Not quite ready yet

Thanks in large part to a fire during the summer, the William and Mary Brown Student Services Building wasn't as ready for its official opening last week as McGill officials would have liked.

But the core of the building is complete and McGill decided to celebrate with a ribbon cutting anyway.

Principal Bernard Shapiro paid special tribute to Dean of Students Rosalie Jukier for her efforts in making the building a reality. While noting that Jukier would attribute the building to a team effort, Shapiro stated, "It was very much a result of Rosalie Jukier's determination that we would all work together as a team."

Jukier spoke about the project as being "an emotional rollercoaster.

"From the ecstasy of successful fund raising to the despair of receiving a negative reply" to an appeal for funding, to "the nail-biting night of the students' referendum."

That last evening was crucial to the success of the Brown Building, as McGill undergraduates voted to contribute three million dollars towards the building's costs.

"Our students gave the project the financial push it needed."

Jukier also thanked the project's donors, including the Browns, "for believing in a somewhat inexperienced dean of students. They had faith that somehow I would pull this off."

The building, at the corner of McTavish and Dr. Penfield and located right next to the Student Union Building, will probably welcome most of its occupants early in the new year.

Its tenants will ultimately include the Office for Students With Disabilities, the Blouin-MacBain Student Aid Centre, Counselling and Tutorial Services, the Career and Placement Service, International Student Services and the William and Mary Brown Health and Mental Health Centre. About 8,000 square feet of the building is reserved for the Students' Society of McGill University.

Getting everywhere from anywhere

After six months of construction, the new McGill Gateway ( debuted last week on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of computer monitors, at McGill and beyond. Opening the web page, the graphic presentation may present a less romantic image of the University than the old award-winning Gateway, but the designers were after greater ease of use to those seeking information about McGill and ease of maintenance, updating and expanding.

Reducing the old 14 headings to eight (Departments and programs, Applying to McGill, Student information, Alumni and friends, Faculty and staff, McGill in the world, Public and media, and News), simplifies the task of searching for information, and integrating new web pages into the system, says web project manager and McGill web editor Karl Jarosiewicz.

Jarosiewicz and web system designer Eric Smith, for instance, are now working with Human Resources to give the HR website "the McGill site's look and feel." In other words, that department's web pages will have all the navigational tools of the McGill system.

What's the advantage of this? The navigation bar, which includes links to the eight sections and the five tools, People, Search, Maps, Calendar, and Site Guide, will give users immediate access to every other section of the McGill Gateway system.

Most significantly, those web sites integrated into the system allow users to go anywhere in the system without first having to return to the homepage. In the near future, new search tools will allow readers to locate specific pages based on keywords systematically imbedded into every page's source code.

Smith is most satisfied by the Departments and programs page. "We have up to 10 people per minute using it," he says, recognizing the painstaking work of the project's assistant Adelina Feo who worked in the University Relations Office gathering all the data (web site address, physical address, brief description, campus location) of the University's 450 units: departments, centres, faculties, student organizations, etc. Smith encourages all university units to check that the information listed is correct.

Like anything to do with the computer, the proof is in the using. Smith and Jarosiewicz welcome your comments on the new Gateway. Just click on web editor which appears at the foot of every McGill page.

Scholars take to the ice

Sir David Weatherall

Menard Gertler
McGill's next fall convocation will take place in novel surroundings, courtesy of a strike at the usual venue, Place des Arts.

The ceremony, during which chancellor Richard Pound will be formally installed, will occur at the Molson Centre on October 28. Given the way the injury-plagued Montreal Canadiens are performing this season, Molson Centre employees will likely hear more cheering than usual during the convocation ceremony.

The University will be bestowing two honorary doctors of science.

Sir David Weatherall is the Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford (a position once held by William Osler) where he has worked since 1974 in the fields of haematology and molecular medicine.

His work on the blood disease, thalassaemia, and on abnormal haemoglobin took him to developing countries where he has worked as a consultant to the World Health Organization. He also helped set up haematology programs in universities in Thailand, Malaya and Singapore. Recipient of many honorary degrees and of visiting professorships, Sir Weatherall is also the author of Science and the Quiet Art: The Role of Research in Modern Medicine.

A graduate of McGill, where he received his M.D. in 1943 and an M.Sc. in 1949, Dr. Menard Gertler went on to do his residency in cardiology in Massachusetts. Later, he received his D.Sc. from the New York University Medical Center for which he was awarded the Gallatin Award in 1958. The Saskatchewan native remained in the United States where he has enjoyed a long association with the New York University Medical Center both as professor of cardiovascular disease and attending physician. Gertler now works as an attending physician in medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital and as an adjunct professor of medicine at McGill, a position that began in 1996.

Directing for the Theatre

Putting together a play can be tricky. The costumes can be dazzling, the acting subtle and engaging, the sets colourful, but if the folks sitting in the cheap seats walk away without an inkling of what the production was about, all that effort is pretty much wasted.

That's one of the points that English professor Myrna Selkirk makes to her students in "Directing for the Theatre."

"You have to be able to communicate with your audience. It's not just about satisfying yourself.

"It's a gift of a course to teach," says Selkirk. The students who take the full-year class are "really passionate about directing. I never have to push too hard to get things done.

"You're really out on a limb as a director," she adds. If things don't work out, all eyes turn to the director. "Students are taking a huge amount of risk. They have to really want to do it."

In the course, students learn to analyze a text and pick it apart. They each direct a play or a video and are responsible for casting, rehearsals and the final performance. They all get a taste of acting as well, performing in productions helmed by their classmates.

A few aspiring directors need to loosen up a little.

"Some of them have the blueprint [for the play] inside their heads." Selkirk persuades them to relinquish a bit of control. "I try very hard to talk about the collaborative process." Sometimes an actor focused on his character will think of a new twist that enriches the whole production. "It's a strain to come up with all the ideas by yourself."

But the play can't become so collaborative that decisions aren't made. "Directors can't give away too much power. At some point, you have to say, 'This is how we're going to do it.'"


Ms. Donna Henchey has become the new full-time development and alumni officer for the Faculty of Science. Previously, she was alumni relations associate for the McGill Alumni Association. The job required her to plan and manage the McGill Alumni Travel Program, oversee advertising in the McGill News and assist at such events as the McGill Homecoming, the McGill Branch Leaders weekend and the Montreal Regional Phonathon. In her new position, Henchey will assist science departments with fundraising and alumni relations.