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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday, April 20, 1998

  • Campus surveyed about surveys
  • Who gets the football trophy?
  • UW senate meets tonight
  • The rest of the day's news
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Campus surveyed about surveys

Questionnaires are going across campus today to find out how much need there is for a "survey research centre".

"Such a centre," says a covering memo, "would foster and facilitate survey research, and provide advice to researchers and training for students in survey methods. The centre might also develop a capability to carry out surveys on campus, in the community, or farther afield."

It would be an outgrowth of the Survey Research Network, which was formed last fall and has been holding a series of monthly seminars, among other activities. "This year, we're putting people in touch with each other, exploring the expertise we have and making it centrally available," says Mary Thompson, chair of the statistics and actuarial science department.

Although senate approval is required for the official designation of "centre", forming the network was the first step, she said. The group includes researchers from economics, management sciences, sociology, health studies and gerontology, and psychology as well as stats.

Survey research units similar to the one being envisioned at UW exist at many universities, says Thompson, and provide "a good vehicle for interdisciplinary work".

The Statistical Consulting Service, long established in the stats department, also has a mandate to help researchers and graduate students from any discipline on campus. While the organizational links between the two services are yet to be defined, Thompson noted that "stats people tend to be trained in the analysis aspects" of survey work, while the survey people focus on the preliminaries. "Both aspects are needed," she added. "As statisticians, we feel it is important that the design and analysis of research studies be statistically sound."

Benefits to clients, both on and off campus, could include provision of advice, if necessary, beyond what could be provided by a department, as well as assistance in design analysis and eventually, in carrying out surveys. "We don't have a survey shop, yet," said Thompson, "but we hope to establish one to provide the equipment, software and interviewers to carry out surveys." Costly computer equipment and software, such as that required for telephone interviewing or electronically administered surveys, could also be provided for use across campus.

The survey that's going out this week asks faculty members and people in administrative departments whether they use surveys, why or why not, what kind of data they look for, what kind of help they get and what sort of help might be welcome. Paper surveys have been sent across campus, says graduate student Adam Snow in the geography department, who has been working as a research assistant in the project. Graduate students are invited to fill out a web version of the survey.

Who gets the football trophy?

News reports last week said the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees -- who beat Waterloo's Warriors in a 44-37 thriller last fall to win the Churchill Bowl -- are in line for severe penalties that could include the loss of that championship.

Said the Globe and Mail:

The school's admission that it used four academically ineligible football players between 1993 and 1997 has prompted the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union to make an early recommendation that Ottawa be banned from participating in the playoffs for the 1998 season, pay a maximum fine of $5,000 and forfeit several championships won this year. . . .

Officials from the university will have a hearing before the CIAU executive committee April 24 in hopes of appealing the sanctions. . . . The recommendation seems so drastic that some in the football fraternity believe it could be enough to kill the 117-year-old football program.

It would be the most severe disciplinary action ever taken by the Canadian national athletics body. "There have been similar cases, but never similar sanctions recommended," wrote Globe reporter Shawna Richer.

The finding that several ineligible players took the field for the Gee-Gees over the past few years came out of an investigation after rival Carleton University claimed that Ottawa had been using "money or enticements such as jobs" to bring in football players, that the university admitted players who didn't meet normal academic standards, and that coaches were aware of steroid use. No evidence was found to support those more serious charges. (Last fall one Ottawa player, along with one from Waterloo and one from St. Mary's, was suspended because of the use of steroids.)

"Some of the facts were correct," Ottawa's athletic director, Luc Gelineau, said after the Globe story appeared. "But they were taken out of context. Not all of it is true."

It's not clear what forfeiting its 1997 championships would mean for Ottawa -- does that leave UW's Warriors as retroactive winners of the Churchill Bowl, representing the championship of central Canada? Ottawa lost to the University of British Columbia 39-23 in the Vanier Cup, the national championship, a week after the Churchill Bowl game.

UW senate meets tonight

The proposed "certificate in university teaching" is on the agenda for tonight's meeting of the UW senate, along with some routine reports. It doesn't look like an exciting meeting, but you never can tell. In fact, "you never can tell" was one of the arguments used in the recent discussion of whether senate meetings -- scheduled ten times a year -- should be cancelled if the agenda looks meagre. That issue is before the senate executive committee and won't, I think, be coming before senate itself this month.

The certificate in teaching is something that's being proposed by the dean of graduate studies and the teaching resource office, as a way of indicating that a PhD graduate from Waterloo has had both experience and theoretical training in the work of post-secondary teaching. It would involve a series of workshops -- on such topics as "documenting your teaching", "issues in grading", and "interactive lecturing" -- and a teaching practicum.

On another topic, here's a paragraph of interest from the president's written report to tonight's meeting:

The results from the 1998-99 Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS) and the NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships competition were received recently, and UW fared very well. UW students won 96 NSERC awards, with the possibility of six more. This achievement places UW second across Canada only to the UofT (UBC received 87 awards, McMaster 53, Queen's 51 and Guelph 41). In the OGS competition, UW students were offered 170 awards. UW ranks fourth in the province in number of OGS awards, with a high percent (38%) of its applications receiving awards.
Other tidbits from the senate agenda:

The rest of the day's news

The May-June brochure listing courses from information systems and technology is now available. Says Bob Hicks of IST: "A number of popular courses are being repeated (e.g. Introduction to Windows 95, Introduction to Excel). There are a few new courses being offered, including 'Using Cascading Style Sheets to Format Web Documents', 'Creating Formatted Documents for the Web Using Adobe Acrobat', 'Creating Multimedia for Your Course Web Page', 'Using Web Forms for Obtaining Student Feedback', and 'Good-bye WATCAT... Hello TRELLIS'." Click here to find out more about the courses, and to register for them. Paper copies of the brochure are available from the "CHIP" in Math and Computer room 1052, and from all computing consulting offices on campus.

Rev. John Loftus of St. Jerome's University has been named the new president of Regis College in Toronto. Regis College is a Jesuit theological faculty, one of the colleges that make up the Toronto School of Theology. Loftus, who is a Jesuit priest and a clinical psychologist, specializing in such fields as sexual misconduct among clergy, holds the John J. Wintermeyer Chair in psychology at St. Jerome's and heads the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience. He moves to Regis as of July 1.

"I would appreciate it," writes manager Jeff Stewart, "if you could let everyone know that the Math Society coffee and doughnut shop will be open all this month, and all summer from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Coffee, snacks, soup, and lunch fare will be available daily. Location: third floor, Math and Computer."

The Carousel Players return to the Humanities Theatre today and tomorrow with children's shows: "1,000 Cranes" today at 10:00 and 1:30, "The Nightingale" tomorrow at the same times.

And I have a note from Doug Morton in the Davis Centre library, who writes, "You asked for comments about stress. Cyndie Found, a former co-worker, recently sent a stress reducer. While I don't have the provenance, I liked it enough to put it up on the web. I read it frequently." So should you.

CAR


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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