Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Return

I'm back in Waterloo after a very welcome and needed respite in Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax. Thus far I have little work to do, which has given me time for much needed cleaning around the apartment. But that's fairly boring to read about it, isn't it? There's been much in the news in the meantime. First, regarding Acadia, there is much good news:
The president of Acadia University is calling it quits, more than a year earlier than expected.

Gail Dinter-Gottlieb announced Friday she was resigning from the Wolfville school’s top job effective Feb. 29. The university had expected Ms. Dinter- Gottlieb, who receives an annual salary of $244,377, to stay until the end of her term, in June 2009.

"It has been a genuine privilege to lead Acadia University through a time of tremendous change in the post-secondary education sector," Ms. Dinter-Gottlieb said.

"I believe Acadia’s reputation is well-deserved and I have enjoyed working with our wonderful students and alumni, our faculty and staff and our network of supporters."

"I’d say it’s a surprise for the Acadia community at large," university spokesman Scott Roberts said Friday

Ms. Dinter-Gottlieb, who has been president since 2003, told the university’s board of governors at its August meeting that she did not want to have her contract renewed.

At the time, she said she was tired of commuting to see her husband, a researcher and faculty member at the University of Buffalo.

Mr. Roberts said Friday her early departure has to do mainly with "family and other personal reasons."
A while ago I started a Facebook group calling for Dr. Dinter-Gottlieb's resignation, so I'm pleased to see her leave well ahead of the end of her term. Her time at Acadia has been marked by two acrimonious faculty strikes, administrative upheaval and disarray, the departure of most of the senior administration, and significant declines of enrolment. To whatever extent she can be held directly responsible for these events, they did happen under her watch, and my hope is that Acadia will soon have a new president who can set a sound direction for the future in conjunction with faculty.

Meanwhile, plans for high-speed rail between Windsor and Quebec City are being made:
Ontario and Quebec are reviving old plans to run high-speed trains between Quebec City and Windsor, Ont., the premiers of both provinces announced Thursday.

Dalton McGuinty of Ontario and Jean Charest of Quebec said they will spend $2 million to study the project and expect to have a report ready in a year. It will focus on the development of a high-speed rail system linking major cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

The federal government has agreed to participate in the study, the premiers said, speaking at a joint news conference in Ottawa.
As a frequent rail traveller, this is most welcome news. Assuming this project goes forward, however, it would be years and years before it was complete. The cost, pegged at $23 billion, might seem steep, but as a point of comparison the subway extension planned in Toronto to York University and beyond to Vaughan will cost $3.5 billion. In any case, I'm starting to love train travel - the more (and the faster), the better!


I can add yet another politician to my previous list of those I've seen while travelling: former NS premier John Hamm. He's pretty tall in person.

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