Volume 28 Number 12 € March 7, 1996

News and features

Retirement plan unveiled
About 560 employees with either tenure or job security are eligible for McGill's new Special Voluntary Workforce Reduction Plan. [Text of Principal Bernard Shapiro's report to the Board of Governors on the Special Voluntary Workforce Reduction Plan]

Panelists probe future
A quartet of university presidents will attend a special McGill symposium on "The University in the 21st Century" on March 11. Princeton president Harold Shapiro, Laval rector Michel Gervais, Wilfrid Laurier president Lorna Marsden and Bishop's rector Janyne Hodder will all discuss their views on the future of universities. Offering an outside perspective on the same topic will be the new president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Thomas Brzustowski, Justice Rosalie Abella from the Ontario Court of Appeal and Grant Reuber, chair of the board for the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Net gain for students
Thanks to the science students who sat on the Operation Open Access team, their classmates now have much better access to the computers they desperately need for course assignments and research projects. Dozens of free access computers called Infopoints are located all over campus as a result of this project, offering science students class notes, Internet access and e-mail capabilities.

Dean-elect confident of Macdonald's future
Plant scientist and strawberry expert Deborah Buszard will make Canadian history this June when she becomes the first woman ever to head an agricultural faculty in this country. Buszard realizes that her Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has some stern challenges ahead of it, but she thinks she and her colleagues are ready to meet them head on.

Studying the Germans who fought Hitler
As a young scholar, Peter Hoffmann certainly hadn't intended to become an expert on the German resistance movement during the Nazi era, but then he learned his father had been a member of the resistance. That discovery propelled him to do research on the Germans who opposed Hitler. Today, the Economist magazine calls him the man who changed his field over night and CBS's 60 Minutes seeks his views.

Low-risk training in high stress medicine.
For residents and doctors, life isn't really like an episode of ER--life threatening medical emergencies involving rare phenomena rarely occur. But they can occur-- which is why doctors and anesthetists need to be ready for anything. That's why McGill medical students and faculty enjoyed a recent opportunity to hone their skills with a sophisticated patient simulator which responds appropriately to drugs and other forms of treatment.

Taking the terror out of teaching
Mining and metallurgical engineering professor Ralph Harris once thought seriously of leaving his profession despite his love for research and his warm feelings about McGill. The reason? He dreaded teaching. Today, thanks in part to help from McGill's Centre for University Teaching and Learning, Harris tackles his teaching duties with confidence.

Spinning our Web in cyberspace
McGill's new and improved homepage is up, but there is still a lot of work to be done as the University ponders its presence on the World Wide Web. Panelists at a recent forum on the Web offered advice and warnings about McGill's future in cyberspace.

Stressing knowledge in the information age
The information highway holds the promise of offering professors increasingly sophisticated techniques to transmit facts and figures to their students. Dean of Religious Studies Donna Runnalls is worried that, amid all the hype, teachers will forget that their chief responsibility is still to "teach."

Notes and announcements

News from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
Grant application deadlines and other news from the Office of International Research.

Campaign update
A gift from 3M will pay dividends for labs, classrooms and library facilities in the Wong Building currently under construction to house chemical engineering and materials science activities.

From the desk of the Principal
Principal Bernard Shapiro argues that mandatory retirement is necessary if Quebec's universities are to bring younger scholars into the professoriate.

Unionized staff have a perfect right to Senate representation. Also, the Atlantis Project sounds wonderful, but can it really work?