as being complimentary."
Additonal reporting by