Waterloo Engineering in the New York Times

Recently there was a nice article about Waterloo (the university and city) in the New York Times, that you can read here.  Overall, it’s quite complimentary and here is a sample of some notable quotes:

“The University of Waterloo…is one of the world’s best technology schools”.   “It’s got this amazing university which has long been one of our top three recruiting universities for Google as a whole, worldwide,…”.  “Different approaches, rather than money, have instead enabled it to attract prominent faculty members from around the world as well as Canada’s top engineering and computer science students.”

So some nice comments about the quality of Waterloo’s engineering students and faculty.  My main concern with the article is that it goes on a bit too much about RIM/Blackberry, perhaps giving the impression that a single company has been behind Waterloo’s growth and success.  RIM has certainly been an important supporter for the university, but there are literally thousands of other companies that have hired our co-op students and graduates for many years, and have also been important partners in teaching and research programs.  The article says that RIM hired 400 students in 2007, which seems like a lot, but to put it in perspective that is a small fraction of the thousands of students who took co-op jobs in one year.

The article also focuses on IT/communications technology, and ignores the many other areas where students and graduates have had significant impacts, like energy, pharmaceuticals, biomedical, aerospace, automotive, financial, and many more.  That’s typical though.  The media seems to find it easier to write stories about IT for their audience, maybe because it doesn’t require them to explain concepts in chemistry and physics.  But I think that after they have a look, most people realize there is more to Waterloo Engineering than just IT.

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