Remembering Provost Emeritus Jim Kalbfleisch
Provost Emeritus Jim Kalbfleisch died on Sunday, April 23 at his home in Waterloo.
Jim served as Vice-President Academic and Provost from 1993 to 2000 during a time of enrollment expansions and funding cuts that led to the special early retirement program (SERP) in 1996. His leadership, solid judgment and unwavering commitment to the University kept Waterloo on an even keel through a historically challenging period for the province's post-secondary sector.
He also helped lay the groundwork for how the University accommodated its share of the "double cohort" of Ontario high school graduates in 2003 as the province phased out its fifth year of high school.
Jim did his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto. He received his Master’s degree in 1964 and PhD in Mathematics in 1966 from the University of Waterloo. His PhD thesis, entitled “Chromatic Graphs and Ramsey's Theorem," was supervised by Ralph Stanton.
Jim joined the Department of Mathematics during a key period in its development He began teaching in the Department of Mathematics in 1964, and when the Faculty of Mathematics was formed in 1967 with David Sprott in dual roles as Dean of the Faculty and Chair of the Department of Statistics, Jim was appointed Associate Chair of the department. He took on many responsibilities in the new statistics department, and guided it through its early years as new faculty members were hired and courses were mounted. At the end of Sprott’s term in 1975, Jim became Department Chair and served until 1979. During those formative years, the department developed internationally recognised programs of research and teaching in both statistics and actuarial science.
The position of provost was created in 1987 (prior to that, the job was known as Vice-President, Academic) and was described as the University's "chief operating officer," covering responsibilities that at many other institutions would be handled by an array of vice-presidents academic, administration, and finance (Indeed, after Kalbfleisch announced his retirement, some of the provost's duties were transferred to a new position of vice-president, administration and finance held by Dennis Huber). Kalbfleisch served as provost under James Downey and David Johnston, drafting budgets, presenting them to finance committees and the board of governors, and conducted meetings with staff and faculty leaders about policies and working relationships. He also prepared enrolment and construction plans and negotiated them with the provincial government, chaired the weekly dean's council meetings, and made final decisions on a multitude of business and personnel issues, all the while managing the University through salary rollbacks, massive early retirements, enrolment expansion and changes in the terms of employment for faculty members.
Prior to serving as Vice President, Academic and Provost, Jim served as Associate Provost, Academic Affairs from 1990 to 1993, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics from 1986 to 1989, and Chair of the Department of Statistics (now Statistics and Actuarial Science) from 1975 to 1979.
Jim retired in early 2001, having spent 26 of his 34 years as a faculty member in major administrative posts.
Among the many tributes from his colleagues in the University's administration upon his retirement was this one from then-President David Johnston: "No one has shown more dedicated to the university than Jim Kalbfleisch."
Former President James Downey told the audience at Jim's retirement party that his choice of Kalbfleisch as provost in the summer of 1993 was "the crowning decision of my career as a president" at three Canadian universities.
Then-Associate Provost Catharine Scott called him "the finest man this institution has ever seen."
In recognition of his contributions to the University, Kalbfleisch was installed as Waterloo's first Provost Emeritus at Convocation in June 2001.
In addition to his skills as a university administrator, Jim was an outstanding teacher, known for his clear exposition. He was the author of the Springer-Verlag books Probability and Statistical Inference: Volume 1: Probability and Volume 2: Statistical Inference, first published in 1979, and republished in 1985. These books developed from course notes for Math 233 (which became Stat 230 and Stat 231 when the course was divided into two terms), and were the required texts for the Department’s introductory courses for many years. In the preface to these books, he points out that “the content of Volume 2 is unusual for an introductory text. The importance of the probability model is emphasized, and general techniques are presented for deriving suitable estimates, intervals, and tests from the likelihood function.” He was an early advocate for using computers in the teaching of Statistics, involving APL in much of his teaching. The basic ideas in Jim’s books and his upper year course notes still provide much of the foundation for undergraduate statistics as taught today at Waterloo.
Jim was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1975, and served as President of the Statistical Society of Canada in 1984. After his retirement, he served as President and Treasurer of the UW Retirees Association. He was an avid bridge player, an active member of the KW Weavers and Spinners Guild, and enjoyed knitting and working in stained glass.
"He was critically important in developing the University of Waterloo and in working to maintain a sense of civility during some difficult times," remembers Kenneth McLaughlin. "His was a truly extraordinary career and he was a formative influence."
There are two scholarships for incoming students that bear his name: the James G. Kalbfleisch National Scholarship in the Faculty of Mathematics, and the James Kalbfleisch Entrance Scholarship at the University level.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, April 30 at 2:00 p.m. at the Westmount Memorial Celebration Centre in Kitchener, with visitation from noon to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday and on Saturday, April 29 from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m.
With files from Professors Steve Brown, Jerry Lawless and Mary Thompson, who wrote a tribute to Jim on the Mathematics website.
An update on the Workday project
A message from Human Resources.
As announced in January, the University has selected Workday, along with PwC as an implementation partner, as its new Human Resources Management and payroll System (HRMS). The move to Workday will provide UWaterloo with innovative technology to support all facets of employee information while streamlining processes for an exceptional end user experience.
Human Resources (HR) recognizes that campus engagement is a key success factor for the project. Throughout the implementation, the project team will seek out the “voice of campus” by engaging stakeholders early in the project. This engagement will consist of inviting representatives from across campus to review and provide feedback regarding core business processes, the design of the Workday solution and interfaces, and to support training and documentation.
In addition, another important component of the project will be to build and test interfaces to and from the various campus systems for which HR receives or provides information. The project team will identify these interfaces early in the project and engage with the appropriate teams as soon as possible, to ensure timely and transparent coordination of efforts.
We look forward to sharing more milestones and information with you as the project continues. In the meantime, please refer to the HR’s Technology Renewal of Information Systems (TRiP) website for more information about the Workday project.
Bob Hicks reflects on four decades of Waterloo IT
At the age of 17, Bob Hicks was knocked out during a hockey game. When he came to, his dad said to him, “Son, I think you’d better stick to academics.”
Although Bob continued (and continues) to play hockey, he took his father’s advice, arriving at the University of Waterloo in 1973 as a student in the Faculty of Mathematics (Computer Science), and staying for his entire career. Bob retires from the position of Director, Client Services, IST, on Monday, May 1 after 39 years working at Waterloo.
During high school in Sarnia, Ontario, Bob spent hours at keypunch machines, typing up programs on cards, lining up to read the programs through a card reader, and lining up again to collect the paper output to see if the program worked. He was drawn to Waterloo for its co-op program, and also Math and Computer Science at Waterloo, which already had a great reputation.
Bob’s first 2 co-op work terms were at the Royal Bank Data Centre in Toronto, and his next four work terms were at UW (DCS), where he learned a lot about the VM/CMS system, including storing programs on computer tapes mounted on tape drives in the Red Room in MC. His first task working full-time in DCS in 1978 was to administer, support and teach APL. It was a very different sort of programming language, consisting of Greek symbols parsed from right to left, and was popular in the field of statistics. Bob met many faculty members in Statistics during that time.
In the 1980s, Bob spent most of his time learning about microcomputers like the IBM PC, and taught CS 100 in the late '80s where he learned about the Apple Macintosh.
With the 1990s, came the World Wide Web, Windows and Dreamweaver. Bob taught many courses about these topics. As the '90s ended, there was time spent preparing for Y2K.
Bob’s lifelong love of hockey accompanied his academic career. In addition to playing hockey himself (“Any position but goalie”), he coached his two daughters’ hockey teams, became the director of girls hockey in Kitchener and eventually vice-president of Kitchener minor hockey. He became the recruitment coordinator for the Waterloo Warrior’s women’s hockey team in Fall 2011.
“I thought I would only stay at the University of Waterloo for a couple of years, and while there were two or three times I was offered other opportunities, I decided to stay here because I can honestly say that I was never bored in my job. I always enjoyed the people I worked with and I had great bosses along the way,” Bob says, adding, “I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wife and family in retirement but I’m not skipping out the door. I will miss the University.”
Friends and colleagues of Bob will be holding a retirement celebration today at the University Club from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Human Resources would like to acknowledge that the following secondment position should have been included in Wednesday’s Positions Available list. HR apologizes for the error.
- Job ID# 2017-1614 – Marketing Insights Specialist – Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment, USG 10