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Daily Bulletin



University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday, June 1, 1998

  • UW says no to doubling enrolment
  • Extra jobs offered; interviews start
  • Task force seeks tuition comments
  • Silver medals among the gold
  • And a few other notes
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UW says no to doubling enrolment

UW officials confirmed Friday that this university is turning down the Ontario government's challenge to double its enrolment in computer science and some fields of engineering. It just can't be done, provost Jim Kalbfleisch said.

The government provided some details Friday of its proposal, announced in the provincial budget on May 5, to spend $150 million on what it's now calling Access to Opportunities. The plan is for enrolment in designated fields to be doubled by the year 2000, using matching funds from government and industry. Said the government's announcement:

The province will introduce a new annual provincial grant of $5,000 for each engineering student, $3,500 for students in computer science and $2,000 for each new college student, beginning in 1998/1999.

In addition to this new annual provincial grant, universities and colleges can access one-time expansion funding of up to $19,600 per student space through the Access to Opportunities private sector matching program: Ontario will match private sector contributions toward the one-time costs of program expansion, up to $9,800 per space. . . .

Universities who wish to participate will commit to doubling intake spaces in these areas by September 2000, while participating colleges will commit to a 50 per cent increase in intake spaces in related college programs by September 2000.

Kalbfleisch told me Friday morning that this university had given a "no thanks" answer to the government, and that he'd be making an announcement about UW's plans at this afternoon's meeting of the board of governors. But before the day was over, someone at Queen's Park told Southam News that Waterloo was opting out, and a Kitchener-Waterloo Record reporter was on the phone to the campus.

The result: a front-page banner headline in Saturday's Record reporting that UW finds the government's "restrictive" rules unmanageable. Waterloo would be happy to increase enrolment by 20 or 30 per cent, Kalbfleisch said, but doubling is impossible. And if the total isn't going to be doubled, there's no government support.

UW has Ontario's biggest programs in computer science and high-tech engineering, with plans to admit 435 first-year students in CS and 240 in E&CE this fall. Among the main reasons cited for the impossibility of doubling enrolment as the government wants:

It's also not clear that the funds available are equal to the cost of educating students in those fields, even if the other problems could be solved.

UW appears to be the only university that's saying no. The Council of Ontario Universities issued a statement Friday afternoon calling the details "welcome news . . . the speedy release of the program's details will enable participating universities to begin the planning and implementation of the program immediately."

The government is pointing out that "There are twice as many applicants to applied science and engineering programs as there are spaces available. In 1997, university engineering programs in Ontario required an average mark of 84.6 per cent for entry into their programs, meaning that high school students who were qualified and capable of enrolling in these programs were turned away."

Extra jobs offered; interviews start

Employer interviews begin today for co-op students who are looking to get hired for the fall work term, and still the jobs are flooding in. The co-op and career services department says a seventh batch of jobs will be posted tomorrow -- only six postings were originally scheduled -- and the limit on the number of jobs a student may apply for has been raised from 18 to 21.

Interviews will run from now through June 23, and job ranking day is Friday, June 26. Students and co-op staff alike are hoping that it isn't marred by the kind of computer disaster that happened on ranking day for the winter term, which led to lineups by hundreds of students snaking down the Needles Hall steps. The reputation of the present co-op computer system dropped even lower with a six-day collapse of the Access interface early in job posting season this term.

Students are eagerly awaiting the replacement system that's due next spring, but some employers may not be quite so keen, judging from a column in the spring Recruiter newsletter sent to companies that hire students. CECS director Bruce Lumsden tells them about the new system, meant to be "robust, secure and adaptable". But he adds: "Although the new system will be web-based, we recognize that companies are at different levels of electronic development. Where desirable, we will retain the current process of faxing, couriers, etc., to meet the individual needs of each employer. Eventually, we hope to reduce the excess amount of paper flowing back and forth."

Lumsden also writes he's hoping to see the new system on line "in the fall of '99". That's later than the previously announced target date of the winter term in 1999. "I am erring on the side of caution," he said at the end of last week, noting that "things are moving along well with the project. . . . We hope to be able to test some components on a stand-alone group like the co-op teaching program some time in the fall."

Task force seeks tuition comments

An invitation has gone out from the Provost's Task Force on Tuition and Student Financial Support, asking for "input into the critical issues".

The task force, set up a month ago to recommend general policy on fees over the next few years, is chaired by Gary Waller, associate provost (academic and student affairs). It includes students, administrators and faculty members, and is expected to report by September.

A memo from the task force, directed to "Members of the University of Waterloo and Its Federated & Affiliated Colleges", says this:

The Task Force would like to invite members of the University community and its Federated & Affiliated Colleges to comment on any aspect of tuition and student financial support. Written submissions should be forwarded to the Secretary of the Task Force, Dianne Scheifele, University Secretariat, NH3060B, or by electronic mail to dscheif@secretariat. Submissions should be received not later than June 30, 1998.

Your input into the critical issues with respect to tuition and student financial support will be a valuable resource to the Task Force as it progresses with its work.

The Task Force looks forward to hearing from you.

Silver medals among the gold

Ka-Ping Yee went home from convocation on Saturday not just with a BASc in computer engineering, but with an extra trinket -- the Governor-General's Silver Medal, representing the highest standing in a bachelor's degree program at UW this year. Two days earlier, Christian Jordan also received a Governor-General's Silver Medal to go along with his BA in psychology.

UW, as one of Canada's larger universities, is entitled to name two "best" graduates each year, explains registrar Ken Lavigne. Jordan and Yee took those medals for 1998. The Governor-General's Silver Medal at the undergraduate level was complemented by the Governor-General's Gold Medal at the graduate level, awarded Saturday afternoon to Todd Veldhuizen, receiving a master's degree in systems design engineering.

The medals were the leading honours handed out at convocation last week, but far from the only ones, as dozens of students received special awards. That's in addition to the recipients of honorary degrees, Distinguished Teacher Awards, and Honorary Member of the University distinctions.

Ranking right behind the Governor-General's Medals are UW's own alumni association gold medals, for leading bachelor's degree graduates from the six faculties. (Alumni association gold medals at the master's and PhD levels are awarded in the fall.) The winners: Andrew Davidson, sociology and economics, faculty of arts; Kevin Thomson, mechanical engineering, faculty of engineering; Robert Bridson, computer science and pure math, faculty of mathematics; Sanjeev Seahra, physics, faculty of science; Joél Schmidt, kinesiology, faculty of applied health sciences; Craig Dillabaugh, geography, faculty of environmental studies.

And a few other notes

The campus, and Kitchener-Waterloo in general, got off relatively easily in Sunday morning's windstorm. There are "a few branches down, but nothing major really", says Les Van Dongen of UW's grounds section, who said he took a tour of the campus shortly after yesterday's storm to make sure nothing serious had happened.

Today's meeting of the UW board of governors has much to discuss besides the government's proposal to double enrolment in high-tech fields of study. Also on the board's agenda are UW's 1998-99 operating budget; the new Memorandum of Agreement between the faculty association and the university; and the president's review of events in 1997-98 and objectives for the year to come. The board meeting, in Needles Hall room 3001, begins with a confidential session at 2:30 p.m.; an open session is expected to start around 3:15.

Compuscape, the computer outlet in the Student Life Centre and inside the South Campus Hall bookstore, begins a week-long "clear out sale" today. "Some of the items on sale will be selected computer games and software," says Beth Alemany, marketing coordinator in UW's retail services department.

The career development seminar series continues tomorrow with three sessions: "Self-Assessment, the Key to Success" at 1:30, "Consider Your Options: Occupational Research" at 2:30, and "Information Interviews: How to Speak to Someone Who Knows" at 3:30. All the sessions will be held in Needles Hall room 1020.

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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